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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 November 24 Ag News

NE Extension Hosts Animal Care Wednesday Webinars

Next Webinar: Nov. 29, Galen Erickson, Nebraska Extension beef feedlot specialist, will review nutrition highlights from the 2018 Nebraska Beef Report

When: First Wednesday of the month (unless on or near a holiday) at 11:00 am CST

Who: Extension/4-H personnel and livestock professionals in Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Wyoming, and South Dakota

Purpose: Provide a brief snapshot of an Animal Welfare/Care topic, and how Extension personnel can use the information in their jobs to educate themselves, answer client and youth questions, or to strengthen programming.

Meeting layout: 15-20 minutes of presentation (limit to one concept), 10-15 minutes Q&A and/or discussion - total meeting: approximately 30 minutes.

To join the webinars: Click on To join from a mobile device or call in via phone, please contact for instructions.


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               Have you ever tested the quality of your grass hay and been disappointed at the low relative feed value?  Well, maybe your worry is unnecessary.

               Farmers and ranchers often tell me their prairie hay or cane hay or other grass hay looks really good but when a lab tested it the relative feed value, also called RFV, was surprisingly low, maybe in the 70s or 80s.  So what’s wrong with the hay?

               Well actually, nothing may be wrong.  You see, relative feed value was initially developed primarily to test legumes like alfalfa for the dairy industry.  It used two types of fiber, the ADF and the NDF to calculate RFV.  The NDF helped estimate intake and ADF estimated energy.

               However, this system assumed all fiber had the same digestibility.  We know that is not true, and it especially misrepresents the forage quality of grasses.  Grasses have more fiber than legumes but grass fiber usually is more digestible than legume fiber.  So grass hay frequently is ranked lower than it should be using relative feed value.

               Fortunately, new, low-cost tests have been developed that do a very good job of measuring digestible fiber, thus doing a better job of estimating forage quality of grasses.  This test is called relative forage quality, or RFQ for short.

               Forage scientists and animal nutritionists have worked together with these tests to also revise the intake and energy estimates so results from these tests predict how animals will truly perform much more accurately.

               While this new RFQ test is especially useful when testing grassy hays, it also has been proven to be better with alfalfa and other legumes.  So when you test forages in the future, look for labs that offer relative forage quality.  Your numbers will be more accurate.

How do atmospheric shifts affect soil-dwelling microbes?

Rising levels of carbon dioxide, ozone and other gases can affect crop growth. Microorganisms inside crops, on their roots or within nearby soil also influence crops by contributing nutrients, curbing disease and combating stresses such as drought. But little is known about how microorganisms respond as atmospheric conditions change.

Research led by Nebraska’s Daniel Schachtman recently showed that a microbial community’s response can depend on the species of crop – or genetic profile of the species – that co-inhabits its soil.

The team found that microbial communities near hybrid vs. inbred corn responded differently to elevated ozone levels. And the diversity of microbe populations living on soybean roots changed when exposed to more carbon dioxide.

The study suggested that differences in microbe-feeding compounds released by hybrid vs. inbred corn roots – or corn vs. soybeans – may explain why their microbial communities responded differently. In this way, the effects of rising atmospheric gas levels may trickle down from plants to the microbes in and around roots.

That knowledge could inform genetic engineering of crops to produce more compounds that promote beneficial microbes, ultimately boosting yields amid changing climates.

The researchers plan to further investigate differences among the compounds released by different varieties of corn.

 $6.6M saved through N-U budget reduction recommendations

The recommendations were made by Nebraska's Budget Response Teams, university-wide groups charged with identifying $30 million in cost savings to help address a budget shortfall resulting from cuts in state funding and increasing costs.

The teams represented facilities, human resources, information technology, purchasing and other operational areas within the university system. The university reported the budget savings in a Nov. 20 update to employees.

The bulk of the savings resulted from position eliminations, largely through attrition and eliminating vacant positions.

“These are real dollars — equivalent to a 2 percent tuition increase — a credit to (Budget Response Team) members and other campus personnel who are working hard to implement cost-reduction plans with the simultaneous goal of moving the university forward in these challenging times,” said Marjorie Kostelnik, senior associate to the president of the University of Nebraska system and past dean of the University of Nebraska's College of Education and Human Sciences.

Kostelnik was appointed earlier this year to lead implementation of the Budget Response Teams’ plans.

Kostelnik also acknowledged the challenges still ahead, particularly in view of the seriousness of the state’s fiscal situation. She noted that successfully navigating the challenges will require “sacrifice and a real commitment to change” by all employees.

The Budget Response Teams, comprising almost 100 subject-matter experts from across and outside the university, were appointed in January by President Hank Bounds and the NU chancellors to re-think operating expenses. Strategies identified by the teams include consolidation of NU’s facilities, energy, procurement and human resources functions into more streamlined university-wide teams, as well as continued integration of the system's information technology services.

In all, more than 70 cost-reduction strategies were recommended, then approved by a university-wide steering committee, the chancellors and the president. 

Kostelnik will continue to issue regular communications to employees about work done by the Budget Response Teams. The updates will include fiscal progress, details from individual teams and common questions and answers.

Candidacy Period Opens Dec 1 for NE Soybean Board

In 2018, soybean farmers that reside in Districts 1, 3 and 6 are eligible to run for a director position on the Nebraska Soybean Board.

District 1 – Antelope, Boyd, Cedar, Holt, Knox, Madison, Pierce
District 3 –  Cedar, Butler, Dodge, Douglas, Sarpy, Saunders, Washington
District 6 – Fillmore, Gage, Jefferson, Saline, Seward, Thayer

Election Period:

December 1 – Candidacy Petition period starts
April 15 – Candidacy Petitions are due to the Nebraska Soybean Board office
July 11 – Ballots mailed to eligible voters obtained from Farm Service Agency (FSA) soybean farmer list
July 31 – Last day to return ballots to tabulation office
October 1 – Nebraska Soybean Board newly elected directors term begins

Who can be a candidate?

* A resident of Nebraska
* A resident of the District in which the election is held
* A soybean farmer for the previous five years, who is at least 21, owns or shares the ownership and risk of loss for such soybeans, by reason of being a partner in a partnership, or is a shareholder in a corporation, or is a member of a limited liability company
* And has submitted a candidacy petition with 50 valid soybean farmers’ signatures in the Districts
which they live

Who can vote?

A soybean farmer that is:
*A resident of Nebraska
*A resident of the District in which the election is being held
*A soybean farmer who owns or shares the ownership and risk of loss for such soybeans, by reason of being a partner in a partnership, or is a shareholder in a corporation, or is a member of a limited liability company, during the current or immediate preceding calendar year

For more information, call (402) 441-3240

ELD Comment Deadline Approaching

The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association encourages individuals to submit comments on the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) rule.

Earlier this week, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)held a meeting to announce that ag haulers will receive a 90-day extension to comply with the ELD mandate. The rule is set to go into effect December 18, but this extension temporarily exempts ag haulers and will allow the agency to analyze a long-term delay and review comments relating a request to delay the rule for livestock haulers. However, it is more important now than ever for the livestock industry to file comments telling FMCSA that the ELD rule will not make hauling livestock more safe and that we cannot be regulated under the same rules as other industries because our cargo is alive.

The ELD mandate would require most truckers to implement the use of electronic logging devices in place of paper log forms they currently use. In combination with restrictive Hours of Service requirements, this rule would severely limit the ability of livestock haulers to get cattle to their destination in a timely manner.

The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association has submitted comments on behalf of its members, but it is crucial that as many comments are submitted as possible asking the DOT and FMCSA to amend the rule for livestock haulers. Comments are due by November 30.

For more information on how to comment and information to include in your comments, visit or contact JanLee at

Iowa Corn Partners with FFA Chapters to Bring Harvest Lunches to Southern Iowa Farmers

This harvest season the Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB) partnered with FFA Chapters across Southern Iowa to bring more than 1,000 lunches to farmers as they worked to bring in their crops.

District 9 partnered with FFA programs in Washington, Mediapolis, Keota, and Davis Counties to serve more than 350 meals. District 7 sponsored harvest meals in the towns of Red Oak, Fontenelle, Clarinda, Shenandoah, Greenfield, Corning and Mount Ayr. The FFA Chapters of Red Oak FFA, Nodaway Valley FFA, Davis-Martin FFA, Southwest Valley FFA, Clarinda Browne FFA and Mount Ayr FFA served 100 meals at each town.

“This gave us a chance to thank our local producers for their efforts in supporting our organization and their local communities,” explained Iowa Corn District Field Manager Alyssa Preston. “It was great to see the initiative from the FFA students in making this happen.”

FFA members delivered the boxed lunches directly to farmers in the fields as well as some chapters stopped at grain terminals to deliver the meals to semi-trucks waiting in line to take back to their harvest crews still in the fields.

“A couple of FFA students in our chapter approached me with the idea,” said Trent Steinhart, Washington FFA Advisor. “I gave them the go ahead and they asked Iowa Corn to be the sponsor. The coolest part was seeing the interaction between the students and the local grain farmers in the area. Just being able to meet with them for that short period of time to deliver lunches proved to be an extremely valuable opportunity for our FFA students. We will absolutely consider doing this program again next year and the students have even begun brainstorming how to improve and expand it for next year.”

Monsanto Employees Pack 100,000 Meals for Distribution to Missouri Food Banks

Nearly 250 Monsanto Company employee volunteers gathered at their St. Louis headquarters on Thursday, November 16 to package 100,000 tomato based pasta meals for Missouri children and families impacted by hunger and food insecurity.

Within Missouri, it’s estimated that one in three children face food insecurity on a regular basis and for adults, the number is one in five. Although many may believe hunger is an urban issue, it also extends into rural areas.

“Monsanto is committed to addressing hunger and food insecurity within our backyard in Missouri as well as in other communities where our employees and farmer customers live and work,” said Brett Begemann, Monsanto’s President and Chief Operating Officer. “We hope this collaborative effort by our volunteers will make a difference in the lives of many who are affected by hunger.”

Monsanto partnered with Meals of Hope, a Florida-based not for profit organization that provided the food and supplies for the first-time event. The packing was completed within four hours. The company also invited 80 students from four nearby high schools who are members of the National FFA Organization to pack meals as well as participate in a college and careers workshop focused on the Ag industry.  The students met with Monsanto employees, spoke with the company’s college recruiters and learned about various careers within agriculture.  Additionally, employees donated non-perishable items before the packing event to Operation Food Search of St. Louis.

Meals of Hope distributed the packed meals to its member food banks in Missouri where the need is greatest.  This past summer, Monsanto, along with several other organizations supported efforts by Missouri Farmers Care to raise awareness about food insecurity in the state’s rural areas. This event is an extension of Monsanto’s commitment to that effort.

Thursday November 23 Ag News

Securing Nebraska’s Pork Industry from a Disease Crisis

The Nebraska Pork Producers Association with support from the National Pork Board and Nebraska Department of Agriculture invite pork producers, veterinarians, and stakeholders to attend a Foot and Mouth Disease Crisis Tabletop workshop in West Point on Wednesday, December 6th at the Nielsen Community Center, 200 Anna Stalp Avenue.

The exercise walks participants through a foot and mouth disease outbreak focusing on the effects at the state and local level. Participants rapidly become a part of the response effort from diagnosing the first case, mobilizing the local response, controlling and eradicating the disease, and getting back to “business as usual.”

“We’re thankful that our country has not experienced a disease such as foot-and-mouth (FMD) since 1929,” said Terry O’Neel, National Pork Board president from Friend, Nebraska. However, if we get the news that FMD, African swine fever or another foreign animal disease has arrived, the Secure Pork Supply plan will pay big dividends by getting pork production back to normal much faster.”

The Secure Pork Supply plan will outline procedures that pork producers, processors and federal/state agencies agree are feasible should an FAD strike. According to veterinarian Patrick Webb, director of swine health programs for the Pork Checkoff this would include the safe movement of animals from farms in an FAD control area to harvest channels or to other production sites as long as the pigs have no evidence of disease.

“As a pork producer, I want to be ready when it’s time to sign up as a participant in the Secure Pork Supply program,” O’Neel said. “In the meantime, let’s all prepare by ramping up our farms biosecurity measures and other steps so we’ll be ready to go.”

Pre-registration can be done at Registration the day of the event begins at 8:30 a.m. Secure Pork Supply plan will take place from 8:45 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

This exercise has been approved by the Nebraska Board of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery for continuing education credit for veterinarians.


Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska (ICON) will be hosting their Twelfth Annual Meeting in Valentine, NE, on Saturday, December 16, 2017, at the Niobrara Lodge.

The day starts at 10 a.m. with registration. At 11 a.m., the ICON Board of Directors will conduct an annual business meeting and invites any members to participate, which will be followed by a noon luncheon, served at the Lodge.

Afternoon activities will begin with a Legislative Round Table aimed at discussing what’s happening in the legislature at 1 pm. A presentation by Omaha attorney David Domina at 2:30 pm will cover the property tax crisis in Nebraska and possible remedies for tax reform.

ICON’s annual meeting will be a strong discussion event for Nebraska’s Property Tax issue. It is important for Nebraskans to have affordable taxes no matter what business or line of work. ICON represents cattlemen in the livestock industry, working for affordable taxes making their bottom line more acceptable, but all Nebraskans need tax reform.

ICON welcomes everyone to join them in this discussion.

R-Calf USA vice-president Mike Schultz will speak about issues which plague today’s cattle industry at 4 p.m. An auction for the Jim Hanna Memorial Scholarship will end the annual meeting.

Registration for the 2017 ICON Convention Registration is $50 and includes the noon luncheon. Guests accompanying a paid registration can register for $20.

ICON membership dues for 2017 are $100 and if members pay the day of the meeting, there will be a $10 discount.

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

ICON has always been a spokesperson for independent cattlemen from across the state, protecting their rights so they can continue to grow a quality beef product for the American consumer. Come join ICON members as they discuss property tax relief, brand committee issues and live the Cowboy Way.

Save on Gas This Holiday Season by Filling Up with E15

Drivers road tripping to see friends and family this holiday season could save big by filling up with E15. E15 contains five percentage points more ethanol than E10, also known as Super Unleaded. On average, E15 costs $.05 to $.10 cents less than regular gasoline. AAA projects nearly 51 million American will travel 50 miles or more away from home this Thanksgiving, a 3.3 percent increase over last year and the highest Thanksgiving travel volume since 2005. Meanwhile, Thanksgiving gas prices have risen to highest since 2014. According Growth Energy, if all the drivers hitting the road this week fill up with E15, the total savings would be nearly $4 million.

“Many consumers get to the pump and automatically reach for Super Unleaded thinking it’s the cheapest fuel, without realizing E15 can save them even more money,” said Iowa Corn Promotion Board President Duane Aistrope, a farmer from Randolph. “Consumers can save money and support their local farmers by filling up with cleaner-burning E15 or E85.”

E15 is the most tested fuel in history, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved the fuel for use in all model year 2001 and newer vehicles, including cars, light-duty trucks, medium-duty passenger vehicles (SUVs), and all flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs). This approved group of vehicles includes more than 80 percent of the cars, trucks and SUVs on the road today.

“E15 is a good thing for consumers, retailers, and the state of Iowa,” explained Aistrope. “Ethanol, a renewable fuel made from Iowa corn burns cleaner than regular gas. And when you use E15 at the pump, it saves you money, supports Iowa jobs and your local farmers.”

E15 has higher-octane content, which means more power. It also burns cooler and cleaner, reducing carbon emissions and engine wear. NASCAR has traveled more than six million miles on E15, starting with the 2011 racing season, and NASCAR drivers and mechanics give the fuel high marks for power and durability. The combination of performance and lower price make E15 a great value.

Go to, to learn more about E15 and the benefits of ethanol and to locate local retailers near you.

Examining Frequently Asked Farm Lease Questions

As harvest season draws to a close, farmers are starting to look forward to the next planting and growing season. Often times, this means signing new lease agreements or evaluating if an existing agreement is working.

“Because nearly half of Iowa’s crop ground is farmed through a cash rent or crop share lease, it is crucial that both tenants and landlords understand Iowa law as it relates to farm leases,” said Kristine Tidgren, assistant director of the Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation.

Tidgren is the author of an article titled “Farm Leases – Frequently Asked Questions” that appears in the November issue of the Acreage Living newsletter from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. The article aims to answer common questions regarding Iowa farm leases and the law.

“Knowing the particulars of the law is very important,” Tidgren said. “Tenants and owners need to know what their rights and obligations under the law are. Now that harvest is coming to a close, many farmers start thinking about the next year and they look at their lease and might want to change it. Iowa has particular laws that don’t always make that possible.”

One of the most important things for farmers to understand when dealing with leases is that unless a termination notice is given by September 1, that lease will remain intact for the next year.

“Sometimes an owner will allow a tenant to renegotiate a lease at this point, but both parties would have to agree,” Tidgren said. “This also applies to oral agreements, not just written contracts.”

Understanding what is enforceable is also very important for both parties.

“Not having a written lease can lead to a lot of confusion,” Tidgren said. “An oral lease is just as binding as a written lease, it just isn’t as easy to prove what the terms are in a disagreement. Having a written lease eliminates confusion and insures everyone is on the same page.”

The November edition of the Acreage Living newsletter also includes articles on finding the right supplies for growing fruits and vegetables, the wounds left by forest invasive species and winter manure management.

Cattlemen Applaud Court-Ordered Stay in CERCLA, EPCRA Reporting Mandate

Craig Uden, president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, today released the following statement in response to the DC Circuit Court’s decision to stay a mandate that agricultural entities file reports under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) –

“Cattle producers have one more thing for which to be thankful this Thanksgiving weekend. Agricultural operations were never intended to be regulated by these laws, so this court-ordered stay until January 22 is very welcome news. We’ll use this additional time to continue working on the introduction of stand-alone legislation to fix this issue, and we’ll also promote corrective language in the appropriations process.”

For more information about the CERCLA/EPCRA reporting issue and how it affects cattle producers, visit NCBA’s website here....

Secretary Perdue Announces Soybean Board Appointments

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today announced the appointment of 19 members and 3 alternate members to serve on the United Soybean Board. The producers appointed to serve three year terms include: 
    Mike Korth, Randolph, Neb.
    Thomas E. Oswald, Cleghorn, Iowa
    Larry K. Marek, Riverside, Iowa

    Annie Dee, Aliceville, Ala.
    Robert Stobaugh, Atkins, Ark.
    Gary Berg, Saint Elmo, Ill.
    Tom Griffiths, Kendallville, Ind.
    Dennis Gruenbacher, Andale, Kan.
    Keith N. Tapp, Sebree, Ky.
    Belinda Burrier, Union Bridge, Md.
    Herb Miller, Niles, Mich.
    Lawrence Sukalski, Fairmont, Minn.
    Philip Good, Macon, Miss.
    Lewis Rone, Pontageville, Mo.
    Dave Dotterer, Rittman, Ohio
    Ellie W. Green, Jr., Lynchburg, S.C.
    Marc V. Reiner, Tripp, S.D.
    David Nichols, Ridgely, Tenn.
    Andrew W. Scott, Jr., Monte Alto, Texas
    Colt Clemmons, Killen, Ala. Alternate
    Fitzhugh Bethea, Dillon, S.C. Alternate
    Daniel C. Berglund, Wharton, Texas Alternate

"I truly appreciate the time and expertise that these individuals have agreed to provide, and know U.S. soybean producers will be well served by these men and women,” said Perdue.

The board is composed of 73 members representing 29 states and Eastern and Western regions.  To become a member, you must be a soybean producer and be nominated by a qualified state soybean board.

The board is authorized by the Soybean Promotion, Research, and Information Act.  It became effective July 9, 1991, when the Soybean Promotion and Research Order was implemented.  

Since 1966, Congress has authorized the establishment of 22 industry-funded research and promotion boards.  They empower farmers and ranchers to leverage their own resources to develop new markets, strengthen existing markets, and conduct important research and promotion activities.  USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service provides oversight, paid for by industry assessments, which ensures fiscal accountability and program integrity for participating stakeholders.

All-Time Monthly Record Highs for Red Meat and Pork Production in October

Commercial red meat production for the United States totaled 4.64 billion pounds in October, up 5 percent from the 4.43 billion pounds produced in October 2016.

By State           (million lbs.  -  % Oct '16)

Nebraska ...........:     714.3            101      
Iowa ..................:     652.4            101      
Kansas ...............:     503.9            106      

Beef production, at 2.30 billion pounds, was 4 percent above the previous year. Cattle slaughter totaled 2.80 million head, up 6 percent from October 2016. The average live weight was down 20 pounds from the previous year, at 1,361 pounds.

Veal production totaled 6.4 million pounds, 3 percent below October a year ago. Calf slaughter totaled 44,000 head, down 9 percent from October 2016. The average live weight was up 14 pounds from last year, at 251 pounds.

Pork production totaled 2.32 billion pounds, up 5 percent from the previous year. Hog slaughter totaled 11.0 million head, up 5 percent from October 2016. The average live weight was unchanged from the previous year, at 282 pounds.

Lamb and mutton production, at 11.9 million pounds, was up 2 percent from October 2016. Sheep slaughter totaled 183,900 head, 1 percent above last year. The average live weight was 129 pounds, up 1 pound from October a year ago.

January to October 2017 commercial red meat production was 43.0 billion pounds, up 4 percent from 2016. Accumulated beef production was up 4 percent from last year, veal was down 1 percent, pork was up 3 percent from last year, and lamb and mutton production was down 4 percent.

USDA Cold Storage October 2017 Highlights

Total red meat supplies in freezers on October 31, 2017 were down 1 percent from the previous month and down 2 percent from last year. Total pounds of beef in freezers were up 2 percent from the previous month but down 5 percent from last year. Frozen pork supplies were down 3 percent from the previous month and down slightly from last year. Stocks of pork bellies were up 54 percent from last month and up 58 percent from last year.

Total frozen poultry supplies on October 31, 2017 were down 4 percent from the previous month but up 12 percent from a year ago. Total stocks of chicken were up 6 percent from the previous month and up 12 percent from last year. Total pounds of turkey in freezers were down 20 percent from last month but up 14 percent from October 31, 2016.

Total natural cheese stocks in refrigerated warehouses on October 31, 2017 were down 3 percent from the previous month but up 4 percent from October 31, 2016.  Butter stocks were down 14 percent from last month and down 4 percent from a year ago.

Total frozen fruit stocks were up 4 percent from last month but down 17 percent from a year ago.  Total frozen vegetable stocks were up 5 percent from last month and up 4 percent from a year ago.

Fischer on EPA’s Point of Obligation Announcement

U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, released the following statement after the EPA announced the agency is denying the petition to move the point of obligation from refiners to downstream retailers:

“Today President Trump and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt demonstrated their commitment to the integrity of the Renewable Fuel Standard with this important decision. This is a big victory for rural America. It will provide certainty, not only for hardworking producers in Nebraska and across the Heartland, but also for innovators who have invested in the future of renewable fuels.”

Senator Fischer is a strong advocate for renewable fuels. She has been a leading voice for rural America as the administration works to implement the Renewable Fuel Standard. 

EPA Decision to Keep Point of Obligation Unchanged Protects Consumer Choice

Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor today released the following statement regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to maintain the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) point of obligation:

“We commend the EPA for laying to rest a year of attempts from a small group of oil refiners who have been using every trick in the book to change the established rules for tracking compliance with the Renewable Fuel Standard,” Skor said.

“This one-sided handout would have added regulatory red tape, created havoc in the marketplace, and denied consumers access to more affordable fuels with higher blends of biofuels like E15. Growth Energy has led the charge to oppose this effort from the very beginning, and we are grateful to our allies in Congress and to Administrator Pruitt for working with us to protect over 12 years of investment under the RFS.

"The RFS is America’s single most successful energy policy and continually works to save consumers money, protect the environment, drive rural growth, and secure U.S. independence."

Continuous Milk Production Keeping Dairy Prices Low

Dr. Bob Cropp has been saying all year long that total milk production will need to simmer down before prices get any better. And one day after the USDA announced that October's national output was up by another 1.4 percent over last year, the professor emeritus with the University of Wisconsin-Extension says the results are predictable.

In his monthly Dairy Situation and Outlook report, Cropp pointed out that U.S. milk production is running about 2.5 percent more than in 2016--which so far has been the biggest year for milk production on record.

"Final milk prices will depend upon the level of milk production, domestic sales and exports," Cropp said. "USDA is forecasting an increase in 2018 milk production of 1.8 percent from a 0.5 percent increase in the average number of milk cows and 1.3 percent more milk per cow. This is a lot of milk following a 1.6 percent increase forecasted for this year."

But if milk prices start the year near current futures market prices, the industry could see heavier culling of milk cows and a lower increase in milk per cow.

Meanwhile, farmers may want to keep an eye on what's happening overseas, as well as on our North American neighbors. Cropp says U.S. exports are experiencing competition from EU and Canada.

"According to U.S. Dairy Export Council, the EU exported 43 percent more skim milk powder during January through August than a year ago," he said. "Canada with very aggressive pricing with export prices below both EU and the U.S. had increased exports of skim milk powder. Canada was exporting about 1,000 tons of skim milk powder per month, but is now exporting 8,000 to 10,000 tons. In addition, Mexico having concerns about the outcome of current NAFTA negotiations has reduced its source of nonfat dry milk imports from the U.S."

As a result, USDA and other forecasters have lowered their price forecast for 2018; and both Class III and Class IV futures have fallen, as well.

In addition, milk production is starting to pick up in all five of the other exporting markets, which means the U.S. will face strong competition going into the next year.

Deere Reports Earnings of $510 Million for Fourth Quarter and $2.159 Billion for Year

Net income attributable to Deere & Company was $510.3 million, or $1.57 per share, for the fourth quarter ended October 29, 2017, compared with $285.3 million, or $0.90 per share, for the quarter ended October 30, 2016. For fiscal 2017, net income attributable to Deere & Company was $2.159 billion, or $6.68 per share, compared with $1.524 billion, or $4.81 per share, in 2016.

Worldwide net sales and revenues increased 23 percent, to $8.018 billion, for the fourth quarter and
increased 12 percent, to $29.738 billion, for the full year. Net sales of the equipment operations were
$7.094 billion for the quarter and $25.885 billion for the year, compared with respective totals of $5.650 billion and $23.387 billion in 2016.

“John Deere has completed another successful year as markets for farm and construction equipment
showed improvement and our actions to build a more durable business model yielded strong results,” said Samuel R. Allen, chairman and chief executive officer, adding that the year’s sales and earnings were the fifth-highest in company history. “We saw higher overall demand for our products with farm machinery sales in South America making especially strong gains and construction equipment sales rising sharply. At the same time, the company realized continued benefits from its broad product portfolio and agile cost structure. As a result, Deere has remained well-positioned to serve present customers while making investments aimed at driving growth and attracting additional customers in the future.”

Investments made or announced during the year included the acquisition of the Wirtgen Group, the
world’s leading manufacturer of road construction equipment. The transaction is expected to be finalized next month. “Wirtgen will establish Deere as a substantially more prominent player in global construction equipment markets,” Allen said.

Tuesday November 21 Ag News

Cuming County 4-H Livestock Judging Team Participates in National Contest

The Cuming County 4-H program was represented at the North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, KY by the 4-H Livestock Judging team during the week of November 11-15.  According to Larry Howard, Nebraska Extension Educator in Cuming County, the team placed first at the Nebraska State Contest in June and won the right to represent Nebraska at the National Contest.  There were 124 individuals representing 34 states at the event.

The Cuming 4-H team placed 13th overall and was 7th in Sheep, 11th in Beef, 18th in Reasons and 22nd in Swine. Team members were Connor Klitz, Ross Klitz, and Blake Guenther of West Point and Megan Schroeder of Wisner.  Individually, Ross Klitz placed 17th overall and was named an All American with the other top 20 individuals.  Ross was 9th in Sheep, 24th in Beef, 70th in Reasons, and 84th in Swine.  Blake Guenther was 35th overall, 29th in Reasons, and 38th in Sheep, 41st in Beef and 57th in Swine.  Connor Klitz was 49th overall, 35th in Sheep, 53rd in Swine, 75th in Reasons and 81st in Beef.  Megan Schroeder was 83rd overall, 35th in Beef, 88th in Reasons, 97th in Sheep and 103rd in Swine.

The team was sponsored by funding provided by the Nebraska 4-H Foundation, Cuming 4-H Foundation, Cuming County Feeders Association, Cuming County Pork Producers and the use of the vehicle by Citizen’s State Bank in Wisner.  Todd Schroeder of Wisner accompanied the team as their sponsor.  Lee Schroeder coached the team for the state contest.


Nebraska Extension is hosting a QuickBooks workshop December 6 & 7 in Norfolk at the Lifelong Learning Center in one of their computer labs.  Space is limited to 20 people each day.  Below is a description of the topics we are covering each day. 

Workshop description:

QuickBooks 101: December 6 - This introductory course covers the basics of setting up a company, creating customers, receiving payments, and making deposits into your bank accounts. We will work with and create vendors and pay bills, create and edit a chart of accounts for your company, run reports, and reconcile bank accounts. 

QuickBooks 201: December 7 - This course covers creating inventory, dealing with items, and adjusting inventory.  Learn about Sales Tax and Sales Tax groups, paying your sales tax, running payroll, and paying your payroll liabilities. We will create capital assets and loan accounts and discuss dealing with bad debt.

Cost: $30 for one day or $50 for both days.  Each day will begin at 10:00 am and conclude by 4:00 pm.  A computer will be provided, but you can bring your laptop with the software already installed, if you wish.   Register at the following website:


All layers in Nebraska during October 2017 totaled 7.70 million, down from 8.96 million the previous year, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service.  Nebraska egg production during October totaled 193 million eggs, down from 230 million in 2016. October egg production per 100 layers was 2,513 eggs, compared to 2,564 eggs in 2016.


Iowa egg production during October 2017 was 1.33 billion eggs, up 4 percent from last month and up 3 percent from last year, according to the latest Chickens and Eggs report from the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. The average number of all layers on hand during October 2017 was 55.5 million, a slight increase from last month and up 3 percent from last year. Eggs per 100 layers for September were 2,403, up 3 percent from last month but down 1 percent from last year.

U.S. October Egg Production Down Slightly

United States egg production totaled 8.83 billion during October 2017, down slightly from last year. Production included 7.67 billion table eggs, and 1.16 billion hatching eggs, of which 1.08 billion were broiler-type and 73.0 million were egg-type. The average number of layers during October 2017 totaled 374 million, up 1 percent from last year. October egg production per 100 layers was 2,359 eggs, down 1 percent from October 2016.
All layers in the United States on November 1, 2017 totaled 375 million, up 1 percent from last year. The 375 million layers consisted of 315 million layers producing table or market type eggs, 56.8 million layers producing broiler-type hatching eggs, and 3.12 million layers producing egg-type hatching eggs. Rate of lay per day on November 1, 2017, averaged 76.4 eggs per 100 layers, down 1 percent from November 1, 2016.

Egg-Type Chicks Hatched Up 18 Percent

Egg-type chicks hatched during October 2017 totaled 51.0 million, up 18 percent from October 2016. Eggs in incubators totaled 44.9 million on November 1, 2017, up 9 percent from a year ago.  Domestic placements of egg-type pullet chicks for future hatchery supply flocks by leading breeders totaled 198 thousand during October 2017, down 39 percent from October 2016.

Broiler-Type Chicks Hatched Up 2 Percent

Broiler-type chicks hatched during October 2017 totaled 794 million, up 2 percent from October 2016. Eggs in incubators totaled 650 million on November 1, 2017, up 3 percent from a year ago.  Leading breeders placed 7.59 million broiler-type pullet chicks for future domestic hatchery supply flocks during October 2017, up 10 percent from October 2016.

Cattlemen can weigh in on 2018 policies at annual Iowa Cattle Industry Leadership Summit

As part of the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association’s mission to grow Iowa’s beef business through leadership, advocacy and education, ICA will host the second annual Iowa Cattle Industry Leadership Summit.

The summit, which will be held on December 7 and 8 in Ames, will have sessions devoted to leadership development for cattle producers and ICA county cattlemen’s associations. The event will also feature policy committee meetings and the ICA annual meeting.

The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association has three policy committees: Beef Products, Business Issues and Cattle Production. The committee meetings are open to any ICA members, and will generate policy related to important topics in the cattle industry. These policies drive the efforts of the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association and are used by staff and leaders in discussions with local and national elected officials and regulatory agencies.

Policy discussions on Thursday are expected to revolve around animal health challenges like Trichomoniasis, live cattle marketing, local control of environmental regulations, and rules regarding the hauling of livestock.

The ICA Trichomoniasis task force recently met and developed recommendations aimed at decreasing the incidence of trich in Iowa. The recommendations will be presented to the policy committees for discussion.

Environmental regulation of livestock production is also likely to be discussed. There have been increased efforts from various groups to give counties more power in determining whether or not a construction permit should be granted for large animal feeding operations and to raise the requirements of those operations.

Attendees will also hear an update with recent news regarding the looming Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate. The ELD rule, in conjunction with Hours of Service requirements, restricts livestock haulers’ ability to get animals to their destination in a timely manner. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently announced a 90-day extension for ag commodity haulers to comply with the rule, but more work and input is needed to find a longer-term solution for the livestock industry.

The committees will determine what, if any, action should be taken on these issues and more. Then, on Friday, ICA members will have a chance to ratify the policy developed in the committee meetings at the ICA annual meeting, after the Iowa Beef Industry Council annual meeting.

The event will also include the Iowa Cattlemen’s Foundation dinner and auction, and complimentary lunch featuring the 2017 Iowa’s Best Burger from the Smokin’ Hereford in Storm Lake. Dr. Keith Belk will discuss beef exports in his keynote presentation on Thursday and Drs. Dan Loy and Lee Schulz will share information about the economic impact of the Iowa beef industry. On Friday morning, Matt Rush will help us bridge the consumer/farmer divide with his inspirational and entertaining presentation.

There is no cost to attend the Leadership Summit, but RSVPs are requested. Visit or call 515-296-2266 for more info.

Increase Cash Flow by Communicating Plan with Lenders

Managing a farm’s cash flow is critical. The ability to generate cash is what allows farmers to pay their bills.

Many Iowa farmers have done a good job of forward contracting 2017 new crop bushels and hedging or buying put options, putting them in a position to avoid cash flow concerns this fall and winter. There are other farms, however, holding large quantities of unpriced crops that could see cash flow challenges and may want to focus on understanding other marketing strategies and tools rather than storing bushels unpriced.

Suggestions for how to market these stored bushels is the focus of “Communication is key when cash flow is tight,” an article by Steve Johnson, farm management specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. The article can be found in the November issue of Ag Decision Maker.

Johnson has these recommendations for farmers trying to maximize their cash flow.

First, don’t wait too long to talk to your lender.

“If you know cash flow will be a problem, communicate that early to your lender,” Johnson said. “A large amount of cash debt has been recently restructured to stretch out principal payments and free up working capital. Lenders could be reluctant to restructure loans without a commitment from the borrower to improve their cash flow management to meet existing debt obligations.”

Additionally, most cash flow problems don’t appear until late December or January. Some lenders will require the use of the USDA Farm Service Agency’s guaranteed loan program before providing additional funds.

If storing grain on farm, Johnson recommends shopping around for the best cash price possible.

“Perhaps the greatest benefit of storing grain on farm, aside from harvest efficiency, is that it allows the farmer more time and improved chances to shop around for better cash prices reflected in basis,” Johnson said.

His final suggestion is to consider delivering additional bushels in December. By communicating with your grain merchandiser in advance a producer can still seek a greater future price through a basis or minimum price contract.

“With much of the actual cash price of the grain being received on delivery, needed cash flow can be generated while also eliminating storage costs, basis risk and accrued interest,” Johnson said.

Farmers Receive 11 Cents of Thanksgiving Retail Food Dollar, NFU Farmer’s Share Shows

Farmers and ranchers take home just 11.4 cents from every dollar that consumers spend on their Thanksgiving dinner meals, according to the annual Thanksgiving edition of the National Farmers Union (NFU) Farmer’s Share publication. The popular Thanksgiving Farmer’s Share compares the retail food price of traditional holiday dinner items to the amount the farmer receives for each item they grow or raise.

“This holiday season, it’s important for us to take time to recognize and thank the family farmers and ranchers who provide our Thanksgiving meals,” said Rob Larew, NFU’s Senior Vice President for Public Policy and Communications. “If you don’t live on a farm or work in agriculture, you probably don’t realize the tremendous difference between the price you pay for food at the grocery store and the prices farmers end up receiving for these products. While consumer holiday food costs have declined recently, incomes for American farm and ranch families have dropped precipitously. We’re in the midst of the worst farm economic downturn in 30-40 years, and we’re hopeful these numbers can help illustrate that fact to the general public.”

On average, farmers receive 17.4 cents of every food dollar consumers spend, while more than 80 percent of food costs cover marketing, processing, wholesaling, distribution and retailing. For the 15 items NFU tracks for the Thanksgiving version, farmers received just 11.4 cents of the retail food dollar.

Turkey growers, who raise the staple Thanksgiving dish, receive just 5 cents per pound retailing at $1.69. Wheat farmers averaged a meager 6 cents on 12 dinner rolls that retail for $3.49. And dairy producers received only $1.47 from a $4.49 gallon of fat free milk.

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

The Farmers’ Share is based on calculations derived from the monthly Agriculture Prices report produced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, and compared to price points of common grocery food items at Safeway supermarket. The figure farmer’s share of retail turkey sales is reported by the Contract Poultry Growers Association of the Virginias, as national data on farm prices for turkey does not reflect the amount turkey growers receive.

Russia to Restrict Brazilian Pork, Beef Imports from Dec. 1

Russia will place temporary restrictions on imports of pork and beef products from Brazil from Dec. 1, the country's Rosselkhoznadzor food safety watchdog said on Monday.

According to Reuters, Russia said last week it was considering a ban on all pork and beef imports from Brazil after finding the feed additive ractopamine in some shipments, an allegation Brazilian meat industry groups denied.

"Given the seriousness of the situation, Rosselkhoznadzor is forced to take urgent measures to protect Russian consumers and the domestic food market and introduce temporary restrictions from Dec. 1 this year," the agency said in a statement.

Alltech 2017 Harvest Analysis indicates high levels of mycotoxins in corn silage across the U.S.
High levels of risk from DON, fusaric acid, T-2 and fumonisin present

In 2016, corn growers faced challenges from mycotoxins, and those challenges seem likely to show up for them again as they harvest this fall. The 2017 growing season was challenging across the U.S. Growers in different regions experienced varied weather conditions that could not only reduce yield, but could also increase plant stress and lead to challenges with mycotoxins.

Corn silage samples from across the entirety of the U.S. have shown extremely high levels of mycotoxins, particularly deoxynivalenol (DON), type A trichothecenes (T-2), fusaric acid and fumonisin. It is important to note that once there are mycotoxins in the crop, they will not go away. There will be higher levels of mycotoxins on farms practicing monocropping of corn, as opposed to those farms that are rotating crops or using deeper tillage methods.

Samples submitted to the Alltech 37+® mycotoxin analytical services laboratory between Sept. 1 and Nov. 1, 2017, show that grains contained mixtures of mycotoxins, including DON, fusaric acid and fumonisin. Forages such as corn silage, barlage and haylage samples also contained multiple mycotoxins in 2017, including DON, fusaric acid, T-2 and fumonisin.

Fumonisin is trending higher across all states as of this time and can have a negative impact on feed intake, gut health, liver function and immune response. Swine and horses are particularly sensitive.

Mycotoxins are a regular concern for producers, as they influence feed quality and animal safety. They are produced by certain species of molds and can have toxic properties that impact animal health and performance.

“Understanding the risk of mycotoxins and combinations of mycotoxins, even at lower levels, allows livestock owners and managers to institute a management program for more optimum performance and health,” said Dr. Max Hawkins, nutritionist with the Alltech® Mycotoxin Management team. “Testing feedstuffs and finished feeds is paramount to putting this management program in action.”

Mycotoxins are seldom found in isolation, and when multiple mycotoxins are consumed, they may have additive, or even synergistic, interactions that increase the overall risk to performance and health. As a result, an animal may have a stronger response than what would be expected if it was only experiencing a single mycotoxin challenge.

For feedstuffs harvested in 2017 and that are currently being fed, it is important to conduct a mycotoxin analysis that identifies the storage mycotoxins, including Penicillium and Aspergillus mycotoxin groups, as there is potential for additional mycotoxins to develop during storage. Proper mycotoxin management techniques can reduce the risk of mycotoxins coming from feed materials as well as help to prevent the negative effects mycotoxins can on have animal health and performance.

Monday November 20 Ag News + Crop Progress Report - NE - IA - US


For the week ending November 19, 2017, temperatures averaged near normal across eastern Nebraska, but six to ten degrees above normal in the west, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Precipitation was limited across the State, only a few counties received over half an inch of rain. Corn harvest was near completion. There were 6.5 days suitable for fieldwork.

Topsoil moisture supplies rated 3 percent very short, 23 short, 73 adequate, and 1 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 4 percent very short, 22 short, 73 adequate, and 1 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn harvested was 93 percent, near 96 last year and 95 for the five-year average.

Winter wheat condition rated 2 percent very poor, 9 poor, 33 fair, 49 good, and 7 excellent.

Sorghum harvested was 91 percent, behind 98 last year and 97 average.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 2 percent very poor, 12 poor, 46 fair, 36 good, and 4 excellent. Stock water supplies rated 1 percent very short, 4 short, 95 adequate, and 0 surplus.

Iowa Crop Progress & Condition Report

Minimal precipitation allowed Iowa farmers to make progress towards completing harvest with 5.5 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending November 19, 2017, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Activities for the week included harvesting, baling corn stalks, tiling, hauling and spreading manure, applying fertilizers, and planting cover crops.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 3 percent very short, 9 percent short, 84 percent adequate and 4 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 6 percent very short, 16 percent short, 76 percent adequate and 2 percent surplus.

Ninety-two percent of the corn for grain crop has been harvested, eight days behind last year and the 5-year average. Moisture content of corn being harvested for grain averaged 17 percent. Only northeast, southwest, and south central Iowa have more than 10 percent of their corn for grain crop remaining to be harvested.

There were reports of limited stress on livestock; however, fluctuations in temperatures caused lung issues in some calves. Cattle continue to graze in harvested fields with limited hay being fed.

USDA Weekly Crop Progress

Winter wheat conditions dropped again from the previous week, according to USDA's latest Crop Progress report released on Monday.  With 88% of the crop emerged as of Sunday, USDA estimated that 52% of the winter wheat crop was in good-to-excellent condition, down slightly from 54% the previous week.

Corn harvest continued to lag slightly behind the average pace. USDA estimated that 90% of corn was harvested as of Sunday, down from 96% a year ago and also below the five-year average of 95% harvested.

Soybean harvest was nearing completion with 96% harvested as of Sunday, down from 98% a year ago and down from a five-year average of 97% harvested.

Sorghum was 90% harvested, slightly behind the five-year average of 92%.  Cotton was 74% harvested nationwide, moving to slightly ahead of the average pace of 72%.


Nebraska Beef Council December Meeting

The Nebraska Beef Council Board of Directors will meet at the NBC office located in Kearney at 1319 Central Ave on December 4, 2017 beginning at 10:00 a.m. CST. The NBC Board of Directors will review evaluations for FY- 2016-2017 Authorizations Request.  For a copy of the board agenda, please contact Pam Esslinger at 

Trump Administration Appoints Nancy Johner to Serve as State Executive Director for USDA’s Farm Service Agency in Nebraska

The Trump Administration recently appointed Nancy Johner as the new State Executive Director (SED) for the USDA Nebraska Farm Service Agency (FSA). Johner will join the Nebraska FSA team on Monday, Nov. 27.

Johner comes to FSA from Pathfinder Support Services, where she has served as chief executive officer since 2014. She has previously served on U.S. Senator Mike Johanns’ staff as deputy chief of staff and state director. From 2006 to 2009, Johner served as Under Secretary for USDA’s Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in social work from the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

The Farm Service Agency serves farmers, ranchers and agricultural partners through the delivery of effective, efficient agricultural programs. The agency offers farmers a strong safety net through the administration of farm commodity and disaster programs. FSA continues to conserve natural resources and also provides credit to agricultural producers who are unable to receive private, commercial credit, including special emphasis on beginning, underserved and women farmers and ranchers.

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

As SED, Johner will use her leadership experience to oversee FSA programs in a customer-focused manner to ensure a safe, affordable, abundant and nutritious food supply for consumers.

Calving workshops at six locations in December

      Ranchers who want to reduce calf loss at calving and to learn how to properly assist cows at calving should plan to attend “Assisting the Beef Cow at Calving” programs at six locations in December, with Dr. Robert Mortimer, a nationally known veterinarian from Colorado State University.

      Dr. Mortimer will discuss handling calving difficulty, with emphasis on decision making and the hows and whys of techniques for providing assistance.

      Dr. Mortimer developed a program strongly emphasizing hands-on experience in calving management and produced a video with Elanco and Beef Today on “How to Save More Calves at Calving.”

Below are dates, locations and contact information for pre-registration with the local host.

Dec. 11 at Bridgeport:  Prairie Winds Community Center, 1- 3:30 p.m.; contact Aaron Berger at 308-235-3122 or

Dec. 11 at Gudmundsen Sandhills Lab near Whitman: 6:30-9 p.m.; contact Bethany Johnston at 308-645-2267 or

Dec. 12 at Broken Bow: 4-H Building, Custer County Fairgrounds, 1 pm – 3:30 pm; contact Troy Walz at 308-872-6821 or

Dec. 12 at O’Neill:  Holt County Courthouse Annex, 6:30-9 p.m.; contact Amy Timmerman at 308-336-2760 or

Dec. 13 at Kearney: Buffalo County Extension Office, 1-3:30 p.m.; contact Brent Plugge at 308-236-1235 or

Dec. 13 at North Platte: West Central Research and Extension Center, 6:30-9 p.m.; Randy Saner at 308-532-2683 or

      The cost is $20, which can be paid at the door. Pre-registration at least two days prior to the meeting is requested to ensure enough program materials are available.

Cover Crop Workshop Dec. 13 in Oakland IA

 Iowa Learning Farms, along with East Pottawattamie County Soil and Water Conservation District, and Natural Resources Conservation Service, will host a cover crop workshop on Wednesday, Dec. 13 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Community Center in Oakland. The event is free and open to the public and includes a complimentary meal.

The workshop will include Pottawattamie County farmer Russ Brandes. As the fourth generation to farm the land near Hancock, Brandes is raising corn and soybeans on about 400 acres. He also manages a small cow-calf herd and hogs on the family farm. As an East Pottawattamie County Commissioner, Brandes has been leading by example through the use of no-tillage since the mid-1980s. In 2013, he began to add cover crops to his operation by flying ryegrass into his soybeans. Since then he has significantly expanded the acres covered and cover crops species used, including: cereal rye, oats, radish, brown mustard and Sunn hemp. Brandes will share advice for successfully adding cover crops as well as discussing how he has overcome challenges.

The agenda will continue with Stefan Gailans, Practical Farmers of Iowa research and field crops director. He will share results from on-farm cover crop research projects and ideas for maximizing cover crop benefits. Liz Juchems, Iowa Learning Farms events coordinator, will share results from cover crop projects examining species selection, water quality implications and soil health indicators like earthworms.

The field day will be held at the Oakland Community Center, 614 Dr Van See Road, Oakland. The workshop is free and open to the public, but reservations are suggested to ensure adequate space and food. Make RSVPs to Liz Juchems at 515-294-5429 or'

Understand Basis Contracts for Opportunity to Maximize Profit

Marketing grain by using basis contracts provides more flexibility in how farmers market their grain and profit from their crop.combine harvesting field of corn

“Typically, when there is a cash price for something, it is thought of as one price,” said Chad Hart, associate professor and extension economist with Iowa State University. “Basis contracts break that price down into two components – the futures price and the basis. So instead of trying to maximize just one component, farmers can try to maximize both. This gives them more flexibility and an opportunity to get a better cash return than just capturing the highest cash price.”

Knowing how to use basis contracts to lock in a sales price for grain is the focus of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach publication “Understanding Risk in Basis Contracts” (FM 1891). The publication was revised and updated by Chad Hart, associate professor and extension economist with Iowa State.

“Basis can be a great signal to help farmers figure out where to sell their crops and improve profitability,” Hart said. “Basis can also help provide a signal as to who their customers are and if demand is growing or shrinking.”

Basis contracts differ from price-later contracts because the basis (the difference between the local cash price and futures price) is established when the contract is signed and because elevators or processors may pay a portion of the values of the grain at the time it is delivered to the buyer.

“Basis contracts give farmers an opportunity to lock in a basis when it is advantageous to them,” Hart said. “That gives them the chance to improve their bottom line.”

There are also potential pitfalls when using this type of marketing tactic.

“The risk by using a basis contract is that I’ve locked in one piece of the price but the other part could still decline,” Hart said. “Once committed to that buyer, if a better price comes along later on, I can’t move those same bushels to a different buyer for a better price.”

Even with that risk, selling grain through basis contracts should be part of a farmer’s overall marketing plan.

“You want to have a wide variety of tools – sell for cash, sell forward, hedge, basis contract – on your marketing menu and to use those tools when it makes sense,” Hart said. “Given the volatility we see in prices, the more choices farms have to market their grain the better off they are.”

Livestock Haulers Get Waiver From ELDs Regulation

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has granted drivers who haul livestock a 90-day waiver from a regulation that could have negative effects on animal well-being, a move hailed by the National Pork Producers Council.

NPPC requested on behalf of the U.S. pork industry and other livestock sectors a waiver from a requirement that certain drivers install Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) on their trucks. The organization also asked for an exemption from the regulation, citing the incompatibility between transporting livestock and DOT’s Hours of Service rules. Those regulations limit truckers to 11 hours of driving daily, after 10 consecutive hours off duty, and restrict their on-duty time to 14 consecutive hours, which includes nondriving time.

“The ELDs regulation poses some serious challenges for livestock haulers and the animals in their care,” said NPPC President Ken Maschhoff, a pork producer from Carlyle, Ill. “This waiver will give the department time to consider our request that truckers transporting hogs, cattle and other livestock be exempt from the ELDs mandate.

“Drivers transporting livestock have a moral obligation to care for the animals they’re hauling.”

The Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Enhancement Act, enacted as part of the 2012 Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, mandated that ELDs be installed by Dec. 18, 2017, in commercial motor vehicles involved in interstate commerce, when operated by drivers who are required to keep records of duty status. ELDs, which can cost from $200 to $1,000, record driving time, monitor engine hours, vehicle movement and speed, miles driven and location information.

DOT recently issue an interpretation intended to address shortcomings in its Hours of Service rules, exempting from the regulations and from any distance-logging requirements truckers hauling livestock within a 150 air-mile radius of the location at which animals were loaded. The department soon is expected to publish guidance on the air-mile exemption.

NCBA on 90-Day ELD Waiver: "Very Good News for Cattle and Beef Producers"

Craig Uden, president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, today released the following statement in response to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA’s) announcement that it is issuing a 90-day waiver on the use of Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) for livestock haulers:

“This is very good news for cattle and beef producers, and it’s a sign that the Administration is listening to the concerns that we have been raising. We’ve maintained for a long time that FMSCA is not prepared for this ELD rollout, that there needs to be more outreach from the Department of Transportation to the agricultural community, and that there’s currently still major confusion on the agricultural exemption on Hours of Service known as the 150 air-mile rule.

"This rule would certainly be helpful to our cattle haulers across the country. We want to thank Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao for listening to our concerns, and we’ll continue to work with her and FMCSA to make sure that our cattle are delivered safely, and that our drivers and others on the road are safe as well.”

Cattle on Feed

Katelyn McCullock, Economist, American Farm Bureau Federation

Strong placements were expected ahead of the cattle on feed report as analyst ranges were from 3.6-13.1 percent above a year ago.  This large range is in line with the strong feeder market seen over the course of October indicating the interest from feedlots to continue to fill pens even though estimated feeding returns have been negative for the last three months. The number of placed animals did slow in July and August as feeding returns declined, but September jumped to 13.5 percent higher as the 5-market fed prices climbed out of their lowest point all year of $104.65 per cwt. The number of animals placed in October came in at 10 percent over last year, some of which can be attributed to one additional slaughter day this year compared to last.

Marketings have continued to be aggressive and so feedlot inventories have not become burdensome even though 9 of the last running 12 months have shown placements over 10 percent ahead of the prior year. Marketings have remained 3 and 10 percent above a year ago all year, and in October they continued the positive trend coming in at 6 percent above 2016.

Feeder cattle 5-600 lb weights are maintaining strong prices this year and could be an indication of smaller feedlots taking advantage of low feed costs.  With USDA noting another record high yield in corn, some row crop farmers with empty pens could take advantage of the diversification opportunity and feed out their grain as oppose to sell it. This is a hard number to follow as it does not show up in the monthly cattle on feed report.

These higher than expected prices across the feeder cattle complex are likely a premonition of 2018 being another year of growth and expansion in the cattle sector.  Southern plains 5-600 lbs weights were $36 per cwt above 2016 last week, while 7 and 800 lb weights $40 per hundredweight higher.  Heifer slaughter has been above a year ago most of 2017, slaughtering about 12 percent more heifers.  However, last week the weekly slaughter number slowed sharply, and is the first non-holiday week to only show a single digit increase since July.

Growth Energy: Holiday Drivers Could Save Nearly $4 Million by Choosing E15

American drivers taking to the road for family gatherings this Thanksgiving could save $4 million if they fill up with E15, a fuel that contains 15 percent ethanol.

Following AAA’s prediction of record-breaking travel for Americans this holiday weekend, Growth Energy is encouraging drivers to take advantage of the value E15 brings and go to to locate an E15 station while on the road this week.

“E15 is a great fuel option any time, but when families are traveling further to see loved ones for Thanksgiving, it gives them an opportunity to keep a little extra money in their pockets since E15 can cost up to 10 cents less,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “If all those drivers filled up with E15 this year, it could mean nearly $4 million in savings. That’s reason to celebrate.”

E15 is available at nearly 1,200 locations across 29 states, and Americans recently surpassed 2 billion miles driven on the fuel. Growth Energy is proud to partner with leading retailers including Casey’s, Cenex, Family Express, Kum & Go, Kwik Trip, MAPCO, Minnoco, Murphy USA, Protec Fuel, QuikTrip, RaceTrac, Sheetz, and Thorntons to offer E15 to their customers.

“E15 burns cleaner, so it’s a good choice for engines and the environment — it is a better value all around, and I encourage those traveling this year to find their nearest E15 station at,” added Skor.

E15 is approved for 2001 and newer vehicles, which make up 90 percent of the vehicles on the road today.

October Milk Production in the United States up 1.4 Percent

Milk production in the United States during October totaled 17.8 billion pounds, up 1.4 percent from October 2016.  Production per cow in the United States averaged 1,894 pounds for October,
12 pounds above October 2016. The number of milk cows on farms in the United States was 9.40 million head, 65,000 head more than October 2016, but 1,000 head less than September 2017.

 Milk production in Iowa during October 2017 totaled 437 million pounds, up 4 percent from the previous October according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Milk Production report. The average number of milk cows during October, at 219,000 head, was the same as last month and 4,000 more than last year. Monthly production per cow averaged 1,995 pounds, up 40 pounds from last October.

NMPF Board Approves Proposal to Improve Risk Management for Fluid Milk

At its 2017 annual meeting in Anaheim, Calif., NMPF’s Board of Directors endorsed a proposal to improve the price risk management of fluid milk in a way that also captures for farmers the monetary value of the current fluid milk pricing system. The proposal will be one element of a larger package of farm bill risk management improvements that NMPF will ask Congress to approve in the coming months, as the House and Senate Agriculture committees begin to formulate the next farm bill.

The proposal approved by the board was developed earlier this year by a task force of NMPF members, who engaged in discussions with members of the International Dairy Foods Association to find a mutually acceptable approach to improving the risk management of Class I milk while preserving the farm-level revenue that the Class I formula generates for producers’ milk checks.

The current classified pricing system, established in 2000, uses the higher of the Class III or IV price in each month, plus a location-specific differential in each milk marketing order region, to set the monthly Class I price. Use of the “higher of” makes it difficult for Class I milk handlers to hedge risk because they don’t know which class will be the mover for a particular month. However, the “higher of” calculation as the Class I mover has benefited dairy producers since its implementation, and NMPF task force members made clear that value needed to be reflected in any alternative pricing formula going forward.

Under the terms of the agreement, which will ultimately require approval by Congress, the current Class I system would be adjusted using the simple average of Classes III and IV as the Class I mover.  This will reduce some of the unpredictability of pricing beverage milk, as it gives processors the ability to hedge Class I milk prices using Class III and IV futures.

To compensate for any loss of the “higher-of” pricing approach, this proposal applies a $0.74/cwt increase to the monthly skim milk value in each federal milk marketing order. This represents the average value of the “higher-of” system dating back to 2000. The adjustment is needed so that moving to an average of the two market-determined manufacturing class prices does not diminish the contribution to the blend price provided by Class I revenue.

“This action will improve price risk management by reducing some of the unpredictability of beverage milk prices, as it gives fluid milk handlers and their customers the ability to hedge milk prices using the futures market,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “This change locks in the value of the ‘higher-of’ pricing approach, protects the integrity of the Federal Order system, and aligns the policy interests of dairy farmers and processors as we begin work with Congress on a new farm bill.”

CWT Member Co-ops Capture 3.9 Million Pounds of Cheese and Butter Export Sales

With help from Cooperatives Working Together, member cooperatives secured 25 contracts to sell 3.45 million pounds of American-type cheeses and 416,674 pounds of butter in October. The product will be shipped during the months of October through January 2017 to customers in Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Oceania.

These transactions raise the total CWT-assisted, year-to-date product sales to 57.94 million pounds of cheese and 4.75 million pounds of butter. The products are going to customers in 21 countries in five regions, and will move overseas the equivalent of 641.67 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.

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

Tyson to Build in Tennessee

(AP) -- Tyson Foods Inc. plans to build a new chicken production complex in Tennessee, a $300 million project that is expected to create more than 1,500 jobs when the facility begins operations in late 2019, the company said Monday.

The new plant in Humboldt, about 85 miles northeast of Memphis, will produce pre-packaged trays of fresh chicken for retail grocery stores nationwide, the Springdale, Arkansas-based company said in a statement before a news conference. The plant will help it meet strong consumer demand for its chicken.

The announcement marks the second major economic development project Tyson has begun this year in Tennessee. In August, the company announced an $84 million expansion of operations in Union City. That project is expected to create about 300 jobs.

Tyson currently operates four facilities in the state, employing about 5,000 people. The company says it paid Tennessee farmers more than $61 million in the 2016 fiscal year.

Officials including Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam lauded Tyson for choosing the West Tennessee city.

"This is an historic day for Humboldt, Gibson County and West Tennessee," Humboldt mayor Marvin Sikes said. "The significant job creation and capital investment that will result from this project will have a positive impact on our community that will last for many years."

The company's portfolio of products includes Tyson chicken, Jimmy Dean, Hillshire Farm and Ballpark.

Missouri Announces New Diamba Use Restrictions

The Missouri Department of Agriculture issued a Special Local Need label for Engenia in what they call "proactive measure to reduce off-target crop injury." The Department says similar labels will be provided for Xtendimax and FeXapan soon.

"Our intent in issuing the Special Local Need label is to protect this technology for the future," Director of Agriculture Chris Chinn said. "We thoroughly reviewed the new label restrictions agreed upon by EPA and the registrants, and as much research data as possible to come to this decision that I believe will protect the product and the producers."

The restrictions call for application only by certified applicators with required training, applicators must complete an online dicamba notice of application daily before applying the product, cannot apply dicamba before 7:30 a.m. or after 5:30 p.m. and issues an application cutoff date. Farmers in Dunklin, Pemiscot, New Madrid, Stoddard, Scott, Mississippi, Butler, Ripley, Bollinger and Cape Girardeau counties cannot use the product after June 1, 2018. All other counties must stop use after July 15, 2018.

The Department says it took into account feedback from growers and other stakeholders from the 2017 season.

Farmers Cashing in on High Oleic Soybean Profit Opportunities

Farmers across the soybean belt are reaping the advantages that come with high oleic soybeans and their grower-friendly contracts.

George Tebbe, who farms in Tipton, Indiana, was an early adopter of high oleic varieties, having grown them every year for the past five seasons.

“They farm just as well as my commodity beans,” says Tebbe. “As far as yield goes, I haven’t seen any difference between my high oleic varieties and anything else I’ve grown.”

Food companies are lauding high oleic soybean oil’s performance in the kitchen and trans-fat-free nutritional profile, while farmers are enjoying the high yields and grower-friendly contracts high oleic soybeans offer.

To meet the growing food-oil demand for high oleic soybean oil, the industry has set a goal of 18 million planted acres, which would make high oleic soybeans the fourth largest grain and oilseed crop behind corn, commodity soybeans and wheat.

Luckily for farmers, the choice to help the soy industry meet that goal isn’t a hard one.

Contracts geared toward farmers

Contracts for high oleic soybeans are designed with the grower top of mind. As opposed to other specialty crops that are contracted based on bushels, high oleic soybean contracts are acreage-based.

“Basically, you contract a certain number of acres and calculate an estimated production, but the crusher takes whatever you raise, whether you end up over or under the estimate,” Tebbe says.
Knowing that every harvested bushel will be accepted by the crusher gives farmers peace of mind.

“Everybody knows how many acres they’re going to plant, but it’s impossible to know exactly how many bushels you’re going to produce. Mother nature dictates that you’re going to get what you’re going to get,” says Tebbe. “That’s the nice thing about these contracts – you’re not penalized either way.”

Low-maintenance segregation requirements

Also setting high oleic soybeans apart from other specialty crops are the simple segregation requirements associated with handling them.

Bill Beam, a soybean farmer from Elverson, Pennsylvania, notes that managing a high oleic crop is nearly identical to his commodity soybeans.

“You really don’t do anything differently other than keeping it separate from your commodity soybeans,” says Beam. “The only thing that I can see that’s different is that I get a premium when I deliver them.”

Farmers interested in learning about high oleic planting opportunities should contact their seed reps or visit for availability information.

Friday November 17 Cattle on Feed + Ag News


Nebraska feedlots, with capacities of 1,000 or more head, contained 2.52 million cattle on feed on November 1, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This inventory was up 9 percent from last year. Placements during October totaled 680,000 head, up 11 percent from 2016. Fed cattle marketings for the month of October totaled 435,000 head, down 2 percent from last year. Other disappearance during October totaled 15,000 head, up 5,000 head from last year.


Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 690,000 head on November 1, 2017, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Cattle on Feed report. This was up 6 percent from October 1, 2017, and up 15 percent from November 1, 2016. Iowa feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head had 470,000 head on feed, up 8 percent from last month but down 10 percent from last year. Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in all Iowa feedlots totaled 1,160,000 head, up 7 percent from last month and up 4 percent from last year.

Placements of cattle and calves in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during October totaled 142,000 head, an increase of 34 percent from last month and up 10 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head placed 106,000 head, up 51 percent from last month and up 9 percent from last year. Placements for all feedlots in Iowa totaled 248,000 head, up 41 percent from last month and up 10 percent from last year.

Marketings of fed cattle from Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during October totaled 99,000 head, up 4 percent from last month and up 3 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head marketed 70,000 head, down 4 percent from last month but up 27 percent from last year. Marketings for all feedlots in Iowa were 169,000 head, up 1 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 6 Percent

Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 11.3 million head on November 1, 2017. The inventory was 6 percent above November 1, 2016.

Cattle on Feed - By State                             

                       (1,000 hd    -    % Nov 1 '16)

Colorado .......:        980           108            
Iowa .............:        690            115          
Kansas ..........:      2,290          102        
Nebraska ......:      2,520          109          
Oklahoma .....:       320            108           
Texas ............:      2,640          106         

Placements in feedlots during October totaled 2.39 million head, 10 percent above 2016. Net placements were 2.32 million head. During October, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 675,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 590,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 510,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 368,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 160,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 90,000 head.

Placements by State                                 

                        (1,000 hd  -  % Oct '16)

Colorado .......:      195            95             
Iowa .............:      142           110          
Kansas ..........:      430           110           
Nebraska ......:      680           111          
Oklahoma .....:       59            94                
Texas ............:      505           113             

Marketings of fed cattle during October totaled 1.80 million head, 6 percent above 2016.  Other disappearance totaled 73,000 head during October, 28 percent above 2016.

Marketings by State                                  

                        (1,000 hd  -  % Oct '16)

Colorado .......:     150           107             
Iowa .............:       99           103             
Kansas ..........:      375           107             
Nebraska ......:      435            98              
Oklahoma .....:       57           100              
Texas ............:      445           113             

PVC Monthly Meeting is Mon Nov 20th

The monthly meeting of the Platte Valley Cattlemen will be on Monday November 20th at Wunderlich's in Columbus.  Social hour starts at 6pm, with the meal at 7pm.  Thanks to Rosendahl Farms Feed & Seed for sponsoring the social, and also thanks to Cooperative Supply in Dodge, Howells, Leigh, and Richland for sponsoring the evening meal.  Guest speaker for the evening will be Dr. Luke Strehle of Nebraska Vet Services, and he will be talking about various cow/calf related topics.  Hope to see you there! 

Ricketts Announces Agreement with Bulgarian Soybean Processers

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts announced that the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) has signed letters of intent with nine soybean processing companies in Bulgaria to promote the use of Nebraska-grown soybeans and soybean products in their facilities.

“This is a great opportunity which is growing demand for Nebraska soybeans,” said Governor Ricketts. “Bulgaria is a country with a high demand for quality protein and is a relatively untapped market.  Positioning Nebraska around the world as a top state for quality agricultural commodities will support our farmers and ranchers, increase our global market share, and continue to grow Nebraska’s number one industry.”

The nine companies who signed the letters of intent with NDA wish to maximize their output and are looking to source Nebraska and U.S. soybeans. The companies currently use about 2 million metric tons of soybeans per year and have a total production capacity of 2.7 million metric tons.

In 2017, executives and owners of the Bulgarian companies visited Nebraska to learn more about the cycle of soybean production in the state – planting, harvesting, processing and exporting to international markets. NDA used federal Emerging Markets Program grant funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to facilitate the visit and conduct a comprehensive market research study to promote the sale and use of soybeans and soybean products in the growing markets of Eastern Europe.

The Bulgarian company owners and executives visited a soybean farm in Geneva, the Aurora Cooperative, the grain storage and trading operations of Gavilon and Scoular in Omaha, a shipping container/loading facility in Council Bluffs and the ADM soybean processing facility and power plant in Lincoln. Nebraska Soybean Board members were on hand to introduce their organization and how they help support soybean producers and promote their vital product nationally and globally.

“Good personal relationships with the owners and executives of several soybean processing facilities in Bulgaria are a tremendous asset for the future,” said NDA Interim Director Mat Habrock. “We share similar appreciation for people, culture and agriculture.”

Bulgaria has been a member of the European Union since 2007. At $138 million out of a total export value of $1.9 billion, the EU was Nebraska’s third largest export market of soybeans and soybean products in 2015. (Source: USDA Foreign Ag Service)

PRIME Class II Applications Available

Applications are now being accepted for Class II of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association PRIME Program. This program is designed for Nebraska producers who want to increase their knowledge and better themselves and their operation in all aspects. All sessions are focused on maximizing the long-term viability of the operation through the latest research, emerging technologies, farm management practices, and peer relationships.

The program consists of three sessions, lasting approximately two days each, plus attendance at the Nebraska Corn Growers Association Annual Meeting. Participants can expect a total time commitment of 6-8 days away from the farm over a 12-month period. The material will be relevant and presented by the best that the industry has to offer. Locations of the sessions will be determined once the class has been selected.

A registration fee of $190 is required up enrollment. The fee will be waived for NeCGA 3-year members. All other costs of the program will be covered by NeCGA. The class will consist of 8-12 corn farmers selected from applications and local association board recommendations.

Applications should be submitted by December 22nd, 2017. Participants will be selected and notified in January. Primary selection criteria will be the applicant’s desire and ability to participate and contribute during all sessions. Diversity among farm size, geographic location, and background will be sought as well. Questions and applications should be directed to Morgan Wrich, Director of Grower Services, at OR (402) 438-6459.

New Location for Nebraska Cattlemen Cattlemen's College

The 2017 Cattlemen's College, will kick off the 2017 Nebraska Cattlemen's Convention and Trade Show on Tuesday, December 5. The event this year will be held at the Buffalo County Fairgrounds Ag Pavilion. The college is sponsored by Zoetis. This producer education program is designed to address issues that will improve production and profitability. 

The new location will allow for a full day of classroom speakers and time at the chute. The schedule will showcase many great speakers this year and now is the time to register for the event. This is an event that should not be missed. 

    How do you transition from being the child to a partner? Lacey Hall and Alex Ibach Farm Credit Services of America

    The 2016 National Beef Quality Audit; Navigating Pathways to Success. Deb VanOverbeke, Ph.D., Assistant Dean, Academic Programs College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Oklahoma State University

    Can cover crops pull double duty? Conservation and economical forage production. Mary Drewnoski, Ph.D., Beef Systems Specialist, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

    Selecting and developing the right replacement heifers to optimize revenues versus costs for enhanced profitability. Nancy Grathwohl Heter, Cattle Genetics Specialist, Zoetis

    Nutritional and management strategies to increase reproductive efficiency in range cows. Travis Mulliniks, Ph.D., University of Nebraska West Central Research and Education Center

    Antibiotic stewardship and consumer awareness. Christi Calhoun, Ph.D., Food Chain Relations, Zoetis

    Let's go chute side. Andrew Dorn, Allflex USA, Rob Erich, UNL BQA Director

    The value of a beef Cow and other economic ranch tools. Bridger Feuz, Livestock Marketing Specialist, University of Wyoming Extension

    Timing of vaccination in newly arrived feedlot cattle. Brian Vander Ley, DVM, Great Plains Veterinary Education Center

    NCBA policy update. Kent Bacus, Director of International Trade and Market Access, NCBA

    Producer Panel - Dealing with labor issues. A challenge in the beef industry is finding a labor force that can help producers get their work done when the tasks need to be completed.

The Cattlemen's College will begin at 12:00 a.m.and concludes at 8:30 p.m. Cost to attend Cattlemen's College is $60 and registration information can be found at or by calling the NC office at 402.475.2333.

Young Cattlemen's Round-table to be Held During Annual Convention

The YCC Class of 2016 will host the Young Cattlemen's Round-table during the 2017 NC Annual Convention. The Round-table will be held Wednesday, December 6 starting at 12:00 noon, with registration and lunch with a welcome at 12:30.

The goal of the round-table is to inspire members to get involved in the Nebraska Cattlemen and experience the benefits of the organization. Speakers at the round-table will engage attendees to discuss what is happening in the beef industry and how they can get more involved.

David Schuler will inspire attendees to get involved in the beef industry by becoming an industry advocate. Be impactful in the beef industry, Tessa Quittner will share how you write your story. Wrapping up the event will be Al Swajgr who will share his involvement in the beef industry.

Get involved in the Nebraska Cattlemen. Now is a great time to be involved in the beef industry. Register to attend the Young Cattlemen's Round-table and network with like-minded people and make valuable connections.

The Class of 2016 members: Reiss Bruning, Bruning, Jentry Cain, Berywn, Bradley Christensen, Columbus, Tricia Goes, Odell, Heidi Pieper, Farnam, Doug Smith, Ph.D., Curtis, Adam Guenther, West Point, Kenny Stauffer, Larkspur, CO and Kelly Terrell, Gothenburg.

Nebraska YCC is sponsored by Farm Credit Services of America and Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation.

 Farmers and Ranchers College Opens with David Kohl Dec. 7 

Now in its 17th year, the program provides educational workshops for producers in south central Nebraska through a collaborative effort of business, industry, and higher education leaders, said Brandy VanDeWalle, Extension Educator in Fillmore County. The Farmers and Ranchers College Committee consists of Fred Bruning of Bruning, Bryan Dohrman of Grafton, Sarah Miller of Carleton, Jennifer Engle of Fairmont, Ryne Norton of York, Jim Donovan of Geneva, Bryce Kassik of Geneva, Eric Kamler of Geneva, and VanDeWalle.

Program Schedule

-    December 7, 1-4 p.m.:  "Positioning for Success in the Economic Reset” with David Kohl, Professor Emeritus, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech University, at the Opera House in Bruning.
-    January 30, 10 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.:  “Partners In Progress Beef Seminar,” Cow/Calf College at the US Meat Animal Research Center near Clay Center. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m.
-    February 23, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.:  “Crop Insurance, Farm Bill Policy Update & More!”  with Steve Johnson, Extension Farm Management Specialist, Iowa State University, and Brad Lubbben, Nebraska Extension Ag Policy Specialist, at the Fillmore County Fairgrounds in Geneva. Registration at 9:30 a.m.

RSVPs Requested

Contributions and support from area businesses allow participants to attend at no cost; however, it is requested that people register online or by calling the Fillmore County Extension office (402-759-3712) at least one week in advance to provide an accurate meal count.

 Nebraska Soybean Day and Machinery Expo Dec. 14

Dicamba issues and recommendations for achieving more precise herbicide applications are among the timely pest management and production topics slated for this year's Nebraska Soybean Day and Machinery Expo.

The event, which includes equipment and exhibitor displays, will be from 8:30 a.m. to 2:15 December 14 in the pavilion at the Saunders County Fairgrounds in Wahoo, said Keith Glewen, University of Nebraska Extension Educator and program coordinator.

“We are bringing back Jason Norsworthy due to the popularity of his presentation last year.  This year he is going to focus on a topic that has gained widespread attention and is on the mind of most growers – dicamba,” said Glewen.

Norsworthy is professor of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences and Elms Farming Chair of Weed Science at the University of Arkansas. He will discuss issues associated with dicamba use, including likely causes for non-target damage based based on field observations by university weed scientists across the U.S.  He will highlight research conducted to understand off-target movement of the new, lower-volatility formulations of dicamba relative to older formulations.  He will also provide input on ways to minimize the likelihood for damage from off-target dicamba movement in 2018.

Chris Proctor, Nebraska Weed Management Extension Educator, will be addressing recommendations for achieving more precise weed management applications for successful weed control in soybeans. The role of accurate measurements is often overlooked in the big picture of herbicide resistance, but plays a role that farmers can change, Proctor contends. Key factors he'll be discussing are the importance of: 1) using correct herbicide rates,  2) knowing your real tank size, and 3) knowing the difference between dry and liquid ounces.  When herbicide measurements and applications are managed properly, growers can save money and improve weed control, Proctor said.

Also on the agenda is Michael Swanson, Wells Fargo Chief Agricultural Economist.  Swanson believes growing top-yielding soybeans requires the right inputs, requiring a team effort.   "Are you paying a benchwarmer on your team a superstar’s salary?," Swanson asks. “Are you managing like ‘the money ball’ or a ‘sentimental’ manager.” This talk will focus on getting the metrics right.

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

Producers will be able to visit with representatives from seed, herbicide, fertilizer and equipment companies and view new farm equipment during a 30-minute break at 10:10 a.m.

While the event and noon lunch are free, the Saunders County Soybean Growers Organization asks that each attendeee donate one or more cans of nonperishable food to the food pantry. Registration is available at the door.

For more information visit the program website, call (800) 529-8030 or e-mail

 This program is sponsored by Nebraska Extension in the university's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the Nebraska Soybean Board, Saunders County Soybean Growers Organization and private industry.

Nebraska Cattlemen will Host Tour to Australia

Nebraska Cattlemen will again host an international tour and has selected Australia for its 2018 tour destination.  Nebraska Cattlemen Past President Jeff Pribbeno and his wife, Connie, of Imperial, will host the tour that will cover the spectrum of Australia's cattle industry from April 28 to May 10. The tour will include the country's hallmark sights, sounds, and wildlife and will feature Beef Australia 2018. The beef exposition has become a signature event for the Australian Beef Industry. The program includes ranch and feedlot tours. 

NC is excited to host the tour, NC Executive Vice President Pete McClymont, said because Quadrant will conduct the tour. "Several NC leaders know Quadrant's general manager Graeme Mitchell, who is well known and respected throughout Australia's cattle industry. Quadrant's team will have us on the inside track for Beef Australia which is a feature event of the tour."

Beef Australia is the country's national beef expo, one of the world's great beef cattle events, and is held  once every three years in Rockhampton, in the state of Queensland. Beef Australia 2018 will be held from May 6 to 12 and will be a celebration of all facets of the Australian beef industry. It will feature more than 4,500 cattle from over 30 breeds; a trade fair promoting more than 500 businesses; a symposium, seminars and property tours to deliver new research information to producers; and restaurants, celebrity chefs and cooking demonstrations for visitors to appreciate the quality and flavor of Australian beef.

Space is limited and because of airline reservation policy, NC hopes to fill the tour before Christmas.

For tour details, call Nebraska Cattlemen at 402-475-2333, or Ralf Humbert at Trump Tours 479-271-9898, or email


While there is huge potential for sub-Saharan Africa to increase agricultural productivity, the odds that the region will become the world's next breadbasket are low, according to a new study from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Breadbaskets are regions that produce a large and stable surplus of one or more major food crops that not only meet local demand, but substantially contribute to the food supply in other regions. By this definition, there are only a few major breadbaskets in the world. The only rain-fed corn and soybean breadbaskets are the U.S. Corn Belt, Brazilian Cerrados and Argentinean Pampas.

"Even though there are not very many breadbaskets, they are critically important because they account for a major part of global food production," said Patricio Grassini, assistant professor of agronomy and horticulture at Nebraska and a co-author of the study.

Current yields in sub-Saharan Africa are well below what could be achieved given the region's farmable land and annual rainfall. The area receives more rainfall per year than other breadbaskets around the world. Given these factors, there is a persistent narrative that sub-Saharan Africa has the potential to become a grain breadbasket if production is intensified.

However, the study noted that a lack of data on soil depths that will support root growth has limited rigorous evaluations of how well sub-Saharan soils can support high, stable yields. According to Grassini, this is a critical parameter because deeper soils can buffer against rain-free periods. Current soil-depth data lacks adequate underpinning data, Grassini said.

Soils in the U.S. Corn Belt are deep and young, laid down during the past 20,000 years, whereas sub-Saharan soils are weathered and much older, dating back at least 540 million years. In the U.S. Corn Belt, the soils are deeper than 1.5 meters. 

For this study, researchers used data provided by the Global Yield Gap and Water Productivity Atlas for 105 locations in major corn-producing countries in the region. Researchers explored a number of different soil-depth scenarios – from 0.5 to 1.5 meters – to determine production potential for sub-Saharan Africa.

"We found that for the region to meet its own demand and have a small surplus of (corn), they need to have the same soil depth as soils in the U.S. Corn Belt, and that is very unlikely," said Nicolas Guilpart, a former postdoctoral researcher at Nebraska and a co-author of the study. Guilpart is now an associate professor at AgroParisTech in France.

Co-author Kenneth Cassman, emeritus professor at Nebraska and fellow of the Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute, said rapidly increasing demand could also limit sub-Saharan Africa's breadbasket potential.

"By 2050, the population of sub-Saharan Africa is expected to more than double," he said. "This means that even if agricultural production intensifies, it will likely not be able to produce a surplus of food to be exported to global markets."

The results of the study were published in the latest issue of Environmental Research Letters.

Support for the research was provided by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute.

Additional co-authors include researchers from Wageningen University and ISRIC-World Soil Information, both in the Netherlands, and the International Crops Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics in Kenya.


Iowa Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig today announced a new program aimed at increasing acres of cover crops in the state. Iowa farmers who plant cover crops this fall (2017) may be eligible for a $5 per acre premium reduction on their crop insurance in 2018. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) worked with the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA), who oversees the federal crop insurance program, to establish a 3 year demonstration project aimed at expanding the usage of cover crops in Iowa.

Beginning today, IDALS will open the online sign-up and application process for farmers and landowners to certify eligible land for the program at the following link:

“We see this new crop insurance premium reduction as a great way to reach a broader group of farmers and landowners in order to promote continued interest in planting cover crops,” Naig said.  “This streamlined incentive coupled with traditional state and federal cost share programs provides farmers and landowners with a variety of options to gain experience with cover crops and expand their use. Cover crop seeding dates have recently been extended, so there is still an opportunity to seed more acres this fall.”   

Crop insurance is an integral part of the farm safety net that helps farmers manage the risks associated with growing a crop and provides protection for farmers impacted by severe weather and challenging growing seasons. Cover crops can help prevent erosion and improve water quality and soil health, among other benefits.

“Crop insurance is critical to the health of the rural economy, and proper use of cover crops is critical to the health of the soil that farmers need,” said RMA Acting Administrator Heather Manzano.

Applications will be taken until January 15, 2018. Cover crop acres currently enrolled in state and/or federal programs are not eligible for this program.

Cover crop seeding dates have recently been extended. Farmers are encouraged to continue seeding winter hardy cover crops as harvest wraps up to provide protection from the elements this spring.

The new premium reduction will be available for fall-planted cover crops with a spring-planted cash crop. Some policies may be excluded, such as Whole-Farm Revenue Protection or those covered through written agreements. Participating farmers must follow all existing good farming practices required by their policy and work with their insurance agent to maintain eligibility.

Brazilian Soybean Planting Three-Quarters Finished

Brazilian soybean farmers had finished 73% of their planting as of Nov. 16, according to agricultural consultancy AgRural. That's the same pace as last year on the same date and ahead of the five-year average for the date of 68%, AgRural said. Good weather around the country helped speed the planting work, according to the group. Brazil is the second-biggest soybean producer in the world, after the US.

 USDA Invests More Than $1 Billion to Improve Health Care in Rural Areas

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today announced that USDA provided more than $1 billion in Fiscal Year 2017 to help improve access to health care services for 2.5 million people in rural communities in 41 states.

“USDA invests in a wide range of health care facilities – such as hospitals, clinics and treatment centers – to help ensure that rural residents have access to the same state-of-the art care available in urban and metropolitan areas,” Perdue said. “I understand that building a prosperous rural America begins with healthy people. Ensuring that rural communities have access to quality medical care is a top priority for USDA.”

USDA invested in 97 rural health care projects that served 2.5 million people in Fiscal Year 2017 through the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program. The loans can be used to fund essential community services. For health care, this includes constructing, expanding or improving health care facilities such as hospitals, medical clinics, dental clinics and assisted-living facilities, as well as to purchase equipment. Public bodies, non-profit organizations and federally recognized tribes in rural areas and towns with up to 20,000 people are eligible for these loans.

USDA financed Community Facilities direct loan projects in the following states: Alaska, Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

The following are a few examples of rural health care projects that USDA funded during FY 2017:
-    LifeQuest Nursing Center received a $40 million loan to build a 123-unit assisted-living facility in Quakertown, Pa. The company will also renovate and expand the kitchen and dining area, build a 10- to 15-bed memory care unit, and build an activity room for memory care residents.
-    The Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas Inc. received a $2.8 million loan to construct a 14,000-square-foot health clinic that will house medical, dental and behavioral health services, a pharmacy, and support services. The new facility, in Iola, will enable the center to expand services, hire more staff and care for more patients. More than 13,000 residents will benefit.
-    Rural Development provided a $6.7 million loan to Valley Wide Health Systems Inc. in Cañon City Colo., (Fremont County) to convert a building to an integrated care center for primary, dental and behavioral health services. Consolidating these services into one building will provide better patient care and eliminate the need for patients to travel to different locations. The clinic anticipates an increase of more than 4,000 patients during its first year of operation.

Funding from USDA’s Community Facilities Direct Loan program is playing a major role in Ontario, Ohio. Avita Health System received $91.4 million to transform a vacant section of a shopping mall into a state-of-the-art hospital that provides vital health care, including substance use disorder treatment and mental health services. These services are essential for Ohio communities that have been affected by the opioid epidemic in recent years. The hospital, which opened in March 2017, serves more than 124,000 rural residents in Richland and Crawford counties.

In addition to health care, the new hospital is providing an economic boost in the form of good-paying, rural-based jobs. It has also been a lifeline to struggling stores and businesses by increasing foot traffic (and therefore business) in what had been a dying shopping mall that struggled after the closure of one of its major anchor stores.

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

AFBF Survey Reveals Lowest Thanksgiving Dinner Cost in Five Years

American Farm Bureau Federation's 32nd annual price survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table indicates the average cost of this year's feast for 10 is $49.12, a 75-cent decrease from last year's average of $49.87. The big ticket item--the 16-pound turkey--came in at a total of $22.38 this year. That's roughly $1.40 per pound, a decrease of 2 cents per pound, or a total of 36 cents per whole turkey, compared to 2016.

"For the second consecutive year, the overall cost of Thanksgiving dinner has declined," AFBF Director of Market Intelligence Dr. John Newton said. "The cost of the dinner is the lowest since 2013 and second-lowest since 2011. Even as America's family farmers and ranchers continue to face economic challenges, they remain committed to providing a safe, abundant and affordable food supply for consumers at Thanksgiving and throughout the year."

The shopping list for Farm Bureau's informal survey includes turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a veggie tray, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and coffee and milk, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10 with plenty for leftovers.

Consumers continue to see lower retail turkey prices due to continued large inventory in cold storage, which is up almost double digits from last year, Newton explained.

Foods showing the largest decreases this year in addition to turkey, were a gallon of milk, $2.99; a dozen rolls, $2.26; two nine-inch pie shells, $2.45; a 3-pound bag of sweet potatoes, $3.52; a 1-pound bag of green peas, $1.53; and a group of miscellaneous items including coffee and ingredients necessary to prepare the meal (butter, evaporated milk, onions, eggs, sugar and flour), $2.72.

Items that increased modestly in price were: a half-pint of whipping cream, $2.08; a 14-ounce package of cubed bread stuffing, $2.81; a 30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix, $3.21; a 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries, $2.43; and a 1-pound veggie tray, $.74.

The stable average price reported this year by Farm Bureau for a classic Thanksgiving dinner tracks with the government's Consumer Price Index for food eaten at home. But while the most recent CPI report for food at home shows a 0.5 percent increase over the past year, the Farm Bureau survey shows a 1.5 percent decline.

After adjusting for inflation, the cost of a Thanksgiving dinner is $20.54, the lowest level since 2013.


Executives Doug Glade and David Darr represented Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), a national dairy cooperative owned by family farmers, during panel discussions at the 2017 Sustainable Agriculture Summit, held in Kansas City, Mo., this week. Several DFA farmer members also attended and participated in the two-day meeting.

One panel, “Do Goals Matter? How to Set and Achieve Supply Chain Sustainability Goals,” which included Doug Glade, executive vice president of commercial operations at DFA, gave attendees an inside look at how companies across the supply chain are holding themselves and their suppliers accountable through public goal setting. Joining Glade on the panel were Courtney Lareau of Mars Petcare and Daniel Sonke of Campbell Soup Company. The session was moderated by Charlene Finck, executive vice president and chief content officer for Farm Journal Media.

As a panelist, Glade talked about how sustainability is important from farm to table and includes DFA farmer members, commercial operations and customer partnerships. As a cooperative, DFA is committed to responsibly producing nutritious, high-quality milk and dairy products with focus on four key areas: responsible farming, innovative solutions, food safety and community.

Another panel during the Summit, “Assuring Responsible Dairy Farm Management,” included David Darr, vice president of sustainability and member services at DFA, and highlighted the industry-wide National Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) program, and how dairy farmers are taking a proactive approach for continuous improvement in areas such as animal care as well as antibiotic and environmental stewardship. Additional panelists for this session were Josh Luth of Foremost Farms, Roberta Osborne of Chobani and Brandon Treichler of Select Milk Producers Cooperative. Emily Meredith, chief of staff for National Milk Producers Federation, served as the panel moderator.

During this panel, Darr discussed how DFA has made enrollment and compliance with the FARM program a priority for its farmer-member owners. He also talked about how DFA is working with partners to help bring more sustainable practices and renewable energy methods to its farmer members such as anaerobic digestion technology that converts manure to energy as well as wind turbines and solar power.

The Sustainable Agriculture Summit is a joint effort of Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, National Pork Board, Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops, U.S. Poultry & Egg Association and U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef. The vision for the Summit is to assemble key stakeholders from across the food and agricultural supply chain and discuss opportunities to advance and improve in agricultural sustainability.

BASF reports end of season dicamba results

In a recent survey, 400 soybean and cotton growers across the country said the newest BASF technology, Engenia® herbicide, designed to battle tough weeds for dicamba tolerant (DT) crops, provided them with cleaner fields in the 2017 growing season. Growers rated weed control from Engenia herbicide an 8.6 out of 10 nationally (on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being best).

In addition to high satisfaction with weed control, 85 percent of growers surveyed planned to use Engenia in 2018 and 83 percent planned to recommend the product.

Growers in Illinois, Iowa and Indiana who were interviewed by Scott Kay, BASF Vice President for US Crop Protection, said stewardship was key to their success with Engenia herbicide, including the following:
-    Adhering to the application checklist
-    Using approved nozzles
-    Understanding what crops were in nearby fields
-    Talking to their BASF representative

While many growers are still harvesting crops, USDA forecasts 2017 soybean production at a record 4.43 billion bushels or 3 percent higher than last year. Soybean yields in key states such as Arkansas and Missouri are also projected to be at or above last year’s record levels. And 2017 national cotton yields are expected to be higher than 2016, up 33 pounds from last year.

“While most growers achieved great results stewarding DT crops this season, some non-DT farms experienced symptomology that may have come from the improper use of the new technology,” said Chad Asmus, BASF Technical Market Manager. “BASF worked with growers to better understand what was occurring.”

BASF field reps investigated 787 soybean symptomology claims during the 2017 season, most of which had no impact on yield. However, in a few isolated cases, yield may have been affected where the terminal growth was inhibited. Main causes include:
-    Incorrect nozzle and/or boom height
-    Wind speed or direction
-    Insufficient buffer
-    Spray system contamination
-    Use of unregistered product
-    Application during temperature inversion

Any combination of these factors could influence off-target movement.

“Developing a fact- and science-based recommendation that focuses on a long-term solution for farmers remains a critical part of working together,” said Asmus. “That’s why we recently met with weed scientists from across the country to share 2017 season results and work collaboratively on a path forward.”

BASF also worked with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop an updated Engenia label for the 2018 growing season. The new label adds requirements for spray application training, record keeping, wind speed limitations, application timing restrictions and more. 

“BASF plans to expand the Engenia On Target Application Academy, our application training program, to make it even easier to get information about how to properly apply crop protection products and use best practices,” said Asmus. 

Application materials in both English and Spanish will be available at in-person training sessions and through enhanced mobile applications. Growers can also expect more equipment application incentives involving boom height and sprayer hoods to be added to the nozzle and direction injection program.

“Growers demanded new technology in the fight against resistant weeds and they looked to DT cotton and soybeans and new chemistries as the next evolution in farming,” said Asmus. “By working together and properly applying crop protection products, more farms can experience cleaner fields and greater yields.”

Thursday November 16 Ag News

Rural Mainstreet Index Indicates Economic Weakness:
More Than One-Half of Bankers Boosted Farm Loan Collateral Requirements

The Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index dipped from October’s weak reading and remained below growth neutral, according to the November monthly survey of bank CEOs in rural areas of a 10-state region dependent on agriculture and/or energy.  

Overall: The index, like all indices in the survey, ranges between 0 and 100, slipped to 44.7 from 45.3 in October. 

“Since peaking in 2013, farm commodity prices have declined by approximately 17 percent and U.S. farm income has fallen for four straight years. Not surprisingly, Creighton’s overall Rural Mainstreet Index has risen above growth neutral only three times in the past three years,” said Ernie Goss, Jack A. MacAllister Chair in Regional Economics at Creighton University's Heider College of Business. 

Bankers were asked this month how their bank has responded to the downturn in farm income. More than half, or 53.1 percent, reported increasing collateral requirements for farm loans. More than one in five, or 22.5 percent, indicated their bank had rejected a higher percent of farm loan applications. However, approximately one-third, or 34.7 percent, reported no change in farm loan terms and requirements.

Farming and ranching: The farmland and ranchland-price index for November fell to 36.5 from 39.3 in October. This is the 48th straight month the index has fallen below growth neutral 50.0.

Bankers were asked to project 2018 earnings for livestock producers. Approximately 9.2 percent projected negative cash flows for next year. This is roughly one-half of projections of negative cash flows for 2017 estimated in November 2016.

The November farm equipment-sales index sank to 26.2 from October’s 29.3. This marks the 51st consecutive month the reading has dropped below growth neutral 50.0.
Below are the state reports:

Nebraska: The Nebraska RMI for November declined to 45.6 from October’s 45.9. The state’s farmland-price index dipped to 36.8 from last month’s 39.7. Nebraska’s new-hiring index stood at a strong 59.6, but down slightly from 60.0 in October.

Iowa: The November RMI for Iowa slipped to 45.1 from 45.6 in October. Iowa’s farmland-price index for November increased to 36.6 from October’s 36.0. Iowa’s new-hiring index for November expanded to 58.7 from October’s 56.9.

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

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

COPIC Medical Foundation gift of $75,000 to enhance UNMC training for rural first responders, health care providers

The COPIC Medical Foundation of Denver has made a $75,000 gift to the University of Nebraska Foundation to support the Simulation in Motion-Nebraska (SIM-NE) program that was successfully launched this year by the University of Nebraska Medical Center and various partners.

The SIM-NE program brings critical training directly to rural emergency medical service (EMS) providers and health care providers at critical access hospitals in the communities they work. The program makes use of four, 44-foot-long custom simulation vehicles that are outfitted with realistic equipment and high-fidelity patient simulators.

The vehicles can simulate real-life emergency rooms and ambulances and are equipped with mannequins that simulate human patients by speaking, breathing, reacting to treatment and more. They are currently based in Norfolk, Lincoln, Kearney and Scottsbluff and travel the state to provide emergency medical training at no charge.

“Seeing the responses of the EMS providers, nurses, and allied health personnel as they receive training using the latest state-of-the-art equipment to simulate rare but very serious medical conditions is a tremendous reward,” said Brian Monaghan, SIM-NE project director. “The gift from COPIC Medical Foundation helps to ensure we’re able to continue to improve the program and provide training to even more people.”

SIM-NE is made possible through a partnership of educational institutions, academic departments representing a number of disciplines, charitable organizations, and public agencies that are dedicated to improving the health and well-being of Nebraskans. With the equipment, technology and skilled training used by SIM-NE, the university is helping to better prepare medical professionals in rural areas and critical access hospitals.

“It’s very gratifying that the knowledge and skills gained during these training sessions will improve the care of our neighbors and friends who may need assistance in an emergency situation,” said Paul Paulman, M.D., professor of family medicine and the project’s primary investigator. “We’re pleased that COPIC Medical Foundation truly understands the importance of education in saving lives.”

A leadership grant from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust provided initial resources to the university to start the SIM-NE program and to purchase its first simulation-enabled vehicles while providing a three-year, step-down plan of program support.

Monaghan said continued private support and partnerships, such as that with COPIC Medical Foundation, is critical to keep the program going and to reach the communities where it’s needed most.

Rural emergency medical service agencies and rural critical access hospitals can request training at For more information, contact Monaghan at or 402-559-4863.

 'Year of Farm Bureau' Century Celebration to Launch

Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) will launch a year-long tribute to their approaching century of success Dec. 5 and 6 in Des Moines for the 99th IFBF Annual Meeting.

The theme, "Born to Lead. The Will to Succeed," speakers, educational sessions and new activities are designed to highlight the continued innovation and strength of IFBF.

In honor of the approaching century milestone, IFBF members have an opportunity to participate in one of two new ag education tours which will take place on Dec. 4. Members can tour either Hawkeye Breeders in Adel or the Monsanto Learning Center in Huxley. Buses for both sites leave from IFBF headquarters in West Des Moines.

"These tours will provide our members insight into the cutting-edge technology that is used to develop improved plant and animal genetics and will highlight the diversity of agriculture we have here in Iowa," said Barb Lykins, IFBF director of community resources.

The 2017 IFBF annual meeting officially begins Dec. 5 with a kickoff of the organization's centennial celebration, which will occur in 2018. The meeting will again be held at the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center in downtown Des Moines, formerly known as Veterans Auditorium. The first session of educational seminars this year will discuss how farmers are taking on the challenge of improving Iowa's water quality by taking a watershed approach. Other sessions will look at connecting with consumers through social media and creating economic opportunities through rural entrepreneurship. The seminars will begin at 10 a.m. on Dec. 5 and will be repeated at 2:30 p.m. The IFBF voting delegate session will begin Dec. 5 at 2:30 p.m.

Tuesday will also feature several competitions and recognitions for IFBF young farmer members and an evening dinner and gala. That night's entertainment by SIX, a musical group from Branson, Mo., will round out the evening, while an ice cream social for all Iowa Farm Bureau members as well as district director candidates and president receptions will be held at 8:30 p.m.

"On Wednesday, we will celebrate the successes and hard work of our members at our annual award presentation and Navy Seal Commander Rorke Denver, who has run every phase of training for the U.S. Navy SEALs and led special-forces missions in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and other international hot spots, is our keynote speaker.

"Denver's message of overcoming adversity and finding strength through unity is fitting for IFBF farmers who work hard to continuously improve the land and water and how they grow the nation's food, fuel and fiber," says IFBF President Craig Hill, whose annual meeting remarks help kick off Wednesday's gathering of members. "As we get ready to launch our centennial kickoff, it's a time to remember the importance of standing together as an industry; despite many challenges for farmers these days, Farm Bureau's innovative programs, support and guidance continues to bring purpose and pride to generations of farm families. It is farming, more than any other calling, which always has and always will be the cornerstone of economic strength for our great state and for that, we should be proud."

For more information, a detailed agenda or to register to attend the 2017 IFBF annual meeting, check out

Statement by Steve Nelson, President, Regarding House Passage of Major Tax Reform Legislation

“We appreciate the work of the U.S. House of Representatives to advance the first major piece of tax code reform in more than 30 years. Passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1) moves us closer to establishing a federal tax code that works for Nebraska’s farm and ranch families.”

“From the beginning, we’ve pushed for lower tax rates, and the preservation of many important tax provisions that assist small businesses, like farms and ranches. This bill does that.”

“We thank Congressman Jeff Fortenberry, Congressman Don Bacon, and Congressman Adrian Smith for their support of this important first step to major tax reform. We especially want to thank Congressman Smith for his work in the House Ways and Means Committee which has been working on these needed reforms for many years.”

“It’s our hope the Senate will put aside political differences, and follow suit to advance legislation that reflects many of the key provisions included in the House bill.”

Cattlemen: House-Passed Tax Bill "Step in the Right Direction"

Craig Uden, president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and fourth-generation Nebraska cattle producer, today released the following statement in response to U.S. House approval of H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

“House approval of this comprehensive tax-reform legislation is a step in the right direction, but we will continue to work hard to make sure that final legislation doesn’t include provisions that would create undue and unfair burdens for certain segments of our industry.

“Specifically, this bill would immediately double the death-tax exemption and put the tax on the path to extinction in five years. That’s a major victory for family ranchers and cattle producers. The bill also fully preserves the step-up in basis, allows businesses to immediately and fully expense the cost of new investments, increases Section 179 small-business expensing limits, and expands cash accounting. These are all victories for cattle producers.

“Unfortunately, the House-passed bill would also significantly limit the ability of some businesses from deducting their interest expenses. This could be a big problem for some members of the cattle-production business. We’ve worked closely with Members of Congress to address this issue, and we’ll continue to work tirelessly to fix this problematic provision as this legislation moves forward in the Senate and toward a House-Senate conference committee.”

Over the past two months, NCBA has executed a media campaign in support of tax reform provisions that would benefit cattle and beef producers. The campaign is centered at, and the campaign’s videos have been viewed more than a million times on Facebook.

Secretary Perdue Statement on House Passage of Tax Cuts & Reforms

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today hailed the House of Representatives’ passage of historic tax cuts and reforms as an important step toward providing much-needed relief to Americans, creating jobs, and boosting the economy. Perdue issued the following statement:

“We haven’t had an overhaul of the burdensome federal tax code since the mid-1980s and it is well past time to provide needed relief to workers and families. The people of agriculture dedicate their lives to putting food on the table for their fellow citizens and they deserve to keep more of what they earn from their labors. I applaud President Trump for his leadership in driving the debate and clearing a path for historic and significant tax cuts and reforms, just as I am pleased to see the sense of urgency with which Congress is moving toward a solution. The result will be more money in people’s pockets, more jobs created, and a more vibrant American economy.”

Farm Bureau Praises House Tax Bill Passage

Zippy Duvall, president, American Farm Bureau Federation

“Today’s passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1) by the House of Representatives puts us one step closer to a tax code that works for all farmers and ranchers. Lower rates combined with the preservation of small business expensing, like-kind exchanges and the business deduction for state and local taxes are just a few of the things we are pleased to see in this legislation. We look forward to working with the Senate to build on this success in the coming weeks.”

Statement by NCFC President Chuck Conner on House Passage of H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act

“It is unfortunate that the House of Representatives today approved a tax reform bill that will raise taxes on farmers and their co-ops across the country. By moving forward legislation that would eliminate the Section 199 deduction, the House’s action today means that $2 billion annually will flow out of rural America at a time when farmers and their local communities are struggling through the fourth year of stagnant prices.

“As the Senate Finance Committee continues to mark up its own tax reform package, we urge them to ensure that producers and their co-ops will not see their tax burdens increased while other sectors, from banking to technology, enjoy lower tax bills.”

NFU Alarmed by House Passage of Tax Reform Bill

The U.S. House of Representatives today voted 227-205 to approve the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, a bill that would provide tax cuts and breaks to corporations and wealthy Americans at an estimated cost of $1.5 trillion.

National Farmers Union (NFU), a staunch opponent of regressive taxation, increased federal debt, and any legislation that jeopardizes farm program funding, urged House members to vote against the legislation and scored the vote. In response to the vote, NFU Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Communications Rob Larew released the following statement:

“NFU is alarmed by the House’s decision to pass highly flawed tax reform legislation that has disastrous implications for American family farmers and ranchers. The policies put forth by this bill would increase the tax burden on family farmers and the middle class, and they add a massive $1.5 trillion to our national deficit. On top of that, they potentially put funding for vital farm safety net programs on the chopping block and jeopardize passage of the Farm Bill.

“We urge the Senate to reconsider their current legislation, as it has comparable implications for family farm agriculture. Farmers Union will continue to advocate for simplified, progressive tax reform that recognizes the needs of family farmers and ranchers.”

U.S. Farm Exports Hit 3rd Highest Level on Record

U.S. agricultural exports totaled $140.5 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2017, climbing nearly $10.9 billion from the previous year to the third-highest level on record, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced today. As it has done for well over 50 years, the U.S. agricultural sector once again posted an annual trade surplus, which reached $21.3 billion, up almost 30 percent from last year’s $16.6 billion.

“U.S. agriculture depends on trade. It is great to see an increase in exports and we hope to open additional markets to build on this success,” Perdue said.  “I’m a grow-it-and-sell-it kind of guy.  If American agricultural producers keep growing it, USDA will keep helping to sell it around the world.”

China finished the fiscal year as the United States’ largest export customer, with shipments valued at $22 billion, followed closely by Canada at $20.4 billion. U.S. agricultural exports to Mexico reached $18.6 billion, a six-percent gain from last year, while exports to Japan grew 12 percent, to $11.8 billion. Rounding out the top 10 markets were the European Union ($11.6 billion), South Korea ($6.9 billion), Hong Kong ($4 billion), Taiwan ($3.4 billion), Indonesia ($3 billion) and the Philippines ($2.6 billion).

U.S. bulk commodity exports set a volume record at 159 million metric tons, up 11 percent from FY 2016, while their value rose 16 percent to $51.4 billion. The surge was led by soybean exports, which reached a record 60 million metric tons, valued at $24 billion. Exports of corn, wheat and cotton all grew as well, with the value of cotton exports climbing 70 percent, to $5.9 billion, wheat exports up 21 percent, to $6.2 billion, and corn exports up six percent, to $9.7 billion.

A number of other products saw significant export increases as well. U.S. dairy exports grew 17 percent to $5.3 billion, beef exports were up 16 percent to $7.1 billion, and pork exports rose 14 percent to $6.4 billion. Overall, horticultural product exports increased three percent to nearly $33.9 billion, largely driven by an eight-percent increase in exports of tree nuts, which reached $8.1 billion, the second-highest total on record. Processed food and beverage exports rose two percent to $39.2 billion.

Exports are responsible for 20 percent of U.S. farm income, also driving rural economic activity and supporting more than one million American jobs both on and off the farm. USDA continues to work to boost export opportunities for U.S. agricultural products by opening new markets, pursuing new trade agreements, enforcing existing agreements, and breaking down barriers to trade.

Complete FY 2017 (Oct. 2016-Sept. 2017) agricultural export data are available from the Global Agricultural Trade System (GATS) database:

Exports and Domestic Beef Disappearance

Josh Maples, Asst. Professor, Dept of Agr Econ, Mississippi State University

The latest trade data released last week showed that the impressive export totals continued through the month of September. Total beef and veal exports were 13.95 percent higher in September 2017 than in September 2016. Year-to-date available, total exports are up 14.46 percent over the first nine months of 2016. In total pounds, exports are up about 263 million pounds YTD over last year.

The largest increase was again in exports to Japan. U.S. beef exports to Japan were up nearly 40 percent over September of last year. Japan imported 85 million pounds of U.S. beef in September. On the year, exports to Japan are up 29 percent over 2016 levels. Exports to Canada and Mexico both grew about 8 percent over September 2016. Exports to mainland China totaled a little over one million pounds in September which made China the 15 largest importer of U.S. beef for the month.

The continued increase in beef exports is taking some of the beef that would have otherwise ended up on the U.S. market out of the country. With beef production increasing, generally either domestic consumption has to increase, exports have to increase, or a combination of the two. In 2017, a combination of the two has been the answer. Larger than expected export totals have kept the beef disappearance per person in the U.S. from increasing by as much as the increase in beef production would suggest.

Domestic disappearance is a measure of how much beef is used on the domestic market. It accounts for production, beginning and ending stocks, imports, and exports. If we assume that 2017 export totals will end up at the current YTD rate of 14.5 percent higher than 2016, that would suggest exports will be 371 million pounds higher this year than last year on a carcass weight basis. If this occurs, not only would 2017 be the year with the largest export totals on record, it would also represent the largest annual pounds increase since 2011. How does this impact disappearance? Without the 14.5 percent increase in exports this year, domestic disappearance would be a half pound greater for every person in the U.S. on a retail weight basis. Looking ahead, forecasting exports for 2018 and beyond has important implications for price projections. Will stronger than expected export growth continue into the new year? If it does, it would continue to partially temper the impact of growing production on domestic beef disappearance.

Biodiesel Leadership Weighs In With President Trump on RFS, Calls out Contradictions in Refiners' Arguments

Today the executive leadership of the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) sent a letter to President Trump regarding the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). In the letter, the NBB’s governing board members thank the president for his leadership and support of the RFS program, explain the industry’s capacity to produce biodiesel and highlight some of the contradictions made by the refining industry.

On the contradictions by some in the refining industry:

"We also understand that some refiners are continuing to complain loudly about the RFS, about RIN prices and about what they see as the adverse impacts on their businesses. Yet strong Q3 refiner earnings reports seem to directly contradict those concerns. For example, PBF Energy, whose executives had earlier made strong statements about the potential negative impact of RIN prices on the company’s earnings, just-reported Q3 revenue of $5.5 billion—a whopping 22 percent increase compared to the same period in 2016. The executives’ prior statements were clearly overstated.

“It is also important to know that many of the refinery owners who are begging for Congress to provide relief by changing or killing the RFS were fully aware of this law when they purchased their companies and when the RFS was completely factored into their purchase prices. It is not as if the 10-year-old RFS law constitutes some big surprise. Other companies in this space have invested in blending and distribution infrastructure or employed other compliance strategies to minimize their costs.” 

On the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) July proposal:

“What is equally important to understand is that the base numbers contained in EPA’s original, July proposal—4.24 billion gallons for advanced biofuels and 2.1 billion gallons for biomass-based diesel—are themselves so low that, if finalized, they will halt the growth of the biomass-based diesel industry. The 4.24-billion-gallon number is a reduction from the previous year’s 4.28 billion gallons, which sends a starkly negative signal to the industry as a whole.

“Similarly, the 2.1-billion-gallon volume for biomass-based diesel is a static number—the same as the previous year—again sending the wrong signal to an industry poised for robust, sustainable growth. The RFS program is fulfilled by both domestic and imported biodiesel, but the domestic industry alone can generate 2.6 billion gallons of biomass-based diesel right now. In other words, even if you excluded all imports, domestic producers alone are immediately ready to generate substantially more than the 2.1 billion-gallon volume in EPA’s July proposal.”

The NBB’s governing board members reiterated their ask of at least 4.75 billion gallons for advanced biofuels for 2018 and at least 2.5 billion gallons for biomass-based diesel for 2019. The governing board includes members from a diverse group of states: Arkansas, California, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.

House Letter to EPA Demonstrates Widespread Support for Cellulosic and Advanced Biofuels

Growth Energy applauds Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10), Congressman Ruben Gallego (AZ-07), and 16 of their House colleagues for calling on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to increase the blending targets for cellulosic biofuels and biodiesel in the final 2018 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs).

“We extend our sincere thanks to champions in Congress who are working hard to ensure that the RFS continues to deliver savings and health benefits to communities in all regions of the country,” Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor said.

“Thanks to the RFS and ethanol in our national fuel supply, we are all breathing cleaner air every day. Starch-based ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 43 percent compared to conventional gasoline, and advanced biofuels, like cellulosic ethanol, could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 100 percent or more.

“Increasing the volumes for cellulosic and advanced biofuels is essential to ensure that producers and stakeholders will have the certainty they need to continue to invest in cellulosic technology.”

Corn-based Compound Used for Ice and Snow Control on Roadways

Road crews around the country are preparing for winter weather by running preparedness drills and stocking up on road treatment products. The Missouri Department of Transportation (MODOT) added a new product to their lineup for dealing with ice and snow on the roadways, one that includes a corn-based compound.

"We added another road treatment option to our winter operations," says MODOT St. Louis Maintenance Engineer, Mark Croarkin. "The corn-based portion of the product is a carrier for Magnesium Chloride.  There are similar products that result in an approximately 2% Magnesium Chloride treated salt that use other base materials.  These products typically cost a little more to mix, but they can be more effective."

Croarkin says the corn-based product MODOT started using goes by IceBan® M20 or IceBan® 300.  "If I was trying to quantify I would estimate the IceBan® treated material is about 25% more effective overall," says Croarkin. "The benefits we have seen depend on the temperature; the colder the storm the better results."

According to AJP Corporations website, "Ice Ban® is a natural liquid concentrate residue from the wet milling of corn and the production of alcohol. Ice Ban® is environmentally friendly, non-toxic to vegetation, and actually delivers valuable nutrients to the soil and may enhance vegetation growth. Ice Ban® is less corrosive on metal than other ice melters. In fact, it actually inhibits corrosion caused by chloride salts. Testing indicates that Ice Ban® is less corrosive than water. Ice Ban® freezes at temperatures lower than most other ice melters. Ice Ban® contains more molecules than other ice melters and has the potential to melt more ice."

The corn-based compound is designed to keep roads ice-free longer. "For us, this is another tool in our toolbox to treat roadways," Croarkin said.

USDA Offers Assistance to Protect Privately-Owned Wetlands, Agricultural Lands and Grasslands

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) encourages people and groups wanting to protect critical wetlands, agricultural lands and grasslands to consider enrolling their property into conservation easements. This year, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) plans to invest $250 million in technical and financial assistance to help private landowners, tribes, land trusts and other groups protect these valuable lands.

The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) focuses on restoring and protecting wetlands as well as conserving productive agricultural lands and grasslands. Landowners are compensated for enrolling their land in easements.

“Protecting these lands preserves America’s heritage, natural resources and open space,” NRCS Acting Chief Leonard Jordan said. “Easements are also important tools for people who are trying to improve the management of their land.”

The 2014 Farm Bill created ACEP, merging together several easement programs into one. Last year alone, the program has protected nearly 300,000 acres through easements.

Wetland Reserve Easements

Through ACEP wetland reserve easements, NRCS helps landowners and tribes restore and protect wetland ecosystems. Wetlands are one of nature’s most productive ecosystems providing many ecological, societal and economic benefits.

“Seventy-five percent of the nation's wetlands are situated on private and tribal lands,” Jordan said. “Wetlands provide many benefits, including critical habitat for a wide array of wildlife species. They also store floodwaters, clean and recharge groundwater, sequester carbon, trap sediment, and filter pollutants for clean water.”

Wetland conservation easements are either permanent or for 30 years. Eligible lands include farmed or converted wetlands that can successfully be restored, croplands or grasslands subject to flooding, and riparian areas that link protected wetland areas. As part of the easement, NRCS and the landowner work together to develop a plan for the restoration and maintenance of the wetland.

Agricultural Land Easements

Through ACEP agricultural land easements, NRCS provides funds to conservation partners to purchase conservation easements on private working lands. This program helps keep working lands working, especially in areas experiencing development pressure.

Partners include state or local agencies, non-profits and tribes. Landowners continue to own their property but voluntarily enter into a legal agreement with a cooperating entity to purchase an easement. The cooperating entity applies for matching funds from NRCS for the purchase of an easement from the landowner, permanently protecting its agricultural use and conservation values. Landowners do not apply directly to NRCS for funding under this program.

Easements are permanent. Eligible lands include privately owned cropland, rangeland, grassland, pastureland and forestlands.

More Information

Landowners and tribes interested in wetland reserve easements and partners interested in agricultural easements should contact their local USDA service center. Applications for ACEP are taken on a continuous basis, and they are ranked and considered for funding several times per year.

Wednesday November 15 Ag News - EPA Update on Reporting Air Emissions from Livestock operations

EPA UPDATE: New Email Option for Reporting Air Releases of Hazardous Substances from Animal Waste at Farms

Due to the potential for large call volumes to the National Response Center (NRC) related to new air release reporting requirements, the center has established a temporary email option for initial continuous release notifications from farm operators.

Rather than calling the NRC, farm owners/operators may now elect to notify the center by email at  This expedited option will allow one email notification for owners/operators with multiple farms.

From the web site
"Farms with continuous releases do not have to submit their initial continuous release notification until the DC Circuit Court of Appeals issues its order, or mandate, enforcing the Court’s opinion of April 11, 2017.  No reporting is necessary until the mandate is issued.

"EPA will update this website once the mandate is issued and as new information becomes available.

"To expedite your initial continuous release notification to the National Response Center, you may use the temporary email option. This option avoids potential large call volumes and delays. It allows one email notification for owners/operators with multiple farms."

Additional details and instructions regarding the reporting requirement, to include the new e-mail option, can be found at:

Cuming County Farm Service Agency Reminds Producers of Grain Loan Requirements, Urges Timely Visit to Office for 2017 Assistance

Farmers who may be considering a Marketing Assistance Loan to assist with farm financing for 2017 should stop into the Cuming County Farm Service Agency (FSA) office as soon as possible to begin the application process.

Cuming County FSA Executive Director Sarah Beck said Marketing Assistance Loans (MALs) provide producers with interim financing after harvest to help them meet cash flow needs without having to sell their commodities when market prices are typically at harvest-time lows.

“With Nebraska’s large corn and soybean harvests this year, we know a great deal of grain went into storage,” Beck said. “Marketing Assistance Loans offer short-term financing at a reasonable interest rate. It can be a useful tool to meet immediate financing needs and income balancing goals.”

MALs are available for feed grains, soybeans and other oilseeds, wheat, pulse crops, wool, honey and other commodities. The loan rates for key commodities in Cuming County are $1.90/bushel for corn, $4.86/bushel for soybeans and $3.16/cwt (hundred weight) for grain sorghum. The November MAL interest rate is 2.375 percent.

“For Cuming County FSA to best serve those interested in marketing assistance loans for the current calendar year, producers should schedule a loan appointment prior to December 15, 2017,” Beck said. “That should allow us appropriate time to process the loan by December 31, 2017.”

To be eligible for a MAL, producers must have a beneficial interest in the commodity. They also must comply with conservation and wetland protection requirements, submit an acreage report to account for all cropland on the farm and meet adjusted gross income limitations. There are additional requirements and actions that need to be taken before a loan can be processed. Beck encouraged producers to call (402) 372-2451, Ext. 2 to schedule an appointment and to learn what information they should bring to the appointment.

2017 NeFB Silver Eagle Award Honors Merlyn Carlson

Nebraska Farm Bureau has selected former Nebraska Director of Agriculture Merlyn Carlson as the 2017 recipient of its highest honor, the Silver Eagle Award. The award will be presented to Carlson on Dec. 5 at the 2017 Nebraska Farm Bureau Annual Convention in Kearney.

Merlyn Carlson and his wife Janice raised their family on their ranch near Lodgepole, where they raised cattle. Carlson has made a tremendous impact on Nebraska agriculture and has held a long list of national positions in agriculture. In 1999, Carlson was appointed Director of Agriculture for the State of Nebraska, where he served as an advocate for Nebraska agriculture, promoting agricultural products in both domestic and foreign markets.

Carlson left his post with the state in 2005 to work alongside then Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns at the United State Department of Agriculture (USDA). He served as an Under Secretary for the Natural Resources Conservation Service from 2005-2007.

“Merlyn presided over the state department during one of the worst droughts in Nebraska history and the mad cow case that resulted in U.S. beef being banned in many countries. He left his mark by increasing value-added agricultural opportunities, improving trade relations, and dealing with weather concerns. While at the USDA he focused on conservation efforts, especially related to crafting the 2007 farm bill,” Steve Nelson, president of Nebraska Farm Bureau said Nov. 15.

Carlson has also served on the Board of Governors of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, was chairman of the U.S. Meat Export Federation, the National Cattlemen Association, and served on the USDA Animal Disease Committee. He has held key positions in many Nebraska agriculture organizations as well. Some of his past work includes chairmanship of the Nebraska Beef Council and president of the Nebraska Stock Growers Association.

He also worked in the political arena both at the state and national campaign levels, for Presidents George H.W. Bush, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan, Congresswoman Virginia Smith, Senator Chuck Hagel, and Governors Charles Thone, Kay Orr, and Mike Johanns.

“Merlyn has not just been a friend of agriculture as a tireless advocate, but he is a friend of many who make their living within agriculture. His years of accomplishment make him more than qualified for receiving Nebraska Farm Bureau’s highest honor, the Silver Eagle Award. We thank him for his service to the farmers and ranchers of Nebraska agriculture,” Nelson said.

Today, the Carlson’s are partially retired and living in Sun City West, Arizona.

I-29 Moo University 2018 Winter Workshop Series Set

The I-29 Moo University collaboration will be offering their Winter Workshop Series Jan 8-12. They encourage all dairy producers, students, stakeholders and industry personnel to attend.

The series focus is From Field to Bunk: Growing and Feeding Dairy Quality Forages. The workshop series will take place in five locations including: Mandan, N.D.; Watertown, S.D.; Pipestone, Minn.; Orange City, Iowa and Norfolk, Neb.

Register by Dec. 29. Registration is $50 per person and $25 for students. Late registration is late $65 and $30 for students. Late registration fees begin Dec. 30.

Workshop series details are:
- North Dakota workshop will be held Jan. 8 in Mandan at the Baymont Inn & Suites (2611 Old Red Trail Northwest)
- South Dakota workshop will be held Jan. 9 in Watertown at the Codington County Extension Complex (Kitchen Mtg. Room) (1910 West Kemp Ave.);
- Minnesota workshop will be held Jan. 10 in Pipestone at the Pipestone Veterinary Services (1801 Forman Dr.);
- Iowa workshop will be held Jan. 11 in Orange City at the Sioux County Extension Office (400 Central Ave. NW, Suite 700); and
- Nebraska workshop will be held Jan. 12 in Norfolk at the Lifelong Learning Center at Northeast Community College (NECC), (601 East Benjamin Ave.) . Learning Objectives: To improve the sustainability of the dairy production system.

Attendees can expect the following:
- Learn to incorporate cover crops and new forage genetic lines into the forage production system for dairies.
- Producers will increase their understanding of forages and cover crops in dairy rations.
- Improve dairy and labor management skills in the areas of feeding management and safety protocols.

Workshop agenda presenters include:
- New Forage Genetic Lines and how they Impact the Dairy Industry - Bruce Anderson, Professor of Agronomy, UNL Extension Forage Specialist
- Cover Crops - incorporating them into your Forage Production System - Sara Berg, SDSU Extension Agronomy Field Specialist
- Incorporating Cover Crops into Dairy Rations - James C. Paulson, Associate Professor Forage Specialist and Nutritionist
- Silage Pile Safety training for you & your employees - Keith Bolsen, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Kansas State University, "The Silage Man," Nationally known speaker in silage production and safety practices.
- Evaluating Dairy Diets from the Nutritionist, to the Employee, to the Cow.- Co-presented - Fernando Diaz, DVM, PhD - Dairy Nutrition and Management Consultant - Rosecrans Dairy Consulting & Tracey Erickson, SDSU Extension Dairy Field Specialist

For more information, contact the I-29 Moo University Winter Workshop: From Field to Bunk, Program Committee Chairs; Tracey Erickson, SDSU Extension Dairy Field Specialist by email or 605-882-5140; or Kimberly J. Clark, UNL Extension Dairy Educator by email or 402.472.6065.


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

“This long-standing student exchange program helps students understand the importance of the international marketplace,” said NDA Interim Director Mat Habrock. “The students have the unique opportunity to experience the agriculture, technology and culture of a different country and learn firsthand how Nebraska ag impacts foreign markets.”

For the past 14 years, as part of this exchange program, students from an ag high school in Taiwan have visited Nebraska to attend the annual Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute, a week-long summer program coordinated by NDA. In return, NDA chooses NAYI delegates to travel to Taiwan.

This year the students will leave for Taiwan on Nov. 19 and will return to Nebraska on Nov. 24 While in Taiwan, the students will be staying at the Taichung Senior High School of Agriculture and Technology.

Their visit will include touring the campus, interacting with Taiwanese students, participating in presentations, and visiting local farms and agricultural research institutes. Students also will have the opportunity to do some sightseeing.

The two students going to Taiwan this year are:
·         Wyatt Hubbard from Elm Creek. Wyatt is a senior at Elm Creek High School and is the son of Neal and Tracy Hubbard; and
·         Hal Moomey from Kearney. Hal is a senior at Kearney High School and is the son of Travis and Dori Moomey.

The trip is coordinated by NDA and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Denver and is sponsored by the Nebraska Farm Bureau and TECO.

The students going to Taiwan will share their experiences from their trip at the 2018 Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute this summer in Lincoln.


The Nebraska Wind & Solar Conference & Exhibition recently concluded its tenth annual event, November 13-14, 2017 at the Cornhusker Marriott Hotel in Lincoln, NE. This year’s conference attracted over 325 attendees, 28 exhibitors, and featured 38 speakers from the wind and solar industries. Individuals came from across the country to participate in 18 general session and workshop presentations that shared the latest and best information on wind and solar energy development. A diverse set of stakeholders that included private sector developers, public officials, landowners, environmental interests, wildlife interests, public utilities, as well as the public at large attended.

Conference attendees were welcomed on Monday by Mayor Chris Beutler, Congressman Jeff Fortenberry, and Nebraska Energy Director, David Bracht, who provided an update on the status of wind and solar development in Nebraska. Keynote speaker, Tom Kiernan, CEO of American Wind Energy Association, opened up the general sessions with an overview of the “State of the National Wind Industry” and state senators provided a policy and legislative update just before lunch.

Noon luncheon speakers were executives of the three largest Nebraska public utilities—LES, OPPD, and NPPD. Monday afternoon consisted of breakout sessions featuring first-hand experience from Nebraska’s wind project landowners, an update on the R Project from Tom Kent of NPPD, solar and battery storage, and how to balance community concerns. George Ashton of Sol Systems, Adam Cohen of Ranger Power, Tom Green of SoCore, and Mike Kruger of SEPA provided conference attendees with four national perspectives on the “State of the National Solar Industry.”

Steve Noe from Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) kicked off Tuesday morning with discussion surrounding TVA’s renewable energy projects. The breakouts that followed included an update on Nebraska’s first wind decommissioning project and insight into renewable energy development by local public power.

The Tuesday luncheon featured Paul Clements of Facebook and Tim O’Brien of OPPD discussing their partnership and what corporate companies look for when it comes to renewable energy procurement. David Gardiner added a national perspective to the discussion. The conference wrapped up with discussions pertaining to wind impacts on Nebraska and Southwest Power Pool and how to navigate wildlife and regulatory pathways with state and federal officials.

Conference Co-Chairman, John Hansen, commented “It was an outstanding conference. Attitude was positive and the information provided was great. This reflects the enormous progress and momentum we have as we continue to grow in the future”.

Conference presentations will be posted on the Nebraska Energy Office website within the next few weeks.

Iowa Soybean Association disputes pending ‘carcinogenic’ glyphosate label

Kirk Leeds, Iowa Soybean Association CEO

“The Iowa Soybean Association board of directors unanimously approved joining as a co-plaintiff in the legal challenge to California’s Proposition 65 and the listing of glyphosate as a carcinogen. The International Agency for Research on Cancer’s (IARC) arbitrary determination that glyphosate negatively impacts consumers and food producers sets a dangerous precedent and threatens the continued availability of other valuable food production tools.

“The unreasonable listing by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment of glyphosate as a carcinogen as compelled by Prop 65 violates the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution because it compels the plaintiffs in the case to make false, misleading and highly controversial statements about their products. Should labeling proceed, the ripple effect could mean environmental concerns, increased production costs — to be passed along to the consumer — and a threat to the viability of the state and country’s soybean crop given intensified weed pressures. This could be a devastating blow to Iowa soybean farmers and an industry valued at more than $5 billion.

“Glyphosate is one of the safest herbicides ever developed and has been rigorously tested by the U.S. government for decades, continually passing as non-carcinogenic. The determination by IARC, a France-based, non-scientific organization, that glyphosate is ‘probably carcinogenic’ counters the conclusion of every global regulator that has examined the issue over the past 40 years. Not only does the scientific community disagree with IARC’s findings, the organization’s internal process for reviewing glyphosate — along with other ‘possible’ or ‘probable carcinogens’ like French fries and coffee — has also been roundly criticized.

“The Iowa Soybean Association is proud to join other plaintiffs, including the Agribusiness Association of Iowa, in defending farmers, science and a safe and abundant food supply.”

Agriculture Coalition Takes Action Against California’s Flawed Classification of Environmentally-Safe Herbicide

Agriculture groups from across the country today joined forces to file a lawsuit in federal court against the State of California for ignoring science and conclusions from regulatory bodies around the world in a fundamentally flawed regulatory classification of Glyphosate, an environmentally-safe and widely-used herbicide. The coalition’s case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California.

“The unified voice of this diverse coalition of agriculture and business groups illustrates the devastating impact California’s flawed action would have across the country,” said Gordon Stoner, President of the National Association of Wheat Growers, the lead plaintiff in the case.  “California’s erroneous warning about glyphosate is unconstitutional and would result in higher food costs, crushing blows to state and agricultural economies and lost revenue up and down the entire supply chain."

Fellow agricultural association plaintiffs in the case include Associated Industries of Missouri, the Iowa Soybean Association, Agribusiness Association of Iowa, Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Missouri Farm Bureau, the National Corn Growers Association, North Dakota Grain Growers Association, South Dakota Agri-Business Association and the United States Durum Growers Association.cleardot

At issue is California’s July action ignoring their own scientific reviews, as well as studies conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and every other leading regulatory body around the world and falsely classifying the environmentally-benign herbicide as a probable carcinogen.” This erroneous warning is based entirely on a highly-controversial and deeply flawed finding by a non-regulatory, French-based foreign body called IARC.

As a result of California’s Prop 65 false warning, manufacturers of products containing glyphosate, or residues thereof, sold in California will need to affix a false and misleading warning label to their products. This violates the First Amendment, which protects individuals and businesses from compelled false speech. As a result, farmers, manufactures and distributors of products that are legally permitted under strictly enforced federal regulations, would have to place a warning label on those products they know to be false.

Cover Crop Workshop Planned for Dec. 6 near Carroll

Iowa Learning Farms, along with Elk Run Watershed and Practical Farmers of Iowa, will host a cover crop workshop on Wednesday, Dec. 6. The 12-2 p.m. field day will be held in the Wapiti Room at the Swan Lake Conservation Education Center near Carroll. The event is free and open to the public and includes a complimentary meal.

The event will feature local cover crop farmers including Bill Frederick, Greene County, and Mark Thompson, Webster County. They will discuss how they have incorporated cover crops into their farming operations, tips for success and suggestions for overcoming challenges. Frederick will share his experiences with grazing cover crops and Thompson will provide a professional farm manager perspective to the discussion. Also speaking at the field day is Liz Juchems, Iowa Learning Farms event coordinator. She will share results from on-farm cover crop research projects and ideas for maximizing cover crop benefits. Diane Ercse will provide an update on the Elk Run Watershed project and provide ways to get involved.

The field day will be held in the Wapiti Room at Swan Lake Conservation Education Center, 22676 Swawn Lake Drive, Carroll. The workshop is free and open to the public, but reservations are suggested to ensure adequate space and food. Contact Liz Juchems at 515-294-5429 or email

For more information about Iowa Learning Farms, visit the website:

Established in 2004, Iowa Learning Farms is building a Culture of Conservation, encouraging adoption of conservation practices. Farmers, researchers and ILF team members are working together to identify and implement the best management practices that improve water quality and soil health while remaining profitable. Partners of Iowa Learning Farms are the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Iowa Natural Resources Conservation Service, Iowa Department of Natural Resources (USEPA section 319), and Conservation Districts of Iowa.

Elk Run Watershed Project is a partnership of Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Clean Water Iowa, and Agriculture’s Clean Water Alliance.

USRSB Unveils Sustainability Tools for the Beef Community

The U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (USRSB) today announced the release of USRSB Sustainability Metrics, the latest tool helping those who raise, buy, and sell beef understand ways to balance and improve their environmental impact, social responsibility, and financial bottom line.

“The USRSB Sustainability Metrics are a result of two years of work from the entire beef community and I am proud of the results,” said Nancy Labbe of World Wildlife Fund, a member of the USRSB. “I believe these metrics are where we need to start. They address areas that are truly important in the beef sustainability conversation.”

As part of volunteer leadership, Labbe helped guide over 100 members as they developed USRSB Sustainability Metrics, a process that allowed each sector of the beef value chain to oversee their own metric development while receiving feedback from all members.

In 2016 the USRSB released High Priority Indicators to address areas of sustainability most important to the beef industry. USRSB Sustainability Metrics accompany High Priority Indicators and will serve as a self-assessment tool to aid the beef community as they examine their sustainability footprint and share their personal story.

Steve Wooten, a rancher from Colorado, shared out how the USRSB Sustainability Metrics overcame segmentation challenges within the beef industry. 

“When you bring together such a diverse group of stakeholders, you have to work out loud and listen to the conversation. This is how we landed on metrics that speak to areas I care about as a producer, and thoughtfully address needs of a successful operation.” said Wooten.

The USRSB hopes this tool will move the curve for beef sustainability ensuring the industry continues to be a global leader in beef sustainability. To learn more about the USRSB and explore the USRSB Indicator and Metric Summary visit

October Soybean Crush Beats Expectations

US soybean processors crushed more oilseed than expected in October, just short of last year's monthly record. The National Oilseed Processors Association says members crushed 164.2M bushels last month, according to traders, up from 136.4M in September but below 164.6M a year earlier. October soyoil stocks fell to 1.224B pounds from 1.302B a month earlier. That was also below last year. CBOT January soybean futures rise 0.6% to $9.73 3/4 a bushel.

Look Beyond Input Marketing Claims

Collecting unbiased data from well-designed research can have a large impact on farmers' bottom.

"Farmers spend millions of dollars on agronomy products each year. The best way to determine if a product or practice is effective prior to purchase or implementation, is to ask for the data and research backing a company's claims," explained Sara Berg, SDSU Extension Agronomy Field Specialist.

Berg is part of a multi-state team of Extension personnel working together to clear up confusion among producers when it comes to research. Together they have published a series of articles which delve into four research topics including: replicated vs. side-by-side comparisons, how to set up on-farm research, interpreting research terms and data, and the topic of this article, interpreting and clarifying ag product marketing claims.

This is the fourth and final article, written by this team, to help producers see legitimate research from biased information produced to sell inputs. To view past articles, visit iGrow and search by Sara Berg's name.

In addition to Berg, the team includes: Lizabeth Stahl, University of Minnesota; Josh Coltrain, Kansas State University; John Thomas, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

New on-farm technology provides many farmers with real-time data access. "With large amounts of data and fast access to information and product marketing, producing a commodity requires many decisions," Berg added. "Knowing that a product has been tested and shown to make a difference should be a deciding factor when making purchases. Yet, it is not that simple in most cases."

The reason? Berg explained that although data may be included on packaging, sometimes companies leave vital information off when advertising because many view it as confusing and unnecessary.

"False research claims or partial truths are found alongside accurate claims about quality products in marketing around the world," Berg said. "Separating falsified or misleading claims from those that are not is crucial."

One method Berg said some marketers use is to display limited data in a skewed or biased manner by changing the scale of a graphic. Another method is to add disclaimers, or provide vague information and/or nothing to compare the product claims to. However, some companies and institutions provide excellent data with honest results for farmers to choose from; even in these cases, one must understand how to interpret the data.

"When a product is falsely promoted, often the customer is provided only baseline information needed to make a sale. It is vital that farmers take time to look over product information, ask questions and understand data presented to them," Berg said. "Marketing claims are not always falsified or skewed, but knowing how to spot poorly-backed claims can provide farmers peace of mind in knowing they are investing in products or adapting practices that have been properly tested."

For more information on research trials and statistics see parts 1, 2, and 3 of this 4-part article series linked at If questions should arise, contact an Extension agronomy team member for data interpretation assistance.

EIA: Ethanol Data Mixed; Stocks Up

The U.S. Energy Information Administration released a mixed supply report Wednesday showing U.S. ethanol stockpiles rose in the week-ended Nov. 10 while plant production eased and blending demand was unchanged.

The EIA's Weekly Petroleum Status Report showed fuel ethanol stocks rose by 200,000 bbl or 0.9% to 21.5 million bbl, with a year-over-year supply overhang at 2.9 million bbl or 15.6%.

Domestic plant production edged down 3,000 bpd or 0.3% last week to 1.054 million bpd, easing from a two-month high a week earlier, while up 37,000 bpd or 3.6% year-over-year. For the four weeks ended last week, ethanol production averaged 1.052 million bpd, up 44,000 bpd or 4.4% against year prior.

Net refiner and blender inputs, a measure for ethanol demand held steady at 918,000 bpd four-week high, while up 14,000 bpd or 1.5% year-over-year. For the four-week period ended Nov. 10, blending demand averaged 923,000 bpd, up 6,000 bpd or 0.7% against the comparable period a year ago.

Carefully Evaluate Firms before Entering into Deferred Price Contracts

There are many different types of contracts that can be used to sell grain. One of these is a deferred price contract, also known as a credit sale contract. These contracts are different from cash and priced forward contracts because they create a unique relationship between the two parties: the seller becomes an unsecured creditor of the buyer.grain storage elevators

“Deferred price contracts are marketing tools that producers have available to them, but there are risks that need to be understood,” said Keri Jacobs, assistant professor and extension economist with Iowa State University. “With these contract types there may be a delivery component or price component that is left open. Because ownership of the grain might be assigned to a company but the price and payment for it comes later, the credit-worthiness of the company you are doing business with needs to be established.”

Because of the additional risk to the seller, those thinking of using deferred price contracts should carefully evaluate the financial position of firms they are thinking of entering into an agreement with. The type of information sellers should be looking for is highlighted in Jacobs’ new ISU Extension and Outreach publication, “Evaluating a Company’s Financial Position before Selling Grain on Deferred Price Contracts” (FMR 1893).

“Typically there are a lot of questions about pricing components and price risk of this type of contract, but not about the credit risk,” Jacobs said. “If a producer sells grain on this type of contract they become an unsecured creditor. If the company they sold to goes bankrupt or cannot pay, the producer no longer controls the grain and may be last in line for settlement, behind secured creditors such as banks. This publication aims to help producers understand that part of their responsibility before entering into this type of contract is to make sure the firm they do business with is financially secure.”

There are several key financial indicators to think about when evaluating a company’s financial position. These include their working capital, ratio of working capital to sales, leverage, ratio of term debt to net fixed assets and their profits.

“Liquidity is probably the most important factor when trying to understand the short-term financial stability of a company,” Jacobs said. “Their working capital provides the most information about short term cash, inventory levels and what liabilities are against them. Can their current debts be met with their available liquid assets?”

Each indicator is examined, using examples and sample balance and statement sheets to help demonstrate how to evaluate a company’s financial position.

A farmer can more confidently enter into a deferred price contract when they are satisfied with the financial position of the company they are selling to.

Fertilizer Prices Continue Mixed

Average fertilizer prices were a mixed bag the second week of November 2017 with the majority moving higher and a couple moving lower, according to retailers surveyed by DTN.

Six of the eight major fertilizers were higher compared to last month, with only two up a significant amount. UAN32 was 7% higher compared to the previous month with an average price of $272 per ton. UAN28 was 5% higher from last month and was at $216/ton.

The remaining four fertilizers were just slightly higher in price. DAP had an average price of $434/ton, MAP $459/ton, urea $338/ton and anhydrous $409/ton.

Two fertilizers were lower in price compared to a month earlier -- one by a considerable amount; 10-34-0 was down 13% from last month with an average price of $355/ton. Potash was just slightly lower with an average price of $341/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.37/lb.N, anhydrous $0.25/lb.N, UAN28 $0.39/lb.N and UAN32 $0.42/lb.N.

Five fertilizers are now higher compared to last year. DAP is 1% higher, MAP is 2% more expensive, urea is 5% higher, UAN32 is 6% more expensive and potash is now 9% more expensive.

The remaining three fertilizers are lower compared to a year prior. UAN28 is 1% less expensive while anhydrous is 13% lower and 10-34-0 is 21% less expensive.

Tuesday November 14 Ag News

Using Sodium Bicarbonate to Manage Cows Grazing Downed Corn
Larry Howard, NE Extension Educator, Cuming County

In recent weeks, there have been numerous reports of producers continuing to deal with excess corn in fields that will be grazed by cattle.  There have been questions if feeding sodium bicarbonate either free choice or added in the water can be done and then turn cows out to graze.  Mary Drewnoski, UNL Beef Systems Specialist has just shared the following that is useful.

Most of the work with sodium bicarbonate is adding it to the diet and evaluating how it works to prevent acidosis in grain adapted animals. These animals have a population of bacteria built up that can use lactic acid, which is produced by other bacteria in the rumen when digesting corn. Thus, the sodium bicarbonate will be neutralizing mostly other acids (such as propionate and acetate) that are not as strongly acidic as lactic acid. The improvement (increase) in ruminal pH, even in these situations is inconsistent. Feeding sodium bicarbonate does sometimes increase ruminal pH and other times, it has not. The amounts tested vary. Sometimes it appears to have an effect at 1 to 1.5% of the diet, but then has not worked at that level or even higher levels, like 5% of the diet. From these experiences, using sodium bicarbonate to control even subacute acidosis is unreliable at best.

Additionally, the issue with grazing cows on downed corn is that we are essentially feeding corn to un-adapted animals. In this case, the goal is to have the sodium bicarbonate neutralize a great deal of a very strong acid (lactic acid) that is being produced. Thus, providing even high amounts of sodium bicarbonate (or other buffers) and expecting it to maintain increased ruminal pH is unrealistic.

Lastly, in the situations where we feed sodium bicarbonate, either free choice or in the water, the intake will be inconsistent and not related to the amount of corn consumed. Also, when providing it in the water some animals will be deterred from drinking.

Therefore, Drewnoski would not recommend depending on sodium bicarbonate in the water or providing free choice to prevent acidosis (grain overload) when cattle are grazing downed corn. Instead, the best management practice is to adapt the rumen bacteria to corn to increase the number of lactic acid using bacteria. See an article on the Beef Website titled “Down Corn: Problem or Opportunity for Cattle Producers?” ( ) for information on how to adapt cattle.  This article has a good table as a quick guide for allocating corn residue with excessive ear drop to cows as well as a spreadsheet that can be downloaded to help calculate the acres to allocate based on the number of animals and amount of corn.  Both resources are useful in this situation.

Cattle that become acidotic for even a short time can have reduced performance long term due to damage to the rumen wall. Therefore, taking the time to avoid acidosis is very important.

Beef Checkoff Relaunches Iconic Brand

America’s beef farmers and ranchers are leveraging the strong equity of Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. to reintroduce the brand to a new generation of consumers. Capitalizing on one of the nation’s most iconic taglines, the marketing effort will not only showcase the pleasure that beef brings to meals, but also the people who raise it.

“Consumers love the taste of beef, but they also want to know how their beef is raised,” said Ann Marie Bosshamer, executive director of the Nebraska Beef Council. “They want to know there is a face behind the product that they can trust. This new campaign will provide updated resources that will put all of that information at the consumer’s fingertips.”

The brand relaunch includes a new digital platform at providing an interactive experience on all things beef, from cuts and cookery, to a robust collection of beef recipes and an inside look at the lives of the people who raise beef. “We’re setting out to answer the biggest questions that consumers have about beef and to show the hard work and innovation that goes into modern beef production,” said Bosshamer.

A new series of videos and content will feature only real farmers and ranchers from across the country allowing consumers to learn about each step of the beef production process, from the farms and ranches, to feedlots, processing and retail. The video series will also feature new technology used by farmers and ranchers to raise beef.

Nick Hanson of Hanson Farms near Elsie, NE has incorporated a drone into his family’s operation and thinks consumers will appreciate the industry’s use of cutting edge innovations.

“We use our drone to check windmills on the ranch which saves us time and reduces the amount of driving across the pastures,” said Hanson. “We can be more efficient, reduce our carbon footprint and preserve the grasslands. Sharing how we use technology with consumers will go a long way in earning their trust.”

While drones are still relatively new in agriculture, Hanson sees even more potential for that technology on their farm. “I think in the very near future, we’ll even be able to use thermal imaging with our drone to help us indicate sick cattle. The possibilities are endless.”

The Beef Checkoff’s new campaign messages will be distributed digitally through online assets like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. A complete collection of the campaign content can be found at  


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension

     Native, warm-season grass pastures often get overtaken by cool-season grasses like cheatgrass, downy brome, and smooth bromegrass. What can you do to minimize this problem?

     When cheatgrass, bromes, and other cool-season plants invade warm-season grass pastures and rangeland, they shift good grazing away from summer.

     Cool-season grasses take over summer pastures relatively easily because they develop rapidly during fall and spring when native grass provides little competition.  Then they use moisture and nutrients during spring before warm-season plants have a chance to use them.

     Heavy grazing now this fall after warm-season plants have gone dormant after a hard freeze as well as grazing very early next spring will weaken and reduce competition from these cool-season grasses.  This limits further invasion and slowly improves summer production.  A prescribed spring burn also can do wonders for a warm-season pasture if you have enough fuel to carry a fire and can conduct the burn safely and legally.

     An even faster approach is to apply glyphosate herbicides like Roundup after a couple hard freezes in late fall.  Hard freezes turn warm-season plants dormant but the weedy cool-season grasses remain green.  Apply glyphosate when temperatures during the day are above 60 degrees and nighttime temperatures stay above 40 degrees for best results.  This will kill or weaken the green and susceptible cool-season weedy grasses but not affect dormant warm-season plants.  By reducing competition, warm-season plants will grow more vigorously next year and provide better summer pasture.

     Don’t settle for invaded native pasture.  Transform them back to vigorous warm-season grasses for better summer grazing.

Iowa Corn Growers Thank Governor Reynolds for Extending the Harvest Weight Proclamation

The Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) thanks Governor Reynolds for extending the proclamation until December 1, 2017 granting a temporary weight limit exemption for trucks on Iowa roads. The 2017 Harvest Weight Proclamation specifically increases the weight allowable for shipment of corn, soybeans, hay, straw and stover, by 12.5 percent per axle (up to a maximum of 90,000 pounds) without the need for an oversize/overweight permit only during the duration of the proclamation.

“We extend our gratitude to the Governor for understanding the need to move quickly to finish harvest and this extension will help those who are still bringing in another large corn crop,” said Mark Recker, a farmer from Arlington. “We understand that the harvest weight proclamation is not a right by law, but a petition to the Governor.”

Today’s U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistical Service Crop Progress and Condition Report shows Iowa farmers have now begun to catch up from weather delays they experienced at the start of harvest. Currently, harvest progress stands just one week behind the five-year average with 85 percent of corn and 97 percent of beans harvested.

The 2017 proclamation again applies to loads transported on all highways within Iowa, excluding the federal interstate system. Trucks cannot exceed the truck’s regular maximum by more than 12.5 percent per axle and must obey the posted limits on all roads and bridges.

ICGA made the original 60-day proclamation request to Governor Reynolds in August and worked with the Governor’s office to ensure the Proclamation moved forward to benefit Iowa’s farmers. Last week, ICGA submitted an additional request for the extension due to the delayed harvest progress across the state.The proclamation directs the Iowa Department of Transportation to monitor the operation of the proclamation, assure the public’s safety by facilitating the movement of the trucks involved. Farmers who are transporting grain are also required to follow their vehicle safety standards on axle weights.

Agreement to Help Veterinarians Strengthen Avian Flu Response

An Iowa State University center has received a $1 million federal cooperative agreement to enhance preparedness for future outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza, such as the 2015 crisis that forced U.S. egg and poultry producers to eliminate millions of birds.

The cooperative agreement between the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and the Center for Food Security and Public Health at the ISU College of Veterinary Medicine will allow researchers to analyze the 2015 outbreak and formulate new policies based on lessons learned, said James Roth, Clarence Hartley Covault Distinguished Professor of Veterinary Microbiology and Preventive Medicine.

Roth, director of the Center for Food Security and Public Health, said the center will revise training materials for egg and poultry producers regarding how to take samples and monitor potential outbreaks among their flocks. The center also will update and maintain USDA's disease response plan documents, including procedural and reference guides, in consultation with USDA, state and industry officials.

"An effective response to highly pathogenic avian influenza is essential to Iowa agriculture and the Iowa economy in general," Roth said. "It's imperative that plans and procedures, based on what we learned from the 2015 outbreak, are in place prior to the next outbreak."

Iowa is the No. 1 producer of eggs in the United States and also produces a significant number of turkeys. The 2015 avian influenza outbreak sent shockwaves through the egg and poultry industries, particularly in Iowa and Minnesota. A total of 77 sites in Iowa, most of which were commercial turkey and egg production flocks, tested positive for the virus between April and June of 2015, according to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. Approximately 31.5 million birds were affected in Iowa, while the national number of birds affected reached 48 million.

Roth said the biosecurity procedures in place at the time fell short of what was necessary to contain the spread of the virus. He said the new materials under development by the Center for Food Security and Public Health will emphasize biosecurity. He also said the new guidelines will account for the potential for avian influenza strains to be zoonotic, or transferable from animals to humans. The 2015 strain was not zoonotic, but Roth said there's no guarantee future outbreaks will follow suit.

The Center for Food Security and Public Health has worked on highly pathogenic animal disease preparedness since 2008, Roth said. The center is formulating response plans for potential outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease, a highly contagious viral disease affecting swine and cattle that hasn't appeared in the United States since 1929.

U.S. Pig Farmers Continue Focus on Antibiotic Stewardship

America’s 60,000 pig farmers continue to make progress in their quest for superior antibiotic stewardship to help protect people, pigs and the planet. On their behalf, the National Pork Board is pleased again to celebrate U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week and World Antibiotic Awareness Week with organizations such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

“This week of antibiotic awareness is a good time for those of us in the pork industry to reflect on our long history of accomplishments with antibiotics, such as using these medications responsibly and embracing the updated Pork Quality Assurance® Plus (PQA Plus®) certification program,” said National Pork Board President Terry O’Neel, a pig farmer from Friend, Nebraska. “As pig farmers, we are aware of issues such as antibiotic resistance, and we are dedicated to working hard to preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics, both on the farm and in human medicine.”

This year, the CDC changed the name of its educational outreach to Be Antibiotics Aware. The national effort focuses on how everyone can help fight antibiotic resistance and improve antibiotic prescribing and use. The agency says while antibiotics save lives, they can cause side effects and lead to antibiotic resistance. The CDC estimates at least 80 million antibiotic prescriptions each year are unnecessary for human patients, which makes improving antibiotic prescribing and use a national priority.

“Antibiotic resistance is a public health issue with numerous contributors across human, animal and environmental health,” said Heather Fowler, D.V.M., director of producer and public health with the National Pork Board. “Because of this, pig farmers understand the key role they and their herd veterinarians play as part of the overall One Health, multi-disciplinary approach to antibiotic stewardship.”

Fowler believes ongoing collaboration with academia, governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations is the best way to move forward in solving the complex global issue of antibiotic resistance. As examples, she points to yet another revision to long-time programs such as PQA Plus to focus even more on antibiotic stewardship. She also noted the Pork Board approving a Checkoff investment of more than $6 million for antibiotic-related studies since 2000, which includes novel work on antibiotic usage standards and metrics.

At the national level, the Pork Checkoff has been very active in its ongoing mission of education and outreach to all audiences about how America’s pig farmers are progressing on antibiotic stewardship. During 2017, the National Pork Board hosted a live webcast that brought together experts in farming, veterinarian medicine and the retail and foodservice industries. This event drew more than 60,000 online viewers, with 400 pork producers in the studio audience. A replay of the broadcast can be viewed online at The Checkoff also participated in a panel discussion at the annual Global Ag Investing conference in New York City to address the shared responsibility of antibiotic use in both animal and human health. Closer to home, the National Pork Board hosted an Iowa farm tour with 20 National Press Foundation journalist fellows.

From a producer perspective, O’Neel said 2017 has been another milestone in antibiotic stewardship, with farmers taking even more proactive steps in pig management and biosecurity. He pointed out that these efforts have helped increase the health of pigs and reduce the need for antibiotics.

“Last January, the implementation of Guidance 209 and 213 that expanded the Veterinary Feed Directive and eliminated the growth-promotion use of medically important antibiotics took effect,” O’Neel said. “While some of our detractors may have been expecting chaos on our farms, we proved them wrong. America’s pig farmers simply did what we always have done. We stepped up and demonstrated our competency to practice good antibiotic stewardship and our ongoing dedication to doing what’s right for people, pigs and the planet.”

 U.S. Soy Industry Positive About Chinese Processing Sector

The United States soybean industry is very optimistic about the future relationship with the Chinese soybean processing and utilization industries. This was stated by a business official in an interview with Xinhua.

"We expect China's economy to grow, consumers' income to increase and urbanisation to expand," said Paul Burke, North Asia regional director of the United States Soybean Export Council.

Jim Miller, chairman, USSEC, was a member of the delegation accompanying President Donald Trump on his visit to China.

Burke disclosed that the Council has just inked a letter of intent about a deal to purchase soybean with its Chinese counterpart during the visit in Beijing.

"Through participation in this trade mission, USSEC will highlight to both the Chinese and American governments the importance of bilateral trade in soybean," he said.

Burke pointed out that U.S. soybean exports to China generated $14.5 billion in revenue for the country's soybean producers. China also needs soybeans to meet its growing consumer demand for meat and vegetable oil.

Soybean is a staple product China imports from the United States. In the past 35 years, U.S. soybean farmers invested over $150 million in projects that transferred technology and management expertise to modernize China's soy processing, feed manufacturing and livestock, poultry and aquaculture production.

BQA Launches New Transportation Training and Certification Program

BQA transportationThe checkoff-funded Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program has launched a new training and certification program for cattle transportation. The program, known as Beef Quality Assurance Transportation (BQAT), provides cattle producers and haulers with comprehensive training based on their roles in the cattle industry. Online training will be made available beginning immediately, and in-person training opportunities will begin soon.

“The BQA Transportation training and certification program has been a long time coming,” said Chase DeCoite, director of Beef Quality Assurance for NCBA, a contractor to the beef checkoff. “By educating cattle haulers and producers on the best practices in cattle transportation, BQA is helping make improvements in cattle care and beef quality. Participating in BQA Transportation will be an indicator that the beef and dairy industries are committed to responsible animal care during transportation and makes both the BQA and dairy FARM animal care programs more complete.”

The BQA program was first funded by the beef checkoff in the early 1990s and developed its first guidance on transportation in 2006. Today, the program offers training and certification programs for all sectors of the industry: cow-calf, stocker and feedyard. This is the first time a nationally recognized certification has been offered for the transportation segment of the industry.

Online training for BQAT will be offered in two different modules: Farmer/Rancher and Professional. Farmer/Rancher modules will focus on the use of stock trailers and smaller loads of cattle that beef and dairy cattle producers might typically haul themselves. The Professional modules focus on the use of tractor-trailers and larger loads that are typically hauled further distances.

“Today the BQA program is taking another step in being the leader when it comes to educating producers and the cattle industry on the right things to do,” said Dan Kniffen, chair of the BQA Advisory Board, Assistant Professor of Animal Science at Pennsylvania State University and a cow-calf producer. “We have known for a long time that transportation plays a critical role in our industry. Now we are fully able to train and show our commitment to beef quality and cattle care from pasture to plate.”

Soybean Producers Respond to Withdrawal of Biotech Rule

 In response to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's withdrawal of its proposed rule to overhaul federal regulation on biotechnology and plant breeding innovations like gene editing, American Soybean Association (ASA) President and Illinois farmer Ron Moore issued the following statement:

"USDA's withdrawal of the proposed rule is both a positive and a negative for soybean farmers. On the plus side, there were a considerable number of aspects about the rule that would have stifled innovation and created additional regulatory uncertainty and ambiguity. So we're happy that USDA recognized the flaws in portions of the proposed rule and has taken it back to square one so that those may be remedied.

"We appreciate that the proposed rule addressed gene editing techniques and we hope that, however USDA opts to move forward with rulemaking, they will maintain a positive focus on these new technologies. Specifically, we hope that USDA will continue to recognize that new plant breeding innovations are distinct from and do not fall under the same USDA regulatory review process as transgenic biotechnology.

"More generally, there is a benefit to creating smarter and more practical regulatory frameworks with all stakeholders at the table. It is important to foster trust in agricultural technologies on the part of customers abroad and consumers at home. In this regard, we do not want the withdrawal of the rule to lengthen the existing lag between efforts to craft smarter regulations for new technologies and the need to convince consumers of their benefits, both at home and abroad.

"We hope that USDA will move forward to work with stakeholders to develop new science-based regulations that promote agricultural innovation and to foster confidence in new agricultural technologies on the part of all concerned."

Farmers, Ranchers Ask USDA to Scrap Organic Livestock and Poultry Rule

As USDA reviews the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Rule, farmers and ranchers are urging the department to completely withdraw the regulation, which goes well beyond the original intent of the Organic Production Act by allowing for animal welfare standards and metrics to become part of the organic label, the American Farm Bureau Federation says.

The rule was to be finalized on Nov. 14, but Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue recently announced a 180-day extension, making May 14, 2018, the new implementation date.

“The health and well-being of livestock is a top priority for all farmers and ranchers. We work with a host of specialists, from animal scientists to nutritionists, to manage our farms in the best manner possible to ensure wholesome, healthy food. This rule, on the other hand, has been about pushing an agenda rather than advancing food safety or animal welfare,” American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said in a statement.

Duvall also warned that rule would jeopardize organic farmers’ and ranchers’ livelihoods.

“Organic farmers and ranchers would be forced out of the organic sector or out of business entirely if this rule goes into effect and forces them to arbitrarily change their production practices,” he said.

This is not the first time Farm Bureau has raised concerns about this rule. In comments sent to USDA in June, Farm Bureau noted that a review of the Organic Foods Production Act's legislative history revealed that animal welfare was never included in remarks by the bill’s sponsors, during debate on the legislation or in report language.

“One of our gravest concerns is the overreach of the organic standards into the animal well-being arena. We do not believe the Organic Foods Production Act intended for animal well-being metrics to be part of the organic standard,” the group said.

Over 180 Groups Call on House to Preserve Section 199, Ensure Farmers Do Not Face Tax Increase

Over 180 agricultural organizations, cooperatives and other agribusinesses on Monday sent a letter to the House Speaker Paul Ryan and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi opposing repeal of the Domestic Production Activities Deduction, also known as Section 199.  H.R. 1, the House tax reform legislation, would eliminate Section 199.

“Ending the Section 199 deduction for agriculture would result in many individual farmers paying more in taxes, as most do not pay under the corporate code and the current proposal will not overcome the loss of the deduction,” the groups write. “In many cases farmers will see a double-digit increase in their tax bill under the proposed plan.”

Passed as part of the “American Jobs Creation Act of 2004,” Section 199 recognizes the unique challenges presented within the cooperative business model by allowing cooperatives to deduct the proceeds earned from products that are manufactured, produced, grown, or extracted and pass those deductions directly back to their farmer-members.   The support Section 199 provides to rural communities is critical. In fact, farmer cooperatives pass 95 percent of the benefit—nearly $2 billion nationally—directly back to farmers across rural America. Farmers can then deduct their share of the Section 199 benefit from their farms’ tax burden.

The letter emphasizes that with most of agriculture is facing the fourth consecutive year of stagnant prices, now is not the time to raise the tax burden on farmers, ranchers and growers.

“Section 199 should be preserved in order to protect the good paying jobs and the economic return generated by the presence of farmer-owned cooperatives in rural communities. We encourage you to preserve Section 199 for agriculture as part of any tax reform efforts,” the letter concludes. “As a matter of basic fairness, we need you to consider tax reform that will lower rates on businesses broadly but does not raise taxes on farmers.”

A copy of the letter, including the list of all signing organizations, can be found online at

Commodity Classic Registration & Housing - NOW OPEN!

Registration and housing for the 2018 Commodity Classic, February 27-March 1 in Anaheim, California, is now open.

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

Full registration covers all three days.  One-day registration is also available.  Details are available on the website.

The 2018 Commodity Classic will be held at the Anaheim Convention Center. The schedule includes a robust line-up of educational sessions on a wide range of current and relevant topics and issues.  Commodity Classic also boasts a huge trade show, the latest in agricultural innovation and technology, inspiring speakers, an evening of entertainment and the opportunity to network with farmers from across the United States.

There are also a number of optional tours available for those who want to explore the culture, history and scenery of southern California.

A detailed schedule of events is available at This year’s Commodity Classic will be held on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday—providing an opportunity for families to come in early or stay late to enjoy a weekend in the Anaheim area.

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

CLAAS of America Receives Product Innovation Awards

CLAAS of America was recently honored to have three of its products selected for the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) 2017 AE50 Product Awards. Products honored for agricultural innovation were the JAGUAR 900 Series Forage Harvester, EASY on board app and the CLAAS Grain Quality Camera.

The AE50 awards program emphasizes the role of new products and systems in bringing advanced technology to the marketplace. These engineering developments help farmers, food processors and equipment manufacturers increase efficiency, enhance quality, improve safety, and increase profits. Each AE50 winner is hand-selected by a panel of engineering experts.

“It is an honor to be recognized for three AE50 awards, and we couldn’t be more proud of our team and appreciative of our dealers and customers,” said Leif Magnusson, President, CLAAS Global Sales Americas. “With all CLAAS innovation, our goal is to ensure a better harvest with premium products designed for maximum throughput, efficiency and reliability.”

The CLAAS products selected for the 2017 AE50 Awards include:

JAGUAR 900 Series Forage Harvester

The CLAAS JAGUAR 900 Series represents the widest range of self-propelled forage harvesters in the world. This series uses the power of multiple features that work together optimally to ensure cost-effective chopping to the highest professional standards under all field conditions. These features include an optional hydraulic header drive allowing operators to adjust header speed from the cab for changing conditions, a heavy-duty axle with optional differential lock which improves traction in hilly and wet conditions, the CLAAS AUTO FILL system and the Rear AUTO FILL system.

CLAAS EASY on board app

The EASY on board app is a symbiosis of two existing technologies: a consumer tablet and ISOBUS technology. Together, they increase the flexibility, efficiency and comfort of machine operation. This technology allows access to all key machine data and comprehensive personal information in the field. In addition, the EASY on board app includes a task management menu that can record jobs like bale count or worked acres.

CLAAS Grain Quality Camera

The CLAAS Grain Quality Camera is a high-definition color camera that monitors the quality of grain in the clean grain elevator and displays those images on the CEBIS MOBILE monitor. The camera takes high-quality photos of the grain flow every second to calculate the real-time amount of foreign matter and broken kernels traveling into the grain tank. The technology not only keeps the operator’s attention forward, it also provides more accurate feedback to optimize combine adjustments.

Companies from around the world submit entries to the annual AE50 competition and up to 50 of the best products are chosen by a panel of international engineering experts. The judges select innovative products that will best advance engineering for the food and agriculture industries.

Winners will be featured in the January/February 2018 special issue of ASABE’s magazine Resource: Engineering & Technology for a Sustainable World. For more details, visit

U.S. Tractor, Combine Sales Rose During October

According to the Association of Equipment Manufacturer's monthly "Flash Report," the sale of all tractors in the U.S. in October 2017, were up 12% compared to the same month last year.

For the first ten months in 2017, a total of 191,986 tractors were sold which compares to 183,814 sold thru October 2016 representing a 5% increase for the year.

Two-wheel drive smaller tractors (under 40 HP) were up 12% from last year, while 40 & under 100 HP were up 2%. Sales of 2-wheel drive 100+ HP were up 43%, while 4-wheel drive tractors were up 15%.  Meanwhile, combine sales were up 69% for the month.

For the year, two-wheel drive smaller tractors (under 40 HP) are up 8% over last year, while 40 & under 100 HP were even. Sales of 2-wheel drive 100+ HP are down 9%, while 4-wheel drive tractors are up 5%. Sales of combines for the year total 3,439 an increase of 3% from 2016.

Tax Reform Bill Moves to House Floor This Week

The House is expected to take up a major tax reform bill in a few days. As passed last week by the House Ways and Means Committee, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1) will preserve many critical tax provisions that farmers and ranchers need to manage tight margins and unpredictable income, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.

“America’s farmers and ranchers are ready for a tax system that recognizes their hard work and the unique challenges they face while reducing the tax burden that threatens their livelihoods. Thanks to the leadership of the House Ways and Means Committee, we are closer to that goal,” AFBF President Zippy Duvall said in a statement.

Among the most important tax tools addressed in the bill are Sec. 179 small business expensing, immediate expensing, cash accounting and like-kind exchanges.

The measure would expand and increase expensing limits for Sec. 179 small business expensing and allow for immediate expensing (bonus depreciation), but it would not make these provisions permanent, as farmers had hoped. The bill also would let farmers and ranchers continue to immediately deduct customary business expenses including, but not limited to, feed, seed and other inputs.

In addition, the measure would continue cash accounting and the like-kind exchange deduction for buildings and land. Like-kind exchanges would end for equipment and livestock.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act’s self-employment-related provisions would exclude from self-employment taxes the 30 percent of farming and ranching income that is considered a return on investment. Farm rental income and Conservation Reserve Program payments would continue to be excluded from self-employment taxes.

The measure would double the estate tax exemption of $5.49 million to $11 million indexed for inflation starting in 2018 and would permanently repeal estate taxes in 2024. Stepped-up basis is continued as is the transfer of any unused exemption amount to a surviving spouse.  Farmers and ranchers have long been calling for repeal of the estate tax.

The bill would keep capital gain tax rates and thresholds at approximately the same rates and thresholds as exist under present law.

The House Rules Committee meets Wednesday, Nov. 15, to establish a rule governing House floor debate. Because the rule could contain additional changes to the legislation and will also determine which, if any, amendments will be allowed, Farm Bureau will wait until its release to take a position on amendments and on passage of the legislation.

Of the Ways and Means Committee-approved measure, Duvall noted, “Farm Bureau looks forward to working with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to improve the bill and ensure reforms reduce the overall tax burden for farmers and ranchers.”

Congressional Tax Plans Jeopardize the Farm Safety Net, CBO Analysis Says

Amidst the steepest drop in farm profitability in a generation, U.S. Congressional leadership is proposing tax reform legislation that would jeopardize all funding for farm bill commodity safety net programs.

The two tax bills being considered in both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives would add $1.5 trillion to the federal deficit. According to new Congressional Budget Office analysis of the bills, that $1.5 trillion deficit increase would need to be offset by eliminating all funding for vital farm programs such as Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC), among other mandatory federal spending programs.

“If Congress passes legislation that increases the deficit, they will subsequently be forced to cut federal spending. In the case of the tax bill, current law could require 100 percent sequestration of all commodity program payments and other farm bill programs,” said National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson. “Tax cuts for the highest income brackets should absolutely not come at the expense of programs that protect our nation’s family farmers and ranchers.”

The House and Senate budget resolution that was passed earlier this year paves the way for tax cuts that would increase the U.S. federal deficit by $1.5 trillion over ten years. Statutory pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) rules require that increases in deficit spending be offset by reduced spending across non-exempt mandatory programs. The government would be required to cut such programs by $150 billion per year in accordance with PAYGO.

The total available pool of funding across all non-exempt mandatory programs amounts to, in CBO’s estimation, “only between $85 billion to $90 billion,” meaning that all impacted mandatory spending programs other than Medicare, including the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), would be entirely stripped of funding.

The CCC is the second largest non-exempt mandatory program, after Medicare. It funds dairy and other farm program payments, including ARC and PLC, both of which are critical for keeping family farmers and ranchers in business during times of economic uncertainty. Discretionary spending and a number of mandatory programs, including Social Security, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), federal crop insurance, and the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), are exempt from PAYGO.

“Farmers Union has long opposed using budget sequestration to reduce the federal deficit, especially through cuts to agricultural programs,” added Johnson. “This proposal asks farmers and ranchers to trade any possible tax benefits for the elimination of farm safety net payments, like ARC and PLC. That would be a disastrous trade. NFU continues to advocate for a simplified, progressive tax code that does not risk programs vital to the livelihoods and well-being of American family farmers and ranchers.”

Monday November 13 Ag News


For the week ending November 12, 2017, temperatures averaged four to ten degrees below normal, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Precipitation was limited across the State. Dry weather continued to allow good progress on corn harvest. There were 6.6 days suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 3 percent very short, 21 short, 74 adequate, and 2 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 5 percent very short, 19 short, 75 adequate, and 1 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn harvested was 86 percent, behind 92 last year, and near 90 for the five-year average.

Winter wheat condition rated 2 percent very poor, 6 poor, 29 fair, 54 good, and 9 excellent. Winter wheat emerged was 95 percent, near 98 both last year and average.

Sorghum harvested was 85 percent, behind 96 last year and 93 average.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 2 percent very poor, 11 poor, 43 fair, 38 good, and 6 excellent. Stock water supplies rated 1 percent very short, 4 short, 95 adequate, and 0 surplus.


Limited precipitation during the week ending November 12, 2017, allowed an average of 6.0 days suitable for fieldwork statewide, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Harvest has begun to wind down as many Iowa farmers were able to work in their fields throughout the week. Additional fieldwork activities this past week included baling corn stalks, tillage, applying fertilizers and manure, tiling, seeding CRP and hauling grain.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 3 percent very short, 10 percent short, 83 percent adequate and 4 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 6 percent very short, 17 percent short, 74 percent adequate and 3 percent surplus.

Eighty-five percent of the corn for grain crop has been harvested, one week behind last year and the 5-year average. Moisture content of corn being harvested for grain averaged 17 percent. Only northwest and north central Iowa have 90 percent or more of their corn for grain crop harvested.

Ninety-seven percent of the soybean crop has been harvested, equal to last year but 5 days behind average.

Livestock conditions were reported as normal with no concerns. There were also reports of cattle grazing in recently harvested fields with little hay being fed.

USDA Weekly Crop Progress

Winter wheat conditions fell slightly from the previous week, according to USDA's latest Crop Progress report released on Monday.

USDA estimated that 54% of the winter wheat crop was rated good to excellent, down 1 percentage point from 55% the previous week. Winter wheat progress was running at a near-average pace with USDA estimating 95% of the crop planted as of Sunday, up from 94% a year ago and even with the five-year average of 95% planted. Eighty-four percent of winter wheat was emerged, up from 83% a year ago and up from the five-year average of 83%.

Corn harvest, on the other hand, continued to lag behind the average pace. USDA estimated that 83% of corn was harvested, down from 92% a year ago and also below the five-year average of 91% harvested. Indiana and Ohio, at 80% and 71% harvested respectively, were examples of wet conditions delaying harvest.

Soybean harvest was also slightly behind the average pace at 93% complete, down from 96% a year ago and down from a five-year average of 95% harvested.

Sorghum was 83% harvested, behind the five-year average of 87%.  Cotton was 64% harvested nationwide, equal to the average pace.


Nebraska Corn Board Supports Free Corn Nematode Testing

Tamra Jackson-Ziems - Extension Plant Pathologist

Are corn nematodes limiting your yields?  Find out through a free soil testing program made possible by the Nebraska Corn Board.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln Plant Pathology Professor Tom Powers’s lab is providing free nematode analyses for soil samples submitted from corn fields now through spring.  The objective of this project is to learn more about the root-lesion nematode species present in Nebraska fields. Unlike some nematodes, root-lesion nematodes are extremely common (in more than 93% of Nebraska fields).

If you're already planning to sample your soils for nutrient content, this would be a good time to take samples for corn nematodes.

Taking a Soil Sample for Corn Nematodes

Collect at least 2 cups of soil from down to about 8 inches deep in the plant root zone (from within the row).

Please package the samples in plastic bags and ship them with a completed Sample Submission form to the UNL Plant & Pest Diagnostic Clinic (P&PDC) at the following addess. (Be sure to clearly identify that the sample is for the Corn Nematode Survey.).

Corn Nematode Survey
448 Plant Sci Hall
Lincoln, NE  68583-0722

Note: Sandy fields may have some nematode species that travel deep in the soil and out of reach of traditional soil probes.  Sandy fields can best be sampled in the spring after planting by about the V5 corn leaf stage to capture all nematodes.

 Quality SCN Samples are Part Science, Part Art 

John Wilson - NE Extension Educator
Loren Giesler - NE Extension Plant Pathologist

Growers frequently ask about why we need to sample for soybean cyst nematodes or SCN, a pest causing more yield losses than all other soybean diseases combined. As harvest winds down, we are entering the time when the most samples are taken each year. This prompted a related question on sampling: What is the proper way to take a soil sample to test for SCN in your field?

There is both science and art in collecting good soil samples.

The science part of sampling for SCN is pretty easy:
-    Take your sample from an area no larger than 40 acres. Less is better.
-    Clean your soil probe and the bucket used to collect the soil cores between fields to avoid contaminating other samples from one SCN-positive field.
-    Take a minimum of 20 to 25 soil cores randomly across the area being tested.
-    If sampling a field with standing soybean stubble, take soil cores 6 to 8 inches deep, just a couple inches to the side of the old soybean row so you’ll be probing through the root system and more likely to detect SCN if it is there.
-    If sampling a field that wasn’t in soybeans this year, randomly collect samples across the area to be tested. Consider these results, from fields that will be planted to soybeans next year, when ordering varieties with or without SCN resistance for the next year.
-    If a co-op, crop consultant, or field scout will be soil sampling your fields for fertilizer recommendations, ask them to take a few more cores, mix them together, then split the sample, half for fertilizer recommendations and half for SCN analysis.
-    Thoroughly mix the cores you collect and submit the soil sample in special bags available at your local Nebraska Extension office for a free SCN analysis. The cost of the analysis (normally $20/sample) is being paid by the Nebraska Soybean Board from your Soybean Checkoff dollars. Submit your sample(s) to the Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic, whose address is on the bag.

The Art: Selecting Areas to Provide Accurate Field Samples

When selecting field areas to sample, it’s important to remember anything that will move soil will also move SCN, including wind, water, wildlife and humans, as well as equipment.

Now here comes the “art” part of collecting your soil samples for SCN. Knowing that SCN moves with soil, determine areas where soil may have moved and SCN may have become established.

Following are areas where you will want to take a couple cores:
-    Along a stream that periodically floods. Someone upstream might have had SCN in a field and it washed down to your field.
-    Low areas where water drains after a heavy rain. Light infestations throughout the field may be concentrated in these low areas where water stands.
-    Along fence lines. In the past when fall tillage was more common, fences would act like a trip for the blowing soil and SCN could be deposited along old fencerows.
-    By field entryways or driveways. This is the most likely place for soil from another SCN-infested field to be shaken loose from equipment moving in the new field.

Two other areas should be sampled:

+    Field areas with a higher incidence of sudden death syndrome (SDS) or brown stem rot (BSR). You can have either of these diseases without having SCN... or you can have SCN without having either of these diseases, but if you have SCN in a field or even part of a field, you are more likely to have SDS or BSR.
+    Areas where your observations or yield maps indicate soybean yields are not meeting expectations. This might be a whole field, but more commonly it is an area in the field. A statement such as “The west end of my field isn’t yielding like the rest of the field and there is not a difference in soil type, compaction, herbicide injury, weed or insect pressure... or other explanation for lower soybean yields. Also, when I plant corn, yields are good across the whole field!” can be the perfect indicator of where to sample for SCN.

In both of these cases — areas with higher SDS/BSR or where yields didn’t meet expectations — take a soil sample where these conditions existed and another sample close by where disease pressure was lower or yields met expectations. The results can help you confirm or eliminate SCN as the culprit causing the disease pressure or lower yields.

If both samples come back high for SCN, you know you have SCN and need to manage it, plus you know you have some other condition contributing to these problems. If the SDS/BSR or low-yielding areas come back high for SCN and the adjacent area comes back low, SCN is the problem. You can now start your management plan to lower the level of SCN in your field.


As the 2017 growing season comes to an end, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will contact producers nationwide to gather final year-end crop production numbers and the amount of grain and oilseeds stored on their farms. At the same time, NASS will survey grain facility operators to determine year-end off-farm grain and oilseed stocks.

“These surveys are the largest and most important year-end surveys conducted by NASS,” explained NASS’s Northern Plains Director Dean Groskurth. “They are the basis for the official USDA estimates of production and harvested acres of all major agricultural commodities in the United States and grain and oilseed supplies. Data from the survey will benefit farmers and processors by providing timely and accurate information to help them make crucial year-end business decisions and begin planning for the next growing and marketing season.”

“Responses to the survey will be used in calculating county-level yields which 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 Groskurth. “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 an insufficient 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.”

Survey results will be published in several reports, including the annual Crop Production Annual Summary and the quarterly Grain Stocks report, both to be released on January 12. These and all NASS reports are available online at For more information call the NASS Nebraska Field Office at 800-582-6443.

Why Grain Test Weights Matter

Todd Whitney - NE Extension Educator

Grain test weight, often used as a grain quality indicator, is a volumetric measurement based on an official bushel being 1.244 cubic feet. For U.S. No. 1 yellow corn, the official minimum test weight is 56 pounds per bushel. If test weights drop below this standard, the grain price is discounted. Usually, test weights are determined by weighing grain samples filled in a standard dry one-quart measure.

Lower test weights are more common when crops have endured stress at some point during the grain-filling period or when frost ends the growing season prior to physiological maturity. Any disease, insect, or environmental condition that reduces the movement of nutrients to the kernel during grain fill (once it is filled) will likely lower grain test weights.

Test weights can be misunderstood and attributing strong correlation between test weight and grain yields may be incorrect. High-test weights are not automatically associated with high yields, and lower test weights do not always mean lower yields. Many factors influence test weight.

Factors Influencing Test Weight

Grain wetting between maturity and harvest can lower test weights. Research indicates that the number of times grain experiences wetting and drying cycles impacts test weights more than the total amount of precipitation. Prior to wetting at maturity, normal mature kernels are smooth, well-shaped, and fit well into a volume. If a wetting event penetrates the outer husks on mature corn ears, the kernels may swell. Upon drying, the kernels may not shrink back to their original volume, shape, and smoothness. This results in more space between kernels; thus, the kernels will not pack into a bushel volume as well as before the grain-wetting event. Even though the total dry weight harvested from the field will be the same regardless of the moisture events, it may require extra trucking trips to haul the same field production when test weights drop.

Higher test weight grains have more nutrient density, since the grain has a greater proportion of starch-rich endosperm and less bran and hull. As a result, livestock producers may prefer buying higher test weight grains due to higher energy values. Lower test weight grains can also be good energy sources, but their value per bushel will likely be lower than higher test weight grains.

Hauling High Test-Weight Grain

During harvest, farmers may appreciate higher test weight grain, since theoretically more pounds can be hauled using the same grain trucks (full capacity). This translates into fewer trips hauling grain to the elevator or storage facility to move the same total grain weight.

Farmers, though, must be cautious when moving high test-weight grain on highways so they don’t exceed “truck hauling weight limits.” Higher test weight grains take up less storage “volume” for equivalent “bushel weights” than lower test weight grains. Therefore, combine operators may easily overfill trucks when filling them to the usual volumes. Further, harvesters may need to recalibrate their truck “full” lines (based on volume) if grain test weights are higher.

Department of Transportation fines for overweight grain trucks on the highway may exceed the value of the extra grain being hauled. So, especially when grain prices are lower and test weights are higher, it makes sense to check truck load weights prior to the loaded vehicles travelling on the highway. Also, truck drivers may need to communicate to combine operators if trucks are being overloaded.

Nebraska Soybean Board to Hold November Meeting

The Nebraska Soybean Board (NSB) will hold its quarterly board of directors meeting Nov. 20–21 at the Lincoln Marriott Cornhusker Hotel. Board members will elect officers for the coming year and conduct other organizational business. The annual meeting with the Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska (A-FAN) will be conducted during the Nov. 20 session.

Also on Nov. 20, board members will hear reports on biodiesel and clean fuels, climate/weather and herbicide and Soybean Management Field Days. Researchers from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln will provide updates on current research projects.

Day 2 will feature updates from UNL, the United Soybean Board, the American Soybean Association and the Nebraska Soybean Association.

Checkoff helps bring innovative soy-based tire to market

This fall when Goodyear introduces its Assurance WeatherReady tires for passenger vehicles, soybean farmers may want to pay attention to their newest customer. That’s because this all-season, innovative line of tires was made possible in part by the soy checkoff. The tires feature a soy-based rubber compound, bringing forward yet another market opportunity for soybean oil and, in return, a profit opportunity for soybean farmers.

“Goodyear and the soy checkoff share something special: a commitment to innovation,” says John Motter, United Soybean Board chair and farmer from Jenera, Ohio. “When we started working with them more than six years ago, it was just an idea, a way to build demand for soybean oil. Now, we have a tire that shows what soy can do on the road.”

Goodyear’s interest in soybean oil included a look at sustainability, a priority for many corporations throughout the United States; however, what they found was a competitive advantage – rubber compounds made with soybean oil remained soft at lower temperatures, leading to enhanced traction in dry, wet and winter conditions. Thus the name, WeatherReady.

“As we develop great products that anticipate and respond to the needs of consumers, soybean oil was one of the technologies enabling us to meet a challenging performance goal,” said Eric Mizner, Goodyear’s director of global material science.

A product advantage is something that is news to soybean farmers’ ears, as this market is just beginning.

“Businesses looking to use soy, even if for sustainable purposes, want to see not only a price-competitive product, but one that functions the same or better than their original product,” says Motter. “That’s why the checkoff works with companies such as Goodyear to test soybean oil and confirm its characteristics, so we can increase demand for our product and ultimately increase our profit opportunities.”

Goodyear’s Assurance WeatherReady tire will be widely available in September 2017, offered in a wide range of sizes, covering 77 percent of cars, minivans and SUVs on the road today.

Hub Int'l to Acquire Wells Fargo Insurance's Crop Business

Hub International Limited, a leading global insurance brokerage, announced that it has signed a purchase agreement to acquire the assets of Wells Fargo Insurance, Inc.'s crop insurance broker business (Wells Fargo Crop). Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

With offices in South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska and Indiana, Wells Fargo Crop Insurance Agency offers insurance solutions to protect agriculture-related operations. Representing the top crop insurance providers, Wells Fargo Crop provides insurance brokerage services for more than 130 types of crops, plus standard federal multi-peril and crop hail policies. It also helps farmers protect their operations with programs such as revenue protection and state-specific offerings.

Rene LeVeaux, President of Hub International Mountain States Limited (Hub Mountain), said, "Hub Mountain is aggressively investing in its crop and agriculture business. This acquisition will position Hub Mountain as one of the largest crop brokers in the Midwest and Northwest. As such, we will continue to provide additional resources to ensure our crop and agriculture clients receive the best products and service to protect their operations."

Following the acquisition, the Wells Fargo Crop team members will join Hub Mountain, continuing to service and support clients. Jeff Kemink, National Crop Insurance Manager of Wells Fargo Crop, and Jean Hinsverk, Assistant VP and Operations Manager, will join Hub Mountain in leadership roles. Kemink will report to LeVeaux and Hinsverk directly to Kemink with a close partnership with Wayne Dauwen, COO of Hub Mountain.

CHS reports fiscal year-end results and announces FY 2018 priorities

CHS today reported net income of $127.9 million for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2017, compared to net income of $424.2 million for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2016. Consolidated revenues totaled $31.9 billion for fiscal 2017, approximately a five percent increase over consolidated revenues of $30.3 billion for fiscal 2016.

“It’s been a challenging year, but we’re committed to meeting the long-term needs of our cooperative owners and customers. We will continue to take prudent actions to ensure the company is well positioned for future opportunities,” said CHS President and Chief Executive Officer Jay Debertin.

For fiscal 2017, CHS experienced a loss before income taxes of $54.8 million, down from income before income taxes of $419.9 million in fiscal 2016, reflecting significant charges that relate to a Brazilian trading partner entering into bankruptcy-like proceedings under Brazilian law, intangible and fixed asset impairments, and bad debt and loan loss reserve charges, of which a significant portion relate to a single large producer borrower.

“As fiscal 2018 unfolds, CHS is focusing on three key priorities: strengthen relationships with owners and customers, sharpen focus on operational excellence, and restore financial flexibility,” Debertin said. “I’m happy to report that we’ve seen progress on these priorities already. We are making significant headway towards managing credit risk consistently across the organization and are leveraging our ongoing asset review to drive decisions that will further strengthen our balance sheet.”

For fiscal year 2017 ending on Aug. 31, 2017, reporting segments results are:
• Energy: Year-over-year income before income taxes declined 72 percent to $76.9 million, primarily due to significantly reduced refining margins and a charge incurred for the write-off of assets associated with a cancelled project. These decreases were partially offset by higher demand for energy products, most significantly in refined fuels.

• Ag: The CHS Ag segment includes domestic and global grain marketing, wholesale crop nutrients, renewable fuels, local retail operations, and processing and food ingredients.  CHS Ag experienced a loss before income taxes of $230.8 million for fiscal 2017, compared to income before income taxes of $30.9 million for fiscal 2016. Grain marketing earnings decreased primarily due to charges associated with a trading partner in our Brazilian operations entering bankruptcy-like proceedings under Brazilian law. Country operations experienced a decrease in pretax income due to changes in reserves related to a single producer borrower and asset impairments, which were significantly offset by higher grain margins and volumes. A decrease in processing and food ingredients pretax income was primarily caused by long-lived asset impairment charges. Pretax income for crop nutrients and renewable fuels increased due to higher volumes and higher margins, respectively.

• Nitrogen Production: The Nitrogen Production segment is comprised of the company’s investment in CF Industries Nitrogen, LLC (“CF Nitrogen”), and generated income before income taxes of $29.7 million during fiscal 2017, compared to $34.1 million in fiscal 2016. The decrease is primarily due to downward pressures on the pricing of urea and urea ammonium nitrate, which are produced and sold by CF Nitrogen. The decrease was partially offset by a $30.5 million gain from an embedded derivative associated with CF Nitrogen.

• Food: The Foods segment is comprised of the company’s investment in Ventura Foods, LLC (“Ventura Foods”), and generated income before income taxes of $26.0 million during fiscal 2017, compared to $64.8 million the previous year. The decreases were primarily due to reduced margins at Ventura Foods.

• Corporate and Other: The Corporate and Other category is primarily comprised of the company’s wheat milling joint venture and Business Solutions operations. Year over year income before taxes increased to $43.4 million, compared to $14.7 million during fiscal 2016.

CWT Assists with 1.9 million Pounds of Cheese Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 16 requests for export assistance from members Dairy Farmers of America, Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold) and Tillamook County Creamery Association that have contracts to sell 1.942 million pounds (881 metric tons) of Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese to customers in the Asia, Central America the Middle East and North Africa. The product has been contracted for delivery in the period from November 2017 through February 2018.

So far this year, CWT has assisted member cooperatives who have contracts to sell 59.878 million pounds of American-type cheeses, and 4.701 million pounds of butter (82% milkfat) to 21 countries on five continents. The sales are the equivalent of 659.519 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.

Video series featuring real world E15 and flex fuel retailers debuts on

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) announced the first two in a series of fuel marketer-focused videos on the website today, part of a campaign to feature real world E15 and flex fuel retailer success stories. The series will address common marketer questions about E15 and flex fuels with straightforward answers from retailers who have already implemented E15 and flex fuels successfully.

In large cities like Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and small towns like Gothenburg, Nebraska, single-store and small chain retailers, along with some of the largest independent convenience store chains, are proving E15 and flex fuels are easy to implement, profitable, and helping marketers stand out from their competition. One video released today introduces the series and some of the people who will be featured in future campaign videos. All episodes are hosted by ACE Senior Vice President Ron Lamberty, a veteran of nearly 40 years of owning and operating c-stores.

The second video features Bob O’Connor, who became the first E15 and flex fuel retailer in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, last November when he added the fuels at one of his Jetz Convenience Centers. “Not only did we sell higher blends of ethanol and create a new profit center for ourselves, but what’s kind of an unexpected consequence of that — all our gasoline sales went up in volume, so it was an across-the-board lift,” O’Connor said. “And store volume increased at the same time.” Those results convinced Jetz to add E15 and flex fuels to a second location this spring.

O’Connor accompanied a “sneak preview” of the videos at ACE’s booth at the National Association of Convenience Stores’ (NACS) trade show in Chicago last month and provided “live and in person” answers to other retailers’ E15 and flex fuel questions.

“The Flex Fuel Forward campaign recognizes marketers trust the experience and opinions of other marketers. They want to hear from station owners who have already ‘been there and done that,’” Lamberty said. “Thousands of stations across the country are now selling E15 and flex fuels, and they aren’t doing it as a favor to anybody, they’re doing it because they make more money.”

The video series and will be promoted through paid advertising in print and online c-store industry publications and websites.

Friday November 10 Ag News

2017 Census of Agriculture

Nebraska's farmers and ranchers have the opportunity to represent agriculture in their communities and industry by taking part in the 2017 Census of Agriculture. Conducted every five years by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the census, recently mailed to farmers and ranchers, is a complete count of all U.S. farms, ranches and those who operate them.

Completed surveys are due Feb. 5, 2018.

"The Census of Agriculture remains the only source of uniform, comprehensive, and impartial agriculture data for every county in the nation," said NASS Northern Plains Regional Director Dean Groskurth. "As such, census results are relied upon heavily by those who serve farmers and rural communities, including federal, state and local governments, agribusinesses, trade associations, extension educators, researchers, and farmers and ranchers themselves."

The Census of Agriculture highlights land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, income and expenditures, and other topics. NASS defines a farm as any place from which $1,000 or more of agricultural products were produced and sold, or normally would have been sold, during the census year (2017).

For more information about the 2017 Census, visit

Beginning farmers and ranchers benefit from act introduced this week in Congress

On Wednesday, the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act was introduced in Congress by Reps. Tim Walz (D-MN) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE).

The bill is to ensure the 2018 farm bill focuses on the future of American agriculture by driving investment toward programs and policies that create opportunities for the next generation of farmers and ranchers.

The Center for Rural Affairs understands the challenges beginning farmers and ranchers face, and has endorsed the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act.

According to Anna Johnson, Center policy program associate, the average age of today’s farmer is 58 years old. Over the course of the next five years (the duration of the next farm bill), nearly 100 million acres of farmland are predicted to change hands.

“While some retiring farmers and ranchers will pass their land and operations to their children or other relatives, many are heading toward retirement without a succession plan in place,” Johnson said. “And, beginning farmers taking over lack guidance. We need to support policies that ensure they have the necessary tools and resources to be successful.”

The bill expands beginning farmer and rancher access to affordable land; empowers producers with the skills needed to succeed in today's agricultural economy; ensures equitable access to financial capital and federal crop insurance; and encourages commitment to conservation and land stewardship.

“We stand with the congressional sponsors of this legislation in supporting beginning farmers and ranchers,” said Johnson. “The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act should be included in the 2018 farm bill.”

Lindsay Corp. to Senate Committee: Better Rural Broadband Needed

Tim Hassinger, president and CEO of Nebraska-based Lindsay Corporation, Omaha, offered testimony during a hearing conducted by the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. The hearing, titled Advancing the Internet of Things in Rural America, focused on the benefits of the Internet of Things (IoT) in rural communities and the infrastructure needs necessary to advance the IoT market to ensure rural America has access to products and devices that are driving the digital economy.

"Like all business owners, farmers in rural communities need the ability to go online," Hassinger said. "The Internet fuels the innovative, advanced technology that will help America's farmers meet the food, fuel and fiber needs of our rapidly growing global population."

Hassinger's testimony contends that with reliable, high-speed Internet access, farmers can take advantage of tools that deliver hyper-local weather forecasts, real time data on soil moisture conditions and GPS for planting and irrigation management. They can also take advantage of a myriad of emerging technologies available from Lindsay Corporation and other American manufacturers. The testimony further explains that these innovations enable efficiencies through remote data collection, transfer and analysis from connected devices like soil moisture sensors, weather stations and cloud-based tools.

"At Lindsay Corporation, we are developing and deploying technologies to help growers produce more with less. For example, our FieldNET and FieldNET Advisor remote irrigation management and decision support tools help farmers decide precisely when, where and how much to irrigate -- to help them maximize yields while reducing overwatering and related input costs and nutrient losses," Hassinger said. "But we know the technology is only as good as the farmer's ability to access it."

According to the Federal Communications Commission Broadband Access Report, an estimated 39 percent of the rural population (23.4 million Americans) lack access to broadband that meets today's benchmark speeds of 25 Mbps for downloads and 3 Mbps for uploads. By contrast, only 4 percent of urban Americans lack access to 25/3 Mbps broadband.

"While cities and municipalities typically have access to several high-speed Internet service providers, that access often ends at the city limits. Those living in rural communities must depend on radio networks, satellite or cell service -- all of which typically operate at lower speeds, limiting connectivity," Hassinger said. "All farmers are faced with the pressure to increase yields while conserving resources. The lack of reliable broadband hinders their ability to adopt the new technologies that will help them optimize their operations and compete in the global marketplace."

Hassinger's full testimony can viewed at

KC Fed: Farm Economy Seeks Footing

The farm economy in the seven states of the Tenth Federal Reserve District continued to show signs of stabilizing in the third quarter of 2017, even as financial stress continued to build and income continued to decline, according to the Kansas City Fed's quarterly Survey of Agricultural Credit Conditions.

Farm income was down from a year ago, but the decrease was smaller than in recent years. Banker expectations of future declines in farm income moderated throughout the District in the third quarter.

Farmland values also continued to weaken, but only marginally. The value of nonirrigated and irrigated cropland declined 3 percent and 6 percent, respectively, from the previous year. Although the magnitudes of recent declines have yet to approach the magnitudes of the 1980s, the duration of the recent downturn in cropland values has approached that of the 1980s.

Agricultural credit conditions tightened alongside lower farm income and farmland values. Farm loan repayment rates declined for the 16th consecutive quarter, indicative of the prolonged downturn in the District's farm economy. Although lenders continued to report increasing financial strain among their agricultural borrowers, bankers indicated that a sharp increase in the sale of farm assets was unlikely.

Superintendent Named at Iowa State University Northwest Research and Demonstration Farm

A superintendent has been appointed for the Iowa State University Northwest Research and Demonstration Farm near Sutherland.

Terry Tuttle joined the farm in 2015 as an agricultural specialist, and had been interim superintendent since March before being named superintendent in September. He will continue to manage the farm and is the primary contact for research projects and the farm.

Tuttle is a Cherokee resident. He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and physical education in 1978 from Westmar College and worked for Pioneer Hi-Bred Inc. as a production leader supervisor and packaging foreman before joining the research farm.

Research at the farm includes corn and soybean production, water quality and other agricultural topics. The research results are reported annually and are available online at:

The farm is owned by the Northwest Iowa Experimental Association, which purchased the original tracts in 1954. The association leases the research farm to the Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station to operate.

IFBF's 'Take Root' farm transition workshops help bring the next generation to the family farm

Sustainability and transitioning the family farm from one generation to the next is an important goal for farm families, especially as families look to bring the next generation into their operation. Iowa Farm Bureau’s Take Root program provides a valued service to farm families and helps connect them with the necessary resources to start the process and put a plan in place.      

Since the program’s inception in 2013, more than 5,000 members have participated in Take Root workshops held throughout the state as they began to navigate the farm succession planning process. 

“Take Root is more than just estate and transition planning,” said Amanda Van Steenwyk, farm business development manager at the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF).  “Take Root provides customized strategies and resources that will improve family communication, assist in navigating through the emotional obstacles, and identify the business and estate planning tools that correspond with transferring the family business to the next generation.”

The program consists of two three-hour workshops, where attendees will receive information and resources useful in developing a managed, comprehensive approach to family farm succession.

Three new Take Root sessions are scheduled for late 2017 and early 2018.
 -  Nov. 27 and Dec. 11 in Scott County at the Eldridge Community Center, 400 16th Ave. in Eldridge.
 -  Nov. 30 and Dec. 14 in Clayton Co. at the Farmersburg Comm. Cntr, 109 S. Main St. in Farmersburg.
 -  Dec. 18 and Jan. 11 in Cass County at the Cass County Community Center, 805 W. 10th St. in Atlantic. 

Workshop participants will have the opportunity to ask questions of attorneys, accountants, and other professionals serving key roles in the farm succession process, something Van Steenwyk says has been very valuable for families attending the workshops.     

During the initial workshop, families will learn how to start the conversation about farm transition planning.  “We know it’s an emotional process,” Van Steenwyk says.  “The farm wasn’t created in a day, so we know there are emotional ties that we will work through as well.”

During the second workshop, families will interact with a panel of farm business experts who will provide insight on estate, tax and financial planning, leases and tenant qualities, and beginning farmer opportunities.

“The workshops are designed to answer any questions families have regarding farm business transitions and helping to provide a framework on how to carry on the family’s farming legacy,” Van Steenwyk says.

Participation in the Take Root workshops are a member benefit for Iowa Farm Bureau members.  Non-members are welcome to attend for $55 per family.

For details on how to register for the Take Root workshops, go to

USDA to Measure Final '17 Crop Production, Stocks

The National Agricultural Statistics Service is encouraging producers to respond to two upcoming surveys -- the December Agricultural Survey and the County Agricultural Production Survey -- that are critical to row crop producers around the country. The results of the surveys help determine the structure of the 2017 farm payment and risk management programs administered by USDA's Farm Service Agency and Risk Management Agency.

"We need producers to respond to NASS surveys and respond accurately," says NASS Agricultural Statistics Board Chair Joseph L. Parsons. "Farm programs that are important to row crop producers rely on farmer-reported NASS data. When enough producers do not respond to the surveys, NASS is not able to publish data. Without these data, the Farm Service Agency and Risk Management Agency may not have all of the information that is needed to base the programs that ultimately serve the row crop producers. Producers can lose out when there is no data to determine accurate rates for loans, disaster payments, crop insurance price elections, and more."

The County Agricultural Production Survey will go to 170,000 row crop producers beginning November 3. Responses are due by January 15, 2018, and NASS will publish county-level results for corn, soybeans, sunflowers, and sorghum on February 22, 2018, in the Quick Stats database. These county-level data are critical for USDA farm payment determinations.

The December Agricultural Survey will go to 84,000 producers beginning November 29. Responses are due by December 21, 2017, and NASS publishes results in the Crop Production 2017 Summary report on January 12, 2018. Information collected in this survey also feeds into the county estimates for row crops. The survey also asks about grain stocks stored on-farm.

When producers receive the surveys, they have the option to respond using the secure online questionnaire or return it by mail. NASS safeguards the privacy of all respondents and publishes only aggregate data, ensuring that no individual operation or producer can be identified.


Widespread media speculation circulated this week about the possible revival of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. Following reports that a revival of the agreement without the United States was imminent, more recent coverage suggests that the agreement has again stalled based on concerns from Canada.

In the meantime, following remarks by President Trump during his visit this week, Japan balked at the terms of a possible bilateral trade agreement with the United States. Its trade minister said that his country would not enter into an FTA discussion simply to lower the U.S. trade deficit with Japan. Japan continues to direct its focus on TPP-11 and an agreement in principle formed with the European Union that could take effect in 2018 or 2019. 


President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae announced this week that the process for amending the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) will be “expedited.” The announcement comes nearly one month after the initial notice that the two countries would work to amend KORUS, easing industry concerns over termination of the trade deal.

KORUS has turned into a very important agreement for pork producers.  Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes estimates that if KORUS were terminated, live hog prices would fall by 3.8 percent, or $4.71 per animal, and the United States would lose the South Korean pork market to the European Union, Chile and other countries with preferential trade access. 


U.S. Department of Agriculture Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Affairs Ted McKinney last week led an agribusiness trade mission to India in an effort to increase U.S. agricultural export levels there. During his visit, McKinney urged New Delhi to allow U.S. pork imports into the country.

The National Pork Producers Council has been working for many years to get U.S. pork into India by eliminating that country’s non-scientific trade barriers. India benefits from the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), a U.S. preferential trade program providing duty-free access to countries shipping goods to the United States.

McKinney made some headway. “There is a great deal of interest in providing pork as long as it's allowed. Talks are going on in that regard. The progress report is good,” he said at the conclusion of his trip. India could begin allowing U.S. pork into the country as early as next year.

Discovery Channel Documentary Spotlights Biodiesel

They’ve been following us around for almost two years. Now, finally, the story of biodiesel will be shared with a large, national audience as Discovery’s HOT GREASE makes its on-air debut Thursday, November 16th.

“I don’t know if the film crew fully appreciated the scope of what they were stepping into when biodiesel first piqued their interest,” said Jessica Robinson, Director of Communications at the National Biodiesel Board. “Not surprisingly, biodiesel’s story - the amazing entrepreneurs and dedicated workers who make that story so powerful - pulled them in. HOT GREASE will share a glimpse into that story with Discovery viewers, showcasing what the industry is about and what we’re up against.”

In its broadcast release, Discovery previewed the story of HOT GREASE as: “Set in Houston, Texas in the shadow of the nation's oil industry, HOT GREASE tells the surprising story of how the biodiesel industry is turning an ostensibly worthless raw material—spent kitchen grease—into a renewable energy source capable of fueling cars, buses and fleets of trucks throughout the country. But, powerful forces are working to stop that from happening. Featuring innovators, entrepreneurs, grease collectors and supporters like Senator Al Franken (D-MN) and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), HOT GREASE follows the battle for biodiesel’s future and its very survival.”

Footage from National Biodiesel Board member meetings and events appears in the film, as well as interviews with several familiar faces in biodiesel, including Robinson; former Senator Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) and Gene Gebolys, founder and CEO of World Energy.

The Discovery Impact documentary HOT GREASE debuts Thursday, November 16 at 9pm ET/PT on Discovery, following its premiere at the prestigious DOC NYC festival. The film will be available on Discovery Go and Discovery On Demand on November 17.

“Biodiesel is a solution to many of our country’s biggest issues—job losses, air pollution and energy insecurity,” said Sen. Dorgan. “This fuel embodies the ingenuity and entrepreneurship that this nation is all about, so I’m glad that there is now a new way to elevate biodiesel awareness with the American people.”  

“Biodiesel is a driving economic force for many rural communities and supports more than 64,000 good-paying, clean energy jobs across the country. This is an outstanding opportunity for Discovery viewers to get a glimpse into that industry and what it represents. For us, this is an exceptional platform to bring biodiesel to the general consumer audience in a whole new way,” said Robinson.

HOT GREASE is directed and produced by Sam Wainwright Douglas, Paul Lovelace and Jessica Wolfson. The crew is set to make an appearance on the Main Stage and the Biodiesel Conference & Expo in January.


Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), a national dairy cooperative owned by family farmers, recently celebrated the opening of DFA Garden City, a new, state-of-the-art dairy ingredients plant located in Southwest Kansas.

DFA Garden City is a partnership between DFA and 12 of its member farms in Southwest Kansas and will help support the industry’s continued growth in the region, as well as meet rising demand for U.S. dairy both domestically and globally.

“As a Cooperative owned by family farmers, we are always looking for opportunities to help grow the dairy industry and provide value to our dairy farmer-owners,” says Rick Smith, president and chief executive officer at DFA. “This investment not only fills an important need for the region by providing a local home for DFA members’ milk, which was previously being transported to other areas of the country, but it also supports and enhances our global ingredients strategy, which benefits all our farmer members.”

“Dairy is a growing and thriving industry for the state of Kansas,” says Gov. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.). “With this new plant, Kansas will play an even bigger role in helping to feed the world.”

Construction started on the Garden City facility in October 2015, and the first load of milk was delivered in late September 2017. The plant, which has brought 66 new jobs to the area, produces whole and skim milk powder, nonfat dry milk powder and cream, and receives approximately 4 million pounds of milk a day from regional farms.

“As a farmer invested in this plant, it’s exciting because we’re connecting our family farms to family tables in a truly sustainable and traceable way,” says Kansas dairy farmer Dan Senestraro, who also serves on the Board of Directors for DFA. “This plant allows us to trace the product from the time it leaves the farm as raw milk to the time it arrives at the store, which is important to many consumers today.”

Beyond the traceable aspects of the product, DFA Garden City also focuses on sustainability, including operating as a water-neutral facility. With this process, all the water utilized at the plant is recycled and ultimately used to water landscaping and parks throughout the city.

During the open house ceremony and ribbon cutting, representatives from DFA were joined by Gov. Sam Brownback and Garden City Mayor Melvin Dale to mark the official opening of the state-of-the-art dairy ingredients facility. Rick Smith and DFA Chairman of the Board Randy Mooney thanked those individuals who have been instrumental in the plant’s development, including the 12 DFA farm family owners and members who invested in the facility.

Thursday November 9 Ag News


Based on November 1 conditions, Nebraska's 2017 corn crop is forecast at 1.66 billion bushels, down 2 percent from last year's production, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Area to be harvested for grain, at 9.30 million acres, is down 3 percent from a year ago. Yield is forecast at 179 bushels per acre, up 1 bushel from last year.

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

Sorghum production is forecast at 14.4 million bushels, down 19 percent from last year. Area for harvest, at 150,000 acres, is 14 percent below 2016. Yield is forecast at 96 bushels per acre, down 6 bushels from last year.

Sugarbeet production is forecast at 1.44 million tons, up 2 percent from last year. Area for harvest, at 44,600 acres, is down 6 percent from 2016. Record yield is forecast at 32.3 tons per acre, up 2.4 tons from last year.

Potato acres of 19,000 were planted in 2017, up 15 percent with harvest set at 18,900 acres, up 15 percent. Production is forecast at 8.88 million cwt, up 20 percent from last year. Yield is estimated at 470 cwt per acre, up 20 cwt from last year.


Iowa corn production is forecast at 2.54 billion bushels according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Crop Production report. Based on conditions as of November 1, yields are expected to average 197 bushels per acre, up 6 bushels per acre from the October 1 forecast but down 6 bushels per acre from last year. If realized, this will be the second highest yield and production on record behind 2016. Acres harvested for grain remain unchanged at 12.9 million acres.

Soybean production is forecast at 557 million bushels. If realized, this will be the second highest production on record behind last year’s 566 million bushels. The yield is forecast at 56.0 bushels per acre, unchanged from the October 1 forecast, but down 4.0 bushels per acre from 2016. If realized, this will be the third highest yield on record, behind 2016 and 2015. Area harvested remained unchanged at 9.95 million acres.

All crop forecasts in this report are based on November 1 conditions and do not reflect weather effects since that time. The next corn and soybean production estimates will be published in the Crop Production – 2017 Summary report which will be released on January 12, 2018.

USDA:  Corn Production Up 2 Percent from October Forecast

Soybean Production Down Less Than 1 Percent
Cotton Production Up 1 Percent

Corn production is forecast at 14.6 billion bushels, down 4 percent from last year but up 2 percent from the October forecast. Based on conditions as of November 1, yields are expected to average 175.4 bushels per acre, up 3.6 bushels from the October forecast and up 0.8 bushel from 2016. If realized, this will be the highest yield on record for the United States. Area harvested for grain is forecast at 83.1 million acres, unchanged from the previous estimate but down 4 percent from 2016.

Soybean production is forecast at a record 4.43 billion bushels, down less than 1 percent from October but up 3 percent from last year. Based on November 1 conditions, yields are expected to average 49.5 bushels per acre, unchanged from last month but down 2.5 bushels from last year. Area for harvest in the United States is forecast at a record high 89.5 million acres, unchanged from last month. 

All cotton production is forecast at 21.4 million 480-pound bales, up 1 percent from October and up 25 percent from last year. Yield is expected to average 900 pounds per harvested acre, up 11 pounds from last month and up 33 pounds from last year. If realized, the cotton yield forecast for the Nation will be the highest yield on record. Upland cotton production is forecast at 20.7 million 480-pound bales, up 24 percent from 2016. Pima cotton production, forecast at 727,000 bales, was carried forward from an earlier forecast.

Lt. Gov. Foley Signs Memorandum of Understanding in China

Wednesday, Lt. Governor Mike Foley and Director Wang of Hebei Province Department of Human Resources signed a memorandum of understanding to increase exchange of information and build a better relationship between Hebei Province and the State of Nebraska.  Hebei is an important center of agriculture and industry in Eastern China.

During his meeting with Director Wang, Lt. Governor Foley welcomed Hebei officials to come visit Nebraska and asked for support from the provincial government in promoting Nebraska as a destination for investment.  Both sides expressed their desire to increase trade, exchange ideas, and work together to develop better relations.

Lt. Governor Foley has been travelling in China since November 5th in order to promote Nebraska goods and develop closer business ties between Nebraska and China.  On November 5th, Lt. Governor Foley addressed the opening ceremony of the China Agricultural Fair in Yangling, Shaanxi along with dignitaries from China, Europe, Asia, and Africa.  Approximately 300,000 people attended the first day of the China Agricultural Fair.  After attending the China Agricultural Fair, Lt. Governor Foley travelled to Beijing and surrounding areas November 6-8th.

In addition to attending the China Agricultural Fair, Lt. Governor Mike Foley has been meeting with business and government representatives from across China to build relationships and encourage more business and investment in Nebraska.  The Lt. Governor will travel to Shanghai on November 9th, and return to the United States on November 11th.

USMEF Lauds USTR for a Definitive WTO Win on Indonesia’s Beef Import Requirements

Today, the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled in favor of the United States in a dispute with Indonesia over its complex and opaque import requirements for beef and beef products. The WTO report found that all 18 of Indonesia’s import measures challenged by the United States were inconsistent with WTO rules and obligations. Today’s ruling marks the end of the WTO dispute settlement process and is expected to open up significant new export opportunities for the U.S. beef industry in the Indonesian market.

U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) CEO Philip Seng said, “We are extremely pleased with the outcome of this case and wish to thank the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) for its effective presentation of the legal arguments against Indonesia’s import controls. The WTO ruling is confirmation of USTR’s decision to bring the case and supports the need for a strong and transparent dispute settlement system in the WTO.”

Seng said USMEF sees Indonesia as a very promising market for the future. It is the fourth most populous country in the world, but with per capita beef consumption of only 3.4 kg Indonesia has almost unlimited potential to become one of the world’s largest beef importing countries. “Today’s WTO report sets the stage for expansion of Indonesia’s beef market. We are excited about the opportunity to play a big part in its development by introducing U.S. beef to a much wider group of Indonesian customers.”

Last year U.S. beef and beef variety meats exports to Indonesia were 10,783 mt valued at $39.4 million, making it our 9th largest export market by volume and 15th largest by value. Through September of this year, exports to Indonesia were 9,934 mt valued at $36.6 million. This marked a 96 percent increase from the first nine months of 2016 in volume and a 78 percent increase in value.

Indonesia is currently the third-largest export market for U.S. beef hearts following Mexico and Hong Kong.

Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Delay of Effective Date

USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is delaying the effective date of the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices (OLPP) final rule published in the Federal Register on January 19, 2017.

During the course of reviewing the OLPP Rule, in addition to a question about the scope of the statutory authority, a material error in the record was discovered. USDA is delaying the rule so that important questions, such as the likely costs and benefits, can be more fully assessed through the notice and comment process prior to making a final decision on the direction of the rule.

The OLPP final rule amends the organic livestock and poultry production requirements by adding new provisions for livestock handling and transport for slaughter and avian living conditions; and expands and clarifies existing requirements covering livestock care and production practices and mammalian living conditions.

More information is available in the November 9, 2017 Federal Register Notice 2017-24675.

Conaway on Trump Administration’s Delay of Overreaching Organic Livestock Rule

Today, House Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway (TX-11) made the following remarks in response to the Trump administration’s decision to delay the effective date of the controversial and overreaching final rule on organic livestock and poultry practices that was pushed through in the final hours of the Obama administration:

“The organic livestock rule goes far beyond the scope of the National Organic Program, threatening animal health and food safety, and jeopardizing the livelihoods of numerous farmers and ranchers. While I believe withdrawing this costly and unworkable regulation is the best way to provide certainty to livestock and poultry producers across the nation, I do appreciate that Sec. Perdue and his team are taking extra time to evaluate the full implications of the rule. I am hopeful the Trump administration’s commitment to regulatory reform will result in the continued roll-back of burdensome regulations like this one”

The organic livestock rule, initially proposed in April of 2016, vastly expands the list of required animal welfare practices for organic livestock production. Chief among the arbitrarily prescriptive requirements are mandates on outdoor access for poultry that are opposed by numerous industry experts due to the increased risk of diseases for the animals and food-borne illness for consumers.

 Delay Sought For Reporting Farm Air Emissions

With a Nov. 15 deadline looming, the National Pork Producers Council and the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association today filed a brief in support of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s motion to delay a mandate that farmers report certain air emissions from manure on their farms.

In April, a federal court, ruling on a lawsuit brought by environmental activist groups against EPA, rejected an exemption for farms from reporting “hazardous” 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.

EPA had exempted farms from CERCLA reporting, reasoning that while emissions might exceed thresholds that would trigger responses under the law such responses would be “unnecessary, impractical and unlikely.” The agency limited EPCRA reporting to large, confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), requiring them to make one-time reports. Under the decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, all livestock farms, not just CAFOs, are required to report.

Between 60,000 and 100,000 livestock and poultry farmers will need to file air emissions reports with the U.S. Coast Guard National Response Center (NRC), beginning Nov. 15, as well as written reports with their regional EPA office within 30 days of reporting to the NRC.

Some farmers already have tried filing reports, but the NRC system has been overwhelmed. NRC operators are refusing to accept reports for more than a single farm per call because of concern that the phone systems will be tied up for non-emergency purposes. In one instance, an NRC operator sent notices out to more than 20 state and federal response authorities, including the Department of Homeland Security, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a state policy agency, after receiving a phone call.

In seeking a second delay in implementing the CERCLA reporting mandate – the original filing deadline technically was the day the federal court threw out the exemption – EPA, NPPC and the poultry and egg association are asking the court to give the agency more time to “provide farmers more specific and final guidance before they must estimate and report emissions” and to develop a system that will enable farmers to comply with their legal obligations.

In Final Decision, Commerce Department Confirms Unfair Subsidies by Argentina, Indonesia of Biodiesel Imports

Today the Commerce Department issued a final determination in a case brought by the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) Fair Trade Coalition regarding subsidized biodiesel imports from Argentina and Indonesia. Earlier this year, the Commerce Department made a preliminary finding that Argentina and Indonesia provide subsidies to their biodiesel producers in violation of international trade rules. Today’s decision cements that earlier finding, and the cash deposit rates required of importers of biodiesel will be updated to reflect this final determination.

“The biodiesel industry has been injured for the past several years due to unfairly traded imports from Argentina and Indonesia. We appreciate that these unfair subsidies are being addressed, so we can fix this particular obstacle to continued growth in the domestic industry,” said Doug Whitehead, chief operating officer of the National Biodiesel Board. “Though not yet over, this is a step forward in ensuring the product that supports nearly 64,000 jobs is not undercut by unfair imports.”

To reflect the final determination, the Commerce Department will update the cash deposit rates that importers of Argentinian and Indonesian biodiesel must pay on biodiesel imported from those countries. The cash deposit rates range from 71.45 to 72.28 percent for biodiesel from Argentina, and 34.45 to 64.73 percent for biodiesel from Indonesia, depending on the particular foreign producer/exporter involved.

The NBB Fair Trade Coalition filed these petitions to address a flood of subsidized and dumped imports from Argentina and Indonesia that has resulted in market share losses and depressed prices for domestic producers. Biodiesel imports from Argentina and Indonesia surged by 464 percent from 2014 to 2016, taking 18.3 percentage points of market share from U.S. manufacturers. Imports of biodiesel from Argentina again jumped 144.5 percent following the filing of the petitions. These surging, low-priced imports prevented producers from earning adequate returns on their substantial investments and caused U.S. producers to pull back on further investments to serve a growing market.

To be successful in securing relief, a party must file not only with the Commerce Department, but also with the International Trade Commission (ITC). The Commerce Department determines whether the imports are subsidized and/or dumped, while the ITC determines whether the domestic industry has been injured by reason of such unfairly traded imports. The Commerce Department also determines the margin of duties to impose on imports based on the degree of dumping and subsidies found.

Today, November 9, the ITC is holding a public hearing in Washington, DC, beginning at 9:40AM ET, at which coalition members will testify before the ITC commissioners. The ITC is scheduled to hold its final injury vote on subsidies on December 5th. If the ITC’s final injury vote in December is affirmative, the Commerce Department will publish final countervailing duty orders on the question of subsidies.

The coalition filed both antidumping and countervailing duty petitions with the Commerce Department. Antidumping petitions address concerns whether imports coming into the United States are priced below fair value. Countervailing duty petitions address subsidies provided by foreign governments benefiting imported product. Today’s decision is on the subsidies question.

The antidumping investigations are following a different schedule: Commerce is scheduled to issue final antidumping determinations in early January, which would be followed by another ITC injury vote as it relates to dumped imports.

Ways and Means Committee Passes Tax-Reform Bill After Striking Self-Employment Provision

In advancing their tax-reform bill to the House floor for debate, the House Ways and Means Committee removed language that would have subjected rental income to self-employment taxes.

The topic had become a major sticking point in the tax-reform package for agriculture because it would have taxed more than 1.8 million farmland landlords, including farmers who lease land back to their family partnerships.

"When H.R. 1 was introduced, we realized that it would expand the types of income subject to self-employment tax, including for rental of land. That would have meant that landowners who were renting cropland for farming would have seen an increase in the self-employment taxes," said Brad Palen, principal and a CPA with K-Coe Isom, an agricultural accounting firm. "After we met with House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway and expressed our concerns, we were pleased to see this provision removed by the Ways and Means Committee."

K-Coe Isom stated its staff met with House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway, R-Texas, along with staff from the American Farm Bureau Federation and the accounting firm of Clifton Larson Allen. The accounting firms explained their concerns about the impact that the self-employment changes would have had on farmers.

"Chairman Conaway understood our concerns and said he would help make sure that farmers weren't hurt by this self-employment tax provision," Palen said. "He clearly stayed true to his word today and helped avoid what would have been a significant tax increase on many farmers."

The tax-reform bill was voted out of the House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday afternoon on a party-line vote as House Republicans seek to get the legislation to the full House, potentially as early as next week. The bill seeks to cut a net $1.5 trillion over 10 years with an overhaul of corporate tax rates and simplification of personal taxes.

Soil Health Partnership applauds No-till November

The Soil Health Partnership is joining in on some fall fashion advice for farmers: keep the stubble this fall. Stubble in the field looks great—plus it’s good for erosion control and overall soil health.

During a month-long campaign called “No-Till November,” the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service —a supporter of the Soil Health Partnership—is encouraging farmers to “keep the stubble” on their harvested crop fields.

More than half of the farms enrolled in the SHP practice some sort of no-till, including Dan Roehrborn, who farms in Sheboygan Falls, Wisc. He says he’s been practicing no-till on bean acres for about 10 years.

“We save money on fuel and equipment by leaving it alone. Our no-till ground doesn’t erode as much, and is easier to work with in the spring,” Roehrborn says. “We like how the ground behaves when it’s time to plant and it doesn’t require as much work for the next year’s crop.”

The NRCS campaign is mirrored after the national cancer awareness “No Shave November” campaign. “No-Till November” encourages farmers to keep a different kind of stubble by parking tillage equipment in their machine sheds this fall and keep crop stubble on their fields.

“The effects of reducing tillage is an important aspect of the long-term data we’re collecting on the real, working farms enrolled in our program,” said Nick Goeser, SHP director. “The novel research across our farm network will shed new light on how it improves farm profitability.”

SHP’s Angela Knuth farms near Mead, Neb. Several years ago, her farm implemented no-till on bean acres and uses strip-till on corn acres.

“We like the cost savings we’ve seen on no-till. We don’t have to own equipment and we don’t have to run it across the field,” said Knuth. “We have been pleased to see no decrease in yield. We’re hoping to see that continued decrease in our cost of production and improvement in the soil tilth and microbe activity.”

Oklahoma Beef Checkoff Fails

A vote to increase the Oklahoma beef checkoff by $1 has failed with 2,506 opposing the increase and 1,998 backing the measure.

The debate leading up to the vote was an acrimonious affair among various groups. The outcome led to praise by RCALF-USA and the Organization of Competitive Markets, while leaders in the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association complained about out-of-state activism working to defeat the referendum.

"As a rancher, I face challenges every day," said Weston Givens, rancher and president of the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association. "Unfortunately, those daily challenges are nothing compared to the growing challenges that our industry faces such as: aggressive anti-meat activist groups trying to remove beef from the menu and misleading claims about food safety and animal care. It is disheartening that the Oklahoma Beef Checkoff was defeated, but I'm still proud of the strong collaborative effort of the Vote Yes Coalition and our grassroots campaign."

Bill Bullard, CEO for R-CALF USA, said his group was proud to stand with Oklahoma members to defeat the measure. "It is good to know that in America, if you stand up for what is right, you can still win."

Oklahoma farmer and OCM board member Paul Muegge added, "With my years of experience fighting corporate agriculture, I knew we had to stand up to OCA. They are nothing more than the modern-day cattle barons trying to ride rough shod over family farmers and ranchers and using our government to do so."

OCM and R-CALF USA had asked USDA to launch an investigation into the checkoff election and called for an audit of the Oklahoma Beef Council following the theft of $2.6 million by a former employee who pled guilty to fraud charges.

The $1 federal checkoff sends 50 cents to the Cattlemen's Beef Promotion and Research Board while 50 cents goes to state beef councils. Fifteen states also have a state-operated $1 checkoff: Alabama, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Washington.

EU Nations Again Fail to Agree on Continued Use of Glyphosate

(AP) -- European Union nations failed on Thursday to agree on the continued use of one of the world's most widely used weed killers, glyphosate, amid concerns about its possible links to cancer.

EU member nations met to discuss the issue Thursday following a European Parliament vote last month to limit an extension of the license for the weed killer -- used in chemical-giant Monsanto's popular Roundup herbicide -- to five years.

The European Commission has proposed a license extension of 10 years.

Many of the 28 member states that voted -- 14 countries -- were in favor of the commission's plan. Five countries abstained, and nine were against. But the votes weren't enough to renew the license, which expires on Dec. 15.

It's at least the third time EU countries have failed to secure an agreement.

Greens lawmaker Bart Staes said it's time "for the European Commission to accept that support for their proposals is not there."

He said: "The commission must do the right thing and ban this toxic substance."

Environmentalists have been seeking to ban glyphosate, which the World Health Organization's cancer agency said in 2015 is "probably carcinogenic to humans," while the EU's farmer's union wants a 15-year extension.

Banning glyphosate outright would shake Europe's agriculture sector to its foundations, so widely used is the product.

"Once again, we are left in a situation where no decision has been made on the re-authorization of glyphosate -- one of the safest plant protection products on the market which secures so much environmental benefit in terms of better soils and lower greenhouse gas emissions," said Guy Smith, from the British National Farmers' Union.

"We ask the commission to stand by its own science and regulatory procedure, and re-authorize glyphosate for the maximum period possible," he added.

For the moment, the European Commission plans to push ahead with its proposal. An appeals committee made up of member nations is expected to rule on the vote before the end of November, just a few weeks before the license runs out.

France's government has lobbied against a lengthy extension on use of the weed killer, despite protests from farmers who say it shouldn't be banned until there's a viable alternative.

French Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot, who rose to fame as the star of a TV nature show, said Wednesday that France would vote against any extension longer than three years.

"We are applying the precautionary principle," he said on BFM television. "We are not waiting for a list of tragic victims before we act."

French Health Minister Agnes Buzyn said Thursday on Radio Classique: "We absolutely must manage to abolish this pesticide. Research and development should find a less toxic substitute as quickly as possible."

Case IH Steiger Quadtrac 620 Tractor Sets New Performance Records for Maximum Pull and Fuel-efficient Horsepower in Nebraska Test Results

The Case IH Steiger® 620 tractor sets the record — whether wheeled or Quadtrac® — for best-in-class power and efficiency.

In recent tests at the Nebraska Tractor Test Laboratory (NTTL), the Steiger Quadtrac 620 tractor performed better than any other tracked tractor in areas of drawbar fuel efficiency, drawbar horsepower and maximum pull.1 This builds on record-setting results released for the Steiger 620 wheeled model earlier this year.2

“These results prove that Steiger tractors have the highest and most effective transfer of power to the ground,” said Mitch Kaiser, Case IH Steiger tractor marketing manager. “But it’s not just about feeling that power in the operator’s seat. An efficient transfer of power to the ground is important to pull larger implements, or pull the implements you already have, faster to cover more acres in a day.”

In newly released Nebraska Tractor Test Laboratory results, the Steiger® 620 tractor — whether wheeled or Quadtrac® — sets new performance records for best-in-class power and efficiency.

Efficient Power engine design

In many high-draft load conditions, Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) emissions technology can aid in providing fuel economy and power generation that surpasses competitive engines. Additionally, it allows the engine to run cleaner, which extends oil change intervals — 600 hours for Case IH versus 450 hours for most competitive units — thus reducing operating costs and helping to keep maintenance lower. Thanks to an efficient transmission and driveline, the tractor also delivers additional drawbar horsepower to increase productivity.

Proven four-track design

More than 20 years of industry-leading track technology can be found on every Steiger Quadtrac tractor, featuring four individually driven, positive drive oscillating tracks. These four-track systems include an exclusive Case IH five-axle design to distribute weight evenly and consistently. Each track maintains constant contact with the ground, giving producers a great ride, optimal pressure, superior flotation, increased traction and less compaction.

The NTTL results reflect the Case IH Customer Driven Product Design process, which includes focus groups and intensive testing by customers and engineers alike to ensure equipment is built for High-Efficiency Farming. This design has resulted in a standard variable rate steering system for smoother operation and exclusive four-point full-cab suspension for a more comfortable ride.

The NTTL is the officially designated tractor testing station for the United States and tests tractors according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) codes. Twenty-nine countries adhere to the OECD tractor test codes, with active test stations in 25 countries around the world.

Enogen® Feed hybrids energize beef and dairy rations, improve profit potential

Enogen® Feed corn hybrids from Syngenta can help beef and dairy producers improve crop production in the field and unlock the energy potential of their ration. With proven genetics and traits, Enogen Feed hybrids deliver excellent agronomic performance, and as grain or silage, are a valuable ration component that helps provide more available energy for cattle.

“Enogen Feed hybrids are unique in that they benefit beef and dairy operations in multiple ways to help increase profit potential,” said Duane Martin, commercial traits product lead, Syngenta. “It’s a simple switch. Incorporating Enogen Feed hybrids into beef and dairy operations is as easy as replacing the corn or silage currently grown and fed on-farm.”

In the field, Enogen Feed corn performs equal to or better than other high-performing corn hybrids1, with no additional agronomic management challenges2, unlike some silage-specific hybrids. Additionally, it offers producers the flexibility to chop for silage or harvest for grain.

When fed as grain or silage, Enogen Feed hybrids represent a step-change in starch and sugar availability, which helps improve digestibility and provides more available energy. Energy is a key component to maximizing beef or dairy production, and corn is an important energy source because it supplies starch, which is converted to sugar during digestion.

Wednesday November 8 Ag News

Cuming County Farm Service Agency Committee Elections to Begin; Producers to Receive Ballots Week of November 6th

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) County Executive Director Sarah Beck in Cuming County today announced that FSA will begin mailing ballots to eligible voters for the 2017 FSA county committee elections on Monday, November 6, 2017. Producers must return ballots to the Cuming County FSA office by Dec. 4, 2017, to ensure that their vote is counted.

“County committee members play an important role in their communities and provide a link between the agricultural community and USDA,” said Beck.

This year, Local Administrative Area 3 is up for election and the candidate in this year’s election is:

Vincent Meiergerd is nominated for Cuming County, to serve as a committee member. Meiergerd has produced corn, soybeans, and alfalfa for 35 years. He is an active member of the Cattlemen's Association.

Nearly 7,800 FSA county committee members serve FSA offices nationwide. Each committee has three to 11 elected members who serve three-year terms of office. One-third of county committee seats are up for election each year. County committee members apply their knowledge and judgment to help FSA make important decisions on its commodity support programs, conservation programs, indemnity and disaster programs, emergency programs and eligibility.

Producers must participate or cooperate in an FSA program to be eligible to vote in the county committee election. Approximately 1.9 million producers are currently eligible to vote. Farmers and ranchers who supervise and conduct the farming operations of an entire farm, but are not of legal voting age, also may be eligible to vote.

Farmers and ranchers will begin receiving their ballots the week of November 6, 2017. Ballots include the names of candidates running for the local committee election. FSA has modified the ballot, making it more easily identifiable and less likely to be overlooked. Voters who do not receive ballots in the coming week can pick one up at the Cuming County FSA office. Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked no later than Dec. 4, 2017. Newly elected committee members and their alternates will take office Jan. 1, 2018.

For more information, visit the FSA website at You may also contact the Cuming County FSA office at (402) 372-2451.

Northwest Iowa Field Day to Feature Sheep Grazing Cover Crops

Sheep producers and agribusiness staff are invited to a field day featuring ewes and cover crops on Nov. 28 in Plymouth County. The field day is sponsored by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Northwest Iowa Sheep Producers, Iowa Sheep Industry Association and the Iowa Sheep and Wool Promotion Board. ISU Extension and Outreach beef specialist Beth Doran organized the event.

“Cover crops have been used to stretch grazing in the fall and early spring for cattle, but less research has been conducted regarding their potential with sheep,” Doran said. “This field day features two northwest Iowa sheep producers who actively graze cover crops.”

The field day will begin at 10 a.m. at the Tyler Meyer farm, located at 2465 500th Street, Ireton. Meyer aerial-seeded a cereal rye and radish mix for his mature ewes to graze. He will share lessons he’s learned with fall and spring grazing.

In the afternoon, Travis Hawkins of Le Mars will share his experience with ewes grazing a blend of cereal rye, radishes, rape and turnips. In late August he aerial-seeded this mix into standing corn. His farm is located at 11363 Nature Ave.

The field day includes a noon lunch at the Craig Cooperative in Craig, and updates from the Northwest Iowa Sheep Producers Association and ISU Extension and Outreach. Registration is $5 per person, and is due Nov. 21. Register by using the event flyer registration form or download form from the Iowa Beef Center website. Complete and send to ISU Extension and Outreach Plymouth County, 251 12th St. SE, Le Mars, Iowa 51031, or call that office at 712-546-7835.

Attendees are encouraged to dress for winter conditions as the morning and afternoon sessions will be outside. For biosecurity reasons, participants should wear clean clothes and footwear. For more details on the individual field day sites, see the event flyer or contact Beth Doran at or phone 712-737-4230.

Design of Drainage Water Quality Practices Focus of Workshop

The design and layout of new practices currently being considered for water quality improvements of farmland drainage will be the focus of a workshop scheduled for Dec. 14 in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

The day-long program will be held at the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Webster County office at 217 South 25th St., Suite C12, Fort Dodge. It will provide information essential for designing and planning new water quality practices such as bioreactors, controls structures, saturated buffers and wetlands. While the economic benefits of tiling are well recognized, there are also environmental impacts from drainage. These new technologies can be useful in minimizing negative environmental impacts.

The workshop also qualifies for Certified Crop Advisor credits. A sign-up sheet for the credits will be available on the day of the workshop.

Registration begins at 7:45 a.m. with the morning session starting at 8 a.m. The morning session will focus on the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy, woodchip bioreactor sizing and layout, water table management with shallow tiles and installation of control structures. Jamie Benning, water quality program manager with ISU Extension and Outreach, will provide an update on the status of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy and how different combinations of practices can be helpful. Matt Helmers, professor and extension agricultural engineer at Iowa State, will discuss the sizing and layout of woodchip bioreactors.

Chris Hay, senior environmental scientist with the Iowa Soybean Association, will conclude the morning with information on managing drainage with control structures.

The afternoon session will begin with Dan Jaynes, research soil scientist with the National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment, USDA-ARS, discussing site selection and the design of saturated buffers. The event will close with Kapil Arora, agricultural engineering specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach, presenting on siting wetlands for small watersheds.

Additional information and online registration are available. Registration can also be done by contacting the ISU Extension and Outreach Webster County office at 515-576-2119 or Registration is $150 and includes morning refreshments, lunch and workshop materials. Registration cost increases to $175 if done after Dec. 8.

Each participant should bring a laptop computer equipped with a USB drive. Microsoft Excel software used for designing select practices will be provided on a thumb drive. All laptops must have Excel pre-installed on them to run the spreadsheets and to perform design calculations. Use of laptops will be limited to practices using the spreadsheets for making design calculations.

The workshop is presented by ISU Extension and Outreach, the Iowa Soybean Association, and the USDA Agricultural Research Service.

Ethanol Stocks, Blending Demand Ease

The U.S. Energy Information Administration released a weekly report midmorning Wednesday, Nov. 8, showing decreases for U.S. ethanol inventory and blending demand while plant production rose again during the week-ended Nov. 3.

The EIA's Weekly Petroleum Status Report showed fuel ethanol stocks fell by 200,000 barrels (bbl), or 0.9%, to 21.3 million bbl, with a year-over-year supply overhang at 2.1 million bbl, or 10.9%.

Domestic plant production edged up 1,000 barrels per day (bpd) to a 1.057 million bpd two-month high during the week reviewed, while up 55,000 bpd, or 5.5%, year over year. For the four weeks ended last week, ethanol production averaged 1.043 million bpd, up 40,000 bpd, or 4.0%, against year prior.

Net refiner and blender inputs, a measure for ethanol demand, tumbled 12,000 bpd, or 1.3%, to a 918,000 bpd four-week high, while down 5,000 bpd, or 0.5%, year over year. For the four-week period ended Nov. 3, blending demand averaged 924,000 bpd, up 4,000 bpd, or 0.4%, against the comparable period a year ago.

China to Pledge More U.S. Soy Imports During Trump Visit

China will commit to buy more U.S. soybeans during President Donald Trump's visit to Beijing this week, a U.S. industry official said, underlining the importance of trade in farm goods even as tensions grow between the world’s top two economies. China is the world's biggest soybean importer and the U.S. is its second largest supplier.

According to Reuters, Chinese soybean buyers will sign a letter of intent with the U.S. Soybean Export Council committing to purchasing a certain volume of soybeans in the future.

The volume under the new deal will be 'much less' and will reflect orders due to be signed in the current marketing year that were not included in the July agreement. But China will also promise to buy more U.S. soybeans in future, according to a source familiar with the plan.

A signing ceremony is scheduled to take place as Trump meets Chinese President Xi Jinping.

China will also promise to buy more U.S. beef, barley and dairy products, including cheese, the source said. China dropped a 14-year ban on U.S. beef imports this year.

The U.S. sold 20.7 million tonnes of beans to China in the first nine months of this year, up 14.8 percent from a year ago. In 2016, it sold 38.2 million tonnes, or 40 percent of China's total soybean imports.

Food and Farm Facts Educator Guides, Trivia Game Available

Educator guides for Food and Farm Facts, the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture’s 32-page, full-color book of facts and easy-to-read infographics, are now available for grades 4-6 and 7-12.

Each guide features a collection of 12 easy-to-implement activities developed using national learning standards that reflect the knowledge and skills young people need for success in college and careers. Curriculum areas include math, science, social science, health and language arts.

The guides are 9” x 6” booklets with activity cards on a key ring. Each activity card includes step-by-step instructions, discussion questions and an estimated time for completion. The cost per booklet is $6.

A new Food and Farm Facts trivia card set also is available for $10. With more than 250 questions on 46 playing cards, the set brings a popular game element to important national agricultural statistics. In a classroom or living room, the cards test players’ knowledge about agricultural production, sustainability and nutrition. Cards are aligned to the 2017 Food and Farm Facts book.

Food and Farm Facts helps answer the questions “Where does our food come from and who grows it?” by exploring topics about agriculture in the U.S. The book can be used in a variety of ways to help increase agricultural literacy and would be a valuable resource in the classroom, at fairs and events, for student leadership organizations and on social media.

Copies of Food and Farm Facts may be purchased for $4.25 each (up to 49 copies). Price breaks are available for multi-copy purchases starting at 50: 50-99 copies, $3.50 each; 100 or more copies, $2.50 each. Each copy of the book includes a color “America the Bountiful” map poster depicting top agricultural products produced in every state. A pocket guide version of Food and Farm Facts is also available (100 copies for $10) and features several popular infographics from the book.

Purchase Food and Farm Facts books and related resources online at; visit the Food and Farm Facts resource page for tips on using the publication.

Arkansas Sets In-Season Dicamba Restrictions

Arkansas State Plant Board members voted Nov. 8 during a public hearing and board meeting to approve regulatory changes for the application of products labeled for agricultural use that contain dicamba.

In a vote of 10 to 3 with one member recusing, the board voted to prohibit the use of dicamba in Arkansas between April 16 and Oct. 31. The regulations include exemptions for the use of dicamba in pastures, rangeland, turf, ornamental, direct injection for forestry, and home use. The regulation change is now subject to final approval by the executive subcommittee of the Arkansas Legislative Council, according to Terry Walker, Arkansas State Plant Board (ASPB) director.

"It is out of the Plant Board court now and in the hands of the legislature as soon as the final rule is filed," Walker said. He added that because this is a hot issue, it is possible the legislature could get it on the next calendar or call a special session to deal with it separately.

The Plant Board meets again on Dec. 12 for a public hearing and board meeting to consider more proposed regulations that would clarify their ability to request additional information about a pesticide before it is registered for use in the state of Arkansas.

Also hanging over the ASPB is a pending lawsuit filed by Monsanto for the previous ban of its XtendiMax herbicide. Walker said board members have not yet been served papers in the suit.

Bill Would Eliminate Taxpayer Subsidy for Harvest Price Option on Crop Insurance

Corn and soybean farmers saw no benefit this fall from adding the harvest price option to their crop insurance plan, but that wasn't enough to stop a pair of senators and a congressman from introducing legislation that would end the taxpayer premium subsidy on the harvest price option for crop insurance.

Sens. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., introduced a bill they called the Harvest Price Subsidy Prohibition Act, which is the second piece of legislation the pair have introduced this fall to target crop insurance. The senators stated that eliminating the taxpayer premium subsidy for the harvest price option would save $21.1 billion over 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

The harvest price option gives farmers the chance to benefit from a price floor for their crops during the price discovery month of February (for corn and soybeans) and October when prices may move higher. That was not the case for 2017, as the spring guarantee for corn was $3.96 but the CME December corn contract at the end of October was $3.49. The spring price for soybeans was $10.19 but the CME November price for soybeans at the end of October was $9.75.

The harvest price option did work to the benefit of farmers in 2016 when fall prices for corn and soybeans were higher than spring prices.

The senators introduced a bill on Wednesday to eliminate the harvest price option for crop insurance. A companion bill was introduced in the House by Rep. John Duncan, R-Tenn.

Flake and Shaheen stated the cost to taxpayers of offering the harvest price option has escalated over time. The Congressional Budget Office had forecast taxpayers would pay $9 billion over 10 years back in 2013 when Flake first championed a similar bill. The senators noted the cost now is scored at $21.1 billion over 10 years.

"Making a living in agriculture isn't easy or predictable, and there's a case to be made for safety-net programs such as traditional crop insurance," Flake said. "But HPO isn't a safety net, it's a taxpayer-funded windfall. With a $20 trillion national debt, taxpayers shouldn't be expected to pay Big Ag billions of dollars for profits that they never expected to earn in the first place."

Shaheen added that the senators were proposing "a commonsense reform" to save $21 billion for taxpayers. "This is a smart, pragmatic bill that will provide our current crop insurance program with a much-needed fix. We ought to act on it immediately to save taxpayer dollars," Shaheen said.

Flake and Shaheen also introduced legislation targeting crop insurance profits that was scored at cutting taxpayer costs for crop insurance by $3.9 billion over 10 years. The bill would lower the rate of return for crop insurance companies from 14.5% to 8.9%.

Flake and Shaheen proposed identical changes to the crop insurance programs in 2015. Neither senator is a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

Cautious Optimism for Next Three Years in Grains, Ethanol Markets

Rising incomes worldwide will underpin global demand and create opportunities for U.S. exports in grains, oilseeds and ethanol according to a new report from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange Division. Meanwhile, global commodity surpluses, trade agreement renegotiations and relative strength of key currencies will set the scope of growth over the next three years.

“In the absence of major weather disruptions, global grain surpluses are expected to persist over the next three years. Acreage expansions and improvements to yields in competing export hubs will be headwinds for U.S. exports,” said Tanner Ehmke, manager of CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange Division. “The bright spot will be the continual growth in demand. As the global middle class grows, so will the opportunities for U.S. exports.”

Overall, U.S. grains, oilseeds and ethanol will face mounting competition in export markets, but there are specific considerations for each commodity.

In the short term, demand for corn will continue on a solid growth path. However, the trajectory is expected to slow over the medium term as livestock and broiler growth slows. The ethanol sector will also struggle to grow demand substantively due to changing market dynamics in Brazil, and remaining challenges related to higher blend levels in the U.S. In the export market, corn will face significant competition from South America and Eastern Europe, specifically Brazil, Argentina and Ukraine.

“The combination of anemic demand growth domestically and rising export competition abroad is expected to result in only minor improvements in the years ahead,” said Ehmke. “Free trade agreements are needed to increase our competitiveness abroad.”

The long-term trends of low prices, declining acreage and rising export competition point to more challenges for U.S. wheat.

“Russia’s dominance in the world wheat market creates an uphill battle for U.S. wheat farmers, many of whom are reducing or eliminating wheat in their rotations in search of more profitable crops,” said Ehmke.

The U.S. is still the world’s largest producer of soybeans, but has handed the mantle of largest exporter to Brazil. This trend is expected to continue as the value of the real remains low compared to the U.S. dollar, and nagging infrastructure challenges in Brazil are improving.

“Global demand growth for livestock feed and biodiesel production will support U.S. soybeans,” said Ehmke. “But Brazil is looking to further its lead in exports and will continue to expand soybean plantings.”

Brazil and China are determined to reduce their dependence on U.S. ethanol. Expansion of U.S. demand also faces challenges, as higher blend levels will be slow to gain acceptance.

“The U.S. could lose Brazil as an export market, and will also be competing globally with Brazil moving forward,” said Ehmke. “The U.S. will shift focus to emerging markets like Mexico, Thailand, India and Indonesia in the medium term. However, the newly developed markets are unlikely to fully offset losses in China and Brazil, resulting in weaker crush margins.”
Farm Supply

Commodity price stagnation and overcapacity in fertilizer production point to a weak fertilizer market over the short to medium term. Crop protection and seed sales are also expected to struggle due to low commodity prices and rising farm debt levels. Seed and chemical prices, though, are expected to rise, stemming from mergers and acquisitions throughout the world and increased environmental regulatory burdens on chemical companies in China.

A brief video synopsis of the report, “2018-2020: Pressure on Grain and Farm Supply Sectors to Persist” is available on the CoBank YouTube channel.

Aveo™ EZ Nematicide Now Available for Soybean Cyst Nematode Management

Valent U.S.A. LLC announced today the launch of new Aveo™ EZ Nematicide to help protect soybeans from yield loss caused by Soybean Cyst Nematode (SCN), Reniform nematode and more.

Aveo EZ is a biological seed protectant that colonizes the roots of the soybean plant to reduce nematode reproduction. The highly concentrated formulation of Aveo EZ contains more colony forming units (cfu) per ml than competitive products, which means more powerful protection at a lower use rate (0.1 fl oz/140,000 seeds).  Plus, the formulation of Aveo EZ has a long shelf life to help retailers manage their inventory.

Comprised of naturally-occurring microbes, Aveo EZ offers easy handling for seed treaters, requiring standard personal protection equipment. (PPE), including a long-sleeved shirt, long pants and protective gloves when handling treated seed.

In research trials in fields with known SCN infestations, Aveo EZ yielded an additional 1.83 bushels per acre when added to a base treatment, demonstrating stronger performance than competitive seed treatments.1 The performance and handling of Aveo EZ was put to the test in a 2017 national trial among retailers and growers. An overwhelming majority of retailers in the Midwest and the South saw greater than 90% seed coverage, under a wide range of cold and warm conditions when treated.2 Retailers consistently reported that the low use rate of Aveo EZ made it easy to mix and use with other seed treatment products.2 Growers also saw a greater rate of emergence with Aveo EZ compared to the competitive plots.2

Available as a stand-alone product, Aveo EZ gives retailers flexibility to optimize the ratio of nematicide to fungicide and insecticide protection in soybeans.  Seed treaters can easily add SCN protection to a base seed treatment of INTEGO SUITE Soybeans, with minimal adjustment to the treater settings.

“Aveo EZ is a new, user-friendly nematicide that offers convenience for retailers and performance for growers,” says Thad Haes, Seed Protection Business Manager for Valent U.S.A. “We anticipate that the low use rate will create a real benefit for retailers who apply multiple products to the seed and want to achieve quality seed coverage that delivers yield-enhancing performance for their growers.”

Soybean Cyst Nematode is a significant yield-robbing pathogen that is not obvious at the time of initial infestation, but can be found in almost every soybean field, according to Todd Mayhew, Seed Protection Product Development Manager at Valent U.S.A. He encourages growers to take a proactive management approach to SCN. “In some areas of the U.S., SCN is not perceived as a problem because growers have relied on SCN-resistant soybean varieties,” noted Mayhew.  “However, with SCN developing the ability to reproduce on these varieties3, an integrated approach, including a nematicide such as Aveo EZ, is vital for effective management.”

“Aveo EZ complements our growing line of seed protection solutions, including INTEGO SUITE Soybeans,” added Haes.  “At Valent, we are investing in proprietary, below-ground technology to help growers protect their crop from disease, insects and nematodes and optimize its health through water and nutrient-management solutions.”

The Andersons Reports Lower Quarterly Profits

The Andersons, Inc. announces financial results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2017. The company reported third quarter 2017 net income attributable to The Andersons of $2.5 million, or $0.09 per diluted share, on revenues of $837 million. Those results compared to 2016 third quarter net income of $1.7 million, or $0.06 per diluted share, on revenues of $860 million.

"We performed reasonably well in the third quarter when considering that we continue to face some difficult market conditions, and we incurred some unusual expenses and sold two former retail properties," said President and CEO Pat Bowe. "The Grain Group again recorded better year-over-year results driven by good margins on corn and soybean sales and strong space margins for wheat. On a year-to-date basis, our Grain earnings have improved by more than $33 million."

Bowe continued, "Ethanol margins were lower year-over-year for the quarter in spite of strong U.S. exports. Current margins are disappointing. Forward curve margins into the first quarter of 2018 are below last year's levels as well."

Tuesday November 7 Ag News

USDA Chief Scientist Statement on WHO Guidelines on Antibiotics
The World Health Organization (WHO) has released recommendations regarding the use of antibiotics in agriculture. Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young, USDA Acting Chief Scientist, today issued the following statement:

“The WHO guidelines are not in alignment with U.S. policy and are not supported by sound science. The recommendations erroneously conflate disease prevention with growth promotion in animals."

“The WHO previously requested that the standards for on-farm antibiotic use in animals be updated through a transparent, consensus, science-based process of CODEX. However, before the first meeting of the CODEX was held, the WHO released these guidelines, which according to language in the guidelines are based on ‘low-quality evidence,’ and in some cases, ‘very low-quality evidence.'"

“Under current Food and Drug Administration (FDA) policy, medically important antibiotics should not be used for growth promotion in animals. In the U.S., the FDA allows for the use of antimicrobial drugs in treating, controlling, and preventing disease in food-producing animals under the professional oversight of licensed veterinarians. While the WHO guidelines acknowledge the role of veterinarians, they would also impose unnecessary and unrealistic constraints on their professional judgement."

“USDA agrees that we need more data to assess progress on antimicrobial use and resistance, and we need to continue to develop alternative therapies for the treatment, control, and prevention of disease in animals. We remain committed to addressing antimicrobial resistance in people and animals. We will continue to work with the WHO, World Organization for Animal Health, and Food and Agriculture Organization to promote antibiotic stewardship to avoid the further emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance.”

NPPC Statement On WHO Call For Ban On Prevention Uses Of Antibiotics

A ban on disease prevention uses of antibiotics in food-animal production being advocated by the World Health Organization would be ill-advised and wrong. Denying pigs, cows and chickens necessary antibiotics would be unethical and immoral, leading to animal suffering and possibly death, and could compromise the nation’s food system.

America’s pork farmers share the WHO’s concern about the rise in antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which is why they have taken steps over the past 30 years to ensure they’re using antibiotics strategically and responsibly to keep animals healthy and to produce safe food. They are complying with an FDA directive that prohibits the use of antibiotics important to human medicine for promoting animal growth and that requires feed and water uses of those same antibiotics to be under a veterinary prescription. They also participate in pork industry-developed programs that include responsible antibiotics use and support federal efforts to track antibiotic resistance in foodborne bacteria from humans, retail meats and food animals.

Prevention uses of antibiotics involve administering antimicrobial drugs to animals that aren’t exhibiting clinical signs of disease but that likely will get disease if a drug isn’t administered. Veterinary involvement in the decision-making process associated with the use of medically important antimicrobial drugs not only is an important aspect of ensuring appropriate use, but for feed and water uses it’s the law. Additionally, using antibiotics to prevent disease, in most cases, supplants the need to use more potent medically important antibiotics to treat disease.

The U.S. pork industry’s goal is to reduce the need for antibiotics, and it has devoted time and resources to that end, including adopting good antibiotic stewardship practices and studying alternatives to antibiotics. Simply reducing on-farm uses of antibiotics, as the WHO suggests, however, likely would have no effect on public health and would jeopardize animal health. Its call for stopping the use of antibiotics that are critically important in human medicine for treating infected animals is antithetical to pork farmers’ and veterinarians’ moral obligation to care for their pigs.

Applied Reproductive Strategies in Beef Cattle

Rick Funston, NE Extension Beef Cattle Reproductive Physiologist

Cattlemen, academia and allied industry interested in improving reproductive strategies in beef cattle gathered in Manhattan, Kansas, Aug. 29-30 for the 2017 Applied Reproductive Strategies in Beef Cattle (ARSBC) symposium.

Considered the premier national event in beef cattle reproductive management, the meeting has a long history of providing the latest information on the application of reproductive technologies and includes a range of topics related to cow herd reproduction — such as nutritional interactions, management, and male fertility.

Cow-calf producers know that reproduction is the most economically important trait and this meeting brings together some of the most practical and knowledgeable individuals in the industry to discuss reproductive management.

The Beef Reproduction Task Force, which includes reproductive physiologists from land-grant universities work together on reproductive management education. The program is a joint effort of the Task Force and K-State Research and Extension.

Proceedings from this and past meetings plus other valuable resources can be found at

Meeting the Nutrient Demands of Cows Grazing Cornstalks

Karla Jenkins, NE Extension Cow/calf Specialist

As fall harvest comes to a close many cows will be turned out on cornstalks to graze the crop residue left after harvest for the winter. This can be an economical forage resource for many producers. Keeping feed costs low while maintaining production is an important part of profitability. Knowing the nutrient needs of cows is key to knowing what supplementation strategy is necessary.

One of the first things producers need to do is to estimate the amount of residue available in a field for the cattle to graze. The amount of residue is proportional to the grain yield from the field and a simple formula will give producers a starting point in estimating the days of grazing they would have available.

Cattle prefer to pick up dropped ears of corn, husks, and leaves and will not eat the stalks unless forced to. There is about 16 pounds of dry matter of leaves and husks for each bushel of grain produced. However, only about 8 pounds of dry matter are available to the cattle because of trampling loss. So for example, a field that produced 200 bushels per acre would have 1600 pounds of residue available for grazing. If it is assumed that a pregnant, non-lactating 1200 pound cow eats 26 pounds of dry forage each day then one acre would likely last about two months (1600/26).

Research from the University of Nebraska showed pregnant dry cows given protein supplement gained body condition while non-supplemented cows did not. However, subsequent birth weight and pregnancy rates were similar suggesting the added cost of protein supplement to the spring calving cow over the winter when residue was adequate for grazing was not beneficial

Late summer or fall calving cows grazing cornstalk residue with their nursing calves have a much higher nutrient requirement than their dry counterparts. For example, a pregnant dry 1200 pound cow only requires 8-10 pounds of total digestible nutrients (TDN) per day during mid-gestation, whereas that same cow requires 14-16 pounds of TDN during lactation. This does not account for the needs of the calf who will begin grazing within the first month of life. If the cow ate 26 pounds of residue and the residue was 50% TDN then she would only be consuming 13 pounds of TDN and could not meet her requirements. In a study utilizing residue grazing pairs, approximately 5 pounds of dried distillers grains was supplemented daily. The cows lost a little over half a body condition score but had acceptable breeding rates. The calves gained just under 2 pounds per day in this study conducted from November to April ( If producers choose to place pairs on residue rather than wean the calves, the goals for calf gain and cow body condition score must be determined and supplement planned accordingly. However, the cost of gain must be carefully weighed against the value of the calf. University extension personnel are willing to assist with ration formulation.

Some producers choose to run pregnant dry cows on cornstalk residue all winter and then calve on the residue in the spring, particularly in western Nebraska. This system works well and the residue fields are a good place to hold the new pairs until green grass is available. Producers need to remember the energy needs double once lactation starts and supplemental protein will be needed at that point as well. Cows in peak lactation will also increase dry matter intake by about 20% and residue fields in spring are likely becoming short on available residue and quality. However, supplemental diets can be developed to meet her needs and prevent her from losing body condition prior to rebreeding.

Cornstalk residue can be a great winter feed resource for cows. Visit with extension personnel to determine supplement needs and estimated returns.

Iowa Pork Center Rolls Out Euthanasia Workshop

Pork producers are committed to making sure their pigs receive proper humane animal care. But despite their best efforts, not every pig will make it to market. A new euthanasia workshop created by Dr. Anna Johnson, associate professor of animal science; Dr. Suzanne Millman, professor, veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine and biomedical science; and the Iowa Pork Industry Center at Iowa State University will address this important issue.

"We developed the workshop in response to concerns from pork producers about this critical swine welfare issue," J. Erik Potter, IPIC swine specialist, said. "Participants will leave the workshop confident in their ability to recognize compromised pigs and will feel comfortable talking through the euthanasia process."

The workshop is structured in a modular fashion to allow customization based on the type of American Veterinarian Medical Association-approved euthanasia methods used by each pork producer.

"The goal of this workshop is not to push one type of euthanasia over another," Johnson said. "Pork producers already are comfortable with the methods they use. The workshop is designed to review and refresh producers on the euthanasia process. We also provide them with opportunity to learn about alternate methods they may wish to consider using on their farms."

In addition, the workshop will provide producers with a way to help prepare them for a third-party Common Swine Industry Audit.

"Euthanasia is a sensitive topic and speaking openly about it can be a stumbling point while being interviewed by an auditor," Potter said.

Topics in the two-hour workshop include:
- Review of Pork Quality Assurance Plus and CSIA euthanasia materials
- Euthanasia introduction
- Insensibility signs
- How to determine death
- Review of pigs that meet euthanasia criteria per PQA Plus and the CSIA
- Approved swine euthanasia method(s) based on what the producer is using

For questions or to schedule a workshop, contact Potter at or your local Iowa State Extension and Outreach swine specialist.

New NASS analysis shows Iowa farmers continue to efficiently raise livestock and grain despite market challenges

A comprehensive analysis of Iowa agriculture is detailed in a new book released by the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF), compiled by the Iowa office of the National Agricultural Statistics Services (NASS). This 119-page book provides statewide and county specific stats that offer a glimpse of what agriculture in Iowa looks like today.

According to the latest statistics, the size of family farms has remained virtually unchanged since 1998, hovering around the 350-acre mark. Despite this unchanging trend, farms have continued to increase in efficiency, and Iowa farmers are the envy of the globe for their innovation. Iowa continues to lead the nation in corn production, and last year conditions were ideal for a record corn crop of 203 bushels per acre, up from 137 bushes in 2012 and above the 2016 United States average of 174.6 bushels per acre.

Iowa’s farmers continue to work closely with their veterinarians to improve animal health, and the statistics reflect these efforts. Today’s cows are producing 23,634 pounds of milk, up 3 percent from just a year ago and nearly 860 more pounds than the U.S. average. Iowa continues to lead in pork production, and with improvements have seen an increase in pig litters from 9.85 pigs ten years ago to 10.9 pigs per litter today. Iowa is also a top egg producer, averaging 276 eggs per layer in 2016, an increase of 10 eggs from 2007.

“We continue to see farmers in Iowa adapt to new technologies and adopt the latest animal welfare and handling practices thanks to research being done at Iowa State University and through the close relationships farmers have with their local veterinarians,” said Craig Hill, IFBF president. “Iowa remains a powerhouse in U.S. agriculture, and it is not only due to our rich soil or geographical conditions but the resilience and innovation of our state’s farming men and women and the abundance of careers in Iowa that lend to our increasing productivity and support of agriculture.”

Cost of production continues to come down but grain prices also continue to stay low, squeezing profits margins for many Iowa farmers. In 2013, to raise corn following soybeans had a price tag of $4.31 per bushel to raise a bushel, and in 2017 that lowered to $3.51. However, the 2015-16 marketing year had the average corn price as $3.35 per bushel. Soybeans following corn had a production price of $9.66 per bushel while the average price received by farmers in 2015-16 was $9.40 per bushel. Cash rent continues to be a top expenditure in farm operations, second to feed for animals on livestock farms. New livestock processing plants popping up in the state have greatly increased the amount of red meat, including beef, veal, pork and mutton, in Iowa. Slaughter plants in Iowa produced 7.06 billion pounds of red meat (beef, veal, pork, and mutton) during 2016, increasing 86.2 million pounds from 2015.

But, despite the efficiency, all is not good news on the Iowa farm front.  “The data shows that the Iowa farm economy continues to suffer from a multi-year decline with gross farm receipts down 8% in 2016 compared to a year earlier and 22% below the peak seen in 2012.  Net farm income in Iowa fell sharply, down 24% in 2016 from the prior year and down a staggering 56% since 2012.  Financial stress on farm families is accelerating and reverberating throughout the Iowa economy,” says IFBF Director of Research and Commodity Services Dave Miller.  “This is why Iowa Farm Bureau continues to offer members access to free marketing, tax and economic webinars and support to help Iowa farmers find efficiencies and keep sustainable during this continued economic downturn.”

The stats book can be ordered, for a cost of $12, from the Marketing and Communications Division, Iowa Farm Bureau, 5400 University Avenue, West Des Moines, Iowa 50266.  Checks should be made payable to the Iowa Farm Bureau.

New Study Shows Grain Exports Offered $55.5 Billion In Economic Output

Exports of U.S. feed grains and related products provide critical support across the U.S. economy, offering billions in economic direct and indirect economic benefits to farmers, rural communities and the nation as a whole.

New research commissioned by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) quantified these benefits, showing that U.S. feed grain and grain products exports were worth $18.9 billion in 2015 and supported $55.5 billion in economic output. These exports were linked directly or indirectly to nearly 262,000 jobs.

Furthermore, if exports were halted, the analysis indicated that more than 46,000 jobs and $2.6 billion in GDP would be adversely impacted at the farm, ethanol production and meat production levels before accounting for losses in linked industries.

“International markets represent demand that would not exist elsewhere,” said Deb Keller, USGC chairman and a farmer from Iowa. “This research highlights the important economic benefits of exports that our U.S. economy depends upon to subsist.”

Informa Economics conducted the study, which examined the economic contributions to each state and 52 congressional districts from exports of corn, barley, sorghum, ethanol, distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS), corn gluten feed and meal as well as the corn equivalent of meat on the U.S. economy.

The study extended analysis to determine the importance of exports across the broader U.S. economy. Total impact of grain and grain products exported in 2015 indirectly supported more than 261,000 jobs across the United States and $21 billion in gross domestic product (GDP).

Breaking down the numbers, these results showed every $1 of grain exports generated supported an additional $2.19 in business sales. And every job directly created by the export of grain and grain products supported an additional 4.7 jobs in the United States.

These indirect and induced business activities extend well beyond the agricultural industry, including to the wholesale trade, real estate, oil and natural gas extraction to service sectors including restaurants, hospitals and employment services industries.

“The value of exports to the U.S. economy extends far beyond our fields and farms,” said NCGA President and North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes. “By analyzing the impacts to individual states and congressional districts, constituents and legislators alike can better understand how their local communities benefit from and depend on exports.”

Ag Banks: Farm Profitability Still Down But Improving

Even with current commodity prices, ag lenders are slightly more optimistic this year than last. About 82% of agricultural lenders reported a decline in farm profitability in the last 12 months, according to a joint survey by the American Bankers Association and the Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corporation. Despite the continued decline, the survey of more than 580 agricultural lenders revealed that the agricultural loan approval rate is 84%.

"We were encouraged to see that lenders remain ready to assist farmers and fulfill their credit needs despite the drag in the agricultural economy," said Brittany Kleinpaste, director of economic policy and research at ABA. "Overall, the data showed that agricultural lenders are a little more optimistic about what's ahead for their customers than they were in December of 2016."

While a high percentage of ag lenders continue to report a decline in farm profitability, 7 percent fewer reported a decline compared to the December 2016 ABA/Farmer Mac survey. However, the drivers of industry stress remain the same. Ninety-three percent of lenders indicated commodity prices are a top concern. Grain and dairy remained the sectors that lenders are most concerned about, while lenders reported less concern for the cattle and hog sectors than in the previous survey. Other top concerns are liquidity (87 percent), farm income (85 percent), farm leverage (77 percent) and weather (56 percent).

On average, survey respondents exhibited more confidence in stable land values than in the December 2016 survey. Fifty-seven percent of respondents reported stable values in the first half of 2017, and 51 percent expected no major changes in the second half of 2017. Lenders reported that a high percentage of average quality land (41 percent) and cash rents (32 percent) are above fair market value in their area.

Cattle Feeding Returns Improving

Jim Mintert, Purdue University
Cattle feeding profitability has been on a roller coaster ride the last couple of years. Estimated cattle feeding returns calculated each month by Iowa State Extension provide insight into the situation Corn Belt feeders face. According to the Iowa State data, which assumes that cattle are placed on feed each month with inputs purchased and fed cattle sold in the cash market without any risk management, cattle feeders suffered horrific losses in both 2015 and 2016. Losses continued throughout 2016 and still averaged a loss of $117 per head for a typical yearling feeding program, and a loss of $216 per head for a typical calf feeding program, during 2016's October-December quarter.

The situation changed dramatically in 2017. Relying again on the Iowa State estimates, during the first nine months of 2017, feeding returns for yearlings averaged +$198 per head and +$191 for calves. The turnaround was even more dramatic when the monthly returns are examined as monthly yearling returns actually reached +$415 and calf feeding returns climbed over $500 per head during May 2017. The return for feeding calves during May was a new record in the Iowa State data going back to 1981 and the yearling feeding return was the highest value since 2003. The increase in feeding returns during 2003 occurred primarily as a result of a surge in fed cattle prices during the brief time window when Canada was locked out of the export markets because of BSE in Canada and before the U.S. had its first BSE case. The increase in feeding returns in spring 2017 was the result of cattle feeders' breakevens declining from $117 per cwt. at the beginning of the year to the upper $90's per cwt., for calf programs, and the low $100's per cwt., for yearling programs, by spring, combined with a strengthening fed cattle market. Sale prices for fed cattle climbed roughly $20 per cwt. from the beginning of 2017 to mid-spring, pushing the revenue per head up by approximately $250 per head.

Although cattle feeding was profitable during most of 2017, Corn Belt feeding returns did turn negative in September 2017, relying on Iowa State's calculations. Yearling returns in September were -$41 per head and calf feeding returns were -$26 per head. The shift from profitability to negative returns begs the question, what lies ahead for cattle feeders?

Answering that questions requires a better understanding of what was behind the large losses in 2015 and 2016. The losses that occurred in 2015 and 2016 were mostly attributable to two factors: 1) cattle feeders bid up feeder cattle prices to record levels, which in turn, pushed the fed cattle prices needed to breakeven up dramatically and 2) contrary to expectations, prices for fed cattle dropped sharply. The combination of high costs and weak fed cattle prices proved devastating, leading to record losses for cattle feeders.

What's happened so far in 2017? Total costs per head have climbed since the peak in profitability last spring, but the increase to date has been modest. Total costs per head for a yearling program rose from $1,388 for cattle marketed during May to $1,420 per head for cattle marketed in September. The big shift occurred in the value of fed cattle marketed. The total sales value per head dropped from a peak of $1,815 to just $1,388 in September as the fed cattle sales price decline from a monthly average near $140 last May to less than $107 in September. To date, it appears that cattle feeders have not repeated the mistakes of 2015 and 2016 with both calf and yearling values trading at more manageable price levels, helping to hold down feeders' breakeven prices. The real key to profitability will be the direction that fed cattle prices follow the rest of the fall and into early winter.

Cash prices for slaughter cattle bottomed in early September, trading near $105 per cwt. in the Southern Plains. Prices have strengthened since then, climbing above $124 last week after trading near $118 a week earlier. The turnaround in fed cattle prices has pushed cattle feeding returns back into positive territory. Given the moderation in feeder cattle prices this year, unlike 2015 and 2016, prospects for cattle feeders to operate profitably the rest of the fall and early winter look good.

Commodity Classic Registration & Housing Opens

Registration and housing for the 2018 Commodity Classic, February 27-March 1 in Anaheim, Cal., will officially open at 10:00 a.m. Central Time on Tuesday, November 14, 2017.

The 2018 Commodity Classic will be held at the Anaheim Convention Center. The schedule includes a robust line-up of educational sessions on a wide range of current and relevant topics and issues.  Commodity Classic also boasts a huge trade show, the latest in agricultural innovation and technology, inspiring speakers, an evening of entertainment and the opportunity to network with farmers from across the United States.

A detailed schedule of events is available at This year’s Commodity Classic will be held on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday—providing an opportunity for families to come in early or stay late to enjoy a weekend in the Anaheim area.

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

Exhibitors at the 2018 Commodity Classic will receive a link directly from Experient to register and make housing reservations.

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

Farm Groups Urge President Trump to Implement Farmer Fair Practices Rules

National Farmers Union joined a coalition of 82 farm, rural and consumers groups today in sending a letter to President Donald Trump urging him to implement the Farmer Fair Practices Rules via executive order. The rules would provide the most basic of protections to American family farmers and ranchers who are enduring unfair and abusive practices as a result of extremely consolidated agricultural marketplaces.

Massive consolidation in the meatpacking industry over the past forty years placed just four companies in control of 85 percent of the beef market, 74 percent of the pork market and more than half of the poultry market. In that time, 90 percent of hog farmers and 41 percent of cattle producers have gone out of business, and 71 percent of poultry growers now live below the federal poverty level.

“Family farmers and ranchers, simply put, have virtually no market power any more,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “Multinational and foreign meatpackers control our market prices and are dictating much of what happens on our farms and ranches. We’re urging the President to take the first step in addressing the most abusive and unfair practices that happen as a result of our highly concentrated markets. He can do that by implementing the Farmer Fair Practices Rules.”

Last month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) withdrew two of the three Farmer Fair Practices rules, effectively siding with multinational meatpackers in their market dominance over family farmers. In their request to President Trump, the farm groups offered the administration an avenue to reverse this action.

“You, Mr. President, have the opportunity to make the difference in the future of rural America and preserve America’s family farmers and ranchers,” the groups wrote.

The Farmer Fair Practices Rules are a necessary clarification of the Packers and Stockyards Act, which was passed to ensure competition and integrity in livestock and poultry markets. The rules were first proposed in 2016, but they are the product of law written into the 2008 Farm Bill, hundreds of field hearings conducted by the USDA, and six years of rulemaking.

The groups contend in their letter to the President that the USDA erred in its assertion that the purpose of the Packers and Stockyards Act does not include protecting individual farmers from unfair, predatory and retaliatory practices. “The original intent of the P&S Act of 1921 was to protect individual producers against the heavy hand of large corporations,” they wrote.

The groups also note that the USDA decision ignores all previous administrations’ interpretation of the intent and purpose of P&S Act and that it releases “the abusive market power of foreign corporations and foreign countries onto family farmers and consumers alike.”

“We call on you, by executive order, to do what others have failed to do and are unwilling to do: return justice to the marketplace,” the groups wrote to Trump. “We remain hopeful you and your administration can take these rules across the finish line on behalf of America’s family farmers, our rural communities and consumers.”

Alltech 37+® test now identifies five extra mycotoxins that can threaten animal health and producer profitability

Mycotoxins threaten animal health and producer profitability, so identifying and addressing these hidden challenges is very important for farmers. Alltech is a world leader in mycotoxin management and now has the ability to test for over 40 different mycotoxins in animal feed samples. With this new analytical capability, Alltech is able to not only detect these new mycotoxins, but can also begin to understand how they can impact animal performance and health.

The Alltech 37+® mycotoxin analysis test is the cornerstone of the Alltech® Mycotoxin Management program, as it tests for more than 37 types of mycotoxins. When samples are submitted for testing, farmers will now see an additional five mycotoxins that have recently gained attention in scientific research for becoming important to the agriculture industry. These additional mycotoxins and toxicity symptoms are:
-        Citrinin:
     o   Kidney damage, oxidative stress, gut health challenges, diarrhea/loose manure
-        Beauvericin:
     o   Oxidative stress, antimicrobial activity, contamination of milk/meat
-        Moniliformin:
     o   Heart damage, immune suppression, loss of performance
-        Citreoviridin:
     o   Vitamin B1 deficiency, immune suppression, oxidative stress, poor reproductive performance, reduced weight gain
-        Cyclopiazonic acid:
     o   GIT damage, oxidative stress, immune suppression, loss of performance

Alltech 37+ test results provide a realistic picture of feed contaminants in feed ingredients or total mixed rations to speed up the process of diagnosis, suggest effective remediation and help move toward an effective mycotoxin control plan. Between Alltech’s 37+ mycotoxin analytical services laboratories in Lexington, Kentucky, and Dunboyne, Ireland, they have run nearly 20,000 samples, each searching for over 37 mycotoxins in animal feed.

To learn more, visit

New ImpactZ™ Herbicide from AMVAC Receives Federal Registration for Corn

AMVAC Chemical Corporation today announced its new broad spectrum, low use rate corn herbicide, ImpactZ, has received federal registration from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). ImpactZ herbicide will give growers a new safe and flexible solution for control of tough broadleaf and grass weeds - including glyphosate resistant species - in corn.

ImpactZ herbicide is registered for use in field corn, seed corn, popcorn and sweetcorn, with no restrictions on soil type, tank mix partners or insecticides. ImpactZ herbicide contains both Impact® and Atrazine for highly effective control of grass and broadleaf weeds in corn.

"Impact herbicide has long provided value to corn growers as an excellent tool for weed resistance management," said Jim Lappin, AMVAC crop marketing manager, corn and soybeans. "ImpactZ herbicide provides safe, effective broad spectrum control in corn."
ImpactZ herbicide provides excellent control of tough grass weeds, including barnyardgrass, crabgrass and foxtails. It also controls a broad spectrum of broadleaf weeds, including waterhemp, palmer amaranth, lambsquarters and velvetleaf.

Corn growers will have flexibility to apply ImpactZ herbicide from weed emergence until corn reaches 12-inches in height as a sequential, early post or total post emergence program.

"AMVAC recognizes the challenges that corn growers face, and we work to deliver products that offer superior performance, crop safety and flexibility," said Lappin. "ImpactZ herbicide is an excellent tool to take on key grasses and broadleaf weeds that challenge yield potential in corn"

Individual state registrations for ImpactZ herbicide are pending. For more information on ImpactZ herbicide or additional AMVAC products and crop protection technologies, visit

Monday November 6 Ag News + Crop Progress Report


For the week ending November 5, 2017, temperatures averaged two to eight degrees below normal, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Precipitation was limited across the State. Dry weather allowed farmers to complete most of the soybean harvest and corn harvest advanced rapidly. There were 6.5 days suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 2 percent very short, 18 short, 79 adequate, and 1 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 4 percent very short, 19 short, 76 adequate, and 1 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn condition rated 3 percent very poor, 10 poor, 23 fair, 45 good, and 19 excellent. Corn harvested was 68 percent, behind 82 last year and 81 for the five-year average.

Soybeans harvested was 95 percent, equal to last year, and near 98 average.

Winter wheat condition rated 3 percent very poor, 8 poor, 27 fair, 51 good, and 11 excellent. Winter wheat emerged was 93 percent, near 97 last year and 95 average.

Sorghum condition rated 3 percent very poor, 3 poor, 15 fair, 48 good, and 31 excellent. Sorghum harvested was 66 percent, well behind 90 last year, and behind 84 average.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 3 percent very poor, 11 poor, 43 fair, 38 good, and 5 excellent. Stock water supplies rated 1 percent very short, 3 short, 96 adequate, and 0 surplus.


Dry weather for most of the week allowed many Iowa farmers to make good progress with harvest during the week ending November 5, 2017, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were 5.7 days suitable for fieldwork. A wide variety of activities were performed during the week, including drying and hauling grain, baling corn stalks, tillage, and applying manure and fertilizers.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 3 percent very short, 8 percent short, 83 percent adequate and 6 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 6 percent very short, 17 percent short, 72 percent adequate and 5 percent surplus.

Sixty-seven percent of the corn for grain crop has been harvested, nine days behind the 5-year average. Moisture content of corn being harvested for grain averaged 17 percent. Farmers in all nine Iowa districts have completed harvest of over half of their corn for grain crop with southeast Iowa farmers leading the way with 77 percent harvested. Ninety-two percent of the soybean crop has been harvested, three days behind last year and six days behind average.

Cattle and calves continue to feed on stover with limited amounts of hay being fed. Feedlots have started to dry out.

USDA Weekly Crop Progress

The U.S. corn harvest made up more ground last week, jumping ahead 16 percentage points from the previous week, according to USDA's latest Crop Progress report released on Monday.

USDA estimated that 70% of corn was harvested as of Sunday, Nov. 5, down from 84% a year ago and also 13 percentage points behind the five-year average of 83% harvested. That represented a continued improvement from last Monday's report when the corn harvest trailed the average pace by 18 percentage points.

USDA said the soybean crop was 90% harvested, down from 92% a year ago and down from a five-year average of 91% harvested.

Meanwhile, USDA said 91% of winter wheat was planted, up from 90% a year ago and even with the five-year average of 91% planted. Seventy-five percent of winter wheat was emerged, down from 78% a year ago and down from a five-year average of 77%.  USDA also said 55% of the winter wheat crop was rated good to excellent.

Sorghum was 72% harvested, behind the five-year average of 78%.

Cotton was 96% in the bolls opening stage and the crop was 54% harvested nationwide, near the average pace of 55% harvested.

So You’ve Inherited a Farm, Now What? Seminar in Scribner – November 20

It has been predicted that in the next 10 years, over half of the agricultural land in Nebraska will change ownership. Consider that according to the 2012 Census of Agriculture, 57% of farmers that identified farming as their primary occupation were over 55 years old and 29% were over 65 years old. This shows why experts anticipate a large change in ownership of agricultural land in the next decade.

In some cases a family farm will pass to the next generation. But frequently, the kids or grandkids are not interested in returning to take over the family farming operation when they inherit the farm. It is becoming more common for a person to be faced with managing a farm for the first time in their life after their parents pass away. They may have grown up on the farm, but then moved away and haven’t been involved in a farming operation for 30 or 40 years. They need to understand that farming practices and management concepts have changed dramatically since they were on the farm.

To help address these challenges, Nebraska Extension is hosting a seminar, “So You’ve Inherited A Farm, Now What?” across the state. One of these seminars will be held on Monday, November 20, 1:30 - 4:00 p.m., at Scribner in the new Furstenau Community Center on 530 Main Street. This seminar is free and open to the public, however preregistration is requested to insure enough materials for everyone attending. You can preregister by calling the Nebraska Extension office in Dodge County at 402.727.2775 or registered online at  Preregistration is requested by Friday, November 17.

Anyone that owns farmland will want to attend the seminar to get valuable information about selling versus leasing, short and long-term management, lease agreements, legal considerations, and family communication. Growers are also encouraged to share this opportunity with their new landlords to increase their farmland ownership literacy.


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               Thanks finally to some favorable weather, fall field work is nearing completion – or is it?  Maybe you can get a jump on next year’s challenges and opportunities.

               I’m great at procrastinating.  But when it comes to pasture and hay fields, I’ve learned that problem prevention and advanced preparation are the only ways to make significant progress.  So today, I’m giving you a laundry list of actions you can still take this fall to make your forage production better next year.

               Let’s begin with weeds.  Many alfalfa fields are contaminated with mustards, pennycress, cheatgrass, and downy brome every spring.  This doesn’t have to happen.  Before the ground freezes, spray Sencor, Velpar, Sinbar, or Karmex and these weeds won’t be there next spring.

               Similarly, you can avoid letting warm-season grass pastures get overrun by cool-season grasses and weeds.  Spray glyphosate or Plateau now while these invaders are still green for cleaner pastures next summer.

               Speaking of pasture, is nitrogen fertilizer getting too expensive?  Adding clovers or alfalfa to your grass can eliminate your need for any nitrogen fertilizer.  Prepare for making this addition by grazing one of your pastures as short as possible this fall to open it up for adding legume seeds early next spring and to slow down its spring growth rate.

               Finally, pull soil samples, especially from hay fields but also from some of your pastures, and get them tested this fall.  Then use the test results to order fertilizer and maybe even apply it yet this fall if weather conditions still permit.

               Don’t be a procrastinator.  Act now to reduce hay and pasture problems next year and improve your forage production.

Iowa Learning Farms Webinar to Explore Past, Present, Future of Bioreactors

As substantial investments in drainage systems continue to be made across the Midwest, the use of edge-of-field practices like woodchip bioreactors can help treat tile-drained water and meet water quality goals. Laura Christianson, professional engineer and assistant Pprofessor in the Department of Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois, will present on bioreactor basics, what is known about how bioreactors work and novel ideas to make bioreactors work better during the Iowa Learning Farms webinar on Wednesday, Nov. 15 at noon. 

“Woodchip bioreactors are a scientifically proven method to clean nitrate from tile drainage, and there are lots of good ideas being explored through research to make them work even better,” Christianson commented. Christianson has nine years of experience focused on agricultural drainage water quality and denitrification bioreactors for point and nonpoint nitrogen treatment.

The Iowa Learning Farms monthly webinar series will take place on the third Wednesday of each month at noon. To log in, go to at noon and log in through the “guest” option. The webinar will be recorded and archived on the ILF website for viewing at any time at

USDA to Re-engage Stakeholders on Revisions to Biotechnology Regulations

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) today announced it is withdrawing a proposed rule to revise the Agency’s biotechnology regulations and will re-engage with stakeholders to determine the most effective, science-based approach for regulating the products of modern biotechnology while protecting plant health.

“It’s critical that our regulatory requirements foster public confidence and empower American agriculture while also providing industry with an efficient and transparent review process that doesn’t restrict innovation,” said Secretary Sonny Perdue. “To ensure we effectively balance the two, we need to take a fresh look, explore policy alternatives, and continue the dialogue with all interested stakeholders, both domestic and international.”

APHIS oversees the importation, interstate movement and environmental release of genetically engineered organisms to ensure they do not pose a plant pest risk. This important work will continue as APHIS re-engages with stakeholders.

“Today, we need to feed some 7 billion people. By the year 2050, that population will swell to 9.5 billion, over half of which will be living in under-developed conditions. To put the demand for food into perspective, we are going to have to double our production between now and 2050. We will have to produce more food in the next 30 years than has been produced in the last 8,000 years. Innovations in biotechnology have been helping American farmers produce food more efficiently for more than 20 years, and that framework has been essential to that productivity,” Perdue said. “We know that this technology is evolving every day, and we need regulations and policies that are flexible and adaptable to these innovations to ensure food security for the growing population.”

More information will be posted at our webpage below as it becomes available:

NAWG Pleased with USDA’s Withdrawal of Proposed Part 340 Biotech Rules

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) today announced its intention to withdraw its proposed revisions to regulations (7 CFR part 340) governing agricultural biotechnology. 

The National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) CEO Chandler Goule issued the following statement in response:

“We applaud USDA for its efforts to update its regulatory system and support its move to withdraw the proposed rule to revise the Agency’s biotechnology regulations.

“The USDA’s regulatory requirements must be clear, transparent, and open to stakeholder engagement. Today’s actions by the Agency are a step in the right direction and we are pleased to see the Agency working to improve its communication with the public.

It is encouraging to see that the Agency is listening to ag industry stakeholders to provide an efficient and transparent review process that doesn’t restrict innovation. NAWG will be sure to continue the dialogue with the USDA to represent the innovation researchers expect to bring to wheat and the US wheat grower.

“NAWG looks forward to working with USDA regulators to create policies that will foster innovation and encourage the adoption of modern technologies that will enable wheat farmers to address climate, disease, and pest problems.”

NCGA Encouraged by USDA Biotech Regulatory Process Announcement

The National Corn Growers Association issued this statement today, in response to the Administration's announcement that it will withdraw the Part 340 proposed rule in favor of taking a closer look at reforming biotechnology regulatory processes.

"The National Corn Growers Association is encouraged by today's announcement and applauds USDA's reconsideration of the proposed rule," said NCGA President and North Dakota Farmer Kevin Skunes. "The proposed rule had desirable elements, but the deficiencies found in key areas would have rendered the overall product unworkable for innovation and America's farm families."

"On behalf of America's corn farmers, I commend Secretary Perdue for the serious nature with which he has approached this important and sizable task. The intent he has expressed in regard to working with stakeholders is heartening. We look forward to collaborating with him to ensure that our nation's system for regulating agricultural biotechnology facilitates both the current and future needs of innovations important to families on and off the farm."

U.S. Pork Exports Steady in September; Beef Continues to Trend Higher

September pork export volume was steady with both the August and year-ago levels, while beef exports edged higher in volume and jumped substantially in value, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

Pork exports totaled 183,481 metric tons (mt) in September, nearly identical to both the September 2016 and August 2017 volumes. September export value was $503.8 million, up 3 percent year-over-year. Through the first three quarters of the year, pork exports were 8 percent ahead of last year’s record pace at 1.79 million mt, while export value climbed 10 percent to $4.71 billion.

September exports accounted for 23.6 percent of total pork production and 19.8 percent for muscle cuts only – both down slightly from a year ago. For January through September, these ratios improved about one percentage point from a year ago to 26.5 percent of total production and 22.1 percent for muscle cuts. September export value averaged $48.98 per head slaughtered, up 1 percent from a year ago. Through the first three quarters of the year, per-head export value was $52.79, up 7 percent.

Although lower than the previous month, September beef export volume improved 2 percent from a year ago to 103,552 mt. Export value topped $600 million for the fourth consecutive month at $616.9 million, up 16 percent from a year ago. January-September volume was 926,985 mt, up 9 percent from the first three quarters of 2016, while export value was $5.27 billion – up 16 percent year-over-year and 2 percent above of the record pace established in 2014.

Beef exports accounted for 12.5 percent of total production in September, down one percentage point from a year ago, but the percentage of muscle cuts exported increased from 10.2 percent last year to 10.4 percent. For January through September, beef exports accounted 12.8 percent of total production (down from 13.2 percent) and 10.1 percent for muscle cuts (steady with last year).

September beef export value averaged $289.14 per head of fed slaughter, up 13 percent from a year ago. January-September export value averaged $277.31 per head, up 10 percent.

Pork exports to Mexico soften in September, but remain on record pace

Pork exports to leading volume market Mexico edged modestly lower in September at 63,771 mt – down 4 percent from a year ago – while export value slipped 7 percent to $122.1 million. But through the first three quarters of the year, exports to Mexico remained well ahead of last year’s record volume pace at 585,998 mt (up 15 percent), while export value was up 18 percent to $1.1 billion.

September pork export results were bolstered by year-over-year increases to South Korea, Canada, Central and South America, the ASEAN region and Taiwan, while export volumes trended lower to leading value market Japan, China/Hong Kong and Australia. Market-specific highlights included:
-    Pork exports to South Korea climbed 33 percent in volume (9,362 mt) and 27 percent in value ($25.9 million) in September, pushing results through the first three quarters of the year up 27 percent (to 120,633 mt) and 31 percent (to $330.9 million), respectively. Korea’s pork consumption is on pace to set another new record this year, and U.S. pork fits Korean consumer demand for a wide array of convenience foods and home meal replacement items.
-    In Canada, September exports climbed 4 percent in volume (20,436 mt) and 9 percent in value ($77.6 million), pushing January-September volume up 3 percent to 155,713 mt, while value was steady with last year at $592.4 million.
-    Colombia fueled another strong month for U.S. pork in South America, where September volume was up 55 percent to 8,629 mt and value jumped 43 percent to $21.6 million. Through September, exports were 90 percent ahead of last year’s pace in volume (72,551 mt) and 91 percent higher in value ($186.4 million). In leading market Colombia, domestic production has not kept pace with consumption growth and U.S. pork has become a preferred ingredient for Colombia’s production of processed pork items.
-    Led by Honduras and Guatemala, September pork exports to Central America increased 16 percent in volume (5,176 mt) and 15 percent in value ($13.1 million). Through September, exports climbed 6 percent in volume (49,093 mt) and 8 percent in value ($118.8 million).
-    A strong increase in exports to the Philippines pushed September results for the ASEAN region up 33 percent in volume (4,910 mt) and 64 percent in value ($17 million). January-September volume increased 24 percent to 35,194 mt while value jumped 38 percent to $95.4 million.
-    Despite trending lower in September, pork exports to leading value market Japan remained steady with 2016 through the first three quarters of the year at 289,947 mt, while export value increased 3 percent to $1.19 billion. Chilled pork exports were down 3 percent from a year ago in volume (158,962 mt) but increased 2 percent in value to $750 million.
-    Exports to China/Hong Kong continue to reflect China’s uptick in domestic pork production, as January-September exports declined 8 percent in volume (373,814 mt) and slipped 1 percent in value ($781.1 million). But pork variety meat exports to the region remained strong in September, pushing the January-September results up 11 percent year-over-year in volume (243,016 mt) and 22 percent in value ($534.8 million).
-    While September exports to Australia declined from a year ago, January-September volume was still up 5 percent to 50,478 mt while value climbed 11 percent to $147.4 million.

“The September export results really illustrate the importance of having a diverse range of pork export markets,” said USMEF CEO Philip Seng. “Even with our three largest markets down year-over-year, volume kept pace with last year and value posted an increase. This is why it is so critical for USMEF to continue identifying and developing new markets for U.S. pork, especially in this time of very large production.”

Beef exports higher to most regions, but hurricanes impact Caribbean demand

Strong momentum for U.S. beef continued in most Asian and Western Hemisphere markets in September, though exports faced some new headwinds. Exports to leading market Japan held up well in September despite Japan’s recent duty rate increase (from 38.5 percent to 50 percent) on imports of frozen U.S. beef. September exports of frozen beef to Japan were up 44 percent from a year ago to 10,512 mt, while chilled exports increased 38 percent to 12,663 mt.

For January through September, exports to Japan increased 22 percent in volume (236,536 mt) and 30 percent in value ($1.45 billion). This included a 42 percent increase in chilled beef exports (113,347 mt) valued at $833 million (up 45 percent). Frozen beef was up 15.5 percent to 85,432 mt, valued at $334 million (up 23 percent).

“USMEF is pleased to see solid demand continuing for U.S. beef in Japan, and this is a testament to the strong, well-established relationships with our loyal customers and the success of U.S. beef promotional campaigns in Japan,” Seng said. “But the 11.5 percent duty rate increase needs to be closely monitored to ascertain where market dislocation will occur. We are watching this situation carefully and remain very concerned about the widening gap in duty rates between U.S. beef and Australian beef.”

Through the first three quarters of 2017, market-specific highlights for U.S. beef include:
-    Fueled by rapidly growing demand in South Korea’s retail sector, export volume to Korea increased 7 percent from a year ago to 131,774 mt. Export value ($856.9 million, up 20 percent) is on pace to easily break last year’s record of $1.06 billion. These totals include an 85 percent increase in chilled beef exports (31,648 mt), valued at $283 million (up 92 percent), as U.S. beef continues to gain market share in Korea.
-    Taiwan is also an outstanding destination for chilled U.S. beef, with the U.S. holding more than 70 percent of the chilled beef market. Through September, chilled exports to Taiwan were up 19 percent in volume (13,615 mt) and 24 percent in value ($162 million). Total exports to Taiwan increased 9 percent in volume (32,894 mt) and 21 percent in value ($297.5 million).
-    Within North America, September beef exports slowed slightly from a year ago in volume to both Mexico and Canada, but increased in value. Through September, exports to Mexico remained slightly ahead of last year’s pace in volume (175,585 mt, up 1 percent) and slightly lower in value ($726.9 million, down 1 percent). Exports to Canada were up 3 percent in volume (86,697 mt) and 6 percent in value ($603.8 million).
-    Strong growth in the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam pushed beef exports to the ASEAN region 68 percent ahead of last year’s pace in volume (29,974 mt) and 53 percent higher in value ($149.1 million). The region is especially strong for beef variety meat, with exports through September more than doubling from a year ago in both volume (8,535 mt, up 125 percent) and value ($15.6 million, up 135 percent).
-    With hurricanes inflicting severe damage on several Caribbean islands, September beef exports to the region slipped dramatically from a year ago in both volume (1,653 mt, down 22 percent) and value ($9.9 million, down 48 percent). Through September, exports to the Caribbean were still up 4 percent from a year ago in volume (17,759 mt), but value fell 6 percent to $118.2 million.

Lamb export volume slumps, but value moves higher

September exports of U.S. lamb were just 572 mt, down 23 percent from a year ago, but value reached $1.85 million – up 10 percent. For the first three quarters of the year, exports slipped 14 percent in volume (5,579 mt) but were also up 10 percent in value to $14.7 million. The volume decline is due to slow demand for lamb variety meat, as muscle cut exports through September were up substantially in both volume (1,740, up 21 percent) and value ($10.5 million, up 24 percent), including year-over-year increases to Mexico, the Caribbean, Canada, Central America and Taiwan.

Farm Credit Reports 3Q Financial Results

The Farm Credit System reported that combined net income was relatively unchanged at $1.3 billion for the third quarter of 2017 and increased 3.5% to $3.7 billion for the nine months ended September 30, as compared with the same periods of the prior year.

"The System's stable earnings and increased capital levels provide the foundation to execute on our mission through varying agricultural conditions," remarked Tracey McCabe, President and CEO of the Federal Farm Credit Banks Funding Corporation. "System institutions remain focused on serving our customers in challenging times."

Net interest income increased $86 million or 4.6% to $2.0 billion for the third quarter of 2017 and $228 million or 4.1% to $5.8 billion for the nine months ended September 30, 2017, as compared with the same periods of the prior year. The increases in net interest income primarily resulted from higher levels of average earning assets, driven largely by increased loan volume.

Average earning assets increased $7.8 billion or 2.6% to $310.2 billion and $12.3 billion or 4.1% to $310.2 billion for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2017, as compared with the prior year periods.

The net interest margin was 2.52% and 2.47% for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2017, as compared with 2.47% for both periods of the prior year. The net interest margin during these periods was positively impacted by a nine and five basis point increase in income earned on earning assets funded by noninterest-bearing sources. Net interest spread decreased four and five basis points to 2.26% and 2.24% for the three- and nine-month periods of 2017, as compared with 2.30% and 2.29% for the same periods of the prior year. The decline in the net interest spread for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2017 was primarily the result of increased debt costs and lower lending spreads due to competitive pressures.

NCGA Now Accepting Applications for the 2019 Corn Board

The National Corn Growers Association Nominating Committee is now accepting applications from members for the 2019 Corn Board.  Through the Corn Board, members can become an integral part of the organization's leadership. 

"I have had the privilege of working with so many talented, dedicated volunteers who step forward to lead this organization during my years on the Corn Board," said NCGA Chairman and Nominating Committee Chair Wesley Spurlock. "Their willingness to step forward as volunteer leaders play a crucial role in building NCGA's future successes. As a true grassroots organization, we rely upon farmers to volunteer to lead, helping to shape policy and drive efforts. Serving on the Corn Board empowers farmers to play a proactive role in determining the collective future of our industry."

The NCGA Corn Board represents the organization on all matters while directing both policy and supervising day-to-day operations.  Board members serve the organization in a variety of ways.  They represent the federation of state organizations, supervise the affairs and activities of NCGA in partnership with the chief executive officer and implement NCGA policy established by the Corn Congress. Members also act as spokespeople for the NCGA and enhance the organization's public standing on all organizational and policy issues.

Applications are due Friday, January 5. Nominated candidates will be introduced at the March 2018 Corn Congress meeting, held in conjunction with the Commodity Classic in Anaheim, California. Corn Board members will be elected at the July 2018 Corn Congress in Washington, D.C., and the new terms begin Oct. 1.

For more information, growers may contact Kathy Baker at NCGA's St. Louis office at (636) 733-9004.

Overlap Residual Herbicides to Get Ahead of Palmer Amaranth

Fall is ideal for evaluating what worked and what didn’t work – especially when it comes to weed control. Mark Bernards, associate professor of agronomy at Western Illinois University, and his weed science class conducted research this year to learn about growth of two common weeds. They compared the development of Palmer amaranth with waterhemp plants as they grew in the same pot and had to compete. The result? Palmer amaranth grew more aggressively than waterhemp.

“One of the things we noticed is that Palmer amaranth adds leaves a lot quicker,” Bernards says. “At the end, Palmer amaranth had 17 to 18 leaves per pot whereas waterhemp had somewhere between 13 and 14. Palmer amaranth is a much more aggressive species.”

Whether the concern this year was Palmer amaranth, waterhemp or giant ragweed, corn farmers can implement helpful practices to control herbicide-resistant weeds in the future. Bernards says the two best ways to delay, or prevent, herbicide resistance is to apply herbicide mixtures that have active ingredients effective on the targeted weeds and to overlap residual herbicides with multiple modes of action.

“Our primary focus needs to be eliminating weed seed return, which means we don’t let any new weeds into our fields,” Bernards says. “A preemergence application followed by a post- is critical for herbicide resistance management.”

Using a preemergence herbicide helps farmers protect yield potential early. Following up with a postemergence herbicide will not only provide additional control, but also help farmers navigate unfavorable weather circumstances.

“Farmers need a powerful herbicide program to fend off Palmer amaranth next season,” says Lyndsie Kaehler, U.S. product manager, Dow AgroSciences. “An example of a strong approach is applying SureStart II or FulTime NXT herbicide preemergence followed by Resicore herbicide for four modes of action that will work deep into the season. Many farmers also choose to add glyphosate and atrazine to this program to increase the number of different modes of action.”

Nebraska farmer overlaps residual herbicides to control Palmer amaranth
In Holdrege, Nebraska, farmer Blake Johnson has been no-tilling corn and soybeans for 15 years. Recently, herbicide-resistant weeds have become increasingly hard to control.

“We’ve got a huge resistance problem in this county especially after this year when we had soybean fields full of Palmer amaranth,” Johnson says. “Pigweed is the No. 1 troublesome weed and kochia is No. 2. We saw early stages of resistance a year ago, and it has really escalated in the last year, which scares me.”

Last winter, Johnson started looking for a new mode of action to add to his herbicide program to get ahead of Palmer amaranth. He decided to overlap residual herbicides to keep his fields clean deep into the season. Johnson applied FulTime® NXT herbicide preemergence followed by Resicore® herbicide postemergence.

“We had too many escapes in our soybean fields, but in our cornfields where we used Resicore, we were very happy with the control,” Johnson says. “We had very few escapes and, in general, our cornfields were very clean.”

Like many farmers seeking new tools to combat herbicide-resistant weeds, Johnson tries to select products with multiple modes of action. After a season with heavy Palmer amaranth infestations, Johnson is keeping his foot on the gas in 2018.

“We sprayed corn when it had two leaves on it, and we got enough control out of Resicore to keep the fields clean until crop canopy,” Johnson says. “We had good results with it this year at keeping the fields clean. It’s going to have its work cut out for it next year because there’s going to be a little more pressure in some of the fields because of escapes in soybean fields that went to seed.”

Johnson says he is going to put Resicore to the test next year, and he thinks it will be up for the challenge.

Friday November 3 Ag News

LENRD to host Open House Public Hearing regarding Drought Management Plan

The public is invited to an open house public hearing concerning the Drought Management Plan for this area.  The Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) will hold the hearing on Tuesday, November 21st from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. in the Lifelong Learning Center on the campus of Northeast Community College in Norfolk.

The Drought Management Plan defines drought locally and identifies processes to respond to and manage the impacts of future drought events.  The open house public hearing will allow for public comment regarding the proposed integration of the Drought Management Plan into the LENRD’s Groundwater Management Plan.  The public is encouraged to spend as much or as little time as they like at the open house public hearing and it is important to note that written or oral comments carry equal weight in the decision-making process.  The hearing is the first in a multi-step decision process, and consideration of the adoption (or modification) of the proposed changes will be determined at a later date.

LENRD Assistant General Manager, Brian Bruckner, said, “If adopted, the integration of the goals and objectives of the Drought Management Plan into the Groundwater Management Plan, would allow the district to respond to the challenges of an acute drought situation.  The geographic area impacted by the modifications to the District’s Groundwater Management Plan is district-wide, all or parts of 15 counties in northeast Nebraska.”

LENRD General Manager, Mike Sousek, said, “The LENRD is taking proactive steps to reduce the impacts of future drought events.  One of these steps is the development of the Drought Management Plan.”  He continued, “We must ensure that we protect the water resources of all current users in the district because this is the law.  The protocol we are proposing for determining drought in the district is considered to be the most accurate method in the world.”

The full text of the proposed amendment is on page 105 of the Groundwater Management Plan, which is available at the LENRD office in Norfolk and on the district’s website at

Individuals with disabilities may request auxiliary aids and service necessary for participation by contacting the LENRD by November 14, 2017.  Testimony relevant to the purposes of the hearing may also be submitted in writing (prior to the close of the hearing) to the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resource District, 601 E. Benjamin Avenue, Suite 101, Norfolk, Nebraska 68701.

For more information on this planning effort, contact the LENRD at 402-371-7313 or

NE Pork Prod. hosts FMD Crisis Tabletop Exercise

The deliberate or accidental introduction of a highly contagious foreign animal disease, such as Foot and Mouth Disease, into the U.S. will have an immediate and drastic effect on agriculture.  In a first of its kind study funded by Pork Checkoff, a Center for Agricultural and Rural Development Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (CARD FAPRI) model estimated revenue losses to the pork and beef industries resulting from the introduction of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in the U.S. would average $12.9 billion per year. Total cumulative revenue losses across the commodities modeled over a 10 year period was $199.9 billion including $57 billion for pork, $71.23 billion for beef, $0.98 billion for poultry, $44 billion for corn, $24.9 billion for soybeans and $1.8 billion for wheat.

Increasing foreign animal disease awareness and preparedness has been a pork industry priority and has resulted in the development and delivery of a unique tabletop exercise training tool for pork producers, veterinarians and stakeholders at the state and local level. The tabletop is an interactive training tool that utilizes a model of rural America including farms, livestock and a small town to help participants visualize what would occur locally during an animal disease disaster.

National Pork Board, NE Department of Ag, and NE Pork Producers Association invite pork producers, veterinarians, and stakeholders to attend Foot and Mouth Disease Crisis Tabletop in West Point on Wednesday, December 6th. Participants will walk through a Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) outbreak focusing on the effects at the local level through communications and operations that must occur to contain, manage, and eradicate the disease while maintaining business continuity to help stabilize the agricultural economy.

The exercise walks participants through a foot and mouth disease outbreak focusing on the effects at the local level and the communications and operations that must occur to contain, manage and eradicate the disease while maintaining business continuity to help stabilize the agricultural economy.

Participants rapidly become a part of the response effort from diagnosing the first case, mobilizing the local response, controlling and eradicating the disease, and getting back to “business as usual.”

Register online at

Nebraska Cattlemen Host 2017 Annual Convention & Trade Show

The 2017 Annual Nebraska Cattlemen Convention and Trade Show will be held in Kearney at the Younes Convention Center December 5th - 8th. This year's convention schedule is packed full of industry leaders, speakers and educational opportunities for all ages of cattlemen and women.

The week starts off on Tuesday, December 5, with the 2017 Cattlemen's College, sponsored by Zoetis. The event this year will be held at the Buffalo County Fairgrounds Ag Pavilion to allow for a full day of classroom speakers and time at the chute.  The program offers a wide range of speakers that will discuss nutrition, cover crops, vaccinations and so much more. This producer education program is designed to address issues that will improve production and profitability.  The college will wrap up with a networking reception, NCBA update and panel on labor issues.

Wednesday will kick off at the Younes Convention Center with the Young Cattlemen's Round-table, sponsored by the YCC Class of 2016.  The goal of the round table is to inspire members to get involved in the Nebraska Cattlemen and experience the benefits of the organization.  Attendees will be able to discuss what is happening in the beef industry and what it means to them. Council meetings will fill the rest of the day and Wednesday will conclude with the General Session and time to mingle at the Welcome Reception in the Trade Show.

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

 Engineering Research Focusing on Next Generation of Ag Technologies 

The next generation of agricultural technologies and systems is the focus of three USDA-funded research projects within the Biological Systems Engineering Department at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. The projects were announced Oct. 17 by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s (NIFA) Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI).

“Technology is front and center in agricultural production,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “NIFA is investing in research on precision and smart technologies to maximize production efficiencies, including water and fertilizer use, and to produce nutritious food, new biofuels and bioproducts.”

The projects focus on high-resolution depth sensing of soils, next-generation spray drift mitigation and variable rate irrigation technology. Work in these areas has already been established and with support from AFRI, Nebraska researchers can continue to develop these technologies.

“Three of the 17 agricultural technology projects recently funded by the USDA are led by Nebraska’s Biological Systems Engineering Department, which is a testament to the innovative approach by our researchers,” said David Jones, interim department head of biological systems engineering. “Through these research projects, we will be able to bring the latest engineering technology to Nebraska’s biological systems.”

The three projects are:

High-resolution depth sensing of soils. Yufeng Ge, assistant professor and advanced sensing systems engineer, was awarded a three-year $499,896 grant to develop an instrumented soil penetrometer for gathering real-time and simultaneous prediction of a number of soil properties.

Innovation in drift reduction technologies.
Research led by Joe Luck, associate professor of biological systems engineering and precision agriculture engineer, is focused on reducing negative impacts to society and the environment resulting from spray drift of pesticides. The four-year, $499,916 project will introduce next-generation technologies for controlling spray droplets during field applications.

Advancing variable rate irrigation technology using unmanned aircraft systems.
Advancing variable rate irrigation technology across the Great Plains and the Midwest through improved water efficiency of irrigated, row-crop agriculture is the focus of a three-year, $499,978 grant awarded to Christopher Neale, professor in the Biological Systems Engineering Department and director of research at the Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute at the University of Nebraska.

Online Crop Residue Exchange Links Growers and Grazers 

Daren Redfearn - NE Extension Forage Crop Residue Specialist

The Crop Residue Exchange is an interactive, online tool designed to help farmers and cattle producers connect and develop mutually beneficial agreements for using crop residue for grazing. A recent UNL survey funded by USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education showed that 17% of farmers list lack of access to cattle as the major reason cattle aren’t used to graze residue on their farmland. This new online exchange serves as a way for corn and other crop producers to market their crop residue to cattle producers.

The Crop Residue Exchange is available online at After establishing a log-in account, farmers can list cropland available for grazing by drawing out the plot of land available using an interactive map and entering in basic information about the type of residue, fencing situation, water availability, and dates available. They also provide their preferred contact information. Livestock producers can log in and search the database for cropland available for grazing within radius of a given location of interest.

While the primary objective of this exchange is to assist in the development of farmer-cattle producer relationships, it’s expected that in the near future the exchange will provide educational material and tools to support these relationships. Items under development include
-    a lease template to help cattle owners and farmers develop a contract;
-    links to tools and guidelines to help farmers and cattle owners correctly stock crop residue fields,
-    summary information on crop residue grazing rates.

These tools will be available to all registered users of the exchange.  Development of the Crop Residue Exchange was made possible with funding support from the Nebraska Extension Innovation Grants Program.

Soybean stem canker research brings Serbian scientist to South Dakota State

Scouting soybean fields and identifying diseases are some of the tasks that Kristina Petrović performs as a research associate at the Institute of Field and Vegetable Crops in Serbia. She is expanding her work on pathogens that affect soybeans as a visiting scientist at South Dakota State University, where she is working with field crops pathologist Febina Mathew, an assistant professor in the Department of Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Science.

“I am happy when I find disease,” Petrović quipped. She was the first to report that three species of Diaporthe, the pathogen that causes stem canker of soybean, were triggering Phomopsis seed decay in Serbia. Petrović published two papers on her findings in Plant Disease, an American Phytopathological Society journal. When she told the journal editor that she wanted to do postdoctoral research in the United States, he circulated her credentials among the society’s members.

“After four days, Febina invited me to South Dakota State University to examine the Diaporthe species causing soybean disease in the United States,” Petrović recalled. Her 10-month residency, which began in August, is supported by a grant from the Serbian government and funding from the Institute of Field and Vegetable Crops. She also received support for her SDSU research from the North Central Soybean Research Program and the South Dakota Agricultural Experimental Station.

The world has two main types of stem canker—the Northern variety, which likes cool temperatures and affects both South Dakota and Serbian soybeans, and the Southern, which can survive high temperatures. Both types like moisture, Petrović explained.

Plants are infected when raindrops hit pathogen-containing plant residue and splash the fungus spores onto the young soybean plants. “At the end of July or beginning of August, when soybeans are in their pod-fill stage, we see the first symptoms, dark brown lesions that spread up and down the plant,” she said.

“Planting resistant genotypes is the best option for producers,” Petrović explained.  In Serbia, she said, “Our genotypes have good field resistance, but not complete resistance. However, we are trying to find the most resistant or tolerant soybean genotypes.”

In the United States, five Diaporthe species are causing soybean disease, according to Mathew. She and North Dakota State University Extension Plant Pathologist Sam Markell found Diaporthe gulyae, which causes Phomopsis stem canker in sunflowers, associated with stem disease on soybeans.  

Recently plant scientists have seen an increase in soybean diseases caused by Diaporthe (Phomopsis) species in the United States, according to Mathew. Petrović’s research will help identify the pathogens behind this increased disease prevalence. 

“I want to know more about the relationship among the Diaporthe species,” said Petrović. To do this, she’ll examine the pathogens’ diversity using phylogenetics. She and Mathew will also screen soybean genotypes to identify sources of resistance to Diaporthe species that will help breeders develop resistant soybean cultivars.

This research will help scientists develop strategies to manage the disease that will benefit farmers not only in the United States, but also in Serbia.

USMEF Members Examine Challenges ahead, Elect New Officer Team

The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) concluded its Strategic Planning Conference in Tucson, Arizona, Friday with the election of new officers for 2017-2018. Dennis Stiffler, Ph.D., who has served in many volunteer leadership roles for USMEF, was elected USMEF chairman.

“This is a very exciting time for USMEF – we have an extremely engaged executive committee with a lot of talented people,” said Stiffler, who is president of the Texas Division, Halpern's Steak and Seafood, headquartered in Atlanta. He recently retired as chief executive officer of Mountain States Rosen, a fabricator, processor and distributor of lamb and veal products. “Also, we are getting ready to embark on new executive leadership at USMEF, and it will be exciting to follow that transition through. It is going to be an important role for USMEF officers to play.”

Stiffler has 30 years of livestock, meat industry and international marketing experience, and spent 10 years at major universities involved in teaching, research and extension services. During his tenure in academia, Stiffler traveled abroad on numerous occasions representing both USMEF and the U.S. Grains Council in education and market development programs.

His first interaction with USMEF was back when he was on the faculty at Texas A&M University. He later held various positions in the red meat industry, including the export business. In 2010, as a member of the American Lamb Board, Stiffler was appointed to the USMEF Executive Committee.

“I believe it’s notable that in the 41-year history of USMEF, I am the first chairman representing the lamb sector,” said Stiffler. “I bring that background with me, along with my experience across the entire red meat industry. I was asked many times to go into international markets to work on technical aspects such as meat quality, production practices, product performance and food safety – giving me credibility in that area. “From a business standpoint, we are in the business of moving product into markets, and to do that you have to match science with consumer preferences.”

Stiffler lauded USMEF staff for its work at the Denver headquarters and in USMEF’s international offices. He also praised longtime USMEF CEO Philip Seng and Dan Halstrom, who succeeded Seng as USMEF president on Sept. 1 and will assume the title of president and CEO on Dec. 1.

“Phil has been a true leader and an icon in this industry, and we all owe him a great deal of gratitude,” said Stiffler. “I want to personally thank him for his leadership, his commitment, his passion for the international marketplace and his tireless dedication to this organization.”

Stiffler then introduced Halstrom, who thanked Seng and recalled their long relationship in the U.S. red meat industry.

“Phil’s tutelage, his guidance and his vison for this industry has been second to none,” said Halstrom, who then shared his thoughts about USMEF’s future opportunities and challenges.

Stiffler succeeds Bruce Schmoll, a corn and soybean producer from Minnesota, as USMEF chair.

Conley Nelson is the new USMEF chair-elect. Nelson is general manager of Smithfield Foods’ hog production division in the company’s five-state Midwest region and served as president of the National Pork Board in 2012-13. Serving as USMEF vice chair is Idaho cattle feeder Cevin Jones, who operates Intermountain Beef, a custom feedlot.

The newest USMEF officer is Secretary-Treasurer Pat Binger of Wichita, Kansas, who heads international sales for Cargill Protein Group. A 30-year Cargill employee, Binger first became involved with USMEF more than 25 years ago. He sees USMEF’s role in the export game as more vital than ever.

“The supply of red meat will continue to grow, so in order to benefit our industry we are going to need to export more product, and we fully expect to be able to do that,” said Binger. “For member companies, the many capabilities USMEF has are extremely important. I feel very good about being a part of this association.”

Friday’s closing business session also included a presentation titled “Spotlight on Brazil” in which panelists took an in-depth look at Brazil from several different angles – not only as a competing supplier of red meat, but also as a trading partner and a potential destination for U.S. beef, pork and lamb. (The Brazilian market recently reopened to U.S. beef but is currently closed to imports of U.S. pork and lamb.)

USMEF trade analyst Jessica Spreitzer presented a detailed overview and comparison of Brazil’s red meat production, consumption, exports and imports with that of the United States. Bob Macke, who leads the Office of Agreements and Scientific Affairs at the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), addressed the broader U.S.-Brazil trading relationship, covering a range of agricultural sectors.

Otavio Migliorini, a native of Brazil who is a partner of PMI Foods operations while also serving as general manager of its South American division, focused on the challenges involved in doing business in Brazil, potential opportunities for U.S. beef and pork in the Brazilian market, and Brazilian consumers’ perceptions of U.S. meat products. Jessica Julca, USMEF’s South America representative based in Lima, Peru, highlighted the early promotional activities USMEF has conducted in the Brazilian market and previewed plans to expand promotions once more U.S. suppliers obtain clearance to ship product to Brazil. The panel was moderated by USMEF Technical Services Manager Cheyenne McEndaffer, who works closely with USMEF member companies to help them meet eligibility requirements in Brazil and other Latin American markets.

USMEF members also approved a resolution on market access for U.S. lamb – an amended version of a resolution originally adopted in 2012. It notes that U.S. lamb recently gained access to Taiwan and Guatemala but voices support for U.S. government efforts to negotiate access in key Asian and South American markets that remain closed due to issues related to transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE).

The Strategic Planning Conference opened Wednesday with an address from Seng in which he discussed pressing issues affecting international meat trade, including the need for improved market access in key destinations such as Japan.

Seng explained that he fields many questions about the potential for a free trade agreement with Japan. While such an agreement is sorely needed, Seng doesn’t see U.S.-Japan negotiations anywhere on the horizon.

“The Japanese government has made it clear in its public statements that it doesn’t want to discuss an FTA with the United States at this point in time,” Seng said, noting that Japan is deeply involved in negotiations with the remaining participants in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and is looking to eventually expand TPP to include other East Asian countries in the agreement. Japan also recently completed negotiations on an economic partnership agreement with the European Union.

Seng also previewed the upcoming 2018 World Meat Congress, a biennial event that USMEF will co-host with the International Meat Secretariat May 30-June 1 in Dallas. The World Meat Congress is the world’s premier gathering of beef, pork, lamb and veal industry leaders. The conference brings together producers, exporters, marketing specialists, policy analysts, economists and meat scientists to exchange ideas and experiences on key issues affecting the international meat and livestock sectors.

“Hosting the World Meat Congress allows us to extol the U.S. model for agriculture,” Seng said. “We have a science-based agricultural industry, and we embrace science, so this is a wonderful opportunity to showcase our way of production and our way of food safety assurance.”

Joel Haggard, USMEF senior vice president for the Asia Pacific, followed with a detailed overview of current market conditions and opportunities in China, which is a mainstay market for U.S. pork and recently reopened to U.S. beef.

Conference attendees also learned how the evolution of shopping and dining habits in key international markets is playing a major role in determining USMEF’s strategies for promoting U.S. red meat. Panelists included Taz Hijikata, USMEF senior manager for consumer affairs in Japan, Gerardo Rodriguez, USMEF director of marketing and trade development in Mexico, Central America and the Dominican Republic, and Jihae Yang, USMEF director in South Korea.

Thursday’s conference highlights included a look ahead at opportunities and challenges in the beef and pork exports markets, with CattleFax CEO Randy Blach leading a discussion that drew expertise from Binger and Jack Shao, Hormel Foods Corporation’s sales and marketing manager for Japan, Korea and international pork.

Anne Dawson, a senior trade advisor in her 19th year of service with FAS, received the USMEF Distinguished Service Award. The award recognizes an individual for leadership and lifetime contributions toward the achievement of USMEF’s export goals.

For more details on the conference, please visit


The House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment next Thursday will hold a hearing on a “discussion draft” bill that would protect farmers from citizen lawsuits related to solid waste such as manure. The legislation – the “Farm Regulatory Certainty Act” – sponsored by Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., would amend the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act to prohibit third-party citizen suits against an agricultural operation related to manure or crop residue that is stored or returned to the soil as fertilizer or soil conditioner if the state or U.S. Environmental Protection Agency already is working with the operation through a civil, criminal or administrative action to address identified problems.


The U.S. Chamber of Commerce this week hosted The Future of NAFTA: The Stakes for American Agriculture and Business, an event featuring past National Pork Producers Council president Randy Spronk, who represented the U.S. pork industry during a panel discussion that also included Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes. Following remarks by Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Pat Roberts, R-Kan., the panel discussion highlighted the considerable harm a NAFTA termination would cause.

In his remarks, Spronk said, “If the administration follows through on its threats to withdraw from NAFTA, the giant sucking sound would be the air going out of the economy of rural America as farmers and ranchers take a major financial hit.”

Official renegotiation talks on the agreement are scheduled to resume Nov. 17 in Mexico City, with additional rounds extending into next year. NPPC continues to urge the Trump administration to remain committed to NAFTA and to maintain zero-duty market access for pork exports to Canada and Mexico. A U.S. withdrawal from NAFTA would cost the U.S. pork industry $1.5 billion.

RFA: US Ethanol Exports Down

The United States exported 86.4 million gallons of fuel ethanol in September, down 16% from August shipments, according to an analysis of government data by the Renewable Fuels Association.

RFA said the data shows Canada was again the top destination for U.S. exports at 28.8 mg or one-third of the total exports, but down 5% from August.

India was the surprise major player in the global ethanol market, raising its import rate of U.S. ethanol by 126% to 20.3 mg in September, edging out Brazil as the second-leading export destination.

U.S. ethanol exports to all destinations for the first three quarters of 2017 stood at 992.9 mg, an annualized export volume of 1.32 billion gallons.

For the first time in 16 months, Brazil was not one of the top two customers of U.S. ethanol exports, the data shows. The likely reason is a 20% tariff on imports of U.S. ethanol imposed by Brazil in early September.

Ethanol exports to Brazil decreased to 19.1 mg, down 29% from August and 70% below the peak of 64.3 mg in May.

Canada, India and Brazil accounted for a whopping 79% of all shipments in September while another 20% was parsed out among nine other markets.

September exports of undenatured fuel ethanol increased by 5% to 48.7 mg. India imported 20.3 mg after an August absence. The Philippines (2.1 mg), Netherlands (2.1 mg), Mexico (1.7 mg), and Jamaica (1.5 mg) rounded out the top five largest markets for undenatured product.

U.S. exports of denatured fuel ethanol fell in September by 39% to 31.7 mg. Both Canada (27.8 mg or 88%) and Peru (2.3 mg) cut their purchases by 5% from August, while Oman was quiet after making larger purchases in August.

Overseas sales of denatured ethanol for non-fuel, non-beverage purposes expanded to the highest volume in nine months at 3.3 mg. Belgium (1.3 mg) and Sweden (1.3 mg) were the largest markets.

Exports of undenatured ethanol for non-fuel, non-beverage purposes decreased 25% to 2.7 mg, with South Korea (1.2 mg) and Canada (1.0 mg) as our primary customers.

For the fifth straight month, the U.S. recorded meaningful ethanol import volumes with 10.7 mg of Brazilian undenatured ethanol on the books in September. Year-to-date fuel ethanol imports total 52.8 mg, an annualized volume of 70.4 mg.

Beef Checkoff Contractor Accused of Undermining Trump's Trade Policy

In a complaint and request for investigation filed with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and United States Trade Ambassador Robert Lighthizer, R-CALF USA accused a major Beef Checkoff Program recipient, the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), of attempting to influence governmental policy and action.

The Beef Checkoff Program is a federal program that disseminates government speech by assessing every U.S. cattle rancher a $1 tax on every head of cattle they sell and then giving that tax money to organizations to promote domestic as well as imported beef. Documents show the USMEF recently received about $9 million in checkoff dollars.

Recipients of the checkoff tax are prohibited from using the tax money in any manner to influencing governmental policy or action.

However, an Oct. 31 article in Meatingplace reported the CEO of the USMEF, Phil Seng, issued a warning about President Trump's trade policies, particularly his stated policy option of potentially withdrawing from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

R-CALF USA seeks an investigation to determine if Seng's salary, office, communications services, or travel are cross-subsidized in any manner by Beef Checkoff Program tax dollars in direct violation of the federal Beef Checkoff Program.

The complaint states that unlike the multinational meatpackers whose interests the USMEF represents, America's ranchers have been harmed for decades by the NAFTA-generated trade deficit in the trade of cattle, beef, beef variety meats and processed beef. The letter states that trade deficit was $3.8 billion in 2014, $4.9 billion in 2015, and $3 billion in 2016.

R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard said that this is a striking example of the swamp that President Trump needs to drain.

"Here you have a government-subsidized organization, with its hands deep inside the government's pockets, that is working in clear public view to undermine the very policy positions that President Trump was elected to fulfill.

"This needs to stop and we hope Secretary Perdue and Ambassador Lighthizer will put a stop to it right away," Bullard concluded.

Perdue Announces Farm Service Agency and Rural Development State Directors

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced a slate of Farm Service Agency (FSA) and Rural Development (RD) State Directors, all serving as appointees of President Donald J. Trump.  FSA State Directors help implement U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) policies in planning, organizing, and administering FSA programs in their respective states. They are also responsible for running the day-to-day activities of the state FSA office.  Similarly, RD State Directors work to help improve the economy and quality of life in rural America.

The following is a partial list of State Directors Perdue released today:

Nebraska: Nancy Johner
Nancy Johner comes to the USDA with over 25 years of senior executive leadership in county, state and federal government as well as the private sector.

Iowa: Amanda De Jong
Amanda De Jong most recently held the position of Senior Policy Advisor at the Iowa Corn Growers Association and she has also served in prior roles with U.S. Senator Charles Grassley and the USDA.

Kansas: David Schemm
David Schemm has served as President of the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers and President of National Association of Wheat Growers.

“These state directors will help ensure that USDA is offering the best customer service to our farmers, ranchers, foresters, and agricultural producers across the country,” Secretary Perdue said. “FSA and RD both play a critical role in helping the people of agriculture, and are able to connect with people in their home states.  They are the initial points of contact for millions of our USDA customers.  Our goal is to help rural America prosper, and these state leaders will be of great assistance in that task.”

Zoetis Reports Higher Quarterly Revenues, Net Income

Zoetis Inc. reported its financial results for the third quarter of 2017 and raised its full year guidance for revenue and net income.

The company reported revenue of $1.3 billion for the third quarter of 2017, an increase of 9% compared with the third quarter of 2016. Net income for the third quarter of 2017 was $298 million, or $0.61 per diluted share, an increase of 25% and 27%, respectively, on a reported basis.

Adjusted net income for the third quarter of 2017 was $322 million, or $0.65 per diluted share, an increase of 25%, on a reported basis. Adjusted net income for the third quarter of 2017 excludes the net impact of $24 million for purchase accounting adjustments, acquisition-related costs and certain significant items.

On an operational basis, revenue for the third quarter of 2017 increased 8%, excluding the impact of foreign currency. Adjusted net income for the third quarter of 2017 increased 25% operationally, excluding the impact of foreign currency.

Disney Supports Feeding America

The Walt Disney Company announced a contribution of $1 million to Feeding America, Chiago, to help food banks expand their local fresh produce sourcing and distribution programs that serve kids and families who need it most. The funds will be distributed to 60 food banks throughout the country. The announcement was made on ABC's "The Chew" today and kicked off Disney's "Share the Joy" campaign, inspiring families around the world to help others and make a positive impact in their community during the holidays.

This year, as part of Disney's "Share the Joy" campaign, Feeding America and Disney will expand access to healthy living options in neighborhoods where kids and families live, work and play. Increasing access to nutritious foods is part of Disney's long-standing commitment to create healthier generations. Disney|ABC Television Group will also inspire audiences to donate nutritious foods through Feeding America with a series of Public Service Announcements (PSAs) that will run on ABC, Freeform, Disney Channel and Disney XD through December. Additionally, ABC-owned television stations in local markets will host volunteer events with local food banks.

During "The Chew" segment, Kids Cafe, a child nutrition program of the Houston Food Bank, was featured along with some volunteers. Carla Hall and Chew Super Fan Rhonda Russell (Houston, TX) help to give back to the community in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey with a visit to the food bank. The Houston Food Bank was one of several Feeding America food banks directly impacted by hurricanes that made landfall earlier this year. To support Feeding America and the food banks' disaster relief efforts, Disney made an additional donation of $500,000 earlier this year.

Feeding America is the largest hunger-relief and food rescue organization in the United States, with a network of 200 member food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs. Feeding America's goal is not only to provide meals for people in need, but also to provide nutritious foods that are the building blocks to a healthy life. Thanks to funding from Disney, food banks nationwide have been able to create strategic produce plans to grow local produce channels that help meet the needs in their service area. Funds have also supported investments in assets and infrastructure to help reduce barriers to sourcing and distributing fresh produce to the people they serve.

Thursday November 2 Ag News

Nebraska Cooperative Council Annual Meeting and Hall of Fame

The 72nd Annual Meeting of the Nebraska Cooperative Council is scheduled for Wednesday, November 15th at the Holiday Inn and Convention Center in Kearney.  One of the highlights of this year’s meeting will be the induction ceremony for two new inductees into the Nebraska Cooperative Council Cooperative Hall of Fame.

The Council’s Board of Directors implemented the NCC Cooperative Hall of Fame in 1999 as a way to recognize individuals who have been unwavering in their support of the cooperative system in Nebraska.  It is the Council’s intent that this prestigious award be reserved for only those who are held in the highest esteem by their peers.

The specific goal of the Cooperative Hall of Fame is to recognize those cooperative leaders whose leadership:
✧            Was instrumental in the growth and service of their respective cooperative.
✧            Fostered and promoted unity and a common approach to agricultural cooperatives.
✧            Improved and promoted a better understanding of the principles and practices of agricultural cooperatives.
✧            Was instrumental in the defense, protection, and enhancement of the agricultural cooperative movement.

On November 15th, the Council will induct the following two individuals into the Nebraska Cooperative Council Hall of Fame:

✧            Rodney Schroeder - Rod grew up on a farm near Leigh, Nebraska and began his career as an accountant at Gooch Mills in Lincoln.  Ten months later at the ripe age of 21, he accepted a job at the Aurora Cooperative.  Rod quickly rose through the ranks and was named CEO of the Cooperative in 1984.

                Rod spent 18 years as CEO at Aurora, and during his tenure the sales of the cooperative grew from under $1 million per year to $162 million in his final year.  During that same period, the cooperative grew from 3 locations to 23 locations.

                In 2002, Rod left Aurora to join Agriliance, and during that time he provided leadership to bring the cultures of the regionals together to successfully run the business.  Agriliance then integrated with Winfield Solutions, and through Rod's leadership pre-tax earnings grew from $40 million to $162 million.

                In addition to his leadership and vision at work, Rod also served on many local, state and national boards during his career.  These would include service as chairman of United Benefits Group and on the boards of the Co-op Retirement Committee, Farmers Commodity Corporation, Ag Retailers Association, The Fertilizer Institute, Crop Life America, Cooperative Mutual Insurance Company, Heritage Bank, FLM+, and Nebraska Energy Cooperative.

✧            Frederick Temme - Fred is truly one of the most dedicated cooperative supporters that the dairy industry in Nebraska has ever seen.  His service on cooperative boards throughout his career distinguish him as a true leader of agricultural cooperatives.

                Fred began farming near Wayne in 1955 after serving his country in the U.S. Army.  He began share renting the farm from his father and milking 25 cows.  Today the operation, that his son and grandson operate, includes over 1,000 acres of farmland and 850 milk cows.

                While building a successful business, Fred also provided leadership throughout the industry.  Fred began his service to his cooperative as a district officer for Associated Milk Producers Inc (AMPI) in 1977.  He served on numerous AMPI committees throughout the years and as a corporate director until his retirement in 1998.  He served as Chair, Vice Chair, and Secretary of the Dairy Council of Central States ADA; Vice Chair of the Nebraska Dairy Industry Development Board; and as a board director on the Federal Order 65 Production Board and Nebraska Dairy Review Board; and he also had the honor of testifying before Congress.

                Locally Fred served on the Wayne County Extension Board, Wayne County Farm Bureau Board, Wayne County Soil & Water Conservation Board, and Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District Board.  He also served on his local school board and church council.

 Nebraska Project Aims to Improve Land Use Effiiency

A University of Nebraska-Lincoln research team will investigate how to improve land use efficiency through the integration of livestock and crop production systems.

The project is funded by a $1 million grant from the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research.

The team, which includes members of a new Nebraska Beef Systems Research Initiative, expects an integrated system, which overlays cattle grazing with existing crop production systems, to increase output per acre and reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with production. The team will also examine if the benefits of using cover crops are retained when they are used for livestock forage.

James C. MacDonald, associate professor of animal science and ruminant nutrition at Nebraska, will lead the team in its investigation of various outputs including yields, soil health and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as the economic feasibility of adopting these new practices.

"It's very difficult for new or young farmers to get started," MacDonald said. "You may not own the land or need to work with a family member's existing system to start your own enterprise. Integrating cattle without disturbing crop production with minimal investment can help young producers get started and stay in agriculture."

The availability of perennial forage for livestock production has decreased as farms move to less diversified systems to grow individual crops. Highly specialized systems, such as monoculture, may be less sustainable than diversified approaches in terms of resource efficiency and long-term profitability.

"Cover crops are a long-term investment to improve soil health and reduce erosion, but they can be difficult for producers to pay for," MacDonald said. "If producers can graze cattle on cover crops, they could increase land efficiency and mitigate costs."

Producers will play a vital role in the research by participating in surveys and focus groups to gather input about how they make decisions. Outcomes of this study will help farmers and ranchers understand which practices will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions while efficiently producing food in a diversified system.

U.S. Rep. Don Bacon, who represents Nebraska's 2nd District, said: "As a member of the House Agriculture Committee, I know how important it is for producers to maximize livestock production and increase overall productivity. Nebraska is the number one state for beef and veal exports and for commercial red meat production. This grant will allow the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to contribute to the state's cattle production and research effective land use practices to help new farmers."

The project is supported by FFAR through its Seeding Solutions grant program, which calls for research proposals in the foundation's seven challenge areas. The grant is part of the Protein Challenge, which aims to enhance and improve the environmental, economic and social sustainability production of diverse proteins for a growing global population.

"As the population continues to expand, we must find more efficient ways to produce enough food to feed the growing population," said Sally Rockey, Executive Director of the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research. "FFAR is pleased to support a project that will help efficiently manage resources and provide economic opportunities for American farmers and ranchers."

The Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Office of Research and Economic Development at Nebraska matched FFAR's support, resulting in $2.4 million dedicated to this research. The Platte River High-Plains Aquifer Long-term Agroecosystems Research Network is also a partner.

Other team members include Tala Awanda from Nebraska's Agricultural Research Division; Simanti Banerjee and Jay Parsons from the Department of Agricultural Economics; Humberto Blanco and Daren Redfearn from the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture; Mary Drewnoski and Galen Erickson from the Department of Animal Science; Jane Okalebo and Andy Suyker from the School of Natural Resources; and George Burba from LI-COR Biosciences.

The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization established by bipartisan congressional support in the 2014 Farm Bill, builds unique partnerships to support innovative and actionable science addressing today's food and agriculture challenges. FFAR leverages public and private resources to increase the scientific and technological research, innovation and partnerships critical to enhancing sustainable production of nutritious food for a growing global population.

Beef Blast Workshop Will Focus on Genetics

Youth in grades 7-12 are invited to attend Beef Blast at the Hansen Agriculture Student Learning Center in Ames, Iowa. The workshop, hosted by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and the Iowa State Department of Animal Science, will teach participants about working with beef cattle.

The program begins at 9:30 a.m. Dec. 2 and concludes at 3:30 p.m. Workshop presenters include beef faculty, staff and graduate students from Iowa State.

Youth will have a variety of hands-on workshops to explore genetics, the program focus. Participants will be able to use an ultrasound, practice selection and learn about DNA. 

“The goal of this workshop is to provide youth with opportunities for learning that they cannot get in their county or school program,” said Amy Powell, youth STEM specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach. “I hope that they will share the information learned at Beef Blast when they go back home.”

The cost of the workshop is $40 and includes all materials and lunch. Registration is due by midnight, Nov. 21 and space is limited. To register visit Parents are also welcome to attend for a cost of $12 which covers meals.

For further information contact Powell at 515-294-3441 or

U.S. Must Make Commitment To Agricultural Research

The National Pork Producers Council in testimony delivered today urged Congress to renew its commitment to funding agricultural research to help America’s farmers feed a growing world population, improve public health and strengthen U.S. national security by ensuring America’s food security.

NPPC chief veterinarian Dr. Liz Wagstrom told the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology Subcommittee on Research and Technology that the United States is the “lowest-cost and most technologically innovative producer of food in the world … and has the safest food on the planet” because of the country’s historical commitment to research.

She pointed out that research helped the U.S. pork industry deal with diseases such as Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome and the H1N1 influenza virus. But, she added, U.S. agriculture remains vulnerable to emerging and foreign animal diseases.

A disease the pork industry and other livestock sectors are particularly concerned about, Wagstrom testified, is Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD). The United States doesn’t have enough vaccine to address an FMD outbreak, which, if unchecked, would cost the pork, beef, corn and soybean sectors, alone, $200 billion over 10 years.

NPPC is urging Congress to establish and fund through the next Farm Bill a manufacturer-managed FMD vaccine bank and is requesting funds for animal disease diagnostics and research that “can help address the alarming gap in the government’s preparedness for an FMD outbreak.”

Wagstrom also told the subcommittee that the federal commitment to agricultural research seems to have waned recently, pointing out that from 1970 to 2008 50 percent of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s budget went to research but by 2013 it was less than 30 percent.

One factor for that decline, she said, is the increased costs of operating federal research facilities. She asked Congress to ensure adequate funds for operating agricultural research facilities “over and above” research dollars.

“The U.S. pork industry strongly supports and urges a significant increase in funding for federal … agricultural research and grants to help America’s farmers and ranchers continue feeding the world with safe, wholesome and nutritious food,” Wagstrom told the subcommittee.

Farmers Applaud Move to Reform Tax Code

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall

“Farm Bureau applauds Congress for its progress in reforming the tax code. This new tax plan moves us closer to a tax system that rewards the hard work and entrepreneurship of America’s farm and ranch families.

“Today’s proposal includes expanded, immediate expensing while continuing the business interest deduction important to so many farmers and ranchers. It also provides immediate relief from the estate tax with a repeal to follow in subsequent years. We will be studying the plan to ensure the new rate structure reduces the tax burden of our nation’s farmers and ranchers and gives them the flexibility they need to reinvest in their businesses.

“We are long overdue for a permanent tax code that recognizes the unique financial challenges farmers and ranchers face in managing their businesses and keeping their farms running from one generation to the next.”

Statement by Steve Nelson, NE Farm Bureau President, Regarding House Releases Sweeping Tax Overhaul Plan

“Today’s release of Congress’ first real attempt to reform our nation’s tax-code in over 30 years, represents a great first step in this long process. For the past several years, Nebraska Farm Bureau members have been working with members of Congress on a package that lowers taxes for Nebraska’s farm and ranch families.”

“The proposal, which includes important reforms to income taxes and farm succession taxes, also maintains the business interest deduction, which is extremely important to farmers and ranchers. We will continue to examine the full package and will remain engaged throughout this process moving forward. We must take advantage of this once in a generation opportunity to provide lower taxes that also recognizes the unique financial challenges facing Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers.”

NBB Responds to House Republican Comprehensive Tax Reform Proposal

Today the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) responded to the release of the comprehensive tax reform proposal issued by U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas):

“NBB members across the country are disappointed that this first draft of congressional tax reform legislation does not include an extension of the critical biodiesel tax incentives. For decades, stable federal tax incentives for oil and gas have contributed to the world-class, conventional energy industry of today, and NBB encourages legislators to create a similarly stable tax framework for biodiesel and renewable diesel. As the process moves along, NBB stands ready to work with Congressional lawmakers to craft a robust, biodiesel tax incentive that will provide public benefits such as rural job creation, a diversified national fuel portfolio, and fewer toxic pollutants in the air,” said Doug Whitehead, chief operating officer at the National Biodiesel Board.

NBB will continue to work with lawmakers to address these concerns and to include biodiesel tax incentives in comprehensive tax reform proposals moving forward.

House Tax Proposal Would Raise Taxes on America’s Farmers

Chuck Conner, president & CEO of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives

By eliminating the Domestic Production Activities Deduction (DPAD), also known as Section 199, the "Tax Cuts and Jobst Act of 2017," the tax reform proposal released today by House Ways & Means Chairman Kevin Brady, would raise taxes on millions of farmers and depress economic activity throughout rural America. The value of the deduction for agriculture in a number of states is substantial: $136 million annually in California; $131 million in Minnesota; $80 million in South Dakota; $67 million in Iowa; and $60 million in Nebraska

“Initial calculations using assumptions based on the Unified Framework on tax reform show that the tax burden for an individual farmer could increase by thousands of dollars each year under Section 199 repeal. In the coming days NCFC will continue to analyze the impact of farmers now that more details of the plan have been provided.

“Farmers have been told that tax reform will give them more money in their pockets to invest back in rural communities. The House tax reform package takes money away from farmers at a time when they are suffering from extremely low commodity prices. Rural America strongly supports a pro-growth tax policy, but the proposal to eliminate Section 199 will have the exact opposite effect.” 

 Shift to More Regressive Taxation Would Increase Burden on Family Farmers and Ranchers

U.S. House of Representatives leadership today released its blueprint for sweeping tax reform, including significant cuts to individual and corporate tax rates and eventual repeal of the estate tax. The plan is estimated to cost $1.51 trillion over the next decade.

In response to the proposal, National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson released the following statement:

“While NFU supports efforts to simplify the tax code, we adamantly oppose the overarching elements of this plan because they shift the nation’s tax burden from the top earners in our country to the backs of American family farmers, ranchers and the middle class.

“This plan offers significant tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy. It repeals the estate tax, a significant revenue generator that affects only the wealthiest in our nation. And it does not provide adequate offsets for these cuts, translating to a $1.51 trillion increase to our federal deficit.

“While we await details on specific provisions for farming operations, NFU urges a shift towards simplified, progressive tax policy that recognizes the unique needs of family farming and ranching operations. This includes maintaining the estate tax and provisions like cash accounting, stepped-up basis, interest expensing, and others that are important to sustaining a family farm in the 21st Century.”

USDA Dairy Products September 2017 Highlights

Total cheese output (excluding cottage cheese) was 1.01 billion pounds, 2.7 percent above September 2016 but 1.4 percent below August 2017.  Italian type cheese production totaled 435 million pounds, 1.4 percent above September 2016 but 0.2 percent below August 2017.  American type cheese production totaled 394 million pounds, 4.2 percent above September 2016 but 1.3 percent below August 2017.  Butter production was 135 million pounds, 0.3 percent below September 2016 but 2.8 percent above August 2017.

Dry milk products (comparisons with September 2016)
Nonfat dry milk, human - 133 million pounds, up 6.2 percent.
Skim milk powder - 30.4 million pounds, down 21.0 percent.

Whey products (comparisons with September 2016)
Dry whey, total - 91.3 million pounds, up 20.8 percent.
Lactose, human and animal - 95.2 million pounds, up 0.3 percent.
Whey protein concentrate, total - 38.7 million pounds, up 5.3 percent.

Frozen products (comparisons with September 2016)
Ice cream, regular (hard) - 61.3 million gallons, down 3.5 percent.
Ice cream, lowfat (total) - 33.0 million gallons, down 6.5 percent.
Sherbet (hard) - 3.15 million gallons, down 6.4 percent.
Frozen yogurt (total) - 4.91 million gallons, down 3.2 percent.

NMPF Celebrates Industry Collaboration and Innovation at 101st Annual Meeting in California

The importance of increased collaboration across the dairy community, defending the good name of dairy foods, and pursuing innovative new marketing strategies were key themes this week here at the National Milk Producers Federation’s 101st annual meeting, where 800 attendees heard from their policy and promotion organizations on how to create more opportunities for the U.S. dairy industry.

Hosted jointly by NMPF, the National Dairy Board and the United Dairy Industry Association, this year’s event was themed “We Are Undeniably Dairy,” building on a campaign launched earlier this year that celebrates dairy’s undeniable goodness in the areas of nutrition, sustainability and community involvement. NMPF’s leaders, in their remarks to members, stressed the need for America’s dairy companies to do more in collaboration with other marketing cooperatives.

“We have to stop looking at other U.S. cooperatives as if we’re competitors,” said NMPF Chairman Randy Mooney in his remarks. “We have to recognize that in a globalized dairy market, our competitors are outside of America’s borders, and we have to work together to fight for a larger share of those markets.”

NMPF’s annual Town Hall event featured presentations from staff on the latest policy issues affecting the industry, including efforts in Congress to address immigration reform, the fight against misbranded dairy imitators, and NMPF’s extensive work this year to achieve a positive outcome in the ongoing NAFTA negotiations. Later in the day, NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern discussed the organization’s work this year to improve the dairy safety net in the coming farm bill, as well as its new campaign, Peel Back the Label, which challenges the misleading marketing practices used by certain food companies.

“To surmount the hurdles that we face, and carry these efforts across the finish line, we must stand together as a united industry,” Mulhern said. “Our dairy community is unstoppable when we engage on these important issues.” He said major grassroots efforts will be needed in support of proposed congressional reforms to immigration laws.  He also discussed how NMPF will be working more closely in the coming year with dairy processors on farm policy improvements.

Trace Sheehan, co-producer of the documentary “Food Evolution,” was the meeting’s keynote speaker. He shared his experience working on the film, which centers on the contentious debate over genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Later that evening, attendees were invited to a screening of the documentary and a question-and-answer session with Sheehan.

In other meeting news, NMPF’s annual cheese contest was won by a pepperjack cheese made by Michigan Milk Producers Association in its Middlebury, Ind., processing plant. NMPF’s member cooperatives submitted a record 194 entries, totaling 3,070 pounds of cheese products.

Also this week, NMPF welcomed four new members to its Board of Directors: Tom Beringer of Bongards’ Creameries, Leon Berthiaume of St. Albans Cooperative Creamery, Brad Nosbush of First District Association, and Brian Rexing of Dairy Farmers of America. NMPF also recognized retiring board members Ralph McNall of St. Albans Cooperative Creamery and George Mertens of Dairy Farmers of America for their contributions to the industry.

Dairy Farmers of America’s communications team scored several awards in NMPF’s annual communications competition, including the top “Communicator of the Year” award.

NMPF’s Young Cooperator Program hosted its own full day of speakers on topics including food marketing trends, optimizing dairy cattle feeding, and how to manage farm ownership transitions between generations. The 2018 YC Advisory Council also selected its leadership for the upcoming year. Justin and Jennifer Malott of Smithsburg, Md., who are members of Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association, were elected as the new Chaircouple. Josh and Emily Reinhardt of Red Bud, Ill., members of Prairie Farms, were elected Vice Chaircouple, and Nate and Jenny Elzinga of Zeeland, Mich., members of Michigan Milk Producers Association, were elected Secretary Couple.

Chinese Corn, Sorghum And DDGS Team Investigates U.S. Production And Quality

A team of Chinese buyers of corn, sorghum and distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) traveled to the United States last month to investigate crop production and quality as well as gain a better understanding of U.S. feed grains and co-products as a valuable feed ingredient.

The Chinese trade team visited with farmers in Iowa and Kansas. Here, the team talks with Mike Paustian in Iowa to learn about his swine operation and corn production.
The team, organized by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), traveled from Iowa to Kansas, ending travels in New Orleans, Louisiana. The tour encompassed the entirety of the U.S. marketing system from farms to export facilities, including visits to corn and sorghum operations, ethanol plants, country elevators, container trans-loading facilities and export terminals.

“This team marks the first time in a few years we have brought a buying team to major corn producing areas,” said Bryan Lohmar, USGC director in China. “Teams like these allow participants to see for themselves the efficiency of the logistics and marketing system in the United States.”

The Chinese team also met with U.S. trading companies and trained for two days at the IGP Institute on the campus of Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas. The China Contracting Workshop focused on the U.S. grain production and marketing system, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grain standards, U.S. export grain inspections as well as contracting methods and vessel- and container-loading systems.

China is an important market for U.S. feed grains, albeit a complex environment. The country was the top importer of U.S. sorghum in the 2016/2017 marketing year at 4.8 million metric tons (189 million bushels). China also purchased 807,000 metric tons (31.8 million bushels) of U.S. corn in 2016/2017, a 151 percent increase year-over-year, which follows Chinese changes to domestic corn policies.

In January 2017, the Chinese government started enforcing anti-dumping and countervailing duties on U.S. DDGS. Despite the subsequent decline in purchases, China remained the fifth largest market for U.S. DDGS for the 2016/2017 marketing year, purchasing 739,000 metric tons total.

“The team was very glad to see the good quality corn and sorghum crops this year,” said Yantian Zeng, USGC program manager in China who also traveled with the team. “Participants were very optimistic about sourcing more corn from the United States this year and in future years.”

Syngenta obtains non-exclusive IP license from Broad Institute for CRISPR-Cas9 genome-editing technology for agriculture applications

Syngenta announced today it has attained a non-exclusive IP license from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard for CRISPR-Cas9 genome-editing technology for agricultural applications.

CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing technology complements Syngenta’s already robust plant breeding innovation toolbox. Syngenta is applying this technology in multiple crops, including corn, wheat, tomato, rice and sunflower.

“Gaining access to CRISPR-Cas9 technology will allow us to accelerate the rate of innovation in the development of new plant varieties, and bring novel traits into the hands of growers faster, and with greater efficiency,” said Michiel van Lookeren Campagne, global head of seeds research at Syngenta. “Using this advanced technology will help us deliver on the 21st century food production challenges.”

Wednesday November 1 Ag News

Nebraska Dairy Producer Recognized for Judicious Use of Antibiotics

Boehringer Ingelheim recognized three dairy producers who demonstrated their commitment to the well-being of animals, consumers and the industry with the judicious use of antibiotics in their Producers for Progress recognition program.

Megan Hickey of Prairieland Dairy in Firth, Nebraska, was chosen as the grand prize winner out of nearly 200 applicants. “I’m honored to be selected as the grand prize winner and advocate for the judicious use of antibiotics,” said Hickey. “As an industry, we need to do things better because our consumers are demanding it. If we don't listen to what consumers want, then we're not going to have a market for our product. We have to focus on preventive medicine and health.”

Because of the increased scrutiny from consumers, Hickey encourages all dairy producers to take a look at their antibiotic use to see where they can make improvements. “I personally believe in judicious use of antibiotics, from the cow's standpoint and animal care standpoint,” she explained. “For the past four years our operation has been very tuned in to using antibiotics only where they are needed. This means a cow does not get an antibiotic unless she is clinically diagnosed with a fever or a Gram-positive culture. We strive to treat every animal case-by- case and use little-to- no blanket mastitis treatment.”

The first-place winner, Becky Czarnezki of Miltrim Farms Inc. in Athens, Wisconsin, explained that her operation focuses on prevention to help reduce their antibiotic use. “Prevention is key,” she said. “We focus on finding the cause of illnesses in our cows to prevent them from happening.” When they have to treat, she said communication and good records help to hold them accountable. “If any treatments are given it is vital to ensure label usage and the proper milk withhold are being followed.”

Emily Gigandet of Envision Dairy LLC in Amsterdam, New York, is the second-place winner. Gigandet believes that reducing antibiotic use on the farm is a smart financial decision and moral obligation. “We work very closely with our team of veterinarians to adjust our treatment protocols and make sure they are as relevant and up-to- date as possible,” she explained. “We also pay close attention to our cow-side exam and diagnosis to ensure we are treating accordingly.”

Like most dairy producers, mastitis is Gigandet’s worst enemy. “Prevention is our best tool for mastitis, so proper vaccination is very important to us, along with cleanliness, routine maintenance and employee training.”

The perks of being a producer for progress? All applicants received a hooded sweatshirt for participating. Plus, Hickey will receive a John Deere Gator™ Basic Package XUV625i 4x4; Czarnezki will receive five pairs of Bogs® Rancher boots; and Gigandet will receive 10 Udder Tech® milking aprons for her team.

Each producer will also receive $250 to donate to the charity or nonprofit organization of their choice.

Hickey will be donating the money to the nonprofit organization Love in Action International Ministries, which built an orphanage in Guayaramerín, Bolivia. Hickey traveled to the orphanage in late September and is passionate about its goals.

“They are trying to make the orphanage self-sufficient,” explained Hickey. “They can't drink any of the water there, so plans are in place to build a processing plant and dairy farm where they can bottle milk and water. The goal will be to build a small store in town to where they can sell the products to make the orphanage profitable.”

The new Producers for Progress recognition program was announced in July as part of BI’s pledge to help protect the future of the industry. “Antibiotics are important to the well-being of
cattle, but we have a responsibility to use them at the right time, at the proper dosage, for the appropriate length of time, and with veterinary oversight,” said Dr. Craig Jones, director, cattle professional services for BI. “We are excited to salute these producers who have demonstrated a significant commitment to these practices.”

The program was targeted to customers of BI mastitis treatment products, and applicants were asked to answer questions about their preventive management practices, their views on
judicious use of antibiotics, and to describe their mastitis treatment protocols. Applicant names and operations were anonymous and judging was based on the following selection criteria:
-    Demonstrated understanding of and passion for judicious use of antibiotics
-    Commitment to animal well-being

Judges for the program included Dr. Sandra Godden, DVM, University of Minnesota; Dr. Patrick Gorden, DVM, Iowa State University; Dr. Linda Tikofsky, DVM, BI; and Dr. Craig Jones, DVM, BI.

Farmers Encouraged to “Keep the Stubble” During No-Till November

During a special month-long campaign called “No Till November”, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is encouraging Nebraska farmers to “keep the stubble” on their harvested crop fields and improve soil health.

The project is mirrored after the national cancer awareness “No Shave November” campaign. The “No Till November” campaign encourages farmers to keep a different kind of stubble by parking tillage equipment in their machine sheds this fall and keep crop stubble on their fields.

“No till farming is a cornerstone soil health practice, which also promotes water quality while saving farmers time and money,” said Acting State Conservationist Myron Taylor. “One of the first soil health principles is ‘do not disturb.’ This campaign is a fun way to remind farmers about the important relationship between tillage and soil health.”

Improving soil health increases soil biological activity, which provides erosion control, nutrient benefits and can simulate tillage.

Nebraska State Conservation Agronomist Corey Brubaker says fall tillage disturbs soil and removes valuable cover that can leave soil exposed and unprotected during harsh winter months. Other field-disturbing practices like baling corn stalks also removes valuable cover and nutrients from the field.

“Farmers who bale cornstalks for livestock bedding or sell it to other livestock producers could be entering into a losing proposition due to the lost nutrient value and soil health benefits,” Brubaker said.

Based on current commodity prices and the nutrient value in each bale, Brubaker says farmers should leave crop residue in the field especially if the fields are highly erodible and subject to conservation compliance.

“The plant residue left in the field after harvest is a valuable resource,” says Brubaker. “The value in cornstalks can be better used for reducing soil erosion, providing extra organic matter content in the soil, and contributing nutrients back to the soil.”

In Nebraska, cornstalk bales are currently selling for $45-75 per ton. The estimated cost of baling cornstalks, considering the value of the nutrients removed ($28/ton*), custom raking ($3/ton), and custom baling ($22/ton), is about $53 per ton. If bales are sold at the lower end of the current rate, farmers are not only losing money, but also the benefits of leaving residue on their fields.

Conservationists at the Natural Resources Conservation Service say the best thing producers can do for their cropland is to leave it undisturbed as much as possible. They encourage producers this November to not till their fields and keep crop residue in place to replenish the soil.

For more information on how to protect and improve soil quality, contact your local NRCS office or to

Cattle producers invited to 2017 Iowa Cattle Industry Leadership Summit

Cattle producers and friends of the industry are invited to attend the Iowa Cattle Industry Leadership Summit and Annual Meeting on December 7 and 8. The event will be held at the CPMI Center in Ames. Interested attendees may register online at or call 515-296-2266.

Iowa Cattle Industry Leadership Summit

The leadership summit will bring together the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, Iowa Beef Industry Council and Iowa Cattlemen’s Foundation to celebrate the past year’s successes and work towards improving Iowa’s beef industry into the future.

The event begins on Thursday morning with registration at 9:00 and the keynote at 10:00.

Speakers throughout the day will cover beef exports, the impact of Iowa’s beef industry, and future opportunities for beef industry growth. Attendees will also hear from leaders of successful county cattlemen’s organizations and past presidents of the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association.

Lunch will be served by The Smokin’ Hereford, the winner of the 2017 Iowa’s Best Burger contest.

The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association policy meetings will also be held on Thursday, and the day will be capped off with the Iowa Cattlemen’s Foundation banquet and auction.

Friday morning will begin with a continental breakfast and keynote, followed by the Iowa Beef Industry Council annual meeting and Iowa Cattlemen’s Association annual meeting.

There is no cost to attend the Leadership Summit, but RSVPs are appreciated. Visit to for more information and to RSVP.

Use ISU Extension and Outreach Publications to Make Informed Manure Decisions

Harvest has arrived, and with it manure application season has begun. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach has resources available to help farmers make informed decisions about manure application this fall.

Manure can be a valuable commodity on a farm, and ISU Extension and Outreach publication “Manure: A Valuable Commodity” (AE 3607) looks at the value of manure and how its characteristics have changed.

“The first step to understanding how to get the most from manure is to collect a sample,” said Dan Andersen, assistant professor and extension agricultural engineering specialist at Iowa State University. “Believe me, this is worth your time and effort as manure offers a potential value of around $8 an acre.”

The steps for analyzing manure can be found in ISU Extension and Outreach publication “How to Sample Manure for Nutrient Analysis” (PM 1558). Two additional resources to help farmers make better manure application decisions after sampling are “How to Interpret your Manure Nutrient Analysis” (PM 3014) and “Using Manure Nutrients for Crop Production” (PMR 1003).

After determining how to apply manure, the final step is to get the manure into the ground.

“The biggest things to think about are the timing of application, method of application and making sure you are getting the most from your equipment,” Andersen said. “Regarding equipment, there are two things to check – making sure we are hitting the rate we want and then making sure the application is as uniform as possible.”

ISU Extension and Outreach publications “Calibrating Liquid Tank Manure Applicators” (AE 3601A) and “Distribution of Liquid Manure Application” (AE 3600) provide information on how to set up and monitor the amount of manure applicators are spreading.

The timing of manure application is also important. Delaying application until the soil temperature is less than 50 degrees F and cooling helps to ensure nitrogen will be there next year for crops to use. Anderson’s blog, The Manure Scoop, details the science behind the recommendation. Insuring this temperature recommendation is met is more important on ammonium-rich manures like liquid swine manure where the nitrogen is more readily available.

Much more information about the use of manure is available through The Manure Scoop, which is updated throughout the year.

EIA: Ethanol Stocks, Output Rise

The U.S. Energy Information Administration released a weekly report Wednesday, Nov. 1, showing increases for U.S. ethanol inventory, plant production and blending demand during the week-ended Oct. 27.

The EIA's Weekly Petroleum Status Report showed fuel ethanol stocks rose by 500,000 barrels (bbl), or 2.4%, to 21.5 million bbl, with a year-over-year surplus at 1.8 million bbl, or 9.1%.

Domestic plant production rose 17,000 barrels per day (bpd), or 1.6%, to 1.056 million bpd during the week reviewed, while up 34,000 bpd, or 3.3%, year over year. For the four weeks ended last week, ethanol production averaged 1.020 million bpd, up 27,000 bpd, or 2.6%, against the year prior.

Net refiner and blender inputs, a measure for ethanol demand, rose 5,000 bpd, or 0.5%, to 930,000 bpd, while up 8,000 bpd, or 0.9%, year over year. For the four-week period ended Oct. 27, blending demand averaged 929,000 bpd, up 11,000 bpd, or 1.2%.

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

Soybeans crushed for crude oil was 4.36 million tons (145 million bushels) in September 2017, compared to 4.55 million tons (152 million bushels) in August 2017 and 4.15 million tons (138 million bushels) in September 2016. Crude oil produced was 1.70 billion pounds down 3 percent from August 2017 but up 5 percent from September 2016. Soybean once refined oil production at 1.39 billion pounds during September 2017 decreased 8 percent from August 2017 but increased 2 percent from September 2016.

Canola seeds crushed for crude oil was 194 thousand tons in September 2017, compared to 152 thousand tons in August 2017 and 213 thousand tons in September 2016. Canola crude oil produced was 165 million pounds up 30 percent from August 2017 but down 10 percent from September 2016. Canola once refined oil production at 150 million pounds during September 2017 was up 10 percent from August 2017 but down 13 percent from September 2016. Cottonseed once refined oil production at 38.3 million pounds during September 2017 was down 24 percent from August 2017 but up 3 percent from September 2016.

Edible tallow production was 77.5 million pounds during September 2017, down 5 percent from August 2017 but up 13 percent from September 2016. Inedible tallow production was 298 million pounds during September 2017, down 6 percent from August 2017 and down 4 percent from September 2016. Technical tallow production was 85.6 million pounds during September 2017, down 12 percent from August 2017 and down 18 percent from September 2016. Choice white grease production at 103 million pounds during September 2017 decreased 7 percent from August 2017 and decreased 8 percent from September 2016.

USDA Grain Crushings and Co-Products Production

Total corn consumed for alcohol and other uses was 500 million bushels in September 2017. Total corn consumption was down 8 percent from August 2017 but up 3 percent from September 2016. September 2017 usage included 91.3 percent for alcohol and 8.7 percent for other purposes. Corn total corn consumed for beverage alcohol totaled 3.54 million bushels, down slightly from August 2017 but up 27 percent from September 2016. Corn for fuel alcohol, at 448 million bushels, was down 7 percent from August 2017 but up 3 percent from September 2016. Corn consumed in September 2017 for dry milling fuel production and wet milling fuel production was 89.8 percent and 10.2 percent respectively.

Dry mill co-product production of distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) was 1.85 million tons during September 2017, down 10 percent from August 2017 and down 6 percent from September 2016. Distillers wet grains (DWG) 65 percent or more moisture was 1.28 million tons in September 2017, down 5 percent from August 2017 but up 7 percent from September 2016.

Wet mill corn gluten feed production was 322 thousand tons during September 2017, down 13 percent from August 2017 and down 1 percent from September 2016. Wet corn gluten feed 40 to 60 percent moisture was 280 thousand tons in September 2017, down 14 percent from August 2017 and down 8 percent from September 2016.

USDA Flour Milling Products

All wheat ground for flour during the third quarter 2017 was 234 million bushels, up 4 percent from the second quarter 2017 grind of 224 million bushels and up slightly from the third quarter 2016 grind of 233 million bushels. Third quarter 2017 total flour production was 108 million hundredweight, up 4 percent from the second quarter 2017 and up slightly from the third quarter 2016. Whole wheat flour production at 5.63 million hundredweight during the third quarter 2017 accounted for 5 percent of the total flour production. Millfeed production from wheat in the third quarter 2017 was 1.64 million tons. The daily 24-hour milling capacity of wheat flour during the third quarter 2017 was 1.62 thousand hundredweight.

Durum wheat ground for flour and semolina production during the third quarter of 2017 totaled 16.2 million bushels, up 1 percent from the second quarter 2017 but down 1 percent from the third quarter 2016. Third quarter 2017 durum flour and semolina production was 7.79 million hundredweight, up 2 percent from the second quarter 2017 and up 1 percent from the third quarter 2016. Whole wheat durum flour and semolina production was 194 thousand hundredweight, up 55 percent from 125 thousand hundredweight in the second quarter 2017 and up 7 percent from 181 thousand hundredweight from the third quarter 2016. Third quarter durum wheat millfeed production was 111 thousand tons and the daily 24-hour milling capacity for durum and semolina production was 127 thousand hundredweight.

Rye ground for flour during the third quarter of 2017 was 406 thousand bushels, down 8 percent from the second quarter 2017 and down 14 percent from the third quarter 2016. Rye flour production during the third quarter of 2017 was 206 thousand hundredweight, compared to 215 thousand hundredweight and 233 thousand hundredweight in the previous quarter and the same quarter
previous year. The daily 24-hour milling capacity for rye milling was 9.39 thousand hundredweight for the third quarter 2017.

USDA Announces Commodity Credit Corporation Lending Rates for November 2017

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Commodity Credit Corporation today announced interest rates for November 2017.  The Commodity Credit Corporation borrowing rate-based charge for November is 1.375 percent, up from 1.250 percent in October.

The interest rate for crop year commodity loans less than one year disbursed during November is 2.375 percent, up from 2.250 percent in October.

Interest rates for Farm Storage Facility Loans approved for November are as follows, 1.625 percent with three-year loan terms, up from 1.500 percent in October; 1.875 percent with five-year loan terms, up from 1.750 percent in October; 2.125 percent with seven-year loan terms, up from 2.000 percent in October; 2.375 percent with 10-year loan terms, up from 2.125 percent in October and; 2.375 percent with 12-year loan terms, up from 2.250 percent in October.

Major Fertilizer Prices Stabilize

Prices for the eight major fertilizers appear to be stabilizing as only UAN32 and urea showed increases the fourth week of October 2017 compared to one month earlier, according to fertilizer retailers surveyed by DTN.

UAN32 led the way with an average price increase of about 8% to $262 per ton. The average price of urea came in 1% higher at around $325/ton.

The average prices of three fertilizers dropped. Anhydrous, 10-34-0 and UAN28 all saw 1% drops, at $393/ton, $407/ton and $205/ton, respectively.

The prices for MAP, DAP and potash remained virtually unchanged at $453, $431 and $347 per ton, respectively.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.35/lb.N, anhydrous $0.24/lb.N, UAN28 $0.37/lb.N and UAN32 $0.41/lb.N.

Four of the eight major retail fertilizers are now lower compared to one year earlier. Two of the four are double digits lower. Anhydrous is now 17% lower from a year ago, while 10-34-0 is 10% less expensive and UAN28 is 8% lower. UAN32 and MAP remain unchanged, while potash and urea are higher by 11% and 3%, respectively.

Sixty-Four House Members Tell Pruitt RFS has Failed

A bipartisan group of 64 lawmakers in the United States House of Representatives on Wednesday asked U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt to consider what they say are the negative effects of the Renewable Fuel Standard, in a letter sent to Pruitt.

Pressure applied to EPA on potential changes to the RFS in recent weeks by Midwest members of Congress, led the agency to back down. This week, the EPA sent the final 2018 renewable volume obligations in the RFS to the Office of Management and Budget.

As a result of the agency's actions, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is holding up the confirmation of Bill Northey to a key USDA post, in attempt to convince President Donald Trump's administration to meet with federal lawmakers from oil-producing states about their RFS concerns.

The letter sent to Pruitt on Wednesday is led by Reps. Bob Goodlatte, R-Virginia, Peter Welch, D-Vermont, Steve Womack, R-Arkansas, and Jim Costa, D-California.

"For over a decade, the American people have been forced to live with the Renewable Fuel Standard, a well-intentioned but deeply flawed policy that has negatively impacted families and businesses across the United States," the letter said.

"When the RFS was first passed in 2005, it was designed to reduce our country's dependence on foreign oil, to protect the environment, and to revitalize rural America. However, as we look in the rear-view mirror, it's clear that the RFS accomplished none of these goals. By diverting more than 35% of the annual corn harvest to fuel additive, the RFS has raised the cost of livestock production, increased food price volatility and insecurity, decreased fuel efficiency, damaged small-engine equipment, hurt the environment, and chipped away at household budgets. The combined effects of this ethanol mandate have created a hidden tax on every American consumer. Simply put, in its current state, the RFS has run out of gas.

"American families and our economy have shouldered the costs of the failed ethanol mandate for far too long. As members of Congress representing communities in every region of the United States, we urge the EPA to continue to acknowledge that the RFS has significant pitfalls and costs in future rulemaking. We look forward to working with you to put forth well-founded biofuels policies that reflect market realities and benefit American families and businesses."

The EPA had announced in a notice a proposal to further reduce the renewable volume blend requirements for advanced biofuels, biomass-based diesel volumes for 2018 and 2019, and the total renewable fuel volumes in the RFS.

EPA also reportedly considered a proposal from Valero Energy to leave renewable identification numbers, or RINs, attached to U.S. ethanol gallons produced in the U.S. and exported. Currently, the credits are removed from exported gallons. The biofuels industry is concerned that doing so would flood the market with RINs and harm domestic biofuel producers.

NMPF Building Support in Congress to Approve DAIRY PRIDE Act, Force FDA to Take Action on Mislabeled Dairy Imitators

Efforts to expose the deceptive labeling and marketing of plant-based products that exploit the nutritional halo of real dairy products continues to gain traction and “has these fake food marketers worried,” attendees here at the National Milk Producers Federation’s annual meeting heard this week by the organization’s leadership.

NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern told the organization that he remains committed to achieving passage in Congress of the DAIRY PRIDE Act (DPA), legislation in the Senate and House that would require the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to enforce existing food labeling standards and prevent misbranded plant-based imitators from appropriating federally-defined dairy terms on their labels.

The Senate bill, S. 130, was introduced in January by Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI).  The companion House bill, H.R. 778, was introduced later that month by Reps. Peter Welch (D-VT), Sean Duffy (R-WI), Mike Simpson (R-ID), Joe Courtney (D-CT), David Valadao (R-CA) and Suzan DelBene (D-WA).

FDA regulations (CFR 131.110) define “milk” as a product of a cow, with similar definitions for yogurt and cheese products. Though existing federal policy is clear on this classification, “the FDA has unfortunately allowed these decidedly non-dairy copycats made from nuts, beans, seeds and grains to label their products using dairy-specific terms,” Mulhern said.

Mulhern told the dairy farmer members of NMPF during the organization’s 101st annual meeting that the U.S. regulatory system for food labeling is failing consumers, as it fails to adjust to the proliferation of foods mimicking real dairy products. He said that in the absence of a strong federal role in food labeling, nutritionally inferior imitators will continue to pass themselves off as suitable substitutes for real milk.

He noted that vegan organizations have organized to oppose the DPA “because they recognize that the attention we’ve brought to this issue through the introduction of the DAIRY PRIDE Act shines a spotlight on the nutritional inferiority of fake dairy products, in comparison to real milk and dairy products. Once Congress enacts this legislation, FDA will no longer be able ignore their own existing regulations.”

While FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has recently expressed interest in having his agency look more carefully at the labeling issue, passage in Congress of the DPA is needed to force the FDA to act on the matter.

Land O'Lakes, Inc. Announces Increased Third Quarter 2017 Results

Land O'Lakes, Inc. today announced increased third quarter 2017 financial results with quarterly net earnings of $47.5 million, up from third quarter net earnings in 2016 of $8.1 million. Similarly, year-to-date net earnings were also higher at $270.4 million on sales of $10.2 billion versus net earnings of $246.4 million on sales of just under $10 billion for the same time period in 2016, reflecting an overall increase of approximately 9.8 percent. Third quarter sales remained constant at $2.8 billion for both 2017 and 2016.

Third quarter earnings benefitted from strong performance in Crop Inputs and Animal Feed which was partly offset by lower earnings in Dairy Foods and investments in Land O'Lakes SUSTAIN. Earnings in Crop Inputs were driven by higher volumes in alfalfa and improved margins in crop protection products. Animal Feed volumes were lower than 2016 levels but margins and product mix improved across the portfolio. Dairy Foods benefited from strong volumes in foodservice but overall margins were lower due to declines in global milk powder markets, which impacted pricing.

"Despite strong headwinds and volatility in commodities, Land O'Lakes, Inc. continues to grow based on smart investments and a focused strategy," said Chris Policinski, president and CEO of Land O'Lakes, Inc. "The recently finalized merger between WinField and United Suppliers has given the company the opportunity to drive costs out of our business and improve pricing and service for our members, giving them an advantage in the market and the ability to run their operations more profitably."

Ames, Iowa-based United Suppliers and Land O'Lakes, Inc.'s crop protection and seed businesses combined in October 2015 and operate as WinField United. The two companies completed their merger in early October 2017.

Also during the third quarter, the company celebrated the grand opening of the WinField United Innovation Center in River Falls, Wisconsin, a 55,000-square-foot product and technology development and testing facility that will help give farmers better tools to grow crops more sustainably. In July, the company kicked off the Land O'Lakes Farm Bowl, a celebration of modern farming as part of its Founding Partnership with the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee.

ADM Reports Lower Earnings During Third Quarter

Citing a challenging agricultural services and oilseeds environment, Archer Daniels Midland Co. reported on Tuesday earnings below expectations for the third quarter, which ended Sept. 30. ADM posted third-quarter earnings of 34 cents per share, 45 cents per share on an adjusted basis.

The results did not meet Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of seven analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 55 cents per share.

Results overall were also down compared to the third quarter of 2016. ADM reported segment operating profit of $485 million, compared to $645 million the prior year. Net profit attributable to ADM was $192 million from $341 million in 2016. Revenue was $14.83 billion, down 6.3 percent.

Some good news was in corn processing, which includes ethanol operations, where profit was reported at $253 million compared to $214 million last year. Ag services fell from $195 million in 2016, to $87 million year over year, while oilseeds processing dropped from $145 million to $119 million.

This comes on the heels of a second quarter in which ADM surprised Wall Street with a profit of $276 million, exceeding analysts' expectations.

Hormel to Buy Premium Deli-Meat Producer for $850 Million

Hormel Foods Corp. said Tuesday it will buy Arbor Investments' deli-meat business for roughly $850 million, the latest ripple in a wave of consolidation hitting the packaged foods industry.

The Spam maker is betting that adding Columbus Manufacturing Inc., which focuses on high-end cuts of meat, to its portfolio will help the company appeal to shoppers who are increasingly looking for fresher foods that they perceive are healthier.

"Columbus is capitalizing on one of the fastest-growing areas in the retail grocery store with premium, authentic products that are on-trend with today's consumers who are looking for unique experiences, flavors, and products," said Hormel Chief Executive Jim Snee in a statement.

Chicago-based Arbor Investments, which focuses on food and beverage business, bought Columbus Manufacturing Inc. in 2012 for an undisclosed sum. Since the acquisition, the private-equity firm's assets under management have grown to $1.5 billion from $700 million.

Arysta LifeScience Unveils EVEREST® 3.0 Herbicide

Greater weed control with improved ease of product use is now available to wheat growers.
Arysta LifeScience North America recently introduced EVEREST® 3.0 Herbicide, the patent-pending formulation with built-in safener technology.

“EVEREST 3.0 changes the game for weed control in spring, durum and winter wheat,” said Chad Effertz, Head of Research and Development, Arysta LifeScience. “With greater stability of the product’s active ingredients, wheat growers will note enhanced performance in weed control, longer shelf life for the product and unsurpassed ease of use.”

Even Tougher on the Toughest Weeds

The new carrier technology in the patent-pending EVEREST 3.0 formulation helps growers get rid of even the hardest-to-kill weeds, including:
    yellow foxtail,
    wild oat,
    green foxtail,
    barnyard grass, and
    rattail fescue.

Easier to Use

With low use rates and best-in-class crop safety, the highly concentrated formula of EVEREST 3.0 now features unsurpassed ease of use.

“Arysta LifeScience listened when wheat growers said that with no-till farming and the ever-changing climate, they are fighting a different grass weed spectrum today than years before. They needed a better, more comprehensive, broader-spectrum solution on hard-to-kill weeds,” Effertz added. “While the formulation in EVEREST 3.0 may be new, growers will get the same, dependable Flush after flush® control of key grass and broadleaf weeds with this herbicide. It’s a highly concentrated formula with a new ultra-low use rates partnered with application and tank-mix flexibility. It’s no wonder wheat growers call it the best Group 2 herbicide out there.”

Tuesday October 31 Ag News

Grazing Corn Stalk Fields with Beef Cattle
Larry Howard, NE Extension, Cuming County

This past week, we have heard reports in parts of the state where high winds have caused some downed corn and has left 20-70 bushels per acre of corn on the ground.  Prior to grazing cornstalks with cattle, an estimate should be made of the amount of corn that is present in the field. University of Nebraska-Lincoln has an excellent publication that addresses this issue.  Extension Circular EC 287 Grazing Crop Residues with Beef Cattle  provides information on a simple method for estimating the bushels of corn that are on the ground.

An 8-inch ear of corn contains about 0.50 lb of corn grain; therefore, 112 8-inch ears would equal 1 bushel (1 bushel = 56 pounds). By counting the number of ears, the amount of corn can be estimated. If corn is planted in 30-inch rows, count the number of ears in three different 100-foot furrow strips and divide by two to give an approximate number of bushels per acre.

For example, after walking three, 100-foot strips, a total of 30 ears of corn were counted. Total ears of corn, which is 30, divided by 2, equals an estimated 15 bushels of corn per acre on the ground. Small ears and broken ears should be counted as half ears, while very large ears could be counted as an ear and a half. Any amount beyond 8-10 bushels per acre will require a well-planned grazing strategy to ensure that too much grain is not consumed by grazing cattle.

If it is determined that there is excessive corn on the ground, the following are strategies to implement to help minimize the risk of digestive upsets (acidosis), lameness and abortions for cattle grazing the cornstalks.
·    Limit access to corn by cross fencing the field and using a method called “strip grazing” where cattle are only given access to the determined amount of corn that they should eat for a given day. This method is the most reliable method for controlling corn intake. If downed corn is on an irrigated center pivot, one option for strip grazing is to attach the electric fence to the center pivot and move the pivot to move the fence.
·    Consider the class of livestock that is going to be grazed. Cattle that haven’t grazed cornstalks before, such as weaned calves or yearlings, will often take time before they actively seek out corn. This can give the cattle time to adjust and acclimate to the corn. Weaned calves or yearlings can also make best use of the corn and convert it into a saleable product as they are growing and adding pounds that can be marketed.
·    Non-pregnant cows that would benefit from gaining weight are another class of livestock that can be a good choice for grazing downed corn. Cull cow prices often seasonally increase from the late fall into the spring which complements the use of this resource.
·    Cows that have previous experience with grazing cornstalks will seek downed corn immediately. Cows should be adjusted to corn prior to giving them access to the field. Start cows on 2-3 pounds of corn a day and work them up to 10-12 pounds per day over a 7-10 day period. Adjusting cows to corn will help to reduce the risk of digestive upsets.
·    Have cattle full prior to turning out for grazing and provide good quality hay so cattle don’t over consume corn immediately. Feeding palatable hay or other feed daily can also help to reduce the amount of corn that cattle will be eating.
·    The use of a Monensin supplement fed daily can help to stabilize feed intake and reduce the risk of founder and bloat which are caused by overeating.

Managing cattle that are grazing cornfields with excessive downed corn can be a challenge for producers. However, with planning and strategy, cattle can clean up and make good use of this situation, benefiting both the farmer and the cattle producer.

Nebraska Extension Beef Webinar - Wednesday, November 1

Nebraska Extension is hosting another webinar, this one is specifically focused for feedlot owners and employees.  These are starting a monthly get together using webinars to hit timely topics, and allow for some discussion of educational needs. The webinar is Wednesday, November 1 from 12:30 to 1:30. You can access it easily by clicking the link below. We are using a program called zoom which is free to download.

The topic tomorrow will be new information related to manure value and why we need to recycle this resource. The information will hopefully help with moving manure more easily to cropping neighbors, or provide insight on why you want to use it on your own acres.

They will have a discussion before the formal information is shared about topics that you may need help on or more information provided. An example will be this current proposed reporting requirement or other information you want to know more about.

Please plan to participate, or any employees too. They did the first one in early October and has been viewed 125 times since we recorded it. So, these will be available for searching on our youtube channel as well.

Link to webinar:

To access the webinars using a telephone dial 408-638-0968 or 646-876-9923. The meeting id is 751-919-398. 

NE Cattlemen Convention Registration Open!

The Annual Nebraska Cattlemen Convention & Trade Show held Dec. 5-8 at the Younes Conference Center in Kearney, NE will  feature beef industry experts and related industry vendors.

Some of this year's convention speakers & topics include:
-    Young Cattlemen's Round Table - Wednesday Dec. 6th, 2017: "Be Inspired, Be Impactful, Get Involved"
-    Feedlot Council - Wednesday Dec. 6th, 2017: Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality Update - Jim Macy, Director, Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality & University of Nebraska - Lincoln Feed and Feeding Efficiency Research - Galen Erickson, Ph.D., UNL
-    Natural Resources & Environment Committee - Thursday Dec. 7th, 2017: Compliance with New Federal Air Emissions Reporting and more!
-    Education and Research/ Taxation Joint Committees - Thursday Dec. 7th, 2017: 2018 Nebraska Tax Reform and Relief & Future of Education Funding in Nebraska
-    General Session - Wednesday Dec. 6th, 2017: Hear from Nebraska Cattlemen and National Cattlemen's Beef Association leaders!

You won't want to miss this convention jam-packed with educational opportunities. Not to mention an entire day of Cattlemen's College on Tuesday! Many other great speakers will be presenting during the council and committee meetings. The trade show will be open Wednesday evening and Thursday. You won't want to miss the opportunity to converse with our industry partners.

View full schedule here...

USDA Announces Enrollment Period for Safety Net Coverage in 2018

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that starting Nov. 1, 2017, farmers and ranchers with base acres in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) safety net program may enroll for the 2018 crop year. The enrollment period will end on Aug. 1, 2018.

“Since shares and ownership of a farm can change year-to-year, producers must enroll by signing a contract each program year,” said Farm Service Agency (FSA) Acting Administrator Steve Peterson. “I encourage producers to contact their local FSA office to schedule an appointment to enroll.”

The producers on a farm that are not enrolled for the 2018 enrollment period will not be eligible for financial assistance from the ARC or PLC programs for the 2018 crop should crop prices or farm revenues fall below the historical price or revenue benchmarks established by the program. Producers who made their elections in previous years must still enroll during the 2018 enrollment period.

“This week FSA is issuing approximately $850 million in rice payments,” said Peterson. “These payments are part of the $8 billion in 2016 ARC and PLC payments that started in October to assist enrolled producers who suffered a loss of revenue or price, or both. Over half a million producers will receive ARC payments and over a quarter million producers will receive PLC payments for 2016 crops.”

The ARC and PLC programs were authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill and offer a safety net to agricultural producers when there is a substantial drop in prices or revenues for covered commodities. Covered commodities include barley, canola, large and small chickpeas, corn, crambe, flaxseed, grain sorghum, lentils, mustard seed, oats, peanuts, dry peas, rapeseed, long grain rice, medium grain rice (which includes short grain and sweet rice), safflower seed, sesame, soybeans, sunflower seed and wheat. Upland cotton is no longer a covered commodity. For more details regarding these programs, go to

For more information, producers are encouraged to visit their local FSA office.

Voting Begins for 2017 FSA County Committee Elections

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will begin mailing ballots to eligible farmers and ranchers across the country for the 2017 Farm Service Agency (FSA) county committee elections on Monday, Nov. 6, 2017.

“County committee members play an indispensable role in our efforts to provide assistance to producers,” said FSA Acting Administrator Steve Peterson. “They provide local input as decisions are made about the services we provide, including disaster and emergency programs. I strongly encourage all eligible producers to cast a vote for a candidate that brings expertise and a diverse perspective to their local committee.”

To ensure their votes are counted, producers must return ballots to their local FSA offices by Dec. 4, 2017. Nearly 7,700 FSA county committee members serve FSA offices nationwide. Each committee has three to 11 elected members who serve three-year terms of office. One-third of county committee seats are up for election each year. County committee members apply their knowledge and judgment to help FSA make important decisions on its commodity support programs, conservation programs, indemnity and disaster programs, and emergency programs and eligibility.

Producers must participate or cooperate in an FSA program to be eligible to vote in the county committee election. Approximately 1.7 million producers are currently eligible to vote in this year’s election. Farmers and ranchers who supervise and conduct the farming operations of an entire farm, but are not of legal voting age, also may be eligible to vote.

Farmers and ranchers will begin receiving their ballots the week of Nov. 6. Ballots include the names of candidates running for the local committee election. FSA has modified the ballot, making it easily identifiable and less likely to be overlooked. Voters who do not receive ballots in the coming week can pick one up at their local FSA offices. Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked no later than Dec. 4, 2017. Newly elected committee members will take office Jan. 1, 2018.

For more information, visit the FSA website at

Harvest Revenue Insurance Prices

The month of October is important for growers in the key Corn Belt states who purchase revenue-based crop insurance policies. It's when the harvest prices for those policies are set.

With 22 trading days in October now finished, the running average as of 10/31/17: $3.49 per bushel for corn and $9.75 per bushel for soybeans.

For the vast majority of spring-planted crops, planting price guarantees calculated in February were soybeans $10.19 and corn $3.96.

You can also check out a running tally of RMA's harvest prices and prices recently in discovery here:

Revenue policies with harvest-price protection cover losses caused by a difference in the harvest price (determined in October) from the projected price (determined in February). They also cover revenue losses in the event prices tumble between planting and harvest, as they did for corn in 2008.

For producers in 31 states, the closing price of the December corn contract during each trading day of February is averaged to determine a revenue-insurance-projected price guarantee. The November contract closes are averaged during February for projected price for soybean revenue-based insurance contracts. The September Minneapolis spring wheat closes are averaged for wheat revenue insurance. States with earlier planting have their spring guarantees set at a different time.

"The amount of insurance protection is based on the greater of the projected price or the harvest price," according to the Risk Management Agency's website. "If the harvested plus any appraised production multiplied by the harvest price is less than the amount of insurance protection, the producer is paid an indemnity based on the difference."

NAWG President Defends NAFTA Trade Deal at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Today, NAWG President Gordon Stoner, along with several U.S. agricultural stakeholders and business community representatives, participated in a NAFTA panel titled “The Future of NAFTA: The Stakes for American Agriculture and Business.” The panel took place at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C. and was moderated by Neil Herrington, the U.S. Chamber’s Vice President of the Americas.

 “The NAFTA trade agreement was key in growing international markets for U.S. wheat,” stated NAWG President and Montana Grower Gordon Stoner. “Just last year alone, Mexico was our largest export market with about 3 million metric tons of wheat and is consistently in the top 10.”

Each year U.S. wheat production is about 58 million metric tons, or about 2.13 billion bushels. The United States exports around 50% of its wheat (1 billion bushels) to more than 100 countries each year.

“With U.S. wheat farmers already enduring financial distress, open access to the Mexican and Canadian markets is needed now more than ever. Our farm economy is struggling, and we look to current and new trade markets to sell our high-quality product,” continued Stoner. “As the Administration continues to be flippant about NAFTA re-negotiations, Mexico has already begun sourcing wheat from other countries. NAWG continues to stress for the Administration to ‘Do No Harm’ and to look ahead for opportunities for new trade deals.”

Additional panelists included:
-    Mr. Randy Spronk, Managing Director, Spronk Brothers III; Ranger Farms
-    Dr. Dermot Hayes, Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor in Agriculture and Life Sciences, Chair in Agribusiness, Iowa State University
-    Mr. Bob Peterson, Chairman & CEO of Melton Truck Lines, Inc.
-    Dr. Albert M. Green, CEO, Kent Displays, Inc.

U.S. Grains Council Adds Overseas Staff To Boost Global Presence, Grain Sales

The U.S. Grains Council is adding a new strategic director in Asia and assistant director in Southeast Asia as part of a global resource expansion meant to capture near-term demand for feed grain sales and build long-term demand for ethanol among global customers.

"Over the past year, the Council's leadership has heard loud and clear that what our members want is new demand, and they are willing to invest in it by allowing us to hire high-quality people around the world," said Tom Sleight, Council president and CEO. "Particularly as we have pivoted to promoting ethanol exports globally, we have focused on ensuring we have the right people in our overseas offices to do this work well and quickly."

Tim Tierney joined the Council as director of strategic marketing/ethanol, North Asia, on Monday, filling a new role that seeks to capitalize on both longstanding relationships in the region and emerging opportunities for biofuels. Tierney will be based in Singapore.

Tierney came to the organization from Syngenta and DuPont, where he worked on products developed for the ethanol industry. Earlier in his career, he worked for the Council for more than 10 years as director in Japan, director of international operations based in Washington, and as a trade servicer.

Caleb Wurth will join the Council's Southeast Asia regional office in Kuala Lumpur as assistant director in November.

Most recently with ADM, he has experience marketing corn and corn co-products to feedlots and working on containerized grain export logistics, both of which are particularly relevant to the region in which he will be working. As a student at Kansas State, he took part in a Council- and FFA-sponsored I-CAL program to educate young leaders on international trade issues.

These additions complement other staff expansions over the last year that are meant to help find, develop and capture wholly new demand for corn, sorghum, barley, distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and ethanol.

"We know that farmers need sales now to deal with the economic conditions they are facing. Demand supports prices, and we are in the business of both increasing sales over time and capturing purchases being made for this marketing year," Sleight said.

Many of the additional roles focus on ethanol, with consultants newly on board in Latin America, Canada, China and Mexico. The Council has added feed grain-focused consultants in Vietnam, the Arabian Gulf and Western Mexico. Assistant directorships in Mexico and Kuala Lumpur have been in place since late 2016.

This staffing-up process also included offering several existing staff promotions within the organization's global operations and filling positions that came open for consultants in Latin America and Egypt and staff in Tunis and China.

"A robust network of staff and consultants is what makes the Council so effective globally," Sleight said. "We are appreciative of the support and the confidence of our members, and we have our marching orders to find new sales wherever possible."

AGCO Reports Third Quarter Results

AGCO, Your Agriculture Company (NYSE:AGCO), a worldwide manufacturer and distributor of agricultural equipment, reported net sales of approximately $2.0 billion for the third quarter of 2017, an increase of approximately 12.8% compared to the third quarter of 2016. Reported net income was $0.76 per share for the third quarter of 2017, and adjusted net income, excluding restructuring expenses, was $0.79 per share. These results compare to reported net income of $0.50 per share and adjusted net income, excluding restructuring expenses, of $0.51 per share for the third quarter of 2016. Excluding favorable currency translation impacts of approximately 2.7%, net sales in the third quarter of 2017 increased approximately 10.1% compared to the third quarter of 2016.

Net sales for the first nine months of 2017 were approximately $5.8 billion, an increase of approximately 8.7% compared to the same period in 2016. Excluding unfavorable currency translation impacts of approximately 0.1%, net sales for the first nine months of 2017 increased approximately 8.8% compared to the same period in 2016. For the first nine months of 2017, reported net income was $1.77 per share and adjusted net income, excluding restructuring expenses and a non-cash expense related to waived stock compensation, was $1.91 per share. These results compare to reported net income of $1.20 per share and adjusted net income, excluding restructuring expenses and a non-cash deferred income tax adjustment, of $1.63 per share for the first nine months of 2016.

Third Quarter Highlights

-    Reported regional sales results(1): North America +6.7%, Europe/Middle East (“EME”) +15.2%, South America +4.5%, Asia/Pacific/Africa (“APA”) +29.4%

-    Constant currency regional sales results(1)(2): North America +5.8%, EME +10.9%, South America +4.8%, APA +25.9%

-    Regional operating margin performance: North America 5.6%, EME 9.7%, South America 3.3%, APA 7.3%

-    Maintaining full-year outlook for net income per share

“AGCO delivered solid sales and earnings performance in the third quarter, while continuing to make strategic investments in new technologies, productivity enhancements and new market development,” stated Martin Richenhagen, AGCO’s Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. “We produced sales growth and operating margin improvement across all regions while market demand remained at low levels. Long-term growth continues to be a key focus, and we are working to expand our product offerings through internal product development efforts and through bolt-on acquisitions. We recently completed two acquisitions that broaden our product portfolio. In September, we acquired Precision Planting, a leader in innovative planting technology, and in October, we completed the purchase of the forage division of the Lely Group, which significantly enhances our hay and forage product line in Europe.”

McDonald's Sets New Welfare Standards for Chickens

McDonald's Corp will require suppliers to follow new standards for raising and slaughtering chickens served in its restaurants, the company said on Friday, the latest changes affecting popular menu items like McNuggets.

Animal activists said the mandates fall short of commitments made by other restaurants, such as Burger King and sandwich chain Subway, and failed to address their primary concern about chicken production: birds bred to grow quickly to large sizes, reports Reuters.

Under McDonald's updated guidelines, suppliers such as Tyson Foods Inc and Cargill Inc must comply by 2024 with rules dictating the amount and brightness of light in chicken houses, provide birds with access to perches that promote natural behavior, and take other steps to improve animal welfare.

The world's largest restaurant chain by revenue also pledged to conduct trials with suppliers to measure the wellbeing of different chicken breeds.

The treatment of animals in the food chain has become increasingly important to some consumers in recent years as animal welfare groups have released undercover videos showing abuse at U.S. facilities, including those associated with Tyson.

McDonald's requirements are the latest changes to affect its menu that address concerns about animal and human health. It previously stopped buying chicken meat for U.S. restaurants from birds raised with antibiotics deemed important to human health and said it would shift to using cage-free eggs in the U.S and Canada.


The Organic Farmers Association recently announced their 2017-2018 Policy Priorities, including policy positions on hot organic issues such as hydroponics, animal welfare, organic checkoff and the farm bill.

Last week, the Organic Farmers Association Steering Committee voted to approve the organization's first policy positions, established as "urgent policy positions," because they occurred outside their annual policy development process. Policy Committee members reviewed and approved submitting the positions to the OFA certified organic farm membership for a vote and comment. With high farmer support for all the proposed policies the Steering Committee voted to approve their use.

The policies are timely as the National Organic Standards Board meeting begins today, Tuesday, October 31 in Jacksonville, Florida and a highly contentious topic regarding whether hydroponic production will be allowed under the organic standards will be discussed. OFA farm members voted to follow the recommendations of the NOSB Crops Subcommittee and not allow hydroponics under the organic label.

Dave Chapman, OFA Policy Committee member says, "having Organic Farmers Association certified organic farmers vote to oppose organic hydroponics speaks volumes. We have seen a growing outcry from farmers over this issue for the past few years and farmers are adamant that healthy soil is the foundation of the organic label. We must keep the soil in organic."

Other OFA policies address issues such as the organic checkoff, where 77% of OFA certified organic farmer members voted to oppose the proposed Organic Research and Promotion Program (ORPP) that would mandate organic farmers and handlers to pay an assessment on organic net sales each year. The membership also voted to urge the USDA to implement the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Rule (OLPP) without further delay, scheduled to go into effect November 14.

"We urge the USDA to act on behalf of America's sustainable family farmers and listen to their needs by implementing the organic animal welfare act and discontinuing the organic checkoff proposal," says Jim Riddle, OFA Steering Committee Chair and Minnesota organic farmer.

As the House and Senate Agriculture committees work to draft the 2018 farm bill, OFA now has its farm bill priorities clearly outlined and directed by their farm membership.

Michael Adsit, an organic farmer in Michigan and member of both the OFA Steering and Policy Committees commented, "as a member of OFA leadership, I am pleased we now have formal policy directive from organic farmers across the country that detail the USDA programs farmers need to be successful now and in the future. The future of agriculture is organic, and we must have a farm bill that helps fulfill this growing market demand with US supply."

To view the full Organic Farmers Association Policy Priorities, visit

Organic Farmers Association will continue to engage their members in policy development and plan to begin their annual policy development process in the next few months. These policy positions will be ratified by the certified organic farm members before becoming permanent pieces of OFA policy platform.

Monday October 30 Ag News + Crop Progress & Condition


For the week ending October 29, 2017, temperatures averaged near normal across western Nebraska, but two to five degrees below normal in the east, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Precipitation was limited across the State. Dry weather allowed farmers to make good progress on corn and soybean harvests. Some producers experienced cornstalk breakage and ear loss due to high winds. There were 6.7 days suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 1 percent very short, 13 short, 84 adequate, and 2 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 3 percent very short, 15 short, 80 adequate, and 2 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn condition rated 3 percent very poor, 9 poor, 24 fair, 43 good, and 21 excellent. Corn harvested was 45 percent, well behind 66 last year and 67 for the five-year average.

Soybeans harvested was 89 percent, equal to last year, and near 93 average.

Winter wheat condition rated 3 percent very poor, 9 poor, 33 fair, 45 good, and 10 excellent. Winter wheat planted was 98 percent, near 100 last year and 99 average. Emerged was 88 percent, behind 95 last year, and near 91 average.

Sorghum condition rated 3 percent very poor, 2 poor, 17 fair, 51 good, and 27 excellent. Sorghum harvested was 47 percent, well behind 79 last year and 71 average.

Alfalfa fourth cutting was 96 percent complete, ahead of 91 last year.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 3 percent very poor, 11 poor, 43 fair, 38 good, and 5 excellent. Stock water supplies rated 1 percent very short, 4 short, 95 adequate, and 0 surplus.


A mostly dry week allowed Iowa farmers to progress their harvest with 5.4 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending October 29, 2017, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Activities for the week included harvesting corn for grain and soybeans, spreading manure, applying fertilizers, hauling grain, and starting fall tillage.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 2 percent very short, 7 percent short, 83 percent adequate and 8 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 6 percent very short, 16 percent short, 73 percent adequate and 5 percent surplus.

Nearly a quarter of the corn for grain crop has been harvested this past week reaching 44 percent complete, but it still remains nearly two weeks behind the 5-year average. Moisture content of corn being harvested for grain averaged 19 percent. East central and south east Iowa are the only districts to have over 50 percent of their corn for grain crop harvested. There were several reports of corn yields being better than expected; however, excessive winds this past week has caused lodging in the fields. Corn condition rated 66 percent good to excellent.

Eighty-three percent of the soybean crop was harvested, six days behind average. Southwest, south central, and south east Iowa still has a third or more of their soybean crop to harvest.

Pasture condition remained unchanged from last week at 35 percent good to excellent. Livestock conditions were reported as normal, with few reports of cattle in fields feeding on stover.

USDA Weekly Crop Progress

The U.S. corn harvest made up some ground last week, but continued to trail the five-year average pace for the week ended Sunday, Oct. 29, according to USDA's latest Crop Progress report released on Monday.

USDA estimated that 54% of corn was harvested as of Sunday, down from 73% a year ago and 18 percentage points behind the five-year average of 72% harvested. That represented a slight improvement from last Monday's report when the corn harvest trailed the average pace by 21 percentage points.

USDA estimated that 83% of the soybean crop was harvested as of Sunday, down slightly from 85% a year ago and near the five-year average of 84% harvested.

Meanwhile, USDA said 84% of winter wheat was planted as of Sunday, down from 85% a year ago and below the five-year average of 87% planted. Sixty-five percent of winter wheat was emerged, down from 69% a year ago and down from a five-year average of 68%.

USDA also reported crop conditions for the 2018 winter wheat crop for the first time. Fifty-two percent of winter wheat was rated in good-to-excellent condition.

Sorghum was 59% harvested, behind the five-year average of 69%.

Cotton was 93% in the bolls opening stage and the crop was 46% harvested nationwide, slightly ahead of the average pace of 45% harvested.

Ricketts Seeks Applicants for Agriculture, Economic Development Directors to Grow Nebraska

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts announced plans to seek applicants to serve as the next Director for the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) and the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED).

“These positions are a key part of realizing my administration’s vision to grow Nebraska,” said Governor Ricketts.  “As we look for directors to lead these agencies, I’ll be seeking trusted advocates who can market our state around the world, successfully recruit businesses and investment in targeted industries, and continue to make Nebraska an event better place to do business.”

Interested applicants can apply here or by emailing the Governor’s office at

Former NDA Director Greg Ibach was sworn in as Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) at a ceremony earlier today.  DED Director Courtney Dentlinger recently announced plans to leave the agency to serve as the Government Affairs Manager for the Nebraska Public Power District.

NDA Deputy Director Mat Habrock will serve as interim director.

DED Director Dentlinger will serve until December 1, 2017. An interim DED director will be named at that time.

Ricketts Congratulates Ibach at USDA Under Secretary Swearing-In Ceremony
Today, Governor Pete Ricketts attended the swearing-in ceremony of former Director of the Department of Agriculture Greg Ibach.  Ibach was sworn-in as the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs.

“Greg has been a tremendous contributor to the Nebraska Department of Agriculture,” said Governor Ricketts during his remarks.  “We’re very excited that he is going to be able to make a contribution to the USDA and help out the Trump Administration.”

Combine Adjustments for Downed Corn

As if rain delays weren’t frustrating enough this harvest, a broad swath of southern Nebraska experienced high winds Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, downing corn and leaving 20-70 bu/ac grain on the ground in some areas.

In some fields it may be beneficial to harvest the field in one direction so the snouts can get under the flattened corn, dead heading from the field end to the beginning to continue harvesting in the same direction.

Checking the fields will also help growers to priorize those areas that are weakened and most likely to go down with snow or more high winds. 

In 2015 Nebraska faced similar challenges and Marion Calmer, farmer and president of Calmer Agronomic Research Center, Lynn Center, Illinois shared his recommendations for harvesting downed corn.

Each tip is listed below, but it’s worth the time to view the presentation where Calmer discusses each recommendation more fully and shows photos of how and where to make the combine adjustments.

Each harvest situation, manager, and combine differs. Making just two or three of these adjustments may be all that's needed, Calmer says, to improve your harvest....
-    Install auto header height on your corn head.
-    Flatten the corn head angle to 20°F for downed corn so gravity is less of an energy. Corn tends to slide up and over the hoods a lot easier when the head is set at a flatter angle.
-    If the corn is lodged “with the row,” steepen the corn angle.
-    Synchronize gathering chain speed to ground speed. (If you’re running in standing corn at 2 mph, the gathering chain should be making 27 revolutions per minute.)
-    Set the clearance between the tray and cross auger flighting at 2 inches for downed corn. (Opening up the gap allows more of the dislodged material to move over the poly hood.)
-    Open stripper plates
-    Use more taper from bottom to top on stripper plates.
-    Center the stripping tunnel above the stalk roll tunnel.
-    Synchronize gathering chain lugs to be opposed from one another.
-    Attach metal paddles onto every other gathering chain lug to increase the conveying capacity of chain.
-    Install a corn reel.
-    Take off any end risers or tall corn extensions.
-    Remove rubber ear savers.
-    Add weight to poly divider snouts to help them stay under the canopy.
-    Grind the wear shoe tips of the dividers or shim to give more pitch to help them stay under the canopy.
-    Use stalk rolls with revolving windows,
-    Start harvesting on the downwind side of the field.
-    Consider turning the gathering chains around to increase aggressiveness.

Stay Safe!

Slogging through harvest with downed corn is slow, frustrating, and can fray one's nerves. Take time to rest so when you're working, you can stay alert.

4 Ag Land Lease Workshops Scheduled

Allan Vyhnalek - NE Extension Educator

Four ag land lease workshops will be held in conjunction with the "So You've Inherited a Farm, Now What?” workshops this fall. Land lease workshops, designed to help landlords and tenants develop a lease that is a good fit for both parties, will be held at:
Hall County: November 6, 1:30 p.m. (Grand Island – Hall County Ext Office)
Phelps County: November 8, 4 p.m. (Phelps County office in Holdrege)
Holt County: November 9, 6:30 p.m. (O’Neill at the Holt County Extension office)
Cass County: December 4, 1:30 p.m. (Weeping Water – Cass County Extension office)

Topics will include the latest land values and cash rental rates for the area and state, communication and information sharing between a tenant and landlord, common lease provisions, and lease termination, among other topics.

If you have questions about the workshops, please contact Nebraska Extension Educator Allan Vyhnalek... 

November Ag Law and Ag Finance Clinics

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

Clinic Sites and Dates
    Grand Island — Thursday, November 2
    Norfolk — Thursday, November 9
    North Platte — Thursday, November 9
    Valentine— Friday, November 10
    Fairbury — Friday, November 17
    Norfolk — Thursday, November 30

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

Ag Land Management, Tenant/Landowner Workshop

Anyone who owns farmland may want to participate in this workshop providing information and education about leasing farmland.   Learn lease strategies for this asset by attending this seminar at the  Holt County Annex, 128th N. 6th St, O’Neill.  The event will be held November 9th, 2017 at 6:30 PM.

What are key lease provisions?   How do we manage leasing with proper landlord/tenant communications and expectations?   What are the current land values?   What are the current cash rental rates?   These are some of the topics which will be covered.  “Unfortunately, there are folks that manage their lease from information received from the coffee shop, or other place of socialization,” says Allan Vyhnalek, one of the presenters.   We hope participants learn about other ways to research information which can be used to set leases.

To attend please call 402-336-2760 to register.   The cost is: $5.00.

The workshop is designed for both the landlord and tenant, so both are receiving the same message.   It is also designed to be a refresher course for those that would like to have the latest information on land management and rental.   The program is being provided by Allan Vyhnalek, and Jim Jansen, Extension Educators from Nebraska Extension.   They provide the farm land management education in eastern Nebraska.

For more information or assistance, please contact Allan Vyhnalek, Extension Educator, Farm Succession, Phone: 402-472-1771, or e-mail

Workshops aim to give ranchers the tools to know their costs, operate their ranch as a business

Having information to make effective business decisions is important for ranch success.

Enterprise analysis and unit cost of production (UCOP) are tools that can help ranchers identify where value is being created on the ranch, where costs are occurring, and what changes could be made to improve profit.

For cow-calf producers, UCOP is figured as cost per pound of weaned calf.   Knowing what it costs to develop a bred heifer, harvest a ton of hay or put a pound of gain on a stocker or a yearling are valuable information as well for the ranch business manager.
A series of two-day workshops in November and December at several Nebraska communities will provide a hands-on learning experience for producers to learn how to calculate a unit cost of production for a cow-calf operation.   Workshops will be held in Chadron, O’Neill, North Platte, and Kimball.
Workshop participants will work through a sample ranch to determine the profitability of four common types of ranch enterprises: cow-calf, stockers/breeding heifers, hay, and land.   Participants will go through the steps of analyzing costs and calculating what it costs to produce a unit of product for each enterprise. They will also learn how to identify how changes that could improve ranch profitability.

It takes time to set up and calculate a UCOP, but the benefits are:
·    Knowing what present costs are;
·    Projecting what unit cost of production will be in 2018;
·    Identifying opportunities to improve profitability;
·    Using information to make management and marketing decisions.

Sounds difficult?   Hands-on, group activities, and examples of how to calculate key numbers will help participants through the process. They will receive access to Excel® spreadsheet templates that can help analyze cost of production for their own operation.   Extension Educators Aaron Berger, Jay Jenkins, and Bethany Johnston will be available for follow-up after the workshops.
Below is the date, location and contact information for pre-registration with the local host.

Nov. 13 and 14 at O’Neill: O’Neill Community Center Room C, 8:30 am-4 pm CST; contact Amy Timmerman 402-336-2760 or;

Cost is $50 per person and covers meals for both days. Please pre-register one week prior for a meal count.  Payment is due the day of the workshop. Workshops are limited to 30 people per location. Contact Aaron Berger at 308-235-3122 with questions about the workshops.

USDA Providing Funds to Protect and Restore Agricultural Land, Grasslands and Wetlands Across Nebraska

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is now accepting applications for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP). This program, created under the 2014 Farm Bill, provides funding for the purchase of conservation easements to help productive farm and ranch lands remain in agriculture and to restore and protect critical wetlands and grasslands.

Acting State Conservationist Myron Taylor said, “Conservation easements are a good tool to ensure natural resources are conserved and protected for all Nebraskans. We encourage Indian tribes, state and local governments, non-governmental organizations and private landowners to contact their local NRCS office to find out how to apply.”

The main goal of ACEP is to prevent productive agriculture land from being converted to non-agricultural uses and to restore and protect wetlands and wildlife habitat. Cropland, rangeland, grassland, pastureland and nonindustrial private forestland are eligible.

Applications can be submitted at any time, but to be considered for 2018 funding opportunities, applications in Nebraska must be received by December 1. Applications are currently being accepted for both agricultural land and wetland reserve easements.

NRCS provides technical and financial assistance directly to private and tribal landowners to restore, protect, and enhance wetlands through the purchase of conservation easements. Eligible landowners can choose to enroll in a permanent or 30-year easement. Tribal landowners also have the option of enrolling in 30-year contracts.

A key option under the agricultural land easement component is the "grasslands of special environmental significance" that will protect high-quality grasslands that are under threat of conversion to cropping, urban development and other non-grazing uses.

All applications will be rated according to the easement’s potential for protecting and enhancing habitat for migratory birds, fish and other wildlife. Eligible applicants will be compensated with a payment rate comparable to the local land use value.

Applicants will need to provide accurate records of ownership and ensure they have established current year ownership eligibility with USDA’s Farm Service Agency. Application information is available at your local USDA Service Center and at

“NRCS staff will work with all interested applicants to help them through the application process and provide one-on-one assistance to create the conservation easement option that works best for their farming or ranching operation,” Taylor said.

For more information about the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and the programs and services it provides, visit your local USDA Service Center or

Nebraska Women in Agriculture Conference Feb. 22-23

Risk management will be the focus of the 2018 Women in Agriculture (WIA) Conference February 22-23 at the Holiday Inn Convention Center in Kearney.

The conference is an annual two-day event designed to educate and uplift women producers involved in any aspect of Nebraska's agricultural industry. Through workshops and presentations, attendees will learn how to better manage risk, improve their farms and ranches, and become more successful operators and business partners.

This conference focuses on the five areas of agricultural risk management with more than 30 concurrent workshops on:
    Production Risk
    Market Risk
    Financial Risk
    Human Risk
    Legal Risk

Keynote speaker Ruth Hambleton, founder of Annie’s Project, will empower and educate women producers. Hambleton counseled hundreds of farm families through the 1980s farm crisis and brings fresh hope for the current financial crunch.

Ann Finkner, Farm Credit Services of America Senior Vice President Chief Administrative Officer, will be the capstone speaker. Finkner understands the complexity, stress, and multiple roles women in agriculture face and will share resources to help women recharge.
Women in Ag promo
Information and Registration

Early bird registration is $125; registrations after February 5 are $150. For more information about the conference, visit the Nebraska Women in Agriculture Conference website....

IFBF to Conduct Annual Farm Income Tax Webinar

With new changes to the tax code and revised regulations, farmers know that staying up to date on the latest tax changes and preparing farm income taxes can be a real challenge. To aid in the process, the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) will present its annual Iowa Farm Income Tax webinar on Nov. 13 at 1 p.m.

A host of experts will cover the key information farmers need to know as they look towards this year's tax preparation. The speakers will draw on their expertise to provide the latest information and tax tips to help farmers navigate the challenges of tax preparation. Webinar participants will also have the opportunity ask questions of the presenters.

Webinar presenters include Kristine Tidgren, extension staff attorney with the Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation (CALT) at Iowa State University (ISU), and Charles Brown, ISU extension farm management specialist.

The live webinar will be available online to anyone wishing to attend, and a recording of the session will be available exclusively to Farm Bureau members online, along with webinar materials, following the webinar.

Farmers can pre-register and receive reminder e-mails at the Iowa Farm Bureau website. Pre-registration is not required, so farmers can also join the webinar from their home of farm office the day of the event.

"Today's farmers face countless challenges, and we know that yearly farm income tax preparation is one of the biggest challenges faced," says Ed Kordick, IFBF commodity services manager. "Each year there are valuable updates and tips shared, and this year will include 2017 tax strategies, health insurance information, proposed tax law changes and more. We look forward to providing our members a timely and valuable farm income tax update as they prepare for this year's tax filing."

For more information, contact Kordick at

ISU Extension and Outreach Offers Pro-Ag Outlook and Management Seminars

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach has scheduled a series of Pro-Ag Outlook and Management Seminars to be held across the state in November and December.

The program is designed to provide agribusiness leaders a concise evaluation of current market conditions, expected trends in crop and livestock income potential and management implications. Participants also will receive an overview of the agricultural industry and learn how changes may affect Iowa producers.

Speakers will vary by location but will include ISU Extension and Outreach state specialists Chad Hart, associate professor in economics and extension grain markets specialist; Alejandro Plastina, assistant professor and extension economist; Lee Schulz, assistant professor and livestock economist; and Wendong Zhang, assistant professor and extension economist. ISU Extension and Outreach field specialists will also be present at the meetings.

This program takes a deep look into the outlook for agriculture in 2018 and provides an opportunity to discuss the current Iowa economic situation with university experts.

Seminars locations and dates
    Waterloo – Friday, Nov. 10 at 9:30 a.m. Hawkeye Community College, Tama Hall
    Altoona – Monday, Nov. 13 at 9 a.m. Polk County Extension Office
    Fort Dodge – Thursday, Nov. 16 at 4 p.m. Webster County Extension Office
    Mason City – Friday, Nov. 17 at 1 p.m. Hardin County Extension Office
    Carroll – Tuesday, Nov. 21 at 9:30 a.m. Carroll County Extension Office
    Spencer – Friday, Dec. 1 at 1:30 p.m. Spencer School Administrative Building
    Greenfield – Monday, Dec. 4 at 9 a.m. Warren Cultural Center
    Iowa City – Wednesday, Dec. 6 at 12:30 p.m. Johnson County Extension Office

Registration can be done on-site 30 minutes prior to the start of each program. There is a registration fee for the program. Additional registration information can be found at

America’s Pig Farmers Demonstrate Principles of One Health Day

The National Pork Board, representing America’s 60,000 pig farmers, is pleased to celebrate global One Health Day on Nov. 3 by reaffirming its ongoing commitment to the core value of doing what’s right for the overall health of people, pigs and the planet. 

“As pig farmers, we believe in raising pigs in ways that go beyond animal health and that are mutually beneficial to human and environmental health,” said National Pork Board President Terry O’Neel, a pig farmer from Friend, Nebraska. “One Health Day is a good time to reflect on our ongoing responsible antibiotic use, but also to focus on how we can continue to improve our on-farm antibiotic stewardship and reduce the risk of increased antimicrobial resistance.”

While the official observance of One Health Day is only in its second year, America’s pig farmers have long held and practiced the approach that the One Health community espouses toward responsible antibiotic use. On Nov. 3 at Iowa State University, the National Pork Board’s Heather Fowler, Checkoff’s director of producer and public health, will present an overview of the pork industry’s part in responsible antibiotic use. She will address veterinary, medical and public health students.

“Antimicrobial resistance is a public health issue with numerous contributors across human, animal and environmental health,” Fowler said. “Because of this, we must take the One Health, multi-disciplinary approach to identify feasible solutions that can be implemented across these three sectors.”

Fowler sees collaboration as the only way forward in identifying real-world solutions for the complex global issue. As proof of the industry’s seriousness about the responsible use of antimicrobials, she points to long-time programs such as Pork Quality Assurance® Plus certification, as well as the Pork Board approving a Checkoff investment of more than $6 million for antibiotic-related studies since 2000.

“We have held true to our vision of doing what’s right for people, pigs and the planet on our farms every day and by fulfilling our mission through research, education and outreach efforts,” O’Neel said. “Now, it’s our job to share this with the public and to collaborate with others to help ensure the best possible outcome for humans, animals and the environment.”

2017-18 National FFA Officer Team Elected at 90th National FFA Convention & Expo

Students from Arizona, California, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky and Oklahoma have been elected by delegates throughout the United States to serve on the 2017-18 National FFA Officer team.

Breanna Holbert, an agricultural education major at California State University of Chico, was elected national president. Holbert is the first female African American elected to the office of president. Erica Baier, an agricultural education major at Iowa State University, was elected national secretary.

Piper Merritt, an agricultural economics major at Oklahoma State University, was elected central region vice president. Bryce Cluff, an agricultural technology and management: education major at the University of Arizona, will serve as western region vice president.

Ian Bennett, majoring in agriscience and environmental systems - plant breeding and genetics at the University of Georgia, was elected southern region vice president. Gracie Furnish, a career and technical education major at the University of Kentucky, will serve as eastern region vice president.

Each year at the National FFA Convention & Expo, six students are elected by delegates to represent the organization as national officers. Delegates elect a president, secretary, and vice presidents representing the central, southern, eastern, and western regions of the country.

National officers commit to a year of service to the National FFA Organization. Each officer travels more than 100,000 national and international miles to interact with business and industry leaders, thousands of FFA members and teachers, corporate sponsors, government and education officials, state FFA leaders, the general public, and more. The team will lead personal growth and leadership training conferences for FFA members throughout the country and help set policies that will guide the future of FFA and promote agricultural literacy.

Growth Energy: 2 Billion Miles Surpassed on E15

Today, Growth Energy announced that in just five months, American drivers have surpassed another billion miles on E15, bringing the total miles driven across the U.S. to 2 billion. This comes  on the heels of Growth Energy’s recent announcement that more than 1,000 stations across the country are currently offering E15 to consumers.

“This latest milestone cements the fact that drivers have embraced the tremendous benefits E15 offers and highlights just how rapidly consumer demand is growing,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “E15 is a smart choice for consumers who care about their car’s engines, want a healthy environment, and seek better value at the pump. We’re thrilled to lead the charge with Prime the Pump to bring more and more drivers this option every day.”

More than 1,000 fuel stations around the country are offering E15—nearly triple the number of stations from the same time last year, and almost 16 million American adults have access to the fuel with more choosing it every day. Growth Energy is proud to partner with leading retailers including Casey’s, Cenex, Family Express, Kum & Go, Kwik Trip, MAPCO, Minnoco, Murphy USA, Protec Fuel, QuikTrip, RaceTrac, Sheetz, and Thorntons to offer E15 to their customers.

“E15 is experiencing incredible growth both in terms of retailers offering it at their convenience stores and consumers reaching for it at the pump. This momentum is another clear reminder for lawmakers that we must make this choice available year-round,” Skor added.

E15 is approved for use in all vehicles 2001 and newer, as well as, all flex fuel vehicles, which combined represent more than 87 percent of the vehicles on the road.

Soy Growers Respond to FDA Action on Heart Health Claim

The American Soybean Association (ASA) issued a statement Monday in response to indications from the Food and Drug Administration that the agency will revoke the unqualified health claim regarding soy protein and coronary heart disease (CHD). ASA President and Illinois farmer Ron Moore reiterated the ability of soy protein to contribute to heart health:

“In a time when heart disease is the number one cause of death both in the United States and the world, we can’t afford to discourage people from taking steps to improve their diets with heart-healthy ingredients. There is still evidence that shows eating soy protein can help reduce the risk of heart disease, and while we are of course disappointed that FDA is looking at moving the health claim for these products from ‘unqualified’ to ‘qualified,’ it’s important for consumers to remember that soy protein can be an important part of a heart-healthy diet. Even in today’s announcement, FDA still refers customers to the agency’s 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines, which state that healthy eating patterns include soy beverages and a variety of protein foods, including soy products. Moving forward, we hope that in its upcoming reevaluation of the available data, FDA will focus on the many studies that show the heart-healthy benefits of a diet that includes soy protein.”

Dairy Cattle Impact on Beef Supplies

Jared Geiser, Research Assistant  &  Brenda Boetel, Professor and Extension Economist
Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Wisconsin-River Falls

The dairy cattle sector is a vital contributor to U.S. beef supplies. With fluctuating beef cow inventories over the past decade, the U.S. dairy herd has offered a stable source of both feeder cattle and cull cows to fill beef demand. In 2016 the dairy sector contributed 5.7 billion pounds (22.7%) of beef through cull cows and finished dairy steers and heifers to the U.S. beef supply chain.

The percent contributed by the dairy industry has grown since 2002 when beef from dairy cattle contributed 17.9% of the U.S. beef supplies to 22.7% in 2016. While growth in the amount of beef produced from dairy steers and cull cows has not been steady, it is has less variability than beef from native cattle. Over the period of 2002 to 2016, U.S. commercial beef production peaked in 2002 at 27 billion pound, of which 4.8 billion pounds was from dairy cattle. Beef production in 2016 was 25.2 billion, of which 5.7 billion of those pounds was from dairy cattle.

Finished dairy steers contribute more to U.S. beef supplies than culled dairy cows. Finished dairy steers contributed 2.9 billion pounds (10.8%) of total pounds harvested in 2002 and 3.5 billion pounds (13.8%) in 2016. Continued contributions from dairy steers can be expected with the dairy cowherd surpassing 2015 levels and reaching a new high since 2002. Increased cow numbers lead to more calves and in turn more steers reaching harvest. Cull dairy cows contributed 1.6 billion pounds (5.8%) in 2002 and 1.9 billion pounds (7.5%) in 2016. Dairy heifers provided 349 million pounds (1.3%) of beef in 2002 and 356 million pounds (1.41%) of beef in 2016.

Often overlooked is the amount of prime beef contributed by dairy animals, particularly dairy steers. With 85-90% of dairy animals being Holstein, Holstein steers contribute the largest portion of dairy beef. While traditionally discounted, Holsteins, particularly when managed as calf feds, have the potential for quality and yield premiums. Due to more predictability in feeding and genetics, finished Holsteins, when compared to beef breeds, will produce a larger percentage grading prime or choice. Between 2002 and 2016, Holstein steers have contributed between 32 and 60% (depending on the year) of prime beef harvested in the U.S.

Since 2002 the dairy industry has continued to be vital to beef supply and therefore prices. Dairy steers, heifers, and cull cows provide a significant percentage of the U.S. commercial beef production, and as such have an impact on market prices.

BASF launches Zidua SC herbicide as new tool for growers against resistant weeds

Corn, soybean and wheat growers in the U.S. have a new solution against resistant weeds — BASF’s Zidua® SC (Suspension Concentrate) herbicide.

Zidua SC herbicide offers the same long-lasting weed control as Zidua herbicide, but in an improved SC liquid formulation. Labeled for corn, cotton, peanuts, soybeans, sunflowers and wheat, Zidua SC helps growers improve handling and tank mixability for a better application experience.

In addition, Zidua SC herbicide provides effective control on weeds resistant to not only glyphosate (group 9), but to also triazines (group 5) and ACCase (group 1), ALS (group 2) and PPO (group 14) inhibitors.

“Resistant weeds continue to challenge growers who are requesting new tools to help manage their fields,” said Daniel Waldstein, BASF Technical Marketing Manager. “Waterhemp and Palmer pigweed are especially difficult to control because they continue to emerge throughout the season. Our research trials have shown that Zidua SC herbicide provides up to two weeks longer residual control of these challenging weeds.”

Zidua SC herbicide offers the lowest use rate of any group 15 herbicide, allowing growers to select the best rate for their fields. Increased application flexibility from fall to early pre-plant to early post-emergence in corn and soybeans, gives growers more options throughout the season.

“As weed management becomes increasingly complex, Zidua SC herbicide gives growers a simple solution to combat resistant weeds and help boost yields on their farms,” said Waldstein.

For more information, visit

Friday October 27 Ag News

LENRD to receive applications for new irrigated acres beginning November 15

Farmers within the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) boundaries, will have an opportunity to apply for new irrigated acres for 2018.

LENRD Assistant General Manager, Brian Bruckner, said, “After much debate during their October meeting, the board discussed allowing for the approval of standard variances district-wide, utilizing a map entitled “Classification 4” provided by the Flatwater Group, and only allow consideration for approval of parcels that fall within the top five categories from the Potential for Development map legend.”

The board voted to allow up to 2,500 acres of new groundwater irrigation development in the Hydrologically Connected or 10/50 Area, and to allow up to 2,500 acres of new groundwater irrigation development in the Non-Hydrologically Connected or Non 10/50 Area under the district’s standard variance process for 2018.

Bruckner added, “The board suggested an annual limit on the amount of groundwater withdrawal from wells associated with approved variances, determined by board policy, which is subject to future modification if conditions warrant.  In addition, a minimum soil score of 90 must be met for any standard variance to be considered for approval.”

The board established a sign-up period to receive applications for Standard Variances.  The district will receive applications for standard variances between November 15, 2017 and December 15, 2017.

Standard variance requests will only be considered for approval from areas within the district that fall within the top five Potential for Development categories on the Classification 4 Map, as provided by Flatwater Group.  Standard variances will not be available in the Quantity Subareas already defined.  To view the map, visit

In other action, the district is preparing for a public hearing regarding their Drought Mitigation Plan.  The public hearing will be Tuesday, November 21st from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.  The November board meeting will follow at 7:30 p.m. in the Lifelong Learning Center on the campus of Northeast Community College in Norfolk.

Husker Beef Nutrition Conference

The 2017 Husker Nutrition Conference will be held on Friday, November 3rd at the Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center near Mead. Topics include distillers grains processes, cost of gain vs. feed conversion, Considerations on distillers grains, energy and economics, factors controlling tenderness in beef, what feedlyard nutritionists should know about cover crops, bunk management, and more.  There will also be a research update presented. 

Please register by October 30th via mail, email or phone. Registration fees are $30 per person if preregistered and may be paid on-site. Cost is $50 if not registered.

Complete registration can be sent to: Galen Erickson, P.O. Box 830908, Lincoln, NE 68583-0908, email, or call 402-472-6402.

Webinar: Management of Integrated Crop-Livestock Systems

People are invited to a webinar that will be held on Nov. 7 at 10 a.m. Ashley Conway, PhD student in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Animal Science department under the direction of Dr. Mary Drewnoski received a SARE Graduate Student Grant. Ashley will discuss "Cattle management and performance in an integrated crop-livestock system" and results of the first year of the study.

Integrated crop-livestock systems offer tremendous potential for backgrounding cattle. Incorporating cereal rye as a winter cover crop and then grazing in the spring is one potential strategy to capture added value to an agricultural system. Year one of a two-year study designed to investigate the impact of cattle and residue management in this type of system specifically looks at the use of ionophore supplementation of cattle grazing cereal rye in the spring.

The link to the webinar is: If you are unable to participate during the live webinar, it will be recorded for future viewing.


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               Every fall I am asked the question “Is my alfalfa safe to graze?”.  Do you sometimes have that question?

               Is my alfalfa safe to graze?  When I hear that question I can almost imagine the scenarios from which it comes.  Usually corn stalks are ready to be grazed.  It would be convenient and useful to include an adjacent alfalfa field for extra grazing and protein.  Another scenario has grazing ending on summer range but the final growth of alfalfa is still standing in the field.

               Usually the alfalfa is still quite green, despite several nights with low temperatures in the twenties or even teens like last week.  There may be some wilting and yellowing, especially on the top, but most leaves still are attached to the plant stems.

               The real question often being asked is “Can I be sure my cows won’t bloat and die if they graze my alfalfa?”.  To be quite honest, you never can be 100 percent certain that alfalfa won’t cause bloat.  I remember back to my father’s small dairy farm.  Over the years that I helped on his farm, my dad had a couple cows that would bloat even when eating dry alfalfa hay.  Since they were good milkers he didn’t want to cull them.  So those cows were hand fed small amounts of alfalfa hay at a time so their bloat could be minimized.

               Thus, the only true answer to questions about grazing alfalfa safety is ‘probably’.  Bloat risk is much lower a week after a hard freeze that causes wilting.  But always use good animal husbandry methods to reduce the risk further.  Have cows full before turning out to alfalfa.  Wait until mid-day, after frost or dew is gone, before turning out.  Provide other dry, palatable feeds or even bloat retardants.  And keep a close eye on them for the first couple days.

               Alfalfa can be grazed safely.  Just be careful and realistic.

Rural Japanese Entrepreneurs, Leaders To Experience Nebraska Friday & Saturday

To inspire bold, creative thinking and action, rural entrepreneurs and community leaders from Japan are seeking a “rural immersion” in the United States, and to get it they are visiting with experts and innovators in Lincoln, Neb., Oct. 27, and Nebraska City, Neb., and Auburn, Neb., Oct 28.

In partnership with Japan Society and Japan NPO Center, the Rural Futures Institute (RFI) at the University of Nebraska is hosting a free, public forum entitled, “A Thriving Rural Future in Japan and the United States,” at 3 p.m. Oct. 27 at the Jackie Gaughan Multicultural Center, 1505 S Street. The forum will be live streamed at

On Oct. 28, RFI will take the visitors to Nebraska City and Auburn where hosts will include: Kimmel Education & Research Center, Kimmel Orchard and Vineyard, Nemaha County Hospital, BCom Solutions and Peru State College.

Guests from Japan include:
-    Atsuhisa Emori, Taberu Journal League in Hanamaki, Iwate
-    Kenji Hayashi, FoundingBase in Tsuwano, Shimane
-    Ryoko Sato, Ehime University in Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture
-    Tsuyoshi Sekihara, Kamiechigo Yamazato Fan Club; Joestu, Niigata Prefecture
-    Junichi Tamura, Next Commons Lab in Tono, Iwate Prefecture

This visit is part of a two-year funded project received by Japan Society, based in New York City, N.Y., and Japan NPO Center, based in Tokyo. Through RFI, the University of Nebraska is the only higher education institution in the United States involved.

Overall, the project seeks to build leadership capacity and consolidate lessons and learning from efforts to revitalize small towns and rural areas in the U.S.-Japan context. Specific topical areas of exploration include:
-    Economic revitalization and rural entrepreneurship
-    Sustainable agriculture
-    Leadership opportunities for younger generations
-    Meeting the needs of the elderly in smaller communities
-    The role of arts and culture in regional revitalization
-    Creating an ecosystem conducive to engaging new community members

Senate Confirms Greg Ibach as USDA Under Secretary

Steve Nelson, President, NE Farm Bureau

“As I’ve stated before, Greg Ibach is an outstanding choice to serve in the role of USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs. I want to publicly thank Greg for all the work that he has done for Nebraska Agriculture over the years. He has been a strong advocate for Nebraska farmers and ranchers and the members of our organization appreciate his efforts.”

“Greg is very much a farmer. He’s worn that hat and brought that voice throughout his service as Nebraska’s Director of Agriculture and that won’t change when he heads to Washington, D.C. We look forward to working with him in his new position and are confident he will be an asset to USDA and to American agriculture.”

Sasse Statement on Ibach

U.S. Senator Ben Sasse released the following statement after Nebraskan Greg Ibach was confirmed by the Senate to serve as Under Secretary of Agriculture for Marketing and Regulatory Programs.

“Greg Ibach earned this USDA spot utilizing the honesty, determination, and smarts that Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers are known for. Whether it’s emphasizing the importance of agriculture or working hard to expand Nebraska’s trading partners, Greg has a proven track record of public service bringing common sense and innovative solutions to his work. Our agriculture communities will be served well.”

Nebraska Cattlemen Congratulates Greg Ibach on U.S. Senate Confirmation

Nebraska Cattlemen (NC) is pleased to congratulate Greg Ibach, former Nebraska Department of Agriculture Director, and NC member, on his confirmation for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs.  The U.S. Senate confirmed Ibach's nomination today by a unanimous vote.

In his new role, Ibach will supervise the policy development and day-to-day operations of three federal agencies within USDA: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), which facilitates the Animal Disease Traceability (ADT) program; the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), which implements livestock mandatory price reporting (LMR); and the Grain Inspection, Packers, and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA), which oversees the marketing of livestock, poultry, meat, cereals, oilseeds, and related agricultural products.

"APHIS, AMS and GIPSA all have tremendous impact and importance to Nebraska's livestock producers and Nebraska Cattlemen looks forward to working with Under Secretary Ibach in his new role," said Troy Stowater, NC President.

NC also thanks Ibach for his 18 years of service with the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA).  After spending 6 years as the Assistant Director, Ibach transitioned into the Director role in June 2005.  Under Ibach's watch at NDA, nearly every sector of Nebraska agriculture experienced growth and expansion, including the state's livestock industry. He has championed the state's Livestock Friendly County program, and the number of counties receiving the designation continues to grow.  He also is a strong supporter of the Nebraska Livestock Siting Assessment Matrix, and has tirelessly promoted the expansion of Nebraska beef into multiple foreign export markets, including Mexico, Canada, Japan, South Korea and China.

Ibach continues to maintain a cow/calf and grain operation near Sumner.  He holds a bachelor of science degree in agriculture from the University of Nebraska, with majors in animal science and agricultural economics.

Nebraska Corn Growers Association Offer Statement of Congrats to Ibach

Leaders of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association offered their support and congratulations to Greg Ibach, former director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, after he was confirmed this week in Washington, DC as the Undersecretary of Agriculture for Marketing and Regulatory Programs.

Dan Wesely of Morse Bluff, president of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association, said, “We offer our congratulations to Greg Ibach following his confirmation as the new Undersecretary of Agriculture for Marketing and Regulatory Programs and wish him the best in this new endeavor. We thank Greg for his tenure as director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture. We’re very pleased to have a Nebraskan leading the marketing and regulatory programs for American agriculture.”

NPPA:  Senate Confirms Ibach For Top USDA Job

The National Pork Producers Council applauded yesterday’s Senate confirmation of Greg Ibach for a key position in the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He was approved by voice vote.

Ibach, who is director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, was picked by President Trump to be undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs.

“Director Ibach will be a great asset at USDA for American agriculture,” said NPPC President Ken Maschhoff, a pork producer from Carlyle, Ill. “Farmers and ranchers couldn’t ask for a better person to lead this key USDA department.”

Ibach has been with the Nebraska agriculture agency for the past 12 years. He also operates a cow/calf and row crop farm near Sumner, Neb.

In his job at USDA, Ibach will supervise policy development and oversee day-to-day operations of the Agricultural Marketing Service, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration.

Registration Open for ISU Women in Ag Leadership Conference

The Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Women in Ag Leadership Conference will be held Nov. 27-28 at the Iowa State Center – Scheman Building, Ames, Iowa. The cost to participate in the intensive leadership workshops on Monday evening is $20. The cost to participate in the full-day conference on Tuesday is $30 for students with college/university identification and $60 for all others. Online registration is now available.

Three intensive leadership workshops will be offered Monday evening, 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. Dinner during the workshops is included in the cost of registration. The three-hour interactive sessions will give women practical leadership advice and tools as well as inspire women to lead successfully at all levels of experience.

Additional networking activities are also available on Monday. Conference attendees can sign up to take a free campus tour from 3 – 5 p.m. and enjoy a hospitality room at the Best Western University Park Inn and Suites from 8:30 – 10 p.m.

The full-day conference on Tuesday begins at 8:30 a.m. and concludes at 4:30 p.m. Lunch as well as morning and afternoon refreshments are included in the registration cost. Keynote speaker Roxi Beck, member of the advisory board for Iowa State’s Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative, graduate of the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute and past president of the National Agri-Marketing Association begins the day with her presentation, “Winning in Complex Conversations.”

Capstone speaker Jeanne Bernick, agricultural consultant and business specialist for the national accounting and finance firm K·Coe Isom, brings her expertise associated with 20 years as a Farm Journal Media editor to her presentation, “How Remarkable Women Lead with Confidence.”

Throughout the day, more than 20 general session and concurrent session speakers will enlighten and energize attendees with a variety of leadership topics ranging from establishing mentorships to starting new businesses to mapping your leadership journey.

Highlighting the conference will be the recognition of seven inspiring women from across Iowa who are being honored as the 2017 "Women Impacting Agriculture."

A full conference agenda and other details is available at the ISU Extension and Outreach Women in Ag website....

Deadline to Seed Cereal Rye Cover Crop Extended Additional 2 Weeks in Iowa

Iowa Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig and State Conservationist Kurt Simon with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced that farmers participating in state cost-share and most federal financial assistance programs now have an additional two weeks to plant their winter hardy cereal rye cover crop and still qualify for assistance.

The seeding date is extended following the announcement that only 61 percent of Iowa’s soybeans and 23 percent of corn were harvested as of Sunday, Oct. 22. “The crop report indicated both corn and soybean harvests are behind the five-year average,” said Naig. “Extending the deadline an additional two weeks will allow additional farmers to get a cereal rye cover crop planted, benefitting water quality.”

“Late seeded cereal rye provided adequate spring growth for erosion control in the past when allowed to grow to at least eight inches tall before termination,” said Simon.

The revised cover crop seeding dates for cereal rye are:
Zone 1 (Northern Iowa) Nov. 4 – 18
Zone 2 (Central Iowa) Nov. 11 – 25
Zone 3 (Southern Iowa) Nov. 19 – Dec. 3

Guidance from Iowa State University confirmed cover crops planted within these dates still have the potential to provide a substantial reduction in nutrient losses and soil erosion.

The following applies to cover crops planted during the extension period:
·         Seed cereal rye as soon as possible after harvest of the principal crop.
·         The cover crop will be no-till drilled into crop residue.
·         Allow the cover crop to grow until at least 8 inches before spring termination.
·         It is recommended the seeding rate of cereal rye be increased to 75 pounds Pure Live Seed (PLS) per acre to adjust for reduced tillering.
·         The extension does not apply to all federal programs. Contact your local NRCS office if you have questions.

Farmers approved for cost-share assistance who are still unable to plant cover crops should contact their local NRCS office.


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) this week released guidance to assist livestock farmers in reporting air emissions from manure on their farms. The guidance follows a recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit which rejected the EPA’s petition to maintain the farm exemption for these emission reporting requirements under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Emergency Planning Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA).

While disappointed with the court’s ruling, the National Pork Producers Council worked with the EPA to develop effective guidance that minimizes the compliance burdens for U.S. pork producers. Under the court’s order, farmers are currently required to report emissions to the U.S. Coast Guard’s National Response Center and EPA regional offices beginning Nov. 15. NPPC plans to request that the court delay the reporting deadline to provide more time to educate producers on their responsibilities under the law.


National Pork Producers Council chief veterinarian Dr. Liz Wagstrom attended this week’s National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System meeting to address a method proposed by the Food and Drug Administration to measure livestock antibiotic use. The FDA’s method uses antibiotic sales figures and estimates for the size of animal populations to approximate use. During the meeting, Dr. Wagstrom noted that antibiotic sales figures are not accurate, making any calculation based on this method inaccurate. Instead, she said, “We need to be looking at data from individual farms. NPPC is very supportive of the projects that FDA has funded to look at individual farm data.”

Under Secretary McKinney to Lead USDA Trade Mission to India

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney will lead an agribusiness trade mission to India Oct. 30-Nov. 3. Making his first international trip as Under Secretary, McKinney will head a delegation of approximately 50 business, trade association and state government leaders who are seeking to grow U.S. agricultural exports to the world’s second-most-populous country.

“U.S. agricultural exports to India have grown nearly 250 percent over the past decade, but the country’s barriers impede exports of many of our products,” McKinney said. “On this trip, I look forward to not only promoting U.S. farm and food products, but also to meeting with my Indian government counterparts to build relationships and address key trade policy issues in an effort to improve American access to this important market.”

Mission participants will travel to New Delhi and Mumbai, connecting with potential customers and learning first-hand about local market conditions. In-country staff from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service will arrange meetings between U.S. delegates and more than 150 Indian companies, as well as with importers from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka who will travel to India for the mission. Participants will also meet with government and industry officials and visit local processing facilities and retail outlets.

U.S. agricultural exports to India totaled nearly $1.3 billion in 2016, with tree nuts, cotton, pulses, fresh and processed fruits, and prepared foods accounting for more than 80 percent of those exports. India is also a major market for U.S. ethanol exports. The United States is India’s top ethanol supplier, with sales totaling nearly $176 million in 2016.

Farm Bureau Communications Boot Camp Grads Recognized

The American Farm Bureau Federation recognized 15 farm and ranch women leaders as graduates of the organization’s eleventh annual Women’s Communications Boot Camp. The group of agricultural leaders was recognized after completing an intensive three-day course featuring sessions on working with the media, public speaking, testifying and messaging.

“Women’s Communication Boot Camp is the experience of a lifetime,” said Sherry Saylor, an Arizona row crop farmer and chair of the AFB Women’s Leadership Committee. “Graduates of this program are persuasive and effective advocates for agriculture, with a passion for connecting with influencers at the local, state and national levels.”

This year’s Boot Camp graduates are: Magen Allen, Arkansas; Andrea Brossard, Wisconsin; Danielle Burch, Ohio; Jodi DeHate, Michigan; Gimmie Jo Jansonius, Kansas; Sine Kerr, Arizona; Bonnie LaTourette, Pennsylvania; Renee McPherson, North Carolina; Paula Peterson, Nebraska; Cindy Ramsey, Indiana;  Ruth Scruton, New Hampshire; Cala Tabb, Mississippi; Laura Vaught, Tennessee; Andi Vincent, Washington state; and Sara Wayne, West Virginia.

The American Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee, in partnership with AFBF staff, hosts and provides training for Women’s Communications Boot Camp. This is the eleventh year of the program, which has more than 165 graduates and is open to all women involved in Farm Bureau. An application process is used to select the participants.

Updated ID Required for U.S. Breeding Cattle to Canada

Effective February 1, 2018, the identification requirements for export of U.S. breeding cattle to Canada will change. After this date, Canada will require an 840 radiofrequency identification (RFID) tag AND a USA tattoo in the right ear.

U.S. regulations require special procedures for applying an 840 RFID tag to an animal already tagged with official identification. Veterinarians/exporters may refer to the IREGS website for further information at the following link:

The USDA metal tag will no longer be accepted as an option for identification of cattle for export to Canada.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has begun issuing import permits for breeding cattle to reflect these new requirements. The protocols and certificates for breeding cattle are updated accordingly on the APHIS IREGS website and Veterinary Export Health Certificate System.

This change will significantly reduce time during inspection at the Canadian border, as well as eliminate the need for U.S. animals to be retagged with Canadian identification upon reaching their destination in Canada.

Environmental and Economic Rewards of Genome Project Still Emerging 20 Years Later

Two decades ago today, the corn plant got a huge boost with the announcement of the National Plant Genome Initiative (NPGI). The historic research effort to map the corn genome - supported and shepherded by the National Corn Growers Association - has resulted in significant economic and environmental dividends for farmers and society at large.

The gene mapping effort, which ran parallel to the mapping of the human genome, opened up a new frontier for corn that is still being explored today, according to Pam Johnson, a Floyd, Iowa farmer who served as the Chairperson of NCGA’s Research and Business Development Action Team and later as NCGA president.

“The NPGI didn’t just build a bridge between scientific discovery and real-world solutions for corn, it laid the groundwork for a new interstate highway of discovery,” Johnson said. “Corn continues to be one of the most important crops for our nation and this will likely continue given the vision of early NCGA leaders and the large coalition they helped forge.”

NPGI has funded more than $1.5 billion of genomic research to date and the undertaking continues to send ripples through the scientific community and agriculture.

“Corn became the primary focus of the broader plant genomics project because of its economic significance and because of its complexity. The theory is if we could crack the secrets of corn, the knowledge gained could be applied to many other plants,” said Rodney Williamson, director of research and development for Iowa Corn Growers Association. “The idea of sequencing the corn genome was considered an immense and daunting task because it has one of the of the most complex genomes of any known organism. But we continue to see the payoff.”

At 2.5 billion base pairs covering 10 chromosomes, this genome's size is comparable to that of the human genome which explains why the data generated from the gene mapping will keep scientists sorting and exploring for decades to come, says Williamson, who was part of the group in 1997 that threw down the gauntlet challenging the scientific community.

The new, emerging picture of corn helps researchers better understand its evolution and history. The crop was domesticated from a Central American grass called teosinte some 10,000 years ago. Much of the genetic diversity of maize, however, reaches nearly five million years back.

“Today we are still investigating what each of the genes does with a new initiative called Genomes to Fields. It’s a big puzzle that we don’t have a complete map for yet, but the potential benefits and advances are mind-boggling,” Johnson said. “The data we have contains answers like the best way to adapt corn to different climates, develop more efficient corn plants, use less energy growing it, sequester more carbon and increase the supply of food and feed.”

Williamson says the people in the nondescript hotel meeting room in 1997 contended the completion of the maize genome sequence would change agriculture and it has. Things such as increased breeding efficiency, streamlined delivery of new traits, discovering enhancements of properties such as drought tolerance, and a better overall understanding of the crop has enhanced corn's position as the ideal crop for food, feed, fuel and industrial uses.

According to the USDA, corn production in the U.S. has grown from roughly 9 billion bushels in 1997 when NPGI began to more than 15 billion bushels today. At the same time, the value of the U.S. crop has grown from $25 billion to more than $51 billion.

CWT Assists with 91,492 Pounds of Cheese and Butter Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted two requests for export assistance from members that have contracts to sell 41,888 pounds (19 metric tons) of Cheddar cheese and 49,604 pounds (23 metric tons) of butter to customers in the Asia and Oceania. The product has been contracted for delivery in the period from November through December 2017.

So far, this year, CWT has assisted member cooperatives who have contracts to sell 57.936 million pounds of American-type cheeses, and 4.752 million pounds of butter (82% milkfat) to 22 countries on five continents. The sales are the equivalent of 641.674 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.

China's Ethanol Production to Grow on Demand, Policy

China's total ethanol production will likely grow in 2018 on strong demand and policy support, according to the US Department of Agriculture. China has significant corn stockpiles, much of which is thought no longer suitable for food, and an increase in ethanol production could reduce these, taking away a factor weighing on prices. It adds that state media reports that by 2025, China will shift renewable fuel production to commercial scale cellulosic ethanol. "If realized, this plan, taken with China's ongoing corn sector reform, will fundamentally transform the coarse grains, distillers' dried grains, and ethanol markets in China." 

China Continues to Move Toward Accepting GM Crops

China continues to slowly move towards the commercialization of genetically modified seeds in the country over the next 3-4 years, says BMI. "Because of an entrenched reluctance to use GM crops for food among the population, we believe China will first adopt the commercialization of GM seeds for feed purposes, mainly corn." It adds the proposed acquisition of Syngenta by state-owned China National Chemical is an important step in moving toward GM crops as it gives the country access to the technology. "China has been investing heavily in recent years to develop its own research on GM seeds but results have been limited," BMI notes.

National Farmers addresses farmer concerns for NAFTA negotiators

As news about NAFTA negotiations raises concerns, National Farmers Organization is calling for caution, highlighting the potential fallout on America’s farmers and ranchers if NAFTA was cancelled.

“Canada and Mexico are two of the largest export markets for U.S. agricultural products, quadrupling since NAFTA began in 1994,” said National Farmers President Paul Olson. “Simply revoking the NAFTA agreement would be disastrous for agricultural commodity prices here at home,” Olson emphasized.

Whether it’s corn, wheat, sorghum, soybeans, red meat or dairy, Mexico and Canada constitute a significant share of America’s agricultural sales.

The organization has long been an advocate of supply management in the U.S., but farmers continue to produce more than domestic markets can absorb. “It’s important to be reminded that farmers rely on export markets to absorb additional production not used here at home, and if Canadian or Mexican markets were significantly disrupted, it would depress prices farmers receive,” Olson said.

 “Agriculture is not an isolated industry, either,” he added. “Our American farmers create jobs.” In 2015, according to USDA’s Economic Research Service, the agricultural and food sectors accounted for 21 million full- and part-time jobs. That’s 11.1 percent of total U.S. employment. “That means NAFTA’s agricultural aspects aren’t only about farmers,” Olson said.

The organization supports fair trade as equally as important as free trade, and emphasizes the following issues including:
·        Adequately addressing labor and environmental issues.
·        Allowing for country-of-origin labeling.
·        Providing avenues for dispute resolution.
·        Managing currency fluctuations.
·        Properly reporting agricultural import and export data.
·        Upholding food safety standards.

“We hope the NAFTA renegotiation process recognizes that farmer interests are vital.

Let’s protect and not compromise the overall success of the trading relationships we have, while we work to establish a new agreement,” Olson said.

Thursday October 26 Ag News

Ricketts Congratulates Greg Ibach on USDA Confirmation

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts congratulated Greg Ibach as the United States Senate confirmed him as the Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

“Congratulations to Greg on his confirmation as the USDA’s next Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs. Greg’s experience growing Nebraska will be a great asset to President Trump’s team.  We look forward to partnering with him in his new role as we work to expand access to international markets for Nebraska’s quality agricultural and manufactured products and other goods.”

Ibach is expected to be sworn-in in the coming days.

Fischer Statement on Confirmation of Gregory Ibach

Today, the Senate unanimously confirmed Nebraska Director of Agriculture Gregory Ibach to serve as Under Secretary of Marketing and Regulatory Programs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Earlier this month, Fischer introduced Greg Ibach at his nomination hearing before the Senate Agriculture Committee.

“I am thrilled to hear my friend and fellow Nebraskan, Greg Ibach, was just confirmed to serve as Under Secretary of Marketing and Regulatory Programs at USDA,” said Senator Fischer. “Greg’s deep knowledge, vast experience, and strong passion for agriculture, will serve America’s farmers and ranchers well. I know he will make Nebraskans proud, and I look forward to working with him to provide more certainty for the producers in this country who feed a hungry world.”

President Trump nominated Ibach to serve as Under Secretary of Marketing and Regulatory Programs at the USDA last month. Senator Fischer recommended Greg Ibach to the president.

Ibach has served as the Director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture for the past 12 years.

Perdue Statement on Confirmation of Greg Ibach Key USDA Post

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today applauded the Senate’s confirmation of Greg Ibach, who was nominated by President Donald J. Trump to serve as Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Perdue issued the following statement:
“Greg Ibach will bring experience and integrity to his new role at USDA, and carries with him the knowledge he’s gained in the dozen years he has served as Nebraska’s Director of Agriculture. His expertise in a wide cross-section of agricultural issues will be invaluable to our customers: the farmers, ranchers, foresters, and producers of America. I look forward to working with Greg and urge the Senate to continue to act on other nominees who are awaiting confirmation.”

USDA Offers Targeted Farm Loan Funding for Underserved Groups, Beginning Farmers

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Nebraska Farm Service Agency (FSA) Acting State Executive Director (SED) Mike Eller reminds producers FSA offers specially targeted farm ownership and farm operating loans to underserved applicants, as well as beginning farmers and ranchers.

“Each year, a portion of FSA’s loan funds are set aside to lend to targeted underserved and beginning farmers and ranchers,” said Eller. “Farming and ranching is a capital intensive business, and FSA is committed to helping producers start and maintain their agricultural operations.”

During fiscal year 2017 (Oct. 1, 2016, through Sept. 30, 2017), Nebraska FSA obligated $180.8 million in loans to underserved borrowers and beginning farmers and ranchers.

USDA defines underserved applicants as a group whose members have been subjected to racial, ethnic or gender prejudice because of their identity as members of the group without regard to their individual qualities. For farm loan program purposes, underserved groups are women, African Americans, American Indians and Alaskan Natives, Hispanics and Asians and Pacific Islanders.

In order to qualify as a beginning farmer, the individual or entity must meet the eligibility requirements outlined for direct or guaranteed loans. Additionally, individuals and all entity members must have operated a farm for less than 10 years. Applicants must materially or substantially participate in the operation. For farm ownership purposes, the applicant must not own a farm greater than 30 percent of the average size farm in the county at the time of application. All direct farm ownership applicants must have participated in the business operations of a farm for at least three years out of the last 10 years prior to the date the application is submitted. If the applicant is an entity, all members must be related by blood or marriage and all entity members must be eligible beginning farmers.

Underserved or beginning farmers and ranchers who cannot obtain commercial credit from a bank can apply for either FSA direct loans or guaranteed loans. Direct loans are made to applicants by FSA. Guaranteed loans are made by lending institutions who arrange for FSA to guarantee the loan. FSA can guarantee up to 95 percent of the loss of principal and interest on a loan. The FSA guarantee allows lenders to make agricultural credit available to producers who do not meet the lender’s normal underwriting criteria.

The direct and guaranteed loan program offers two types of loans: farm ownership loans and farm operating loans.

Farm ownership loan funds may be used to purchase or enlarge a farm or ranch, purchase easements or rights of way needed in the farm’s operation, build or improve buildings such as a dwelling or barn, promote soil and water conservation and development and pay closing costs.

Farm operating loan funds may be used to purchase livestock, poultry, farm equipment, fertilizer and other materials necessary to operate a successful farm. Operating loan funds can also be used for family living expenses, refinancing debts under certain conditions, paying salaries for hired farm laborers, installing or improving water systems for home, livestock or irrigation use and other similar improvements.

Repayment terms for direct operating loans depend on the collateral securing the loan and usually run from one to seven years. Financing for direct farm ownership loans cannot exceed 40 years. Interest rates for direct loans are set periodically according to the government’s cost of borrowing. Guaranteed loan terms and interest rates are set by the lender.

For more information on FSA’s farm loan programs and underserved and beginning farmer guidelines, please contact your local FSA office. To find your local FSA office, visit

EPA Releases Guidance on Reporting Air Emissions of Hazardous Substances from Animal Waste at Farms

Today, EPA is releasing guidance to assist farmers in reporting air releases of hazardous substances from animal waste at farms.  EPA is making this information available to provide time for farmers to review and prepare for the reporting deadline, currently set for November 15, 2017

“EPA is working diligently to address undue regulatory burden on American farmers,” said Administrator Scott Pruitt. “While we continue to examine our options for reporting requirements for emissions from animal waste, EPA’s guidance is designed to help farmers comply with the current requirements.”

On December 18, 2008, EPA published a final rule that exempted farms from reporting air releases of hazardous substances from animal waste.  On April 11, 2017, the DC Circuit Court vacated this final rule.  In response to a request from EPA, the DC Circuit Court extended the date by which farms must begin reporting these releases to November 15, 2017.  Unless the court further delays this date, all farms (including those previously exempted) that have releases of hazardous substances to air from animal wastes equal to or greater than the reportable quantities for those hazardous substances within any 24-hour period must provide notification of such releases.

The EPA guidance information includes links to resources that farmers can use to calculate emissions tailored to specific species of livestock.  To view EPA’s guidance and Frequently Asked Questions on reporting air emissions from animal waste:

EPA will revise this guidance, as necessary, to reflect additional information to assist farm owners and operators to meet reporting obligations.  Interested parties may submit comments or suggestions by November 24, 2017.

Complete Your NASS Survey; It Impacts Your Bottom Line

The National Corn Growers Association urges growers to respond to surveys distributed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Statistics Service. Responses to recent surveys from USDA have reached historical lows, and this can impact farmers' bottom lines.

"There seem to be county-to-county differences that are unaccounted for and, when you look at it, some counties did not have enough information from responses to the National Agricultural Statistics Service for them to publish data," explained NCGA Risk Management Action Team Chair Steve Ebke, who farms in Nebraska. "Farm Service Agency uses that data to calculate ARC payments. So, if NASS does not have the data, they will have to look elsewhere for it.

"This has resulted in a great deal of concern in the countryside. We urge everyone to complete their NASS surveys so that each county has a sufficient amount of data for FSA to calculate the payments based upon what actually happened in that county."

Farmers can either complete the survey manually with the booklet that they receive and mail that back in, or they can complete it online. Most of the information in the survey is information farmers have readily available.

"One thing that we want to emphasize is that your data is confidential," said Ebke. "Your individual data is confidential and never individually presented somewhere. Your data is aggregated and only presented in that format. The confidentiality of your individual data submitted on the NASS survey is protected by federal law."

Failing to complete the survey puts farmer's personal operations at risk of receiving ARC payments that do not reflect actual production in their county.

"I just want to urge everyone to go ahead and complete this as it is very important to your bottom line," Ebke concluded. "We have additional information on our website and even a direct link to USDA's site, where you can complete your survey."

State Beef Council Staffs Come Together to Gain Checkoff Program Knowledge, Share Ideas

Representatives of 28 state beef councils gathered near Denver Oct. 16-18 to learn more about national 2018 Beef Checkoff Program efforts and share their thoughts on how those programs could be expanded or extended through their states. The Partnerships in Action Conference was held near Denver in the offices of the NCBA, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff Program. The checkoff 2018 fiscal year began Oct. 1.

                Among items of discussion was the relaunch of the “Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner” brand and website, with a “Rethink the Ranch” approach and new videos and promotion on social media platforms. The program went live Oct. 9 and showcases the people who raise beef, celebrates the nutritional benefits of beef for active lifestyles, and provides culinary inspiration and recipes.

                “This annual Federation of State Beef Councils event is a collaborative effort to kick off the checkoff program of work with enthusiasm,” according to Todd Johnson, NCBA senior vice president, Federation Services. “Our state team members and their boards of directors have come to appreciate the ways our partnership can enhance the value of the beef checkoff to those who pay into the program.”

                According to George Quackenbush, executive director of the Michigan Beef Industry Commission, the conference helps communicate a seamless, coordinated state and national plan that can most effectively reach consumers with the same message in repeated ways. “The reason we put such value on this meeting as a state council is because this is where we learn what programs will be taking place at the national level, when we can expect those things to roll out and how we can extend those programs in our state,” he says. “We can really be the army that takes these programs to the audience on the local and state levels.”

                Erin Beasley, executive vice president of the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association, agrees, saying the timing from their state perspective is perfect. “We’re actually about to get into our planning mode, so this gives us an opportunity to meet with the staff, bring all of those ideas back, then meet with our Checkoff Task Force Committee to start our planning and budgeting for the 2018 year,” she says. “The timing of this meeting, with the content and the involvement of the national staff, is absolutely integral to what we do at the state level.”

                Another benefit of the conference, according to Jean O’Toole, executive director of the New York Beef Council, is the sharing that goes on between states. “You learn so much from other states and what they do,” she says. “We sometimes joke that we rip off and repurpose, but we have no hidden secrets between our councils. It’s share and collaborate based on your budgets and what you can do. It also gives you different insights. We’re all creative and have a variety of talents.”

                Because she is from a state with a higher population and lower cattle numbers, O’Toole values different types of input. “Sometimes you get support financially, sometimes you just get support through information, but either way you can’t beat it,” she says. “I haven’t seen an organization like this in all my years, and it’s phenomenal fun.”

                “It’s great to see that we’re all singing from the same songbook,” says Chris Freland, executive director of the Iowa Beef Industry Council. “When you’re united you’re so much stronger than if you’re separated and going in your own direction. It also validates that you’re doing the right thing within your state, as well as making sure your state board and farmers and ranchers are represented nationally. In addition, it provides our state staff an opportunity to collaborate with those in other states who are serving in the same roles.”

                According to Ann Wittmann, executive director of the Wyoming Beef Council, states with low populations and small staffs value the kind of teamwork the conference provides. “The state and national coordination is what makes the beef industry so special, and so workable, especially from the perspective of a small staff state,” she says. “We have programs of our own. But what we don’t have is the beautiful imagery, the fantastic story-telling, the video images, the larger-than-life programs, and programs that reach out beyond what we can do as a small state. It’s the best investment that we can make so that we all work together as a team.”

                Wittmann says bonding together through an event like the Partnerships in Action Conference makes the program stronger. “The partnership between the Federation of State Beef Councils, the Federation staff and the individual beef councils is powerful and incredibly efficient,” she says.

Meat Institute Releases MyMeatUp 2.0 App

The North American Meat Institute today unveiled an updated version of its popular MyMeatUp app, the first-of-its-kind free mobile app aimed at helping shoppers, particularly millennials — individuals between ages 18 and 35 — become informed, confident purchasers of meat and poultry.

MyMeatUp 2.0 includes a new “Where does my meat come from?” feature, which allows users to search the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) establishment database for information about where the product was produced.

“People are increasingly interested in knowing where their food comes from, and that concern is transforming shopping habits and driving purchasing decisions,” said Meat Institute President and CEO Barry Carpenter. “The MyMeatUp app’s new ‘Where does my meat come from?’ feature responds to calls for increased transparency and empowers consumers to choose meat and poultry products that fit their preferences.”

The new feature, which can be accessed from the home screen, provides an explanation about how to find establishment numbers on meat packages and includes a function that allows users to search plant numbers.  Searches can be done using full and partial numbers, or users can choose to view the complete list of establishments.  They are then directed to a page with information from USDA about the establishment.

The updated app also includes several new images and more than 160 recipes.

“The changes released in this version of the app will enhance its value with shoppers, who are already using it in large numbers to navigate the abundance of choices offered in the meat case,” Carpenter added.  “Consumers will now be better equipped to conveniently plan their meat and poultry product selections from the comfort of their home and to confidently make on-the-spot purchasing decisions when shopping in the grocery store.”

New Version Preserves Original App’s Key Features, Capabilities

Meanwhile, the app retained the popular features included in the original version, most notably the unique cuts of meat guide, which visually displays the most common retail beef, veal, pork and lamb cuts.  By selecting a specific part of an animal, consumers can view images of common retail cuts, along with corresponding explanations, creative recipe ideas and proper cooking methods.  Shoppers can also use the app’s search function to quickly find information about cuts with which they are unfamiliar.

Furthermore, people interested in learning more about claims made on meat and poultry product labels can continue to use the app’s searchable glossary of common terms.  The glossary presents definitions for “natural,” “grass-fed,” “antibiotic-free” and “no hormones added,” among others.  In addition, consumers will recognize the app’s industry topics section that addresses antibiotic use in animal agriculture, animal welfare practices, environmental concerns and nutrition facts in succinct list formats.

“This dynamic, interactive app is a must-have resource for anyone who shops for, prepares and cooks meat and poultry products,” said Carpenter.  “The app’s in-depth content and creative recipes can help meat novices and experts alike build a weekly grocery list, select items for a last-minute dinner, or plan the menu for a special occasion.  It has never been easier to incorporate nutritious, high-quality meat and poultry products in your diet.”

The app has been downloaded more than 13,000 times and is available to both iPhone and Android users.  To download the iPhone version, click here.  The Android version is available here. For users who have already downloaded the app, the update will automatically appear in their phone’s app store.

U.S. Corn, DDGS Compete In Canada For Feed Grains Market Share

A short hour north of the Montana border, the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) is exploring the geographic advantage of unit trains carrying U.S. corn and distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) to Canadian feedlots around Lethbridge, Alberta.

A trade mission in October criss-crossed the region, visiting with cattle feedlots, feed manufacturers and rail facilities to find the best opportunities to expand inclusion of U.S. feed grains and co-products in local rations. The Canadian livestock feed demand is highly competitive with many alternative energy and protein feed ingredients available for producers, but the United States is well-positioned to meet this need due to close proximity to northern U.S. ethanol plants as well as the efficiency of transportation by unit train.

“There was a great buzz related to corn availability created during the trade mission,” said Neil Campbell, general manager of Gowans Feed Consulting, who works as a USGC consultant in Canada. “The timing is excellent to promote U.S. corn and DDGS in feedlot diets. The more corn that comes in, the more it will help the supply demand balance on feed grain.”

The first unit train of corn sold in the 2017/2018 marketing year was delivered into Lethbridge the week before the recent mission. Thanks to continued market development work by the Council and its Canadian consultants, more U.S. corn and DDGS will head north in the year to come.

Canada imported 670,000 metric tons (26.4 million bushels) of U.S. corn in 2016/2017 as well as 735,000 tons of U.S. DDGS, a 13 percent increase year-over-year. While these sales made Canada the sixth largest market for U.S. DDGS, Canada has the potential to utilize more than four million tons of DDGS annually, which the Council is working to capture.

In the Lethbridge area, U.S. corn can be railed directly into the region on unit trains. Favorable pricing combined with these logistical opportunities promote inclusion into local feed rations. The Council is working with other Alberta feedlots to support the development of additional trans-loading facilities in the region to further provide opportunities for rail shipments from the United States.

The Council and Gowans Feed Consulting also developed a relative value calculator that demonstrates the continued advantages of including corn and DDGS into livestock rations, which will further encourage local feedlots to evaluate the competitiveness of U.S. feed grains and co-products. This effort directly supports sales by increasing awareness of when buying opportunities arise.

Senate FY18 Budget Resolution Passes House; Next Steps Tax Reform

Today, the House took final action on the FY 2018 Budget Resolution. With this action, NAWG CEO Chandler Goule made the following statements about the importance of a strong Farm Bill and effective tax reform.

“While NAWG appreciates that no reconciliation instructions were included for agriculture, the final version does include caps for agriculture that are lower than the baseline,” stated NAWG CEO Chandler Goule. “With prices the lowest they have been in decades, we strongly urge Congressional leadership to not only not allow cuts to the Farm Bill but provide more resources. The Ag Committees need sufficient resources to write an effective bill that meets growers needs and that ensures farmers continue to have access to a viable safety net and other important Farm Bill programs.”

The FY18 Budget Resolution enables a tax reform process to move forward by providing reconciliation instructions to the Senate Finance Committee and House Ways and Means Committee for $1.5 trillion in revenue reductions for the purpose of comprehensive tax reform.

“Now that Congress has completed action the budget resolution, we need to get a farm bill with sufficient funding to provide a strong safety net as well as tax reform that recognizes the needs of agriculture,” continued Goule. “NAWG will continue to work with Congress to ensure unique needs of agriculture are being met during tax reform.”

Bill Includes Fix for Farmer Bankruptcy Reform

The supplemental appropriations bill passed by the Senate today includes the Family Farmer Bankruptcy Clarification Act of 2017, sponsored by Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Al Franken, D-Minn.

The measure would rectify a 2012 Supreme Court ruling on a previous bankruptcy reform law that ignored Congress' express goal of helping family farmers, Grassley said.

"Family farmers face obstacles that others don't when dealing with bankruptcy. Their assets are largely tied up in farmland, which creates significant challenges for these family operations when reorganizing debt. Years ago, Congress took specific steps to address these disadvantages, but the Supreme Court failed to recognize Congress' intent when evaluating the law," Grassley said. "Thankfully, Congress has now approved a fix for this problem, and family farmers facing hard times can breathe a sigh of relief. I look forward to the president signing this bill into law."

Franken adds that the bill is a commonsense fix to ensure that the law functions as intended and protects family farmers. He hopes the measure becomes law to help ensure farmers going through bankruptcy get a fair shake and are able to repay the debts they owe without sacrificing their families' futures.

Contrary to oil industry claims, RIN values drive fuel prices lower

Following a recent announcement that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would reject petitions to move the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) point of obligation and not allow Renewable Identification Number credits (RINs) for exported ethanol, RINs are trading higher and ethanol opponents have renewed efforts to characterize RINs as driving fuel prices higher. Meanwhile, some ethanol producers and marketers are taking advantage of the higher RIN values to offer denatured ethanol as low as 30 cents per gallon and E85 at 55 cents per gallon (plus tax and freight) this week.

American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) Senior Vice President Ron Lamberty says, in fact, RINs do exactly the opposite of what critics claim, and the proof is higher ethanol-blended fuels at lower prices at the pump in real-world stations across the U.S. A RIN credit is a reward for RFS compliance. Companies complying with the RFS or blending more ethanol than required are able to use the additional RINs to discount prices of ethanol-blended fuels.

This week, ACE member Glacial Lakes Energy (GLE) announced it was making “RINless” denatured ethanol available to retailers for just 30 cents per gallon, and ACE member Absolute Energy was offering “RINless” E85 for just 55 cents. RINless means the RIN is retained by the seller, and its value is subtracted leaving a low net fuel price.

“There are a growing number of retailers buying RINless ethanol directly from producers like Absolute Energy and GLE,” Lamberty said. “The idea that small, independent station owners can’t benefit from RINs just isn’t true. Owners of single stores and small chains are the primary buyers of this RINless ethanol and E85.”

“After taxes and freight, the wholesale cost of E85 is under a dollar for many Midwest markets,” Lamberty added. “And pricing that reflects the discount earned from the extra RINs in higher ethanol blends is available in other markets, too. We’re constantly looking to match E15 and flex fuel retailers with ethanol suppliers who will sell them competitively priced fuels.”

Study: Consumers See 'Organic' and 'Non-GM' as Synonymous

Consumers are confused between foods labeled as "organic" and "non-genetically modified," according to a new study led by a University of Florida professor. In fact, researchers found that some consumers view the two labels as synonymous.

When Congress approved the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard in June 2016, lawmakers allowed companies two years -- until June 2018 -- to label their genetically modified (GM) food by text, symbol or an electronic digital link such as a QR code. The QR code is a machine-readable optical label that displays information when scanned.

Besides QR codes, companies can label GM foods by adding words like: "contains genetically modified ingredients" in plain text on the packages, said Brandon McFadden, a UF/IFAS assistant professor of food and resource economics, and lead author of the study.

McFadden and Purdue University agricultural economics professor Jayson Lusk conducted their research to find the best ways to communicate whether a food has GM ingredients. This research has implications for which foods consumers will buy, McFadden said.

To gauge consumers' willingness to pay for food labeled as GM vs. non-GM, researchers conducted a national survey of 1,132 respondents.

Specifically, researchers wanted to know how much consumers were willing to spend on food labeled as "USDA Organic" vs. that labeled "Non-GMO Project Verified." Genetically modified material is not allowed in food labeled "USDA Organic," while "Non-GMO Project" means the food has no more than 0.9 percent GM characteristics, according to the study.

Researchers measured respondents' willingness to pay for a box of 12 granola bars and a pound of apples. Granola bars represent a manufactured food commonly differentiated by its absence of GM material, while apples are a fresh fruit that requires companies to tell if they contain GM material, the study said.

In this study, when consumers looked at packages of Granola bars labeled "non-GMO Project," they were willing to spend 35 cents more than for the boxes that had text that read, "contains genetically engineered ingredients." With the "USDA Organic" label, consumers were willing to pay 9 cents more.

With apples, respondents were willing to pay 35 cents more for those labeled "non-GMO Project" and 40 cents more for those labeled "USDA Organic."

Participants' responses led McFadden to conclude that consumers don't distinguish definitions of the two food labels.

"For example, it's possible that a product labeled, 'Non-GMO Project Verified' more clearly communicates the absence of GM ingredients than a product labeled 'USDA Organic,'" said McFadden.

In addition to willingness to pay for GM- and non-GM foods, researchers wanted to know how QR codes impact choices for foods labeled as containing GM ingredients. They also wanted to know how much consumers were willing to pay for food labeled as GM if that information came from a Quick Response -- or QR -- code. Study results showed consumers are willing to pay more for genetically modified food if the information is provided by a QR code.

"This finding indicates that many of the study respondents did not scan the QR code," McFadden said.

That's because if all respondents scanned the QR code, there would not be a significant difference in their willingness to pay, he said. Since there is a significant difference, one can assume that many respondents did not scan the QR code, McFadden said.

"However, it is important to remember that this study is really a snapshot, and it is possible that over time, consumers will become more familiar with QR codes and be more likely to scan them," he said.

The new study is published in the journal Applied Economics: Perspectives and Policy.

Wednesday October 25 Ag News

By the Numbers: Who's Paying How Much in Cash Rent?

This week the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service released its county level statistics on cash rental rates for irrigated and non-irrigated cropland and pastureland.  Available in table and map form, the Nebraska rates are based on a random sample of nearly 16,000 producers who were surveyed from March through June.

In Nebraska the highest range of irrigated cash rental rates was from $282 in Knox County to $312 in Dixon County. The next highest range was from $236 in Kearney County to $278 in Seward County.

The highest level of non-irrigated cash rental rates—all in eastern Nebraska—ranged from $188 in Pierce and Butler counties to $266 in Dakota County.

The highest range of pasture cash rental rates was from $56 in Platte County to $73 in Pierce County.

The information is based on surveys conducted with Nebraska farmers and ranchers during the first half of 2017.

County        Irrigated     Non-Irri    Pasture

Cuming         291                262               73
Burt                258                 230             60.50
Washington 262                220               58
Dodge           268                 210              52.50
Saunders     251                 198              51.50
Colfax           264                 205                66
Platte            285                 202               56
Stanton        277                214              71.50
Madison      262                194                na
Pierce           252                188                73
Wayne          290                238                na
Cedar            311                239                66
Dixon            312                248                48
Dakota           na                266                 43

"These rents represent an average of all rates reported for a county, which means our data set included recently negotiated rents and those that may not have been updated for some time," notes Nick Streff, deputy regional director for the Northern Plains Regional Field Office in Lincoln. "These rental rates will not always represent the current market rate for a given county."

"These rents represent an average of all rates reported for a county, which means our data set included recently negotiated rents and those that may not have been updated for some time," notes Nick Streff, deputy regional director for the Northern Plains Regional Field Office in Lincoln. "These rental rates will not always represent the current market rate for a given county."

Jim Jansen, Nebraska Extension agricultural economist, noted that variability in crop and livestock prices appears to be influencing cash rental rates as well as ag land values. Counties where there are wide production swings from year to year are more apt to have lower cash rental rates due to inconsistent income potential.

The rate growers are willing to pay in rent appears to relate to the land's income-earning potential. If commodity or livestock prices drop, rental rates tend to follow suit, Jansen said.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Department of Agricultural Economics also tracks agland cash rental rates in Nebraska and released its most recent data earlier this year in the 2017 Nebraska Farm Real Estate Report. Its report is based on surveys made in early 2017. Rental rates published in 2017 declined an average of about 5% to 10% for the second consecutive year, with several rates dropping by more than 10%.

Renewable Fuels Nebraska Selects Troy Bredenkamp as Next Executive Director

Renewable Fuels Nebraska (RFN), the trade organization for Nebraska’s ethanol industry, announced today that they have selected Troy Bredenkamp to be the organization’s next Executive Director. Bredenkamp, who most recently served as the General Manager of the Nebraska Rural Electric Association (NREA), will begin his role with RFN on November 1.

“We are excited to have Troy and his extensive association experiences leading our organization into the Future,” said Ted Free, General Manager of Bridgeport Ethanol and President of Renewable Fuels Nebraska.  “We face a lot of challenges and opportunities in Nebraska’s ethanol industry. Troy possesses the background, the expertise and the vision to help our members navigate those challenges while helping to propel our organization and industry forward”.

Prior to his last position, Bredenkamp served as CEO of the Colorado Farm Bureau, Director of Congressional Relations with American Farm Bureau Federation in Washington, DC and Vice President of Technical Services with Nebraska Cattlemen.

“As the 2nd largest ethanol producing state in the US, this is a tremendous opportunity to serve as RFN’s next executive director, getting in on the ground floor and helping build an organization worthy of the significant economic role that the ethanol industry plays here in Nebraska,” Bredenkamp said. “Agriculture and ruralprosperity have always been passions of mine, and RFN represents ethanol - one of the greatest value-added agricultural products and one with substantial economic significance to this state. I am excited to get started representing this vital industry.”

A native Nebraskan born in York, Bredenkamp was raised on a small family farm near Waco, NE. He holds a BS in Education from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Bredenkamp serves on the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry State Board of Directors and as the Public Affairs Council Chair for the State Chamber.  Bredenkamp also serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors for The Hope Venture, a Lincoln-based charity helping to improve lives in Africa, India and here in the US. He resides with his family in Lincoln, NE.

Pork Proud

Al Juhnke, Executive Director, Nebraska Pork Producers Association

As ‘Pork Month’ comes to a close, we at the Nebraska Pork Producers Association (NPPA) want everyone to know that we are here working year round on behalf of our farmers. In fact, we have been here since 1961 as a grassroots, incorporated, non-profit organization.

NPPA is a USDA Checkoff organization. Via the Pork Checkoff that every Nebraska pork producer pays, dollars are used for three things: education, promotion, and research. As stewards of the checkoff, NPPA makes sure all three of these areas are addressed within our strategic plan and that we are doing the most good for our family farmers and their farming operations.

Our goal, as described in NPPA’s vision statement, is to ensure opportunities for success - for Nebraska’s producers of pork, regardless of size or production style. We do this by educating the public about pork products, and by keeping growers up-to-date on advances in the pork industry. We seek new customers and work to expand our existing pork markets here and around the world. Finally, we know our future is dependent on strong research programs, which we advocate for, and support.

We also work with our state’s youth, by enhancing their opportunities for success within the pork industry. NPPA wants to make sure our kids understand the opportunities available to them in agriculture and the raising of pigs. These young people are our future workforce and an important piece to the economic success of our rural communities. It makes sense to focus part our resources on them.

Pork production in our state is growing and prospering. NPPA and our farmer members are proud of what they do. Know that we will be here when needed as outlined by our motto: Serving Nebraska’s Pork Industry —  Responsible people.  Sustainable pork. 


Mat Habrock, assistant director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, has scheduled a meeting of the Climate Assessment Response Committee (CARC) for Monday, October 30, 2017.  The meeting will begin at 9:00 a.m. in room 901, Hardin Hall on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln East Campus.

Officials will brief CARC members on existing, as well as predicted, weather conditions and provide a water availability outlook.

For more details, call the Nebraska Department of Agriculture at (402) 471-2341.

Beef Cow Production Meetings to Highlight New Iowa Cowmaker Elite Program

Iowa cow-calf producers will have five opportunities during November to learn about reproductive efficiency and investigate a new approach to managing heifers. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach beef specialist Patrick Wall said the meetings set for Nov. 17-21 will cover selecting the right genetics, right heifer and right bull to achieve individual herd goals.

"The proper timing and attention to detail for a successful A.I. program will also be vetted including age, implants, stress, nutrition, handling, synch protocols and health," he said. "Attendees will also have the opportunity to enroll their 2017 heifer calf crop in the Iowa Cowmaker Elite program at the conclusion of the meeting."

Series locations, dates, times
    Friday, Nov. 17, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Pizza Ranch, Creston
    Friday, Nov. 17, 4 - 7 p.m. – ISU Extension and Outreach Guthrie County Office, Guthrie Center
    Monday, Nov. 20, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – McNay Research Farm, Chariton
    Tuesday, Nov. 21, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – ISU Extension and Outreach Jones County Office, Anamosa
    Tuesday, Nov. 21, 5 - 8 p.m. – ISU Extension and Outreach Washington County Office, Washington

There's no fee to attend and several meetings will conclude with tours of cooperating heifer development locations.

“We need our cows to celebrate more birthdays in order to enhance profitability and limit depreciation expense,” Wall said. “The ICE program is designed to help producers select and manage heifers to stay in the herd past age 8, and ensure that their daughters do, too.”

These meetings will feature Dr. Sandy Johnson of Kansas State University who will cover two topics: the attention to detail necessary to achieve a top-notch heifer development program, and use of The Management Minder, a calendar tool used to help producers achieve proper timing when managing heifers.

“The Minder is incredibly easy to use and especially useful for producers who want to manage their heifers for the ICE program at home,” Wall said.

For additional information, visit the ICE web page or contact Wall by email or phone at 515-450-7665.

Urea Leads Fertilizer Price Hikes

Four of the eight average retail fertilizer prices were higher, three were lower and one remained unchanged in the third week of October 2017 compared to one month earlier, according to fertilizer retailers surveyed by DTN.

Urea was up 9% compared to a month ago with an average price of $340 per ton. UAN32's average price increased by about 6% to $262/ton. The average prices for three other fertilizers were just slightly higher or unchanged. Potash and DAP were each up about 1%, at an average $348/ton and $432/ton, respectively. MAP remained unchanged at $452/ton.

The remaining average prices for three fertilizers were lower compared to last month. UAN28 saw a 3% drop in average price compared to last month, at $205/ton. Anhydrous and 10-34-0 each experienced a 1% drop compared to last month, at $397/ton and $413/ton, respectively.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.37/lb.N, anhydrous $0.24/lb.N, UAN28 $0.37/lb.N and UAN32 $0.41/lb.N.

Five of the eight major retail fertilizers are now lower compared to one year earlier. Only one of the five is double digits lower. Anhydrous is now 16% lower from a year ago, while 10-34-0 is 9% less expensive and UAN28 is 8% lower. UAN32 is 4% less expensive and DAP is 1% less expensive.

Three fertilizers are now higher compared to last year. MAP is less than 1% higher, urea is 7% higher and potash is now 11% more expensive.

Co-ops Oppose Increased Tax Burden on Farmers

The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) today expressed strong opposition to provisions included in the recently-released Unified Framework for Fixing our Broken Tax Code that would increase taxes for farmers across the country. By eliminating the Section 199 deduction that is passed down by farmer co-ops to their member-owners, money will flow from the pockets of farmers and rural communities to investment bankers on Wall Street and venture capitalists in Silicon Valley.

Section 199, also known as the Domestic Production Activities Deduction (DPAD) was enacted as part of the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 and applies to proceeds from agricultural products that are manufactured, produced, grown, or extracted by farmer cooperatives, or that are marketed through co-ops. The great majority of cooperatives pass the benefit through directly to their farmer members.  It is estimated that the deduction returns nearly $2 billion annually to rural areas in all 50 states.

“Farmer co-ops have consistently supported tax reform and related policies that support economic growth in rural America as well as the broader economy,” said Chuck Conner, president and CEO of NCFC. “The elimination of the Section 199 deduction for agriculture increases the tax burden on farmers and their co-ops and obviously runs counter to that goal. In a time of continued low commodity prices, those hardworking Americans who grow our food can ill afford for Congress to pass a law that will raise their taxes.”

“As both the House Ways & Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee begin considering detailed tax reform packages, they must preserve the Section 199 deduction for agriculture and recognize that lower rates by themselves will not offset a loss of the deduction,” Conner continued. “It would be a strange irony indeed if a Republican Congress and a Republican president pass a law that increases taxes on America’s farmers.”

ASA Welcomes ARC-CO Improvement Act

The American Soybean Association (ASA) welcomed legislation introduced this week by Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and Joni Ernst (R-IA), which supports and strengthens the county Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC-CO) program.

“ARC-CO is of great importance to soy growers, who signed up over 90 percent of soybean acres in the program,” said ASA President and Roseville, Illinois grower Ron Moore. “In hard economic times, finding the best way to provide support against declines in farm revenue is on every grower’s mind.”

ASA, along with eight other agriculture groups, joined a letter to Sens. Heitkamp and Ernst applauding the ARC-CO Improvement Act and highlighting its three provisions which will benefit farmers.

The proposed legislation directs USDA to use more widely-available data from the Risk Management Agency as the first choice in yield calculations, calculates safety net payments based on the county where a farm’s is physically located, and provides the FSA state committee discretion to adjust yield data estimates to help reduce variations in yields and payments between neighboring counties.

NCGA Applauds Bill with Proposed Changes to ARC

The following is a statement from National Corn Growers Association President Kevin Skunes regarding the introduction of a bill yesterday by Senators Heidi Heitkamp (D – N.D.) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) directing the Farm Service Agency (FSA) to use crop yield data from the Risk Management Agency for yield calculations.

“NCGA applauds Senators Heitkamp and Ernst for recognizing the importance of having a strong revenue-based program for farmers and taking this step to strengthen the Agriculture Risk Coverage-County Level (ARC-CO) Safety Net Program in the next Farm Bill,” said NCGA President Kevin Skunes. “In this economy, having strong farm bill risk management programs are more important than ever.”

“NCGA believes ARC can be updated to improve its effectiveness in this extended low-price environment farmers are facing,” said Skunes. “NCGA supports a program that utilizes more accurate data to ensure farmers have access to fair and accurate risk management tools.”

NMPF Applauds House Judiciary Committee for Endorsing New Agriculture Guest Worker Program

The National Milk Producers Federation said today it supports the efforts by Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and the House Judiciary Committee to pass legislation creating a guestworker program that provides a new opportunity for immigration reform in agriculture.

The committee today approved the Agriculture Guestworker (AG) Act (H.R. 4092), which would establish an entirely new visa program, dubbed the H-2C visa, to allow farm employers to hire foreign workers on a year-round basis. The measure was developed by Rep. Goodlatte after NMPF provided input to the committee about the workforce needs of America’s dairy farms.

Although not ideal, the AG Act “helps advance our efforts to assure a stable, dependable and legal workforce for America’s dairy farmers, now and in the future,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “The AG Act is the first step in a long process of establishing a workable solution for dairy farmers’ labor needs. It recognizes that we must improve on the current system by pursuing a new approach to matching the supply and demand for workers in U.S. agriculture.”

Goodlatte’s bill would replace the existing H-2A temporary visa program, which dairy farmers largely cannot use because their labor needs are year-round, not seasonal. In addition to establishing the new visa for future farm workers, it would allow currently undocumented farm workers to apply for H-2C visas so that they can participate legally in the agricultural workforce.

While the version of the legislation marked up in committee requires further improvements, Mulhern said that overall, the AG Act bill “merits the support of America’s farming community, and its refinement and passage must be a priority for congressional leaders.”

George Rohrer, a dairy farmer in Dayton, Va., and a member of the NMPF Board of Directors, said that farmers “have waited for years for lawmakers to fix our broken immigration system. The AG Act is evidence that Congressman Goodlatte has listened to many of our concerns, and is willing to try a new approach to the problem. As a farmer, it’s difficult to plan for tomorrow when you don’t know whether you’ll be able to hire qualified people today.”

October Cattle on Feed Report Puts Placements Higher

Brian R. Williams, Assistant Extension Professor
Department of Agricultural Economics, Mississippi State University

     The United States Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA, NASS) released their monthly Cattle on Feed report Friday afternoon (October 20, 2017). Placements totaled 2.15 million head, an increase of 13% from September 2016. Market analyst expected placements to be up 7.5%, so the reported value came in higher than the average expectation; although it did fall within the range of expectations. All weight classes saw an increase in placements, with cattle smaller than 600 pounds seeing the largest increase with a 17.4% year-over-year increase. Placements of larger cattle weighing over 900 pounds saw an 11.1% year-over-year increase in placements.

     Cattle marketed in September totaled 1.783 million head, up 3% versus last year. Pre-report expectations called for marketings to be 2.6% higher than the same period last year, so estimates higher than analysts anticipated they would be.

     The total number of cattle in feedlots with 1,000 head or larger capacity on October 1, 2017 totaled 10.813 million head, up 5% versus October 1, 2016.  Market analysts expected a 4.7% year-over-year increase in cattle on feed, so the reported value came in very close to analysts' expectations.

     The high placement numbers drove markets down as trade opened on Monday morning, but prices have slowly bounced back over the course of the day. Ultimately the numbers have only had a small impact on the cattle futures complex on Monday morning, with most feeder futures contracts trading around $0.10 to $0.45 lower and live cattle futures contracts trading around $0.15 to $0.45 higher. For the most part, the high placement numbers were still somewhat in line with what trade expected, and had already been built into the markets.

Cargill to Acquire Diamond V

Responding to growing consumer preferences for natural and wholesome food production, Cargill today announced it has signed a binding agreement to acquire Diamond V, a leading global provider of innovative natural solutions and technologies that improve animal health, animal performance, and food safety.

This acquisition, which follows Cargill's recent investment in Delacon, the global leader in natural, plant-based phytogenic additives, will give Cargill market-leading participation in the $20 billion global animal feed additives market, as well as world-class technical, regulatory and R&D capabilities and go-to-market strength in approximately 70 countries worldwide.

"This acquisition strengthens Cargill's and Diamond V's shared vision to be a leader in creating new solutions for evolving consumer preferences for sustainable and wholesome food production," said David MacLennan, Cargill's chairman and chief executive officer. "Our combined businesses will accelerate growth, build industry-leading capabilities and natural solutions for animal health and food safety, and help fulfill Cargill's purpose to nourish the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way."

Cedar Rapids, Iowa-based Diamond V has a 75-year history and global reputation for developing unique, research-proven immune support technologies that work naturally with the biology of the animal to strengthen the immune system and promote a healthy digestive system to enhance animal health, animal performance, and food safety.

The purchase will encompass all of Diamond V's business, including the human health business, Embria Health Sciences, and its branded product EpiCor®.

Diamond V's headquarters will remain in Cedar Rapids and the Diamond V brand will be the platform for future investments in natural solutions for safer animal food production.

Hundreds of college students come together for animal agriculture

College students from across the nation are competing to win more than $16,000 in scholarships as they participate in the Animal Agriculture Alliance’s eighth annual College Aggies Online program. This year’s students represent 89 different universities coming from 43 states. About 300 students are competing in the individual division of the program while more than 30 collegiate clubs compete in the group division.

Each week students are tasked with posting about a facet of agriculture on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. So far, the students have shared about pigs, dairy cows, broiler chickens, laying hens, sheep and goats. This week, the students are posting about hot topics in agriculture, such as genetic engineering, hormones and antibiotics.

“The program not only helps students enhance their communication skills, but provides them with resources to learn more about areas of the industry they may not be familiar with,” said Hannah Thompson-Weeman, Alliance vice president of communications.

A few weeks ago, experts from National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Pork Producers Council and U.S. Poultry and Egg Association hosted a webinar for students covering current issues in the beef, pork and poultry industries. Issues included the recent activist pushes for slower-growing broilers and cage-free eggs, trade and communicating about responsible antibiotic use.

Mentors from across the agriculture industry volunteer their time to help students with weekly assignments and offer advice about engaging online. This not only helps the student improve their advocating sills, but offers a unique opportunity to network with leaders who may become their future employers.

2017 mentors include:
    Casey Whitaker, communications manager, Animal Agriculture Alliance
    Josie Peterson, communications manager, Biotechnology Innovation Organization
    Don Schindler, senior vice president of digital innovations, Dairy Management Inc.
    Chloe Carson, manager of digital communications, National Pork Producers Council
    Kourtney Determan, manager of strategic and digital communications, National Chicken Council
    Allison Devitre, regulatory information management and communications manager, Monsanto
    Eric Mittenthal, vice president of public affairs, North American Meat Institute
    Charmayne Hefley, manager of organizational communications, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
    Tim Hammerich, agribusiness recruiter and founder, Ag Grad, LLC

In addition to weekly social media posts, the students are writing blog posts, designing infographic, creating surveys and learning how to incorporate humor into advocating. “This year’s group is the most engaged yet,” said Casey Whitaker, Alliance communications manager. “Their passion for agriculture definitely shines through in their work.”

Clubs are challenged with hosting events on their campus to start conversations about animal agriculture with their peers. Students must prepare for their event by sending out press releases, posting on social media and inviting a farm to attend. One of the most popular challenges this time of year is Scary Food Myths. For this event, students hand out candy with myths and facts about meat, milk, poultry and eggs to fellow students on their campus.

The students have two weeks left to impress the mentors for their chance to take home a scholarship and be invited to the Alliance’s 2018 Stakeholders Summit, themed “Protect Your Roots”, set for May 3-4 in Arlington, Virginia. The top three individuals and clubs will be announced before Christmas break.

To follow the students’ posts and engage with them about the program, search #CAO17 on social media.

CAO would not be possible without the generous support of our sponsors. 2017 sponsors include: Dairy Management Inc., the National Pork Industry Foundation, CHS Foundation, Pork Checkoff, Monsanto, Domino’s Pizza Inc., Biotechnology Innovation Organization, Kuhn North America and the Ohio Poultry Association.

Organic Certification: A Critical Link in the Supply Chain

As the demand for organic food and products in the United States has grown dramatically over the last 10 years, so has the complexity of organic supply chains. The supply chain, domestically and internationally, now involves a series of complex transactions with businesses that grow, handle, package, manufacture and transport organic goods. USDA accredited certifiers ensure that the integrity of the supply chain is unbroken from farm to table for American families.

Ensuring Public Trust in the Organic Seal

USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service National Organic Program (NOP) provides training and support for more than 2,000 certifier staff worldwide so they have the necessary tools to ensure the integrity of the system through consistent enforcement of the law.

Today, the agency published an interim instruction, NOP 4013: Maintaining the Integrity of Organic Imports, that provides a range of available information in one convenient place. The interim instruction details the requirements for certifiers who oversee organic products imported into the United States. The instruction:
-    Clarifies responsibilities for certifiers in the U.S. and around the world
-    Recommends best practices for reviewing and issuing import related documents
-    Highlights handling instructions needed to maintain the integrity of the organic status for imported organic products
-    Details required documentation and recordkeeping

Public Comments Welcomed

While Interim Instruction NOP 4013 is designed to assist USDA accredited certifiers, public comment is also invited.

The 60-day public comment period runs from October 25, 2017 until December 26, 2017.

Turn the Bag Blue & Gold Program Helps FFA Students

How can a seed bag help FFA students raise funds and learn? Mycogen Seeds is partnering with the National FFA Organization, local chapters and select retailers to promote a 60th anniversary edition, blue-and-gold Mycogen Seeds bag.

Mycogen’s Turn the Bag Blue & Gold program will work with select retailers and local FFA chapters in corn-growing regions to implement a comprehensive learning program that provides foundational agronomic principles and professional selling training. Chapter members will apply the training in the field by selling special blue-and-gold bags of select Mycogen® brand corn hybrids to local farmers as part of a fundraising program.

“We’re excited about this opportunity — not only the fundraising opportunities it offers local chapters but also the career and educational development these young leaders will receive as part of the program,” says Zach Ferguson, Mycogen Seeds corn product manager. “To top things off, farmers will receive seed in an FFA blue-and-gold Mycogen Seeds bag.”

Students will hit the field this fall

Chapter members will begin the curriculum this fall and, throughout the next few months, will work with local Mycogen sales, agronomy and retailer teams to call on local corn farmers to position and sell select Mycogen® brand corn hybrids. For every bag of corn sold, the local chapter will earn funds for their local chapter.

Mycogen is piloting the program with seven retailers and FFA chapters. To learn more, visit or contact your local Mycogen Seeds sales representative or retailer.

Farmers interested in supporting the program and their local FFA chapter can contact one of the following participants or Mycogen retailers.

    Aurora FFA Chapter, Aurora, Nebraska
        Aurora Cooperative, Aurora, Nebraska

    York FFA Chapter, York, Nebraska
        Central Valley Ag Cooperative, York, Nebraska

    North Shelby FFA Chapter, Shelbyville, Missouri
        Vortex Seeds, Leonard, Missouri

    Centralia FFA Chapter, Centralia, Missouri
        MFA Incorporated, Centralia, Missouri

    Bureau Valley FFA Chapter, Manlius, Illinois
        CPS, Sheffield, Illinois

    South Newton FFA Chapter, Kentland, Indiana
        Ceres Solutions, Rensselaer, Indiana

    Eastern Hancock FFA Chapter, Charlottesville, Indiana
        Harvestland, Wilkinson, Indiana

“We look forward to our first year in this program,” Ferguson says. “FFA members are a driven group of young leaders with high aspirations of a future career in agriculture. We’re a proud sponsor of the National FFA Organization and excited to celebrate 60 years of sponsorship with the Turn the Bag Blue & Gold program. We hope it inspires FFA members and showcases the exciting opportunities available in the agricultural industry.”

DuPont Collaborates with WinField United to Offer Best-in-Class Phytophthora Protection

WinField United and DuPont announced today that Winfield is offering DuPont™ Lumisena™ fungicide seed treatment in its United States retail locations, starting immediately.

By using a new class of chemistry, Lumisena™ fungicide seed treatment provides the most advanced seed-applied technology to help control phytophthora, the No. 1 yield-robbing disease in soybeans.

“As a farmer-owned cooperative, we constantly strive to find new ways to bring farmers the latest solutions alongside our unparalleled local expertise,” said Teri Otte, marketing manager, WinField United. “We are pleased to offer soybean growers the latest technology to combat phytophthora, protecting their seed investment in the first vulnerable weeks after planting.”

Lumisena™ fungicide seed treatment, which will be offered with other WinField United seed treatment products, received federal regulatory approval in November 2016 and was introduced into large-scale trials across the United States. According to trials,* Lumisena™ has shown to enhance vigor and emergence, improve yield 1.7 bushels per acre in the presence of phytophthora, provide the best-in-class protection and improve crop stand.

“We are excited to see Lumisena™ fungicide seed treatment reach more operations and help growers maximize their yield potential,” said David Borgmeier, U.S. Seed Applied Technologies Category leader, DuPont, “and we are pleased to be collaborating with WinField United to introduce this highly effective seed treatment to farmers.”

Lumisena™ provides a unique mode of action to control phytophthora during multiple stages of the pathogen life cycle. It is taken up systemically from the moment the seed begins to grow, providing effective protection for root growth, emergence and early stand establishment to help maximize soybean yield potential. Lumisena™ has an excellent environmental profile and is highly effective at low dose rates.

Solid first nine months with strong growth in Q3

Novozymes, the world’s largest industrial biotechnology company, today announced its results for the nine months of 2017. Solid results with 4% organic revenue growth (Q3: +8%): Household Care +2%, Food & Beverages +9%, Bioenergy +10%, Agriculture & Feed -2%, Technical & Pharma -3%. Reported EBIT margin at 27.9%. FCF bef. acq. DKK 2.1 billion.

Peder Holk Nielsen, President & CEO of Novozymes: “We grew revenue by 8% organically in the third quarter and by a satisfying 4% in the first nine months. This was better than expected. The EBIT margin was solid, as was free cash flow. And although there is still some uncertainty regarding the fourth quarter, especially within agriculture-related industries, we are adjusting the full-year outlook. With stronger innovation and a well-diversified business showing good, solid momentum, we are positive looking ahead.”

-    Organic revenue growth in first 9M y/y of 4% (Q3: 8%) and 4% in DKK (Q3: 6%)
-    3 out of 5 areas grew; Food & Beverages and Bioenergy continue to perform well
-    Agriculture & Feed improved as BioAg sales cycle moves from 1H to 2H
-    Emerging markets 4%, developed markets 4% (9M y/y organically)
-    9M EBIT growth of 5% with a reported EBIT margin of 27.9% (9M 2016: 27.7%)
-    Q3 EBIT margin at 29.6% (Q3 2016: 28.7%)
-    Free cash flow bef. acquisitions solid at DKK 2.1 billion; higher investments as expected
-    Named the “World’s 2nd best science employer” in Science Magazine
-    Still some uncertainty regarding agriculture-related markets in Q4
-    Full-year outlook adjusted: organic revenue growth 3-5% (2-5%), DKK revenue growth 2-4% (1-4%), EBIT growth 2-4% (1-4%). EBIT margin maintained at ~28%. FCF bef. acq. at DKK 2.1-2.3 billion (DKK 2.0-2.2 billion). Net profit growth 2-5% (2-5%), incl. a DKK 60 million write-down on net financials (DKK 47 million post-tax) in Q3

Tuesday October 24 Ag News


Today, Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) Director Greg Ibach congratulated a select group of college students for their commitment to serve the ag industry as members of the 2017-2018 Nebraska Agricultural Youth Council (NAYC). The Council is made up of Nebraska students who have a passion for agriculture and who are committed to promoting the ag industry around the state. NDA sponsors NAYC and its activities throughout the year.

“As Council members, these young men and women have the opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of Nebraska youth by telling the story of Nebraska agriculture and the many careers available in the industry.” said NDA Director Greg Ibach. “NAYC members are the future leaders of our agricultural industry. They bring with them outstanding experience, and I know they will work hard to represent Nebraska’s proud agricultural heritage.”

NAYC is entering its 47th year with the installation of this group of Council members. Throughout the year, the Council coordinates several agricultural learning experiences for Nebraska youth including: visiting elementary classrooms to discuss where food comes from; taking urban youth on farm tours to experience what a day in the life of a farmer is like; and visiting with high school students from across the state about career opportunities in the ag industry. The primary focus of NAYC is to coordinate the annual Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute, a five-day summer conference for current high school juniors and seniors.

This year’s Council is comprised of 21 young men and women. The 2017-2018 NAYC leadership includes:
·         Head Counselors: Logan Kalkowski, Omaha, and Amanda Kowalewski, Gothenburg;
·         President: Ryan Schroeder, Wisner;
·         Secretary: Hannah Borg, Wakefield;
·         Vice President of Promotions: Kevin Sousek, Malmo;
·         Vice President of Alumni Relations: Hunter Schroeder, Howells;

·         Vice President of Communications and Social Media: Jacob Schlick, Fairfield;
·         Vice President of Sponsorship: Hannah Settje, Raymond;
·         Vice President of Youth Outreach: Brent Miller, Lyons; and

·         Vice President of NAYI Improvement: Collin Thompson, Eustis.

Additional NAYC members include: Cheyenne Gerlach, De Witt; Collin Swedberg, North Platte; Cooper Grabenstein, Smithfield; Courtney Nelson, Monroe; Emily Frenzen, Fullerton; Eric Leisy, Wisner; Grant Dahlgren, Bertrand; Grant Suddarth, York; Jacce Beck, Ainsworth; Matthew Morton, Nehawka; and Sage Williams, Eddyville.

To learn more, visit NAYI’s website at or search for Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute on Facebook.

Waite to Discuss Drone Age in Nebraska Lecture

The possibilities for drones are almost limitless, from improving crowd security at large events, to tracking impending storms, to delivering precision agriculture.

And, of course, they could deliver Amazon packages to one's front door.

However, disagreement about how to regulate the growing field is limiting the Drone Age's potential in the United States, said University of Nebraska-Lincoln drone journalism expert Matthew Waite. He will present the Nov. 8 Nebraska Lecture, "The Drone Age is Here, and We're Screwing It Up." The public lecture is at 3:30 p.m. in the Nebraska Union auditorium, 1400 R St., with a reception following.

A live webcast is available here. Follow @UNLresearch or #neblecture on Twitter for live updates during the lecture.

"To truly unleash this industry, more federal regulation is needed," said Waite, professor of practice in the College of Journalism and Mass Communications, where he established the country's first drone journalism lab.

Developing a cohesive legal framework for drone operators has been a challenge for lawmakers at all levels. In part, Waite said, this is because the idea of unlimited "flying robots" zooming overhead raises questions about property rights, privacy and free speech. Even more complicated is who gets to decide -- local, state and federal lawmakers are jockeying to set the rules.

Using the birth of the aviation industry as a historical parallel, Waite's lecture will explore why federal regulation is key to the full-fledged launch of commercial drones. Local and state drone parameters often muddy the waters by overlapping with existing laws, Waite said, resulting in legal clashes and a revolving door of legislation that may hamstring progress.

The United States faced similar issues with aircraft. Though the Wright Brothers' first flights at Kitty Hawk were in 1903, Congress waited until 1926 to pass the landmark Air Commerce Act, which established federal regulation of air commerce. It took another three decades to create the Federal Aviation Administration.

The plodding pace reflected anxiety about the new technology, Waite said, and the response to drones has been no different. Federal regulation can help address some of citizens' legitimate concerns.

"We've flipped out about privacy with the Kodak Brownie camera, aircraft, camera phones and Google Street View, and yet civil society keeps humming along," he said. "Drones are inevitable. We can't put the genie back in the bottle, but we can have a serious conversation about how they enter our lives, cities and properties."

Waite joined the university in 2011. Previously, he worked for the St. Petersburg Times as a hybrid programmer-journalist, where he developed the fact-checking website Politifact. In 2009, it became the first website to win the Pulitzer Prize. He also has worked as an investigative reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and co-founded Hot Type Consulting, a company that builds applications for media outlets.

His lecture is part of The Nebraska Lectures: Chancellor's Distinguished Lecture Series, sponsored by the Research Council, Office of the Chancellor, Office of Research and Economic Development and Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.

Showing Consumers How You Are Raising Beef With Care

No one needs to tell you how much care, work and dedication goes into producing the world’s best beef! But you know who does need to hear it – just about everyone else! And when we say everyone, we mean those folks who enjoy beef on the dinner table, at a tailgate party or when they go out for a nice meal to celebrate with family and friends. That’s a lot of people and they are really interested in what you do and how you produce the food they enjoy.

So that’s what your beef checkoff is doing with the #RethinkTheRanch media campaign. Based on consumer research, we know that your consumers want to know more about sustainable farming and ranching, and how you care for your cattle.

Cody Easterday, who operates feedlots in eastern Washington, knows the importance of the beef checkoff when it comes to communicating with his consumers.

“The checkoff is a conduit between us and the consumer,” says Cody. “It provides the education we need to produce the product that the consumer wants.”

Hand-in-hand with #RethinkTheRanch is the redesigned “Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner.” website. There, your checkoff is providing a consumer-friendly, easy-to-understand way to communicate the complexities of raising quality beef today.

We’re telling people all that goes into raising cattle on a farm or ranch. It’s about the hard work and the long hours you and your family invest in your livelihood – the advanced technology you are using to raise the best beef in the world.

According to Elaine Utesch from the Triple U Ranch in Washta, Iowa, this a story worth telling.

“As a producer, it’s my responsibility to let people know that farms like ours is where their food is coming from,” says Elaine. “And the beef checkoff lets consumers know that their food is produced using sustainable, environmental practices.”

In other words, we’re telling them a cattle ranching story they’ve probably never heard – or seen – before and we think that’s good news worth sharing with everyone.

Dairy Industry Applauds Introduction of School Milk Nutrition Act of 2017

The nation’s two leading dairy organizations applauded the introduction today of a bipartisan bill to help reverse the decline of milk consumption in schools.

The School Milk Nutrition Act of 2017, introduced by Representatives G.T. Thompson (R-PA) and Joe Courtney (D-CT), would allow schools to offer low-fat and fat-free milk, including flavored milk with no more than 150 calories per 8-ounce serving, to participants in the federal school lunch and breakfast programs. The bill allows individual schools and school districts to determine which milkfat varieties to offer their students.

The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) strongly support the bill and encourage Congress to pass it. Once enacted, the bill would make permanent the administrative changes in the school lunch program proposed earlier this year by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, in one of his first official actions earlier this year, supported giving school districts the option to offer a variety of milk types as part of the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs.

“Congressmen Thompson and Courtney recognize the nutritional role that milk plays in helping school-aged children to grow and develop to their full potential,” said Michael Dykes, D.V.M., IDFA president and CEO. “We appreciate their steadfast commitment to reverse declining milk consumption by allowing schools to give kids access to a variety of milk options, including the flavored milks they love.”

The legislation includes a pilot program to test strategies that schools can use to increase the consumption of fluid milk.  This could include ways to make milk more attractive and available to students, including improved refrigeration, packaging and merchandising.

“Milk is the number-one source of nine essential vitamins and minerals in children’s diets, and when its consumption drops, the overall nutritional intake of America’s kids is jeopardized,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation.  He pointed out that in just the first two years after low-fat flavored milk was removed from the school lunch program, 1.1 million fewer school students drank milk with their lunch.

The Act also includes a provision to allow participants in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, known as WIC, to have access to reduced-fat milk for themselves and their children.

“Expanding options for WIC participants will encourage mothers to help their young children grow up strong and healthy,” said Dykes.

“When kids don’t drink milk, it’s extremely difficult for them to get sufficient amounts of three of the four major nutrients most lacking in children’s diets:  calcium, potassium, and vitamin D,” said Mulhern. “This legislation addresses that shortcoming both in schools and in the WIC program.”

Farm Bureau Supports Farm Program Fix

The American Farm Bureau Federation and seven other major farm groups today hailed introduction of bipartisan legislation to improve the Agriculture Risk Coverage program, an important component of the federal agricultural safety net for farmers. Senators Heidi Heitkamp and Joni Ernst are sponsors.

Among other things, the bill would prioritize use of data collected from USDA’s Risk Management Agency to calculate crop yields. The measure also would use data from the county in which a farm is located when calculating yields, rather than allowing farmers to use yield data from their “administrative counties” if they farm in more than one county. It also would allow state Farm Service Agency committees to adjust yield estimates when results are inexplicably different compared to neighboring counties within the same state or adjacent counties across state lines.

Text of the letter follows:                                   

Dear Senators Heitkamp and Ernst,

The following farm and commodity groups wish to express our appreciation and support for the legislation you introduced to improve the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) program.

The bill accomplishes this goal by (a) directing USDA to use the more widely-available data from the Risk Management Agency (RMA) as the first choice in yield calculations; (b) calculating safety net payments based on a farm’s physical location, rather than using the antiquated administrative county that may not be representative of a farmer’s land; and (c) providing FSA state committees discretion to adjust yield data estimates to help reduce inexplicable variation between neighboring counties or along boundaries with neighboring states.  Appropriate adjustments would be made prior to yields being finalized or published.

The 2014 Farm Bill allowed the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to determine how county yields would be established for the ARC program. USDA decided to use data sources via a cascade in the following priority order: National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS), Risk Management Agency (RMA) and yields calculated by the state Farm Service Agency (FSA) office. NASS and RMA yield data comprise about 90 percent of the base acres enrolled in ARC-County (ARC-CO). The remaining 10 percent is compiled by the state FSA office.

It is important to note that a study conducted for the National Corn Growers Association on the impacts on payments to corn producers indicates that there is not likely to be a significant difference in the ARC-CO payments on a national basis simply due to changing the order in the cascade. A study by Dr. Keith Coble of Mississippi State University indicated similar results.  There will be county winners and county losers.

What is important, however, is that the program would be based on more defensible data if RMA yields are used. We believe this is true because:

--only about 60 percent of producers return NASS surveys, so it is difficult to assume accuracy of the data;

--the NASS yield estimate comes from producer surveys and the RMA yield data comes from actual production history;

--there is no penalty for failure to fill out a NASS survey or misreport submitted information.  However, farmers may face criminal penalties for filing an inaccurate crop production report for RMA; and

--RMA reports all its county yields as irrigated or non-irrigated yields, whereas NASS does not.

We are also quite supportive of your provision to calculate ARC-CO payments using the ARC-CO payment rate for the county in which the land is physically located rather than the rate for the administrative county used by the farmer.

Farm operators that have land in multiple counties may handle all their FSA work administratively through one county (the administrative county). Farmers had two options for calculation of ARC-CO payments for 2014 and 2015. They could be paid on where the land was located or based on their administrative county. When ARC-CO payments are determined using the administrative county’s payment rate for multi-county farms, ARC-CO payments may be higher or lower than if the payments were calculated using the payment rate for the county in which the land is physically located.

In early 2016, USDA made an administrative decision to allow ARC-CO participants with land physically located in a county with a higher ARC-CO payment than the administrative county to receive ARC-CO payments calculated according to the higher-paying county payment rate. USDA does not require ARC-CO participants with multi-county farms to be paid at the lower ARC-CO payment rate if any of the land in the farm is physically located in a lower-paying county than the administrative county.

Your final provision allows for providing FSA state committees discretion to adjust yield data estimates to help reduce inexplicable variation between neighboring counties or along boundaries with neighboring states. We heard far more about discrepancies between county payments than any other issue in the ARC program and believe this will make the program function even better in the future.

Again, we appreciate your leadership on these important issues and look forward to working with you to ensure they are included in the next farm bill.

American Farm Bureau Federation
American Soybean Association
National Association of Wheat Growers
National Corn Growers Association
National Farmers Union
National Sunflower Association
USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council
US Canola Association

Farmer Co-ops Release Priorities for 2018 Farm Bill

The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) today released the organization’s priorities for farmer co-ops in the next farm bill. The organization’s Executive Council approved the framework at recent fall meeting.

“One thing that we heard from our co-ops and their members—across commodity and across the country—is that farmers, ranchers and growers need the farm bill to get done on time. This is especially true as many producers continue to experience a challenging price environment,” said Chuck Conner, president and CEO of NCFC. “I believe that NCFC’s member-led process of developing this framework positions the organization well to be flexible as the process of writing the farm bill unfolds in the coming months.”

NCFC’s framework outlines eight general principles that will guide the organization as it works with farm and commodity groups and allied interests in support of the farm bill. They are:
-    Promoting the continued viability of the Capper-Volstead Act and other cooperative statutes;
-    Promoting farmer cooperatives and their abilities to enhance competition in the agricultural marketplace by acting as bargaining agents for their members’ products; providing market intelligence and pricing information; providing competitively priced farming supplies; and vertically integrating their members’ production and processing.
-    Supporting the cooperative Farm Credit System;
-    Ensuring farmer cooperatives are eligible to leverage federal programs for the benefit of their farmer members.
-    Expanding all U.S. agriculture exports and global competitiveness, including through substantially improved access to foreign markets.
-    Supporting of a responsive safety net, together with adequate funding, that incorporates improved, comprehensive risk management tools and programs for producers and their cooperatives.
-    Ensuring our farmers and ranchers have access to labor so they can continue to harvest our crops and care for livestock here in the United States.
-    Supporting responsible and cost-effective regulatory policies that provide a safe and productive work environment while promoting our economic competitiveness.

In addition, the framework outlines farmer co-op recommendations for each title of the farm bill. The full framework can be found online at

Cattlemen Release Fifth Video In Tax Reform Campaign

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association today released the fifth video in its media campaign to promote comprehensive tax reform. The first four videos have been viewed a combined 512,000 times and have reached more than 950,000 people on Facebook.

NCBA's latest video spotlights sixth-generation Florida rancher Cary Lightsey, who was forced to sell one of his family's ranches outside Tampa to pay a death-tax bill after his father's unexpected passing.

"We went to our attorney after we got our bill from the federal government, which was probably ten times more than we thought it would be," Lightsey explains in the video. "We showed him the cost of our estate taxes and we explained to him we had no way to pay it. He said y'all are going to have to sell one of your ranches. That land now has 1,500 apartments on it."

NCBA's new video was released as news reports indicate that comprehensive tax reform legislation may be introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives next week, with committee and full House votes possible the first two weeks of November.

NCBA's tax reform campaign is centered around a website, campaign is also connecting grassroots ranchers and producers with their elected officials on Capitol Hill as tax-reform legislation is considered.

Soybean Acreage in 2018

Todd Hubbs, University of Illinois

As harvest continues throughout the Corn Belt, we enter the time of year for speculation about the number of acres to be planted in the U.S. during the next crop year. Planting decisions begin with fall seeded crops, like winter wheat, and continue into the spring months. The market is currently sending a signal of maintaining the record high soybean acreage of 2017, but the necessity for that level of soybean acreage in 2018 could deteriorate quickly under evolving market conditions.

Current projections by industry analysts and academics place 2018 soybean planted acreage in a range from 86 to 90.5 million acres. Anticipating the direction of soybean planted acreage requires an understanding of the pace of consumption during the current marketing year and the level of inventory projected to be available for the next marketing year. In the October 12 WASDE report, the USDA projected soybean stocks at the start of the 2018-19 marketing year at 430 million bushels despite the forecast of a record level of consumption of 4.214 billion bushels. At 49.5 bushels, the October forecast for U.S. average soybean yield came in lower than the September forecast and provided an indication of possibly of lower estimates to come. If the final 2017 soybean production estimate is smaller than the present forecast and consumption is near the current forecast level, year ending stocks for the 2017-18 marketing year may be close to 400 million bushels. The large 2017 soybean production totals and the continued buildup of soybean stocks point toward a 2017-18 marketing year price in the low to mid $9.00 range for soybeans, well below the cost of production for many producers.

Rather than project the planted acreage of soybeans, it could be informative to think about the number of soybean acres necessary in 2018 to produce a 2018-19 marketing year average farm price for soybeans near the cost of production, which is estimated at around $9.50. In 2016-17, the marketing year average farm price was $9.47 with an ending stocks to use ratio currently estimated at 7.1 percent. If we assume a marketing year average price in the mid-$9.00 range requires an ending stocks to use near 7 percent and consumption during the 2018-19 marketing year maintains the pace of consumption currently forecast at 4.256 billion bushels, year ending stocks for 2018-19 would come in at approximately 300 million bushels. A beginning stocks for 2018-19 near 400 million bushels combined with 25 million bushels of imports and 4.256 billion bushels of consumption would require a U.S. soybean crop near 4.131 billion bushels to generate 300 million bushels of ending stocks in 2018-19.

Recent years have seen soybean yields well above the trend yield in the U.S. For this analysis, a linear trend yield of 46.8 bushels in 2018 will be used for soybean national average yield. At this level of yield, 88.4 million harvested acres of soybeans are necessary to produce 4.131 billion bushels. Given this level of harvested acreage, approximately 89.2 million planted acres would be required. This level of planted acreage is one million fewer acres than the current USDA estimate for 2017. As one would expect, a higher trend yield changes the analysis. For example, a trend yield of 48.4 bushels, provided in the USDA's long-term projections, lowers 2018 soybean planted acreage necessary, under the assumed consumption scenario, to 86.2 million acres. A continuation of above-trend soybean yields in 2018 would diminish the need for current acreage projections.

The information used in making the planting decision for soybean acreage in 2018 will likely not reflect market conditions assumed in this analysis and those conditions will fluctuate between now and planting time. Current prices for the 2018 soybean crop suggest that the market is inclined to maintain the soybean acres planted in 2017. Based on this analysis, soybean acreage may need to decline in 2018 to generate a 2018-19 marketing year average farm price in the mid-$9.00 range to cover the projected cost of production. While a decrease may be needed for soybean acreage, current prices and ending stocks projections for corn and wheat do not provide any strong indication for substantial expansion of acreage in those two crops.

At this point, it seems that soybean acreage may not decline sufficiently in 2018 to generate a 2018-19 marketing year average price in the mid-$9.00 range. When considering the planting decision for 2018, careful monitoring of the pace of soybean exports and crush in the 2017-18 marketing year, and the development of the South American crop can provide information on the evolving conditions of the soybean market in 2018. The first indicator of producer acreage decisions arrives with the release of the USDA's Winter Wheat Seedings report in early January 2018.

RaboResearch Food & Agribusiness Adds Pork and Poultry Expert to Animal Protein Team

Rabobank announces the expansion of its RaboResearch Food & Agribusiness team with the addition of Christine McCracken as Executive Director, Animal Protein. McCracken will cover the North American poultry and hog sector. Before joining the RaboResearch team, McCracken spent 18 years as a sell-side Food & Agribusiness analyst.

“Christine’s experience and knowledge will enhance our thought leadership in the protein sector. Through both her extensive knowledge of the swine and poultry sectors, and her equity knowledge, Christine will be a tremendous asset to our clients in both the rural and wholesale spaces,” says Pablo Sherwell, head of RaboResearch.

She was a founding partner at Cleveland Research, a Cleveland-based equity research firm. Earlier in her career, she held similar positions at several institutions including FTN Midwest Research, Vector Securities and BioScience Securities. McCracken had previously been named Best on the Street Food Analyst by the Wall Street Journal and the top Food Analyst by Forbes.

“Rabobank is continuing to grow our business in Animal Protein globally,” notes Bill Cordingley, Global Sector Head for Animal Protein. “We are committed to providing our clients with the capital, knowledge and networks they need to prosper in an increasingly globalized market. Christine will bring valuable experience, skills and knowledge to the bank that will undoubtedly help us serve our clients better, both in North America and globally.

McCracken holds a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Georgia and a master’s degree in Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics from the University of California at Davis.

Monday October 23 Crop Progress Reports + Ag News


For the week ending October 22, 2017, temperatures averaged four to eight degrees above normal across Nebraska, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Only minimal precipitation was recorded in the northwest and a few eastern counties, which allowed farmers to take advantage of the open week to make significant progress on the State’s soybean harvest. There were 6.5 days suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 2 percent very short, 8 short, 84 adequate, and 6 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 3 percent very short, 14 short, 80 adequate, and 3 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn condition rated 3 percent very poor, 8 poor, 23 fair, 46 good, and 20 excellent. Corn mature was 97 percent, near 99 last year, and equal to the five-year average. Harvested was 26 percent, well behind 48 last year and 52 average.

Soybean condition rated 2 percent very poor, 8 poor, 26 fair, 50 good, and 14 excellent. Soybeans harvested was 67 percent, behind 76 last year and 83 average.

Winter wheat condition rated 3 percent very poor, 10 poor, 33 fair, 45 good, and 9 excellent. Winter wheat planted was 94 percent, behind 100 last year, and near 98 average. Emerged was 77 percent, behind 93 last year and 82 average.

Sorghum condition rated 3 percent very poor, 2 poor, 20 fair, 53 good, and 22 excellent. Sorghum mature was 96 percent, near 100 last year and 98 average. Harvested was 34 percent, well behind 65 last year, and behind 51 average.

Alfalfa fourth cutting was 93 percent complete, ahead of 88 last year.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 2 percent very poor, 11 poor, 43 fair, 39 good, and 5 excellent.  Stock water supplies rated 1 percent very short, 3 short, 95 adequate, and 1 surplus.


Iowa farmers had a good week for harvesting with 5.0 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending October 22, 2017, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. However, corn and soybean harvest progress remains behind both the previous year and the five-year average. On the positive side, there were several reports for both corn and soybeans that yields were better than expected. Activities for the week included harvesting corn for grain and soybeans, spreading manure, applying fertilizer, and starting fall tillage.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 3 percent very short, 6 percent short, 79 percent adequate and 12 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 7 percent very short, 15 percent short, 71 percent adequate and 7 percent surplus.

Nearly all of the corn for grain crop had reached maturity or beyond, three days behind average. Twenty-three percent of the corn for grain crop has been harvested, remaining the smallest percentage harvested by this date since 2009 and over two weeks behind average. Moisture content of corn being harvested for grain averaged 20 percent. Corn condition rated 64 percent good to excellent.

Nearly a third of the soybean crop was harvested this past week increasing to 61 percent harvested, but this is also the smallest percentage harvested by this date since 2009. Southwest and south central Iowa remain the only districts to not reach 50 percent harvested. Soybean condition rated 64 percent good to excellent.

Pasture conditions have continued to improve for the fourth week in a row from recent rains to 35 percent good to excellent. Livestock conditions were reported as good, with reports of some cattle being turned out to graze corn stalks. Feedlots remain muddy.

USDA Weekly Crop Progress

The U.S. soybean harvest picked up speed while the corn harvest continued to fall further behind the average pace for the week ended Oct. 22, according to USDA's latest Crop Progress report released on Monday.

USDA estimated that 38% of corn was harvested as of Sunday, 21 percentage points behind 59% last year and also a five-year average of 59% harvested. In last Monday's report, the corn harvest was 19 points behind the average pace.  Sixty-six percent of the corn crop was rated in good-to-excellent condition.

While corn harvest continued to move slowly, the soybean harvest gained momentum last week, jumping 21 percentage points from the previous week and coming to within 3 percentage points of the average pace. That was an improvement from last Monday's report when soybean harvest lagged the average pace by 11 points. USDA estimated that 70% of the soybean crop was harvested as of Sunday, down from 74% a year ago and down from a five-year average of 73% harvested. USDA has stopped reporting national soybean crop conditions for the year.

Meanwhile, USDA said 75% of winter wheat was planted as of Sunday, down from 78% a year ago and below the five-year average of 80% planted. Fifty-two percent of winter wheat was emerged, down from 58% a year ago and down from a five-year average of 57%.

Sorghum was 47% harvested, behind the five-year average of 59%.  Cotton was 87% in the bolls opening stage and the crop was 37% harvested nationwide, slightly ahead of the average pace of 35% harvested.


Keeping Your Equipment and Fields Fire Safe At Harvest 

John Wilson - NE Extension Educator, Burt County

After a wet start in late September and early October, harvest is now progressing across the state. While getting the crop in is your first priority, don't make safety your second.

Besides my job for Nebraska Extension, I have another job... that of a volunteer firefighter and EMT for almost 35 years. Each fall our calls increase, largely due to field fires during harvest. Combines can present problems unique to their use. To stay safe from fires combine operators should check for:
-    The build-up of combustible crop residue around the engine and exhaust system.
-    Concealed drive belts and pulleys which can overheat due to friction when there is an accumulation of crop residue around them.
-    Electrical wiring and connectors that have become worn or frayed, resulting in sparks which can ignite grain dust, crop residues or fuel vapors.

Maintain Equipment

Preventative maintenance is key to preventing many of the fires that occur on farm equipment. Good preventative maintenance not only prolongs equipment life but also reduces fire hazards. If you haven’t done so already, here are a few things you can do to prevent fires:
-    Keep all bearings and gears well lubricated to prevent heat buildup and keep lubricants at proper levels.
-    Repair any leaks in the fuel system and any damaged electrical wiring.
-    Repair or replace damaged or worn out exhaust systems. In addition to a good exhaust system, a spark arrestor can be installed to catch burning particles. The arrestors are easy to install and require little maintenance.

Use Safe Fueling Practices

Too often during harvest season, safe fueling practices are ignored in an effort to save time. The few seconds saved are insignificant when compared to the loss of expensive farm equipment or weeks or even months spent in a hospital burn ward. Follow these safety practices:
-    Never refuel equipment with the engine running. Always shut the engine off.
-    Allow hot engines to cool 15 minutes before refueling.
-    Extinguish all smoking materials before refueling.
-    If fuel spills on an engine, wipe away any excess and allow the fumes to dissipate before starting the engine.

Be Prepared for Fire

In the rush to harvest it's often overlooked, but starting to harvest a field on the downwind side can help keep a fire from spreading. If a fire does occur, the flames will be pushed toward the harvested portion of the field.
-    Always carry two fire extinguishers on the combine, one in the cab and one that you can access from the ground. Also carry a fire extinguisher in your grain hauling equipment.
-    Always carry a cell phone or alternative for communicating with others in case of an emergency.
-    If a field or equipment fire does occur, call 911 before trying to extinguish it yourself.
-    Have a tractor hooked to a disk near the field you are harvesting, but located where it wouldn’t be affected if a field fire should occur.
-    If using a fire extinguisher, stay between the fire and your path to safety.
-    When using a fire extinguisher, remember to PASS. P-A-S-S stands for Pull, Aim, Squeeze and Sweep.
        + Pull the safety pin on the extinguisher.
        + Aim at the base of the fire.
        + Squeeze the handle.
        + Sweep the extinguisher back and forth while releasing the contents.

Following these safety tips can seem like common sense, but with the long hours and the rush to get harvest done, sometimes these are forgotten.

I want to wish everyone a prosperous and safe harvest season.  For more information on harvest safety, contact you equipment dealer, your local fire department, or your local Nebraska Extension office.


The FFA State Land Judging Contest was held Wednesday, October 18 in Scribner.  The team from West Point High School finished first with the top score of 1060 points.  Team members are:  Austin Streeter, Bryce Ulrich, Chase Streeter, and Blake Anderson.

Southern Valley placed second with a score of 985.  Third place went to Johnson County with 971 points.  Fullerton and Aurora came in 4th and 5th.  The top five teams will advance to the National Competition to be held in Oklahoma City in the spring.

The top individual award went to Austin Streeter of West Point with a total score of 365.  Pete Brown of Southern Valley was second, Elsa Rasmussen of North Bend was third, Racole Wetzel of Palmer was fourth, and Chase Streeter of West Point came in fifth.

In the adult division, Craig Teten of Johnson County took first place with 361 points.  Kevin Wetovick of Fullerton was second and Joel Miller of Hampton was third.

The contest was hosted by Duane and Scott Muller of Scribner.  The site provided good diversity in soils and landscape positions for the students.  The contest helps the students make informed decisions regarding soil utilization in the future.  Scoring was completed at the Scribner Public Library.

To qualify for the contest, teams had to be a top finisher at one of seven regional contests in October.  120 students qualified for the event from the following 38 high schools across Nebraska:  Adams Central, Alma, Auburn, Aurora, Banner County, Bayard, Blue Hill, East Butler, Falls City, Fillmore Central, Franklin, Fullerton, Hampton, Holdrege, Howells-Dodge, Johnson-Brock, Johnson County, Lewiston, Leyton, Mead, Milford, Newman Grove, Norfolk, Norris, North Bend, Ord, Palmer, Pawnee City, Pender, Raymond Central, Scottsbluff, Shelby-Rising City, Southern Valley, Tekamah-Herman, Tri County, Twin River, West Point, and Wilber-Clatonia.

The Nebraska Association of Resources Districts, the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Scribner High School, and the Nebraska FFA State Land Judging Committee organized and sponsored the contest.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will survey producers in 42 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 an insufficient 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. NASS will also contact producers by phone or in person, particularly in low-response counties, to ensure producers their opportunity to represent Nebraska agriculture. County-level crop acreage and production data is available at NASS’s Quick Stats Database at


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               Corn harvest is ongoing and cows are starting to graze the stalks.  How should this grazing be managed to get the most out of them?

               Grazing corn stalks during winter has many benefits.  It can save over a dollar a day per cow compared to feeding expensive hay.

               But, the way you manage grazing of stalks by your cattle can have a big effect on its success.  For instance, maybe you want to feed as little protein supplement as possible while winter grazing.  Then you must make sure you have enough acres of corn stalks so your cattle only need to select just the higher quality plant parts to eat.  And whenever the grain and husks are gone, move to a fresh field.

               Or, maybe you use stalks just as a filler to keep cattle from bellowing while you limit feed corn, distiller’s grains, or other more nutrient dense feeds.  Then high stocking levels and unrestricted access might be best.

               Another strategy might be to stretch winter stalks as far as possible.  In that case, restricting animal access to smaller areas at a time by strip grazing until nearly all the grazable stalk parts are gone might be best.  Be careful, though, about forcing cows to eat the lower stalks.  They won’t get much protein or energy from lower stalks but the nitrate levels might be dangerously high.

               Whatever your strategy, consider carefully what kind of nutrition animals are getting from the stalk pasture so you neither underfeed nor overfeed expensive supplements.

               Be sure to provide salt, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin A free choice at all times.  And once all the grain is gone, cows need about half a pound per day of an all natural protein to meet nutrient needs.

               Stalk season is here.  Make wise decisions to use them best.

Effects of Proposed 2017 Tax Reform on Farmers 

Tina Barrett - Executive Director of Nebraska Farm Business Inc.

It looks more likely each day that Congress will pass some sort of tax reform this session. This article looks at how the current tax reform changes proposed by President Trump would impact farmers and ranchers.  Two of the main goals of the proposed changes are to reduce the taxes for families and businesses and to simplify the tax code, both of which would be great for farmers.

Increased Standard Deduction

The first proposed change was to increase the standard deduction to $24,000 and eliminate the personal exemption. The standard deduction has been a set amount ($12,700 for Married Filing Joint Returns in 2017) that reduced total income before tax was calculated. Essentially, this means everyone got this much income at a 0% rate. If you itemized your deductions and they were more than the standard deduction, you could replace the $12,700 with your number. Personal Exemptions offer another means for reducing taxable income. You get one Personal Exemption for each person in the household. For a married couple, you would get two plus one for each dependent child. The personal exemption amount was $4,050 per person in 2017.

Tax time banner

If we look at this to simplify a tax return, it certainly does that. One of the complex issues facing preparers is the definition of a child, especially with split and blended families where the child doesn’t live with both parents all year long. By eliminating the personal exemptions, we eliminate much of this problem. We will still need to work on that definition for purposes of some credits like the Child Tax Credit or the Earned Income Credit, but those affect a smaller number of returns than the personal exemptions that were on almost all returns.

The drawbacks come for larger families. If you are married and have one child, you were getting three personal exemptions or $12,150 in personal exemptions and $12,700 in a standard deduction or $24,850 at “0% tax.” If you have more children, the proposed law will actually reduce the amount of income at the zero rate. There is a proposal to increase the amount of the child tax credit to help offset this difference.

The other drawback and simplification is that with a higher standard deduction, there will be fewer people who can itemize their deductions. This is a big simplification as Schedule A (the form for itemizing deductions) can be very complicated, so that’s good. The drawback is that there may be less incentive to give to charities, own your own home, etc. if you don’t get a tax deduction for those things.

Change to the Individual Tax Rate Structure

Another proposal reduces the number of individual income tax brackets from seven to three. I don’t believe this is a major simplification as the seven brackets were really just a math formula to follow to calculate tax. Whether this change creates a significant difference in the tax you pay depends on where they set the breaks for the brackets. The proposed brackets are 12%, 25% and 35% but the breaks were not part of the proposal.

Enhanced Child Tax Credit

As I mentioned above, the proposal “significantly increases” the amount of the Child Tax Credit and would raise the point where is phased out. The Child Tax Credit is currently set at $1,000 per child under the age of 17 on December 31 each year. The credit phase-out starts at $110,000 of Adjusted Gross Income. This means that if your income is above $110,000, the $1,000 per child is reduced. If this is passed, it will go a long way to replacing personal exemptions as a $1,000 credit is better for most people than a $4,000 deduction, since the credit reduces tax paid and the deduction only reduces income.

Itemized Deductions

I’ve mentioned Itemized Deductions as an alternative to the Standard Deduction, but they are proposing major changes to these as well. There are many itemized deductions, including everything from out of pocket medical expenses, personal Real Estate Taxes, mortgage interest, and charitable donations to lesser ones such as investment expenses, unreimbursed employee expenses, tax preparation fees, etc. The proposal eliminates most of these deductions. The ones expected to remain are home mortgage interest and charitable donations; however, with a higher standard deduction, fewer people will be able to itemize. According to USA today, only 30% of Americans itemized under the current law, and they expect the higher standard deduction to significantly reduce that percentage. Remember, farmers can donate grain to charities, so that may be a great practice to get back into as it will reduce farm income and you won’t need to itemize to get the benefit.

Eliminating the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)

The AMT tax was imposed many years ago with the idea that it kept high-income taxpayers from taking advantage of too many tax benefits; however, the limits were not indexed for inflation, so the levels where the AMT tax would kick in started to affect many taxpayers. The limit has been raised over the past few years, but eliminating this tax would greatly simplify the farm returns we prepare. It would allow for some flexibility in tax strategies, such as doubling up itemized deductions, which we have essentially quit doing due to the impacts of AMT.

Estate and Generation-Skipping Taxes

The proposed reforms would eliminate the “death” tax and the generation-skipping transfer taxes. Any proposal in the past to eliminate this tax also eliminated the step-up in basis. This will affect every farm, instead of just those whose net worth exceeds $11 million (for a married couple). Whether elimination is better than keeping the tax depends on the farm. The heirs of an active farmer who passes away will almost always receive better tax treatment from the step-up in basis than elimination of the estate tax, but a retired landowner with significant assets may be better off forfeiting the step-up.

The other challenge that producers will face is proving basis if the step-up is eliminated. The way it is now, we have a basis “reset” every generation, so the farthest we must look back to determine basis is “when Dad died.” If we don’t get that reset, we will have to find what Grandpa paid for that ground 70 years ago if we need to sell it. That will create a recordkeeping nightmare for accountants and attorneys to try and put that information together when everyone who had firsthand knowledge of the event has passed away.

New Tax Rate for Small Businesses

Sole proprietorship (you file a Schedule F), partnerships, and S corporations will have a maximum tax rate of 25% on their business income. This means that even if you are in the top bracket of 35% for ordinary income, your farm income will only be taxed at 25%. This doesn’t simplify the tax calculation, but it will reduce the taxes paid by farmers. This could be a significant impact for high-income producers. This would also reduce the incentives for creating entities, which would go back to simplifying the process for producers.

New Tax Rate for Corporations

The corporate tax rate (for C-corporations) would be limited to 20%. It doesn’t say in the proposal if the 15% bracket would stay a part of the structure and the max would be 20%, or if all income recognized would be paid at 20%. Depending on how this is set, taxes could increase for those producers using the 15% tax bracket in a C-Corp.

There is also mention of “reducing the double taxation of corporate earnings.” Without more details, it’s hard to know what that means or how it will impact farmers, but reducing that tax would be a huge benefit to those operations with a significant deferred tax liability.

Unlimited Section 179

The proposal would lift the limit on how much you can expense for capital purchases in the year of acquisition for assets purchased after September 27, 2017 and for at least five years. This would apply to all assets except structures. There was no mention if there would still be a purchase limit in place or what would happen after the five years. It could be that there would be no Section 179, or it could go back to the levels we have today. We would be back to the uncertainty of “what are they going to do” that we have been faced with for so many years.

While this sounds like a great deal, remember that if you are front-loading depreciation on assets that you have financed, you could create a cash flow problem since you are not matching your cash outlay with a deduction on your return. It will take some discipline to use this tax benefit appropriately.

Interest Expense

There has been a lot of discussion about eliminating the deduction for interest paid. The proposal only eliminates the deduction for C-corporations, but the committee has been given direction to consider the appropriate deduction for non-corporate taxpayers. The elimination of this deduction could be huge for highly leveraged producers. Our average producers spent $35,000 in interest last year. That, with today’s brackets, would cost the producer almost $16,500 in additional taxes (assuming 15.3% self-employment taxes, 25% federal income taxes, and 7% state taxes). This will be a very interesting proposal to watch.

Domestic Production Activities Deduction

The final major change for producers is a proposed elimination of the Domestic Production Activities Deduction. This deduction has been around since 2004 and now amounts to 9% of income or 50% of wages paid, whichever is less. Elimination of this would very much simplify farm tax returns since there is an impact for the cooperatives that producers work with and the calculation is complicated. The impact of this would depend on the profitability of the operation and how much they are paying in wages. For some operations, this will have no impact and for others, it could increase taxable income by more than $50,000. This deduction has always been one that has been received with no expense so while it could have a big impact, it was a “free” deduction before.


Tax law changes are never all good or all bad. Many aspects of the proposed reforms will benefit farm taxpayers, however, the reality is that a lot of compromises will need to be made before any of these changes become law. This will certainly complicate the tax planning season as we don’t know exactly how to plan what’s best for producers. It will also complicate filing season since these types of sweeping changes will significantly impact the forms, calculations, and other aspects. The longer Congress takes to pass something with retroactive provisions, the more delays you should expect in the filing season.

Wintersteen named Iowa State University president

The Board of Regents, State of Iowa, today named Wendy Wintersteen the 16th president of Iowa State University.

Wintersteen’s appointment concludes a nearly six-month national search. She will take office on Nov. 20, 2017. Wintersteen, endowed dean of Iowa State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and director of the Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station, will succeed Benjamin Allen, who has served as interim president since May 8. Steven Leath, Iowa State’s 15th president, assumed the presidency at Auburn University last spring.

Wintersteen, 61, has led the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences since 2006. During her 11 years as dean, she helped raise more than $247 million in donor support for students, faculty and staff. Undergraduate enrollment in the college has grown by 90 percent, and the college’s placement rate for recent graduates has consistently been 97 percent or higher.

Wintersteen has been with Iowa State since 1979, leaving only briefly (1989 to 1990) to serve as acting National Pesticide Education Program leader for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Extension Service, Washington, D.C.

Prior to becoming dean, Wintersteen served as the college’s senior associate dean and associate director of the Experiment Station. In her career at Iowa State, she also has served as professor of entomology, director of Extension to Agriculture and Natural Resources, and coordinator of pesticide management and pesticide applicator training programs. She serves on the board of trustees of the Farm Foundation and the board of directors of the U.S.-Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund. She is president of the board of directors for the Charles Valentine Riley Memorial Foundation.

Wintersteen received the Carl F. Hertz Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award from the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers in 2016. She was honored as a Kansas State University Alumni Fellow for professional accomplishments and distinguished service in 2007. She also is a member of the Entomological Society of America and the American Association of University Women.

Wintersteen earned a bachelor of science in crop protection (1978) from Kansas State University and her doctorate in entomology (1988) from Iowa State.

Her annual salary at Iowa State has been set at $525,000 in year one, $550,000 in year two, and $590,000 in year three. She also will receive a three-year deferred compensation plan with an annual contribution of $125,000 in year one, $150,000 in year two, and $200,000 in year three. Wintersteen’s contract is for five years.

U.S. Pork Industry Seeks 2018 Pig Farmers of Tomorrow

The National Pork Board is searching for the next Pig Farmers of Tomorrow, with applications now open for the industry award through Nov. 21 at www.pigfarmersoftomorrow. The award, in its second year, is designed to recognize, inspire and connect with the next generation of American pig farmers.

This award recognizes future farm leaders, ages 18 to 29, who intend to make pig farming their life’s work and are committed to the U.S. pork industry and to raising pigs using the We CareSM ethical principles.

“One of the National Pork Board’s primary responsibilities is to train and motivate future pork industry leaders,” said National Pork Board President Terry O’Neel a pig farmer from Friend, Nebraska. “The award is designed to recognize and inspire youth who are investing their time and energy into responsible pig farming.”

Up to three award recipients will be selected. Winners will be invited to speak at National Pork Board events, including the March 2018 National Pork Industry Forum in Kansas City. They also will be responsible for providing content for the pork industry’s social media program, #RealPigFarming. To apply, applicants must be actively involved in raising pigs in the United States on a full- or part-time basis and be between the ages of 18 and 29 as of Jan. 1, 2018. Students currently enrolled in a college program also are encouraged to apply.

Applicants must have a completed Common Swine Industry Audit or be willing to have one conducted and paid for by the National Pork Board. Applicants must submit up to five photos that represent them as a Pig Farmer of Tomorrow. The National Pork Board selection committee will name up to eight semi-finalists who will be interviewed by a panel of judges to select the finalists. Three winners will be chosen based on a combination of all application materials.

“It is important for youth in our industry to make the right connections at the right time as they build a career in agriculture,” O’Neel said. “As the winners share their personal stories, the program will both recognize these future leaders and introduce them to experienced producers and networking opportunities.”

USDA Cold Storage September 2017 Highlights

Total red meat supplies in freezers on September 30, 2017 were up 4 percent from the previous month but down 5 percent from last year. Total pounds of beef in freezers were up 2 percent from the previous month but down 6 percent from last year. Frozen pork supplies were up 7 percent from the previous month but down 4 percent from last year. Stocks of pork bellies were up 9 percent from last month but down 17 percent from last year.

Total frozen poultry supplies on September 30, 2017 were up 1 percent from the previous month and up 8 percent from a year ago. Total stocks of chicken were up 5 percent from the previous month and up 7 percent from last year. Total pounds of turkey in freezers were down 5 percent from last month but up 11 percent from September 30, 2016.

Total natural cheese stocks in refrigerated warehouses on September 30, 2017 were down 2 percent from the previous month but up 6 percent from September 30, 2016.  Butter stocks were down 8 percent from last month and down 5 percent from a year ago.

Total frozen fruit stocks were down 3 percent from last month and down 7 percent from a year ago.  Total frozen vegetable stocks were up 17 percent from last month and up 5 percent from a year ago.

CWT Assists with 1.8 million Pounds of Cheese and Butter Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 14 requests for export assistance from members Dairy Farmers of America, Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold) and United Dairymen of Arizona that have contracts to sell 1.702 million pounds (772 metric tons) of Cheddar, Gouda and Monterey Jack cheese and 144,403 pounds (66 metric tons) of butter to customers in the Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. The product has been contracted for delivery in the period from October 2017 through January 2018.

So far this year, CWT has assisted member cooperatives who have contracts to sell 57.895 million pounds of American-type cheeses, and 4.701 million pounds of butter (82% milkfat) to 21 countries on five continents. The sales are the equivalent of 640.147 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.

Syngenta named top agriculture employer in 2017 Science Careers survey

Syngenta ranked in the top 20 among the world’s leading biotech employers, in an annual survey conducted by Science magazine. The company placed 12 out of 20 employers listed in the survey, which garnered more than 7,000 responses worldwide.

The Science Careers Top Employers Survey polled employees in the biotechnology, biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical and related industries. Respondents to the web-based survey were asked to rate companies based on 23 characteristics. The top three characteristics for Syngenta were treating employees with respect, being socially responsible and having loyal employees.

“This is a tumultuous time for the ag industry, where we as a company rely fully on the continued creativity and dedication of our people to deliver innovation into the hands of farmers around the world,” said Michiel van Lookeren Campagne, head of global seeds research, Syngenta. “We are very happy that despite these challenges, we have been able to maintain our reputation as a great place to work. This is absolutely essential for sustaining our innovation leadership in the industry.”

Syngenta is a leading innovator and collaborator in plant genetics, with biotechnology and seeds research operations based in Research Triangle Park, N.C., and Beijing, China.

A robust R&D investment and pipeline enables Syngenta researchers to develop seed trait technologies that are beneficial to farmers, consumers and the future of agriculture. These efforts also help Syngenta deliver on The Good Growth Plan, the company’s global framework of sustainability commitments that include making crops more efficient.

This year marks the 8th year that Syngenta has ranked as one of the top 20 best biotech companies for which to work worldwide.

The complete rankings of the 2017 Science Careers Top Employers survey can be found online at the Science magazine website.

Friday October 20 Cattle on Feed, Milk Production, + Ag News


Nebraska feedlots, with capacities of 1,000 or more head, contained 2.29 million cattle on feed on October 1, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This inventory was up 6 percent from last year.  Placements during September totaled 570,000 head, up 21 percent from 2016.
Fed cattle marketings for the month of September totaled 420,000 head, up 4 percent from last year.  Other disappearance during September totaled 10,000 head, up 5,000 head from last year.


Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 650,000 head on October 1, 2017, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Cattle on Feed report. This was up 2 percent from September 1, 2017, and up 14 percent from October 1, 2016. Iowa feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head had 435,000 head on feed, down 1 percent from last month and down 9 percent from last year. Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in all Iowa feedlots totaled 1,085,000 head, up less than 1 percent from last month and up 3 percent from last year.

Placements of cattle and calves in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during September totaled 106,000 head, an increase of 15 percent from last month and up 34 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head placed 70,000 head, up 71 percent from last month but down 3 percent from last year.  Placements for all feedlots in Iowa totaled 176,000 head, up 32 percent from last month and up 17 percent fromlast year.

Marketings of fed cattle from Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during September totaled 95,000 head, down 6 percent from last month but up 9 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head marketed 73,000 head, up 22 percent from last month but down 14 percent from last year. Marketings for all feedlots in Iowa were 168,000 head, up 4 percent from last month but down 2 percent from last year. Other disappearance from all feedlots in Iowa totaled 3,000 head.

United States Cattle on Feed Up 5 Percent

Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 10.8 million head on October 1, 2017. The inventory was 5 percent above October 1, 2016. The inventory included 6.93 million steers and steer calves, up 2 percent from the previous year. This group accounted for 64 percent of the total inventory. Heifers and heifer calves accounted for 3.88 million head, up 13 percent from 2016.

Cattle on Feed  (1000 hd - % of Oct 1 '16)

Colorado .......:           940            111            
Iowa .............:            650            114           
Kansas ..........:           2,250          101           
Nebraska ......:           2,290          106            
Texas ............:           2,600          106            

Placements in feedlots during September totaled 2.15 million head, 13 percent above 2016. Net placements were 2.09 million head. During September, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 405,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 340,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 490,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 515,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 285,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 115,000 head.

Placements  (1000 hd - % of Sept '16

Colorado .......:      250           111         
Iowa .............:       106           134         
Kansas ..........:       435           104        
Nebraska ......:       570           121        
Texas ............:       440           114         

Marketings of fed cattle during September totaled 1.78 million head, 3 percent above 2016. Other disappearance totaled 58,000 head during September, 38 percent above 2016.

Marketings  (1000 hd - % of Sept '16)

Colorado .......:      165            97        
Iowa .............:        95           109        
Kansas ..........:      390           108        
Nebraska ......:      420           104        
Texas ............:      415           100        

September Milk Production up 1.2 Percent

Milk production in the 23 major States during September totaled 16.2 billion pounds, up 1.2 percent from September 2016. August revised production at 17.0 billion pounds, was up 2.2 percent from August 2016. The August revision represented an increase of 8 million pounds or less than 0.1 percent from last month's preliminary production estimate.

Production per cow in the 23 major States averaged 1,851 pounds for September, 6 pounds above September 2016. This is the highest production per cow for the month of September since the 23 State series began in 2003.

The number of milk cows on farms in the 23 major States was 8.74 million head, 73,000 head more than September 2016, but 3,000 head less than August 2017.

Milk production in Iowa during September 2017 totaled 420 million pounds, up 4 percent from the previous September according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Milk Production report. The average number of milk cows during September, at 219,000 head, was the same as last month and 5,000 head more than last year. Monthly production per cow averaged 1,920 pounds, up 40 pounds from last September.

July-September Milk Production up 1.7 Percent

Milk production in the United States during the July - September quarter totaled 53.5 billion pounds, up 1.7 percent from the July - September quarter last year.

The average number of milk cows in the United States during the quarter was 9.40 million head, 4,000 head more than the April - June quarter, and 71,000 head more than the same period last year.

Milk production in Nebraska
during the July-September 2017 quarter totaled 360 million pounds, up 4 percent from the July-September 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.

USDA Issues Safety-Net Payments to Nebraska Farmers

USDA Nebraska Farm Service Agency (FSA) Acting State Executive Director (SED) Mike Eller announced that approximately 85,000 Nebraska farms enrolled in safety-net programs established by the 2014 Farm Bill will receive financial assistance for the 2016 crop year. The programs, known as Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC), are designed to protect against unexpected drops in crop prices or revenues due to market downturns.

“These safety-net programs provide help when price and revenue fall below normal,” said Acting SED Eller. “Payments to producers of corn, soybeans, grain sorghum, wheat and other crops are helping provide reassurance to our Nebraska farm families who are standing strong against low commodity prices compounded by unfavorable growing conditions.”

Producers in 93 Nebraska counties have experienced a significant drop in prices or revenues below the benchmark established by the ARC or PLC program and thus, will receive payments totaling $638 million. Payments related to corn, soybeans, grain sorghum and wheat crops made up much of those payments. There also were payments for less-predominant crops such as dry peas and barley. Cash flow from these payments is particularly helpful to farmers and ranchers in counties impacted by natural disasters.

“Payments by county for an eligible commodity can vary because average county yields will differ,” said Acting SED Eller. 

More details on the price and yield information used to calculate the financing assistance from the safety-net programs is available on the FSA website at and

Ricketts Welcomes EPA Administrator Pruitt to Nebraska

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts welcomed United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt to Nebraska.  Administrator Pruitt visited Nebraska to discuss the future of the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule. 

At the Governor’s Residence in Lincoln, Administrator Pruitt briefed the Governor and select cabinet members on the EPA’s work on rolling back the Obama Administration’s WOTUS rule.  The visit concluded with a roundtable discussion with Administrator Pruitt, Governor Ricketts, members of his cabinet, Congressman Bacon, and members of the Common Sense Nebraska Coalition detailing the future of WOTUS.

“Thank you to Administrator Pruitt for all he has done to cut onerous and job-killing federal red tape imposed on the states,” said Governor Ricketts.  “Administrator Pruitt and the Trump Administration have kept their word and repealed the 2015 Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule that would have threatened future growth in Nebraska agriculture and manufacturing.  In his work of rolling back the old rule and writing a new one, Pruitt is returning power to the states and protecting the rights of our farm families and small business owners.”

NeFB Foundation Awards Agricultural Leaders with Scholarships

In keeping with its mission to support the future of Nebraska agriculture, the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation has awarded scholarships to five participants of the Nebraska LEAD program.

“These ag leaders make diverse contributions to the quality of life and economic success in our state,” said Megahn Schafer, executive director of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation. “We’re very proud to be a part of supporting those accelerating their leadership development through the Nebraska LEAD program,” she continued.

The LEAD Scholarship awards agriculture stakeholders that participate in the Nebraska LEAD program. The LEAD program improves leadership skills and abilities of Nebraska’s future agricultural leaders through exposure to diverse topics, issues, concerns, points of view, and innovative ideas. The winners of the LEAD Scholarship are current Farm Bureau members that commit to serving in a leadership role with Farm Bureau upon completion of the program.

The five winners are Alison Warner, Lancaster County Farm Bureau, Waverly; Bree A. DeNaeyer, Cherry County Farm Bureau, Seneca; Chris McQuillan, Phelps County Farm Bureau, Holdrege; MerleAnn Raichart, Dundy County Farm Bureau, Benkelman; Hannah Rupprecht, Buffalo County Farm Bureau, Bladen.

KHS AG student Selected for Trip to Taiwan

Hal Moomey, a senior at Kearney High School, has been selected to represent the Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute (NAYI), as part of an exchange program with Taiwan.

Hal will be traveling to Taiwan from November 19-24, 2017, where he will have the opportunity to stay at the Taichung Senior High School of Agriculture and Technology. During his visit, Hal will take tours of the campus, interact with Taiwanese students and officials, participate in presentations, as well as visits to local farms and several agricultural research institutes, and learn firsthand how Nebraska agriculture impacts foreign markets.

This is the fourteenth year for this program, which is a joint venture between the Nebraska Department of Agriculture and the Taiwanese Economic and Cultural Office in Denver. Hal was chosen to represent NAYI based on his application and performance at this past summer’s NAYI.

Nebraska Soybean Board names Smith as Communications Coordinator

The Nebraska Soybean Board (NSB) is pleased to announce the hiring of Aryel Smith as the Communications Coordinator.

In her position, Smith will handle various roles for the NSB such as public relations, web hosting, multichannel advertising, and promotional campaigns. She will also manage the NSB quarterly magazine, SoybeaNebraska, as well as other ag-related communications and marketing projects to promote the Nebraska soybean industry.

Smith grew up on a hobby farm outside of Buffalo Lake, MN and graduated from North Dakota State University in May of 2016 with a B.S. in Agriculture Communications. She comes from the North Dakota Farm Bureau (NDFB) where she served as the Southwest Field Representative. Her main responsibilities at NDFB included support and leadership development opportunities to 12 counties as well as advising the Dickinson State Collegiate Farm Bureau.

“Communicating with those inside and out of agriculture has been a passion of mine as long as I can remember,” said Smith. “I am eager to start with the checkoff and look forward to making Nebraska my home.”

With the hiring of Smith, the NSB also moves previous Communications Coordinator, Cale Buhr, to the Market Development Coordinator position.


From growing chickpeas in western Nebraska to reducing pesticide use in apple orchards in Nebraska City, 12 specialty crop projects across the state will receive nearly $600,000 in funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP). Administered by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) using funding from the grant, the program supports research, development and marketing of specialty crops.

“Nebraska’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program offers resources to those interested in enhancing and diversifying the state’s agricultural industry through specialty crops,” said NDA Director Greg Ibach. “This year’s projects contribute to Nebraska’s overall agricultural economy by maximizing the value of specialty crops and by keeping production and research in the state.”

Specialty crops are generally defined as fruits, vegetables, nuts, honey and some turf and ornamental crops. A full list of specialty crops is also available on the USDA’s website at

A brief description of the specialty crop projects being funded in Nebraska and the grant recipients follows:

·         Develop biodegradable mulch film and evaluate its effectiveness on specialty crops such as tomatoes and peppers—University of Nebraska, Lincoln

·         Incorporate more locally-grown specialty crops into the School Meals Program by developing a user-friendly toolkit for food service staff—Nebraska Department of Education

·         Conduct a needs assessment and strategic plan with grape growers, winemakers and winery owners across Nebraska to improve the economic vitality of vineyards and wineries in order to continue producing high quality grapes and wines while promoting stewardship—Nebraska Winery and Grape Growers Association

·         Improve the quality, safety and nutritional value of Nebraska-grown aronia berry products by using high pressure processing technology—University of Nebraska, Lincoln

·         Manufacture high-quality protein isolates from three types of dry edible beans and identify potential uses for those protein isolates in additional foods—University of Nebraska, Lincoln

·         Investigate the feasibility of using ozone technology to eliminate or reduce pesticide use for disease control in apple orchards which in turn improves food safety—Arbor Day Foundation (dba Arbor Day Farm)

·         Expand the use of drones to the specialty crop industry of viticulture to monitor possible herbicide drift and provide valuable information to grape growers and the wine industry—Nebraska Winery and Grape Growers Association

·         Evaluate whether or not chickpeas can be grown successfully in the drylands of western Nebraska—University of Nebraska, Lincoln

·         Compare the ability of dry beans and field peas to suppress herbicide‐resistant pigweed—University of Nebraska, Lincoln

·         Reduce inputs and increase yields of broccoli and peppers by determining optimum application rates of seed meals for integrated management of weeds and nitrogen fertility across four locations in eastern Nebraska.—University of Nebraska, Lincoln

·         Increase tomato yield and quality while reducing irrigation and synthetic nitrogen fertilizer use through the adoption of water and nutrient use, efficient hybrid tomato rootstocks and carbon-based fertilizer amendments—University of Nebraska, Lincoln

·         NDA will receive SCBG funding to host additional cooking demonstrations at the Nebraska State Fair to show consumers how easy it is to cook with and eat more locally-grown produce.

NDA administered a two-phase competitive grant application process for SCBGP funds. Phase I involved the submission of concept proposals, which allowed applicants to explain the main points of their project. The concept proposals were independently and competitively scored by a field review panel. Projects with the highest combined scores were asked to complete Phase II of the application process.

Projects funded by the SCBGP must be completed by Sept. 29, 2020. For more information about this year’s grants, go to USDA’s website at and click on “FY2017 pdf.”

2017 ICM Conference Features Eight Guest Speakers, Covers 41 Crop Management Topics

The 2017 Integrated Crop Management Conference will be held Nov. 29-30 at the Scheman Building in Ames, Iowa. The conference will consist of 41 workshop topics and eight invited guest speakers from industry and five state universities — Colorado State University, Purdue University, University of Minnesota, University of Missouri and University of Illinois. Iowa State University faculty and extension specialists along with invited guests will provide research results, updated management recommendations, and information on current and future crop production issues.

Highlights of the ICM Conference are invited guest speakers, multiple sessions to choose from each hour and the opportunity to network with others in the agriculture industry.

“With nearly 1,000 attendees each year, the ICM Conference is a great opportunity for farmers, industry, ag retailers, agronomists and educators to network with each other and interact with specialists,” said Alison Robertson, conference chair and professor in plant pathology and microbiology. “We receive positive feedback each year for the guest speakers we’ve invited to participate. It’s something we continue to focus on each year while building the conference program.”

ISU Extension and Outreach weed specialists Bob Hartzler and Mike Owen will discuss weed management issues, including off-target movement and dicamba use. Ray Massey, University of Missouri, will look at the crop and liability insurance perspective of herbicide drift and injury. Peter Goldsbrough, Purdue University, returns to the conference this year presenting, “Genetically modified crops: Marvel or malady?” Emerson Nafziger, University of Illinois, will be focusing on nitrogen management for corn.  

Other presentation topics at the 2017 ICM Conference include: the crop market outlook, pest resistance issues, emerging crop diseases, drones and data, and corn planting decisions.

The conference is approved for continuing education credits for Certified Crop Advisors, with a total of 14 CCA credits available; categories dependent on workshops selected. Iowa commercial pesticide applicator recertification for 2017 is also available in categories 1A, 1B, 1C, 4 and 10.

“This year, attendees will have six concurrent sessions to choose from each hour,” said Brent Pringnitz, coordinator for ANR Program Services. “This format allows participants to customize their conference experience and fulfill necessary CCA credit needs.”

Online registration can be made from the ICM Conference website Space is limited for the event and requires pre-registration. Early registration for the event is $225 and ends midnight, Nov. 17. After Nov. 17, the fee increases to $275, and registrations will be accepted, as space allows, until noon, Nov. 27. No registrations will be accepted at the door. Registration questions should be directed to ANR Program Services at or 515-294-6429.

The Integrated Crop Management Conference is hosted by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Iowa Corn Farmers Host Japanese Technical Grain Trade Team

As harvest moves into full swing, international trade teams continue making stops in Iowa to see U.S. corn production and the quality of this year’s crop first-hand. Just this week, a U.S. Grains Council (USGC) trade team representing the Japanese feed industry traveled to Iowa to see U.S. corn and distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) production and supply. The team visited corn farms, river terminals, elevators, and major ethanol and DDGs plants.

“Harvest time is when our corn comes off the assembly line so to speak,” explained Bruce Rohwer, a corn and livestock farmer from Paullina who hosted the team. “Just like farmers enjoy visiting the manufacturing plant to see their new machinery rolling off the assembly floor, international buyers want to visit Iowa and see their corn coming directly from the field.”

The delegation happened to visit Bruce on a day it was too wet to harvest. During the visit, they climbed up and sat in the combine and saw the rest of his equipment. He also showed them a test sample of corn he had harvested and ran through an antique sheller. “They were amazed by the color of the shelled corn,” said Rohwer. “They wanted to know if the corn was always the same color or if it changed color during the drying process. They had never seen shelled corn like that before. I told them it’s usually the same shade of golden-yellow.”

The group included nine representatives with positions designing feed rations for major Japanese hog operations, therefore, their trip included visits to Rohwer’s farm as well as Doug Carter’s hog and row crop farm in Audubon and Denny Friest’s row crop and hog farm in Radcliffe to obtain information on the nutritional advantages of DDGs and feeding practices in the United States. Other stops composed of a tour of the Green Plains Shenandoah facility, a presentation about the basics of Iowa corn and ethanol industries and a forecast report on Iowa’s corn harvest, a stop at Innovative Ag in Garden City, and presentation on the latest DDGs research at Iowa State University.

“They were primarily interested in seeing how I use DDGs in my hog operation,” said Rohwer. “They were friendly and inquisitive about Iowa agriculture. Whenever you can put a human face to the product you are selling, it makes a difference. You want to buy from someone you can look in the eyes. With all the negative rhetoric happening on trade these days, we must cultivate personal relationships with our international customers. We need to let them know trade and their business matters to U.S. farmers.”

Japan is the top customer for U.S. corn this marketing year, purchasing 12.7 million metric tons (almost 500 million bushels) thus far (Sept. 2016-July 2017), an increase of 38 percent year-over-year and the most imports since 2010/2011. Overall, Japan’s imports of corn in all forms, including value added products made with corn, increased 32 percent compared to the same period this year prior with a value of $5.48 billion.

In Letter to Fischer & Colleagues, EPA Administrator Outlines RFS Commitments to NE Biofuel Producers

In a letter to U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and several of her colleagues, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt made important commitments to follow the law and stand up for rural America as he implements the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).  The letter comes in response to concerns Fischer and her colleagues shared with the Administrator over the past several months and in a meeting earlier this week.

“Administrator Pruitt’s letter is a step in the right direction with a stated commitment to stand up for rural America as he works to implement the Renewable Fuel Standard. Throughout my many discussions with the administration, I’ve advocated for the hardworking Nebraskans who have invested in biofuels to strengthen our country’s energy diversity and expand fuel choices at the pump. I’m pleased the Administrator responded to our concerns, and I look forward to working with him on these issues, particularly to provide a waiver so that E15 can be sold year round.”

The EPA Administrator makes key commitments in his letter, including:
·       Stating that granting the petition to move the point of obligation from refiners to downstream retailers “would not be appropriate.”
·       Setting the Final Renewable Volume Obligation for Biodiesel at 2.1 billion gallons or more.
·       Welcoming the opportunity to work with Congress to provide a nationwide RVP waiver for E15. Senator Fischer is the lead sponsor of a renewable energy bill  that would extend the Reid vapor pressure waiver, more commonly referred to as the RVP waiver, to E15, allowing the fuel to be sold throughout the year. Click here to read more about her bill. The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works held a hearing on the legislation in June of 2017.
·       Rejecting applying a compliance credit – more commonly referred to as a RIN – to exported gallons of biofuel.

NBB Holds Firm In Its Request for 2.5 Billion Gallons of Biomass-Based Diesel, 4.75 Billion Gallons of Advanced Biofuels

Yesterday the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) responded to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Notice of Data Availability (NODA), focusing on the advanced biofuel standard for 2018 and the 2019 volume for biomass-based diesel under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Late yesterday, EPA also released a letter providing assurances to a group of U.S. senators on different aspects of the RFS program. The letter did not commit to raising the 2019 biomass-based diesel volume higher than 2.1 billion gallons, as proposed.

“Flat volumes of biodiesel show that the Trump administration is considering implementing policies that will harm the American biodiesel industry. We are going to continue to work closely with the EPA and the White House to help them understand that a robust biodiesel industry is what the law requires. We cannot settle for the biomass-based diesel volume remaining flat at 2.1 billion gallons,” said Doug Whitehead, chief operating officer at the National Biodiesel Board.

Although NBB appreciates that further cuts won’t be pursued, volumes higher than 2.1 billion gallons of biomass-based diesel are warranted and must be granted for the industry to continue to grow.

EPA states in the letter that “preliminary analysis suggests that all of the final RVOs should be set at amounts that are equal to or greater than the proposed amounts, including at least 2.1 billion gallons for biomass-based diesel in 2018 and 2019.”

NBB submitted comments on the NODA, tackling head-on the myths being perpetrated about the biodiesel industry’s ability to produce. The U.S. biomass-based diesel industry can generate 2.6 billion gallons right now and has the additional registered capacity to ramp up production even higher with sufficient continuing support from the RFS volumes. In other words, it is clear that domestic production alone could generate substantially more than the 2.1 billion-gallon volume in EPA’s proposed rule.

Specifically, NBB noted that neither (1) the expiration of the biodiesel tax credit nor (2) the Department of Commerce’s preliminary determination to impose countervailing duties on unfairly traded, imported Argentinian and Indonesian biodiesel warrant reduced or flattened volumes of biomass-based diesel:
-    “The expiration of the tax credit does not affect existing production capacity, which is more than sufficient to meet much higher volumes. Indeed, the advanced biofuel volumes have been met in past years even when the biodiesel tax credit has not been in place before the compliance year began. … Whether or not the biodiesel tax credit is extended, the RFS itself will provide sufficient and strong incentives for the advanced biofuel and biomass-based diesel volumes to be met, just as in past years when the biodiesel tax credit was not in place.”
-    “Likewise, the Department of Commerce’s preliminary determination will not reduce biodiesel production or affect the availability of biodiesel for obligated parties. Any reductions in Argentinian or Indonesian imports will be replaced by domestic production or imports from other countries. At most, if the determination is finalized, it will level the playing field by ensuring that imports come in at a fair price.”

EPA also in its letter stated that they have “not taken any formal action to propose this idea, nor will EPA pursue regulations” regarding allowing RINs for ethanol exports. The issue was still alive when NBB submitted its comments: “The biomass-based diesel industry and other renewable fuel producers have relied on EPA’s regulations for a decade to plan and invest in production capacity, distribution networks and technological innovations. EPA has not presented any justification sufficient to meet its heightened burden for overturning its prior regulation given renewable fuels producers’ significant reliance interests.” This concept of allowing RINs from exported fuels would have dramatically reduced the energy security benefits of the RFS because the volumes exported would come at the expense of fuel available for domestic consumption.

NBB was pleased to see EPA back off earlier attempts to misuse the waiver authorities. In the comments, NBB argued:
-    First, EPA may not use its general waiver authority because there is neither an “inadequate domestic supply” of advanced biofuels nor a “severe[] harm [to] the economy or environment of a State, a region, or the United States.” EPA cannot redefine “domestic supply” as “domestic production” and thus exclude imports. Such a redefinition is foreclosed by the statute, decisions of the D.C. Circuit and EPA’s own regulations. And the ordinary compliance costs of obligated parties do not constitute “severe economic harm” to a “state, a region or the United States.”
-    Second, EPA may not use its biomass-based diesel waiver authority because there are no emergency circumstances constituting a “severe feedstock shortage or other market disruption” that would warrant a 60-day waiver in the biomass-based diesel volume. The concerns described in the NODA are not the type of major shocks to the biomass-based diesel supply for which the biomass-based diesel waiver provision was designed.  
-    Third, EPA may not further reduce the 2019 biomass-based diesel volume under the statutory factors in the RFS. Those statutory factors, which EPA fails to consider properly in either the proposed rule or the NODA, instead demonstrate that an increase in the biomass-based diesel volumes are warranted.    

"We are thankful for our champions’ relentless efforts to present the facts and legal arguments to the EPA. Their dedication to the jobs we represent are why we have begun to make progress with the agency. But we can’t stop now, because flatlined biomass-based diesel volumes spell trouble for many of our smaller producers and the larger agricultural economy. Such action is also not in line with the intent of the law to grow the biofuels market in the United States,” said Doug Whitehead.

The industry has routinely surpassed the annual biomass-based diesel volumes and currently comprises the vast majority of advanced biofuel production (roughly 93 percent). Unfortunately, EPA’s proposal would halt the progress of the biomass-based diesel industry and thwart Congress’s intent to increase advanced biofuel production. For the first time, the proposed rule lowers the advanced biofuel volume from the previous year and does not increase the biomass-based diesel volume.

Biomass-based diesel has been a great success story of the RFS. The biomass-based diesel industry has grown to support more than 64,000 jobs throughout its supply chain. The industry also provides benefits to American farmers and livestock producers by creating demand for the surplus oils from commodity crops and reducing the price of soybean meal. Lastly, biodiesel keeps wastes out of landfills, as well as the nation’s waterways. Stagnant volumes will cost thousands of jobs in rural areas and severely harm America’s farmers.

Representing roughly 150 members, NBB will continue to work with EPA to address these concerns and to raise the volumes in the final rule expected next month.

Growth Energy Statement on Pruitt Letter Committing to RFS

Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor today released the following statement in response to a Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) letter sent by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt to several Senate biofuels champions. The EPA commits to leaving biodiesel levels untouched, eliminating the prospect of a foreign market-killing export scheme, leaving the RFS point of obligation unchanged, and expanding markets for E15 by fixing the Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) issue. These are positive steps for America’s biofuels industry and American farmers.

“Growth Energy applauds EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s pledge to Senate biofuels champions to uphold the president’s continuous support of the RFS and faithfully administer the law passed by Congress. The commitments outlined in his letter – when finalized – will ensure American biofuels continue to deliver value to consumers nationwide. We thank our senate champions and governors, whose unyielding support helped secure this landmark commitment from the EPA.

“We will continue to work with EPA on all matters regarding biofuel regulations and look forward to the final Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO) with levels equal to or greater than the total levels in the proposed rule, including an increase for cellulosic biofuels.”

ASA Applauds Congressional Letters on RFS, Submits Comments to EPA

The American Soybean Association today applauded the many Senators and House members who signed letters to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt urging more robust volume requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and expressing concern with the EPA Notice of Data Availability (NODA) that contemplates reductions in biodiesel and advanced biofuels.

“The RFS has boosted the agriculture economy, increased commodity values, personal earnings, local and state tax revenues, and economic activities in rural communities across the country,” said American Soybean Association President Ron Moore, who farms in Roseville, Ill. “The RFS is a vital and successful program, and we’re encouraged by this show of bipartisan support for the RFS and the  American workers who rely on biodiesel and the rural communities where soybeans and biodiesel are produced.”

A special thanks goes to Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Joni Ernst (R-IA) for all of their efforts and Sens. Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) for leading the Senate letter. In the House, we appreciate the letter of support initiated by the Congressional Biofuels Caucus led by Reps. Collin Peterson (D-MN) and Rodney Davis (R-IL) and supported by many of our champions.

ASA also submitted comments in response to the EPA’s notice on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Program: Standards for 2018 and Biomass Based Diesel Volume for 2019; Availability of Supplemental Information and Request for Further Comment, or Notice of Data Availability.

“ASA urges EPA to withdraw this ill-conceived notice and more appropriately increase biomass-based diesel and advanced biofuels volumes in 2018-19 to reflect the real and proven potential of our farmers, biodiesel plants, and their rural communities,” the comments state.

NCGA Statement on EPA Letter to Senators

In a letter to seven senators sent late Thursday, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt took significant strides toward strengthening the foundation for ethanol and renewable fuels.  The Administrator emphasized his commitment to implementing renewable fuel volumes at or above levels proposed, as well as to examining the Agency’s authority to fix regulations that currently limit the year-round sale of E15 and higher ethanol blends.  Administrator Pruitt also said the Agency would not pursue regulations to change the treatment of RINs relative to ethanol exports, a proposal that would have undermined the integrity of the RFS and our exports.

“NCGA greatly appreciates the leadership of these seven senators to make renewable fuels a priority,” said Kevin Skunes, NCGA president. “Their advocacy for farmers, rural communities and renewable fuels, as well as the advocacy of other Members of Congress who joined recent Senate and House letters to EPA, helped ensure EPA understood our concerns and agreed to pull back on proposals under consideration in recent weeks.”

“NCGA is grateful to Administrator Pruitt for taking the senators’ concerns seriously, listening to their views and the views of those they represent, and spelling out specific actions to uphold the RFS,” said Skunes. “We appreciate Administrator Pruitt’s assurance that EPA will act in a manner consistent with the RFS and welcome the opportunity to continue working with him to protect our environment, improve regulatory implementation, and strengthen markets for renewable fuels that benefit consumers, farmers and our environment.”

ASA Supports Congressional Letter’s Charge to Foster Ag Innovation

On Tuesday, October 17th, a bipartisan group of 79 Members of Congress sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, urging agencies responsible for regulating biotechnology to coordinate and advance policies and strategies that promote innovation in agriculture, domestically and internationally, through the President’s Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity.

“We urge you to coordinate with each other and stakeholders to improve these regulatory proposals in ways that are consistent and foster innovations,” the letter reads.

USDA, FDA, and EPA are in the process of reviewing the regulatory system for/how their agencies regulate biotechnology.

ASA President and Roseville, Illinois farmer Ron Moore applauded the letter saying, “Soybean producers rely on agriculture innovations like biotechnology to help grow a safe, affordable, and abundant food supply. We need consistent regulatory policies based on sound-science that promote new technologies in agriculture that also help put less strain on our natural resources.”

The letter, led by Congressmen Neal Dunn, M.D. (FL-02) and Jimmy Panetta (CA-20) urges a “consistent, science-based, risk-proportionate regulatory system” for agricultural biotechnology.

Farm Bill and Trade Hot Topics at 2017 Fall Wheat Industry Conference

The National Association of Wheat Growers and U.S. Wheat Associates held its annual fall conference this week in Charleston, SC. NAWG’s Committees covered a range of topics including the 2018 Farm Bill, NAFTA renegotiation, wheat research funding, trade, and conservation. 

“With more than one hundred growers from across the country huddled together to discuss key policy issues affecting wheat farmers, this year’s Fall Conference was a success,” stated NAWG CEO Chandler Goule. “The Senate and House Agriculture Committees are deep into discussions around the 2018 Farm Bill reauthorization, and so it was critical to have this conference to ensure growers are aligned on messaging around NAWG’s top priorities and to maintain momentum to improve Farm Bill programs.”

With trade being a foremost priority for the Administration, NAWG and USW’s Joint International Trade Policy Committee had a packed agenda which tackled NAFTA, KORUS, and Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) program. The NAWG board adopted a resolution that came out of the Committee “to encourage the current administration to expedite the creation of bilateral trade agreements as stated or promised to increase agricultural trade.”    

“Having a strong trade agenda in place, means strengthening relationships with our current customers and opening up new markets,” stated Goule. “The Administration promised us a series of bilateral deals in lieu of TPP and the creation of new markets for wheat, but so far we haven’t seen that. Instead, it’s actions are potentially harming relationships with our current partners and preventing new agreements from forming.”

“We are working very closely with NAWG to make sure all the people that have influence over trade policy and export market development programs understand how important these issues are to wheat farmers,” said USW President Vince Peterson. “This joint meeting helps move us forward more effectively.”

The next NAWG/USW Conference is scheduled for February 6-11, 2018 in Washington, D.C., when we’ll have growers from across the country hit the Hill. For more information visit NAWG’s site: