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Chad Moyer | KTIC Radio

Chad Moyer

Welcome to the KTIC Agriculture Information blog!!! Check back here for the latest in ag news and information, from local events to international happenings and government reports that affect your operation. Please email with suggestions! -Chad Moyer, Farm Director, KTIC Radio
June 17 Crop Progress & Condition Report - NE - IA - US


For the week ending June 16, 2019, there were 5.4 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 1 percent very short, 2 short, 83 adequate, and 14 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 0 percent very short, 2 short, 83 adequate, and 15 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn condition rated 1 percent very poor, 3 poor, 19 fair, 68 good, and 9 excellent. Corn planted was 98 percent, near 100 both last year and for the five-year average. Emerged was 90 percent, behind 100 last year and 99 average.

Soybean condition rated 1 percent very poor, 3 poor, 21 fair, 68 good, and 7 excellent. Soybeans planted was 91 percent, behind 100 last year and 98 average. Emerged was 73 percent, well behind 96 last year, and behind 92 average.

Winter wheat condition rated 1 percent very poor, 5 poor, 23 fair, 45 good, and 26 excellent. Winter wheat headed was 83 percent, behind 97 last year and 96 average.

Sorghum planted was 80 percent, behind 95 last year and 94 average.

Oats condition rated 1 percent very poor, 5 poor, 20 fair, 65 good, and 9 excellent. Oats emerged was 94 percent, behind 100 both last year and average. Headed was 43 percent, well behind 73 last year and 70 average.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 0 percent very poor, 2 poor, 11 fair, 72 good, and 15 excellent.


For the second week in a row, mostly dry weather conditions allowed Iowa farmers to get work done in their fields. Statewide there were 5.3 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending June 16, 2019, according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Fieldwork activities included planting and re-planting of crops, harvesting hay, spraying and applying nitrogen.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 0 percent very short, 4 percent short, 77 percent adequate and 19 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 0 percent very short, 1 percent short, 70 percent adequate and 29 percent surplus.

Corn planting has nearly finished with 98 percent of the expected corn crop planted. Eighty-eight percent of the crop has emerged, over two weeks behind last year and the 5-year average. Corn condition improved slightly to 59 percent good to excellent.

Eighty-nine percent of the expected soybean crop has been planted, 16 days behind last year and 2 weeks behind average. Sixty-three percent of the crop has emerged, two weeks behind average. The first soybean condition rating of the season came in at 2 percent very poor, 4 percent poor, 33 percent fair, 53 percent good and 8 percent excellent.

Oats headed reached 41 percent, 6 days behind last year and average. Oat condition rated 62 percent good to excellent.

Dry weather allowed over one-quarter of the first cutting of alfalfa hay to be harvested last week, reaching 61 percent complete. Hay condition improved to 65 percent good to excellent.

Pasture and range condition rated 66 percent good to excellent. There were no livestock issues reported and feedlot conditions improved with the drier weather.

Corn Planting 92% Complete; Condition Unchanged at 59% Good to Excellent

Eight percent of the U.S. corn crop still wasn't planted as of Sunday, June 16, according to the latest USDA NASS Crop Progress report released on Monday. That means a substantial number of corn acres likely won't be planted this year, as the window for optimum yield potential has passed and the late-planting periods for crop insurance coverage in individual states are nearing an end.

NASS estimated that corn planting was 92% complete as of Sunday, up 9 percentage points from 83% the previous week. That put planting progress 8 percentage points behind both last year and the five-year average of 100%.

An estimated 79% of corn was emerged as of Sunday, 18 percentage points behind the five-year average of 97%. That was an improvement from last Monday's report when emergence was 31 percentage points behind average.

NASS estimated that 59% of corn that was emerged was in good-to-excellent condition, unchanged from the previous week.

While corn planting progress has slowed, soybean planting progress continued at a steady pace last week. As of Sunday, an estimated 77% of the crop was planted, up 17 percentage points from 60% the previous week. Progress was 16 percentage points behind the five-year average of 93%, an improvement from last week's report when soybean planting was 32 percentage points behind average.  Nationwide, 55% of soybeans were emerged, 29 percentage points behind the average of 84%.

Spring wheat emerged, at 95%, was just 2 percentage points behind the five-year average of 97%. Two percent of the spring wheat crop was headed, behind last year's 8% and the five-year average of 12%.  Spring wheat condition for the portion of the crop that was emerged was rated 77% good to excellent, down 4 percentage points from 81% the previous week.

Winter wheat was 89% headed as of Sunday, behind last year's 94% and 6 percentage points behind the five-year average of 95%. Winter wheat harvest reached 8% complete as of Sunday, behind 25% last year and also behind the average of 20%.  USDA estimated that 64% of winter wheat was in good-to-excellent condition as of Sunday, unchanged from 64% the previous week.

Sorghum was 69% planted, compared to 88% last year and a five-year average of 81%. Fifteen percent of sorghum was headed, near the five-year average of 16%.

Oats emerged were at 94%, compared to 98% last year and an average of 99%. Thirty-three percent of oats were headed, behind the average of 54%.

Cotton planting was 89% complete, compared to 95% last year and the average of 94%. Cotton squaring, at 19%, was slightly ahead of the average pace of 18%. Rice was 94% emerged, compared to 100% last year and an average of 99%.

Monday June 17 Ag News

Considerations after Crusted Soybean
Nathan Mueller - NE Extension Educator

Key Points
-    Management options to help alleviate crusting are irrigation, if possible, rotary hoeing, or even running the planter shallow back across field.
-    A general guideline is to leave a field alone if plant populations are greater than 50,000 plants per acre, the stand is uniform, and the field can be kept weed free.
-    If you consider replanting, consider leaving some check strips and/or consider an on-farm research study.
-    Flag a few plants where cotyledons have been stripped from the main stem to observe any regrowth.

Options to Alleviate Crusting

When faced with crusted soils, there are some management options to help plants that are struggling to emerge. For those with center pivot irrigation, running the irrigation system is the easiest option. The amount of water applied will need to be monitored to ensure that wetting is sufficient to reduce soil hardness.

For non-irrigated fields, options are limited to shallow tillage to attempt to physically break up the crusted top layer. Timing is an issue as one really needs to start running before any beans start emerging or shortly after to get the best benefit. If available, using a rotary hoe is an option. Some stand loss to already emerged plants is possible. Make sure to adjust the machine to only breakup enough soil to allow the plants to emerge. If a rotary hoe is not available, we have also heard of farmers running the planter back over the field with the depth set as shallowly as possible to allow either the disk openers or even the closing wheels of the planter to break the crust. As with a rotary hoe, this method may cause some damage to emerged plants.

Research with Low Populations

Soybeans greatly compensate for reduced populations by increasing branching. Nebraska On-Farm Research from eastern Nebraska and western Nebraska for 12 years of combined data showed only a 1.3 bu/ac yield increase when seeding 180,000 soybean seeds/acre compared to 90,000 seeds/acre in 15-inch or 30-inch rows. (No studies were in sandy soils). Average final plant stands became 154,924 vs. 83,067 plants per acre respectively. Specific examples with lower final plant stands follow:
-    A non-irrigated field in Nuckolls County in 2006 was hailed at the cotyledon stage, so planted populations of 100K, 130K, and 160K became average actual stands of 74,417; 89,417; and 97,917 plants per acre with a 4 bu/ac yield difference between highest and lowest plant populations. The average yield in the field was 40 bu/ac.
-    An irrigated field in Hamilton County in 2010 showed a 3 bu/ac yield difference between planted stands of 80K versus 120K seeds/acre. Final plant stands weren’t taken.
-    A York County irrigated field in 2018 comparing 90K, 120K, and 150K became final plant stands of 60,875, 88,125, and 121,750 plants/acre with yields of 93, 94, and 97 bu/ac respectively.

As you assess plant stands, keep in mind that a gap in one plant row will be compensated by plants in the adjacent flanking rows. They will form extra branches to take advantage of the sunlight. Thus single-row gaps may not be as yield-reducing as you might think, especially in narrower row spacings.

Replant Considerations

Any anticipated yield loss from the reduced stand must be balanced against the anticipated yield loss from replanting after the optimum planting date. Nebraska research has consistently shown the benefit of early soybean planting for higher yields. This is mainly due to node accrual on the main stem which allows for an increased potential for pods and seeds compared to planting later. Thus, replanting may not out-yield the original planted stand even at lower plant populations. Thorough scouting on foot or ATV and taking numerous counts may help pinpoint certain areas within a field to spot in/replant a portion of the field instead of the entire field.

Weed control is another factor, depending on the time of year, for soybean replant consideration. Leaving a poor stand may result in poor weed control or increased herbicide costs. Replanting may entail additional costs for seed, tillage, and replanting in addition to the potential yield penalty imposed by a later-than-normal planting date. We would recommend a seed treatment when replanting soybean.

When in doubt, consider testing this for yourself! Leave checks in your field that can be compared to where you replant. You can also consider this as an on-farm research study by contacting your local Extension Educator like a grower in Platte County did in 2014. He originally planted 145,000 seeds/acre on May 10 no-till into heavy corn residue. With a plant stand of 75,000 plants per acre, he chose to replant soybeans in strips across the field. He left the original stand and planted an additional 145,000 seeds/acre. Final yields were 58 and 57 bu/ac for the original and replanted stand, respectively.

For more information, see the “Soybean Replant Decision Calculation Worksheet” on page 39 in the Nebraska Soybean & Corn Pocket Field Guide.

Soybean Physiology

Don’t automatically write off seedlings where cotyledons were stripped off when pulling through crusted ground. If the growing point has moved up the main stem above the cotyledons and the epicotyl is not damaged, you may see a plumule form at the top of the stripped stem. The plumule is the seedling stem tip and its undeveloped leaves above the cotyledonary node. Without the cotyledons to serve as a carbon and nitrogen source, development of new seedlings with small leaflets will be slow and yield may be reduced by 5-10%. If one undamaged cotyledon remains, the delay and yield loss is usually minimal.

Emergence of Soybean Gall Midge in Southern Cass County, NE

On June 14 and 15, 2019, soybean gall midge adults were collected from Cass County. Trap sites in Saunders and Lancaster counties are checked daily and have not shown any adult emergence.

If you have soybean fields in Cass County or Otoe County and have had soybean gall midge injury in previous years in adjacent fields, an edge treatment of an insecticide on soybean would be warranted. We ask those of you outside of areas where emergence is occurring to delay making any insecticide applications until adult soybean gall midge emergence occurs in your area. We will continue to post updates on soybean gall midge emergence as it occurs at the other sites.

Rough degree day calculations in Nebraska indicate that Ithaca, Mead, and Wahoo areas are approximately 100 degree days behind the southern Cass County sites. The West Point area is about 220 degree days behind, and the Norfolk and Concord areas are about 300 degree days behind. Recent daily accumulations are around 24 degree days per day so we are not expecting emergence for several days at the northern sites.

Growers spraying too early may not have enough residual insecticide activity when adults emerge in the area and may not be able to spray the field again in that period, depending on label restrictions, limiting efficacy and increasing the likelihood for plant injury from gall midge.

I’m in an area with soybean gall midge emergence. Now what?

Because this is a new soybean pest, we do not as yet have research-based recommendations; however, we have developed some preliminary recommendations based on our recent soybean gall midge observations. Those who have experienced significant economic losses from soybean gall midge are advised to use an insecticide with residual activity. This application should be made as soon as possible after adult soybean gall midge emergence occurs in your area. We don’t recommend making an application if a field can’t be sprayed within six days of first adult emergence of soybean gall midge.

Research is currently being conducted on the timing of insecticides relative to the emergence of soybean gall midge to determine a window of efficacy for insecticide applications. Closely related insects to this species have a very short life span as adults so we expect that all of the egg laying will be done within that time period, greatly reducing the efficacy of an insecticide application. Also, be sure to adhere to the label when applying a pesticide.

Making an Insecticide Application

For your benefit, it’s best to not spray in two to three areas along the edge of the field (50 - 100 feet long and 90-120 feet wide, depending on the length of the boom) to determine whether the insecticide worked. If you’re in Nebraska and need assistance with evaluating damage later in the season, contact Extension Entomologists Justin McMechan (402-624-8041) or Tom Hunt (402-584-3863).

In-season Nitrogen Management for Corn in 2019

Charles Wortmann - NE Extension Soil and Nutrient Management Specialist

The 2019 spring weather conditions have complicated nitrogen management. Much residual nitrate-N and applied fertilizer-N was likely lost to leaching and denitrification. Other fertilizer-N was never applied due to spring rains.

This summer there will need to be more in-season N application than usual and the in-field variability may be greater than usual. The amount of fertilizer-N to be applied in-season can be estimated with the Late Spring Soil Nitrate Test (LSNT, also called the Pre-sidedress Soil Nitrate Test or PSNT) or by use of crop canopy reflectance sensing. This article addresses these options.

Late Spring Soil Nitrate Test

The LSNT has been available for over 30 years and is used for corn production in numerous states to assess the need for in-season N application. It has been less studied and used in Nebraska than in Iowa and we advise use of the Iowa State University guidelines: Use of the Late-Spring Soil Nitrate Test in Iowa Corn Production. The LSNT has been well-validated for medium and fine texture soils, but it is not expected to work well for sandy soil. Use this test as follows.
-    Collect a representative soil sample from the 0-12 inch depth taken when the height from the ground to the top of the corn plant whorl is 6 to 12 inches. The area represented by a sample should not be more than 40 acres with sampling zones defined according to soil properties likely to affect N availability or loss. Each sample should be made from at least 15 cores and more in cases of past manure injection. Avoid sampling in bands of fertilizer-N application. Samples should be collected at varying distances from corn rows. For example, three samples of varying distance from the row might be sampled at five sites for the management zone.
-    Refrigerate the samples or air-dry them in a thin layer on sheets of paper, or with the assistance of a fan. Alternatively, submit the sample so the analysis can be done within three days.
-    The laboratory analysis needs to be for nitrate-N only.
-    The critical value for an unusually wet spring, as in 2019, is 20 to 22 ppm nitrate-N. In a normal rainfall spring 25 ppm is a satisfactory critical value.
-        If nitrate-N is above the critical level, for example 23 ppm in 2019, do not apply in-season fertilizer-N
-        If nitrate-N is below the critical level, apply 8 lb of N for each ppm below the critical level.

For example, if LSNT results are 13 ppm nitrate-N, the N rate = (23-13) x 8 = 80 lb/ac N.

Sensor-Guided In-Season N Application

Remote sensing of the crop canopy reflectance is the best option to quantify the need for in-season N if the plants are large enough. The remote sensing can be with
-    a handheld sensor such as with the made-in-Lincoln Rapid Scan,
-    with sensors fitted for aerial sensing (drones, planes, satellite), or
-    with sensors fitted on high-clearance N application equipment.

Such remote sensing requires good canopy development such as the 8th leaf stage (V8; or with 10 horizontal/droopy leaves) or later. Remote sensing is best done with a reflectance index such as NDVI (normalized difference vegetative index); however, with corn, the NDRE index (normalized difference red edge) is preferred.

The crop N status for any given part of the field is determined by relating the NDRE for that part of the field with high NDRE readings from the field. The high NDRE readings are often from established “High N Reference” areas or strips in the field. These can be small, such as areas of 20 x 20 feet, with hand application of extra fertilizer-N, for example at a rate of 1 lb of urea per 100 sq ft. Data from sensor readings for other parts of the field are then compared to the high N reference with the ratio of the sensor reading from the field divided by the sensor reading from the high N reference equal to a “sufficiency index.”

The sensor-directed in-season N application is commonly done near the 12-leaf stage (V12 or with 13.5 horizontal or droopy leaves) of corn to correspond to a high rate of N uptake. The algorithms for calculation of in-season N rate are best calibrated for this growth stage. Early use is more likely to underestimate N need; however, in 2019 fields will often need an earlier application.


Fertigation is a common and cost-effective means of in-season N fertilization in Nebraska. As above, the use of LSNT, spot-checking of a field with a hand-held sensor, or use of imagery (from drones, aircraft or satellites) can help determine if N should be applied by fertigation, that is, if the sufficiency index (SI) is less than 0.95. If needed, 30 to 40 lb/ac N can be uniformly applied. The N need can be reassessed two weeks later using sensor information to determine whether an additional application of 30 to 40 lb/ac N is needed. This procedure can be repeated with the last application no later than the R3 (milk) growth stage.

Should In-season N be Applied and is Variable Rate Application Justified?
As written above, LSNT or canopy sensing, with calculation of the SI, is used to determine if and how much in-season N application is needed. If the results indicate much variation in N need across the field, the N rate might be varied. Three options can be considered for variable rate application.
-    This is most easily done on a management zone basis using LSNT or remote sensing.
-    Aerial imagery can be used to develop a prescription map for application with high-clearance variable rate equipment.
-    The crop canopy reflection can be sensed and the N rate determined on-the-go, with continuous adjustment of the N rate with properly-equipped high-clearance equipment.


This year more in-season application of fertilizer-N will be needed and the need may be more variable than normal. The in-season fertilizer-N rate can be determined using LSNT soil sample analysis for younger corn. Remote sensing of canopy reflectance can be used once the crop canopy is full enough to determine N need. The remote sensing information can also be used for variable rate application. Period remote sensing also can be used to determine if additional fertilizer-N is needed.


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

How are your pastures looking?  Grass got way ahead of many of us so change your grazing strategy to try and use it effectively.

A big pasture management challenge is keeping grass from heading out, becoming less palatable and low quality.  This spring that wasn’t easy to do.  So now you might change how you graze the rest of the year.

Normally cows might graze a paddock for two to ten days, then move to a fresh paddock.  If you do that now with all the headed out grass, they’d just strip some leaves, trample a lot of forage, and leave most of the stems standing.  They’d probably end up eating less than one-fourth of the potential forage available.

So maybe you should pressure them into eating more of the plants by limiting how much choice they have.  Instead of giving them the entire paddock to graze for several days, use electric fence to limit them to very tiny areas at a time.

How tiny you ask?  Well, one possible initial goal would be to put the equivalent of about 250,000 pounds of cattle on just one acre.  That equals about 150 to 200 cow-calf pairs per acre.  Obviously, it won’t take them long to finish off that small area, so expect to give them a fresh strip as many as three times a day.  With that high density of animals, they might eat over half of the forage compared to the one-fourth they would eat otherwise.

Getting water to the animals can be a challenge so I suggest letting them walk back to water over previously grazed strips for a couple days before changing water locations.  It will take a little adjustment to get just the right size and water placement but after a couple days it should go smoothly.

If all goes well, you’ll get more cow-days of grazing with less waste.


The vast majority of alfalfa growers suffered rain damage to hay during the past several weeks.  How can we reduce this risk?

Rain damages windrowed alfalfa.  One inch of rain typically leaches 10 percent of the nutrients out of hay.  High quality hay has higher losses than low quality because it contains more soluble nutrients.  Rain also causes leaf shatter.  This may be as low as 5 percent of the yield, but hay turned after being rained on may lose up to 15 percent from leaf shatter.

There are many strategies to minimize rain damage; all involve reducing field exposure time.  Encouraging rapid drydown is one method.  Practices like spreading out windrows as wide as possible, chemical or mechanical conditioning, and timely raking help reduce field exposure anywhere from one-half to two days.

Another effective strategy is harvest at high moisture levels.  Chopping alfalfa for silage is a tried and true way to reduce weather risks.  A newer, yet similar, technique is to wrap high-moisture alfalfa as bale silage.  All silage making methods can get alfalfa off the field in two days or less.

A final strategy is to use protectants to bale alfalfa at a slightly higher than normal moisture content.  Materials used include preservatives like propionic acid and acetic acid as well as hay inoculants.  These materials try to reduce mold formation and heat damage of alfalfa baled just slightly wetter than normal when applied correctly under certain harvest conditions.  This sometimes saves as much as a full day of drying time.

Rain damage is expensive and frustrating.  Identify and use strategies like these to minimize your risks.

ICON to discuss international trade situation

Two businessmen with international trade experience will speak Friday, June 21 at the annual convention of the Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska in Broken Bow.

Michael B. Yanney of Kearney has a broad range of business experience both in the U.S. and internationally.  He has conducted business in 15 countries, including the Soviet Union, since 1976.    “Nebraska is in a time of crisis; time to make changes,” is the topic of his presentation. 

Mr. Yanney is the Chairman Emeritus of the Board of Burlington Capital, formerly America First Companies, which has managed public investment funds as well as private.  From 1977 until the organization of the first such fund in 1984, Mr. Yanney was principally engaged in the ownership and management of commercial banks.  He served as a director and member of the executive committee of FirsTier Financial, Inc. — the largest bank holding company in Nebraska — from 1985 until his resignation in 1991.  He also served on the East West Institute joint US / Russia delegation in 2007, whose specific objective was to keep the two countries from going back into a Cold War.

Mr. Yanney is a member of the board of directors for Burlington Capital and America First Multifamily Investors, and was formerly a director of Level 3 Communications, Inc., the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation, Freddie Mac Advisory Board, Durham Resources, Inc., Freedom Communications, Inc., Forest Oil Corporation, MFS Communications, Inc., PKS Information Services, Inc., Omaha Steaks, MFA Financial and chairman of the boards at Tetrad, Core Bank Holding Co. and Streck Inc.

ICON’s 14th annual meeting and convention will be held Friday June 21 from 1:30–8:30 p.m. (CST) at the Cobblestone Hotel in Broken Bow.

The afternoon and evening will also include a presentation by M. Brian O’Shaughnessy, the chairman of Revere Copper Products. O’Shaughnessy is also an expert in international trade.

State issues that affect Nebraska’s ranchers are also on the convention’s agenda.

Registration is just $25 and includes supper plus entertainment by Cowboy Poet RP Smith.

Science and agriculture family field day in northeast Nebraska

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Haskell Agricultural Laboratory near Concord will host a science and agriculture family field day on July 24.

All ages are welcome to attend the field day which runs from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Attendees can come and go throughout the event.

Optional activities will be organized into two tracks: agriculture; and science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics, or STEAM. Tours available in both the morning and afternoon will highlight research at Haskell, as well as the Northeast Arboretum and bee research. Panelists from Backyard Farmer, Nebraska’s must-see television program for gardening information, will be on hand to answer questions from attendees.

Activities and booths available all day include Nebraska Extension’s Mobile Beef Lab, science literacy trailer, maker space trailer, and robotics. Northeast Power will also be doing safety demonstrations. There will also be blender bike and healthy snack demonstrations, cover crop demonstrations and various child learning activities.

A free lunch, sponsored by the Nebraska Soybean Board, will be served.

Haskell Ag Lab is located at 57905 866th Rd, approximately one and a half miles east of Concord.

There is no cost to attend the field day. For more information call 402-584-2261 or visit

U.S. Pig Farmers Donate 3.2 Million Servings of Pork

Almost a million pounds of pork, or nearly 3.2 million servings, were donated by U.S. pig farmers during 2018, according to data compiled by the National Pork Board and the National Pork Producers Council.

Data aggregated from pork producers across the country showed that during 2018, pig farmers:
-    Volunteered 54,570 hours in their local communities.
-    Donated more than $5.5 million to charitable causes.

“These numbers are astounding,” said Gene Noem, National Pork Board treasurer and a pig farmer from Iowa. “This shows that our We CareSM ethical principles are not just something we put down on paper, but are values we live by in our communities every day.”

When pig farmers introduced the We Care ethical principles nearly 10 years ago, it was important that five of the six ethical principles were production-related, according to Noem.

“For the sixth and final ethical principle, there was no question that it should address contributing to a better quality of life in the communities that we call home,” Noem said. “Giving back also plays a powerful role in building and maintaining consumers’ trust.”

The National Pork Board and the National Pork Producers Council will continue to collect community impact data for the pork industry’s sustainability report.

ASA Seeks Nominations for Annual Soy Recognition Awards

The American Soybean Association (ASA) wants to recognize exceptional soy volunteers and leaders—and we need your help. During ASA’s annual awards banquet, individuals will be recognized and honored for state association volunteerism, distinguished leadership achievements and long-term, significant contributions to the soybean industry. The nomination period is open through Oct. 14, 2019.

The Recognition Awards categories are:
    ASA Outstanding State Volunteer Award–Recognizes the dedication and contributions of individuals who have given at least three-years of volunteer service in any area of the state soybean association operation.
    ASA Distinguished Leadership Award–Distinguished and visionary leadership of ASA or a state soybean association is recognized with this award to either a soybean grower-leader or association staff leader with at least five-years of leadership service.
    ASA Pinnacle Award–An industry-wide recognition of those individuals who have demonstrated the highest level of contribution and lifetime leadership within the soybean family and industry.

All nominations must be received online, no later than Monday, Oct. 14, 2019. No nominations by telephone, email or fax will be accepted. A judging committee will be assigned to make the final selections.

Recipients will receive their awards at the ASA Awards Banquet on Friday, Feb. 28, 2020, in San Antonio, Texas at Commodity Classic.

USDA and HHS Invite Oral Public Comments at the Second Meeting of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in coordination with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) invites the public to register to attend the second meeting of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. The meeting, which includes an opportunity for oral comments from the public, will be held at USDA headquarters in the Jefferson Auditorium on July 10 and 11. Registration for in-person attendance begins today and closes at 5:00 p.m. July 1, 2019. Prior to this deadline, the public can also sign up, on a first-come, first served basis, to provide oral public comments to the committee during the meeting’s second day. Please visit for full registration details.

“Science-based dietary guidance is critical to a healthy future for our nation, and the process by which it is developed should be open and transparent,” said Food Nutrition and Consumer Services Acting Deputy Under Secretary Brandon Lipps. “We are pleased to highlight this next opportunity for the public to learn more about the Committee’s scientific review, and to offer their comments in person at the July meeting.  All those who care about these issues can stay informed and involved by providing written comments and visiting”

USDA and HHS look forward to robust public participation. This is the second of five meetings scheduled for the committee. An ongoing public comment period will remain open throughout the committee’s deliberations to ensure the public can submit comments. During this meeting – as well as the fourth meeting – the public will be able to provide oral public comments to the committee. Registration to sign up to provide oral comments is now open and is accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. The meeting will also be webcast live and the recording will be made available at a later date.

The full list of remaining meetings includes:
-    July 10-11, 2019 – USDA Headquarters in Washington, DC
        + Register to present oral comments by July 1, 2019
-    October 24-25, 2019 – USDA Headquarters in Washington, DC
-    January 23-24, 2020 – USDA Agricultural Research Service in Houston, TX
        + Register to present oral comments by January 14, 2020
-    March 12-13, 2020 – USDA Headquarters in Washington, DC

“Public input and participation are a key component of developing policy and guidance that improves the health of the American people,” said ADM Brett P. Giroir, Assistant Secretary for Health at HHS. “We value comments and oral testimony that will help the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee answer important scientific questions related to nutrition and inform the next edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.”

The 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee is made up of 20 individuals of diverse backgrounds who are regarded as national thought leaders in the areas of nutrition and health. The independent advisory committee’s review, along with public and agency comments, will help inform USDA and HHS as the departments develop the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

For the first time, the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans will include recommendations for pregnant women, and children from birth to 24 months. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans serves as the cornerstone of federal nutrition programs and policies, providing food-based recommendations that help prevent diet-related chronic diseases and promote overall health. According to the National Nutrition Monitoring and Related Research Act of 1990, the guidelines are mandated to reflect the preponderance of scientific evidence and are published jointly by USDA and HHS every five years.

Syngenta celebrates National Pollinator Week by showcasing industry product stewardship efforts

Farmers nationwide are protecting their crops and pollinators, thanks to industry innovations and the observance of best-management practices by growers and applicators. In celebration of National Pollinator Week (June 17‒23), Syngenta is bringing awareness to a variety of individuals and organizations that champion pesticide product stewardship and help pollinators thrive.

Throughout the week of June 17, Syngenta will share videos on the SyngentaUS Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube channels highlighting people who are practicing pesticide product stewardship and the protection of pollinators. Those featured include a Syngenta seed treatment formulation expert whose efforts help reduce dust-off from treated seed and the leader of an aerial applicators organization whose members go to great lengths to protect pollinators.

“Efforts to continuously improve pesticide product stewardship are important to Syngenta,” said Caydee Savinelli, pollinator and IPM stewardship lead, Syngenta. “Our goal is to bring visibility to some of the lesser-known roles and facets of stewardship, while sharing real, tangible examples of how it is being practiced daily and how pollinators are benefiting.”

Coinciding with the growing season in the Midwest, the week-long celebration comes at a good time for reminding farmers to keep pollinators top-of-mind as they’re working in the fields. “As the 2019 growing season continues and farmers are making pesticide applications, the importance of observing best-management practices – including reading and following the product label – cannot be overstated,” said Savinelli. “Farmers care deeply about their environment and the health of pollinators, and we help them achieve the dual purpose of protecting their crops and pollinators.”

Friday June 14 Ag News

Ricketts Urges Ag Producers, Business Leaders to Join Upcoming Trade Mission to Vietnam & Japan

Governor Pete Ricketts wants to remind farmers, ranchers, and agribusiness leaders interested in attending the Governor’s September trade mission to Vietnam and Japan that the deadline to register is June 30, 2019.

“Vietnam is one of the fastest growing economies in the world,” said Governor Pete Ricketts.  “With nearly 100 million people and a growing middle class, Vietnam represents a tremendous opportunity to increase our state’s agricultural exports.  We also look forward to returning to Japan to grow trade with one of our longest-standing and most critical international partners.”

The trade mission is scheduled for Sept. 3-10 to Hanoi, Vietnam, and Tokyo, Japan.  Space is limited, so people interested in participating should contact Angel Velitchkov, Counsel for International Trade, at

“Nebraska-led trade missions open doors and deliver results for farmers, ranchers, and agribusinesses,” said Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) Director Steve Wellman.  “It’s a great opportunity for people in the ag community to tell the story of Nebraska agriculture and to show consumers around the world the quality ag products that we have to offer.  I encourage Nebraska agriculture representatives to join us on this upcoming trade mission.”

The itinerary for the upcoming trade mission was developed in cooperation with the Governor’s Office, NDA, the Department of Economic Development, Vietnamese officials, and the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi.  U.S. Ambassador Daniel Kritenbrink is a native of Ashland, Nebraska, and a graduate of the University of Nebraska–Kearney.  The trade delegation is expected to meet with Vietnamese government officials responsible for trade decisions, agricultural officials, and industry leaders currently using Nebraska products.

Strategies with Delayed Soybean Planting 

Aaron Nygren - NE Extension Educator

According to the USDA NASS June 10 crop report, soybean planting was 79% complete compared to the five-year average of 94% and last year’s 97%. In addition, lots of acres were planted into marginal conditions and may have poor stands needing to be replanted. With the delay in planting, agronomic practices such as relative maturity, row spacing, and seeding rate may need to be adjusted. The following are considerations when planting in the second half of June or into July.

Relative Maturity

Compared to corn, we don’t need to make as drastic a change in soybean maturity groups (MG) compared to the normal for your area. Late-planted soybeans will typically require fewer days to reach maturity than earlier planting dates.

In 2013, switching from a 2.8 to a 1.8 MG reduced the time to maturity by only five days, when planting in mid-June as compared to late April. Changing maturity groups during this planting period did not make a large difference in maturity, something to consider if you were thinking about changing to a much earlier maturity group.

However, if planting after June 15, you may want to go with the earliest maturity group number recommended for your given area, such as reducing your MG number by 0.5-1.0, but don’t try using a maturity group much shorter than that or you will sacrifice yield potential. Frost before maturity becomes a concern with late June or July plantings.

One way to evaluate different maturity groups is to use SoyWater, By entering your field location, planting date, and MG, SoyWater will give you a predicted maturity. When evaluating maturity, the key growth stage to be worried about is reaching R7, which is when one normal pod on the main stem has reached its mature pod color. Once plants reach this stage, metabolic traffic from the plant to the seed has ceased so a fall freeze is not going to affect the yield of wet but physiologically mature seeds. Keep in mind though that the dry down of the seeds from 60% moisture to a harvestable level will take longer given the cooler temperatures experienced later in the fall.

Row Spacing and Custom Planting

The next consideration is row spacing. With late planting, narrower row spacing is generally recommended. Because the longest day of the year occurs on June 21, and all days get shorter after that, soybeans need as much sunlight as possible to make pods, seed, and yield. To close the canopy sooner, you may want to consider planting narrower than 30 inches. UNL research has shown that up to 5/8 bu/ac can be lost for every day after May 1 that planting is delayed. Thus, there is now a need to mitigate, to the degree still possible, the loss in the crop’s ability to capture all incoming sunlight from now on.

While narrowing rows can help close the canopy quicker at this point, there are a few cautions to consider. In general, non-uniformity of seed depth placement and of seed-to-seed placement within the row is more of a concern with drills versus 15-inch or 30-inch planter units. When using a drill, increasing seeding rates by 10% (potentially up to 20%) may be necessary to fill in gaps that occur. This may not be as much of a concern with newer precision planting drills. Also, narrowing rows can favor diseases such as sclerotinia stem rot (white mold of soybean) that like a humid, moist canopy. While sclerotinia has not been a major issue in Nebraska, it has been observed in some fields; we would not recommend narrow rows if you have experienced a problem with white mold in your fields.

If your operation does not own a narrow row planter or drill, there are now two strong considerations for custom planting. First, if there can be two or more planters operating at a time, your last acres will be planted sooner and take less of a yield hit, especially with additional rain delays in June (e.g., 5/8 bu/acre per day at 7 days = 4.3 bu/ac advantage). Second, you can capture the yield advantage of narrow rows. Regional studies have shown a 3-4 bushel/acre yield advantage to narrow row spacing (20 inches or less).

Seeding Rate

Many sources recommend increasing seeding rates by 10% after early June for both drilled and planted beans. We understand this line of thinking to attempt to improve canopy closure for yield and weed control by having more plants per acre, but there is some debate around this practice. An Iowa State study published by DeBruin and Pederson in 2008 did not find a seeding rate (75K, 125K, 175K, 225K) by planting date (late April, early May, late May, and early June) interaction for yield, indicating no need for increased seeding rates at later planting dates. In addition, given that there is a wide range of seeding rates planted across the state, a blanket statement of a 10% increase may not be appropriate. Growers will need to evaluate this recommendation based on their normal seeding rates and their planting equipment. 

It’s also important to be aware of crop insurance considerations and your options.

Thistle Caterpillars In Soybeans

Robert Wright - NE Extension Entomologist

The painted lady butterfly has been observed in parts of eastern Nebraska for about a month.  Recently, we have received reports of their immature stages, the thistle caterpillar in soybeans. This insect does not overwinter in Nebraska, but migrates from the southern U. S. and Mexico in the spring.   High populations of painted lady butterflies were reported earlier in the year in San Diego and moved north from there into the California Central Valley. 

The thistle caterpillar normally feeds on thistles, sunflowers and related plants but can also feed on soybeans. We have periodically seen them in Nebraska soybeans.

These brown-black caterpillars (also called thistle caterpillars) have a yellow stripe down the length of both sides of the body and spiny hairs on the body. They can reach up to 1.5 inches in length at maturity. When they feed they web together leaflets. There are usually two generations in the midwestern U.S.

Treatment Thresholds for Caterpillars in Soybeans

Estimate defoliation levels in several parts of the field. Assess defoliation over the whole plant canopy, not just the upper leaves. In vegetative (pre-flowering) stages, consider treatment if the insects are present and feeding, and defoliation will exceed 30%. In pod-forming or pod-filling stages, consider treatment if the insects are present and defoliation will exceed 20%. These percentages can vary 5% to 10% according to the stage or type of insect(s) present, environmental conditions, the specific stage of the soybean, and the size and condition of the canopy.

Several foliar insecticides labelled on soybeans have activity against these and other caterpillars. See the Section of Registered Insecticides for Soybean in Nebraska Extension's Guide for Weed, Disease, and Insect Management in Nebraska (EC 130) for specific information on products, rates and restrictions.

Potato Leafhoppers in Alfalfa

Robert Wright - NE Extension Entomologist

Potato leafhoppers are reported in north central Kansas and may be arriving in Nebraska soon. It is not too early to begin scouting for these insects and protecting your alfalfa from injury.
Potato leafhopper

Potato leafhoppers are tiny, yellowish-green, wedge-shaped insects. They blow into our region from the southeast from late spring through mid-summer. Leafhoppers turn alfalfa yellow and stunt growth, and they especially hurt new seedlings.

An early symptom of leafhopper damage is a triangular or V-shaped yellow or purple area at the tip of alfalfa leaves. This discoloration is caused by a toxin the leafhopper injects into the alfalfa plant as it sucks out plant juices. As feeding continues, the entire plant can turn yellow and growth may stop.

Check fields at least weekly for leafhoppers before symptoms appear. Don't wait!  If you detect leafhoppers early and they are present at threshold levels, insecticides can control them easily. Continue to scout for leafhoppers after treatment since adult leafhoppers can fly from other fields and reinfest your sprayed field.

However, if your alfalfa already is yellow and stunted, do not spray. Instead, first mow your alfalfa to remove affected plant tissue and to stimulate new growth. Unmown plants might not grow much more all year, lowering yield and potentially leading to stand loss over winter.

After mowing fields, scout new regrowth at least weekly for leafhoppers. If they reappear, then use insecticides if threshold levels are present.

Treatment Thresholds and Insecticides

Treatment decisions are based on numbers captured by a sweep net. (A sweep net is the only reliable way to scout for potato leafhoppers.) There do not have to be many leafhoppers to cause a problem.

Many insecticides are registered for control, and all will provide good results when applied properly. Commonly used insecticides include Mustang, Warrior, Baythroid, and Lorsban or products with the same active ingredients.

A list of registered alfalfa insecticides is available in the Insecticide Section of the UNL Extension EC130, 2019 Guide for Weed Management with Insecticide and Fungicide Information.


More than 200 high school juniors and seniors, sharing an interest in agriculture, will gather in Lincoln in July to develop leadership skills, explore career opportunities and learn more about the state’s number one industry. The Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute (NAYI) is the longest running program of its kind in the nation. Sponsored in part by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA), NAYI will be held July 8-12, in Lincoln, on the University of Nebraska’s East Campus.

“NAYI is one of the best ways for students to learn more about Nebraska’s diverse agriculture and the hard-working people who help make our ag industry great,” said NDA Director Steve Wellman.
During NAYI’s five-day program, delegates participate in agriculture policy and group discussions, farm management activities, and a variety of networking opportunities with peers and industry leaders. Learning about various career options is another important part of NAYI as a quarter of the jobs in Nebraska are related to agriculture.

“Career development at NAYI helps students realize that there are many ag-related jobs available including those in science, finance, marketing and sales, technology and equipment repair,” said Wellman. “Agriculture is expanding, and Nebraska needs new and talented people to step up and be a part of the ag industry’s next generation of workers.”

Since its start, NAYI has shared the importance of agriculture with nearly 6,400 youth from across the state. Delegates apply for and are selected to attend NAYI free of charge due to numerous donations from agricultural businesses, commodity groups and industry organizations.

“Generous contributions from sponsors help make NAYI a strong foundation for the youth of Nebraska and the future of our farming, ranching and ag-related industries,” said Wellman.

First Name - Last Name - City     
Sam    Wilkins    Ainsworth       
Zacharia    Kerwood    Alexandria      
Hunter    Borg    Allen       
Jacobi    Stumpff    Alliance      
Madison    Adam    Alliance      
Shanna    Weaver    Alliance       
Olivia     Fredrick    Amherst      
Jaiden     Graham    Amherst       
Courtney    Kastens    Anselmo      
Jacy    Hafer    Anselmo      
Grant    Reynolds    Ansley      
Gabriela    Hill    Ashland       
Faith     Santana    Auburn      
Blaine    Bonifas    Aurora      
Camille    Fishell    Axtell      
Bonnie    Jantzen    Beatrice      
Cameron    Lancaster    Beatrice      
Kelsay    Schlichtman    Beatrice      
Teana    Carter    Bellevue      
Cody    Boon    Benkelman      
Abigail    O'Brien    Blair      
Makenna    Dirkschnieider    Blair      
Mckenna     Schlueter    Blair   
Dani    Osmond    Broken Bow      
Emma    Hoffschneider    Burwell      
Trent    Marshall    Burwell      
John    Ford    Cairo      
Atlynn    Witthuhn    Callaway      
Kalen    Dockweiler    Callaway      
Trevor    Ross    Callaway      
Kylie    Kempf    Carroll      
Ryan    Gaughen    Cedar Bluffs      
Shannon    O'Rourke    Chadron      
Taya    Lejia    Chadron      
Abigail    Langdon    Clarkson      
Luke    Petersen    Cordova      
Dillon    Kolbo    Cozad      
Katelyn    Calhoun    Cozad      
Ellie    Jarecke    Culbertson      
Sydney    Veldhuizen    Curtis      
Tristin    Smith    Curtis      
Miles    Eggleston    David City      
Valerie    Bohuslavsky    David City      
Vanessa    Bohuslavsky    David City      
Jacson    Valentine    David City   
Savannah    Gerlach    De Witt      
Taylor    Cammack    De Witt      
Leah    Schmidt    Deshler      
Evan    Larson    DeWitt      
Katie     Bathke    Dixon      
Kenna    Rogers    Dunning      
Elizabeth     Benes    Dwight      
Tennyson    Williams    Eddyville      
Kiaya    Radke    Elba      
MacKenzie    McKoski    Elba      
Taylor    Daum    Emerson      
Frederick     Kujath    Fairbury      
Sonny    Scheets    Fairbury      
Dylan    Frederick    Falls City      
Olivia     Lentfer    Firth      
Cameron    Shaner    Fort Calhoun      
James    Wetovick    Fullerton      
John    Wetovick    Fullerton   
Samantha    Oborny    Garland      
Logan    Helgoth    Garrison      
Jacob    Czarnick    Genoa      
Kate    Mohr    Genoa      
Landon    Cuba    Genoa      
Allison    Wilkens    Gibbon      
Aspen    Rittgarn    Gordon      
Evan    Peterson    Gothenburg      
Heath    Keiser    Gothenburg      
Maggie    Aden    Gothenburg      
Savannah    Peterson    Gothenburg      
Garret    Laub    Grand Island      
Matthew    Wendell    Grant      
Zane    Rikli    Greenwood      
Chance    Mignery    Hastings      
Gage    Wright    Hastings      
Rachael    Dente    Henderson      
Bailey    Blackford    Herman      
Katie    Nepper    Hickman      
Rebecca    Wulf    Hooper      
Taylor    Ruwe    Hooper   
Luke    Krabel    Juniata      
Hunter    Miller    Kearney      
Kealey    Franzen    Kearney      
Reagan    Glatter    Kearney       
Jasmine    Galvin    Laurel      
Anah    Fuller    Lincoln      
Keegan    Jensen    Lincoln      
Olivia     Kerrigan    Lincoln      
Sophia    Fahleson    Lincoln      
Thomas    Cook    Lincoln      
Preston    Sueper    Lindsay      
Shelby    Dunn    Linwood      
Emma    Larson    Loomis      
Regan    Hodsden    Lyman      
Tucker     Hodsden    Lyman      
Jayla    Froman    Lynch      
Keshia    Leeper    Madrid      
Justin     Sousek    Malmo      
Laura    Carlson    Marquette      
Tate    Hartley    Maywood      
Emily    Hanson    Mead      
Sadie    Smutny    Meadow Grove      
Josie    Shadbolt    Merriman      
Ashley    Kroese    Milford      
Faith     Whitesel    Miller      
MarLee    Neu    Minatare      
Brinn    Space    Minden      
Corbin    Batt    Mitchell      
Jacob    Jenkins    Mitchell      
John    Thomas    Mitchell      
Jonathan    Pieper    Mitchell      
Russell    Schaefer    Morrill      
Teagan    Flick    Morrill      
Damien    Knight    Neligh      
Hannah    Schrader    Neligh      
Lesly    Duran    Neligh   
Aubyrne    McClintock    North Platte      
Celie    Childears    North Platte      
Charles    Aufdenkamp    North Platte      
Kizziah    Rutherford    North Platte      
MaKenzie    Dahlgren    North Platte      
Micah    Swedberg    North Platte      
Elizabeth     Karnopp    Oakland      
Hannah    Moseman    Oakland      
Layne    Miller    Oakland 
Tyler    Perrin    Ogallala      
Hector    Nunez    Ohiowa       
Cole    Kalkowski    Omaha      
Jacob    Jones    Omaha       
Rosie    Nelson    O'Neill      
Kyle    Snodgrass    Orchard      
Trevor    Boruch    Osceola      
Billy    Cayou    Oxford      
Dine'    Hutchens    Oxford      
Shayla    Bennet    Palmer      
Shayne    Bennet    Palmer      
Troy     Donner    Plainview      
Nancy    Skutchan    Pleasant Dale      
Cooper    Dixon    Pleasanton      
Emily    Zimmer    Pleasanton      
Kessler     Dixon    Pleasanton      
McKenna     Darby    Pleasanton      
Taylore    Cruise    Pleasanton      
Jonathan    Vacek    Ravenna      
Jenae    Tilford    Roca       
Emily    Carpenter    Scottsbluff      
Nevaeh    Heinold    Scottsbluff      
Alisen    Niewohner    Scribner      
Anna    Ready    Scribner      
Payton    Schiller    Scribner  
Anna    Palmer    Shelton      
Luryn    Hendrickson    Shelton      
Sara     Palmer    Shelton      
Lana    Hebda    Silver Creek      
Wynn    Cannon    Silver Creek      
Cailey     Grabenstein    Smithfield      
Shay    Nelson    Spencer      
Terran    Tomlinson    St. Paul      
Valerie    Christensen    St. Paul      
Megan    Vrbka    Staplehurst      
Abigayle    Warm    Staplehurst       
Dana    Christen    Steinauer      
Brian    Heusman    Sterling      
Morgan    Stratman    Stromsburg      
Sarah    Glatter    Sumner       
Cassidy    Frey    Superior      
Taylor    Steager    Surprise      
Seth    George    Sutton      
Cade    Wilkinson    Tilden      
Kolby    Schafer    Tobias      
Erin    Timoney    Ulysses      
Brody    Benson    Valentine      
Haylee    Lopez    Wallace       
Jerad    Phillips    Wallace       
Audrey    Sorensen    Waverly      
Claire    Rolf    Waverly      
Allison    Claussen    Wayne      
Hana    Nelson    Wayne      
Josie    Thompson    Wayne      
Tyler    Gilliland    Wayne  
Jayden    Widener    Wellfleet      
Karlie    Gerlach    Wellfleet      
Anna    Wooldrik    West Point      
Macey    Wooldrik    West Point      
Sophie    Alfson    West Point
Wyatt    Haverluck    Western      
Alyeea    Lopez    Whitney      
Cassidy    Kowalski    Wilber      
Emily    Hatterman    Wisner      
Megan    Schroeder    Wisner   
Treyvin    Schlueter    Wook Lake      
Ashtyn    Humphreys    Wymore      
Lauren    Kaliff    York      
Marshall    Buss    York   

NAYI events and additional youth learning opportunities throughout the year are organized by the Nebraska Agricultural Youth Council (NAYC). The 21 college students who serve on NAYC
are chosen by NDA to share their passion and knowledge about agriculture with young people across Nebraska. During NAYI, NAYC members provide valuable insight and advice about agriculture, college coursework and career building.
Nebraska Agricultural Youth Council    
First Name  -  Last Name  -  City      
Grant    Dahlgren    Bertrand      
Kelsey    Loseke    Blair      
Cheyenne    Gerlach    DeWitt      
Sage    Williams    Eddyville      
Felicia    Knoerzer    Elwood      
Colton    Thompson    Eustis      
Jacob    Schlick    Fairfield      
Emily    Frenzen    Fullerton      
Wesley    Wach    Hayes Center      
Ralston    Ripp    Kearney      
Brent    Miller    Lyons      
Kevin    Sousek    Malmo      
Courtney    Nelson    Monroe  
Isaac    Stallbaumer    Oconto      
Nick    Birdsley    Omaha      
Hannah    Settje    Raymond      
Cooper    Grabenstein    Smithfield      
Kelli    Mashino    Spencer      
Colin    Ibach    Sumner      
Collin    Swedberg    Wallace      
Eric    Leisy    Wisner     

To learn more about NAYC or NAYI, visit the NAYI website at Follow NAYI activities on Facebook by searching and liking the Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute. On Twitter, follow the_nayc or #NAYI19.

CommonGround Nebraska hosts second Banquet on the Farm event near Shelton

On June 4, 2019, Nebraska CommonGround volunteers invited Nebraska Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) teachers to Shelton for their second Banquet on the Farm event. This hands-on learning experience allowed teachers to engage in conversations about the safety of modern agriculture. CommonGround volunteers are made up of volunteer farm women across the state who are passionate about helping consumers understand how food is grown and raised.

The event kicked off with learning opportunities revolving around different educational stations. The topics of these learning stations included animal health, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), production methods and sustainability. FCS teachers were able to hear from CommonGround volunteers who have extensive experience with these topics.  As part of the educational stations, dairy cattle, chickens and pigs were also on display. Following the educational social hour, a buffet dinner was served featuring locally sourced foods.

“By reaching out to these FCS teachers, we’re able to provide them with the tools they might need to help educate the next generation of smart consumers,” said Deb Gangwish, CommonGround volunteer and farmer from Shelton. “We know not as many youth are growing up on farms or even in farming communities. Therefore, we want to bring agriculture to the students. What better way to do this than through their teachers?”

Throughout the event, the 76 teachers in attendance were able to visit with CommonGround volunteers about agriculture. By being on a farm, teachers were able to better understand modern farm practices, and they were able to ask questions to clear up misinformation.

“One misconception that stuck out to me revolved around the bad reputation GMOs receive, something many of my students are curious about as well,” said Louise Dornbusch, Papillion-LaVista FCS educator. “I learned that there are only 10 GMO products out there, and each one is modified for the benefit of the crop and consumer—not to harm them.”

While this was the first time CommonGround and Nebraska FCS teachers came together, the volunteers hope it’s not the last time. While visiting with the teachers, CommonGround volunteers let them know of their availability beyond this event.

“We know it’s difficult for teachers to stay up-to-date on everything, so we want to be a resource for them if they’re ever talking about food or food production in their classes, or just teaching about being a smart consumer,” said Joan Ruskamp, CommonGround volunteer and cattle producer from Dodge. “Our dynamic group of volunteers represent almost all aspects of Nebraska agriculture, and we’d love to be a resource for these classrooms.”

Teachers who attended the event are already excited to bring back what they learned to their classrooms.

“I think it was the best learning experience and social we have ever had in the 15 years of my teaching, said Dornbusch. “It was just fantastic, beautiful, welcoming place and it was so neat to learn about these operations from CommonGround women. I’m truly excited to bring all this back to my students who really are hungry to learn more about how our farms and ranches operate.”

CommonGround is a national effort designed to help consumers base their food purchasing decisions on fact rather than fear. Nebraska was one of five states to pilot this program in 2010. CommonGround Nebraska is funded by the state’s corn and soybean farmers. For more information, visit

ICI Culinary Students Attend Beef 101 Workshop

Culinary students from the Iowa Culinary Institute at Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) learned about the beef industry and beef cuts at a Beef 101 educational workshop hosted by the Iowa Beef Industry Council (IBIC) on April 17, 2019. The event was held in collaboration with the Iowa State University (ISU) Meats Laboratory. Over 50 students and chef instructors attended.

Culinary students from the Iowa Culinary Institute at Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) received a quick presentation about beef nutrition from Rochelle Gilman, Director of Health and Nutrition at the Iowa Beef Industry Council.

The workshop sessions included a presentation on Beef Grading, Aging and More, from Dr. Steven Lonergan, Professor of Meat Science and Muscle Biology at ISU. Dr. Lonergan covered information on the different grades of beef, aging beef and meat tenderness. A presentation on Beef Production – What Happens on the Farm, from Iowa Beef Center Field Specialist, Kendi Sayre, discussed how cattle are raised, what cattle eat and health products used in modern cattle production. Additionally, students were given a tour of the ISU Meats Laboratory.

The workshop concluded with a beef carcass fabrication, conducted by ISU Meats Lab staff.   Dr. Joe Cordray, Jeff Mitchell, Carl Frame and Emily Usinger demonstrated the primal and subprimal cuts of the beef carcass, with a breakdown of popular and recently discovered beef cuts. Many of these newer cuts are available on restaurant menus that chefs will be preparing.

"The culinary students will be chefs in restaurants in the near future and interacting with consumers about beef menu choices," commented Rochelle Gilman, RD and Director of Nutrition and Health for IBIC. "The Beef 101 workshop provides a first-hand opportunity to learn the basics about the beef products they will be preparing and serving to consumers."

Students completed a pre and post event survey to determine knowledge about the beef industry. Data showed that students increased their knowledge and understanding of beef production from pasture to plate by 52%. “The verbal positive feedback, paired with eye-opening survey results, shows that educational opportunities, like Beef 101, play a critical role in supplying culinary students with the tools they need to make educated beef cooking decisions and menu choices in their future careers,” stated IBIC Director of Marketing and Communications, Kylie Peterson.

The event was funded in part by the Beef Checkoff Program. Events, such as the Beef 101 educational workshop, provide opportunities for culinary students to gain hands on experience and knowledge from industry experts.

Bipartisan Bill to Help Schools Access Locally Grown Foods

Thursday, U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced the Kids Eat Local Act, legislation to help increase schools access to locally grown foods by providing flexibility around the use of geographic preference in the National School Lunch Program. This would make it easier for schools to source "locally grown, locally raised and locally caught" food and farm products for their meal programs. U.S. Representatives Chellie Pingree (D-ME) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) have introduced the House version of the bill.

Current law does not allow schools to ask for "local" as a product specification in food procurement requests. And while schools are allowed to use a geographic preference option, that system has proven to be confusing and burdensome to school food service providers, and hence is underutilized. The Kids Eat Local Act would improve the existing geographic preference option by providing a common-sense reform that would allow 'local' as a product specification, helping eliminate unnecessary red tape and getting more locally grown foods in school lunchrooms.

"One of the important, exciting trends we are seeing across our country is the growth of the farm-to-table movement, connecting rural to urban, farmers directly to consumers," said Fortenberry, Ranking Member, House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, and Food and Drug Administration. "I support this effort to incentivize schools to buy more of their food from local sources."

The Kids Eat Local Act is supported by a number of school food procurement specialists around the country.

Fischer, Duckworth Strive to Bring More Transparency to RFS Small Refinery Waiver Process

Today, U.S. Senators Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) introduced the bipartisan RFS Integrity Act of 2019. This legislation seeks to provide more certainty for rural America by bringing transparency and predictability to EPA’s small refinery exemption process. The bill would require small refineries to petition for Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) hardship exemptions by June 1st of each year. This change would ensure that EPA properly accounts for exempted gallons in the annual Renewable Volume Obligations it sets each November.

“The bipartisan solution we are putting forth today builds off of the recent victory on year-round E-15 sales. In the past, EPA has issued small refinery exemptions after the Renewable Volume Obligations have already been determined. That’s unfair, and it hurts our farmers and ethanol producers. This bill would shine a light on what’s been an obscure exemption process and help promote economic growth in rural America,” said Senator Fischer.

“Farmers across Illinois and throughout the Midwest are hurting and ethanol plants are idling while this administration is abusing the small refinery exemption program to undermine the bipartisan Renewable Fuel Standard. I am proud to work with Senator Fischer to introduce this bipartisan legislation to bring much-needed transparency to the waiver process and prevent it from being misused to benefit billion dollar oil companies at the expense of hardworking Americans,” said Senator Duckworth.

RFA Applauds Senate Bill Focusing on Small Refiner Exemptions from RFS

Today, Senators Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) introduced the RFS Integrity Act of 2019. The bill sets a June 1 deadline for small refiners to submit petitions for exemptions from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), requires transparency in filing, and requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to account for exempted gallons when determining annual renewable volume obligations (RVOs). Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper released the following statement in support of the legislation:

“We are grateful for the leadership of Senators Fischer and Duckworth on this issue. Refiner exemptions have had a devastating impact on the ethanol industry, erasing 2.6 billion gallons of RFS demand over the past two years. This week, President Trump came to Iowa to celebrate the promise of homegrown renewable fuels, only days after EPA’s final rule allowing year-round sales of E15. Any additional small refiner exemptions granted by EPA would totally undermine the demand gains we expect to see from year-round E15, hitting the rural economy hard. The legislation introduced today provides important reforms that would prevent further abuse of the small refiner exemption provision, providing a boost to ethanol producers, farmers and American families each time they fill up at the pump.”

ACE statement on Renewable Fuel Standard Integrity Act of 2019

Today, Senators Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) introduced the Renewable Fuel Standard Integrity Act of 2019, legislation that addresses the timing and transparency issues associated with the small refinery exemption (SRE) program under the RFS. The bill would set a deadline for refineries to submit petitions for RFS exemptions to ensure granted waivers are prospectively reallocated to non-exempt obligated parties, as well as require that key information surrounding the SREs is publicly available. American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings issued the following statement in support:

“ACE thanks Senators Fischer and Duckworth for bipartisan legislation to correct EPA’s brazen mismanagement of the RFS small refinery exemption provision. Under President Trump, EPA has retroactively granted more than 50 so-called hardship waivers for small refineries, erasing 2.61 billion gallons worth of the RFS blending obligations for 2016 and 2017 compliance years, and has 39 more requests pending for 2018. As we celebrated year-round access for E15 this week in Iowa with President Trump, industry stakeholders pointed out that without reallocation of the demand destruction through these refinery waivers the net effect of EPA’s actions still puts us in a hole.

“The uptick of waivers without reallocation as required by law also means the Congressional intent of the RFS is undermined. This legislation would help ensure EPA’s abuse of small refinery exemptions is put to a stop by requiring timely reallocation of any granted waiver and ensuring the statutory RFS volumes are enforced. ACE is grateful for the leadership of Senators Fischer and Duckworth to help get the RFS back on track by following the rule of law.”

Bipartisan Senate Bill Provides Transparency, Accountability in Small Refinery Exemption Process

U.S. Senators Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) introduced bipartisan legislation that would bring much-needed transparency to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) secretive small refinery exemption (SRE) process and ensure refiners meet their biofuel blending requirements. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor thanked the senators for introducing this legislation at a time when biofuel producers and corn farmers need it most:

“EPA’s track-record on handouts to big oil through small refinery exemptions has eliminated markets at a time when growers and producers face true economic hardship,” said Skor. “U.S. ethanol consumption recently fell for the first time in 20 years. Across the heartland, many biofuel plants have shut their doors or idled production. Farm income plummeted $11.8 billion over just the last three months, the steepest drop since 2016. It’s clear that the ‘economic hardship’ is happening in America’s farm belt – not in oil company boardrooms.

“This bipartisan legislation from Senators Fischer and Duckworth can help restore transparency and integrity to the abusive exemption process. By providing the public with more information, accounting for exemptions and ensuring biofuel targets are met in full, farmers and producers across the nation can count on stable biofuels demand and continue providing cleaner and more affordable fuel choices at the pump.”

Currently, refiners have no deadline when submitting a request for a small refinery exemption, which allows them a secretive, backdoor way to avoid their legal obligations. The bipartisan legislation requires refineries to submit an application for an SRE by June 1st, and requires the EPA to re-allocate exempted gallons so that biofuel targets are met in earnest. Additionally, the legislation prevents refineries from  concealing exemptions as confidential business information, allowing the public greater insight into who is receiving these waivers and why.

NBB Applauds Bipartisan Bill to Limit RFS Small Refinery Exemptions

The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) today thanked Sens. Deb Fischer (R-NE), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), John Thune (R-SD), Joni Ernst (R-IA), and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) for introducing legislation (S. 1840) that would require small refineries to petition for Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) hardship exemptions by June 1 each year. The legislation would further require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to properly account for exempted gallons in the annual Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) it sets each November.

“NBB and its members appreciate Senators Deb Fischer and Tammy Duckworth for their bipartisan effort to end EPA’s rampant use of small refinery exemptions to undermine the RFS program, along with biofuel producers and feedstock providers,” said Kurt Kovarik, NBB’s Vice President of Federal Affairs. “The legislation highlights the fact that EPA’s actions on small refinery exemptions is inconsistent with President Donald Trump’s support for the RFS.”

Kovarik continued, “Over the past two years, EPA retroactively granted RFS hardship exemptions to nearly every refiner that asked. When EPA issues retroactive small refinery exemptions and refuses to account for the lost gallons in annual volumes, it actively undercuts the RFS program. The exemptions handed out last year for 2015, 2016 and 2017 destroyed demand for more than 360 million gallons of biodiesel and renewable diesel.”

EPA’s retroactive exemptions for 2015, 2016, and 2017 reduced compliance with the RFS volumes for those years. NBB conservatively estimates the demand destruction at 364 million gallons of biomass-based diesel. University of Illinois Economist Scott Irwin estimates the economic harm to U.S. biodiesel producers at $7.7 billion dollars.

Peterson, Costa Statements on Dairy Margin Coverage Signup

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin C. Peterson of Minnesota and Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture Chairman Jim Costa of California issued the following statements in response to today’s announcement of open signup for the 2018 Farm Bill’s Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program.

“The purpose of the Dairy Margin Coverage program is to ensure dairy farmers have an adequate safety net when they need it,” said Peterson. “We put this program together in the farm bill to enable farmers to get their revenue from the market in those years when the milk price is up, but still provide a backstop in the event that milk prices come down or feed costs go up. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: dairies should sign up their first 5 million pounds of production history the $9.50 coverage level. I know times are tough, but this program is going to provide some real help.”

“Dairy farmers were on our minds throughout the entirety of the farm bill process,” said Costa. “Now that the program is being implemented, it is my goal to get information out to producers on Dairy Margin Coverage, as well as the other risk management tools available as soon as possible. DMC improves on the old Margin Protection Program in a number of ways including making it clear that all operations can enroll up to 5 million pounds of production history in tier one, regardless of their overall farm size. DMC also effectively improves catastrophic coverage by setting $5 margin protection at only half a cent per hundredweight, no matter how much production history is enrolled. As Chairman of the Subcommittee overseeing implementation of the dairy provisions in the 2018 Farm Bill, I appreciate USDA’s recognition of the issues confronting dairy farmers in all corners of the country right now, and I look forward to working with USDA as they continue their implementation of this program.”

Thursday June 13 Ag News

Nebraska Farm Bureau Applauds New Law Allowing Property Tax Relief for Disaster Victims

Nebraska Farm Bureau is encouraging Nebraskans who’ve suffered damage to real property as a result of flooding or other natural disasters to be aware of a recent change in state law that will allow them to seek a reduction in the value of damaged real property for tax purposes. Nebraskans whose real property was destroyed on or after January 1 and before July 1 can file a “Report of Destroyed Real Property – Form 425” with the county assessor and county clerk to apply for reassessment. Property owners must file the report by July 15.

“We applaud the Legislature’s passage and Gov. Ricketts signing of LB 512. We know many Nebraskans are still working through catastrophic losses caused by this spring’s floods. This is good legislation and a positive step in the right direction to help those in need today, but also to help those in the future who suffer from disaster related circumstances well beyond their control,” said Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president.

The “Report of Destroyed Real Property – Form 425” application can be accessed on the Nebraska Department of Revenue Property Assessment Division website or through the Nebraska Farm Bureau website at Separate Form 425 applications for damaged property are required to be filed for each parcel of damaged property.

Under the new law, real property damage must have occurred as the result of a disastrous event, including, but not limited to, fire, earthquake, flood, tornado, or other natural event which significantly affects the assessed value of real property.

Destroyed real property means real property that suffers significant property damage resulting from the above events on or after January 1, 2019 and before July 1 of the current assessment year. Destroyed real property does not include property damage caused by the owner of the property or an occupant of leased property.

Significant property damage means:
-    Damage to an improvement exceeding 20 percent of the improvement’s assessed value in the current tax year as determined by the assessor;
-    Damage to the land exceeding 20 percent of a parcel’s assessed land value in the current tax year as determined by the county assessor; or
-    Damage exceeding 20 percent of the property’s assessed value in the current tax year as determined by the county assessor if:
      +  The property is in an area that has been declared a disaster area by the governor, and
      +  A housing inspector or health inspector has determined the property is uninhabitable or unlivable.

The county board of equalization will consider the report to determine any adjustments to the assessed value of the destroyed real property for the current year.

The county board of equalization must act upon this report on or after June 1 and on or before July 25, or on or before August 10 if the board has adopted a resolution to extend the deadline to hear protests under Neb. Rev. Stat. § 77-1502, and must send a notice of the reassessment value for the destroyed real property to the property owner.

“It’s important Nebraskans are aware of this new law and we hope those who meet the qualifications now, and in the future, will be able to utilize it in their recovery efforts,” said Nelson. “We thank Sen. Steve Erdman for his work to bring this measure to the Legislature and Sen. Lou Ann Linehan for helping push this bill across the finish line.” 

Lindsay's Hassinger Appointed to USDA's Agriculture Policy Advisory Committee

Lindsay Corporation, a leading global manufacturer and distributor of irrigation and infrastructure equipment and technology today announced that Lindsay Corporation President & CEO Tim Hassinger has accepted an appointment by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to the Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee for Trade.

As a member of the committee, Hassinger will advise, consult with and make recommendations to the Secretary of Agriculture and the U.S. Trade Representative concerning U.S. trade policy and matters arising in the administration of such policy.

The committee also will provide information and advice regarding the following:
-    Negotiation objectives and bargaining positions of the U.S. before it enters into trade agreements;
-    the operation of any trade agreement once entered into; and
-    matters arising in connection with the administration of U.S. trade policy.

Hassinger looks forward to serving on the committee, leveraging his more than three decades of agricultural industry experience to guide trade policy along with fellow committee members.

"Serving on the Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee is a tremendous opportunity to provide counsel on the advancement and future of U.S. agriculture and trade policy," said Hassinger. "I look forward to the committee's collaboration and important dialogue that will positively impact U.S. trade policies."

Hassinger will serve on the committee until June 15, 2023.

Sleep Wins 2019 World Livestock Auctioneer Championship

Russele Sleep of Bedford, Iowa was named the 2019 World Livestock Auctioneer Champion (WLAC) at the 56th annual competition held at Tulare Sales Yard, Tulare, Calif. and presented by the Livestock Marketing Association (LMA).

“It was a dream come true,” Sleep says. “I started coming to the WLAC competitions in 2009, and it goes to show hard work, dedication and a love for the livestock auction business pays off in the end.”

The competition, which was held on June 8, is composed of two parts: an interview and a live auction. During the live sale, contestants sell eight drafts of cattle to bidders in the seats. Each contestant is scored by five judges on presentation, auction chant, execution of the sale and how likely the judge would be to hire the auctioneer. During the interview round, contestants are asked questions pertaining to the marketing industry and their role as an auctioneer.

Sleep, a nine-time top ten qualifier of the WLAC and 2016 Reserve Champion Auctioneer, earned his spot to this year’s competition by winning the LMA’s Midwest Qualifying Event. Twenty-nine other semi-finalists also qualified through three regional qualifying events. The additional semi-finalist was the 2019 International Auctioneer Champion, which is given an automatic “bye” to compete.

Chuck Bradley from Rockford, Ala., earned Reserve Champion honors, and Will Epperly from Dunlap, Iowa, was named Runner-Up Champion.

Other top ten finalists were Eric Drees, Nampa, Idaho; Dean Edge, Rimbey, Alberta; Steven Goedert, Dillion, Mont.; Brennin Jack, Prince Albert, Sask; Ryan Konynenbelt, Ft. Macleod, Alberta; Wade Leist, Boyne City, Mich.; Jacob Massey, Petersburg, Tenn.

Additional semi-finalists were Neil Bouray, Webber, Kan.; Colton Brantley, Modesto, Calif.; Darren Carter, Ninety Six, S.C.; Dakota Davis, Caldwell, Kan.; Brandon Frey, Creston, Iowa; Philip Gilstrap, Pendleton, S.C.; Shane Hatch, Kirtland, N.M.; Jim Hertzog, Butler, Mo.; Garrett Jones, Los Banos, Calif.; Lynn Langvardt, Chapman, Kan.; Justin Mebane, Bakersfield, Calif.; Jeremy Miller, Fairland, Okla.; Daniel Mitchell, Cumberland, Ohio; Christopher Pinard, Swainsboro, Ga.; Jay Romine, Mt. Washington, Ky.; Jim Settle, Arroyo Grande, Calif.; Dustin Smith, Jay, Okla.; Curtis Wetovick, Fullerton, Neb.; Tim Yoder, Montezuma, Ga.; Vern Yoder, Dundee, Ohio and Zack Zumstein, Marsing, Idaho.

Kristen Parman, LMA VP of Membership Services, says, “LMA is proud to sponsor an event that brings together North America’s top livestock auctioneers in a competition that showcases professionalism and promotes the auction method of selling livestock.”

As a part of the champion’s role, Sleep will spend the next year traveling the country, sharing his auctioneering skills with other livestock auction markets and acting as a spokesperson on behalf of the livestock marketing industry and the LMA.

“The auctioneer championship showcases the importance of the local livestock markets and the role the auctioneer plays in true-price discovery and I’m looking forward to promoting that this year,” Sleep says.

Sleep, a Missouri Auction School graduate, works as a contract auctioneer for Knoxville Regional Livestock Market, Fort Scott Livestock Market, Inc., Southeast Kansas Stockyards LLC, Clarinda Livestock Auction, Inc., Russell Livestock Market and Green City Livestock Marketing LLC. He lives in Bedford, Iowa with his wife Lacey and three children.

A one-hour highlight show from the 2019 competition will air on RFD-TV June 24 beginning at 7 p.m. (CST). WLAC fans can mark their calendars for the 2020 World Livestock Auctioneer Championship, which will be held next June 3–6 at the Dickson Regional Livestock Center, in Dickson, Tenn.

Register now for the Stockmanship and Stewardship event in Ames

In just a few short weeks, industry leaders from all over the country will be coming to Ames for the Upper Midwest Stockmanship and Stewardship event. Here’s all the information you need to know so you can attend the cattle workshop of the summer!

What is Stockmanship and Stewardship?

Stockmanship and Stewardship is a regional event coordinated in conjunction with the producer education team at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the beef checkoff, who selected Ames as one of five locations across the country to host the event this year. The workshop brings together industry experts, stakeholders and producers for an educational experience unlike any other.

This event aims to address the current state of the beef industry, consumer concerns regarding beef sustainability and livestock welfare, impacts of those concerns on the industry, and the role that producer education and Beef Quality Assurance play in the conversation.

Throughout the workshop, producers will participate in expert panel discussions, keynote speakers, live cattle handling demonstrations and hands-on breakout sessions, and have the opportunity to get certified in Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) and BQA Transportation.

When and where is this event?

The workshop will be June 28-29 at the Jeff and Deb Hansen Ag Learning Center (2508 Mortensen Road) in Ames, IA.

Who is speaking?

Several presenters from across the country will be part of the educational experience. Keynote speakers and cattle handling experts include:
-        Nationally renowned clinicians Curt Pate, professional cattle handling trainer and educator, and Ron Gill, Professor and Extension Livestock Specialist at Texas A&M University.
-        Keynote speakers Sara Place, NCBA Senior Director of Sustainable Beef Production Research, and Alison Wedig, Culvers Marketing Specialist.

Industry leaders in both stockmanship and stewardship techniques will discuss the latest science and management strategies to improve profitability and consumer confidence. Also, Allison Rivera, NCBA Executive Director of Government Affairs, and ISU faculty members will hold educational breakout sessions to bring together the material discussed in the workshop and bring the event to a close.

Why should I attend?

This event brings industry experts and the latest science directly to producers and provides them with the tools and education to help make their operations more profitable. Producers can network with fellow producers and industry stakeholders, and also learn about cutting edge operation techniques and best management practices in a hands-on and interactive environment. Attendees also will be able to become BQA and BQAT certified, opening up market opportunities and helping to ensure consumer confidence in beef.


To register for the event, visit For any questions, email Katy Lippolis at

Perdue Announces New Dairy Margin Coverage Signup Begins June 17

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announces that signup begins June 17 for the new Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program, the cornerstone program of the dairy safety net that helps dairy producers manage the volatility of milk and feed prices, operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA).

The 2018 Farm Bill allowed USDA to construct the new DMC, which replaces the Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy). This new program offers protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all-milk price and the average feed cost (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer.

“In February I committed to opening signup of the new Dairy Margin Coverage program by June 17, I am proud to say that our FSA staff worked hard to meet that challenge as one of the Department’s top Farm Bill implementation priorities since President Trump signed it last December.” said Secretary Perdue. “With an environment of low milk prices, high economic stress, and a new safety net program with higher coverage levels and lower premiums, it is the right time for dairy producers to seriously consider enrolling when signup opens. For many smaller dairies, the choice is probably a no-brainer as the retroactive coverage through January has already assured them that the 2019 payments will exceed the required premiums.”

The program provides coverage retroactive to January 1, 2019, with applicable payments following soon after enrollment. At the time of signup, dairy producers can choose between the $4.00 to $9.50 coverage levels.

The Farm Bill also allows producers who participated in MPP-Dairy from 2014-2017 to receive a repayment or credit for part of the premiums paid into the program. FSA has been providing premium reimbursements to producers since last month and those that elect the 75 percent credit option will now have that credit applied toward 2019 DMC premiums.

The Department has built in a 50 percent blend of premium and supreme alfalfa hay prices with the alfalfa hay price used under the prior dairy program to provide a total feed cost that more closely aligns with hay rations used by many producers. At a milk margin minus feed cost of $9.50 or less, payments are possible. With the 50 percent hay blend, FSA’s revised April 2019 income over feed cost margin is $8.82 per hundredweight (cwt). The revised margins for January, February and March are, respectively, $7.71, $7.91 and $8.66 – triggering DMC payments for each month.

DMC payments will be reduced by 6.2 percent in 2019 because of a sequester order required by Congress and issued in accordance with the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985.

DMC offers catastrophic coverage at no cost to the producer, other than an annual $100 administrative fee. Producers can opt for greater coverage levels for a premium in addition to the administrative fee. Operations owned by limited resource, beginning, socially disadvantaged or veteran farmers and ranchers may be eligible for a waiver on administrative fees. Producers have the choice to lock in coverage levels until 2023 and receive a 25-percent discount on their DMC premiums.

To assist producers in making coverage elections, USDA partnered with the University of Wisconsin to develop a DMC decision support tool, which can be used to evaluate various scenarios using different coverage levels through DMC.

More Information

All dairy operations in the United States are eligible for the DMC program. An operation can be run either by a single producer or multiple producers who commercially produce and market cows’ milk.

Eligible dairy operations must have a production history determined by FSA. For most operations, production history is based on the highest milk production in 2011, 2012 and 2013. Newer dairy operations have other options for determining production history. Producers may contact their local FSA office to get their verified production history.

Dairy producers also are reminded that 2018 Farm Bill provisions allow for dairy operation to participate in both FSA’s DMC program and the Risk Management Agency’s Livestock Gross Margin (LGM-Dairy) program. There are also no restrictions from participating in DMC in conjunction with any other RMA insurance products.

On December 20, 2018, President Trump signed into law the 2018 Farm Bill, which provides support, certainty and stability to our nation’s farmers, ranchers and land stewards by enhancing farm support programs, improving crop insurance, maintaining disaster programs and promoting and supporting voluntary conservation. FSA is committed to implementing these changes as quickly and effectively as possible, and today’s updates are part of meeting that goal.

For more information, visit DMC webpage or contact your local USDA service center. To locate your local FSA office, visit

NMPF Thanks USDA, Urges Farmers to Sign Up for Dairy-Friendly DMC Program

The National Milk Producers Federation welcomed USDA’s announcement that signup for the long-awaited Dairy Margin Coverage Program will begin June 17, applauding the department’s inclusion of the cost of high-quality alfalfa feed in payment calculations, a boon for dairy farmers facing a fifth year of low prices.

“The DMC provides a stronger safety net for America’s dairy producers, one sorely needed as low prices, trade disturbances and chaotic weather patterns combine to create hardships,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the NMPF. “We have advocated for months that margin calculations must consider the higher feed costs dairy producers pay to properly nourish their livestock. USDA’s decision to include premium and supreme quality alfalfa feed is appropriate and is another win for dairy farmers that will provide additional, crucial aid.”

The 2018 Farm Bill created the new DMC program, which replaces the Margin Protection Program for Dairy. The program protects dairy producers when the difference between the milk prices and feed costs (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount coverage selected by the producer.

Producers may cover up to their first 5 million pounds of annual milk production (equivalent to the production of a 200-cow dairy farm) at a margin of up to $9.50 per hundredweight. Payments under the program will be retroactive to Jan. 1. Calculations already made for the first four months of the year show that producers signing up at the $9.50 level would receive payments for each of the year’s first four months, with total payments well over the already-set annual premium. All producers will be able to access this affordable coverage regardless of size, and larger producers will have access to significantly more affordable $5.00 catastrophic-type coverage.

“We very much appreciate USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue sticking with the department’s pledge to make dairy a priority in Farm Bill implementation,” Mulhern said.  “And we again want to express our appreciation to Congressional agriculture leaders who worked together on a bi-partisan basis to deliver these program improvements,” he said.

Mulhern thanked Representatives Collin Peterson (D-MN) and K. Michael Conaway (R-TX), as well as Senators Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), the chairmen and ranking members of congress’s agriculture committees, for their work on creating the DMC. In addition, this spring, Chairman Peterson and Ranking Member Stabenow each spearheaded bipartisan letters, co-led by Rep. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA) and Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO), urging USDA to prioritize implementation of the DMC program in a farmer-friendly manner.


The National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Board has elected John Linder to become the organization's first vice president for the next fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.

“I am honored my fellow Corn Board volunteers placed their trust in me and granted me the distinct privilege of becoming a part of the organization’s leadership,” said Linder. “Today’s American corn farmers face an ever-changing landscape with numerous challenges, as well as opportunities, on the horizon. It is imperative that we work with our partners in government, in industry and in the public to grow markets at home and abroad. I sincerely look forward to working with our grower leadership to find innovative, impactful ways to grow the markets and the future for U.S. corn farmers.”

Linder, along with his brother, Mike, and wife, Cheryl, run a fifth-generation farm raising corn, soybeans, soft red winter wheat and soybeans for seed in central Ohio. In addition to traditional row crop farming, he also has livestock experience.

“The farmers who have stepped forward and volunteered to lead the National Corn Growers Association have built this organization’s strong history of success. As a Corn Board, we believe that John will continue this fine tradition,” said NCGA President Lynn Chrisp. “Our Corn Board appreciates the keen insight he brings to our discussions and the dedication he continually demonstrates to benefit all farmers. We are confident that he will continue working tirelessly on their behalf.”

On the national level, Linder serves as the Corn Board liaison to the Market Access Action Team and chairs the Finance Committee. Additionally, he represents NCGA at the National Coalition for Food and Agriculture Research.

Previously, he served as chair and vice chair of the Engaging Members Committee. Prior to his election to the Corn Board, Linder chaired the Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team.

“John has been a tireless advocate representing corn farmers in Ohio and I am pleased that he will continue to share his experience and expertise as an advocate for corn growers across the country,” said Jon Miller, president of the Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association.

On Oct. 1, Chrisp, of Nebraska, becomes chairman and the current first vice president, Kevin Ross of Iowa, becomes NCGA president. In October 2020, Ross becomes chairman and Linder becomes president.

USGC Joins USDA Agricultural Trade Mission To Colombia

The ATM allowed USGC leadership to speak directly to the largest U.S. corn importers in Colombia, thank them for their business and answer questions regarding the current crop and future planting intentions.

U.S. Grains Council (USGC) leadership recently met with market players in the Colombia feed, poultry and livestock sectors - including industry associations and agricultural ministry officials - to express support for one of the top markets for U.S. coarse grains and related products.

The meetings took place as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Agricultural Trade Mission (ATM) to Bogota, Colombia, June 4 to 7. Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney led the mission, which included one of the largest ATM delegations ever organized by the USDA to develop stronger ties with one of the top U.S. agricultural trading partners in the Western Hemisphere.

“Since the United States entered into a free trade agreement with Colombia in 2012, agricultural export growth has been robust,” said USGC Chairman Jim Stitzlein. “During ATM discussions, the Council emphasized our willingness to maintain this important Colombian market for corn and co-products.”

Thirty-five different U.S. organizations participated in the mission. The Council’s delegation included Stitzlein; Ryan LeGrand, incoming USGC president and chief executive officer; Greg Hibner, agribusiness sector director of the USGC Board of Directors; Marri Tejada, USGC regional director for the Western Hemisphere; Ana Maria Ballesteros, USGC regional marketing director; and Juan Diaz, USGC regional consultant for ethanol.

“The ATM was a good opportunity for USGC leadership to speak directly to the largest U.S. corn importers in Colombia, thank them for their business and answer questions regarding the current crop and future planting intentions,” Stitzlein said. “Hearing from the incoming CEO was a clear sign to our Colombian customers of how important their market is for U.S. farmers and agribusinesses.”

Colombian purchases of U.S. coarse grains and grain-related products have continued a steady upward trend since the U.S.–Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement went into effect in 2012. Setting a new record for the fifth year in a row, Colombian purchases of U.S. corn continued upward in 2017/2018 to 5.08 million metric tons (200 million bushels), a 7.4 percent increase year-over-year. Thus far in the 2018/2019 marketing year (September 2018-April 2019), Colombia ranks as the third largest market for U.S. corn, purchasing 3.72 million tons (nearly 147 million bushels).

Colombia also currently ranks as the seventh largest market for U.S. ethanol, purchasing 37 million gallons (13.1 million bushels in corn equivalent) so far this marketing year, up 56 percent year-over-year and approaching the 2017/2018 year-end total of 37.5 million gallons (13.3 million bushels in corn equivalent).

During the ATM, the Council provided Undersecretary McKinney with briefings on ethanol opportunities and details on disagreements between the two countries to further convey during his meetings with the Colombian ministries of commerce and agriculture.

“Our message is simple, we want to get back to business as usual," Tejada said. "Yes, there is a current trade dispute on U.S. ethanol, but we are hopeful to resolve the issue without creating demand destruction.

"The United States is an excellent supply stabilizer for when domestic ethanol production cannot meet the demand. We see Colombia as a strategic ally and have been actively working on demand development in the country for more than 30 years. And this is an exciting time to be engaged in the Colombian market, especially as we see significant potential for growth in both the animal and energy sectors.”

Perdue Announces Kansas City Region as Location for ERS and NIFA

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will relocate the Economic Research Service (ERS) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to the Kansas City Region.

“Following a rigorous site selection process, the Kansas City Region provides a win win – maximizing our mission function by putting taxpayer savings into programmatic outputs and providing affordability, easy commutes, and extraordinary living for our employees,” said Secretary Perdue. “The Kansas City Region has proven itself to be hub for all things agriculture and is a booming city in America’s heartland. There is already a significant presence of USDA and federal government employees in the region, including the Kansas City ‘Ag Bank’ Federal Reserve. This agriculture talent pool, in addition to multiple land-grant and research universities within driving distance, provides access to a stable labor force for the future. The Kansas City Region will allow ERS and NIFA to increase efficiencies and effectiveness and bring important resources and manpower closer to all of our customers.”

USDA conducted a Cost Benefit Analysis and conservative estimates show a savings of nearly $300 million nominally over a 15-year lease term on employment costs and rent or about $20 million per year, which will allow more funding for research of critical needs like rural prosperity and agricultural competitiveness, and for programs and employees to be retained in the long run, even in the face of tightening budgets. On top of that, state and local governments offered generous relocation incentives packages totaling more than $26 million. Finally, this relocation will give USDA the opportunity to attract a diverse staff with training and interest in agriculture. You may click HERE to view USDA’s Cost Benefit Analysis.

“We did not undertake these relocations lightly, and we are doing it to enhance long-term sustainability and success of these agencies. The considerable taxpayer savings will allow us to be more efficient and improve our ability to retain more employees in the long run. We will be placing important USDA resources closer to many stakeholders, most of whom live and work far from Washington, D.C. In addition, we are increasing the probability of attracting highly-qualified staff with training and interests in agriculture, many of whom come from land-grant universities. We look forward to this new chapter as we seek to fulfill our motto at USDA, which is to ‘do right and feed everyone,’” added Secretary Perdue.

Secretary Perdue sent this letter to all USDA employees this morning and will be holding an all hands meeting with ERS and NIFA employees today to discuss the decision, the process, and next steps.

In addition, USDA announced in August the realignment of ERS under the Office of the Chief Economist. While we believe there is considerable synergies and benefits to a realignment, after hearing feedback from stakeholders and Members of Congress, USDA will not move forward with the realignment plans. The agency of ERS will remain under the Research, Education, and Economics mission area.

USDA announced in August it would undertake the relocations for three main reasons:

1.To improve USDA’s ability to attract and retain highly qualified staff with training and interests in agriculture, many of whom come from land-grant universities. USDA has experienced significant turnover in these positions, and it has been difficult to recruit employees to the Washington, D.C. area, particularly given the high cost of living and long commutes.

2. To place these important USDA resources closer to many of our stakeholders, most of whom live and work far from the Washington, D.C. area.

3. To benefit the American taxpayers. There will be significant savings on employment costs and rent, which will allow more employees to be retained in the long run, even in the face of tightening budgets.

As part of the rigorous site selection process, USDA narrowed the 136 Expressions of Interest received using a set of established criteria defined by USDA, NIFA, and ERS leadership. The criteria included:
    Quality of Life: Subcategory examples include Diversity Index, Residential Housing Costs, Access to Healthcare, and Home and Community Safety Ranking.
    Costs (Capital and Operating): Subcategory examples include Commercial Real Estate Costs, CPI Index, and Wage Costs.
    Workforce: Subcategory examples include Labor Force Growth Rate, Unemployment Rate, and the Labor Force Population.
    Logistics / IT Infrastructure: Subcategory examples include Lodging Availability, Proximity to Customers, and Airport Accessibility.

The top Expressions of Interest were reviewed in detail, and USDA selected a short list of locations offering existing buildings with sufficient space to meet ERS and NIFA requirements.

While 90% of USDA employees are located outside of the D.C. area, ERS and NIFA are the only USDA agencies that don’t have representation outside of the national Capital Region (NCR). Upon the relocation announcement, USDA proposed that sufficient staff levels would remain in the NCR to complete mission critical activities that require physical presence in or near Washington, D.C. at the recommendation of customers and stakeholders. In both the cases of ERS and NIFA, leadership reviewed the critical functions and staffing needs within and outside the NCR. Senior ERS and NIFA staff, with input from partner agencies and stakeholders, recommended to Secretary Perdue the critical functions to be retained within the NCR.

Out of NIFA’s 315 positions, 294 will relocate while 21 will stay in the NCR. Of the 329 ERS positions, 253 will relocate while 76 will stay in the Washington, D.C. area.

As a result of this move, no ERS or NIFA employees will be involuntarily separated. Every employee who wants to continue working will have an opportunity to do so, although that will mean moving to a new location for most. Employees will be offered relocation assistance and will receive the same base pay as before, and the locality pay for the new location.

USDA will be working with the General Services Administration to secure a permanent lease space through a competitive process in the Kansas City Region. USDA will continue to keep ERS and NIFA employees apprised as updates occur.

Ricketts Applauds Decision to Move USDA Programs from Washington to the Heartland

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts issued a statement following an announcement that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) would move two key programs from Washington, D.C. to the Kansas City area.  The programs are the Economic Research Service (ERS) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

“The decision by Secretary Perdue to move these programs from Washington to the Heartland sends an important message to the people served by the USDA,” said Governor Ricketts.  “Agriculture is the backbone of our country.  When these programs are closer to their customers, the USDA will be able to better serve the farmers and ranchers who feed the world.

“I urge the USDA and all federal agencies to look for opportunities to move programs out of the Washington Beltway and closer to the people they serve across the country.”

USDA Announces Kansas City Region as New NIFA, ERS Site

Ten months after introducing a plan to relocate and reorganize two major agricultural research agencies, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that it will move the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and the Economic Research Service (ERS) to the Kansas City region.

National Farmers Union’s (NFU) 200,000 family farmer and rancher members depend on objective, publicly funded science to make critical business decisions. Due to concerns about how the proposal could both undermine the integrity of NIFA and ERS’s research as well as diminish the role of science in policymaking, NFU has urged the USDA and Congress to suspend the move. In response to USDA’s announcement and apparent disregard for widespread opposition to its plan, NFU President Roger Johnson restated the organization’s dissent and again called on Congress to prevent the process from moving forward.

“Family farmers and ranchers wear dozens of hats – in addition to growing food, they are also business owners, scientists, marketers, and technicians. Mastering all these drastically different skills requires access to objective, science-based solutions – and it requires evidence-based policies that support those solutions. Moving NIFA and ERS farther away from our nation’s capital, as the USDA intends to do, could negatively impact the ability of these agencies to produce and fund high-quality research and communicate with legislators, which could, in turn, make it that much more difficult to be a farmer.

“We are extremely frustrated that our serious concerns have fallen on deaf ears. Even in light of all of these possible repercussions, USDA is barreling forward with this ill-conceived plan. Their slapdash approach has already disrupted operations and eroded morale at both NIFA and ERS. Before additional damage is done, we strongly urge Congress to act swiftly to put an end to this destructive relocation and reorganization.”

NFU, FFA Cement Partnership at MOU Signing Ceremony

As the average age of the American farmer approaches 60, National Farmers Union (NFU) and the National FFA Organization are working together to cultivate the next generation of American agricultural professionals.

At a ceremony in Minneapolis, Minnesota, NFU President Roger Johnson and National FFA Organization CEO Mark Poeschl formalized their joint commitment to agricultural education and cemented the two organizations’ longstanding partnership by signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU). The MOU summarizes the ways in which NFU and FFA will continue to encourage youth engagement and leadership, share resources, and elevate each other’s roles within farming communities.

“Many generations of young Farmers Union members have grown up in their local FFA chapters,” said Johnson. “This MOU is a logical next step in what has long been a mutually beneficial friendship between our two organizations.”

NFU and FFA both have long histories of supporting youth in agriculture, though the two address the issue in different ways. FFA, which is primarily an intracurricular student organization, helps prepare thousands of young people for more than 240 careers in agriculture, including farming, education, science, and business. Although Farmers Union, a grassroots organization representing family farmers and ranchers, offers youth scholarship and leadership programs as well, the organization also advocates local, state, and federal policies that strengthen rural and agricultural education and help more young Americans successfully enter the field of agriculture.

“It’s clear that NFU and FFA have similar goals and values when it comes to youth education,” said Poeschl. “We are excited to be working hand in hand with NFU as we both continue to foster youth engagement and leadership in agriculture.”

Wednesday June 12 Ag News

Nebraska Farm Bureau to Hold Agriculture Issue Regional Listening Sessions

The Nebraska Farm Bureau will hold a series of regional listening sessions across the state in June. Two more sessions will happen in August. The sessions are open to the public and will provide farmers and ranchers with the opportunity to share their thoughts on issues impacting their operations.

“I hope people will take advantage of the opportunity to come to one of our listening sessions and share their thoughts. The input we received during these meetings last summer was extremely valuable. Nebraska Farm Bureau was founded by farmers and ranchers who understood the importance of working together to solve problems and these sessions are another way in which we can work together today to identify and address issues impacting our farm and ranch families and our rural communities,” said Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president.

Regional Listening sessions are scheduled for:

Wednesday, June 19 – Nehawka
6:00 p.m.
Lance Ross Farm
6908 66th Street
Nehawka, NE

Tuesday, June 25 – Alliance
6:00 p.m.
Ackerman’s Ag Services and Supply
115 Cody Ave.
Alliance, NE

Thursday, June 20 – Farnam
6:00 p.m.
Peiper Seed Solutions
75023 Rd. 410
Farnam, NE

Wednesday, June 26 – Taylor
6:00 p.m.
Taylor Community Park
4th St. & Murray St.
Taylor, NE

Thursday, June 27 – Miller                                     
6:00 p.m.                                                                
Apache Ag Building                                                  
2 mi. West of Miller                                                  
Hwy 40 & Apache Rd./450 Rd.                                 
Miller, NE

Monday, August 12 – West Point
6:00 p.m.
Nielsen Community Center
200 Anna Stalp Ave.
West Point, NE

All listening sessions will begin with a social at 6:00 p.m. local time, to be followed by a meal and program. Those interested can RSVP by texting LISTENING SESSIONS to 52886 or online at RSVPs are appreciated, but walk-ins are welcome.

Northwest Research and Demonstration Farm Plans Field Day

Producers can learn about the latest in agronomics and weed management during the annual Iowa State University Northwest Research and Demonstration Farm Field Day, July 10.

Located in O’Brien County, the 272-acre farm will feature at least four different presentations led by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach professionals, and a talk by John Lawrence, Iowa State's vice president for extension and outreach.

Erin Hodgson, associate professor and extension entomology specialist, will give a presentation on soybean gall midge, a new pest emerging in western Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota.

“Researchers are just now trying to get a handle on what it is and how it lives,” said Joel DeJong, field agronomist with ISU Extension and Outreach.

DeJong will give a talk on agronomic issues in the current growing season, along with Paul Kassel, extension field agronomist.

Alison Robertson, professor and extension plant pathology and microbiology specialist, will talk about corn diseases and fungicide research.

Prashant Jha, associate professor and extension weed specialist, will discuss herbicide technologies and resistant weed management strategies in northwest Iowa.

Farmers in northwestern Iowa faced the same issues with a wet spring and late planting as many others across the state. However, as of mid-June, DeJong said many were hoping for some more rain, to help break up crusted soils and provide the needed moisture for late-planted crops.

The field day will run from 9:30 a.m. to noon. There will be time for networking and questions. A free lunch will be provided and there is no pre-registration.

The Northwest Research and Demonstration Farm is located at 6320 500th St., Sutherland, Iowa. The farm is a quarter-mile east of Highway 59, on B-62, about two miles south of Calumet.

For more information, call Joel DeJong at 712-546-7835, or email

Pork Checkoff Seeks 2019 #RealPigFarming Student Social Forces Team

The National Pork Board is seeking applicants for the 2019 student social forces team. The applications are open now through July 8 at

The social forces team will advocate for pig farming through social media usage. Selected applicants who successfully complete all outlined milestones will be eligible for a $500 scholarship.

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

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

Applications are open to students, age 18 to 23, who are involved in the swine industry and who are pursuing a post-secondary degree. Applicants should understand the importance of pork production and have basic communication skills. The team is expected to be active from July through December.

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

The team will gather at the National Pork Board in Des Moines, Iowa, in September. The meeting will expose students to the Pork Checkoff program, to communication strategies and to other aspects relative to advocacy and the swine industry.

Weekly Ethanol Production for 6/7/2019

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending June 7, ethanol production expanded by 52,000 barrels per day (b/d), a 5.0% increase, at an average of 1.096 million barrels per day (b/d). This is equivalent to 46.03 million gallons daily and the largest volume in 44 weeks. The four-week average ethanol production rate moved 2.5% higher to 1.067 million b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 16.36 billion gallons (bg).

Ethanol stocks dropped 3.3% to 21.8 million barrels—the lowest volume in 46 weeks. Stocks declined across all five regions (PADDs).

Imports of ethanol were 44,000 b/d, or 12.94 million gallons for the week. This was the first time in 30 weeks (and first of 2019) that import volumes were logged. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of April 2019.)

The volume of gasoline supplied rose 4.6% to 9.877 million b/d (414.8 million gallons per day, or 151.41 bg annualized). Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol grew 2.4% to 953,000 b/d, equivalent to 14.61 bg annualized.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production increased to 11.10%.

Growth Energy Steps Up Against E15 Challenge

Today, Growth Energy filed a motion in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to intervene in support of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) final rule allowing year-round access to gasoline blended with up to 15 percent ethanol, or E15. The final rule is being challenged by the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) who filed the lawsuit on Monday, June 10.

Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor expressed confidence in EPA’s authority to implement this law:

“It’s no surprise that oil companies want to block consumer choice at the fuel pump. We saw the same kind of frivolous challenges when Growth Energy first secured approval of E15 in 2011. We beat them then, and we’ll beat them now.

“The oil industry wants to inject uncertainty into the marketplace and discourage more retailers from offering clean, affordable options like E15. But the law is on our side. We know – and the EPA has said – the agency has clear authority to implement the law through appropriate regulations. A move toward cleaner fuels is exactly what Congress intended under the Clean Air Act.”


Under the Clean Air Act, judicial challenges to EPA’s E15 rulemaking may be brought as a “petition for review” within 60 days of publication of the final rule in the Federal Register.  Interested parties such as Growth Energy may also file a motion to intervene in the petition for review to protect their interests. Upon approval of the court, intervenors may participate in the litigation.  

Retail Urea Prices Continue to Trend Higher

Retail urea prices continue to trek higher, according to retail fertilizer prices tracked by DTN for the first week of June 2019.  Overall, prices of eight major fertilizers remained mixed, keeping with the general trend of the past several months.

Four fertilizers were higher compared to last month with none up a significant amount, which DTN considers to be a price move of 5% or more. Potash had an average price of $392/ton, up $1; urea $434/ton, up $16; UAN28 $271/ton, up $4; and UAN32 $314/ton, up $4.

Two fertilizers were slightly lower compared to last month but, again, the move lower was fairly minor. Anhydrous and DAP prices both declined $4/ton to $591/ton and $497/ton respectively.

In addition, two fertilizers were unchanged from the previous month. MAP had an average price of $527/ton and 10-34-0 $487/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.47/lb.N, anhydrous $0.36/lb.N, UAN28 $0.48/lb.N and UAN32 $0.49/lb.N.

All eight of the major fertilizers are now higher compared to last year with prices shifting higher. DAP is 3% higher, MAP is 4% more expensive, both potash and 10-34-0 are all 11% higher, UAN28 is 12% more expensive; UAN32 is 14% higher, urea is 17% more expensive and urea is 19% higher compared to last year.


The National Corn Growers Association applauded the Administration after President Donald Trump signed the Modernizing the Regulatory Framework for Agricultural Biotechnology Products Executive Order yesterday. This important declaration will streamline the approval process for agricultural products produced through biotechnology while reinforcing the move toward a product and not process-based approach.

The order promotes a science- and risk-based program that will lay out a clear, predictable and efficient regulatory framework. This will offer cost savings to technology developers, open the pipeline for product approval to a larger sphere and allow farmers more rapid access to the tools that they need in the field.

This order also furthers policies important to farmers by expanding markets by urging USDA, along with USTR and the Department of State, to work with our trade partners abroad to synchronize approval processes internationally and help remove barriers to trade created by non-transparent and non-science-based regulatory approval processes.

Additionally, it will aid in furthering public acceptance through the creation and support of programs that promote the public approval of agricultural products created through biotechnology both at home and abroad.

Soybean Industry Applauds Biotech Executive Order

The American Soybean Association (ASA) applauds the President, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for their work to improve the regulatory process for biotechnology by ensuring decisions are transparent, timely and based firmly on sound science, and evaluation of risk.

President Trump signed June 11 the Modernizing the Regulatory Framework for Agricultural Biotechnology Products Executive Order.

Kentucky soy grower and ASA President Davie Stephens said, “Soybean farmers appreciate the steps toward a more consistent, coordinated approach to the biotech regulatory system domestically and abroad.”

By promoting agricultural innovation and confidence in new technologies, farmers, small agribusinesses, researchers, and others have the opportunity to pursue advanced ways to grow our food, fight plant pests and disease, reduce reliance on fertilizers and other resources, and respond to consumer demands to reduce the impact of agriculture on the environment, in keeping with farming’s ongoing good stewardship efforts.

ASA looks forward to working with the responsible agencies to help move these improvements forward.

Biotech Executive Order Vital for U.S. Agriculture

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall

“Having an updated, transparent and scientifically sound regulatory system for agricultural biotechnology is critical if American farmers and ranchers are to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow.  I applaud President Trump for his Executive Order that will foster policy to spur agricultural innovation, encourage engagement and alignment at the global level and provide a firm foundation for the future of gene edited crops and animals.  Innovative solutions have been a creed for American agriculture for a long time and with yesterday’s action by the President, it ensures a framework and directive for agricultural innovation well into the future.”

Farmers Need New Water Rule, Farm Bureau Tells Senate

The EPA’s latest proposal to define which waters can be regulated by the federal government and which by state and local authorities is a vast improvement over previous efforts, Wyoming Farm Bureau President Todd Fornstrom told the Senate Subcommittee on Fisheries, Waters, and Wildlife today.

Expensive professional services needed to comply with the Clean Water Act, he said, too often make it impossible for farmers to use their own land to its fullest.

“Farm Bureau cannot overstate the importance of a rule that draws clear lines of jurisdiction that farmers and ranchers can understand without needing to hire armies of consultants and lawyers,” Fornstrom told the subcommittee. “The (Clean Water Act) carries significant fines and penalties for persons who violate the Act’s prohibitions. Historically, farmers and ranchers have chosen to forfeit full use and enjoyment of their land rather than go down the onerous and expensive path of seeking CWA 404 permits. The cost to obtain a general permit can exceed tens of thousands of dollars and individual permits can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Farmers and ranchers know these costs exceed the value of their land, which leads them to simply stay out of the regulatory quagmire by forgoing the use of their land without compensation.”

Fornstrom praised the latest proposed rule for its preservation of the Clean Water Act’s partnership among federal, state and local regulators.

“The CWA requires the federal government to work hand-in-hand with states, because the federal government cannot and should not regulate every single wet feature in every community, he said. “By drawing clear lines between waters of the U.S. and waters of the state, the proposal strengthens the cooperative federalism Congress envisioned and that the Supreme Court has long recognized as fundamental to the Clean Water Act.”

Crop Scientists Looking for Ways to Beat the Heat

Can a small circuit board, barely the size of a credit card, help the world's wheat to beat the heat?

Kansas State University researchers think so, and they say that they've built the world's first facility to help them prove it.

K-State's work is funded for two more years by the National Science Foundation through its Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research program, known as EPSCoR. K-State is working on the study in partnership with the University of Nebraska and Arkansas State University, which currently is looking to build its own heat tents.

In a lush field north of the university's Manhattan campus, the scientists are testing more than 300 wheat cultivars under heat-controlled tents to show that high nighttime temperatures are robbing the nation's wheat growers of both the quantity and quality of their crop.

"A small computer, called a Raspberry Pi, is used to monitor temperature and adjust conditions inside the tents so that the researchers can determine the cultivars that are less -- and more -- susceptible to high temperatures," said Dan Wagner, a graduate student in computer science who built the system.

"This is not just the wheat grown in Kansas," said crop physiologist Krishna Jagadish, an associate professor of agronomy. "These lines represent the entire U.S. hard red winter wheat collection."

Jagadish walks among eight sections of wheat, each split into 40 rows containing one wheat cultivar. It adds up to 320 wheat cultivars, many of the hard red winter wheat or their offshoots that are grown somewhere in the country.

The researchers have built six such tents, each growing the same 320 cultivars but held under different environmental conditions. There is no facility like this in the world, Jagadish said, noting that the project will provide researchers with precious data to help them generate newer wheat varieties with tolerance to heat.

"We will be harvesting each of the cultivars through the end of June," said Raju Bheemanahalli, a post-doctoral fellow in K-State's Department of Agronomy. "Then we will analyze the size and number of grains, protein content and more. From that, we will identify the genomic regions that will help in developing markers controlling heat tolerance."

Eventually, he said, those markers can be used by wheat breeders to develop varieties that yield well even under more intense heat.

Regardless of where it's grown, all wheat is susceptible to heat, and researchers now believe that high nighttime temperatures can be equally damaging as high daytime temperatures.

The tents that K-State has built are designed to expose wheat to typical field conditions while comparing it closely to wheat grown under more controlled conditions.

"We have three control tents in which we don't roll the side walls and end walls down so that we let fresh air in," said Nathan Hein, an assistant scientist in K-State's Department of Agronomy. "And then we have three heated tents that we completely shut down overnight."

The heated tents are kept at a temperature 4 degrees Celsius above the outdoor temperature. Six sensors inside each tent are strategically located to make sure the temperature is held uniformly across the 320 wheat cultivars.

"The Pi (computer) operates like a thermostat in your house," Hein said. "Once the temperature drops too low, it flips the relay and turns the heater on. When the tent's temperature is 4 degrees Celsius above the outside temperature, then the Pi shuts the heaters down."

Jagadish said that causing stress uniformly to the cultivars in a common setting provides valuable clues to which ones will perform better in actual field conditions.

"We may find that specific lines coming from a region are more susceptible to heat, and that the quality of the wheat gets even worse as nighttime temperatures increase," he said.

The researchers have been studying the effect of nighttime temperatures for more than a year, first in a smaller pilot project and now in a more expanded, fully operational facility. Jagadish said it's clear that high nighttime temperatures cause a deterioration in the wheat crop; the key is to minimize the damage.

"When exposed to high nighttime temperatures during grain filling, the grain weight, yield and starch content goes down, and the protein content increases," Jagadish said.

"That changes the dynamics of what is required for maintaining the quality of bread, including the elasticity, and qualities like that. High level of protein with increasing nighttime temperature will make the bread crusty, which means that you may not get the loaf of bread as you really like it."

Jagadish said that much of Kansas State's work in the past has been directed toward ensuring quality bread wheat, but his team's current study also has some implications for another growing industry -- craft beer.

Brewers prefer grains that are plump, but high nighttime temperatures tend to shrink the size of the grain. Jagadish said there are indications that smaller wheat grains will not only affect the quantity of beer but also the quality.

In addition, the concept of using tents to test heat stress on wheat can be applied to other farm crops, notably corn and sorghum. "This facility can be used for any crop," Jagadish said. "That's how it's built."

South Carolina Law Bans Lab Grown Protein from Advertising as Meat

South Carolina has passed a new law that keeps protein grown in a laboratory from stem cells as advertising as "meat."

Primary sponsor Republican Rep. Randy Ligon of Chester says he didn't want people to confuse lab-grown protein with the real thing, reports the Associated Press.

The lawmaker and member of the South Carolina Cattlemen's Association told The Post and Courier of Charleston he doesn't want to stop research into the alternative food, but he does want to make sure consumers understand what they are getting.

The bill passed both the House and Senate unanimously and Gov. Henry McMaster signed it into law last month.

Lab-grown meat hasn't made it into stores yet, but federal agencies have announced how they will regulate the industry.

Tuesday June 11 Ag News


Based on June 1 conditions, Nebraska's 2019 winter wheat crop is forecast at 50.0 million bushels, up 1 percent from last year's crop, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Average yield is forecast at 50 bushels per acre, up 1 bushel from last year.

Acreage to be harvested for grain is estimated at 1.00 million acres, down 10,000 acres from last year. This would be 91 percent of the planted acres, compared with last year's 92 percent harvested.

Legislature wants accurate dairy labels, should include meat too

State senators encouraged the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to mandate accurate labels for milk and dairy products, in one of the last acts of the first session of the 106th Legislature.

The use of the terms milk, yogurt, butter, ice cream, and cheese should be used for real dairy products, the legislature declared in LR 13.

Sen. Dave Murman sponsored the resolution. He said products derived from rice, nuts and other substances are sometimes labeled as milk, giving consumers the impression they are buying real dairy products when they are not. The legislature approved the resolution, 28-3.

Murman also noted that 10 dairy farms have closed in Nebraska just since Jan. 1. He said negative economic returns are related to misleading labels.

Meat labels should be accurate too

The Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska strongly urge the FDA to label meat accurately. Meat lookalikes derive from plants or from cells cultured in a laboratory, including so-called “clean meat.” But the products do not come from meat producing livestock.

A pending bill in the Legislature, LB 594, amends Nebraska’s Deceptive Trade Practices Act to make it a crime to mislabel the category of meat.

The Legislature’s Agriculture Committee advanced LB 594 to the floor during the session, but time ran out before it could be debated.

The sponsor, Sen. Carol Blood, told ICON that the bill “will be one of the first bills up next year for a vote” in January 2020.

ICON will hold its annual convention on June 21, featuring the leading research analyst for the Legislature’s Agriculture Committee, Rick Leonard. He will discuss ways to make meat labels more accurate.

ICON’s convention will be held Friday, June 21 in Broken Bow at the Cobblestone Hotel & Suites, beginning at 1:30 p.m.

Leonard is a native of Madrid Nebraska, where he grew up on a small farm and ranch.

Northeast Nebraska Swine Summit Set for July 17 in Norfolk.

Area farmers considering expanding or diversifying their operations are invited to the Northeast Nebraska Swine Summit set for July 17 in Norfolk, Neb.
The program will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Northeast Community College’s Lifelong Learning Center. Admission is free and lunch will be provided.
The event is sponsored by the Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska (AFAN), the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, Northeast Community College, and the Nebraska Pork Producers Association.
“With diminished returns on row crop operations, increased cost of land ownership, and surplus feedstuffs in the corn belt, now may be the time for Nebraska farmers to consider adding a swine confinement facility,” said Will Keech, AFAN director of livestock development.   “This conference is designed to provide farmers with the information and insight they need to consider adding confined swine production to their operations for future growth.” 
Keynote speaker will be Bill Winkelman, vice president of industry relations for the National Pork Board, who will provide an industry update and discuss the path for swine industry expansion.
Other issues to be discussed include a 2019 agriculture economic outlook with focus on the pork sector; resources for building a barn, featuring a panel of industry experts; manure and nutrient management; and a presentation about Northeast Community College’s agriculture program and capital contributions program.
Reservations should be sent to AFAN at, or call 402.421.4472. Or for more information, go to


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

Native meadows will soon start growing rapidly and bromegrass is heading out.  Here are some tips to make your grass hay suitable for your animals.

When do you cut your grass hay?  Do you wait until all crops are planted?  Maybe you plan to cut during first or second irrigation of corn.  Or like some folks, maybe you cut grass hay just when you get around to it.

Instead, how about cutting your grass hay so the grass nutrient content matches with the nutritional needs of your livestock?  Now that's a different way to look at it, isn't it?  But doesn't it make sense to harvest hay that will meet the specific needs of your livestock and minimize your supplement costs?

We all know that protein and energy concentration declines in grass hay as plants become stemmy and get more mature.  As this happens, the types of livestock that can be fed that hay with little or no supplements become more limited.

For example, grass hay cut at early head often can support more than one pound of daily gain for pregnant yearling heifers all by itself.  But if the same grass gets mature it won't even maintain weight of a mature cow without some protein supplements.

So, what should you do?  First off, plan what type of livestock will receive the grass hay from each field.  Young livestock need high nutrient concentrations so cut that hay before or just when heads begin to emerge.  If the hay will go to mature dry cows instead, let the grass produce a bit more tonnage and cut it after it is well headed out, but before seeds develop.

Matching your hay harvest with your plan of use can pay handsome dividends in lower costs and less supplementing.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ricketts Signs Trio of Bills to Provide Property Tax Relief to Nebraskans

During the recent legislative session, Governor Pete Ricketts signed three bills to provide Nebraskans with additional property tax relief.
·       LB103 protects Nebraskans from automatic tax hikes when property values go up.
·       LB294, the mainline appropriations bill for 2019-2021, increases the Property Tax Credit Relief Fund by $51 million per year.
·       LB512 ensures that damages from natural disasters are taken into account when assessing property for tax purposes.

LB103: Ends Automatic Property Tax Hikes

The Governor signed LB103 to give Nebraskans greater insight and input into proposed property tax increases.  The bill requires taxing entities—like school districts, cities, and counties—to hold a public hearing and vote before they can raise property taxes.  Previously, as property valuations went up, property taxes would often soar higher and higher—even as tax rates remained the same.  This meant Nebraskans paid more in property taxes without ever debating or approving the increased amount.

With LB103 signed into law, Nebraskans will now receive public notice whenever a political subdivision (such as a school district, city, or county) wants to increase its property tax receipts.

“Nebraskans deserve to be fully informed, and to have a fair say, before they pay more in property taxes,” said Governor Ricketts. “This bill adds much-needed transparency and accountability to the property taxation process.”

The Legislature passed LB103 47-0-2, and it is already in effect as law.

LB294: Adds $51 Million Annually to the Property Tax Credit Relief Fund

LB294 includes the Governor’s recommendation to add $51 million annually to the Property Tax Credit Relief Fund in the 2019-21 budget.  This represents a 23% increase for a total of $275 million in property tax relief per year for Nebraskans. 

“The key to delivering real, sustainable property tax relief is to control spending,” said Governor Ricketts.  “The State budget limits spending increases to less than 3%, while raising the Property Tax Credit Relief Fund by 23%.  Over the last five years, Senators and I have successfully worked together to nearly double the amount of direct relief to Nebraska’s farmers, ranchers, and homeowners.”

Taxpayers will see the additional relief when their property tax statements are sent out in December 2019.

LB512: Accounts for Disaster Damage to Property

LB512 provides property tax relief to Nebraskans who suffer damage to real property as a result of a natural disaster such as a flood, fire, or tornado.  Under normal circumstances, property is assessed for tax purposes on January 1 each year.  However, LB512 allows taxpayers to report property damage occurring after January 1 and before July 1 in order to obtain a revised assessment that takes the damage into account.  So long as the damage exceeds 20% of the assessed value for the current tax year, the property’s value will be lowered to reflect the damage.

“In March, Nebraskans experienced the most widespread natural disaster in state history,” said Governor Ricketts.  “LB 512 will help Nebraskans who are working to get back on their feet as the state rebuilds bigger and better than ever before.”

The Legislature passed LB512 without opposition, and it is now in effect.

Nebraskans who have experienced significant property damage due to a natural disaster in 2019 should fill out a Report of Destroyed Real Property.  This report, Form 425, is available by clicking here and must be completed by July 15, 2019.

ACE: Thank you Mr. President for year-round E15 access

American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings, ACE Board President Duane Kristensen, representing Chief Ethanol Fuels plants in Hastings and Lexington, Nebraska, and ACE Communications Director Katie Fletcher, along with other ACE leaders will join hundreds of farmers and other ethanol industry stakeholders in Council Bluffs, Iowa, today, to welcome President Donald Trump to Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy, LLC (SIRE) and celebrate year-round access to E15. Following the event, ACE leaders will be available for interviews about the President’s visit and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) final E15 rule. 

On May 31, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler signed a final rule providing Reid vapor pressure (RVP) relief for E15. EPA released its final rule just before the June 1st kick-off of the summer driving season, so retailers nationwide can offer E15 as an option to their customers year-round. E15 is a clean, safe, and low-cost fuel which can be used in more than 90 percent of the cars on the road today. The sale of E15 year-round enables retailers to sell the fuel if they wish, gives consumers the option to buy the low-cost fuel, reduces refiner Renewable Identification Number (RIN) costs, and opens market access for farmers and ethanol producers. Ahead of President Trump’s visit, Jennings released the following statement:

“As we join President Trump in Iowa today, we thank him for directing EPA to allow year-round sales of E15. EPA’s decision is good news for the ethanol industry, farmers, and American consumers. Finally, retailers don’t have their hands tied when it comes to offering a lower cost, higher quality E15 fuel to their customers during the summer months. This won't be an overnight success, but a large obstacle is removed, so we’re looking forward to working with retailers, who have been standing on the sidelines not offering E15 because of the previous RVP regulatory limit and convincing them to get in the game. The timing of this ruling is incredibly important as U.S. farmers are under tremendous financial stress from collapsing net farm income, rising expenses, ongoing trade tensions, weather-related disasters, and the undermining of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) with demand destroying small refinery waivers. This rule creates markets for ethanol producers and farmers alike with greater access for corn grind and ethanol use.

“Unfortunately, we can’t look at this E15 decision in isolation. EPA needs to quit mismanaging the RFS through small refinery waivers. The net effect of E15 year-round and 2.61 billion gallons worth of demand destruction through refinery waivers means we’re still in the hole from an ethanol demand standpoint. We’re not turning a blind eye to that and will continue to put pressure on the administration to do right by the RFS.”

Fischer Travels with President Trump to Nebraska, Iowa for Year-Round E-15 Sale Announcement

Today, U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, joined President Donald Trump, USDA Secretary Perdue, and EPA Administrator Wheeler for the official announcement allowing year-round E-15 sales. Fischer accompanied President Trump on Air Force One, which landed at Offutt Air Force Base, and then travelled to Council Bluffs, Iowa, for the announcement.

“I want to thank President Trump for making the year-round sale of E-15 a reality for farmers and ethanol producers in the Heartland. It was exciting to travel with the president and deliver this great news with him. This change is something I’ve long pushed for because it will create economic opportunities for hardworking men and women in Nebraska and across rural America,” said Senator Fischer.

Senator Fischer has long been an advocate for the year-round sale of E-15 and was a lead sponsor of the bipartisan Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act. It would have allowed retailers across the country to sell E-15 and other higher-ethanol/gasoline fuel blends year-round, increasing regulatory certainty and eliminating confusion at the pump.

Nebraska is ranked second in the nation in biofuel production and has 25 operating ethanol plants across the state. These plants produce more than 2 billion gallons of renewable fuel annually and have created more than 1,300 good-paying jobs.

Ricketts Welcomes President Trump, Hails E15 Victory

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts welcomed President Donald J. Trump to the Midwest as Air Force One landed at Offutt Air Force Base in Bellevue, Nebraska.  The Governor then joined President Trump at an event in Council Bluffs, Iowa to celebrate the President’s approval of year-round E15.

“From cutting red tape to new trade deals like USMCA, President Trump has been delivering on his promises for America’s Heartland,” said Governor Ricketts.  “The President’s successful work on E15 is an especially big win for Nebraska’s farmers.  It was an honor to welcome the President, and Nebraskans greatly appreciate the work he has been doing on our behalf in Washington, D.C.”

Previously, E15 could be marketed September 16th through April 30th.  A new rule recently finalized by the Environmental Protection Agency now allows E15 to be sold all year long.  Nebraska is the second-largest ethanol producing state in the nation behind Iowa.


NCGA First Vice President Kevin Ross today represented NCGA in hosting President Trump for a tour of Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy, an ethanol plant in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Ross farms in nearby Minden and sells corn to the ethanol plant.

The visit was an opportunity for NCGA to thank the President for following through on the commitment to allow for year-round sales of E15, a priority for corn farmers. On May 31, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final rule for E15. In addition to increasing demand for farmers, higher blends of renewable fuels such as E15 reduce fuel prices for drivers by three to ten cents per gallon and result in lower emissions, improving air quality and providing greater greenhouse gas reductions.

Ross also urged President Trump to address EPA's waivers to large refiners that are undermining the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and work with members of Congress to pass an infrastructure bill.

Members of NCGA's board of directors, in nearby Omaha for a board meeting, also attended the event.

Growth Energy: American Drivers Reach 10 Billion Miles Driven on E15

Today, Growth Energy announced that drivers across the United States have reached a new milestone, logging 10 billion miles on the road using E15. The news comes on the heels of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) approval of year-round sales of E15 – a fuel approved for cars 2001 and newer and made with 15 percent renewable biofuel – and major announcements from retailers expanding their E15 footprints.

“American drivers have clearly embraced E15 and its many benefits – from its engine smart and earth kind attributes, to the savings it provides at the fuel pump,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “As we celebrate 10 billion miles on E15, we’re ecstatic that drivers around the U.S. will be able to rely on E15 fueling their summer drives this year and each year ahead.”

Growth Energy works with leading retailers including Casey’s, Cumberland Farms, Family Express, Holiday, Kum & Go, Kwik Trip, Minnoco, Murphy USA, Protec Fuel, QuikTrip, RaceTrac, Royal Farms, Rutters, Sheetz, and Thorntons to give more drivers access to cleaner burning, high-octane E15 at more than 1,800 stations across the U.S.

“American drivers know a good value when they see it, which is why once they try E15, they come back again and again, so we know the next billion miles are just around the corner” said Skor.

E15 is currently sold at 1,807 stations in 31 states, and to find the nearest E15 stations, visit

Secretary Perdue Statement on President Trump’s Biotech EO

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued the following statement after President Donald J. Trump Signed the Modernizing the Regulatory Framework for Agricultural Biotechnology Products Executive Order.

“Our current regulatory framework has impeded innovation instead of facilitating it. With this Executive Order, President Trump is once again putting America first and setting us on a course to modernize our regulatory framework so that it works for our farmers, ranchers, and consumers. We need all the tools in the toolbox to meet the challenge of feeding everyone now and into the future – if we do not put these safe biotechnology advances to work here at home, our competitors in other nations will,” said Secretary Perdue. “Science-based advances in biotechnology have great promise to enhance rural prosperity and improve the quality of life across America’s heartland and around the globe. I applaud President Trump for signing this important Executive Order that will help America’s farmers do what we aspire to do at USDA: Do Right and Feed Everyone.”


The Modernizing the Regulatory Framework for Agricultural Biotechnology Products Executive Order calls for, among other things, regulatory streamlining in order to facilitate the innovation of agricultural biotechnology to the market efficiently, consistently, and safely under a predictable, consistent, transparent, and science-based regulatory framework.

In addition, the United States-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) Trade Agreement sets unprecedented standards for agricultural biotechnology. For the first time, the agreement specifically addresses agricultural biotechnology to support 21st century innovations in agriculture. The text covers all biotechnologies, including new technologies such as genome editing, whereas the Trans-Pacific Partnership text covered only traditional rDNA technology. Specifically, the United States, Mexico, and Canada have agreed to provisions to enhance information exchange and cooperation on agricultural biotechnology trade-related matters.

USDA is one of three federal agencies which regulate products of food and agricultural technology. Together, USDA, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have a Coordinated Framework for the Regulation of Biotechnology and regulates these products for human, animal, plant and environmental health. For products derived from plant biotechnology, USDA’s regulations focus on protecting plant health; FDA oversees food and feed safety; and EPA regulates the sale, distribution, and testing of pesticides in order to protect human health and the environment.

USDA continues to coordinate closely with the EPA and FDA to fulfill oversight responsibilities and provide the appropriate regulatory environment. This ensures the safety of products derived from new technologies, while fostering innovation at the same time.

As per Secretary Perdue’s announcement on plant breeding technology issued on March 28, 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) does not regulate or have any plans to regulate plants that could otherwise have been developed through traditional breeding techniques. This includes a set of new techniques that are increasingly being used by plant breeders to produce new plant varieties that are indistinguishable from those developed through traditional breeding methods.

In April 2017, President Trump issued an Executive Order establishing the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity “to ensure the informed exercise of regulatory authority that impacts agriculture and rural communities.” As Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue was selected to serve as the chairman of the Task Force, which includes 22 federal agencies as well as local leaders. Specifically, the Executive Order was established to identify changes that, among other things, “advance the adoption of innovations and technology for agricultural production and long-term, sustainable rural development… improve food safety… [and] encourage the production, export, and use of domestically produced agricultural products.”

The Task Force report to the President was released in January 2018, and it recognized that “on the biotechnology front, better coordination of the Department of Agriculture, Environmental Protection Agency, and Food and Drug Administration regulations on genetic modification of crops and livestock is needed to reduce barriers to commercialization of safe, beneficial and improved genetically engineered entities. Our regulatory system must protect public health, welfare, safety, and our environment while promoting economic growth, innovation, competitiveness, and job creation.” The Task Force recommended that the Federal Government “continue efforts to modernize the federal regulatory system for biotechnology products,” including specific recommendations to:
1. Speed the safe commercialization of novel biotechnology products
2. Improve navigability of the regulatory system for small and mid-sized innovators,
3. Promote understanding of how a risk- and science-based regulatory approach effectively protects consumers, and
4. Remove unjustified trade barriers and expand markets for American products.

NPPC Supports Executive Order to Keep America First in Agriculture

Based on recommendations by the administration's Rural Development Taskforce, President Trump today signed an executive order to streamline regulations for agriculture biotechnology, a development welcomed by the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC).

"Agriculture is one of the crown jewels of the U.S. economy," said David Herring, NPPC president and a pork producer from Lillington, North Carolina. "Today's executive order paves the way for common sense regulation to keep America first in agriculture so that we remain the global leader in an economic sector that has offset the U.S. trade imbalance for decades and that is so critical for the prosperity of our rural communities."

The executive order (EO) provides a framework to support leadership in emerging technologies such as gene editing for livestock, an innovation that promises to eliminate costly diseases that cause animal suffering, lower the need to use antibiotics and to further reduce agriculture's environmental impact. The EO directs the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency to collaborate on common sense regulations and to develop awareness and education programs to gain acceptance of new technologies by consumers and global trading partners.

"The United States is falling behind countries such as Canada, Brazil and China that have established regulatory frameworks conducive to investment in the development of gene editing," said Herring. "We are hopeful that this executive order breaks the FDA's current grip on gene editing so a regulatory framework can be established at the USDA to ensure that American farmers – not our competitors in foreign markets – realize its vast potential."

The FDA continues to advance a regulatory framework for gene edited livestock that runs counter to today's executive order. Despite no statutory requirement, the FDA currently holds regulatory authority over gene editing in food-producing animals. FDA oversight will treat any gene edited animal as a living animal drug – and every farm raising them a drug manufacturing facility – undermining U.S. agricultural competitiveness relative to other countries with more progressive gene editing regulatory policies.

NPPC will launch a new campaign, Keep America First in Agriculture, later this month to broaden awareness and understanding of gene editing's promise for livestock agriculture.

Secretary Perdue Statement on Disaster and Trade-Related Assistance

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued the following statement on disaster and trade-related assistance:

“Whether it’s because of natural disasters or unfair retaliatory tariffs, farmers across the country are facing significant challenges and tough decisions on their farms and ranches. Last month, immediately upon China reneging on commitments made during the trade talks, President Trump committed USDA to provide up to $16 billion to support farmers as they absorb some of the negative impact of unjustified retaliation and trade disruption. In addition, President Trump immediately signed into law the long-awaited disaster legislation that provides a lifeline to farmers, ranchers, and producers dealing with extensive damage to their operations caused by natural disasters in 2018 and 2019.

“Given the size and scope of these many disasters, as well as the uncertainty of the final size and scope of this year’s prevented planting acreage, we will use up to $16 billion in support for farmers and the $3 billion in disaster aid to provide as much help as possible to all our affected producers.

“I have been out in the country this spring and visited with many farmers. I know they’re discouraged, and many are facing difficult decisions about what to do this planting season or if they’ve got the capital to stay in business, but they shouldn’t wait for an announcement to make their decisions. I urge farmers to plant for the market and plant what works best on their farm, regardless of what type of assistance programs USDA is able to provide.

“In the coming weeks, USDA will provide information on the Market Facilitation Program payment rates and details of the various components of the disaster relief legislation. USDA is not legally authorized to make Market Facilitation Program payments to producers for acreage that is not planted. However, we are exploring legal flexibilities to provide a minimal per acre market facilitation payment to folks who filed prevent plant and chose to plant an MFP-eligible cover crop, with the potential to be harvested and for subsequent use of those cover crops for forage.”


For frequently asked questions regarding the USDA Risk Management Agency’s prevented planting policy and losses resulting from floods, please visit, here. For several frequently asked questions regarding how USDA will treat prevented planting acres with regard to the recently announced 2019 Market Facilitation Program and 2018/2019 disaster relief legislation, see below.

1. What is the purpose of the Market Facilitation Program? What is the legal authority?
    The Market Facilitation Program (MFP) assists farmers with the additional costs of adjusting to disrupted markets, dealing with surplus commodities, and expanding and developing new markets at home and abroad, consistent with the authorities of the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) Charter Act.

2. Last year, soybeans had the highest MFP payment per bushel, should I plant soybeans this year to get the highest payment if I have the opportunity?
    You should plant what works best for your operation and what you would plant in any other year, absent any assistance from USDA. 2019 MFP assistance is based on a single county payment rate multiplied by a farm’s total plantings to the MFP-eligible crops (outlined below) in aggregate in 2019. Those per acre payments are not dependent on which of those crops are planted in 2019, and therefore will not distort planting decisions. Your total payment-eligible plantings cannot exceed your total 2018 plantings.
    2019 MFP-eligible non-specialty crops: alfalfa hay, barley, canola, corn, crambe, dry peas, extra-long staple cotton, flaxseed, lentils, long grain and medium grain rice, millet, mustard seed, dried beans, oats, peanuts, rapeseed, rye, safflower, sesame seed, small and large chickpeas, sorghum, soybeans, sunflower seed, temperate japonica rice, triticale, upland cotton, and wheat.
    2019 MFP-eligible specialty crops: tree nuts, fresh sweet cherries, cranberries, and fresh grapes.

3. My fields never dried out enough to get any crop in, do I get a 2019 Market Facilitation Program payment?
    No, USDA does not have the legal authority to make MFP payments to producers for acreage that is not planted. To qualify for a 2019 MFP payment, you must have planted a 2019 MFP-eligible crop. Producers unable to plant their crop should work with their crop insurance agent to file a claim.

4. I filed a prevented planting claim and I am going to plant a cover crop to prevent erosion, does that count for 2019 MFP if it’s on the 2019 MFP-eligible list you announced in May?
    If you choose to plant a cover crop with the potential to be harvested, because of this year’s adverse weather conditions, you may qualify for a minimal amount of 2019 MFP assistance. You must still comply with your crop insurance requirements to remain eligible for any indemnities received.

5. I heard that I could get 90% of my crop insurance guarantee as a prevented planting payment through the disaster bill, is that true?
    The Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act of 2019 gives the USDA the authority to compensate losses caused by prevented planting in 2019 up to 90%. While the authority exists, USDA must operate within finite appropriations limits. It is highly unlikely that the supplemental appropriation will support that level of coverage in addition to crop insurance. Congress appropriated $3.005 billion in assistance for a wide array of losses resulting from disasters throughout 2018 and 2019, requiring USDA to prioritize how it is allocated. The Department plans to provide assistance on prevented planting losses within the confines of our authority.

6. If I plant a second crop or cover crop, can I still get my full prevented planting payment? What about an MFP payment?
    You must comply with crop insurance requirements to remain eligible for a full prevented planting indemnity. USDA encourages you to visit with your crop insurance agent to ensure you are aware of those various options for your operation. If you choose to plant a cover crop with the potential to be harvested, because of this year’s adverse weather conditions, you may qualify for a minimal amount of 2019 MFP assistance.

7. I have heard that only acreage in a declared disaster area will qualify for prevented planting under the Disaster Relief Act. Is that true?
    USDA is currently evaluating the new authority provided under the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act of 2019. However, it is generally true that producers with qualifying losses in a Secretarial or Presidentially-declared disaster area will be eligible for Disaster Relief Act assistance. Producers with qualifying losses outside of those areas will have eligibility determined on a case-by-case basis.

8. I have a revenue protection policy with a ‘harvest price option’, do I get the higher of the projected price or harvest price for my prevented planting payment?
    The Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act of 2019 gives the USDA the authority to compensate losses caused by prevented planting in 2019 and also provides additional authority to compensate producers on the higher of the projected price or harvest price. USDA is currently exploring legal flexibility to provide assistance that better utilizes the harvest price in conjunction with revenue and prevent planting policies.

9. If I am prevented from planting but manage to get a cover crop or a forage in the ground, am I able to hay or graze that prior to November 1, given the forage shortage we’re going to experience?
    USDA encourages you to visit with your crop insurance agent to ensure you are aware of those various prevented planting, cover crop, and harvest options for your operation. USDA is currently reviewing the prevented planting restrictions in the Federal Crop Insurance Act to determine what options may be available to address this and other issues. Further clarity regarding this haying and grazing date will be forthcoming.

10. What if I don’t have crop insurance? How do MFP and disaster relief programs work for me if I’m prevented from planting due to natural disasters?
    Crop insurance is not required to qualify for 2019 MFP assistance. However, USDA requires that a producer plant a 2019 MFP-eligible crop to qualify for the 2019 MFP assistance.
    If you choose to plant a cover crop with the potential to be harvested, because of this year’s adverse weather conditions, you may qualify for a minimal amount of 2019 MFP assistance.
    The Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act of 2019 gives the USDA the authority to compensate losses caused by prevented planting in 2019. Producers with qualifying losses in a Secretarial or Presidentially-declared disaster area will be eligible for Disaster Relief Act assistance. Producers with qualifying losses outside of those areas will have eligibility determined on a case-by-case basis.

U.S. Pork Producers Seek Main Course, Not Crumbs

Expanding U.S. export markets is vital to the success of American pork producers, but trade disputes with some of our top markets, most notably China, are hampering growth and have caused severe financial harm to U.S. hog farmers, National Pork Producers Council Vice President and Counsel of Global Government Affairs Nick Giordano said today at a Global Business Dialogue event in Washington, D.C.

"Mostly because of free trade agreements, the United States is the leading global exporter of pork. As a result, U.S. pork is an attractive candidate for trade retaliation. America's hog farmers – and many other sectors of U.S. agriculture – have been at the tip of the trade retaliation spear for more than a year," Giordano explained to the briefing at the National Press Club.

While Mexico's 20 percent retaliatory tariff on U.S. pork was recently lifted, America's producers still face a stifling 62 percent tariff into China. There are enormous trade opportunities with China, especially to help offset reduced domestic production due to African swine fever (ASF), a pig-only disease with no vaccine treatment that poses no human health or food safety risks, but that is almost always fatal for hogs, Giordano noted.  ASF has spread to every province in China, other parts of Asia and in Europe.

Giordano said NPPC is working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Customs and Border Protection to strengthen biosecurity at our borders and on our farms to prevent its spread to the United States.

"We have always known that China holds more potential than any market in the world for increased U.S. pork sales. But, today, because of African swine fever, that potential is off the charts, offering the single greatest sales opportunity in our industry's history," said Giordano. "China needs reliable suppliers of pork now, and likely, well into the future. The question U.S. hog farmers are asking: 'Will we get the main course, or will we get the crumbs off the table?'"

"For most of the last year, the U.S. pork industry has the dubious distinction of being on three retaliation lists: China and Mexico related to U.S. actions under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 and China in response to U.S. tariffs imposed under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974," Giordano said. Last year, Mexico was the industry's largest volume market and China was the third top market by volume, although punitive tariffs imposed by those two countries have cost U.S. pork producers $2.5 billion over the last year.

"U.S. pork production costs are among the lowest in the world with safety and quality that are second to none. But for the retaliatory duties, the United States would be in a perfect position to take advantage of this massive import surge in the world's largest pork-consuming nation and single handedly put a huge dent in the U.S. trade imbalance with China," Giordano said. Instead, Chinese pork buyers are reaching out to those in Europe, Canada and Brazil for supplies. "What should have been a time of enormous prosperity and growth for U.S. pork producers and their suppliers will instead fuel jobs, profits and rural development for our competitors," he noted.

"U.S. hog farmers understand the challenges faced by this administration in recalibrating U.S. trade policy toward China. The issues are myriad and complex. Moreover, hog farmers appreciate the farmer aid packages that the administration has put forward," Giordano continued. "However, the China pork tariff needs to be lifted."

Producer Comments Needed for USDA Study on Payment Protection

When a livestock dealer’s check bounces, should the farmer or rancher who raised the cattle be able to get them back?

USDA wants to hear from the livestock industry regarding potential changes to priority in livestock dealer default situations. The comment period is open through June 24.

While most people agree producers should be entitled to repossess livestock they sold and have not been paid for, too many sellers have learned the hard way that is not usually allowed under current law. Often times, when a dealer fails to pay, that dealer’s bank takes first priority in the cattle. The Eastern Livestock default in 2010 is the best-known example of this. Eastern owed approximately $112 million to creditors, and many sellers of livestock received less than 5 cents on the dollar from Eastern.

In the 2018 Farm Bill, Congress directed USDA to conduct a feasibility study on Dealer Statutory Trust, which has been proposed by members of congress to improve seller recovery. As a part of the study, USDA is seeking public comments.

A Dealer Trust would give unpaid sellers of livestock first priority to reclaim livestock. If the livestock are resold, to a feedyard for example, the buyer would still take clear title of the livestock as they do today. In this situation, the money the feedyard paid the dealer would be the trust assets held for the unpaid seller.

Modeled after the existing Packer Statutory Trust, a Dealer Trust would provide recovery in addition to the current USDA required bonds, which average a return on claims of only 5-15 cents on the dollar. A Dealer Trust would not create a separate pool of funds or mandate changes in day-to-day business.

LMA supports a Dealer Trust and encourages the whole livestock industry to participate in the USDA comment period. Producers selling through a livestock auction market are paid for their consignments through the market’s federally required custodial account regardless of if the market receives payment from the buyer. When there is a default in these situations, instead of making a small commission for their selling services, the market ends up like the ranchers who sold to the defaulting dealer directly: unpaid for the full price of the cattle.

Other organizations that support Dealer Trust, giving unpaid sellers priority in livestock and related proceeds/receivables, include National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA), American Sheep Industry (ASI), and numerous state producer groups.

To learn more, visit To submit a comment to USDA by June 24, go to

News release: Farmer Co-ops Urge Congress to Support USMCA Passage

The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives and nearly 200 farmer co-ops and cooperatively-owned Farm Credit Associations joined with over 950 agribusinesses and farm groups urging Congress to support a swift ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

“Over the past two and a half decades, America’s ag co-ops and their farmer-owners have seen tremendous benefits from increasing their exports to our two closest trading partners, Canada and Mexico. These relationships have provided producers with markets for their products, helped grow rural economies and employed hundreds of thousands of Americans far beyond the farm gate,” said Chuck Conner, president and CEO of NCFC. “USMCA builds on and updates this success.”

In particular, USMCA would enhance standards for biotechnology, reduce trade distorting policies, modernize sanitary and phytosanitary standards using a science-based approach, improve grading standards, and strengthen protections for commonly-used food names.

“With many farmers across the U.S. facing a challenging growing season so far this year, USMCA will provide an important source of certainty in a climate where that commodity is in short supply,” continued Conner. “We urge the leadership of the House and Senate to move quickly to bringing up the agreement once it is formally submitted and encourage all members of Congress to support passage of USMCA.”

More than 950 food and ag groups urge prompt congressional ratification of USMCA

Nearly 1,000 broad-based organizations representing U.S. food and agriculture today called on Congress to swiftly ratify the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

In a letter sent to Congress, more than 950 groups representing the U.S. food and agriculture value chain at the national, state and local levels called on Congress to support ratification of USMCA. The letter reiterates that USMCA will benefit the U.S. agriculture and food industry while providing consumers an abundant supply of safe, high-quality human and animal food at competitive prices.

“This trade accord improves market access for several U.S. agricultural products and contains significant improvements that will facilitate more seamless cross-border trade, particularly between the United States and Mexico,” said NGFA President and Chief Executive Officer Randy Gordon. “Specifically, for the grain and oilseed sector, the accord contains provisions that will facilitate more timely resolution of sanitary and phytosanitary issues that may arise in cross-border shipments, and will do so in a science-based manner in accordance with World Trade Organization protocols and existing international conventions. Further, the agricultural biotechnology provisions will encourage regulatory coherence among all three countries. 

“In every respect, USMCA preserves or builds upon current market access for U.S agricultural products and will facilitate more efficient cross-border trade between all three countries,” Gordon said. “And its speedy ratification is absolutely essential if the United States is to be viewed as a reliable partner in negotiating much-needed future trade agreements with Japan and other countries that are so important to U.S. agriculture and our nation’s economic growth and job creation.”

Over the last 25 years, U.S. food and agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico have more than quadrupled under USMCA’s predecessor – the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) – growing from $9 billion in 1993 to nearly $40 billion in 2018 and helping to support more than 900,000 American jobs in food and agriculture and related sectors of the U.S. economy. USMCA builds on the success of NAFTA and is projected to deliver an additional $2.2 billion in U.S. economic activity.  One in four U.S. manufacturing jobs already are attributable to agriculture.

The International Trade Commission’s recent independent report on USMCA confirmed that the agreement will improve market access for U.S. farmers, ranchers, food producers and agribusinesses, as well as positively affect both the U.S. agriculture sector and the broader national economy. 

CWT-assisted sales top 600 million pounds milk equivalent

The 38 contracts Cooperatives Working Together member cooperatives secured in May added 1.9 million pounds of American-type cheeses, 654,773 pounds of butter, 632,727 pounds of cream cheese, and 6.8 million pounds of whole milk powder to CWT-assisted sales in 2018 bringing total milk equivalent for the year to 604 million pounds on a milkfat basis.

These products will go customers in Asia, Central and South America, the Middle East, and North Africa. The product will be shipped May through September.

CWT-assisted 2019 dairy product sales contracts total 26.1 million pounds of cheese, 4.6 million pounds of butter, 2.6 million pounds of cream cheese and 30.2 million pounds of whole milk powder. All this product is scheduled to ship in the first nine month of 2019.

A thriving dairy export sector is critical to the growth and viability of dairy farmers and their cooperatives across the country.  Whether or not a cooperative is actively engaged in exporting cheese, butter, anhydrous milkfat, cream cheese, pasteurized process cheese, or whole milk powder, the growth potential in world markets is greater that domestic sales. CWT provides a means to move domestic dairy products to overseas markets by helping to overcome U.S. dairy’s trade disadvantages.

The amounts of dairy products and related milk volumes reflect current contracts for delivery, not completed export volumes. CWT will pay export assistance to the bidders only when export and delivery of the product is verified by the submission of the required documentation.

USDA Data Shows Fourth Month of DMC Payments

USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) has reported milk and feed prices that peg the April 2019 margin under the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program at $8.96 per cwt, which would generate a payment that month of $0.54 per cwt for producers who purchase coverage for 2019 at the DMC maximum level of $9.50 per cwt, for up to 5 million pounds of production history. All four months announced so far this year will generate DMC payments at the maximum coverage level, with program signup set to begin June 17.

The DMC margin for April was just $0.11 per cwt higher than the March margin. The April milk price was $0.20 per cwt higher than a month earlier, and the DMC feed cost was up $0.09 per cwt from March. A sharp rise in the price of alfalfa hay from March to April more than offset slightly lower prices for corn and soybean meal.

As of June 5, USDA’s DMC Decision Tool, which can be accessed online, projected margins that would generate payments that average $0.45 per cwt., which is net payment to farmers after estimated 6.5 percent cut to payments because of government sequestration, for all of 2019 to producers who sign up for $9.50 per cwt coverage on up to 5 million pounds of production history. This would return $0.30 per cwt. after payment of the $0.15 per cwt premium for coverage at this level.

USDA has announced that signups for the 2019 DMC will begin on June 17.

NMPF Applauds Passage of H-2A Amendment Aiding Dairy Farmers

National Milk Producers Federation President and CEO Jim Mulhern

“We greatly appreciate the work of Reps. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) and Dan Newhouse (R-WA) on behalf of America’s dairy producers to include year-round employees on farms in the H-2A farm worker visa program.

“The Cuellar-Newhouse amendment to the Homeland Security Appropriations bill would allow farm employers to use the H-2A visa program to hire foreign workers, regardless of whether those employees are engaged in temporary or seasonal work. NMPF and members of its Immigration Task Force have worked on this proposal, which is similar to language offered in the past by Rep. Newhouse and supported by Rep. Cuellar, so that dairy farmers can better use the H-2A visa program to fill year-round needs for year-round workers.

“Dairy farmers have largely have not been able to use H-2A visas because the current program restricts them only to the temporary and seasonal labor needs of agricultural employers. The current H-2A program simply isn’t an option for a commodity that ‘harvests’ its product multiple times a day, every day.

“Creating an additional legal pathway for workers to connect with farm employers deserves bipartisan support, and the history of this legislation shows such support is readily available. It is critical that the government creates a system that provides secure, legal employment. We thank lawmakers for their efforts toward achieving this goal.”

River Levels Continue to Reduce Barge Traffic

Continued rain events, and subsequent highwater, have continued to reduce the amount of barged grain on the Mississippi River and its tributaries. So far this year, 13,194 barges of grain have been unloaded at ports on the lower Mississippi River. This is 15 percent fewer than last year, and 13 percent below the 3-year average.

Year-to-date tonnages of down-bound grain, at locking portions of the Mississippi, Ohio, and Arkansas Rivers, were 10 million tons, 29 percent lower than last year, and 35 percent lower than the 3-year average.

Upper Mississippi River Locks 12-27 (from Illinois-Wisconsin boarder to St. Louis) are closed due to flooding conditions.

St. Louis Harbor is closed until the river level recedes below 38 feet, which is not expected to occur until mid-June.

Mississippi River levels at St. Louis are expected to crest at 45.3 feet on June 7, 4.3 feet lower than the record level of 49.6 feet set on August 1, 1993.

The Arkansas River is closed due to high water. Barge traffic on the lower Mississippi River has been disrupted by reduced tow sizes and transit being restricted under certain bridges to daylight hours only.

Brookside Agra Develops Runt-Rescue Nutrient Supplement for Weak, Newborn Piglets

Brookside Agra has developed a fast-acting, nutrient supplement that gives weak, newborn piglets a much-needed energy boost and a chance at survival. 

Given right after birth to weak, cold piglets with a birth weight below two pounds, liquid Runt-Rescue™ helps to reduce mortality in large litters, prevents weak piglets from starving and provides small piglets with the energy boost they need to find and secure a teat for suckling.

"We have witnessed first-hand the rejuvenating effects that our Runt-Rescue has on weak piglets that would otherwise perish as a result of their condition. Our supplement gives them a quick boost of nutrients to put them on the right track to health and vigor," said Tim Nelson, Brookside Agra Vice President – Animal Health & Nutrition Sales. "Developing products that improve animal performance with no harmful side effects is at the forefront of Brookside Agra's research."

Runt-Rescue contains hyper immunized egg powder which contains egg-based antibodies derived from hens strategically vaccinated with specific antigens over time. This ingredient in Runt-Rescue helps to fend off such intestinal pathogens such as rotavirus, coronavirus, E. coli and salmonella.

Runt-Rescue also contains the following ingredients:
    Vitamins A, D & E - plays a vital role in bone growth and immune system health
    Selenium - an important trace mineral promoting a healthy immune system
    MDFA rich fats - highly digestible energy boosters
    Sunflower and coconut oil - contains high amounts of protein and carbohydrates for energy, helps to strengthen bones and muscles and the immune system
    Caffeine - increases energy and stamina

Runt-Rescue is available for purchase online at

Farmer Finalists Announced in Power to Do More Contest

Farmers across the United States work hard to grow healthy crops, families and communities. Corteva Agriscience wants to recognize these farmers and give them the power to do more in their hometowns. Ten farmer finalists are now competing in the Power to Do More contest. The grand prize is a $10,000 donation from the corn herbicides of Corteva to the winner’s chosen local nonprofit organization.

Hundreds of farmers submitted entries. The 10 finalists showed creativity and commitment to growing a stronger community in their photo and story about the power on their farm. The finalist with the most votes on will win. Voting is open to all and closes July 8. In addition to the grand prize, two farmers will win second-place prizes of $5,000 each for their selected nonprofit organizations.

“The hundreds of submissions we received in this year’s contest proved that farmers are some of the most creative, caring and hardworking community leaders,” said Lyndsie Kaehler, U.S. Corn Herbicides Product Manager, Corteva Agriscience. “We are so proud to tell the stories of farmers who have extraordinary passion for their communities.”

The 10 finalists, representing a range of farming operations across eight states, and their selected nonprofits are:
     ─ Kara Boughton of Marshall, Michigan, is supporting East Jackson Elementary School.
     ─ Misty DeDonder of Admire, Kansas, is supporting the North Lyon County FFA – High School Greenhouse Project.
     ─ Lynn Heins of Rockwood, Illinois, is supporting Annie’s Project – Education for Farm Women.
     ─ Dave LaCrosse of Kewaunee, Wisconsin, is supporting Peninsula Pride Farms.
     ─ Rhonda Leonard of Logan, Iowa, is supporting the Kellen Morrison Memorial Scholarship Fund.
     ─ Scott Slepikas of Huron, South Dakota, is supporting the Center for Independence of Huron.
     ─ Darrel Springer of Oak, Nebraska, is supporting the Sandy Creek High School FFA.
     ─ Chris Staudt of Kanawha, Iowa, is supporting the Kanawha Fire Department.
     ─ Marsha Strom of Dahinda, Illinois, is supporting the Williamsfield FFA Alumni & Friends.
     ─ Susan Zody of Kokomo, Indiana, is supporting Narrow Gate Horse Ranch.

The Power to Do More contest is in its third year of helping farming communities across the country. Corteva is proud to support farmers through this contest and with a lineup of corn herbicides dedicated to delivering the power to do more every season. With Resicore® , SureStart® II, DuPont™ Realm® Q, DuPont™ Cinch® ATZ and Keystone® NXT herbicides, farmers can effectively control and spend less time worrying about unwanted, yield-robbing weeds.

To vote for your favorite 2019 finalist, head to now. You can vote daily through July 8. Make sure to get your friends and family to vote too!

Sweet Leaf Tea Partners with Luke Bryan to Honor

Sweet Leaf Tea has announced its partnership with American Idol judge and country music megastar Luke Bryan for his 2019 Farm Tour, an annual event that uses music to salute the farmers who work behind the scenes to bring food to America's store shelves, restaurants, and dinner tables.

Founded in Austin, Texas over 20 years ago, Sweet Leaf Tea features a lineup of iced teas and lemonades made from all-natural, organic ingredients, making the company an ideal partner to honor the efforts of local farmers. Sweet Leaf products are known for their homemade flavor and for Mimi, the smiling, grey-haired grandmother featured on every label.

As the son of a Georgia peanut farmer, Luke has made it his mission to raise awareness about the hard-working farmers who provide the country with safe, affordable, and nutritious food. Out of this mission came his annual Farm Tour, where he brings live concerts to small farming towns that don't have music venues large enough to accommodate large concerts.

"The idea behind this tour is to bring full production concerts to small towns that would not see larger scale shows," shared Luke. "Growing up in rural Georgia we had to drive to larger cities to see concerts. It is so exciting to watch each of these shows being built like a small city in itself in the empty pasture land of these farms. We can feel the pride from the people in these towns as well as the farmers and it takes everyone coming together to pull them off!!"

Luke has been bringing these one-night-only concerts to farms around the U.S. since the tour's inception in 2009. Every year, the hashtag #HeresToTheFarmer has generated gigantic buzz about the campaign, with meals donated to food banks for every hashtag share. In addition to raising awareness about the country's farmers and helping feed hungry people, the Farm Tour also provides college scholarships to students from farming families who are attending the local college or university near each tour stop.

Bayer is also proud to be sponsoring the 2019 tour and continuing its
#HeresToTheFarmer campaign. Every time the #HeresToTheFarmer hashtag is shared, Bayer will donate a meal to a hungry American through Feeding America®.

Visit to learn more about how this campaign has resulted in close to 3 million meals being donated to food banks and local farmers in tour cities over the past few years.

"Sweet Leaf couldn't be more thrilled to partner with Luke Bryan for this year's Farm Tour," said Bill Meissner, CEO of Dunn's River Brands, the parent company of Sweet Leaf Tea. "For years, Sweet Leaf has been dedicated to creating products that are organic, authentic, and delicious - and none of this would be possible without the farmers who supply companies like ours with the high-quality ingredients that help make tea-drinking fans happy. We're excited to support and bring attention to the wonderful work local U.S. farmers do to nourish our families."

Each year, over 100,000 fans have attended shows on the tour, and 2019 is expected to be the most exciting yet.

Tickets for Bayer Presents Luke Bryan Farm Tour 2019 are available at

Bayer Presents Luke Bryan Farm Tour 2019
9/26      Marshall, WI                  Statz Bros. Farm
9/27      Richland, MI                  Stafford Farms
9/28      Pleasantville, OH           Miller Family Farms
10/3      Louisburg, KS               MC Farms
10/4      Douglass, KS                Flying B Ranch
10/5      Norman, OK                 Adkins Farm

The tour is sponsored by Bayer, Sweet Leaf Tea, TRACKER OFF ROAD, Citi, and Monster Energy.

June 10 Crop Progress & Condition Report - NE - IA - US

For the week ending June 9, 2019, there were 4.6 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 0 percent very short, 1 short, 79 adequate, and 20 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 0 percent very short, 0 short, 82 adequate, and 18 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn condition rated 1 percent very poor, 3 poor, 19 fair, 69 good, and 8 excellent. Corn planted was 94 percent, behind 100 last year and 99 for the five-year average. Emerged was 80 percent, behind 96 last year and 95 average.

Soybeans planted was 79 percent, behind 97 last year and 94 average. Emerged was 55 percent, well behind 91 last year and 80 average.

Winter wheat condition rated 2 percent very poor, 5 poor, 24 fair, 50 good, and 19 excellent. Winter wheat headed was 69 percent, behind 86 last year, and well behind 89 average.

Sorghum planted was 54 percent, well behind 90 last year and 85 average.

Oats condition rated 1 percent very poor, 5 poor, 24 fair, 62 good, and 8 excellent. Oats emerged was 89 percent, behind 98 last year and 99 average. Headed was 24 percent, well behind 53 last year and 50 average.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 0 percent very poor, 1 poor, 12 fair, 71 good, and 16 excellent.


Iowa farmers finally got the dryer weather they were looking for with 5.2 days suitable for fieldwork statewide during the week ending June 9, 2019, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. This is the first time this season farmers had more than 5.0 days suitable for field work. This allowed farmers to plant corn and soybeans, cut hay, and spray fields with nitrogen.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 0 percent very short, 1 percent short, 73 percent adequate and 26 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 0 percent very short, 0 percent short, 67 percent adequate and 33 percent surplus.

Ninety-three percent of the expected corn crop has been planted, over two weeks behind last year and almost 3 weeks behind the 5-year average. Seventy-three percent of the crop has emerged, over two weeks behind last year and average. Corn condition rated 58 percent good to excellent.

Nearly one-third of the expected soybean crop was planted this past week. Iowa soybean growers now have 70 percent of the expected crop planted, 17 days behind last year and average. Thirty-five percent of the crop has emerged, over two weeks behind last year and average.

Nearly all of the oats crop has emerged with 18 percent of the crop headed, 1 week behind last year and 8 days behind average. Oat condition rated 63 good to excellent.

Nearly one-third of the State’s first cutting of alfalfa hay was cut this past week. However, at 35 percent complete statewide, the first cutting is behind last year by 10 days and 8 days behind average. Hay condition improved to 63 percent good to excellent.

Pasture condition rated 66 percent good to excellent, also an improvement. There was little stress on livestock this past week, but feedlots remain muddy.

USDA: Corn Planting 83% Complete; 59% Good to Excellent

Several days of drier weather -- at least in some parts of the Corn Belt -- helped corn planting progress jump another 16 percentage points last week, according to the latest USDA NASS Crop Progress report released on Monday. NASS estimated that, as of Sunday, June 9, corn planting had reached 83% complete, up from 67% the previous week thanks to big increases in several of the largest corn-producing states. That put planting progress 16 percentage points behind both last year and the five-year average of 99%.

An estimated 62% of corn was emerged as of Sunday, 31 percentage points behind the five-year average of 93%. That was an improvement from last Monday's report when emergence was 38 percentage points behind average.  In its first corn condition rating of the season, USDA estimated that 59% of corn that was emerged was in good-to-excellent condition, down from 77% a year ago.

Soybean planting progress also saw a substantial jump last week due to the drier weather. As of Sunday, an estimated 60% of the crop was planted, up 21 percentage points from 39% the previous week. Progress was still 32 percentage points behind last year's 92% and 28 percentage points behind the five-year average of 88%. In last week's report, soybean planting was 40 percentage points behind average.

Nationwide, 34% of soybeans were emerged, 39 percentage points behind the average of 73%.

Spring wheat growers had nearly caught up to the average planting pace last week. NASS estimated that 97% of spring wheat was planted as of Sunday, just 2 percentage points behind the five-year average of 99%. Spring wheat emerged, at 85%, was 8 percentage points behind the five-year average of 93%.

Spring wheat condition for the portion of the crop that was emerged was rated 81% good to excellent, down 2 percentage points from 83% the previous week. The current good-to-excellent rating is the highest for the crop at this time of year since 2010.

Winter wheat was 83% headed as of Sunday, behind last year's 90% and 8 percentage points behind the five-year average of 91%. The first national winter wheat harvest progress report of the season showed 4% of the crop harvested, behind 13% last year and also behind the average of 10%. Harvest took place mainly in North Carolina, Texas and Arkansas.

USDA estimated that 64% of winter wheat was in good-to-excellent condition as of Sunday, unchanged from 64% the previous week.

Sorghum was 49% planted, compared to 77% last year and a five-year average of 68%. Fourteen percent of sorghum was headed. Oats were 96% planted as of June 9, compared to 99% last year and an average of 99%. Oats emerged were at 87%, compared to 94% last year and an average of 97%.

Cotton planting was 75% complete, compared to 88% last year and the average of 87%. Cotton squaring, at 11%, was equal to the average pace of 11%. Rice was 96% planted, compared to 100% last year and an average of 99%. Eighty-seven percent of rice was emerged, compared to 99% last year and an average of 96%.

Monday June 10 Ag News

Eastern Nebraska Wheat, Pulse and Double Crop Field Day June 18 
Nathan Mueller - NE Extension Educator

A more diverse crop rotation can play a fundamental role in managing yield-limiting factors. Additionally, intensification (i.e., double cropping) of the current cropping system to leverage moisture and sunlight along with potential long-term soil health benefits is an area of growing interest and challenge for researchers, agronomists, and producers.

Consumers and end-users are becoming more interested in quality, nutrient density, and where and how their food is produced, all at an affordable cost. As a result, the inaugural eastern Nebraska wheat, pulse crop, and double crop field day was held in 2018. Over 100 crop growers, cattle producers, crop consultants, industry reps, university staff, and others attended the field day last year.

Join Nebraska Extension and sponsors again in 2019 as we learn more together about producing winter wheat, pulse crops, and double crops in the eastern Nebraska cropping system. Keep reading to learn more about what field research demonstrations are in place and what we will be viewing and discussing as a group.

2019 Eastern Nebraska Wheat, Pulse, and Double Crop Field Day

When: Tuesday, June 18 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Registration with coffee and donuts from 8:30 to 9:00 am. If you can’t attend all day, no problem, come when you can!

Where: Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center (ENREC) at 1071 County Road G, Ithaca in Saunders County

Pre-register for lunch: The field day is free, but we ask you to please pre-register by Friday, June 14 for lunch. We want to make sure we have enough food. Pre-register at

Winter Wheat – Trials and Demonstrations

Winter wheat variety selection is the most important factor driving yield in eastern Nebraska, causing as much as an 18-bushel-per-acre difference. That’s why the University of Nebraska conducts third-party variety trials at five locations (Clay, Jefferson, Lancaster, Saunders, and Washington counties) each year in eastern Nebraska. Attendees at this field day and tour can view 25 varieties, learning about the important traits of each variety, and get a look at new varieties for fall 2019 planting.

The second most important factor driving yield is disease management. Attendees will be able to see disease symptoms in the field, learn how to identify those diseases, and management strategies for common diseases such as leaf and stripe rust, bacterial leaf streak, and Fusarium head blight.

Nitrogen and sulfur fertility for winter wheat are critical to both yield and grain quality. Attendees will be able to see new research being conducted on nitrogen rate (0%, 25%, 50%, 75%, 100%, and 125% of recommended nitrogen) and time of application (fall, spring, and split application). Additional research on how the nitrogen-sulfur interaction impacts grain quality will also be discussed. Attendees will be able to watch an active drone and sensor demonstration at the wheat fertility study location, part of these new research studies.

Pulse Crops – Trials and Discussion

What are pulse crops? Attendees will visit the variety trials and demonstrations of cool-season legumes, including field peas and lentils at the 2019 field day (Figure 4). As a new crop in eastern Nebraska, there is a lot to learn about growing pulses. This is the second year of pulse crop work at the Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center near Mead, so check out last year’s results and come view how the crop is shaping up in 2019.

Double Crops – 2018 Results and 2019 Planning Discussion

There are many ways to capture additional income following wheat and pulse crop harvest in eastern Nebraska. Join us in discussing last year’s results and learn about double crop options and recommendations for 2019. Attendees will learn not just about double crop grain options, but the potential value some double crop forages have for cattle in the operation.

NE Extension Summer Pasture Walk Series

This summer, Nebraska Extension is hosting series of pasture walks across northeast Nebraska the 3rd Tuesday of the month, June – September.  The first event will be held June 18th at 4:00 PM at the Dave Hansen ranch, 51193 875 Rd. Orchard, NE.  Dave will provide a tour of his cow/calf and grass finished operation as well as sharing his personal grazing approach. 

Pasture walks provide an informal setting for attendees to learn about grazing principles, infrastructure options, and management practices from the host and through conversations with other participants. 

Cost to attend is free.  For those interested in staying a bit later a meal will be provided at a cost of $5 per person.  If you are planning on attending please RSVP to the Cedar County Extension office at 402-254-6821 no later than Friday, June 14th.

Agricultural Education Students Receive Scholarships

The Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation awarded 10 scholarships to students enrolled in the Agricultural Education Teaching Program at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln (UNL).

“Each of these 10 students have demonstrated a passion for agriculture and excitement to continue to grow the agricultural education and FFA programs in Nebraska,” said Megahn Schafer, executive director of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation. “We are happy to support scholarships that align with our vison of developing strong agricultural leaders to ensure a bright future for agriculture in Nebraska.”

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

“UNL continues to see an increase in students entering the teaching profession compared to prior to this scholarship program just four years ago.  These teachers are filling a vital need in communities across Nebraska.” said Matt Kreifels, associate professor of practice in agricultural education at UNL. “We sincerely appreciate the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation for supporting these future teachers through this scholarship program.  Farm Bureau, its members, and the Foundation are helping to ensure a strong foundation for the future of agriculture in this state by investing in these young teachers.”

The 10 recipients of the scholarships are:
  - Christy Cooper, Waverly;
  - Aaron Hemme, Fremont;
  - Karlee Johnson, Thurston;

  - Vanessa Knutson, Palmyra;
  - Katie Nolles, Bassett;
  - William O'Brien, Newman Grove;
  - Kara Philips, Bertrand;
  - Alex Stocker, Grand Island;
  - Sheridan Swotek, Lincoln;
  - Monica Wasielewski, Bushnell.

Scholarship recipients were honored at the Nebraska Career Education (NCE) Conference in Kearney, June 5.

At the conference, the Foundation announced a call for applications for the Nebraska Agricultural Education Teacher Retention Program. Current teachers who have existing student loans and are in their first through fifth year of teaching are invited to apply. Applications can be found at and are due July 1.

Nebraska Cooperative Council Education Foundation Awards Nine Scholarships

The Nebraska Cooperative Council Education Foundation (NCCEF) has awarded nine scholarships totaling $21,500 for the 2019/20 academic year to students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources, the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture (NCTA) at Curtis, and the University of Nebraska-Kearney.

The NCCEF scholarship program was initiated for the 1993/94 academic year with funding from voluntary contributions from the agricultural cooperatives which are members of the Nebraska Cooperative Council.  Since the program’s inception, 198 scholarships totaling $220,600 have been awarded.

To be eligible for the scholarships, students must be majoring in agricultural business/economics at UNL, agribusiness or ag production systems at NCTA, or agribusiness at UNK.  Eligibility is restricted to sons or daughters of a parent or legal guardian who has been an active member, director, or employee for at least the prior three years of a cooperative which has been a member in good standing of the Council for at least five years.  Other criteria are used by UNL, NCTA and UNK.

The recipient of a $2,500 NCCEF Scholarship in Honor of Robert C. Andersen is:
✧         Austin Harthoorn, son of Barry & Sue Harthoorn of Ainsworth, will be a senior at UNL majoring in agricultural economics.  The Harthoorn’s are members of Farmers/Ranchers Co-op headquartered in Ainsworth and CVA headquartered in York and customers of Farm Credit Services of America headquartered in Omaha.

The recipients of NCCEF Scholarships in Honor of Michael S. Turner include 6 recipients of $2,500 scholarships at UNL, 1 recipient of a $1,500 scholarship at NCTA, and 1 recipient of a $2,500 scholarship at UNK:
✧         Elizabeth Yrkoski, son of Joseph & Mary Yrkoski of Fullerton, will be a junior at UNL majoring in agricultural economics.  The Yrkoski’s are members of CVA headquartered in York.
✧         Callie Dethlefs, daughter of Gary & Darlene Dethlefs of Rockville, will be a junior at UNL majoring in agribusiness.  The Dethlefs’ are members of Farmers Co-op Assocation headquartered in Ravenna.
✧         Kyle Leners, son of Scott & Laurie Leners of Filley, will be a junior at UNL majoring in agribusiness.  The Leners’ are members of Farmers Cooperative headquartered in Dorchester.
✧         Brent Miller, son of Roy & Sarah Miller of Oakland, will be a senior at UNL majoring in agribusiness.  The Miller’s are members of CVA headquartered in York.
✧         Maria Harthoorn, daughter of Barry & Sue Harthoorn of Ainsworth, will be a sophomore at UNL majoring in agricultural economics.  The Harthoorn’s are members of Farmers/Ranchers Co-op headquartered in Ainsworth and CVA headquartered in York and customers of Farm Credit Services of America headquartered in Omaha.
✧         Valerie Bohuslavsky, daughter of Jeffrey & Dawn Bohuslavsky of David City, will be a freshman at UNL majoring in agribusiness.  The Bohuslavsky’s are members of Frontier Co-op Company headquartered in Brainard, CVA headquartered in York, and Aurora Co-op Elevator Company headquartered in Aurora.
✧         Ethan Aschenbrenner, son of Gary & LaDonna Aschenbrenner of Scottsbluff, will be a 1st year student at NCTA majoring in ag production systems.  The Aschenbrenner’s are members of WESTCO headquartered in Alliance and the Panhandle Co-op Association headquartered in Scottsbluff.
✧         Drew Hofman, son of Brent & Deb Hofman of Indianola, will be a sophomore at UNK majoring in agribusiness.  The Hofman’s are members of Ag Valley Co-op headquartered in Edison and Frenchman Valley Farmers Co-op headquartered in Imperial.

“The Nebraska Cooperative Council Education Foundation is honored to provide students with financial support, allowing them to be able to study agricultural business/economics.  Education is one of the fundamental cooperative principles, and this program continues to be an important part of our efforts to help youth understand the cooperative way of doing business and interest them in pursuing careers in the agricultural industry here in Nebraska,” according to Gerald Schmidt, Foundation Board Chairman.

The purposes of the Nebraska Cooperative Council Education Foundation are to promote and encourage high school graduates to pursue higher education in the agricultural and agribusiness fields through scholarships and the implementation of school-to-work programs with participating Nebraska cooperatives; to encourage high school graduates to remain in Nebraska in agricultural pursuits all of which will result in community betterment; and the preservation of agriculture as a way of life.

National Beef Statement on Iowa Premium

The transaction was completed today and National Beef Packing Company, LLC now owns the Iowa Premium beef processing facility located in Tama, Iowa. This transaction enables National Beef to expand its beef processing operations into the State of Iowa and add over 850 employees to the National Beef family.

More information about National Beef is available at

Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Awards Deadline Extended to June 25

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig and Department of Natural Resources Acting Director Bruce Trautman invite Iowans to nominate families in their communities for the Farm Environmental Leader Award. Farmers who voluntarily take actions, like planting cover crops or installing conservation infrastructure in their fields, are eligible for the award. The deadline to nominate a deserving farmer has been extended to June 25.

To qualify, individuals must make environmental stewardship a priority and incorporate best management practices into their operation. As true stewards of the land, they recognize that improved water quality and soil sustainability reaps benefits that extend beyond their fields to citizens of Iowa and residents even further downstream.

“Iowa farmers do an incredible job feeding and fueling the world in a way that’s sustainable and acknowledges important conservation practices,” said Gov. Reynolds. “They go above and beyond improving water quality and soil sustainability which serves as a model for others to follow.”

“I commend the farmers who have implemented conservation practices that help us achieve the goals outlined in the Nutrient Reduction Strategy,” said Secretary Naig. “The award recipients are leading by example and helping preserve Iowa farm land for the next generation.”

“It is always gratifying to be able to recognize the farmers who are voluntarily leading the way when it comes to protecting our land and waters,” said DNR Acting-Director Trautman. “Being conscientious of our natural resources will ensure a rich legacy for future generations.”

An appointed committee of representatives from both conservation and agricultural groups will review the nominations and select the winners. The recipients will be recognized on Wednesday, Aug. 14 at the Iowa State Fair.

Since the creation of the award in 2012, more than 500 farm families have been recognized. Winners are presented a certificate as well as a yard sign donated by Bayer. The nomination form, a list of previous awardees and other information can be found at

RFA: Welcome to Iowa, Mr. President —And Thank You for Year-Round E15!

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) is excited to help welcome President Donald Trump to Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy, LLC (SIRE) on Tuesday in Council Bluffs, Iowa, to celebrate the elimination of an outdated regulatory barrier that had been stifling competition, increasing gas prices and worsening air pollution.

On May 31, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) completed regulatory changes that finally allow gasoline containing 15% ethanol (E15) to be sold year-round across the country. E15 offers consumers lower costs at the pump, higher octane, and reduced emissions. The EPA announcement was the culmination of a process that began at an October 2018 event, also in Council Bluffs, in which President Trump directed the Agency to implement the regulatory fix before the 2019 summer driving season.

SIRE, an RFA member company, operates a state-of-the-art ethanol biorefinery that produces approximately 130 million gallons of high-octane fuel ethanol per year, along with more than 360,000 tons of nutrient-rich animal feed. Mike Jerke is the company’s President and CEO and represents SIRE on RFA’s Board of Directors.

In anticipation of the president’s visit, RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper stated, “We look forward to joining Mike and the entire SIRE team in welcoming President Trump to America’s heartland, and we thank the President for keeping his promise to remove the unnecessary and ridiculous regulatory barrier that prohibited the summertime use of E15 in most of the country. President Trump understands that ethanol plants like SIRE are important economic engines in rural America, supporting good-paying jobs and bolstering the farm economy. And he knows ethanol reduces prices at the pump, plays a key role in American energy dominance, and helps clean the air we breathe. I can say without hyperbole or exaggeration that without President Trump’s personal interest and advocacy on year-round E15, this critical regulatory reform would not have happened. We are thrilled to have President Trump visit Iowa, so we can personally thank him for his commitment to our nation’s ethanol producers and farmers.”

Jerke added, “It is certainly a high honor to welcome the president of the United States to SIRE. The employees and owners of SIRE are very proud of what we have accomplished here. This plant has helped to revitalize southwest Iowa, providing economic opportunity and a new market for local farmers. The year-round use of E15 will create even more long-term value for our fuel while further lowering prices at the pump. We are grateful for President Trump’s leadership and determination to remove this burdensome regulatory barrier.”

RFA Slams Big Oil Challenge to Trump E15 Rule

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) will file a motion later today to intervene in support of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in response to the American Fuels and Petrochemical Association’s (AFPM) Petition for Review of the recently published rule allowing the year-round use of E15 filed in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. The AFPM’s lawsuit seeks to overturn EPA’s final rule entitled, “Modifications to Fuel Regulations to Provide Flexibility for E15, Modifications to RFS RIN Market Regulations.” The RFA is intervening to support EPA’s E15 rule. 

RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper issued the following statement:

“It was entirely predictable that Big Oil would challenge President Trump’s effort to provide increased competition, consumer choice at the pump, and lower gasoline prices for a higher-octane fuel. But EPA’s legal analysis is sound and is overwhelmingly supported by the public record and a plain reading of the statute. President Trump was correct in calling the regulatory barrier to E15 'unnecessary' and 'ridiculous,' and we greatly appreciate his effort to empower consumers and the American farmer. AFPM’s desperate effort to have the court overturn President Trump’s E15 rule will fail and reflects a callous desire to protect market share at the expense of rural America. The RFA stands with President Trump and consumers across the country who deserve a price break at the pump.”

NBB Applauds Call for Immediate Biodiesel Tax Incentive Extension

Today, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) thanked Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Cheri Bustos (D-IL), Dave Loebsack (D-IA) and 19 other Representatives for urging House leaders to immediately extend the biodiesel tax incentive.

“Biodiesel and renewable diesel represent a sustainable and alternative fuel source that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and supports thousands of green jobs across the country,” the Representatives write.

Kurt Kovarik, NBB’s Vice President of Federal Affairs, added, “On behalf of NBB and its members across the country, thank you to Representatives DeLauro, Bustos and Loebsack for conveying to House leaders the urgency of renewing the biodiesel tax incentive. Biodiesel producers are looking for an immediate resolution to the uncertainty they’ve faced since the start of 2018. The industry needs policy certainty to meet the nation’s goals for low-carbon fuels, green jobs, and cleaner air.”

A copy of the letter is available on Rep. Rosa DeLauro’s website.

The letter to Congressional leaders highlights bipartisan, regionally diverse support for renewing the biodiesel tax incentive. The letter is also signed by Reps. T.J. Cox (D-CA), Cindy Axne (D-IA), Angie Craig (D-MN), Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH), Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), John Larson (D-CT), Jahanna Hayes (D-CT), David Cicilline (D-RI), Jim Langevin (D-RI), Jim Himes (D-CT), Don Bacon (R-NE), Sean Casten (D-IL), Jared Golden (D-ME), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Chris Pappas (D-NH), Joe Courtney (D-CT), Dusty Johnson (R-SD), and Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI).

Biodiesel Industry Gathers to Discuss Tax Incentive, RFS With Capitol Hill Offices

Tomorrow, more than 70 National Biodiesel Board (NBB) members will fan out across the nation’s capital to meet with 130 Congressional offices and discuss the status of the biodiesel tax incentive and the Renewable Fuel Standard. The meetings are part of NBB’s annual member meeting and Washington, DC fly in, which begins this afternoon.

Kurt Kovarik, NBB’s Vice President of Federal Affairs, stated, “Biodiesel and renewable diesel are produced, distributed and used across the United States. The industry supports more than 60,000 jobs across multiple economic sectors. Gathering in Washington each year is important to our members so that they can meet as constituents with their Representatives and Senators. We are hosting a record 130 meetings this year to discuss the uncertainty our industry’s companies and workers along with farmers are facing, due to the biodiesel tax incentive’s lapse and the negative impact of small refinery exemptions on the Renewable Fuel Standard."

Among the 130 confirmed meetings, NBB members will visit the offices of House and Senate leaders, including Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL), Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-NJ), Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN), Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA), Sen. John Thune (R-SD), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Sen. Todd Young (R-IN).

Senators Urge USDA to Expedite Crop Insurance Guidelines

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio joined a bipartisan group of his colleagues in urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to expedite the development of the cover crop guidelines that were established in the 2018 farm bill. As a member of the Farm Bill Conference Committee, Brown helped secure provisions to improve the Crop Insurance Coverage program. Cover crops have been shown to improve soil health, which reduces run-off and protects water quality.

"According to the 2017 Census of Agriculture published last month, between 2012 and 2017, cover crops on average increased 50 percent nationwide, with the Corn Belt states reaching nearly an 80 percent increase, and with five states in the Midwest having more than a 100 percent increase," the senators wrote. "While much progress needs to be achieved across the country in order to reach our cover cropping potential, there has been noteworthy progress to date, and finalization of Section 11107 guidance soon can maintain this momentum."

The senators also requested that haying and grazing of cover crops on prevent plant acres be allowed prior to the current USDA-mandated Nov. 1 harvest date. The senators believe that November 1 is too late to feasibly graze or mechanically harvest forage crops in most northern states, and it discourages planting soil-protecting cover crops on prevent plant acres in these states because harvesting or grazing prior to November 1 results in a reduction in prevent plant payments. An earlier harvest date would provide more equitable treatment for the thousands of producers who are forced to utilize prevent plant this year and would result in soil-building cover crops on substantially more acres.

The letter was led by Sens. John Thune of South Dakota and Dick Durbin of Illinois and was also signed by Sens. Joni Ernst of Iowa, Deb Fischer of Nebraska, John Hoeven of North Dakota, Tina Smith of Minnesota, and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan.

Dairy Farmers – Industry to Congress: Help Us by Passing USMCA

The U.S. dairy industry is urging Congress to quickly ratify the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) with an outreach campaign highlighting the importance of the agreement to the success of America’s dairy farmers and manufacturers.

In a letter sent to representatives of top-producing dairy states, the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC), the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), and the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) detail how provisions of USMCA positively impact the U.S. dairy industry. The timely resolution of ongoing trade disputes and negotiations is critical to growing the dairy sector’s international market share as well as maintaining credibility with U.S. trading partners. Therefore, the dairy community is asking Congress for immediate passage of this important trade agreement.

The organizations write:
“On behalf of the dairy farms and businesses in your district, please pursue a USMCA vote without delay by working to resolve any outstanding issues as swiftly as possible and then quickly ratify the trade deal to send a clear message to the world that America still values fair trade and robust trade partnerships with our allies.”

“Solidifying and expanding trade opportunities abroad through USMCA will improve the prospects of dairy farms here at home,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “In the midst of uncertainty surrounding our trade relationships and yet another year of meager milk prices, the United States lost an average of seven dairy farms a day in 2018. The passage of USMCA will instill a renewed sense of optimism in our dairy farmers.”

With approximately 16 percent of the U.S. milk supply exported annually, strengthening trading relationships and expanding international market opportunities is vital to the financial well-being of the U.S. dairy industry. USMCA preserves U.S. dairy sales to Mexico, the U.S. dairy industry’s largest foreign customer, while increasing market access in Canada and tackling nontariff barriers that can hinder exports.

“It is time for Congress to swiftly pursue a USMCA vote by working closely with the Administration to resolve outstanding concerns and then quickly ratify this agreement to bring USMCA across the finish line,” said Tom Vilsack, president and CEO of USDEC. “The successful resolution of the Section 232 retaliatory tariffs helped pave the way for this critical trade agreement; while we work together to secure its passage Congress must also stand against the imposition of any additional tariffs that could jeopardize forward progress.”

Michael Dykes, President and CEO of the International Dairy Foods Association said, “On behalf of our dairy industry which pumps $620 billion into the U.S. economy each year, we are making a strong appeal to Congress to vote to ratify USMCA now. To pave the way for USMCA ratification, we ask the Administration to restore a market principled approach to trade –transparent, rules-based and predictable for our North American trading partners. The time has come to focus on what’s important to our economy—maintaining American jobs, growing U.S. export markets, and restoring America’s reputation as a reliable supplier.”

Passage of USMCA would bring a much-needed lift to the United States dairy industry with the U.S. International Trade Commission estimating $277 million in increased sales to our North American partners once the agreement is fully implemented.

 House Agriculture Committee Unveils New Website

The House Agriculture Committee unveiled a new website today, featuring a modern, responsive design that works on phones, tablets, and desktops. The new website can be found at the same link:

“I’m proud of our new website, that makes it easier for folks to navigate and find out what the committee is up to,” said Chairman Collin C. Peterson. “We’ve taken a modern approach that works on all devices and with this new platform, the people we fight for are able to find the critical information they need.”

The new site also features rebranded committee imaging as well as links to the committee’s YouTube, Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Summer Heats Up And So Are Brisket Prices

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

Brisket prices are heating up just like summer temperatures. One of the most interesting beef demand trends over the last few years has been the growth in demand for briskets. It's not just new craft bbq joints popping up everywhere in Texas, but even big chains like Arby's jumping in and they all serve brisket.

Briskets used to be an inexpensive beef cut that benefited from long, slow cooking at low temperatures. They are no longer inexpensive. What used to be a very inexpensive cut, the primal brisket is now only behind the primal rib and loin in value. In the last week of May, the comprehensive cutout brisket value was $213.47 per cwt., up 19.4 percent from the same week the year before. Just during May brisket prices jumped from $194.39 to $213.47 by the end of the month. The monthly average price was up 12 percent compared to last year. In comparison, only the primal short plate was up as much as 1 percent and the primal rib and loin were both down about 1 percent from a year ago.

Many top-end bbq joints, called by some craft bbq, working to produce a truly exceptional meal use and advertise USDA Prime or Branded briskets. USDA Prime briskets hit $215.76 per cwt at the end of May and were outpaced by Branded primal briskets that hit $220.82 per cwt. Prime, Branded, and Choice primal briskets are up 21 percent compared to a year ago, while Select and Ungraded are "only" up 17 and 15 percent, respectively.

This is a case where demand is outstripping supply, leading to quickly rising prices. Fed steer and heifer slaughter is up a little less than 2 percent through May compared to last year. Quality grade composition of beef supplies matter. About 8.1 percent of cattle graded, graded Prime in May, compared to 6.9 percent in May 2018. Slightly fewer cattle graded Choice 70.1 percent in May 2019 compared to 70.4 percent in May 2018. Select supplies were down just over a percentage point in May. Increasing steer slaughter and cattle on feed should increase available supplies in coming months.

The future growth rate in the nation's cattle herd will be critical for brisket prices. While we cut many products from other primal beef cuts, a brisket is a brisket (forgive my simple economist description). As herd growth slows and overall cattle prices decline, brisket supply growth won't keep up with current demand growth. It's likely that restaurant prices will rise in response to higher wholesale brisket costs to try to preserve a bit of margin.

Friday June 7 Ag News

Trump Says US, Mexico Reach Agreement to Prevent Tariffs

(AP) -- President Donald Trump says he has suspended plans to impose tariffs on Mexico, tweeting that the country "has agreed to take strong measures" to stem the flow of Central American migrants into the United States.

"I am pleased to inform you that The United States of America has reached a signed agreement with Mexico," Trump tweeted Friday night, saying the "Tariffs scheduled to be implemented by the U.S. on Monday, against Mexico, are hereby indefinitely suspended."

He said Mexico has agreed to work to "stem the tide of Migration through Mexico, and to our Southern Border" and said those steps would "greatly reduce, or eliminate, Illegal Immigration coming from Mexico and into the United States."

According to a "U.S.-Mexico Joint Declaration" released by the State Department late Friday, the U.S. said it will work to greatly expand a program that returns asylum-seekers who cross the southern border to Mexico while their claims are adjudicated.

Mexico has also agreed to take "unprecedented steps to increase enforcement to curb irregular migration," including the deployment of the Mexican National Guard throughout the country, especially on its southern border with Guatemala. And the U.S. said Mexico is also taking "decisive action to dismantle human smuggling and trafficking organizations as well as their illicit financial and transportation networks."

Trump's decision marked a change in tone from earlier Friday, when his spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters in Ireland before Trump took off: "Our position has not changed. The tariffs are going forward as of Monday." Trump has often said unpredictability helps him negotiate.

The 5% tax on all Mexican goods , which would increase every month up to 25% under Trump's plan, would have had enormous economic implications for both countries. Americans bought $378 billion worth of Mexican imports last year, led by cars and auto parts. Many members of Trump's Republican Party and business allies had urged him to reconsider -- or at least postpone actually implementing the tariffs as talks continue -- citing the potential harm to American consumers and manufactures.

U.S. and Mexican officials met for more than 10 hours Friday during a third day of talks at the U.S. State Department trying to hash out a deal that would satisfy Trump's demand that Mexico dramatically increase its efforts to crack down on migrants.

The talks were said to be focused, in part, on attempting to reach a compromise on changes that would make it harder for migrants who pass through Mexico from other countries to claim asylum in the U.S., those monitoring the situation said. Mexico has opposed such a change but appeared open to considering a potential compromise that could include exceptions or waivers for different types of cases.

The joint declaration, however makes no mention of the issue.

Trump in recent months has embraced tariffs as a political tool he can use to force countries to comply with his demands -- in this case on his signature issue of immigration. And he had appeared poised earlier Friday to invoke an emergency declaration that would allow him to put the tariffs into effect if that was his final decision, according to people monitoring the talks.

"If negotiations continue to go well," Trump "can turn that off at some point over the weekend," Marc Short, Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff, told reporters earlier in the day.

Talks had gotten off to a shaky start Wednesday, as the U.S. once again pressed Mexico to step up enforcement on its southern border with Guatemala and to enter into a "safe third country agreement" overhauling its asylum system. But as talks progressed Thursday, U.S. officials began to grow more optimistic, with Short reporting Mexican "receptivity" to potential asylum changes.

In Mexico, President Andrs Manuel Lpez Obrador held out hope during his daily news conference that a deal could be reached before Monday's deadline.

Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard, who said Thursday his country had agreed to deploy 6,000 National Guard troops to its border with Guatemala, tweeted the news late Friday that there would be no "tariff application on Monday."

"Thanks to all the people who have supported us by realizing the greatness of Mexico," he wrote.

Lpez Obrador also tweeted. "Thanks to the support of all Mexicans, the imposition of tariffs on Mexican products exported to the USA has been avoided," he said, calling for a gathering to celebrate in Tijuana Saturday.

Beyond Trump and several White House advisers, few in his administration had believed the tariffs were a good idea, according to officials familiar with internal deliberations. Those people had worried about the negative economic consequences for Americans and argued that tariffs -- which would likely spark retaliatory taxes on U.S. exports -- would also hurt the administration politically.

Republicans in Congress had also warned the White House that they were ready to stand up to the president to try to block his tariffs, which they worried would spike costs to U.S. consumers, harm the economy and imperil a major pending U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade deal.

PVC Summer Tour Details Announced

Boyd Hellbusch, Platte Valley Cattlemen President

Once again, it’s time for our annual Cattlemen’s tour. The date for our local tour is set for June 17, 2019. With this year’s tour being local, we will not need a bus so we ask everyone to drive on their own or set up a carpool with others who will be going on the tour.

This year, we are planning to make three stops. The first will be at RMS just two miles west of Leigh. Ryan recently built a bulk fertilizer plant here. He will walk us around his facility and show us his new and improved way of loading out fertilizer. Ryan’s address is 48303 115 Ave., Leigh, NE, two miles west of Leigh on Hwy. 91, then ½ mile south. We will begin at 1-2 p.m.

Second stop will be at Mark Olmer’s chicken barns north of Humphrey. With all the talk about these big barns going up, we thought it would be good to tour them before the chickens arrive. Mark’s site will hold over 300,000 chickens. Join us at 82236 552 Ave., Humphrey, or from 81/91 junction, go three miles north on 81, one mile west and ½ mile north. We will begin this tour at 2:30-3:30 p.m.

The third and final stop will be at Larson Dairy just north of Creston. Larsons recently put up a new robotic dairy barn. Come see how dairy barns have improved over the years. The Larson address is 50903 190 Avenue, Creston. From the Creston spur on Highway 91, go 1 ½ miles north. This tour is scheduled 4:00-5:00 p.m.

After the tour ends at Larson Dairy, we will go 2.5 miles south of Creston on 190th Avenue and will be eating at Scott Hellbusch’s shop. Come join us for steaks and refreshments sponsored by the businesses listed below and cooked by the Platte Valley Cattlemen.

We want to personally thank those who helped sponsor our tour:
·    3 Jand G Shade, Richland
·    First National Bank
·    Pinnacle Bank

We look forward to seeing you all on June 17th!

USDA Funds Available to Help Improve Wildlife Habitat

Farmers and ranchers interested in improving wildlife habitat on their operations are encouraged to apply now for funding available from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Those interested in receiving funding should apply by July 5, 2019.

Craig Derickson, state conservationist for NRCS in Nebraska said, “Nebraska ag producers care not only about growing a crop, they also enjoy caring for the wildlife that share their land. This funding can help them make that goal a reality.”

Funding is available through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). EQIP has designated funding specifically for wildlife habit improvement through the Wildlife Initiative Nebraska. Funding can be used to plant native grass species, control brush on rangeland, conduct prescribed burns to improve grassland and much more.

EQIP is one of the most widely applied conservation programs in Nebraska. Through this program, conservation practices were installed on over 475,000 acres in Nebraska during 2018 with over 900,000 acres currently under contract statewide.

The goal of EQIP is to provide a financial incentive to encourage landowners to install conservation practices that protect natural resources, resulting in cleaner air and water, healthy soil and more wildlife habitat.

Individuals interested in entering into an EQIP agreement may apply at any time, but the application cut-off to be considered for funding through the Wildlife Initiative Nebraska will be July 5, 2019. The first step is to visit your local NRCS field office and complete an application.

For more information about the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and other conservation programs, visit your local NRCS field office or

2019 Nebraska Beef Ambassador Contest

Seven contestants participated in the 2019 Nebraska Beef Ambassador Contest, hosted by the NCW Consumer Promotion and Education committee on June 4th in Columbus. There were two divisions, senior and collegiate, which were judged upon three different areas of the industry consisting of a mock consumer promotional event, media interview and an issues response.

Winners included the following:


1st Sydni Lienemann, Princeton
2nd Anna Kobza, Lincoln
3rd Kelsey Phillips, Mullen


1st  Jennifer Sedlacek, Nehawka
2nd Rachel Smith, Osceola
3rd Gracie Pinckney, Bassett

NE Farm Bureau Announces Listening Session Tour

Join them for food, updates, and discussion about key agriculture issues

-    Attend one of our upcoming Regional Listening Sessions
-    Share your thoughts on agriculture issues important to you
-    Get updates from Nebraska Farm Bureau leadership and staff on key issues

-    School Funding
-    Property Taxes
-    Health Care
-    Farm Bill
-    Trade
-    Broadband
-    Other issues impacting your agricultural operation


Monday, August 12
6:00 p.m.
Nielsen Community Center
200 Anna Stalp Ave.
West Point, NE

To RSVP text LISTENING SESSIONS to 52886 or click on the button below....
Learn more at

ICON’S Annual Meeting & Convention: Friday June 21, 2019, Broken Bow, Nebraska

    The Independant Cattlemen of Nebraska (ICON) will be hosting their 14th Annual Meeting & Convention in Broken Bow, Nebraska, on Friday June 21st, 2019, 1:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. (CST) at the Cobblestone Hotel.

    It’s been 14 years and the Independent Cattlemen Of Nebraska (ICON) are still going strong and making a difference. Come out and join them and be a part of positive change for the Independent Cattlemen, protecting your rights, your industry and your’ wallet so you can continue to grow a quality “real” beef, American raised product for the American consumer.

    At 1:30 p.m. Registration & Silent Auction benefiting the “Jim Hanna Memorial Scholarship” begins.

    At 2:30 p.m. the ICON Annual Meeting, Legislative updates like property taxes; as well as new and proposed laws relating to the brand committee, fence law and artificial meat from featured legal counsel Rick Leonard for the Nebraska Agricultural Committee starts.

    At 4:00 p.m. the first of our two dynamic and informative speakers – Brian O’Shaughnessy of New York, he is the Chairman of Revere Copper and the Vice Chairman of the Coalition for a Prosperous America and has testified before Congress and before the International Trade Commission. He will speak on “What You Don’t Know About Trade & It's Impact on Your Country & Your Cattle”.

   At 6:30 p.m. our second honored guest speaker from Nebraska, Michael B. Yanney, will speak. He is Chairman Emeritus of the Board of Burlington Capital and has done business in 14 countries and served on a joint U.S.-Russia delegation. He will speak about “Nebraska is in a Crisis ~Time to make Changes.”

   Supper will be catered by the Bonfire Grill at 6:15 p.m. with cocktails prior. End the evening relaxing & laughing with entertainment by humorist & cowboy poet R.P. Smith and mingle afterwards with fellow Cattle men & women.

   Registration is $25.00 per person and includes the sirloin tip supper. Bring a first time attendee and both of you will get in free (some restrictions). If you have not paid your’ 2019 membership, get $10 off the $100 membership fee if paid with registration or at the event.

   Register with Maureen by calling 308-880-1505 or e-mail her at, or visit our website for forms & mail to: 432 N. 10th Ave., Broken Bow, NE 68822.

   Spend the night at the Cobblestone Hotel, (308-767-2060) with our special ICON block of room rates for $80.00/night (rates honored Thursday –Saturday). Saturday enjoy an informal round of golf at the Broken Bow Country Club.

April Beef and Pork Exports below 2018 Levels; Lamb Still Trending Higher

April exports of U.S. beef and pork were lower than a year ago while U.S. lamb exports continued their upward trend, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

Beef exports totaled 105,241 metric tons (mt) in April, down 5% year-over-year, though export value was down only slightly at $674.2 million. For January through April, exports were 4% below last year’s record pace in volume (412,547 mt) and 1% lower in value ($2.58 billion).

On a per-head basis, beef export value per head of fed slaughter averaged $305.61 (down 7% from April 2018). The January-April average was $308.34 per head, down 3% from a year ago. April exports accounted for 12.5% of total U.S. beef production and 10.2% for muscle cuts only, down from 14.1% and 11.3%, respectively, a year ago. For January through April, these ratios were 12.7% and 10.2% (down from 13.4% and 10.8%).

Pork exports totaled 216,757 mt in April, down 6% from a year ago, valued at $535.2 million (down 8%). January-April exports were also 6% below last year’s pace in volume (817,025 mt) and were down 12% in value to just over $2 billion.

Pork export value averaged $50.58 per head slaughtered in April, down 13% from a year ago but the highest in 10 months. For January through April, export value averaged $47.25 per head, down 15% from the same period last year. April exports accounted for 26.6% of total U.S. pork production and 23.3% for muscle cuts only – down from 29.9% and 25.8%, respectively, in April 2018. January-April exports accounted for 24.9% of total pork production (down from 27.4%) and 21.8% for muscle cuts (down from 23.7%).

Beef demand strong in Korea and Taiwan; Japan edges lower

South Korea remains the export growth leader for U.S. beef, with April volume up 18% to 22,584 mt. April value surged 22% to $164.3 million, surpassing Japan as the month’s leading value market. January-April exports to Korea were 11% ahead of last year’s record pace in volume (78,757 mt) and climbed 15% higher in value ($578.5 million). U.S. share of Korea’s total beef imports climbed to 47.5%, up a full percentage point from last year. U.S. share of Korea’s chilled beef imports reached 60%.

Taiwan is also coming off a record year for U.S. beef exports and posted a strong April at 5,118 mt (up 15% from a year ago) valued at $47.9 million (up 14%). Through April, exports to Taiwan totaled 18,605 mt (up 6%) valued at $165.6 million (down 2%).

In Japan, where all of U.S. beef’s major competitors have gained tariff relief in 2019, April exports were down 6% from a year ago in both volume (24,149 mt) and value ($156.8 million). Export volume through April was steady with last year’s pace at 98,296 mt while value increased 2% to $637.2 million. U.S. market share in Japan is still more than 41%, but this is down from nearly 45% in the first four months of 2017. For chilled beef, U.S. share has slipped two percentage points to 47.4%. In April, Japan’s imports from Mexico more than tripled year-over-year and imports also increased from Canada (up 52%), New Zealand (up 41%) and Australia (up 9%) as competitors of U.S. beef benefited from lower tariff rates.

“U.S. beef is holding its own in Japan, but the April numbers are telling,” cautioned USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. “With the April 1 rate cut, Australian, Canadian, New Zealand and Mexican beef are now subject to a 26.6% duty while the rate for U.S. beef remains at 38.5%. It is absolutely essential that the U.S. secures an agreement that will level this playing field. U.S. beef’s exceptional growth in Korea is a great example of what’s possible when tariffs are less of an obstacle.”

Other January-April highlights for U.S. beef include:

-    Beef exports to Mexico continue to post strong results, especially for muscle cuts. Combined beef/beef variety meat exports through April were 2% below last year’s pace at 76,870 mt, but value increased 9% to $372.4 million. For muscle cuts only, exports to Mexico climbed 8% from a year ago in volume (47,379 mt) and 11% in value ($293.3 million).
-    Strong growth in the Philippines fueled a 20% increase in beef exports to the ASEAN region as volume reached 17,770 mt, valued at $86.9 million (up 6%). Export volume also trended higher to Indonesia and Vietnam.
-    An exceptional performance in the Dominican Republic is fueling a strong year for U.S. beef in the Caribbean. Exports to the Dominican Republic soared 56% above last year’s pace in volume (3,068 mt) and 50% higher in value ($25 million). The Caribbean was up 16% in volume (9,826 mt) and 18% in value ($65.2 million) with exports also trending higher for Jamaica and the Bahamas.
-    Exports to Hong Kong slipped 36% from a year ago in volume (27,825 mt) and were 29% lower in value ($236.6 million). Despite a 25% retaliatory duty, U.S. beef exports to China increased 5% to 2,417 mt, but value was down 15% to $18.2 million as most of the tariff cost was borne by U.S. suppliers. China’s beef imports already eclipsed $2 billion through the first four months of this year, up 54% from last year’s record pace, but the U.S. holds less than 1% of China’s booming beef import market.
-    Exports to Canada were down 15% in volume to 31,070 mt and 14% in value to just under $200 million. Demand has been impacted by larger Canadian beef production in 2019, but elimination of the 10% retaliatory duty on prepared beef products from the U.S. will help exports in this important category rebound.

Latin America, Oceania, Taiwan bolster pork exports

On May 20, the 20% retaliatory duty on most U.S. pork entering Mexico was removed, as the U.S., Mexico and Canada reached an agreement on steel and aluminum tariffs. This was obviously too late to boost April pork exports to Mexico, which sank 30% from a year ago in volume (54,971 mt) and 29% in value to $94.5 million. For January through April, exports to Mexico were down 18% in volume (232,391 mt) and 29% in value ($356.5 million).

“Lifting of Mexico’s retaliatory duties was the most welcome news the U.S. pork industry has received in a long time,” Halstrom said. “Now let’s hope the duty-free access U.S. pork has enjoyed in Mexico since late May isn’t short-lived.”

President Trump has proposed a 5% tariff on all goods imported from Mexico unless more steps are taken to curb illegal migration at the U.S.-Mexico border. The tariff would take effect June 10 and increase to 25% by Oct. 1, but negotiations are ongoing and Mexico has not yet announced any retaliatory measures.

U.S. pork also faces a significant disadvantage in China, where retaliatory duties remain in effect and competitors are positioning to fill China’s looming African swine fever-driven pork shortfall. January-April exports to China/Hong Kong were 16% below last year’s pace in volume (128,200 mt) and down 32% in value ($242 million).

Leading value market Japan has not imposed any new tariffs on U.S. pork but its main competitors (European, Canadian and Mexican pork) have gained tariff relief in 2019. January-April exports of U.S. pork to Japan were down 7% from a year ago in volume (123,166 mt) and fell 9% in value ($493.3 million), as U.S. share of Japan’s total imports fell from 36% last year to 32%. The sharpest decline was in Japan’s imports of U.S. ground seasoned pork, which were down nearly $40 million.

January-April highlights for U.S. pork include:

-    A strong performance in mainstay market Colombia and excellent growth in Chile and Peru drove exports to South America 44% above last year’s record pace in volume (57,005 mt) and 42% higher in value ($136.9 million). In Colombia, where USMEF has helped bolster demand for U.S. pork through promotional campaigns, educational seminars and enhanced efforts to overcome technical barriers, exports climbed 25% from a year ago to 37,283 mt valued at $79.6 million (up 17%). Last year, even with domestic production on the rise, the Colombian market took more than $215 million in U.S. pork, more than double the value exported in 2016.
-    Exports to Central America are also coming off a record year in 2018 and climbed 11% in volume (29,321 mt) and 8% in value ($68.3 million), led by growth in Guatemala, Panama and Costa Rica.
-    April exports to Australia were the largest of 2019, pushing January-April volume to 37,979 mt (up 37% from last year’s record pace) valued at $98.6 million (up 21%). Exports to New Zealand are also performing extremely well in 2019, climbing 53% in volume (3,390 mt) and 36% in value ($10.1 million). Oceania is a strong region for U.S. hams used for further processing, which is especially important at a time when ham exports to Mexico and China were being pressured by tariffs.
-    Despite facing ractopamine-related restrictions in Taiwan, exports increased 80% in volume (8,819 mt) and 55% in value ($19.3 million). Exports to Taiwan slumped in 2016 but have been rebounding over the past 2½ years.

Momentum continues to grow for U.S. lamb

Strong variety meat demand in Mexico and muscle cut growth in the Caribbean, the Middle East and Panama have fueled an upward trend in U.S. lamb exports. April exports totaled 1,227 mt, up 26% from a year ago, while value was up 15% to $2.2 million. For January-April, exports were up 56% year-over-year in volume (5,400 mt) and up 26% in value ($9.1 million). Muscle cut exports were up 17% in volume to 828 mt and climbed 19% in value to $5.4 million.

Biosecurity Featured at The Exposition Pig Show

The Pork Checkoff, in collaboration with the National Junior Swine Association and Team Purebred – the nation’s largest youth swine organizations – led an industry panel on biosecurity and farm preparation. Nearly 1,400 exhibitors, parents and industry spectators were on-site at The Exposition pig show at the Iowa State Fairgrounds as the panel addressed hot topics to stem on-farm disease spread.

“Our youth exhibitors have always strived to demonstrate good biosecurity measures to keep their pigs healthy,” said Clay Zwilling, chief executive officer of the National Swine Registry, the pedigree livestock association for the Duroc, Hampshire, Landrace and Yorkshire breeds. “With the pork industry focused on keeping African swine fever (ASF) from entering the U.S., it was an appropriate time to remind youth about the importance of biosecurity and to further educate them on foreign animal diseases, as well as reemphasize their understanding and appreciation of the broader pork industry.”

The panel discussed biosecurity best practices and the important role youth exhibitors play in protecting the health of the U.S. swine herd. This took place prior to the grand barrow selection and was held in the main show ring to engage the most attendees.

The biosecurity panelists included Doug Albright, Zoetis Animal Health and Albright Swine Farm, Michigan; Nick Doran, Swine Genetics International, Iowa; Daniel Hendrickson, DVM, Stoney Creek Veterinary Service and Consultation, Indiana; and Benny Mote, University of Nebraska.

“The panelists are experienced professionals within their specific industry segment,” said Brett Kaysen, assistant vice president of sustainability for the Pork Checkoff. “They each shared the relationship among pig health, biosecurity and foreign animal diseases, such as ASF, and why it’s so critical to take steps now to safeguard their pigs from these threats.”

Dakota Moyers, executive director with Team Purebred, the junior association for the Berkshire, Chester White, Poland China, Hereford and Spotted breeds, reiterates the panel’s bottom line.

“We realize that as an association focused on helping youth raise quality, healthy pigs across the country, we must do our part to help ensure proper biosecurity protocols are being understood and implemented,” Moyers said. “It’s a responsibility that we don’t take lightly and one that we are committed to achieving.”

Kaysen, who moderated the discussion, reminded the audience that ASF is a viral disease that affects only pigs, not people – so it is not a public health threat nor a food-safety concern.

Pork Checkoff resources on youth exhibitor biosecurity can be found on A toolkit – Keep Your Pigs Healthy, A Biosecurity Toolkit for Youth Exhibitors – also is available online.  A recording of the panel can be found at 

Joint Statement from USW and NAWG on New Discovery of GE Wheat Plants

U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) are aware that USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed the discovery of genetically engineered (GE) wheat plants growing in an unplanted agricultural field in Washington State. APHIS says the GE wheat in question is resistant to the herbicide glyphosate.

We believe APHIS is well prepared to identify additional information about this discovery and has confirmed to us that:
-    there is no evidence suggesting that this wheat event, or any other GM wheat event has entered U.S. commercial supplies or entered the food supply;
-    there are no GE wheat varieties for sale or in commercial production in the United States at this time, as APHIS has not deregulated any GE wheat varieties;
-    there is no health risk associated with glyphosate resistance events in wheat based on U.S. Food and Drug Administration evaluations

We appreciate that USDA is collaborating with our organizations and our state, industry and trading partners to provide timely and transparent information about their findings as they investigate this discovery. We understand samples of the wheat plants from the field in Washington were sent to the USDA Federal Grain Inspection Service lab in Kansas City, MO, as well as USDA Agricultural Research lab in Pullman, WA, for testing and confirmation.

We cannot speculate or comment about any potential market reactions until we have a chance to discuss the situation in more detail with overseas customers. Based on what we know today from APHIS, we are confident that nothing has changed the U.S. wheat supply chain’s ability to deliver wheat that matches every customer’s specifications.

U.S. Ethanol Exports Rose Further in April, as Distillers Grains Exports Moderated

Ann Lewis, RFA Research Analyst
U.S. ethanol exports rose to 150.2 million gallons (mg) in April, according to data issued by the government and analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA). This was a 7% increase from March and the highest volume since last October.

Brazil was the top destination for the fifth straight month, purchasing 40.9 mg of ethanol, which represented just over one-quarter of total U.S. shipments. India edged out Canada as the second-largest destination, as shipments more than tripled from a month earlier to 34.1 mg, the highest level since March 2017. This occurred even though exports to Canada surged 37% to 31.0 mg. Other top importers included South Korea (8.5 mg), the Philippines (7.6 mg), the European Union (7.2 mg) and Colombia (5.3 mg).

April exports of undenatured fuel ethanol receded 11% to 82.2 mg, as sales to Brazil, the top destination, fell 40% to 39.5 mg. Shipments to India surged to 24.8 mg, offsetting a significant share of the decline in shipments to Brazil. Other key destinations were the EU (7.2 mg), South Korea (3.5 mg) and Mexico (3.2 mg).

On the other hand, U.S. exports of denatured fuel ethanol climbed 88% in April to 62.6 mg. This occurred as U.S. exports to Canada increased 38% to 29.8 mg, and shipments to India reached 9.3 mg versus none a month earlier. The Philippines (4.9 mg), South Korea (4.9 mg), Colombia (4.3 mg) and Peru (3.7 mg) were other major markets.

U.S. exports of ethanol for non-fuel, non-beverage purposes fell back to 5.4 mg in April after moving higher in March. Shipments of undenatured product shrank to 1.3 mg, over two-thirds of which went to Canada. Exports of denatured product for non-fuel applications declined to 4.2 mg, 91% of which was destined for Nigeria.

The U.S imported ethanol for the second straight month. Imports rose to 13.2 mg in April from 10.7 mg in March. Almost all was undenatured fuel ethanol. Of the total, 10.5 mg was received from Brazil, 2.6 mg from Guatemala and minor amounts from Canada.

U.S. exports of dried distillers grains, the animal feed co-product generated by dry-mill ethanol plants, declined modestly to 917,836 metric tons (mt) in April from 956,828 mt in March. Shipments to Mexico, the top destination, increased 42% to 182,229 mt. Exports to South Korea (107,488 mt) and Vietnam (89,464 mt) receded. Thailand (60,231 mt) and Canada (53,492 mt) rounded out the top five destinations, while shipments to Turkey fell to zero after surging the month before.

Tariffs on Mexican Cattle Will Restore Lost Opportunities for U.S. Cattle Producers

According to R-CALF USA, the proposed implementation of a five percent tariff on Mexican imports will benefit U.S. cattle producers. Last year, the R-CALF USA board of directors unanimously called upon President Trump to impose new tariffs on cattle, beef, sheep, and lamb imported from countries that maintain substantial trade surpluses with the United States.

The group said that underpriced imports were displacing domestic cattle and sheep production and tariffs were needed to offset the artificial price advantage that foreign countries gain through currency manipulation, cutting food safety corners, hidden subsidies, and lax environmental standards.

Last year, Mexico exported nearly 1.3 million cattle to the United States, which was the largest volume of exports in 14 years. Export volumes to the United States in 2019 are on track to be even higher, as they were 22 percent higher during the first four months of this year compared to last.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Mexican feeder cattle weighing about 550 lbs. in June are priced at about $131 per hundredweight. Comparable U.S. cattle of the same weight are bringing $152 per hundredweight in Oklahoma City and $170 per hundredweight in other areas of the United States.

“This means those Mexican feeder cattle are imported into the United States at a price that is up to $214 per head cheaper than they can be produced by U.S. cattle producers,” said R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard.

Bullard added, “This is why the U.S. continues to lose cattle farms and ranches at an alarming rate – we are allowing cheaper imports to displace our domestic production, and this eliminates opportunities for U.S. cattle producers to remain profitable as well as opportunities for aspiring cattle producers to enter the cattle industry.

Bullard said that to make matters worse, U.S. cattle producers cannot compete against these cheaper imports because the meat from these imported cattle is no longer differentiated from meat produced exclusively in the United States.

In 2015, Congress repealed the country-of-origin labeling (COOL) law that previously informed consumers as to which meat was derived from imported cattle. Today, when these imported cattle are slaughtered, all the resulting beef is eligible for a “Product of USA” label, which Bullard says undermines the integrity of the higher quality beef produced exclusively in America.

He contends this is blatantly unfair to U.S. cattle producers as well as to consumers who are misled by the deceptive labels.

“This is a scheme to allow importers to reap windfall profits off the backs of both producers and consumers – they import these cattle at low costs but are able to sell the beef at the same price as domestically-produced beef, meaning consumers do not benefit at all from the price differential.

“Applying tariffs on imported Mexican cattle is the first step to leveling the playing field for hard-working American farmers and ranchers who don’t want to reduce their quality or food safety standards, which is what they would have to do to compete with this rising tide of cheaper, undifferentiated imports from Mexico,” he concluded.

Settlement Talks Begin Over Missouri Meat-Labeling Law

Settlement discussions are under way over a lawsuit challenging a Missouri measure making it a misdemeanor crime to promote plant-based food products as "meat."

A federal court document dated Monday says attorneys for Missouri and vegetarian food entities who sued are working diligently toward a settlement agreement as part of a court-ordered mediation process.

The Missouri that law took effect last August was challenged by the Oregon-based Tofurky Co., which makes vegetarian food products, and The Good Food Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that advocates for alternatives to meat.

The suit claims the law infringes on First Amendment free speech rights to use product labels such as "veggie burgers" and "vegetarian ham roast."

A federal judge never has ruled on a request for a preliminary injunction.

Thursday June 6 Ag News

Report of Destroyed Real Property

The Department of Revenue, Property Assessment Division, announces that a new form has been created (Report of Destroyed Real Property, Form 425), pursuant to 2019 Neb. Law LB 512. Please review the instructions on the Form 425.

The Form 425 is to be used by owners of real property whose property has suffered significant property damage as a result of a calamity occurring on or after January 1 and before July 1 of the current assessment year. The property owner may file the Form 425 with the county assessor and the county clerk on or before July 15.

A calamity is defined as a disastrous event, including, but not limited to, a fire, an earthquake, a flood, a tornado, or other natural event which significantly affects the assessed value of the property. Destroyed real property does not include property suffering significant property damage that is caused by the owner of the property.

Significant property damage means –
     1. Damage to an improvement exceeding 20% of the improvement’s assessed value in the current tax year as determined by the county assessor;
     2. Damage to the land exceeding 20% of a parcel’s assessed land value in the current tax year as determined by the county assessor; or
     3. Damage exceeding 20% of the property’s assessed value in the current tax year as determined by the county assessor if:
          a. The property is located in an area that has been declared a disaster area by the Governor and
          b. A housing inspector or health inspector has determined the property is uninhabitable or unlivable.

The county board of equalization will consider the report to determine any adjustments to the assessed value of the destroyed real property for the current year.

The county board of equalization must act upon this report on or after June 1 and on or before July 25, or on or before August 10 if the board has adopted a resolution to extend the deadline for hear protests under Neb. Rev. Stat. § 77-1502, and must send a notice of the reassessment value for the destroyed real property to the property owner.


Today, Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) Director Steve Wellman announced the creation of an International Grow Nebraska Agriculture trade team within NDA’s Ag Promotion and Development focus area. The team will be led by NDA Assistant Director Amelia Breinig.

“Trade is important to Nebraska and the creation of this trade team broadens the base of our international trade responsibilities,” said NDA Director Wellman. “NDA has always been dedicated to promoting agriculture abroad. This new trade team structure puts a renewed emphasis on international trade.”

NDA’s international trade team focuses on the sales, promotions and value-added aspects of Nebraska agricultural products in the international marketplace. Team members continue to promote new opportunities for international trade as well as support existing relationships with our current trading partners. The international trade team consists of Mark Jagels, Angel Velitchkov and Jordan Schlake.

In the area of international trade, NDA is currently working on increasing: livestock exports to South America; dry edible bean exports to Bulgaria; and pork, beef, dry edible beans and soybean exports to Vietnam. For 2019, Governor Pete Ricketts has scheduled trade missions for Vietnam and Japan in September and Germany in November. In the next year, NDA is set to host multiple delegations visiting Nebraska on reverse trade missions.

Husker quarter-scale tractor team wins international competition

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln quarter-scale tractor A-Team took top honors at the International Quarter-Scale Tractor Student Design Competition held May 30-June 2 in Peoria, IL. The competition brought 24 collegiate teams from the United States, Canada and Israel together to test their skills at the event hosted by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE).

The competition is unique among student engineering-design contests, providing a realistic 360-degree workplace experience. Teams are given a 31-horsepower Briggs & Stratton engine and a set of Titan tires. The design and build of the tractor is up to each team and is tested and perfected over the course of a year.

In advance of the competition, teams must submit a written design report. Onsite, they must sell their design, in a formal presentation to industry experts playing the role of a corporate management team. Finally, machines are put to the test in three performance events; three tractor pulls, a maneuverability course and a durability course. Industry leaders judge each design for innovation, manufacturability, serviceability, maneuverability, safety, sound level and ergonomics.

The intense competition is extremely helpful to tractor team members, many of whom are agricultural engineering majors, according to Roger Hoy, professor in biological systems engineering and tractor team advisor.

“The students demonstrated that they can successfully take classroom lessons and apply them to real-world engineering problems,” said Hoy. “The students that participated on quarter-scale this year have excellent character, work ethic and values.”

Nebraska’s agricultural engineering program is one of the nation’s top programs that emphasizes hands-on applications in and out of the classroom, such as participating in the quarter-scale tractor competition.

Nebraska has consistently performed well since the inception of the competition in 1998. This is the second win for the A-Team, which is made up of juniors and seniors. The X-Team, made up of freshmen and sophomores, also fared well at the competition, placing second overall in their division.

Team members, listed by hometown are:
BEATRICE: Nathan Lancaster
BLOOMFIELD: Reece McFarland

BROKEN BOW: Court Kaelin
EAGLE: Jonah Bolin (A-Team captain), Noah Bolin (A-Team captain)
GRANT: Zak Kurkowski (A-Team captain), Jaci Kurkowski
LINCOLN: Seth Brunkhorst, Brett Halleen
MADISON: John Freudenburg
NORFOLK: Grant Gaspers
OAKLAND: Olivia Bures, Josh King

ORD: Devon Vancura (A-Team captain)
STANTON: Alex Schellpeper (X-Team captain)
ST. PAUL: Rylan Dvorak
LODI, CA: Nick Engle
O’FALLON, IL: Mark Dean (X-Team captain)

Along with Hoy, Joe Luck, associate professor of biological systems engineering, also serves as a team advisor.

ILF Webinar Topic Is Recycling Drainage Water for Irrigation

Iowa Learning Farms will host a webinar Wednesday, June 19 at 12 p.m. about drainage water recycling.

Drainage water recycling is a conservation practice during which subsurface drainage water is captured for use as supplemental irrigation water in the summer. In addition to the irrigation benefit, drainage water recycling reduces nitrogen and phosphorus loss by reusing the water in the field. Chris Hay, Senior Environmental Scientist with the Iowa Soybean Association, will discuss current drainage water recycling research that is taking place as part of the multi-state “Transforming Drainage” project, modeling work in Iowa and field research projects that are beginning in Iowa. 

“Drainage water recycling is a practice with multiple potential win-wins: crop production and downstream water quality, nitrogen and phosphorus loss reduction, water quality and water quantity,” said Hay, whose research and outreach focuses on agricultural water management and water quality with a primary focus on edge-of-field practices. He hopes that webinar attendees will understand that drainage water has exciting potential for both crop production and water quality, but that more research is needed – especially on the economics – before widespread implementation is realistic.

A Certified Crop Adviser board-approved continuing education unit has been applied for and is pending CCA board approval. For those who are able to watch the live webinar, information for submitting your CCA/CPAg/CPSS/CPSC number to earn the (pending) credit will be provided at the end of the presentation.

To watch, go to and click the link to join the webinar shortly before 12:00 p.m. on June 19, to download the Zoom software and log in option. The webinar will be recorded and archived on the ILF website for watching at any time at

2019 Beef Feedlot Short Course Registration Is Open

The 2019 Beef Feedlot Short Course, organized and hosted by Iowa Beef Center at Iowa State University, is set for Aug. 6-8 at the Hansen Agriculture Student Learning Center in Ames. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach beef specialist Erika Lundy said the goal of the event is to optimize participant learning through exposure to new technology, research and best management practices, and the best way to accomplish this is in a small group setting with a mix of hands-on and classroom instruction.

"Because this short course is designed specifically for feedlot managers, employees and industry, the attendance limit is 30," Lundy said. "We feel this is the best way to provide in-depth information on nutrition basics, data management, feed bunk management and health issues, but still be able to answer questions at any stage."

Sessions will be at the Iowa State Beef Nutrition Farm and Couser Cattle Company in Nevada, Iowa.

The program runs from 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 6 through noon on Thursday, Aug. 8. For questions on the short course content contact Lundy at or IBC director Dan Loy at

2019 short course topics include:
    Bunk management and the basics of starting cattle on feed.
    Feed mixing demonstration and evaluation.
    Feedlot nutrition.
    Managing and identifying cattle health issues in the feedlot.
    Facility design and cattle handling.
    Data management.

This year's presenters are:
    Bill Couser, Couser Cattle Company, Nevada, Iowa.
    Dr. Garland Dahlke, associate scientist, Iowa Beef Center, Iowa State University.
    Dr. Terry Engelken, associate professor, Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine, Iowa State University.
    Shane Jurgensen, Couser Cattle Company, Nevada, Iowa.
    Dr. Dan Loy, director of the Iowa Beef Center and extension beef specialist, Iowa State University.
    Erika Lundy, Iowa State extension beef specialist, Iowa Beef Center.
    Dr. Robbi Pritchard, feedlot consultant, Aurora, South Dakota.
    Dr. Dan Thomson, Jones Professor of Production Medicine and Epidemiology, Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State University.

The $350 per person registration fee includes transportation between designated hotel and course locations and meals listed on the agenda. The registration deadline is midnight, July 30 or when the course limit of 30 is reached, whichever occurs first. Any cancellation requesting a refund must also be received by midnight, July 30. All registrations must be done by either online registration or submitting registration form with payment. Substitutions are allowed.

See the short course website for registration information, requirements, and links at

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


National Corn Growers Association Renewable Fuels Public Policy Director Kathy Bergren participated in a Capitol Hill briefing today for U.S. House of Representatives staff to help explain the damaging effects the EPA’s expansive Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) waivers to large, profitable refineries and recommend solutions.

Since early 2018, EPA has granted 53 RFS exemptions to refineries for the 2016 and 2017 RFS compliance years totaling 2.61 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons of renewable fuel. EPA currently has 39 waiver petitions pending for the 2018 RFS compliance year. These waivers have taken a toll on farmers by undercutting the RFS and reducing corn demand.

NCGA President Lynn Chrisp recently touched on the negative impact of these waivers, following the announcement that EPA had completed action to allow for year-round sales of E15. “While corn farmers are immensely grateful that the barrier to year-round E15 has been lifted, we won’t be able to reap the full benefits if EPA continues to allow oil companies to avoid blending biofuels in accordance with the RFS,” Chrisp said.

NCGA recently endorsed the Renewable Fuel Standard Integrity Act of 2019 that would set a deadline for refineries to apply for RFS waivers and bring much-needed transparency to the waiver process. NCGA also continues to advocate for reallocating waived gallons and advance ongoing legal actions.

Today’s briefing, sponsored by the pro-RFS Fuels America coalition that NCGA is a member of, followed a briefing for U.S. Senate staff last month and also included representatives from Archer Daniels Midland Company, Renewable Fuels Association and Advanced Biofuels Business Council.

NAWG Submits Comments to EPA’s Review of a Petition to Modify the Tolerance and Product Labels for Glyphosate with Regard to Oats

On June 05, 2019, the National Association of Wheat Growers submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s request for comments on a petition filed by several special interest groups to reduce the tolerance of glyphosate in or on oats and requiring glyphosate-containing product labels to explicitly prohibit preharvest use on oats (Docket Number EPA-HQ-OPP-2019-0066).

NAWG President and Lavon, TX farmer Ben Scholz made the following statement:

“While NAWG’s mission does not include representing oat producers, its members believe it’s important to provide comments on this Docket as it impacts EPA’s review of pesticides.

 “In its submission, NAWG urged the EPA to reject this petition in its entirety. The issues raised in this petition have been considered under the current pesticide review and labeling, and the requested action by the Agency is not necessary.

 “Further, EPA’s work to review and regulate the chemistry of pesticides should not be dictated by special interest groups who have an alternative agenda but rather should continue to be based on science and facts, as the EPA currently operates.

“NAWG supports the U.S. Government’s regulatory process of pesticides because it is based on thorough scientific review, has resulted in crop protection tools that are safe for grower use, and farm worker use, and food produced from these tools is safe for human consumption, including consumption by children.”

Sasse Statement on Disaster Relief Legislation Becoming Law

U.S. Senator Ben Sasse released the following statement after President Trump signed disaster relief legislation into law. Sasse and the Senate passed the legislation last month.

"This is great news for our state. I’m grateful that the President signed this relief legislation into law. It's an important down payment and a big deal for Nebraska as we keep working hard to recover."

Legislation background:

Expands payment for lost crops and livestock to include “milk and on-farm stored commodities” and “crops prevented from planting in 2019.”

Adds $500 million in emergency funding and technical assistance to farmers and ranchers for rehabilitating farmland damaged by natural disasters, including the 2019 Floods.

Increases funds for Air Force construction costs from $700 million to $1 billion and included 2019 flood damage.

Statement by Steve Nelson, President, Regarding President Trump Signing of Disaster Assistance Package

“President Trump’s signing of the disaster assistance bill is tremendous news and an important step forward in helping Nebraska farm and ranch families and our rural communities recover from the March flooding and blizzards in our state.”

“This disaster bill includes roughly $3 billion to cover crop damage, including additional funding for farmers prevented from planting due to the floods, as well as payments for on-farm stored grain that was damaged in these flooding events. The bill also provides $558 million in funding for the Emergency Conservation Program, the primary program farmers and ranchers can utilize for fence repair and debris removal, including clearing sand from farm fields.”

“We want to thank the entire Nebraska Congressional delegation for their support for the disaster assistance package and for President Trump signing this package into law.”

“We urge USDA to move forward as quickly as possible in developing the rules and implementing the key programs so they can be put to work in helping Nebraskans.”

Perdue Statement on President Trump’s Signing of Disaster Aid Bill

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today commended President Trump’s signing of the disaster relief bill that will provide $19 billion in assistance to states and territories hit by flooding, hurricanes, wildfires and other natural disasters.

“Congress provided much needed resources to assist farmers, ranchers and producers dealing with extensive damage to their operations caused by natural disasters,” said Secretary Perdue. “President Trump is committed to helping America’s farmers get back on their feet following recent natural disasters. I thank him for his leadership and I thank the members of Congress from Georgia, Florida and the Carolinas who fought so hard to make sure this bill passed. We look forward to implementing this disaster aid package in a fair way and working with state leadership to identify where the true losses and needs are to best serve our fellow Americans in need of a helping hand.”

Farm Bureau Statement on Disaster Relief

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall

“The disaster relief measure signed by President Trump today is an important lifeline for farmers and ranchers whose greatest desire is to keep producing the food, fuel and fiber that make our way of life possible. The last two years have brought historic hurricanes like Florence and Michael. We have faced wildfires, tornadoes and flooding that has led to the worst planting season on record for many commodities. Many farmers have faced near-complete losses, and this measure will help us weather the storm.

“Americans have always come together in times of need to help lift our neighbors and support our communities. We thank Congress and the President for delivering this much-needed assistance for American agriculture.”

Council Empowers East African Poultry Associations To Build Future Markets

Industry associations can provide a powerful voice for producers and users of agricultural goods, not just in the United States, but globally. Recognizing the role associations can play in supporting producers and ensuring the safety and quality of end-products, the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) is working to empower poultry and feed associations in East Africa - including Tanzania, Kenya and Ethiopia - with the goal of building future demand for coarse grains and co-products.

“Tanzania, Ethiopia and Kenya are the gateway countries for U.S. feed grain exports in the region,” said Katy Wyatt, USGC manager of global strategies, who recently returned from an assessment mission to the region. “All three countries have rapidly changing dynamics in their feed industries that will affect regional trade and will ultimately affect future grain imports.

“The Council is able to leverage existing operations through the office in Tanzania to target market opportunities for U.S. feed grain exports and livestock sector development in this region.”

The poultry chain requires a consistent supply of reliable raw materials, feed ingredients, day-old chicks, veterinary services and supportive government regulations. Feed costs constitute upwards of 80 percent of production costs within the poultry industry in East Africa. Currently, corn shortages in the region, largely the result of two years of regional drought conditions, are driving up the cost of this feed even further - making it difficult for the industry to match rising demand for poultry and egg products.

Demand for meat, milk and eggs in Africa is expected to quadruple by 2050, driven by changing demographics, rapid population growth and increased standards of living. East Africa has one of the largest rural populations on the continent and is projected to experience a faster rate of urbanization compared to other developing regions. This need is already noticeable in the region, and poultry and feed industries are struggling to meet the growing demand for poultry and egg products.

To assist producers with meeting these challenges, the Council has engaged with the Poultry Association of Tanzania (PAT) for the past six years. The PAT is a 10-member umbrella association that represents the entirety of the poultry value chain, from broiler and layer producers to breeders and feed manufacturers. The PAT strives to support the development of the Tanzanian poultry industry by providing market information, technical assistance and industry updates.

“In times when poultry producers face difficulties, it is imperative that producers can effectively communicate the challenges and constraints hindering both current and future production,” said Wyatt. “For this reason, having effective poultry associations that represent the interests of poultry producers is critical.”

A key effort of the PAT’s engagement is advocating for government policies and regulations for the betterment of the poultry industry. Still early in the organization’s development, the PAT has already demonstrated the impact a collective voice can have on government policies, successfully pushing the government of Tanzaniain 2017 to remove a cost-prohibitive, 18 percent value-added tax on the sale of animal feed that strained production costs.

Armed with funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Agricultural Trade Promotion (ATP) program, the Council is expanding these efforts to work with regional poultry associations to address key constraints and bottlenecks hindering development within the poultry industries in Kenya and Ethiopia - furthering the Council’s overall mission to develop markets, enable trade and improve lives.

“The East African market is complex and needs extensive engagement to build effective marketing programs that address constraints to U.S. exports,” Wyatt said. “Improving overall feed production and highlighting the significant growth opportunities to industry partners will continue to introduce U.S. suppliers to these markets and solidify future trading relationships.”

Syngenta #ShowYourRowContest supports clean cornfields and the people behind them

Syngenta is celebrating those who actively manage troublesome weeds through the #ShowYourRowContest, a newly launched social media competition intended to highlight weed-free cornfields. By sharing clean row images on Instagram and Twitter, participants are automatically entered for a chance to win a $500 StubHub gift card. The first 100 people to share their photo will also receive a small prize.

As part of its ongoing effort to recognize the hard work that goes into managing weeds, Syngenta recently launched a social media video series featuring six people from different backgrounds – including a farmer, a retailer and a professional farm manager, among others – who shared a common dislike of tough weeds. For every share of a video within the series, Syngenta donated $5, raising a total of $5,000 for the National Future Farmers of America (FFA) Organization, to support the next generation who will be tasked with controlling weeds.

“Weeds affect everyone, from growers and retailers to people with allergies,” said Gordon Vail, Ph.D., technical product lead, herbicides, for Syngenta. “To our corn growers and their supporting retailers, weeds are yield robbers with the potential to make or break their season, so it’s important that we deliver tailored, whole-farm solutions for weed management.”

Syngenta commends those who practice sound weed-management strategies, including the use of Acuron and Acuron Flexi herbicides. Both Acuron brands contain multiple effective sites of action that help put growers back in control of tough weeds, such as giant ragweed, marestail, Palmer amaranth and waterhemp.

Interested growers and retailers can enter the #ShowYourRowContest by:
·        Posting a picture of their clean corn rows treated with Acuron or Acuron Flexi on Instagram or Twitter
·        Using the hashtag #ShowYourRowContest

Photos will be accepted now through August 31, 2019. More information, including the official rules and prize structure, can be found on the contest webpage

Wednesday June 5 Ag News

ENREC open house is June 12

The University of Nebraska Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center (ENREC) near Mead is hosting an open house on Wednesday, June 12 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

This is an informal and informative opportunity to come see how ENREC is making a difference. The event is for both rural and urban audiences.

Join us at the August N. Christenson Building for...
-    Christenson Annex Building Tours - Be one of the first to tour the Christenson Building annex.
-    Demonstrations & Displays –
       + See how the University is learning and teaching with drones, a hail simulator machine, and beef and science mobile labs. *
       + ENREC has been serving as a collection site for hay, fencing and livestock supply donations for Nebraska producers impacted by the March flood and blizzard events. Learn about the project and the University’s role in leading disaster relief.
       + Who works at ENREC and what do they do? Learn about the work we are doing & why it is important to Nebraska.
-    Refreshments - Enjoy free refreshments, including “Nifty N150” ice cream.
-    3:15 or 4:15 Bus Tour - See where research projects and educational programs are taking place

Naig Commends Federal Disaster Aid to Help Farmers Affected by Flooding

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig issued the following statement in response to the announcement that the House passed the federal disaster aid bill last night.

“I want to thank Gov. Reynolds for her continued leadership and our congressional delegation for including provisions in this disaster relief bill that address the needs of Iowa farmers who suffered staggering losses during the spring flooding,” said Secretary Naig. “This is a critical first step to recovery. I am committed to working with the affected landowners and agribusinesses as they clean up fields and damaged grain and take important steps to resume normal business activities.”

Secretary Naig is leading the Ag Working Group for Gov. Reynolds’ Flood Recovery Task Force.

Breakdown of the $19.1 billion federal disaster aid package:
-    Approximately $3 billion is provided to the USDA Office of the Secretary to cover producers’ agricultural losses due to natural disasters.
-    $435 million will be provided to the Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWPP) for rural watershed recovery.
-    $558 million will be provided to the Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) for repairs to damaged farm land.
-    $150 million will be allocated to repair Rural Development Community Facilities in towns affected by natural disasters. 

Estimated agricultural flood damage in Fremont, Mills and Pottawattamie counties:
-    1.9 million bushels of corn lost
-    482,000 bushels of soybeans lost
-    2.4 million bushels of corn and soybeans lost in on-farm storage, valued at $10.9 million
-    418 grain bins damaged, valued at $11.6 million

IFBF Economic Summit taps into possible industrial hemp opportunities in Iowa

The Iowa Hemp Act, which allows licensed producers in Iowa to grow up to 40 acres of industrial hemp as a cash crop, passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in the Iowa Legislature before being signed into law by Governor Kim Reynolds in early May. While official regulations are still being written for this new opportunity, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) is bringing a representative from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) and an industrial hemp grower from Canada to the 2019 IFBF Economic Summit, June 28, to answer farmers’ questions.

“This market is really in its pre-dawn stages,” says Dr. Sam Funk, IFBF senior economist. “We don’t know what the market potential will be, but we want to provide information to help farmers make good informed decisions as they plan for the future.”

Iowa joins 41 other states to legally grow industrial hemp, harvested for several uses including fiber, food, or oil. An important distinction needs to be emphasized between industrial hemp and medicinal or recreational marijuana. Iowa law prohibits hemp with more than 0.3 percent of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive ingredient in the drug marijuana, from being grown. In fact, Iowa hemp growers will be subject to annual inspections to ensure this law is followed.

Robin Pruisner, IDALS state entomologist and plant science chief ag security coordinator, will be covering the guidelines in the summit breakout session, “Industrial Hemp: Regulations and Production.” Pruisner will explain the next steps and potential timeframe for legalizing hemp production in Iowa and what farmers will need to know to apply for a hemp permit.  Adam Ornawka, a farmer from Saskatchewan, will share his challenges and successes adding hemp to his small grain crop rotation.

“Without hemp trials done in Iowa, it’s hard to know what impact production of this plant and in-field practices will have on water quality and soil health. It has challenges in agronomic management and market development that will be crucial—these questions and more are what we hope to cover in this year’s Economic Summit,” says Funk. “As details on the provisions of growing industrial hemp in Iowa continue to unfold, it will be interesting to see what types of opportunities become available in this untapped Iowa market.”

The 2018 Farm Bill paved the way for states to adopt growing hemp. USDA Administrator Richard Fordyce is confirmed to attend and will speak on Farm Bill implementation.

The IFBF Economic Summit will be held at the Des Moines Marriott Downtown. Registration is $30 for Farm Bureau members and $150 for non-members before June 19.  Tickets will be available at the door--$60 for members and $150 for non-members. For more information on additional keynote speakers and breakout sessions, visit or listen to the latest Spokesman Speaks podcast for additional insights.  

Pork Quality Assurance® Plus Revisions Take Effect Today

Revisions to the Pork Quality Assurance® Plus (PQA Plus®) 4.0 are effective today. The updated program reflects pork producers’ commitment to continuous improvement and features two training options – first-time and recertification.

“Pork producers are committed to the six We CareSM ethical principles because we want to do what’s best for people, pigs and the planet,” said David Newman, incoming National Pork Board president and a pork producer from Jonesboro, Arkansas. “This program has been a collaborative effort between producers, packers and industry representatives for over 30 years.”

New research information has been incorporated into the latest version to increase the program’s effectiveness and to help ensure its validity with customers and consumers. Pork producers remain focused on providing a safe, high-quality product while promoting animal well-being, environment stewardship and public health.

The PQA Plus enhancements include:
-    First-time certification provides new caretakers with the basic knowledge and education needed to work in the industry. The 75-minute presentation includes core content needed to be successful in the industry.
-    Recertification training gives experienced caretakers the opportunity to renew their certification in a scenario-based setting with their advisor or online.
-    Advisors can customize a portion of the training to fit the caretaker or group, based on experience and skills that need to be refreshed. Beyond core training, additional content is available for advisors to focus on particular production areas.
-    Producers may complete first-time or recertification training online through interactive learning modules. The online training modules, divided into the six We Care ethical principles, are each two to 14 minutes long.
-    To help producers prepare for a foreign animal disease, a Secure Pork Supply resource is included in the updated PQA Plus.

For more information on the revised PQA Plus program, visit

Pork Checkoff Names 2019-2020 Officers

David Newman, a pork producer from Arkansas, was elected president of the National Pork Board at the organization’s June board meeting in Des Moines, Iowa. The National Pork Board’s 15 producer-directors represent America’s pig farmers.

“The U.S. pork industry is facing a time of unprecedented change and I look forward to serving America’s 60,000 pig farmers in the year ahead,” Newman said. “From preparing the global food industry for the threats facing us from foreign animal disease, implementing our Secure Pork Supply plan and driving home our messages of what sustainable pig production looks like in the U.S. and abroad, I cannot wait to lead the Pork Checkoff in delivering value to our producers.”

Newman is in his second term as a board member and owns and operates a farrow-to-finish Berkshire farm in Myrtle, Missouri, that markets pork directly to consumers throughout the U.S. Serving with Newman on Pork Checkoff’s executive officer team are Mike Skahill, from Williamsburg, Virginia, as vice president; Gene Noem, Ames, Iowa, as treasurer; and Steve Rommereim, Alcester, South Dakota, as immediate past president.

“In the year ahead, the Pork Checkoff will focus on redefining itself as we execute our new strategic plan,” Newman said.  “We will do this through increased collaboration with the producers who fund our programs. Our priorities remain clear: delivering value to our producer and supply chain partners, building consumer trust and driving continuous improvement on the farm.”

The four executive officers will serve one-year terms in their positions effective at the close of the June board meeting.
Additional biographical information

Dr. David Newman, President – Newman is an associate professor of Animal Sciences at Arkansas State University where he teaches and conducts research, with an emphasis in meat science. Newman most recently served as board vice president, on the 2020 Strategic Planning Task Force, and on the Swine Health committee. He previously chaired the Domestic Marketing committee, served on the Producer Services committee and participated in Pork Leadership Academy.

Michael Skahill, Vice President – Skahill is a vice president for Smithfield Foods. Smithfield is a U.S.-based global food company and the world’s largest pork producer and processor annually marketing 16 million pigs. Skahill is in his second term on the board, most recently serving as board treasurer. He serves on the National Pork Board International Marketing Committee, the U.S. Meat Export Federation Pork Allied Industries Committee and chairs the trade committee for the North American Meat Institute.

Gene Noem, Treasurer – Noem is the owner of KD Feeders near Ames, Iowa, a wean-to-finish operation that markets 20,000 pigs annually. Noem also manages the contracted gilt multiplication for PIC North America. Noem is in his second term on the board, most recently serving on the 2020 Strategic Planning Task Force and co-chairing a joint We CareSM task force with the National Pork Producers Council. Noem also serves on the Iowa Pork Producers Association board of directors and on its promotions committee.

Steve Rommereim, Past President – Rommereim most recently served as 2018-2019 board president. Rommereim is the owner, manager and operator of Highland Swine, which markets 12,000 pigs annually and grows corn and soybeans on 1,600 acres. Steve and his family are also part owners in SDI Pork LLC, which finishes 120,000 hogs annually. During his tenure on the National Pork Board, he has served on numerous committees, including the 2020 Strategic Planning Task Force. He is past president of the South Dakota Pork Producers Association, and currently serves on South Dakota Animal Industry Board and was just elected to the U.S. Animal Health Association.

Weekly Ethanol Production for 5/31/2019

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending May 31, ethanol production declined 13,000 barrels per day (b/d), or 1.2%, to average 1.044 million b/d—equivalent to 43.85 million gallons daily. It remained 3,000 b/d (0.3%) above year ago levels. The four-week average ethanol production rate moved 0.2% higher to 1.056 million b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 16.19 billion gallons (bg).

Ethanol stocks shrank by 0.3% to 22.6 million barrels. However, this remains 3.0% higher than year-ago inventories. Stocks rose in the Midwest, fell in the Gulf Coast and were fairly stable in other regions (PADDs).

There were no imports reported by EIA for the 29th week in a row. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of March 2019.)

The volume of gasoline supplied increased 0.5% to 9.441 million b/d (396.5 million gallons per day, or 144.73 bg annualized). However, refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol declined 1.8% in the holiday-shortened week to 931,000 b/d, equivalent to 14.27 bg annualized, but remained 3.3% above the year-ago level.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production decreased to 11.06%.

Fertilizer Prices Evenly Mixed

Retail fertilizer prices continue mixed with half of the eight major fertilizers moving higher and the rest moving lower, according to locations tracked by DTN for the fourth week of May 2019. All price moves were fairly small.

Of the four fertilizers with higher prices, potash had an average price of $392/ton, up $2; urea $430/ton, up $$17; 10-34-0 $487/ton, up fractionally; and UAN28 $270/ton, up $2.

The remaining four fertilizers were slightly lower compared to the previous month. DAP had an average price of $497/ton, down $1; MAP $527/ton, down $1; anhydrous $590/ton, down $5; and UAN32 $314/ton, down $1.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.47/lb.N, anhydrous $0.36/lb.N, UAN28 $0.48/lb.N and UAN32 $0.49/lb.N.

All eight of the major fertilizers are now higher compared to last year. DAP is 3% higher, MAP is 4% more expensive, both potash and 10-34-0 are 11% higher, UAN28 is 12% more expensive, UAN32 is 14% higher, anhydrous is 17% more expensive and urea is now 18% more expensive compared to last year.

Farmer Sentiment Hits Lowest Level in Over 2 Years

Ag producer sentiment dropped to its lowest level since October 2016, erasing all improvements recorded following the November 2016 election. The Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer, based on a mid-month survey of 400 agricultural producers across the U.S., declined 14 points in May to a reading of 101, down from 115 in April.

The decline in the barometer came about because producers' perspectives on both current and future economic conditions worsened considerably compared to a month earlier. The Index of Current Conditions fell to a reading of 84, down from 99, and the Index of Future Expectations fell to 108, down from 123.

"Ag producers are telling us the agricultural economy weakened considerably this spring as the barometer has fallen 42 points (29%) since the start of this year," said James Mintert, the barometer's principal investigator and director of Purdue University's Center for Commercial Agriculture. "Farmers are facing tough decisions in the midst of a wet planting season and a lot of uncertainty surrounding trade discussions."

The Large Farm Investment Index, which measures producers' attitudes toward making large investments in their farming operation, has ebbed and flowed over the past year; however, since the beginning of 2019, the index has trended significantly lower. In May, just 18% of farmers stated it was a "good time" to make large farm investments while 81% stated it was a "bad time," pushing the investment index down to a reading of 37. This is the lowest Large Farm Investment Index reading since the Ag Economy Barometer's October 2015 inception.

Farmers' optimism toward short- and long-term farmland values has also waned since the early part of 2019. For example, the percentage of farmers that expect farmland values to decline over the course of the upcoming year jumped from 21% in January to 25% in March and most recently to 30% in May. Looking farther ahead, just 39% of producers said they expect farmland values to rise over the next five years, compared to 48% expecting rising values in the March survey.

Agricultural trade continues to be a source of concern for producers. For the past three months, producers were asked whether they expect the soybean trade dispute with China to be resolved by July 1 and whether they feel the resolution will benefit U.S. agriculture. When the question was first posed in March, 45% of respondents expected the dispute to be resolved by July 1; that number declined to 28% in April and fell further to 20% in May. Regarding whether they ultimately expect an outcome favorable to U.S. agriculture, 77% said yes in March, which declined to 71% in April, and fell further to 65% in May.

"At this time, a majority of producers still expect a favorable outcome for agriculture to the trade dispute," said Mintert, "but that majority appears to be shrinking."

Read the full May Ag Economy Barometer report at This month's report includes more information about each of the survey questions, as well as a look into farmers' perceptions toward their equity positions. The site also offers additional resources -- such as past reports, charts and survey methodology -- and a form to sign up for monthly barometer email updates and webinars. Each month, Dr. Mintert also provides an in-depth video analysis of the barometer, available at

NMPF, IDFA Commend Introduction of Bipartisan School Milk Nutrition Act

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) today offered their strong support for a bipartisan bill to codify into law current milk varieties that schools may offer and reaffirm the long-standing requirement that milk served in schools be fully consistent with the most recent version of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

The School Milk Nutrition Act of 2019, introduced by Representatives Joe Courtney (D-CT) and Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA), preserves current policy which allows schools to offer students low-fat and fat-free milk, including low-fat (1%) flavored milk. The bill permits individual school districts to determine which milk varieties to offer their students, provided that they align with the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

According to the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services, American children and adolescents over four years old are not consuming enough dairy to meet the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendations. As the American Academy of Pediatrics states, “Dairy products play an important role in the diet of children… In fact, milk is the leading food source of three of the four           nutrients of public health concern (calcium, vitamin D, and potassium) in the diet of American children 2-18 years.” Milk also provides numerous additional health benefits, including stronger and healthier bones, lower blood pressure, and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

“Milk has been an integral part of school meals since their beginning, and greater milk consumption equals better nutrition for America’s kids,” said NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern. “USDA’s action last year to return low-fat flavored milk to school menus has been good for schools, students and American dairy farmers. This legislation would further that progress by letting school districts know they can continue to offer low-fat flavored milk in years to come.”

The bipartisan legislation does not expand the varieties of milk that may be offered in schools but codifies current options into law to provide certainty to schools and school districts and ensure that future generations of milk drinkers are introduced early on to healthy, nutritious dairy products that they will want to drink. Milk is the leading food source of nine essential nutrients in children’s diets, including calcium, vitamin D, and potassium.  A survey of over 300 schools that offered low-fat flavored milk during the 2017-18 school year found that 58% of schools saw an increase in milk sold and 82% of schools found it easy or very easy to include low-fat flavored milk within their overall calorie maximums.

“One of the best ways to help our growing children and teens get the nutrients they need is by providing healthy dairy options at school that they will actually drink,” said Michael Dykes, D.V.M., president and CEO of IDFA. “We are grateful to Representatives Thompson and Courtney for introducing this bill that will maintain the option for schools to offer low-fat 1% flavored milk to students. Most students prefer these options at school because many enjoy them at home. The School Milk Nutrition Act of 2019 is a good first step toward providing expanded milk options that will help ensure students get the nine essential nutrients that milk uniquely provides, including powerful protein, calcium, vitamin D and potassium.”

Hearing Highlights Implications of ERS, NIFA Relocation for Agricultural Research

During a hearing held today by the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research, key stakeholders expressed concerns about the current and potential ramifications of reorganizing and relocating two major agricultural research agencies. In accordance with previous announcements, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is continuing with plans to move the Economic Research Service (ERS) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) outside of the nation’s capital and realign ERS under the Office of the Chief Economist (OCE).

National Farmers Union (NFU), the nation’s oldest general farm organization and a vocal proponent of public agricultural research, has objected to the proposal since it was first introduced last August. At the invitation of the committee, NFU President Roger Johnson submitted a statement for the record, reaffirming the organization’s opposition.

“Between economic uncertainty, climate change, trade disputes, and a host of other issues, family farmers and ranchers are juggling more today than they ever have. Publicly-funded agricultural research, including that done by NIFA and ERS, is absolutely critical in ensuring that food producers have the data and tools they need to keep all these balls in the air.

“Yet as the need for federally-supported science grows, this proposal pulls the rug out from under the agencies who provide it. Already, USDA’s hasty approach has disrupted operations – as experienced researchers scramble to find new jobs, NIFA and ERS have both lost decades of institutional knowledge. This is bad enough, but the long-term consequences could be even more serious. By moving these agencies farther away from policy makers, we are concerned that their research will be devalued and their influence diminished. Similarly, we worry that reorganizing ERS from under the Research, Education, and Economics mission area to the Office of the Chief Economist may undermine the scientific integrity and objectivity of its work.

“Farmers desperately need more objective, science-based research to face the many challenges of modern-day agriculture, but so far, USDA’s process has done just the opposite. We strongly oppose the relocation and reorganization of these agencies, and we thank the Committee for bringing attention to this important issue.”

NSP Statement on Proposed USDA Biotechnology Regulations

National Sorghum Producers Board of Directors Chairman Dan Atkisson, a sorghum farmer from Stockton, Kansas, made the following statement in response to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's proposed new SECURE rule, which updates biotechnology regulations and other agriculture innovations.

"National Sorghum Producers appreciates the efforts of Secretary Perdue and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) in aggressively pursuing the needed updates to USDA’s 30+ year biotechnology regulations. Innovations through new breeding methods are vital to sorghum growers achieving improved production, meeting sustainability goals and maintaining our competitiveness in the global marketplace. We have been encouraged by the level of engagement and transparency USDA has displayed while evaluating this important issue. NSP looks forward to reviewing the biotechnology proposal and submitting substantive comments to further assist the department toward final rule making."


Today is World Environment Day and for U.S. farmers that makes it a great time to celebrate their success in modernizing agriculture and make it more environmentally sustainable. Improved soil management like no till and use of cover crops, precision farming tactics that better utilize nutrients and pesticides, and reducing trips across fields reduces fuel use and air pollution.

This list could go on, but suffice it to say, caring for the planet is vital to our survival. As caretakers of massive tracts of land farmers play a key role in improving our environment and they take this responsibility seriously.

From the Soil Health Partnership, which is building new soil for future generations; to the Take Action initiative that is constantly educating farmers on the latest and best ways to use crop products like herbicides and pesticides; to our efforts to save honey bees and Monarch butterflies, NCGA is working hard to keep farming profitable and assure environmental improvement.

World Environment Day is the United Nations' most important day of the year for promoting awareness and action to protect the environment. It began in 1974 and is a well-known global he National Corn Growers Association platform for positive change that is celebrated in over 100 countries.

As a farmer, take time today to tell your friends and neighbors about the positive improvements happening in agriculture and how you are making a difference. If you live in the city, you can help too by picking up trash that can end up in our ocean and fill up your car with cleaner burning ethanol fuel. We’re all in this together and enough small actions can lead to big change.

Adoption of Blockchain for Agricultural Commodity Trading Brings Challenges

Blockchain, the distributed ledger technology behind cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, which allows multiple computers to store identical transaction records, is still in its infancy. Yet interest in blockchain and enthusiasm about its bevy of potential benefits has led to a flood of investment and pilot programs from companies around the world as they race to harness its power to aid tracking and transparency.

Blockchain innovations in agriculture are numerous but have been slow to gain industry-wide acceptance, particularly in the realm of global agriculture commodity trading. According to a new report from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange Division, blockchain application to commodity agricultural trade brings a unique set of challenges. Obstacles include grain blending along the supply route and a lack of digital documentation within sections of the supply chain. However, digital solutions are evolving quickly, creating an environment where blockchain technologies may become more viable in ag commodity trading in the future.

“Previous attempts to digitalize trade finance with tools like bank payment obligation have been slow to take hold, raising doubts among some market participants about new digitalization efforts like blockchain,” said Tanner Ehmke, manager of CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange Division. “Nonetheless, banks and agribusinesses remain keen on finding distributed ledger solutions to deploy industry-wide and potentially achieve efficiencies from faster transaction speeds, less cumbersome documentation, and simpler and faster payments between buyers and sellers around the world.”

Blockchain data for grain traded on the inland river system would also have to integrate with systems for ocean-going vessels heading to international markets, thereby requiring international standards for data and governance. Given the current geo-political environment in global trade, such an evolution in international cooperation will likely be years in the making.

BASF opens global Agrochemical Application Research Center

BASF opened its new global Agrochemical Application Research Center (AARC) in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. The facility will help to further optimize stewardship guidelines regarding on-target application of BASF crop protection products used worldwide. Research conducted at the facility will also address application buffer zones for the company’s products as well as specific tank mix combinations.

“The new Research Center will help us bring new technologies to growers that reduce drift, use rates and fulfill required regulatory testing,” said Paul Rea, Senior Vice President North America, BASF’s Agricultural Solutions division. “Additionally, research from the facility will provide our Technical Service teams with guidelines to help educate our customers on proper application and stewardship best practices.”

The AARC contains a wind tunnel to test the drift potential from spray applications by measuring the droplet size distribution in each crop protection product. Solutions being analyzed are sprayed into a controlled air stream using the same nozzles available to growers. Droplet size distribution is important because it is used to predict the size of land buffers that are required for acceptable product application in commercial settings. Knowing proper application constraints will mitigate the risk of off-target movement and subsequent crop symptomology or injury in downwind locations.

“The Application Research Center allows us to identify the most promising early stage technology under highly realistic application conditions, so we can better tailor further development,” said Jürgen Huff, Senior Vice President Research and Development Crop Protection, BASF’s Agricultural Solutions division. “We will continue to emphasize and support application stewardship to growers and develop best practices to apply the formulations in a commercial setting.”

New National Consortium Welcomes Nutrien as Founding Circle Member

Nutrien Ltd. (Nutrien) announced today that it is now a Founding Member of the Ecosystem Services Market Consortium (ESMC), a collection of private-sector and nonprofit organizations dedicated to advancing sustainability throughout the agricultural supply chain.

The ESMC is driving an ambitious national effort to incentivize farmers and ranchers by creating programs that quantify, verify and monetize sustainability practices in crop production. The consortium will also drive further development of advanced analytical tools and technologies to cost-effectively measure and monitor changes in sustainability outcomes.

Nutrien will play a key role in achieving these objectives due its unique position in the marketplace as the largest provider of crop inputs and agronomic expertise in the world. The company has up-close relationships with over one-half million farmers in the U.S. a working staff of 3,500 agronomists and retail operations in 1,700 global locations. Nutrien also offers some of the most advanced tools, technologies and metrics available to farmers for measuring sustainable practices and assigning values to them.

“We are excited to have Nutrien as a member of the ESMC,” says Debbie Reed, executive director of the consortium. “The agronomic expertise and strong farmer relationships that Nutrien brings to the table will really help to scale our ecosystem service market opportunities for farmers across the country.”

Nutrien already has a major sustainability initiative underway, including conducting four pilot programs in different geographies that feature measurable outcomes having a positive impact on the environment. These sustainability objectives are being achieved with no additional cost to the farmer. Many of these participating farmers are benefitting economically due to increased crop yields and reduced production costs.

“Sustainable agriculture is extremely important for Nutrien and our grower customers, so we are proud to be a founding member of the ESMC,” says Mike Frank, CEO of Retail for Nutrien. “We believe that good environmental stewardship and good economics can – and must – go hand in hand, and we look forward to collaborating with our ESMC partners to continue to bring these priorities together.”

Nutrien joins a distinguished roster of Founding Circle and Legacy Partner members of the ESMC, including ADM, Bunge, Cargill, General Mills, McDonald’s USA, Indigo Agriculture, Noble Research Institute, the Soil Health Institute, The Nature Conservancy, Mars Incorporated and the Noble Research Institute L.L.C. The consortium will work together to develop and advance a market-based approach to promoting land stewardship to build healthy soils, sequester more soil carbon and improve water conservation.

Tuesday June 4 Ag News

Ricketts Announces Appointments to Boards and Commissions

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts announced recent appointments he has made to fill Nebraska’s boards and commissions.

The following appointees are unpaid and are not subject to Legislative confirmation:

Dairy Industry Development Board

  - Todd D. Tuls – Columbus
Nebraska Dry Bean Commission

  - Nolan L. Berry - Gering
Nebraska Invasive Species Council

  - Justin King – Columbus
  - Jonathan Nikkila - Kearney
  - Arnold E. Stuthman – Platte Center
  - Kim Todd - Lincoln

Thank you to the many Nebraskans that give generously of their time and talent to make a difference in our state.  These appointments will provide crucial insight and expertise to their respective boards, committees, and commissions.  To learn about openings and apply to serve on a board or commission, go to


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

Rain has delayed most folks from cutting alfalfa.  If you haven’t taken first cutting yet, it might help if you slightly changed the way you cut this crop.

Have you harvested your first cutting of alfalfa yet?  Even if it is not blooming heavily, you might be surprised to find that it already has started to grow your next cutting.

Walk into your alfalfa field before cutting and look closely at the base or crown of the plants.  Do you see short, new shoots starting to grow?  If so, these new shoots are the new plants that your alfalfa hopes to turn into your second cutting.

Look closely – how tall are these new shoots?  Are many of them a couple inches taller than your usual cutting height?  If you cut these new shoots off – along with the first growth – your alfalfa plants will have to start a whole new set of shoots for regrowth.  This could cause a delay in second cutting regrowth by as much as one week.

Fortunately, you can avoid this delay.  All you need to do is raise your cutting height just a couple inches so you avoid clipping off most of these new, second growth shoots.  This is especially important for growers using disk mowers because they tend to cut very low.  Your regrowth then will have a head start towards next cutting.  And since the stubble you leave behind has quite low feed value anyway, the yield you temporarily sacrifice is mostly just filler.

Normally I suggest cutting alfalfa as short as possible because that maximizes yield and it doesn’t affect rate of regrowth.  But a late cutting that already has new shoots growing is different.

Don’t blindly start cutting alfalfa when harvest is delayed.  First look for new shoots, then raise cutting height if needed.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Serve up a Savory Steak this June

June is Steak Month and grilling season is upon us! In honor of steak month, the Iowa Beef Industry Council is sharing tips on how to enjoy wholesome, nutritious and delicious beef meals on the grill all summer long. Whether you are grilling a quick and light summer meal or hosting a savory cookout with friends and family, we have a few tips that will leave you feeling confident about serving up a perfectly grilled beef dish for family or guests to enjoy.

1. Consider your cut: While classics, such as the Strip Steak and Ribeye, can be an easy go-to, there are endless options when it comes to cuts of beef. Why not kick your grilling game up a notch with a cut out of your comfort zone, like a juicy Flat Iron Steak or a lean and flavorful Flank Steak? More cut ideas for grilling can be found here.

2. Elevate those flavors: While most cuts taste great with just a pinch of salt and pepper, the chance to boost flavor with a host of savory marinades or rubs invites exploration and takes your beef to new flavor heights.

“There are two reasons you might want to use a marinade, to add flavor or to tenderize. While the two different types of marinades may contain similar ingredients, the key is the length of marinating time,” shares Rochelle Gilman, Director of Health and Nutrition at the Iowa Beef Industry Council.

If you are looking to add extra flavor, tender cuts can be marinated for as little as 15 minutes or as long as two hours. For less tender cuts, marinating for at least six hours, but not more than 24 hours, will do the trick.

3. Medium and steady wins the race: When it comes to cooking with beef, there is no need to rush the process by using any higher heat than medium. Cooking at a medium heat allows the beef to achieve caramelization while still developing rich flavors and avoiding charring.

4. Temperature is king: To have the best eating experience, it is important to cook beef to the correct internal temperature. The safest way to ensure accurate results is to use a meat thermometer. Keep in mind that the internal temperature will continue to rise for a few minutes after coming off the grill. For most grill-friendly cuts, about five minutes is enough.

“This is a step that novice cooks often overlook,” comments Kylie Peterson, Director of Marketing and Communications at the Iowa Beef Industry Council. “Even if you’re hungry and your mouth is salivating, it’s worth the wait! It prevents all those tasty juices from draining onto your plate.”

5. Time to savor: If you’re slicing the steak before serving, be sure to go across the grain and top your steak with a compound butter or flavorful sauce.

“There is no better way to celebrate summertime than with beef on the grill,” said Peterson. “Between the different cuts and marinade options, beef is an extremely versatile and nutritious protein.” Click here for savory, satisfying steak recipes that are sure to add sizzle to any plate.

2019 Crop Management Clinic Is a Two Day Crop and Pest Management Training

Registration for the summer 2019 Crop Management Clinic is now open. New to this year’s clinic will be an extra day of training, education and discussion with a total of 19 scheduled learning sessions, covered by 15 Iowa State University Extension and Outreach specialists. The clinic will be held on July 10-11. 

The Crop Management Clinic will examine and illustrate the latest crop, soil, nutrient and pest management techniques and strategies. ISU Extension and Outreach specialists will approach the content from an intermediate perspective, building upon the foundations of the four core topic areas. Crop managers with a basic understanding and skillset in crop scouting and nutrient management, who want a more in-depth working knowledge of these practices will benefit greatly from the two days’ worth of knowledge and experience.

“Iowa’s planting season has been drastically impacted by cooler and wetter than normal conditions,” said Warren Pierson, extension coordinator for the Field Extension Education Laboratory. “While the Crop Management Clinic offers a wealth of information to crop managers every year, this year, understanding how to manage crops in a delayed planting situation, as well as managing pests, soil and nutrients in wet weather will be critical. This clinic will be beneficial to crop advisers across the state.”

New topics and specialists to be featured this year include: Marshall McDaniel, agronomy assistant professor, speaking on soil health testing and recommendations; Adam Janke, extension wildlife specialist, covering how to assess opportunity areas for wildlife habitat and conservation on the farm; Meaghan Anderson, extension field agronomist, speaking on integrated pest management and identifying pests; Rasel Parvej and Ashlyn Kessler, agronomy researchers, presenting research on cropping systems; and Prashant Jha, extension weed management specialist, discussing weed issues.

This event will be hosted by Iowa State at FEEL on 1928 240th St., Boone. Registrants should plan to arrive at 8:30 a.m. for check-in, with opening comments beginning at 8:55 a.m., July 10. The first day of the clinic will conclude at 4:30 p.m. The clinic will continue on July 11, with refreshments at 7:30 a.m., sessions starting at 8 a.m. and adjourn at 3:40 p.m. Lunch will be provided on both days, with some light refreshments available at check-in. Beverages will also be available throughout the day.

Advance registration is required to attend this event. Early registration for the two-day event is $250 and must be completed before midnight July 3. Registration includes refreshments, lunch and course materials. Additional information, including an outline of all topics and online registration, is available at

For additional information visit the event website. This clinic qualifies for 12.5 continuing education credits for Iowa Certified Crop Advisers, subject to board approval, in the following categories: 2.0 nutrient management, 5.0 pest management, 125 soil and water management, 3.0 crop management.

Administrator Wheeler Signs Final Rule to Add Reporting Exemption Under EPCRA for Air Emissions from Animal Waste

Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler signed a final rule amending the emergency release notification regulations under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). The amendments clarify that reporting of air emissions from animal waste at farms is not required under EPCRA.

The final rule comes as first responders across the county have repeatedly reminded the agency that community-specific protocols are determined between local responders and animal producers well in advance of emergencies. These strong partnerships provide a platform for resolving issues when they arise without the need for a national one-size-fits-all approach.

“This final rule provides clarity and certainty to the regulated community that animal waste emissions from farms do not need to be reported under EPCRA,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “This action eliminates an onerous reporting requirement and allows emergency responders and farmers to focus on protecting the public and feeding the nation, not routine animal waste emissions.”

“The goal of emergency response officials and local emergency planning committees (LEPCs) is to prepare communities for emergency threats related to hazardous chemical releases. Such emergency threats do not include 'best guess' reporting on day-to-day emissions on farms and animal operations,” said National Association of SARA Title III Program Officials (NASTTPO) President Tim Gablehouse. “The focus of LEPCs should be and is on chemical hazards that present meaningful risk of harm to community members and first responders. We look forward to working on enhanced coordination and cooperation between all community members to improve preparedness for hazardous chemical releases.”

The changes to emergency release reporting regulations reflect the existing relationship between EPCRA and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and provide consistency between the two environmental laws.


On March 23, 2018, President Trump signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 (“Omnibus Bill”). Title XI of the Omnibus Bill is entitled the “Fair Agricultural Reporting Method Act” or the “FARM Act.” The FARM Act expressly exempts reporting of air emissions from animal waste (including decomposing animal waste) at a farm from CERCLA section 103. The FARM Act also provides definitions for the terms “animal waste” and “farm.” Because these types of releases are exempted under CERCLA, based on the release reporting criteria under EPCRA section 304, these types of releases are also exempt under EPCRA section 304.

On October 30, 2018, then Acting Administrator Wheeler proposed the reporting exemption under EPCRA alongside National Association of SARA Title III Program Officials (NASTTPO) President Tim Gablehouse and various state animal producer trade associations.

You can read the final rule here:

Today’s final rule maintains consistency between the emergency release notification requirements of EPCRA and CERCLA in accordance with the statutory text and framework of EPCRA.

EPA Implements Fischer’s Bill Exempting Farms from Reporting Animal Waste Emissions

U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) released the following statement today after EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced he signed a final rule implementing her common-sense legislation, which ensures farmers and ranchers do not need to report animal waste emissions:

“Due to unnecessary federal regulations, our ag producers in Nebraska were facing worry and frustration about calculating emissions from animal waste. I was proud to lead the bipartisan legislation that delivered a permanent fix on this issue. Now that the EPA administrator has officially implemented this rule, farmers and ranchers will have more regulatory certainty.”

Senator Fischer championed the bipartisan Fair Agricultural Reporting Method (FARM) Act, which President Trump signed into law in March 2018. The bill protects farmers, ranchers, and livestock markets from burdensome EPA reporting requirements for animal waste emissions. These requirements were meant to address dangerous industrial pollution, chemical plant explosions, and the release of hazardous materials into the environment. They were not intended to affect animal agriculture.

NCBA Welcomes Exemption from EPCRA's "Frivolous Reporting Requirements"

Today Jennifer Houston, President of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, released the following statement in response to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s finalization of a rule exempting livestock producers from unnecessary reporting requirements under EPCRA:

“Farmers, ranchers, and emergency response officials all agree: routine emissions from agricultural operations are not a threat to local communities. Congress made a common-sense decision to exempt livestock producers from frivolous reporting requirements at the federal level with its passage of the FARM Act, and we are glad to see EPA fully implement the law by providing relief from burdensome state and local reporting requirements. Rather than submitting needless paperwork, talking to responders about potential on-farm hazards can save lives. The removal of this unnecessary burden will allow first responders to focus on real emergencies, and will allow livestock producers to focus on feeding the world.” 

Final EPA Rule Exempts Farms From Emissions Reporting

The National Pork Producers Council today applauded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for finalizing its rule exempting livestock farmers from reporting to state and local authorities the routine emissions from their farms.

"Today's rule is the final piece in the implementation of the FARM Act, which passed Congress with overwhelming bipartisan support last year and eliminated the need for livestock farmers to estimate and report to the federal government emissions from the natural breakdown of manure," said NPPC President David Herring, and a pork producer from Lillington, North Carolina. "That bipartisan measure was approved because it was unnecessary and impractical for farmers to waste time and resources alerting government agencies that there are livestock on farms."

The Fair Agricultural Reporting Method, or FARM Act, fixed a problem created in April 2017 when a U.S. Court of Appeals rejected a 2008 EPA rule that exempted farmers from reporting routine farm emissions under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA). Commonly known as the "Superfund Law," CERCLA is used primarily to clean hazardous waste sites but also includes a mandatory federal reporting component.

The appeals court ruling would have forced tens of thousands of livestock farmers to "guesstimate" and report the emissions from manure on their farms to the U.S. Coast Guard's National Response Center and subjected them to citizen lawsuits from activist groups.

EPA's new rule exempts farmers from having to make reports to state and local first responders under the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) – an adjunct to CERCLA – that they have "hazardous" emissions on their farms.  The state and local first responders have been clear that they consider these reports unnecessary and burdensome. Instead, they prefer open lines of communication and information sharing at the local level with farmers, something the U.S. pork industry is already undertaking.  In many communities, U.S. pork producers are also local fire chiefs or members of the fire department.  Additionally, the U.S. pork industry has already changed its industry best practices through the Pork Quality Assurance® Plus (PQA® Plus) program to encourage producers to engage with local first responders and create open lines of communication.

"The pork industry wants regulations that are practical and effective but applying CERCLA and EPCRA to livestock farms is neither," Herring said. "Pork producers are very strong stewards of the environment and have taken many actions over the years to protect it.  We applaud President Trump for relieving America's farmers from filing these unnecessary reports," he added.

April 2019 Dairy Products Production Highlights

Total cheese output (excluding cottage cheese) was 1.08 billion pounds, 0.2 percent above April 2018 but 3.6 percent below March 2019.  Italian type cheese production totaled 474 million pounds, 2.9 percent above April 2018 but 4.2 percent below March 2019.  American type cheese production totaled 432 million pounds, 2.8 percent below April 2018 and 1.9 percent below March 2019.  Butter production was 167 million pounds, 4.8 percent below April 2018 and 3.9 percent below March 2019.

Dry milk products (comparisons in percentage with April 2018)
Nonfat dry milk, human - 165 million pounds, down 2.6 percent.
Skim milk powder - 45.0 million pounds, down 9.0 percent.

Whey products (comparisons in percentage with April 2018)
Dry whey, total - 74.0 million pounds, down 13.7 percent.
Lactose, human and animal - 108 million pounds, up 15.9 percent.
Whey protein concentrate, total - 41.4 million pounds, down 1.1 percent.

Frozen products (comparisons in percentage with April 2018)
Ice cream, regular (hard) - 63.2 million gallons, up 0.6 percent.
Ice cream, lowfat (total) - 43.5 million gallons, up 6.5 percent.
Sherbet (hard) - 3.26 million gallons, down 8.9 percent.
Frozen yogurt (total) - 4.89 million gallons, down 6.2 percent.

Farm Service Agency County Committee Nominations Open June 14

USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will begin accepting nominations for county committee members on Friday, June 14, 2019. Agricultural producers who participate or cooperate in an FSA program may be nominated for candidacy for the county committee. Individuals may nominate themselves or others as a candidate.

“I encourage America’s farmers, ranchers and forest stewards to nominate candidates to lead, serve and represent their community on their county committee,” FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce said. “There’s an increasing need for diverse representation including underserved producers, which includes beginning, women and minority farmers and ranchers.”

Committees make important decisions about how federal farm programs are administered locally. Their input is vital on how FSA carries out disaster programs, as well as conservation, commodity and price support programs, county office employment and other agricultural issues.

Nationwide, more than 7,700 dedicated members of the agricultural community are serving on FSA county committees. The committees are made up of three to 11 members and typically meet once a month. Members serve three-year terms.

Producers should visit their local FSA office to find out how to get involved in their county’s election. Check with your local USDA service center to see if your local administrative area is up for election this year. Organizations, including those representing beginning, women and minority producers, also may nominate candidates.

To be considered, a producer must sign an FSA-669A nomination form. The form and other information about FSA county committee elections are available at All nomination forms for the 2019 election must be postmarked or received in the local FSA office by Aug. 1, 2019.

Election ballots will be mailed to eligible voters beginning Nov. 4, 2019.

USDA Announces Commodity Credit Corporation Lending Rates

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Commodity Credit Corporation Monday announced interest rates for June 2019, which are effective June 1-June 30, 2019. The Commodity Credit Corporation borrowing rate-based charge for June is 2.375 percent, same as it was in May.

The interest rate for crop year commodity loans less than one year disbursed during June is 3.375 percent, same as it was in May. Interest rates for Farm Storage Facility Loans approved for June are as follows: 2.250 percent with three-year loan terms, same as it was in May; 2.250 percent with five-year loan terms, down from 2.375 percent in May; 2.375 percent with seven-year loan terms, down from 2.500 percent in May; 2.500 percent with 10-year loan terms, same as in May; and 2.500 percent with 12-year loan terms, same as in May.

Feed Prices in 2019

Brenda Boetel, Extension Economist, Dept of Ag Economics, University of Wisconsin-River Falls

The USDA Crop Progress report released June 3, 2019 showed that as of the week ending June 2, 2019 only 67% of corn has been planted, compared to 96% in 2018. The July, September and December 2019 CME corn futures market contracts have increased an average of $0.59 since May 1. The average May change over the last 5 years has been a decrease of $0.11. Given the significant decrease in plantings and the percentage of corn that has been planted late, corn price may continue to increase. While the trade concerns with Mexico are the bearish indicators the decrease in acres will likely have a greater impact.

Over the last 5 years Mexico has taken an average of 24% of our exports. 24% of the average 5 years of exports is 522 million bushels of corn.  If one assumes corn planting will be down 6 million acres to 86.8 million acres and we see a decrease of 2 bushels/acre to 174.6 bu/acre yield we would see a decrease in corn production of 554 million bushels.  Although the market may focus on the new news concerning Mexico and trade, the long-term impact (and in my opinion the more likely scenario) of lower acres and yield will eventually have the greater impact on prices.

In addition to a lower supply of corn, we will see continued decreases in high quality hay.  2018 saw heavy rains and unpredictable weather.  The decrease in production contributed to the decrease in US hay stocks of close to 6% from 2017 to 2018. Given the late wet spring, first cutting hay is smaller as forages were slow to start growing and were mature at lower height.

Feeding cost of gain is sensitive to corn and hay prices, as well as feed conversions. Using regression results obtained by Michael Langemeier from Purdue University that found each $0.10 per bushel increase in corn prices increases feeding cost of gain by $0.87 per cwt. and each $5 per ton increase in alfalfa prices increases feeding cost of gain by $0.55 per cwt, one can estimate that even if hay price and all other costs remain constant cost of gain will increase by $5/cwt given the May increase in price of corn. This calculation assumes price remains at this level and feeders haven't conducted any hedging activities, but it highlights the increased costs of feeding producers should expect.

 ARA Sent Letter to USDA on How Payments May Negatively Impact Retailers

The Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today describing the risk of unintended consequences that the disaster relief legislation will have on agribusiness and requesting him to implement legislation in a way that will not harm agricultural retailers and distributors.

While ARA wholeheartedly supports the efforts of congress to pass supplemental relief to farmers across the country devastated by natural disasters, we have concerns regarding the negative impact the widespread prevented planting payments will impose on the agribusiness community.

"Our members will always have the farmers' best interest at heart because if farmers don't succeed, retailers don't succeed," said ARA President and CEO Daren Coppock.

Should farmers choose not to plant in 2019 and instead take prevented planting compensation, the retailer will be left holding product which will either drop in value, or worse, be of no value at all, as in the case of treated seed. Therefore, encouraging farmers to alter their planting intentions drastically will have a detrimental impact on agricultural retailers and other businesses serving farmers.

"We believe the American farmer wants nothing more than to be able to put crops in the ground and produce a plentiful harvest, and this action would hopefully assist to that end," said Coppock in the letter.

Instead, ARA recommends delaying the prevented planting date in the affected states for the 2019 growing season as an excellent resolution to accommodate grower needs while also considering the interest of agricultural retailers who serve the growers.

June 3 Crop Progress & Condition - NE - IA - US


For the week ending June 2, 2019, there were 2.6 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 0 percent very short, 0 short, 68 adequate, and 32 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 0 percent very short, 0 short, 77 adequate, and 23 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn condition rated 1 percent very poor, 2 poor, 23 fair, 67 good, and 7 excellent. Corn planted was 88 percent, behind 99 last year and 98 for the five-year average. Emerged was 67 percent, well behind 90 last year and 88 average.

Soybeans planted was 64 percent, well behind 94 last year and 87 average. Emerged was 39 percent, well behind 74 last year and 60 average.

Winter wheat condition rated 2 percent very poor, 6 poor, 25 fair, 48 good, and 19 excellent. Winter wheat headed was 45 percent, well behind 67 last year and 75 average.

Sorghum planted was 36 percent, well behind 77 last year and 70 average.

Oats condition rated 1 percent very poor, 3 poor, 35 fair, 56 good, and 5 excellent. Oats planted was 96 percent, near 100 both last year and average. Emerged was 88 percent, behind 96 last year and 98 average. Headed was 14 percent, well behind 36 last year, and behind 33 average.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 1 percent very poor, 1 poor, 15 fair, 70 good, and 13 excellent.


Iowa farmers continue to battle wet field conditions as another week of heavy rainfall limited farmers to only 1.3 days suitable for fieldwork statewide during the week ending June 2, 2019, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. The lower third of Iowa had 0.5 day suitable for fieldwork or less for the second week in a row.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 0 percent very short, 0 percent short, 50 percent adequate and 50 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 0 percent very short, 0 percent short, 49 percent adequate and 51 percent surplus.

Eighty percent of the expected corn crop has been planted, nearly 3 weeks behind the 5-year average. This is the smallest amount of corn planted by June 2 since 1982 when 76 percent of the expected crop had been planted. There were comments that some of these expected corn acres may go to soybeans or prevented planting. Fifty-eight percent of the crop has emerged, 12 days behind last year and 13 days behind average.

Forty-one percent of the expected soybean crop has been planted, 18 days behind last year and average. This is the smallest percent of soybeans planted by June 2 since 1993 when just 39 percent of the expected crop had been planted. Seventeen percent of the crop has emerged, 2 weeks behind last year and 13 days behind average.

Ninety-three percent of the expected oat crop has emerged, 8 days behind last year and 10 days behind average. Six percent of the crop has headed, 8 days behind average.

Only 4 percent of the State’s first cutting of alfalfa hay has been completed, over two weeks behind average. Hay condition rated 60 percent good to excellent.

Pasture condition decreased slightly to 62 percent good to excellent. Feedlots remain muddy.

Soggy Conditions Continue to Stymie National Planting Progress

Soggy conditions across much of the country continued to stymie planting progress last week with farmers managing to plant only another 9% of the corn crop and 10% of the soybean crop during the week. That means 33% of corn and 61% of soybeans are left to plant, according to this week's USDA NASS Crop Progress report.

NASS estimated that, as of Sunday, June 2, corn planting was 67% complete. That was up just 9 percentage points from 58% the previous week and was 29 percentage points behind the five-year average of 96%. In last week's report, corn planting was 32 percentage points behind the average pace.

A lack of sun also hampered corn emergence. An estimated 46% of the crop was emerged as of Sunday, 38 percentage points behind the five-year average of 84%. In last week's report, emergence was 37 percentage points behind average.

Soybean planting also inched along last week. As of Sunday, an estimated 39% of the crop was planted, up 10 percentage points from the previous week but behind last year's 86% and 40 percentage points behind the five-year average of 79%. In last week's report, soybean planting was 37 percentage points behind average.

Nationwide, 19% of soybeans were emerged, 37 percentage points behind the average of 56%.

Spring wheat growers had more success in catching up to the average pace. NASS estimated that 93% of spring wheat was planted as of Sunday, just 3 percentage points behind the five-year average of 96%. That was closer to the average pace than the previous week when planting was 7 percentage points behind normal.

Spring wheat emerged, at 69%, was 15 percentage points behind the five-year average of 84%.

The first spring wheat condition report of the season showed 83% of the crop that had emerged was in good-to-excellent condition. That was considerably better than last year at the same time when 70% of spring wheat was rated in good-to-excellent condition.

Winter wheat was 76% headed as of Sunday, behind last year's 82% and 8 percentage points behind the five-year average of 84%. USDA estimated that 64% of winter wheat was in good-to-excellent condition, up 3 percentage points from 61% the previous week.

Sorghum was 35% planted, compared to 59% last year and a five-year average of 53%. Oats were 91% planted as of June 2, compared to 97% last year and an average of 98%. Oats emerged were at 77%, compared to 89% last year and an average of 93%.

Monday June 3 Ag News

Ricketts Proclaims June as Dairy Month in Nebraska

On Saturday, Governor Pete Ricketts proclaimed June as Dairy Month in Nebraska during a ceremony at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo.  Dairy Month is celebrated in Nebraska each June to highlight the importance of Nebraska’s dairy farmers to agriculture and the state’s economy.

“Dairy farmers in Nebraska make significant contributions to our state’s economic growth as well as high-quality milk for our families.  Thanks to their good work, Nebraska is a top-ten state in both production and revenue per dairy cow,” said Governor Ricketts.  “Our state’s plentiful feed supplies and abundant water resources, along with our pro-agriculture policies, make Nebraska an ideal home for dairies.”

Nebraska is a net exporter of milk, sending two million pounds out of state each day.  Thanks to the state’s central location, milk produced locally can reach almost every corner of the continental United States within two days.  Nebraska’s cow numbers are up 7% since 2014, and dairy farmers anticipate additional growth in the coming years.

Kris Bousquet of the Nebraska State Dairy Association (NSDA) touted the state as a great place for dairy processors to do business.  “A processor who comes to Nebraska will have immediate access to milk produced right here, and dairy farmers will be thrilled to reduce their transportation costs in the process,” he said.  “The next dairy processor to stake a claim in Nebraska is going to have the pick of the litter in terms of location and the opportunity to connect with dairy farmers.”

A team of organizations have joined forces to lead the state’s Grow Nebraska Dairy initiative.  These include the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA), Nebraska Department of Economic Development, Nebraska Public Power District, the University of Nebraska, the NSDA, and the Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska.

“Nebraska is a great place to milk cows,” said NDA Director Steve Wellman.  “We have abundant, high-quality feed and water resources that lead to a top-ten level of milk production per cow.  Nebraska is ready to grow and add value to our agricultural products through the dairy sector.”

Dairy Farmers of America Turns Social Currency into Real Milk Money

Kicked off on World Milk Day, June 1, and throughout the month of June, Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) will help raise awareness and provide relief towards the summer nutrition gap felt by nearly 18 million students who rely on school lunch programs across the country— almost twice the population of New York City. To do this, DFA is rallying around the power of social media and the support of celebrity chef Christina Tosi to share out this message and raise donations based on social actions. For each social post during the month of June, using #GiveMilkMoney, DFA will donate one gallon of milk, through its DFA Cares Foundation, to kids in need through Feeding America food banks across the country.

“DFA is made up of hardworking family farm-owners and employees who understand the power dairy has towards helping those in need and its nutritional benefits,” said Kristen Coady, vice president of communications at DFA. “As a dairy cooperative and an industry, we have a responsibility to help nourish the communities we are a part of and this #GiveMilkMoney initiative aims to do just that.”

As part of the effort to close the summer nutritional gap, DFA is bringing new meaning to social currency by donating one gallon of milk for every social post using #GiveMilkMoney. To bring the #GiveMilkMoney movement alive in DFA’s hometown of Kansas City, custom milk money ATMs and a family friendly pop-up experience were located in the River Market in Kansas City, Mo. Traditionally seen as vehicles to receive, these customized ATMs were converted into the ultimate giving machines that allowed users to donate with their social currency and encourage their friends to donate through an automated tweet and retweet. After donating with their social currency, participants received a free bowl of milk and cereal to further enjoy the goodness of dairy.

World Milk Day was established by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations to recognize the importance of milk as a global food. It has been observed on June 1 each year since 2001. The day is intended to provide an opportunity to bring attention to activities that are connected with the dairy sector.

To join the #GiveMilkMoney movement and enable DFA to donate milk, simply post on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using #GiveMilkMoney and DFA will donate up to 10,000 gallons of milk. For more information on how to help, visit,

Wheat, Pulse, and Double Crop Field Day, June 18 at ENREC near Mead

A more diverse crop rotation can play a fundamental role in managing yield limiting factors, increase resilience to extreme weather, and distribute workload. Join Nebraska Extension on Tuesday, June 18 for the Eastern Nebraska Wheat, Pulse, and Double Crop Field Day. The field day will be held at the Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center near Mead located at 1071 County Road G in Saunders County.

The program starts at 9:00 am and runs to 4:00 in the afternoon in Tuesday, June 18. Registration starts at 8:30 with coffee and donuts served. In the morning, there will be short presentations on winter wheat, pulses, and double crop production in eastern Nebraska including a panel discussion with some local producers. Lunch will be catered by Parker’s Smokehouse. In the afternoon, attendees will head out for plot tours and demos.

The event is free to attendee thanks to grants and sponsors. We do ask you pre-register by Friday, June 14, online at or call the Dodge County Extension Office at 402-727-2775 to ensure we have enough food for all.

Speakers and topics for the first morning session on winter wheat include:
·       Nebraska Wheat Board Update from Royce Schaneman, Executive Director of Nebraska Wheat
·       The Word on Wheat with Dr. Nathan Mueller, Cropping System Educator
·       UAV or Drone Work in Wheat with Dr. Yeyin Shi, Ag Information Systems Engineering Assistant Professor

Speakers and topics for the second morning session on pulses include:
·       The Pulse on Peas by Alex Rosa and Sam Koeshall, UNL Graduate Students
·       Double Cropping Short Season Crops and Forages after Field Peas with Dr. Mary Drewnoski and Alex Rosa
·       Eating Wheat and Pulse Products: Health Benefits with Beth Nacke, Registered Dietician
·       Eastern Nebraska wheat, pulse, and double crop grower panel

After lunch, plot tours and demonstrations run from 1:00 to 4:00 pm. Tours and demonstrations include:
·       Pulse crop variety trial walk-through and discussion
·       Double crop Q and A
·       Winter wheat variety trial walk-through and discussion
·       Wheat diseases ID and discussion
·       Nitrogen and sulfur fertilization study
·       Drone and sensor demo in wheat

Again to get pre-registered for the Eastern Nebraska Wheat, Pulse Crop, and Double Crop Field Day this on Tuesday, June 18 near Mead, please call the Dodge County Extension Office at 402-727-2775 or pre-register online at .

Pilot Project Will Assist Nebraska Farmers in Addressing Ephemeral Gullies on Highly Erodible Land

Nebraska is one of five states selected by the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to take part in a pilot project that will provide financial assistance to farmers to address ephemeral gullies on highly erodible land.

State Conservationist Craig Derickson said there is an application deadline of July 19, 2019, for the $2 million available in Nebraska through the pilot project. He said priority will be given to applicants with tracts that were selected for conservation compliance reviews in the past two years and received variances to address ephemeral gully erosion.

Since the passage of the 1985 Farm Bill, farmers have been required to control erosion on fields that are classified as highly erodible. Each spring, NRCS conducts compliance reviews on a random selection of highly erodible fields to determine if erosion has been adequately controlled. A non-compliance ruling can affect benefits that farmers receive from USDA agencies, including Conservation Reserve Program payments and Price Loss Coverage. If erosion control issues are identified during compliance reviews, farmers may be given variances, which provide time for farmers to make adjustments and install needed conservation practices.

Ephemeral gullies are those areas in cropland fields where small gullies appear after heavy rains. Discing an ephemeral gully leaves nutrient-rich topsoil vulnerable to erosion. Fixing the gullies with conservation practices protects productivity and water quality and allows farmers with highly erodible land to continue receiving USDA benefits.

Derickson said the pilot project will provide cost-share funding to farmers to implement conservation practices such as cover crops, crop rotation, no-till, contour farming, buffer strips, terraces, waterways and others.

“Our advice to a farmer with an ephemeral gully is to ‘fix it, don’t disc it.’ Work with your local NRCS staff to develop conservation alternatives that will address your erosion issue,” Derickson said. “As a natural resources agency we are dedicated to working with farmers and ranchers to figure out ways for them to produce agricultural products in ways that are both economical to them while protecting the resources. This pilot provides us with additional funding to do that.”

Other states involved in the pilot project are Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri. For more information or to apply for assistance contact the NRCS office serving your county. NRCS offices can be found in the phone book under “U.S. Government, Department of Agriculture,” or online at

USDA Invites Farmers to Join Acreage Reporting Pilot Project

Producers in 19 Nebraska counties are being asked to consider participating in a pilot project to test their ability to use precision ag data for reporting acreage to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) agencies.

Nebraska USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director Nancy Johner and USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) Regional Director Collin Olsen have announced the agencies are looking for producers to test the transfer of data collected by their planting equipment as part of a streamlining initiative. The data will be processed by an approved third-party provider and transmitted directly to FSA and RMA as part of the Acreage Crop Reporting Streamlining Initiative (ACRSI).

Acreage crop reporting is an important step farmers and ranchers take to be eligible for many USDA programs and services, such as federal crop insurance administered by RMA and farm programs administered by FSA. The acreage reporting date for spring-planted crops is July 15, 2019.

“An increasing number of producers are using precision ag technology in their field equipment,” said Johner. “It’s logical to use the data gathered by that equipment in a way that saves the producer and our office time and paperwork. It’s information they are going to share with us anyway for program compliance purposes.”

The Nebraska FSA county offices participating in the pilot include Box Butte, Cheyenne, Dawes-North Sioux, Frontier, Furnas, Harlan, Hayes, Hitchcock, Kearney, Keith, Kimball, Lincoln, Morrill, Perkins, Phelps, Red Willow, Saline, Sheridan and Webster.

“Farmers still will have to visit their participating FSA county office and also work with their crop insurance agent to validate transmitted data, sign the final acreage reports and provide any additional information,” said Olsen. “By helping test this pilot now, we will continue to improve and streamline the process and ensure farmers in the future can spend more time farming and less time filling out paperwork.”

Producers located in the pilot project counties who are interested in participating should contact their FSA county office. For more information on ACRSI visit

RFA Congratulates Husker Ag LLC on Hitting One-Billion Gallon Milestone

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) on May 30th congratulated member company Husker Ag LLC, as it recently produced its one-billionth gallon of ethanol.  The Plainview, Nebraska facility began production in 2003 and expanded its production capacity in 2007. Today, the company produces more than 300,000 gallons of ethanol per day.

“All of us at RFA congratulate Husker Ag on this momentous achievement,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “Husker Ag’s investors, board, and staff should be very proud of the many positive impacts they have made on the Plainview community. The company supports dozens of good jobs, adds value to locally grown crops, and plays an important role in providing consumers with cleaner and more affordable fuels at the pump.”

Seth Harder, Husker Ag’s general manager and an RFA board member, commented, “I couldn’t be more proud of the work that the staff has delivered over the last three years to achieve the goals set forth by the Board of Directors to increase gallons, improve our yield and lower our energy per gallon. Hitting the billion-gallon mark is just the type of milestone achievement that commemorates all our hard work. I’m very proud to have been a part of this company since 2002.”

Husker Ag President Robert Brummels added, “Speaking on behalf of the Board of Directors and the owners of the company, we are very grateful to the employees for their hard work and commitment to the company.  We are happy that we have provided the owners of the company with a great return on the dollars they invested in Husker Ag.  We are proud that we have provided the local corn producers with a better price for their grain than they might have had without a local end user of corn and we thank them for their patronage.  We are grateful to the local livestock producers for buying the distillers grain.  We are delighted that we have provided local motorists with a clean burning environment friendly fuel, that decreases the cost of filling the tank.  We look forward to many more years of being an economic stimulus to northeast Nebraska.”

Ricketts Proclaims “Detasselers’ Recognition Day” in Nebraska

This morning, Governor Pete Ricketts was joined by Nebraska Corn Board Executive Director Kelly Brunkhorst and detasselers from throughout the state to proclaim June 3, 2019, as Detasselers’ Recognition Day in Nebraska.

“For generations, thousands of Nebraskans have found summer work as detasselers,” said Governor Ricketts.  “These jobs help young Nebraskans save for college and teach them the value and reward of hard work.  That’s why seed corn detasseling contractors in Nebraska have waiting lists of hundreds of Nebraskans willing to work the fields.  I’d like to thank detasselers for working hard to help grow Nebraska agriculture.  I'd also like to thank seed corn companies, like Corteva and Syngenta, that have committed to hire Nebraskans to fill the detasseling jobs here in our state.”

“Seed corn companies that hire Nebraskans to detassel their fields provide tremendous financial and learning opportunities to our state,” said Julie Bohlen, co-founder of S&J Detasseling.  “Summer jobs in detasseling are an important source of income for high school students who are saving for college and for college students with tuition bills to pay.  These jobs are also a terrific way for young Nebraskans to develop character traits like cooperation and fortitude.”

Each summer, more than 7,000 Nebraskans work as detasselers, performing indispensable seasonal labor for seed companies.  They rise early to work in the cornfields and spend long hours in the summer heat to ensure that the cross-pollinating process yields a pure seed.  For students and schoolteachers, detasseling is a welcome source of summer employment and a great way to earn income.  For many Nebraskans, detasseling is their first job and serves as a formative, character-building experience.  Detasselers learn the value of hard work, the importance of teamwork, and skills in leadership.  Detasseling also connects the residents of small towns and cities with Nebraska’s farmers, helping more Nebraskans build ties to the state’s #1 economic industry—agriculture.

Detasselers are typically busiest during July, though crews are already out roguing fields in some locations.

Use of Gender-Selected Semen in Beef Cattle

Steve Neimeyer – NE Extension Educator 

The use of new technologies by the beef industry usually lags its development by researchers. An example of this would be gender-selected semen. The incorporation of this or any new technology is dictated by its necessity and positive economic advantage. Semen sorted for a specific gender (sexed semen) became commercially available in 2003 for dairy cattle but did not have significant use by the industry until 2006. On the other hand, the number of sires with sexed semen available for the beef industry was still 0 (zero) in 2007 but increased to 70 in 2011. The delayed use of gender-sorted semen by the beef industry may be related to the perceived economic return. For the dairy industry the economic benefit for heifer calves over bull calves is huge; however, in the beef industry gender differences in economic return exist but are not as dramatic. Therefore, for the beef industry to adapt this technology more knowledge is need how to capture economic returns from incorporating it.

First it is important to highlight that calves born from gender-selected semen will have similar production traits as their herd mates from conventional semen. For example: birth weight, calving ease, calf vigor, calf health, weaning weight, and mortality rates before weaning do not differ between calves from gender-selected and conventional semen. Second, with recent improvements in this technology conception rates with gender-selected semen are typically between 80% to 95% of conventional semen, in other words if AI conception rates are 60% with conventional semen, with gender-selected semen you would expect conception rates to be between 48% to 57%. One thing to be aware of to get the best possible conception rates is cows that exhibit estrus prior to AI have greater conception rates compared to cows that do not exhibit estrus behavioral. So, the use of gender-selected semen only in animals that exhibit estrus prior to AI will result in greater conception rates. Another method is the delay insemination of nonestrus cows to 20 hours after an injection of GnRH.

Even though gender differences are not as large in the beef industry as they are in the dairy industry, gender-selected semen has many applications which will depend on the herd. In commercial beef cattle a strategy would be to use gender-selected semen to produce replacement heifers. This strategy would start by selecting cows with desired maternal traits, such as age at sexual maturity, milk yield, fertility, maternal behavior, adaptation to the environmental challenges, and longevity. These animals would then be inseminated with gender-selected semen from sires with similar maternal traits. An advantage of this strategy would be the production of top replacement heifers and increasing the rate of genetic change in the herd. In addition, there would be a decrease in the number of steers produced from maternal sires. This benefits the herd as these steers often have decreased performance when compared to steers from terminal sires. When the number of cows to be inseminated with gender-selected semen is achieved the remaining cows can be inseminated to terminal sires knowing these calves will not be kept as replacement heifers. It also brings the opportunity to utilize different breeds, without affecting the herd’s genetic. Similar with herd bulls, since no heifers are expected to be retained from those animals a sire with terminal characteristics or different breed may be used. Another alternative, would be inseminate the remaining females with male selected semen from terminal sires, increasing the proportion of steers produced from terminal sires in the herd. Overall, the inclusion of gender-selected semen can bring economic advantages to the beef industry. However, there are situation in which the use of gender-selected semen can negatively impact the economic return of a herd too. If only female selected semen is used to inseminate the entire herd; this will optimize the selection of replacement heifers but the proportion of male:female calves will shift from an approximately 50:50 to a greater number of females what could affect economic returns due to lower prices for heifers sold to slaughter. If only male selected semen is used to inseminate the entire herd; this will optimize the genetic performance of steer calves for slaughter but removes any genetic benefit of AI on the future of the herd as replacement heifers can only be selected from calves born from the clean-up bull. Thus, the use of gender-selected semen in a beef herd has the opportunity to benefit the overall performance and future of the herd, but care must be given to implement this technology correctly.

Nebraska Farm Bureau Disaster Relief Fund Opens Second Round of Assistance Helping Farmers, Ranchers, and Rural Communities

The Nebraska Farm Bureau Disaster Relief Fund has opened a second round of distributions. Applications are welcome and encouraged from new and repeat applicants.

The Disaster Relief Fund has collected more than $2.5 million, with 100 percent of the funds going to help farmers, ranchers, and rural communities. The application process can be completed online at Farm Bureau membership is not required to apply for or receive assistance.

Both new applicants and prior recipients who wish to be considered for additional assistance should complete the updated application form.

“During this second round, we will be asking for more detailed information to help us better evaluate remaining needs and where our fund can help the most,” said Megahn Schafer, executive director of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation.

For assistance accessing the online application, call (402) 421-4747.

“I want to say thank you to all of the individuals, organizations, and companies who have contributed to the fund. Your generosity has helped hundreds of people all around Nebraska. We continue to seek financial donations to meet the growing number of requests coming into the Disaster Relief Fund,” said Steve Nelson, president of Nebraska Farm Bureau.

To donate, apply for assistance, or access other disaster resources, visit


Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) released the following statement after the House of Representatives passed legislation to provide assistance for presidentially declared disasters, including the March 2019 “bomb cyclone” which struck Nebraska. This vote came after the Senate recently voted in favor of this bill, and will now be sent to the President’s desk.

“I am glad we were able to come together and provide much needed relief to areas of our country, including Nebraska, which have been so devastated by natural disasters. We can now push further ahead with recovery efforts. Thousands of Nebraskans were affected by blizzards, rain, wind, and flooding, and this is another step as we rebuild.”

Growth Energy, Casey’s General Store Announce Accelerated E15 Store Openings Thanks to Approval of Year-Round Sales of E15

Today, Growth Energy and Casey’s General Stores announced that Casey’s will expand its E15 offering to more than 60 new sites this summer across their footprint following the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) approval of E15 year-round. E15, known the consumers as Unleaded 88, is a fuel with 15 percent ethanol and is approved for all cars 2001 and newer. In their statements, Casey’s and Growth Energy attributed this rapid expansion to the lifting of an outdated regulation that now allows American drivers to access the cleaner, more affordable biofuel all year-round.

“The summertime E15 restrictions have been a major concern for us for a long time and would typically slow down our E15 expansion,” said Casey’s Director of Fuels Nathaniel Doddridge. “Now that we know we can provide our guests with a consistent experience at the fuel pump year-round, we are expanding E15 at a faster pace to stay ahead of our competition.”

“Growth Energy has relentlessly led the fight on year-round E15 to grow the ethanol marketplace and give all drivers access to a cleaner, engine smart fuel,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “We are thrilled that Casey’s will be rolling out E15 at dozens of new sites this summer, and know from conversations with retailers all over the country that they will soon be joined by others who’ve been waiting for this day.”

E15 is currently sold at 1,807 stations in 31 states. To learn more about Growth Energy’s work to unlock access to E15 year-round, visit

Free Webinar Helps Fuel Marketers, Others Understand E15

Now that the EPA has approved E15 for year-round use in conventional gasoline markets, the Renewable Fuels Association will host a webinar to help retailers and others in the supply chain learn how this decision impacts the marketplace and how retailers can now engage in year-round sales. The webinar will be at no cost to participants and all are welcome to join. Participants will learn all about efforts to educate consumers on E15.

The one-hour webinar will take place starting at 10 a.m. CT Thursday, June 6. Click here to register....

“Fuel blenders and retailers have been waiting nine years for year-round approval of E15 and it has finally arrived,” said Robert White, RFA’s Vice President of Industry Relations. “It is time to help those interested in offering E15 understand the final rulemaking, what it takes to offer E15 and assist them through the process.”

E15 already has a proven track record for saving drivers money at the pump and reducing emissions, and today’s action will ensure that more Americans are able to enjoy those benefits. Year-round E15 will also provide a badly needed long-term demand boost for our industry and America’s farmers, who face several daunting challenges today.

E15 Facts:
-    American drivers have travelled more than 8 billion hassle-free miles on E15 without a single reported problem since it was first commercially introduced in 2012.
-    More than 93 percent of the vehicles on the road today are legally approved by EPA to use E15.
-    E15 typically sells for 3-10 cents per gallon less than E10 gasoline, saving drivers money with each fill-up.
-    E15 reduces both greenhouse gas emissions and tailpipe pollution compared to conventional gasoline. According to a review of available studies, E15’s benefits “…include a reduction in cancer risk from vehicle exhaust and evaporative emissions [and] a reduction in the potential to form ozone or photochemical smog…”

USDA:  Oilseed Crushings, Production, Consumption and Stocks

Soybeans crushed for crude oil was 5.15 million tons (172 million bushels) in April 2019, compared with 5.38 million tons (179 million bushels) in March 2019 and 5.15 million tons (172 million bushels) in April 2018. Crude oil produced was 1.99 billion pounds down 5 percent from March 2019 but up 1 percent from April 2018. Soybean once refined oil production at 1.46 billion pounds during April 2019 increased 3 percent from March 2019 and increased 2 percent from April 2018.

Grain Crushings and Co-Products Production

Total corn consumed for alcohol and other uses was 493 million bushels in April 2019. Total corn consumption was down slightly from March 2019 and down 1 percent from April 2018. April 2019 usage included 91.3 percent for alcohol and 8.7 percent for other purposes. Corn consumed for beverage alcohol totaled 3.69 million bushels, up 7 percent from March 2019 and up 19 percent from April 2018. Corn for fuel alcohol, at 440 million bushels, was up slightly from March 2019 but down 1 percent from April 2018. Corn consumed in April 2019 for dry milling fuel production and wet milling fuel production was 90.7 percent and 9.3 percent, respectively.

USDA Announces Commodity Credit Corporation Lending Rates for June 2019

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Commodity Credit Corporation today announced interest rates for June 2019, which are effective June 1-June 30, 2019. The Commodity Credit Corporation borrowing rate-based charge for June is 2.375 percent, same as it was in May.

The interest rate for crop year commodity loans less than one year disbursed during June is 3.375 percent, same as it was in May.  Interest rates for Farm Storage Facility Loans approved for June are as follows: 2.250 percent with three-year loan terms, same as it was in May; 2.250 percent with five-year loan terms, down from 2.375 percent in May; 2.375 percent with seven-year loan terms, down from 2.500 percent in May; 2.500 percent with 10-year loan terms, same as in May; and 2.500 percent with 12-year loan terms, same as in May.

Farm Service Agency County Committee Nominations Open June 14

USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will begin accepting nominations for county committee members on Friday, June 14, 2019. Agricultural producers who participate or cooperate in an FSA program may be nominated for candidacy for the county committee. Individuals may nominate themselves or others as a candidate.

“I encourage America’s farmers, ranchers, and forest stewards to nominate candidates to lead, serve, and represent their community on their county committee,” FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce said. “There’s an increasing need for diverse representation including underserved producers, which includes beginning, women and minority farmers and ranchers.”

Committees make important decisions about how federal farm programs are administered locally. Their input is vital on how FSA carries out disaster programs, as well as conservation, commodity and price support programs, county office employment and other agricultural issues.”

Nationwide, more than 7,700 dedicated members of the agricultural community serving on FSA county committees. The committees are made of three to 11 members and typically meet once a month. Members serve three-year terms. Producers serving on our FSA county committees play a critical role in the day-to-day operations of the agency.

Producers should visit their local FSA office today to find out how to get involved in their county’s election. Check with your local USDA service center to see if your local administrative area is up for election this year. Organizations, including those representing beginning, women and minority producers, also may nominate candidates.

To be considered, a producer must sign an FSA-669A nomination form. The form and other information about FSA county committee elections are available at All nomination forms for the 2019 election must be postmarked or received in the local FSA office by Aug. 1, 2019.

Election ballots will be mailed to eligible voters beginning Nov. 4, 2019. Read more to learn about important election dates.

National FFA Organization’s Washington Leadership Conference Instills Importance of Growth, Leadership, Community Service

For the past fifty years,  FFA members from across the country converge on Washington, D.C.,  in the summer to evaluate their personal skills and interests, develop leadership talent and create service plans that will make a difference in their communities.

This year is no different. Created in 1969 and held annually, the conference begins June 4 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel. More than 2,300 students are registered for the 2019 Washington Leadership Conference, the second-largest student experience that the National FFA Organization hosts each year.

FFA members can attend the conference during one of seven weeks through July 27.  They will spend the week under the guidance of professionals, counselors and FFA staff. In workshops, seminars and small groups, members will focus on identifying and developing their personal strengths and goals while undergoing comprehensive leadership training that will help them guide their local FFA chapters. The capstone of the event will be a civic engagement activity where participants apply what they have learned to a hands-on activity.

Members will also analyze the needs of their communities, develop wide-ranging and high-impact community service initiatives and implement their plans with the help of their FFA chapters upon return home. Students in recent years have promoted agricultural literacy; brought attention to abuse; collected and distributed shoes to individuals in Haiti; created a hunger awareness plan and more.

FFA members will experience the history of the nation's capital and tour landmarks including the Washington Monument, the National Mall, Arlington National Cemetery and the U.S. Capitol, among others. Members will also have an opportunity to participate in congressional visits during the week.

The 2019 Washington Leadership Conference is sponsored by title sponsors CSX and Farm Credit and weekly sponsors Bayer, Syngenta, General Mills, Merck Animal Health, Growth Energy and Nutrien. For more information, visit

ASA President Joins Corteva Agriscience™ at NYSE Opening Bell Ceremony

American Soybean Association (ASA) President Davie Stephens joined Corteva Agriscience™ at 9:30 a.m. EST today for the opening bell ceremony at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) to mark the company’s official launch.

“It’s an honor to join Corteva this morning for such a storied and famed tradition as the NYSE bell-ringing ceremony,” said ASA President and Kentucky soybean grower Davie Stephens.

“Companies like Corteva provide tools and solutions for farmers as we strive to maximize yields and profitability while reinforcing commitments to sustainable agriculture practices. U.S. soybean producers are the best in the world at producing the safest, most nutrient-filled and affordable soybeans, which is why I’m proud to join Corteva for their official independent business launch today.”

Corteva Agriscience is now trading as an independent, pure-play global agriculture leader, following the successful separation from DowDuPont on June 1, 2019. Corteva is a leader uniquely positioned to drive growth with world-class innovation, deep customer relationships, and innovative solutions across seed, crop protection and digital that farmers need to maximize yield and profitability.

Friday May 31 Ag News

Nebraska Farmers Union Foundation Urges Nebraskans to Utilize Nebraska Rural Response Hotline Assistance Program

The Nebraska Farmers Union Foundation wants rural Nebraskans impacted by floods and blizzards to know that $500 grants are still available from the Nebraska Rural Response Hotline.  The grants are funded by Farm Aid, NeFU Foundation, and other donors.  For grant applications, call the Hotline at: (800) 464-0258.

If you or someone you know got hurt by the flood or blizzard and could use a little help, call the Nebraska Rural Response Hotline. Their experienced and professional staff will help callers find the kind of assistance they need. The $500 grants are simple to apply for.  The application can be filled out over the phone, and the assistance is provided in confidence.

“First established in 1984, the Hotline is the longest continuously operating farm crisis hotline in the nation.  It is staffed by Legal Aid of Nebraska, administered by Interchurch Ministries of Nebraska, and partners with the Nebraska Department of Agriculture and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services to provide a wide range of services from mental health counseling, bookkeeping, financial counseling, legal services, and food assistance. The Council that oversees the Hotline is made up of members of the farm and faith community,” said John Hansen, who serves as NeFU Foundation Secretary and also secretary for the Rural Response Council.   

“Our NeFU Foundation continues to receive donations from around the nation intended to help Nebraska farm and ranch families hurt by the late blizzard and unprecedented spring flooding. For example, the Midwest Insurance Agency agents stepped up and donated $10,000 in supplies and cash. The Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska donated $2,500 to help families in their time of need. We received over $2,000 from a church in Alabama, and $900 from a tattoo parlor in Omaha. The diversity of the response is truly amazing. We absorb the administrative costs so that every dollar received is used to support flood and blizzard relief efforts.  For folks wanting to support our relief efforts, they can visit our website at or send checks to NeFU Foundation at 1305 Plum Street, Lincoln, NE 68502. We are asking folks to help spread the word about this program for farmers and ranchers who got clobbered by either the late blizzard or the floods,” Hansen said.

Hansen noted that in addition to the assistance available at the Hotline, the Nebraska Farm Bureau has established a Disaster Relief Fund to help support cleanup and rebuilding efforts and is available at: .  The Nebraska Cattlemen assistance program just closed applications.  All three programs do not require memberships in their organization to receive assistance. “Everyone is pitching in and helping everyone, which is the way it should be in a time of natural disaster.  For people wanting the most recent updates on rural flood relief services, programs, and activities call the Nebraska Department of Agriculture Hotline at 800-831-0550 or go to their website at: ” Hansen concluded.

Control of Glyphosate-Resistant Marestail with Post-Emergence Herbicides in Corn and Soybean
Amit Jhala - NE Extension Weed Management Specialist

With early spring flooding and continued cool-wet weather, early spring burndown and/or pre-emergence herbicide applications for control of marestail were not possible or may have been less effective than expected in many areas.

Even in fields where 2,4-D and/or other burndown herbicides such as paraquat were applied for control of winter annual weeds, wet cloudy weather has reduced the efficacy of these herbicides. This has resulted in marestail control escapes from early burndown herbicides. Additionally, due to continuous rain, corn and soybean planting were delayed in many fields, providing an extended opportunity for marestail growth and establishment.

Even after planting, many corn and soybean fields may have been too wet for a pre-emergence herbicide application. As a result, post-emergence herbicides are the only option for control of marestail. Studies show that most marestail plants emerge during fall and survive the winter by forming basal rosettes; however, significant spring and early summer emergence has also been observed in Nebraska.

Glyphosate applied alone will not be effective for control of glyphosate-resistant marestail in glyphosate-resistant corn and soybean; however, there are several post-emergence herbicide options for corn and a limited number for soybean.

Control in Corn

For post-emergence control of glyphosate-resistant marestail in corn, dicamba-based herbicides and glufosinate (such as Liberty® only for Liberty Link Corn®) atrazine are effective options. Control options for marestail in corn include:
-    Acuron or Resicore can be applied early post-emergence when corn is less than 12 inches tall and marestail is less than 4 inches. Other herbicides such as Realm Q or Capreno + atrazine also can be considered.
-    DiFlexx is a formulation of dicamba with CSI safener. It can be applied at a rate of 10 to 12 fl oz/acre up to V10 corn. It will provide better corn safety.
-    Diflexx DUO is a premix of DiFlexx and Laudis and can provide effective control of marestail.
-    Status is a premix of dicamba and diflufenzopyr and can be applied to corn up to 36 inches tall or V10 stage. It may provide about 80% control, depending on size of marestail.
-    Clarity can be applied up to 16 oz/acre. Apply broadcast up to the five-leaf stage or 8-inch corn. Apply 8 oz/acre or less broadcast or as a directed spray up to 36 inches tall or 15 days before tassel emergence, whichever occurs first.
-    Corn more than about 8 inches tall is more sensitive to dicamba, but use of a directed spray will reduce the risk of injury.
-    Liberty can be applied only to Liberty Link corn. It is a contact herbicide, so effective spray coverage is required. (Use a spray volume of a minimum 20 gallons per acre and medium size spray droplets). Liberty can be tank-mixed with DiFlexx to improve marestail control in Liberty Link corn.
-    Hornet is a combination of clopyralid and flumetsulam. It can provide up to 80% control, depending on size of marestail.

Control in Soybean

Effective post-emergence herbicides are very limited in soybean for control of glyphosate-resistant marestail because several glyphosate-resistant marestail populations are also resistant to ALS-inhibiting herbicides such as Pursuit, Raptor, Classic, Scepter, etc.
-    If marestail is not ALS inhibitor-resistant, then FirstRate can provide about 60-80% control, depending on height of marestail at the time of application.
-    Reflex, Flexstar, Harmony SG, Marvel, and Torment also may be good options.
-    If Liberty Link soybean is planted, a post-emergence application of Liberty may be effective; however, Liberty can only be applied before Liberty Link soybean starts flowering. Follow application recommendations listed above for greater efficacy.
-    New dicamba formulations (FeXapan/Engenia/XtendiMax) can be applied in dicamba-resistant (Roundup Ready 2 Xtend) soybean. Specific nozzle and tank-mixing instructions should be followed.
-    Tavium, a new premix of dicamba and S-metolachlor, can be applied post-emergence (up to V4 soybean growth stage or within 45 days after planting, whichever comes first) in Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybean.

For other herbicide options, refer to 2019 Guide for Weed, Disease, and Insect Management in Nebraska (EC 130).

Always read the herbicide label before applying.

Nebraska Soybean Board names Hoxmeier as Communications Coordinator

The Nebraska Soybean Board (NSB) is pleased to announce the hiring of Thomas Hoxmeier as the Communications Coordinator.

In his position, Hoxmeier will handle various roles for the NSB such as public relations, website updates, multichannel advertising, social media and promotional campaigns. He will also manage the NSB quarterly magazine, SoybeaNebraska, as well as other ag-related communications and marketing projects to promote the Nebraska soybean industry.

Hoxmeier grew up on a farm outside of Orleans, Nebraska and graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in May of 2019 with a degree in Advertising and Public Relations from the College of Journalism and Mass Communications. While in school, he interned with University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Rural Futures Institute and the Nebraska Corn Board. Hoxmeier has a strong communications and design background with experience in updating websites, writing for print, social media, photography and video.

“Agriculture’s strategic messaging has always been a passion of mine beginning from the farm and developing even further through college,” said Hoxmeier. “I am excited to work for Nebraska’s soybean farmers and creatively contribute to the checkoff’s future.”

“On behalf of our staff, we welcome Tom to be a part of the soybean checkoff team,” said Victor Bohuslavsky, NSB’s Executive Director. “His past experiences should serve him well in the Communications Coordinator position.”

Iowa Farm Bureau spices up Iowa State Fair Grand Concourse with 56th Annual Cookout Contest

It comes as no surprise the number one holiday for outdoor grilling is the Fourth of July, with 87 percent of Americans lighting up the barbecue. The second most popular grilling day? If you ask Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) and the hundreds who will line the main concourse for free samples, it’s their annual Cookout Contest held each year at the Iowa State Fair.

This year’s 56th contest, held Tues., Aug. 13 during Farm Bureau Day, will bring dozens of chefs and a crowd of on-lookers to the fair to see who will be crowned ‘top chef.’ All competitors must win their county contests to get a chance to compete at the statewide scale, vying for cash, prizes and the honor of being named the Iowa Farm Bureau Cookout Contest champion. The winner of the youth division can even win a new gas grill donated by the Iowa Propane Gas Association, valued at more than $1,000. To find a local qualifying contest and rules for entry, visit

“We know why this event is so popular each year—because it’s not just state fair-goers who enjoy hearty meat dishes. Our Iowa Farm Bureau Food and Farm Index survey shows that 9 in 10 Iowa grocery shoppers eat real meat weekly and prefer it to plant-based alternatives,” says Craig Hill, IFBF president and longtime Iowa hog farmer. “When they’re looking for quality products, they seek out taste, and that’s what this contest is about—celebrating our Iowa farmers who bring nutritious, tasteful food to our dinner tables.”

In this fiery hot competition, Iowans compete in the categories of beef (excluding brisket), lamb, pork, poultry, turkey or a “specialty” food class, such as fish or goat.  They can also compete in the combo division, which must include two or more meats. And for those who don’t mind too many cooks in the kitchen, there is also a team category, and grillers with culinary knowledge may want to compete in showmanship.

For more information on how to enter a local cookout competition, contact your county Farm Bureau office or visit for a list of participating counties, dates and locations.

June Dairy Month Open Houses Planned Across Iowa

Iowans of all ages will have the chance to experience modern dairy farming this June, as the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach dairy team celebrates dairy month across the state.

Youth and adults can tour dairy barns, including a farm that uses robotic milking machines, visit a kid-friendly area to meet calves and learn about agriculture – all while having have face-to-face conversations with farmers and others from the dairy industry.

Iowa’s Dairy Center, located near Calmar, will hold the 10th annual Breakfast on the Farm June 22, with activities for the whole family, such as hand-milking a cow, a cow inflatable, corn pools and a petting zoo. Dairy foods will be available at this and other locations.

“Our purpose is to celebrate dairy food and the abundance of high quality, safe dairy products that Iowans produce every day, at reasonable prices for consumers,” said Leo Timms, Morrill Professor and extension dairy specialist at Iowa State.

Timms said today’s consumers are often removed from the farm, especially from dairy farms, and open houses offer a way to provide an educational, transparent experience.

“The open houses give everybody a better understanding of the principles and practices we use on modern dairies, as it relates to animal wellbeing, environmental care and product quality and safety,” he said.

Dairy is the fifth largest agricultural business in Iowa, generating $4 billion a year in economic activity, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. The state is 12th in the nation for milk production, with about 1,200 dairy farms, of which 99 percent are family-owned.

June Open Houses

    June 12, 4-8 p.m. Western Iowa Dairy Alliance Open House, J&S Dairy, John and Sharon VanderWaal, 4244 Garfield Ave, Maurice, Iowa.
    June 14, 7 a.m.-noon. ISU Dairy Farm Open House and Ag Discovery Center, 52470 260th St., near Ames.
    June 22, 8:30 a.m. to noon. Breakfast on the Farm at Iowa’s Dairy Center, 1527 Hwy 150 South, near Calmar.

The open houses are held in partnership with the Midwest Dairy Association, Iowa State Dairy Association, Western Iowa Dairy Alliance, Northeast Iowa Dairy Foundation, Northeast Iowa Community College and various agriculture and commodity group sponsors and supporters in the local communities.

Visitors are asked to take precautions and follow biosecurity policies if they have been at another livestock operation. Those who have recently returned from a trip abroad are asked to wait five days before visiting farms with animals. Visitors are asked to change clothing and footwear if going from farm to farm and to refrain from bringing any food items to the farm.

EPA Delivers On President Trump’s Promise To Allow Year-Round Sale Of E15 Gasoline And Improve Transparency In Renewable Fuel Markets

Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler signed the final action that would remove the key regulatory barrier to using gasoline blended with up to 15% ethanol (E15) during the summer driving season and reform the renewable identification number (RIN) compliance system under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program to increase transparency and deter price manipulation. Taken together, these steps follow through on the Trump Administration’s commitment to responsible environmental protection that promotes energy independence, regulatory reform, and increasing the use of biofuels to give consumers more choices, while supporting American farmers.

“Following President Trump’s directive, today’s action expands the market for biofuels and improves the RFS program by increasing transparency and reducing price manipulation,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “As President Trump promised, EPA is approving the year-round sale of E15 in time for summer driving season, giving drivers more choices at the pump.”

With today’s action, EPA is finalizing regulatory changes to apply the 1-psi Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) waiver that currently applies to E10 during the summer months so that it applies to E15 as well. This removes a significant barrier to wider sales of E15 in the summer months, thus expanding the market for ethanol in transportation fuel.

EPA is also finalizing regulatory changes to reform certain elements of the RIN compliance system of the RFS program to increase transparency and deter price manipulation in the RIN market. The reforms include requirements for public disclosure if a party’s RIN holdings exceed certain thresholds and additional data collections to improve EPA market monitoring capability. These new reforms will also help EPA continue to gather the information needed to decide whether further action is needed to ensure stability in the RIN market.

To further strengthen confidence in the RFS program, EPA will soon sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Internal Revenue Service to promote collaboration and support efforts to prevent against RIN and blender tax credit fraud.

More information is available here: 

Secretary Perdue Statement on Final E-15 Rule

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued the following statement in response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s final rule on E-15:

“I appreciate President Trump’s steadfast support for our patriotic farmers and for his commitment to expand the sale of E15 and unleash the full potential of American innovation and ingenuity as we continue to demonstrate our rightful place as the world’s leader in agricultural and energy production,” said Secretary Sonny Perdue. “This move to approve the year-round use of E15 in time for the summer driving season provides consumers with more choices when they fill up at the pump, driving demand for our farmers and improving the air we breathe. While the Trump Administration and USDA are expanding the ethanol market in the United States, we continue to fight for more export markets in Brazil, Mexico, China, and other countries across the globe. I applaud Administrator Andrew Wheeler for moving expeditiously to finalize this important E15 rule.”

NCGA: Year-Round E15 a Win-Win for Farmers and Consumers

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) today celebrated the Trump Administration completing actions to allow for year-round sales of 15 percent ethanol blends or E15.

“Corn farmers have been long-time advocates of higher blends of ethanol such as E15, touting its benefits to both the farmer and the consumer,” NCGA President Lynn Chrisp said. “Farmers are facing some tough times which makes this announcement particularly welcome. We thank President Trump for following through on his promise to rural America and USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue and supporters in Congress for their outspoken commitment to year-round E15.”

The final rule from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) eliminates the outdated barrier that required retailers in many areas of the country to stop selling E15 during the summer months by allowing E15 to receive the same summer volatility adjustment EPA permits for E10.

Higher blends of renewable fuels such as E15 reduce fuel prices for drivers by three to ten cents per gallon and result in lower emissions, improving air quality and providing greater greenhouse gas reductions. Blending additional ethanol replaces some of the most harmful components in gasoline, and cleaner ethanol results in 43 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline.

NCGA submitted comments to EPA in April to press the need to finalize the rulemaking to ensure there would not be an interruption in E15 sales between June and September. The comments also cautioned EPA against finalizing proposed Renewable Identification Number (RIN) market rule changes that would be counterproductive to greater biofuels blending supported by the E15 rule. NCGA agrees with EPA’s focus on transparency and market data in the final rule and the decision not to finalize proposals that would work against biofuels blending.

NCGA’s comments also highlighted the impact of EPA’s expansive Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) waivers to large, profitable refineries, which have taken a toll on farmers by undercutting the RFS and reducing corn demand. Since early 2018, EPA has granted 53 RFS exemptions to refineries for the 2016 and 2017 RFS compliance years totaling 2.61 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons of renewable fuel.  EPA currently has 39 waiver petitions pending for the 2018 RFS compliance year.

“While corn farmers are immensely grateful that the barrier to year-round E15 has been lifted, we won’t be able to reap the full benefits if EPA continues to allow oil companies to avoid blending biofuels in accordance with the RFS,” Chrisp said.

 Sasse Statement on E-15 Year-Round Rule Change

U.S. Senator Ben Sasse released the following statement after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the final E-15 (Reid Vapor Pressure) rule to allow for year-round gasoline to be blended above E-10 to E-15. Sasse has been a co-sponsor of legislation supporting the sale of year-round E-15.

“This is a common-sense rule change, and a good move that benefits Nebraska. The EPA's old rule tied the hands of our ethanol producers with unnecessary red tape. This is great news that helps hard-working corn growers and Nebraskans at the pump.”


Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) released the following statement praising President Trump’s rule to allow the year-round sale of E15 in accordance with legislation introduced by Smith:

“President Trump’s announcement today is the culmination of an effort years in the making. The uninterrupted sale of E15 gives consumers consistency in their fuel tank and farmers consistency in their production. I have long championed the year-round sale of E15, and I am grateful to the President for getting this done.

“Last year, Nebraska sold more ethanol than ever before. Giving consumers the choice to buy E15 during the summer months, can only be a good thing. This is a huge win for Nebraska.”

Smith previously introduced legislation which would have required EPA to use its existing authority to provide a year-round waiver for the sale of E15, as announced today by President Trump.

Nebraska Corn praises year-round E15 as a win for farmers and consumers

The Nebraska Corn Board and the Nebraska Corn Growers Association applauded the Trump Administration for completing necessary actions that allow for year-round sales of E15, a 15% ethanol blend. Prior to today’s ruling by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), sales of E15 were limited during summer months. By eliminating outdated restrictions, consumers have a greener, less expensive choice at the pump throughout the entire year.

“E15 is approved for any vehicle model year 2001 and newer,” said Tim Scheer, farmer from St. Paul and District 5 Director of the Nebraska Corn Board. “This makes up over 90% of all vehicles on the road today. Additionally, E15 is the most widely tested fuel ever. Well over 4 billion miles have been driven on E15. It’s just a great performing, higher octane fuel that saves consumers money.”

There are many benefits of using E15. On average, consumers can save three to ten cents per gallon and also result in lower emissions, which improve overall air quality. In fact, a recent study by the USDA showed greenhouse gas emissions from corn-based ethanol are up to 43% lower than traditional gasoline. Additionally, because ethanol is locally produced, the industry supports local farmers and the rural economy.

“For years, the Nebraska Corn Board has partnered with retail fuel stations to help support infrastructure development,” said Scheer. “We want stations interested in offering higher blends of ethanol, like E15, to have financial and promotional support to provide more choices to consumers. I see today’s decision by the EPA as a positive step towards making E15 much more widely adopted by retailers and consumers.”

Ricketts Thanks President Trump for Year-Round E15

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts issued a statement following news that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had issued a new rule authorizing the year-round sale of E15.  In September 2018, Governor Ricketts had joined President Donald J. Trump to announce the commencement of the rulemaking process to approve year-round E15.

“Thank you to President Trump, Administrator Wheeler, and the EPA for delivering on their promise to approve E15 by the summer driving season.  Promises made, promises kept!” said Governor Ricketts.  “As the summer driving season kicks off, consumers now have the option to choose a fuel that’s cheaper for them and better for our state’s environment and economy.  Increased demand for ethanol will also be a boon to our state’s corn farmers during a time of low commodity prices.”

“The Nebraska Ethanol Board commends the EPA for fulfilling the administration‘s promise to put out a rule before summer driving season that allows for the year-round, nationwide sale of E15,” said Sarah Caswell, the board’s administrator.  “This rule change, in concert with complementary policies and regulations that help incentivize infrastructure investments, is a vital step forward for the increased demand and use of higher blends of ethanol throughout the country.  In a favorable regulatory environment, we are confident that the new rule will lead to greater demand for Nebraska ethanol, which in turn will benefit the nation’s economy, environment, and public health.  It will also help our farmers, producers, and retailers.  This is a day to celebrate!”

Currently, E15 can be marketed September 16th through April 30th.  This final rule from the EPA allows E15 to be sold all year long.

“E15 is approved for any vehicle model year 2001 and newer,” said Tim Scheer, farmer from St. Paul and District 5 Director of the Nebraska Corn Board.  “This makes up over 90% of all vehicles on the road today.  Additionally, E15 is the most widely tested fuel ever.  Well over 4 billion miles have been driven on E15.  It’s a great performing, higher octane fuel that saves consumers money.”

Nebraska produces the second-most ethanol among U.S. states.  Over 1,400 rural Nebraskans work directly in ethanol production, and the state’s ethanol output has reached record highs of 2.2 billion gallons per year.  Expanding the market for ethanol will likely raise production even more.

The State of Nebraska is successfully working to introduce greater volumes of higher ethanol blends—E15, E30, and E85—into the nation’s fuel supply to save consumers money, benefit the environment, and create more opportunity for Nebraska’s farm families.  In a few days, on June 3rd, the State will start an EPA-approved program to study the use of locally sourced E30 in conventional state-owned vehicles.  The research on these vehicles’ mileage and maintenance needs will help demonstrate that E30 can both reduce consumers’ costs and contribute to a cleaner environment.

The State is also investing in the distribution network of higher ethanol blends.  Through participation in the USDA’s Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership program, Nebraska doubled the number of blender pumps in the state in just two years, from 2016 through 2018.  Nebraska now has flex fuel pumps at more than 100 locations, giving drivers expanded access to high-content ethanol fuels.

Statement by Steve Nelson, Regarding Announcement of Year-Round E-15

“We greatly appreciate the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) action to fulfill the administration’s promise to allow year-round E15 ethanol sales. Ethanol is a vital component of Nebraska’s economy. Our ethanol sector has experienced extensive expansion over the years, making Nebraska the second largest ethanol producing state in the country.”

“Today’s announcement is a positive step forward, on our country’s renewable fuels policy and is an important one for our farm families who are working through the challenges of a slowed agriculture economy. Anything that expands the markets to ethanol and helps build new demand for Nebraska grown grains is good news.”

Iowa Farmers Welcome Year-Round E15 Rule

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released today the final rule allowing E15 to be sold to 2001 and newer vehicles year-round across the country. The rule allows drivers to fuel up with the cleanest, lowest cost, homegrown fuel.

“Year-round E15 has been a top priority for the Iowa Corn Growers Association® (ICGA), and we are happy to see the EPA recognize and follow through with President Trump’s promise on E15. The rule provides consumers uninterrupted access to E15 across the country so they can take advantage of this higher octane, more environmentally-friendly fuel,” says Curt Mether, President of ICGA and farmer near Logan.  “The summer driving season is here and having access to E15 during this time is a step in the right direction for Iowa corn farmers and drivers.”

“We’ve advocated for the passing of E15 for a long time, and it’s satisfying to finally have an end result to a rule ICGA and its members are passionate about market access for homegrown ethanol fuels,” Mether shared.  “We’ve advocated for the passing of E15 for a long time, and it’s satisfying to finally have an end result with a rule ICGA members are passionate about providing market access for homegrown ethanol fuels,” Mether shared.

E15, often marketed at the pump as Unleaded88, is a fuel blend containing 15 percent ethanol and is approved for use in all 2001 and newer vehicles. These vehicles make up roughly 90 percent of the vehicles on the road today and E15 is often sold at a three to ten cent discount to Super Unleaded E10. Before the finalized rule, the outdated Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) regulations forced fuel retailers to restrict sales of E15 to flex fuel vehicles (FFV) only from June 1 to September 15, the peak driving season. Since that regulation is now lifted, motorists can access E15 year-around.

“While we’re happy to see E15 now available for consumers year-round, if the EPA continues to hand out hundreds of millions of gallons worth of Small Refinery Exemptions under the RFS, any potential near-term benefit provided by this rule will be swiftly gutted by the onslaught of that demand destruction,” added Mether. “Simply put, the damage that can be done unilaterally by the EPA through SREs has the potential to far outweigh any benefit this rule provides to Iowa farmers and consumers. We need President Trump to keep the EPA in alignment with his promises on ethanol.”

Trump Administration Keeps E15 Promise

Today EPA released the final rule to make year-round E15 a reality, fulfilling a key campaign promise made to Iowa voters by President Trump.

Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Executive Director Monte Shaw said the final rule provides a reasonable, intellectually-consistent, legally-defensible solution for year-round E15 access.

“The Iowa biofuels community thanks President Trump for delivering on his promise to allow consumers year-round access to E15.” Shaw said. “This is positive news for rural Iowa at a time when we can really use it. E15 will provide an immediate boost for ethanol demand and the long-term potential is quite significant. As a lower-cost, cleaner-burning fuel, E15 has been in high demand where it has been available.”

The petroleum industry has vowed for years to sue the EPA over the E15 rule.

“The key for this rule is not just that it approves year-round E15, but that it does so based on the best science and legal precedents that will survive the Big Oil onslaught in court. The petroleum industry has tried everything to stop this day from coming. It’s no surprise they don’t want to compete with E15, which is lower-cost, cleaner, and higher-octane.”

IRFA also expressed appreciation that the final rule did not include demand destroying provisions camouflaged as so-called RIN reforms.

“The last thing rural America needs right now is a rule that would be one step forward, but two steps back,” said Shaw. “Some of the proposed RIN changes would have undermined the entire RFS. We urge President Trump to ensure those proposals remain, as President Reagan would say, on the ash heap of history, and that they not be resurrected in the future.”

Overhanging the E15 and RIN rule are 39 small refinery exemption (SRE) requests to the 2018 RFS levels.

“If granted, these SREs would rip the heart out of the RFS,” added Shaw. “Not just because of the destroyed gallons, but because they are simply unjustified given the current market conditions. Today we thank President Trump for fulfilling his E15 promise. Yet if in the coming weeks, the Trump Administration grants these SREs, it will break his other promise to biofuels supporters – to protect the RFS. We are sincerely thankful for today’s action that will create tens of millions of gallons of immediate demand for ethanol, but all of this will mean nothing if unjustified SREs gut hundreds of millions of gallons of demand. The fact is, to grant hardship waivers when RINs can be purchased for less than 10 cents is completely unjustifiable under the law, and we are calling on President Trump to ensure his EPA denies the 2018 SRE requests.” 

RFA Applauds Final Rule Allowing Year-Round E15

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) today welcomed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) final rule allowing retailers to sell gasoline containing 15% ethanol (E15) year-round. Today’s action fulfills President Trump’s promise to eliminate the summertime prohibition on E15, a fuel that offers lower cost, reduced emissions, and higher octane.

In the nine years since EPA first approved the use of E15, RFA has worked tirelessly to remove the costly and unnecessary regulatory barrier that prevented retailers in most of the country from selling the fuel during the busy summer driving season. RFA has long advocated for an administrative resolution to this antiquated barrier and was highly encouraged last fall when President Trump directed EPA to act on its regulatory authority to solve the problem.

In response to today’s announcement, RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper issued the following statement:

“The ethanol industry thanks President Trump for personally championing this critical regulatory reform that will enhance competition, bolster the rural economy, and provide greater consumer access to cleaner, more affordable fuel options. We have always agreed with the President’s assertion that the outdated summertime prohibition on E15 was ‘unnecessary’ and ‘ridiculous.’

“E15 already has a proven track record for saving drivers money at the pump and reducing emissions, and today’s action will ensure that more Americans are able to enjoy those benefits. Year-round E15 will also provide a badly needed long-term demand boost for our industry and America’s farmers, who face a number of daunting challenges today.

“We are cognizant, however, that the promise of today’s E15 announcement could be undermined if EPA continues its unprecedented assault on the RFS with indiscriminate small refinery hardship waivers. Against the intent of Congress, EPA has been granting RFS exemptions to refiners without requiring them to demonstrate their claimed ‘hardship’ is somehow connected to the RFS. The demand destruction caused by EPA’s waivers must end. We urge the President to build upon the momentum of today’s announcement by reining in EPA’s abuse of the small refiner exemption program.”

America’s Biofuel Leaders Celebrate Final Approval for Year-Round E15

Growth Energy, the nation’s largest association of ethanol producers and supporters, today celebrated final action by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allowing American drivers to fuel up with E15, a fuel blended with 15 percent ethanol, all year-round. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor said the final rule will benefit drivers and farmers alike.

“We are grateful to President Trump for delivering on his promise to unleash the power of E15 all year-long,” said Skor. “The approval of year-round E15 is an incredible milestone for the biofuels industry, and the result of over a decade of hard work by Growth Energy, our members, our congressional champions, and folks all across rural America who made their voices heard.

“With year-round E15, retailers will have the regulatory certainty they need to offer American drivers a cleaner, more affordable fuel choice throughout the year. This action also means savings for American motorists at the pump and a sorely needed market for farmers who are facing a devastating economic downturn. We estimate this one change will generate over a billion new gallons of ethanol demand in the next five years. Over time, demand for E15 could boost the market for American grain by an additional two billion bushels.

“We appreciate the EPA’s efforts to get this rule over the finish line in time for the summer driving season. We will continue our work with the agency to ensure that the market for biofuels remains strong, and that means upholding the targets set by Congress and ensuring American drivers continue to benefit from true competition at the pump.”

Over the last decade, Growth Energy has worked with top fuel retailers, like Sheetz, to expand options for American motorists. Today, E15 is sold at more than 1,800 locations in 31 states, with many more expected in the months and years ahead.

“This fix provides major regulatory relief for all retailers seeking to offer lower-cost, higher-octane options at the fuel pump,” said Mike Lorenz, Executive Vice President for Sheetz. “For too long, retailers had to pay millions to retool and relabel pumps each summer and fall, which creates needless confusion for drivers. Now our customers will have uninterrupted, year-round access to E15 and a chance to save money during the busy summer travel season.”

ACE grateful EPA has finally cut the RVP red tape, enabling retailers to offer E15 to their customers year-round

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings issued the following statement after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its finalized rule extending the 1-psi Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) waiver to E15 during the summer months to allow its sale year-round and modifying Renewable Identification Number (RIN) credit trading:

“EPA’s rule means U.S. retailers finally have the opportunity to offer E15 to their customers year round as the peak summer driving season kicks off this weekend. We’re grateful EPA kept the President’s promise to get the rulemaking done on time and we will work to ensure retailers understand their hands are no longer tied by red tape preventing them from offering a lower priced, higher octane E15 fuel to their customers all year starting this summer. For the ethanol industry and farmers, this means greater market access — more ethanol demand over the long term as additional retailers begin offering E15.

“We’re also grateful EPA considered the comments ACE and many others made in opposition to sweeping and unnecessary reforms to the way RIN credits are handled under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Had EPA gone forward with the so-called RIN reforms, it would have dulled the upside benefit of E15 year-round.

“Finally, speaking of dulling the upside benefit of E15 year-round, as we have repeatedly cautioned, EPA’s ongoing mismanagement of the RFS through blanket small refinery exemptions (SREs) needs to stop. The net effect of E15 year-round with 2.61 billion gallons worth of SREs that aren’t reallocated means we’re still in the hole when it comes to ethanol demand through the RFS. EPA is currently sitting on nearly 40 requests for refinery waivers from the 2018 compliance year. We discourage EPA from erasing any benefit of today’s rule by granting more waivers at a time when rural America can least afford it.”

NBB Welcomes E15 Rule

The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) today welcomed the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) final rule to enable year-round E15 sales and thanked President Trump for following through on his pledge to finalize the rule by June 1. NBB supports EPA's ongoing efforts to increase transparency in the RIN market and appreciates the agency's commitment to fully vet reforms that could disrupt the RIN market.

Kurt Kovarik, NBB's Vice President of Federal Affairs, stated, "We thank President Trump for following through on his promise to support the biofuel industry. The regulatory change to allow year-round E15 sales will open the fuel market to additional ethanol use. However, the action does not expand the market for homegrown biodiesel. To expand market access for all renewable fuels, EPA must increase the annual volumes for advanced biofuels, such as biodiesel, and end its practice of granting retroactive small refinery exemptions.

"NBB and its members applaud EPA's efforts to increase transparency in the RIN market. We support the agency's decision to defer final action on other reforms as it evaluates their potentially harmful impact to the biofuel market.

"NBB will continue to press EPA to stop granting retroactive small refinery exemptions without any mechanism to ensure the annual volumes are met. Retroactive small refinery exemptions have destroyed demand for more than 360 million gallons of biodiesel and renewable diesel over the past year. Efforts to expand the renewable fuel market will be ineffective as long as EPA continues to undercut demand through small refinery exemption"s."

NFU Applauds Year-Round Use E15, Urges Further Investments in Biofuels

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today issued a final rule that will permit year-round sale of gasoline blended with 15 percent ethanol, also known as E15. The rule’s finalization comes just in time to allow for summertime use of E15 this year, but does not extend to higher blends of ethanol, such as E30.

Because mid-level blends of ethanol both offer significant environmental benefits as well as play an important role in bolstering farmers’ incomes by creating new markets, National Farmers Union (NFU) has long advocated for policies that facilitate their use. In a statement issued today, NFU President Roger Johnson reiterated the organization’s earlier support for the rule and urged EPA to further expand biofuel use.

“While family farmers contend with slumping commodity prices and an overwhelming corn glut, it is of the utmost importance that we continue to implement policies that address both problems. Biofuels, which establish new uses and markets for agricultural products, are an obvious solution, and we are pleased that EPA is recognizing their potential by allowing for year-round sales of E15.

“However, E15 is just one step in lifting farm prices and using up excess corn supply. Now EPA should take full advantage of all the benefits higher-level ethanol blends offer by expanding the use of E30 fuel, which is consistent with the statute and this country’s energy policy. Not only would this support family farmers, but it would also create new jobs and economic growth in rural communities, lower fuel prices for American drivers, improve air quality, and decrease greenhouse gas emissions. To achieve this, we strongly urge policymakers to remove regulatory barriers and to invest in research, development, and infrastructure that encourage the production and distribution of American-grown biofuels.”

American Farm Bureau Applauds Year-Round E15 Rule

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall

“Removing outdated barriers and regulations is a commitment that this Administration continues to make good on. As our country has worked on breaking our dependency on foreign oil, our farmers have played a major role in helping us become more energy independent. After years of declining farm income, opening up markets to additional fuel choices for consumers helps create new demand that farmers desperately need. While we applaud today’s announcement to allow year-round E15 sales, we look forward to working with the Environmental Protection Agency to address the harm caused by the Small Refinery Exemptions, which have negatively impacted demand for our homegrown renewable fuels.”

AFBF Pleased with USMCA Progress

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall:

“The administration’s submitting the Statement of Administration Action on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement to Congress is good news for U.S. farmers and ranchers. This notice means that we are one step closer to locking in vital market opportunities developed with our North American neighbors and expanding further on the gains we’ve made over the past three decades.

 “The USMCA will provide new market access for dairy and poultry products and maintains the zero-tariff platform on most ag products. It includes provisions for improved health and safety standards that will reduce trade-distorting practices. It also contains measures that address cooperation, information sharing and other trade rules among the three nations related to agricultural biotechnology and gene editing. We still have work to do in some areas, such as addressing the timing of import surges from Mexico to ensure they do not harm our domestic fruit and vegetable sectors. However, we need to secure the gains that are in front of us today. 

“The SAA begins a 30-day period after which the administration may submit implementing legislation for the USMCA to be considered by Congress. It is an important step toward a vote on the agreement.

“The USMCA is a hard-fought win for agriculture and we commend the administration for its efforts to solidify two of our most vital trade relationships. We now call on Congress to ratify the deal.”

NPPC Appeal: Let's Move Forward with USMCA, Leave Tariffs at Zero

In response to President Trump's plan to impose five percent tariffs on all Mexican imports as of June 10, 2019, David Herring, president of the National Pork Producers Council and a pork producer from Lillington, North Carolina, issued the following statement:

"We appeal to President Trump to reconsider plans to open a new trade dispute with Mexico. American pork producers cannot afford retaliatory tariffs from its largest export market, tariffs which Mexico will surely implement. Over the last year, trade disputes with Mexico and China have cost hard-working U.S. pork producers and their families approximately $2.5 billion.

"Let's move forward with ratification of the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, preserving zero-tariff pork trade in North America for the long term; complete a trade agreement with Japan; and resolve the trade dispute with China, where U.S. pork has a historic opportunity to dramatically expand exports given the countries struggle with African swine fever.

"We hope those members of Congress who are working to restrict the administration's trade relief programs take note. While these programs provide only partial relief to the damage trade retaliation has exacted on U.S. agriculture, they are desperately needed. We need the full participation of all organizations involved in the U.S. pork supply chain for these programs to deliver their intended benefits."

For most of the last year, U.S. pork producers have lost $12 per hog due to trade retaliation by Mexico, which was lifted last week, according to Iowa State University Economist Dermot Hayes. Dr. Hayes projects that the U.S. pork producers will lose the entire Mexican market, one that represented 20 percent of total U.S. pork exports last year, if they face protracted retaliation. As of April 1, 2019, the value of U.S. pork exports to Mexico were down 28 percent from the same period last year. 

NCGA Statement: Rethink New Tariffs on Mexican Imports

National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) President Lynn Chrisp made the following statement in response to tweets from President Trump announcing tariffs on all Mexican imports beginning June 10, in an effort to stop illegal immigration.

“NCGA strongly urges the President to rethink applying new tariffs to Mexican goods and to reconsider using tariffs to address non-trade issues. Mexico is the top customer for U.S. corn. Corn farmers want to continue working with the Administration and Congress to ratify the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement and pursue new trade agreements. The recent deal to lift steel and aluminum tariffs on Mexico and Canada was an important breakthrough for USCMA but new tariffs threaten to reverse that progress. Amid a perfect storm of challenges in farm country, we cannot afford the uncertainty this action would bring.”

Mexico was the top market for U.S. corn in 2017/2018, with corn and corn product exports valued at $3.3 billion. Corn exports to Mexico reached a record high of 15.7 million tons (618 million bushels), up nearly 13 percent from 2016/2017. Mexico was also the top buyer of U.S. distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS), purchasing 2.13 million tons in 2017/2018 – up 3 percent year-over-year.

Statement from U.S. Grains Council President and CEO Tom Sleight on Tariffs on Mexican Imports

“At such a critical time for U.S. farmers, new talk of tariffs on Mexican products challenges the complex relationship we have with the top international buyer of U.S. grains and related products. We agree continued negotiations are the correct path to ensure stability in our markets, particularly as South American corn becomes a viable option for Mexican customers. As this political and market situation develops, we will remain in close touch with our stakeholders here at home and in Mexico to help maintain the stability of our longstanding partnership."

Statement from ICGA President Curt Mether on President Trump’s Detrimental Announcement of Mexican Tariffs

In light of President Trump’s tweet regarding his announcement of tariffs on all Mexican imports, the trade hits keep coming on Iowa corn farmers. Yesterday, President Trump tweeted he will declare a five percent tariff on Mexican imports beginning June 10 that will gradually climb higher over the coming months to force Mexico to address border issues.  

With the recent positive announcement related to dropping steel and aluminum tariffs this is not the news we want to hear as Mexico is our top market for U.S. corn. In 2017/2018, corn and corn product exports to Mexico were valued at $3.3 billion. Corn exports to Mexico reached 618 million bushels, 15.7 million tons, up nearly 13 percent from 2016/2017. Add in U.S. distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGs), an additional 2.13 million tons of corn bushels are exported to our neighbors.

The Iowa Corn Growers Association® (ICGA) policy established by our members outlines that we oppose tariffs and embargos as a means to change trade policy and supports working with other countries for free trade. Therefore, we work to defend this policy, and we need trade wars to stop for some type of certainty to the marketplace. ICGA will continue to advocate for free trade including the passage of USMCA and a positive trade resolution with China. 

Wheat Industry: Tariffs as Political Weapons Cause Collateral Damage

U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) are shocked and dismayed by President Donald Trump’s unilateral step to impose a five percent tariff on all Mexican goods imported by the United States. This action threatens to undermine approval of the U.S-Mexico-Canada Agreement and puts crucial wheat demand in Mexico at great risk.

“We respectfully ask the Administration not to implement these new tariffs. The potential fallout for farmers would be like struggling to survive a flood then getting hit by a tornado,” said Chris Kolstad, Chairman of USW and a wheat farmer from Ledger, Mont.

Bad feelings abounded in Mexico after the President publicly threatened to withdraw from NAFTA and imposed duties because certain Mexican products were called national security risks to the United States. Their government and industries, including flour millers, set out to broaden their supply sources. In 2018, Mexico increased its total wheat imports significantly, but U.S. wheat imports actually declined that year.

“With progress on the USMCA — most recently cancellation of the steel and aluminum tariffs — our customers in Mexico have been importing more U.S. wheat,” Kolstad said. “In a very disheartening coincidence, our organization is holding a conference next week with our Mexican customers partly to remind them how important they are to us. Of course, the cost of the conference is funded by the Agricultural Trade Promotion program that was awarded because U.S. wheat farmers proved they were being hurt by retaliatory tariffs.”

“We call on the President to rescind this threat immediately,” said Ben Scholz, President of NAWG and a wheat farmer from Lavon, Tex. “We’ve been hit by low prices; we’ve been hit by rain and flooding that is hurting what was an excellent wheat crop; and now we’ve been hit again by the actions of our own government. We need to end indiscriminate use of tariffs now, one way or another.”

NMPF Urges the President to Throw Away Possible New Tariffs Against Mexico

From National Milk Producers Federation President and CEO Jim Mulhern:

“Senator Chuck Grassley is right: Border security issues are border security issues, and trade issues are trade issues. New tariffs against Mexico are unlikely to secure the border, but judging from reaction on Capitol Hill, they may very well jeopardize the chances of passing the USMCA, a key White House priority and one that’s crucial for future agricultural prosperity.

“For dairy farmers, renewed turmoil with Mexico also threatens gains made earlier this month, when Mexico dropped retaliatory tariffs against U.S. cheese. Re-escalating trade tensions only harms farmers further, just when they were seeing glimmers of hope.”

NMPF estimates that producers have lost at least $2.3 billion in revenues through March due to higher tariffs against U.S. dairy, which has lowered milk prices for all producers.

Joint Statement by National Grain and Feed Association and North American Export Grain Association on Potential Imposition of U.S Tariffs on Mexico

The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) and North American Export Grain Association (NAEGA) issued the following statement today in response to President Trump’s May 30 announcement that he intends to impose escalating tariffs on Mexico starting June 10 in response to illegal immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border.

“As organizations that strongly and unequivocally support speedy ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the NGFA and NAEGA commend the Trump administration for forwarding the draft Statement of Administrative Action to Congress on May 30, thereby clearing another important procedural step to eventual congressional consideration of the accord.

“But we are concerned about the prospect of the imposition of new U.S. tariffs against Mexico. The imposition of such tariffs unquestionably will jeopardize ratification of this crucial trade accord that would bring about more normalized and predictable two-way trade with the United States’ top trading partners, which is vitally important to U.S. agriculture, the American economy and job creation, particularly given the current trade disruptions with China.

“We strongly urge U.S. and Mexican officials to immediately begin good-faith discussions to urgently arrive at mutually agreeable steps to restore desperately needed confidence and certainty to agriculture and other industries and job-creators that depend upon vibrant trade and efficient supply chains that benefit North American and global consumers.” 

NGFA recommends changes to FDA’s draft VFD guidance

The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) made several recommendations to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding its draft Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) guidance in a statement submitted to the agency on May 28.

FDA made the draft guidance available on March 27 to provide the agency’s current thinking on responsibilities associated with all parties involved with VFD orders – veterinarians, VFD feed distributors (e.g., feed mills) and clients (i.e., owners or other caretakers of food-producing animals). The document expanded upon a previous FDA VFD guidance issued in September 2015 by adding 53 new questions and answers and revising 14 others. The new and revised questions and answers address a wide range of issues that have emerged as a result of the increased use of the VFD process.

The VFD regulations establish requirements for authorizing the use of animal drugs in or on feed that require the supervision of a licensed veterinarian. FDA’s updated VFD rule went into effect Oct. 1, 2015, and the agency’s implementation of policies to promote the judicious use of antimicrobial drugs in food-producing animals was completed Jan. 1, 2017. Based upon FDA’s policies, all production uses (e.g., growth promotion) of medically important antimicrobials approved for use in the feed or drinking water of food-producing animals were eliminated, and such drugs now only can be used for therapeutic purposes under veterinary oversight.

In its statement, NGFA commended FDA for updating the guidance with valuable information for all parties covered by the VFD regulations. However, NGFA also made recommendations for several questions and answers in the draft guidance where it believes further consideration by FDA is warranted before final guidance is issued. Among NGFA’s recommendations were that FDA:  

•    In situations where a grams-per-ton level is not provided by approval, conditional approval, or index listing for the VFD drug, allow the veterinarian to state dosage (e.g., milligram-per-head-per-day) on the VFD order instead of the grams-per-ton level of the drug in the medicated feed so that the client has flexibility to choose the most appropriate treatment product.

•    Further clarify that distributors and clients need not store electronic VFDs using computer systems that are compliant with FDA’s onerous 21 CFR part 11 requirements associated with electronic records and electronic signatures.

•    Revise FDA’s current interpretation so as to recognize the VFD distributor to be the party that the client first approaches to fill the VFD order, regardless of whether such party takes physical possession of the VFD feed.

•    Eliminate FDA’s suggestion that the expiration date for medicated feed, when not indicated on the label, generally is three months from the date of manufacture.  Instead, the NGFA recommended that the feed manufacturer be contacted about the shelf life of the product.

•    While evaluating distributor compliance, not place an undue inspectional emphasis on attempting to evaluate whether a “reasonable” quantity of VFD feed was distributed, since the VFD regulations do not require distributors to forecast and maintain records on how much feed is anticipated to be associated with each VFD order.

Raise Your Milk Glasses, America: NMPF Shares the Facts on World Milk Day - June 1

The National Milk Producers Federation is pointing out some key facts about U.S. dairy in observance of World Milk Day on June 1 and the National Dairy Month that follows.

The state of the industry
-    Total domestic consumption of milk has risen four of the past five years and reached a record in 2018.
-    While per-capita milk U.S. consumption has declined, consumption of non-fluid dairy products such as cheese have increased, with butter last year at its highest per-capita consumption in more than 50 years.
-    U.S. dairy export volumes reached a record in 2018, increasing 9 percent over the prior year despite stiff trade winds. The value of U.S. exports was $5.59 billion, 2 percent more than the prior year, despite trade disturbances that to date have cost farmers at least $2.3 billion in revenues.

Sustainability and animal welfare
-    The U.S. dairy industry contributes approximately two percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions—the lowest average GHG intensity of milk production worldwide.
-    Fruits and vegetables, grains, and dairy are roughly equal in greenhouse-gas emissions.
-    Through the leadership of NMPF’s National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Program, which includes 98 percent of the U.S. milk supply, U.S. dairy producers are the first livestock animal care program in the world to be recognized for its animal welfare standards. FARM gained that recognition last year from the International Organization for Standardization, founded by the UN.

Consumer choice
-    Milk is consumers’ dominant choice compared compared to plant-based competitors. In a typical week, U.S. consumers buy more than 65 million gallons of milk, compared to about 6 million gallons of plant-based beverages. Milk also costs about 40 percent less, according to consumer sales and pricing data.
-    Milk is a key source of nine essential nutrients crucial to a healthy diet.

And, finally …
-    Milk is the product of a lactating animal, per the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s unenforced rules.

“As World Milk Day is celebrated globally, remember some key facts,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “Dairy has faced economic hardships these past few years, but hard-working producers stand strong behind a high-quality product. Thank a dairy farmer on World Milk Day, for feeding America and the world.”

Thursday May 30 Ag News

USDA Reminds Producers to Report Prevented Planting and Failed Acres

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Sarah Beck in Cuming County reminds producers to report prevented planting and failed acres in order to establish or retain FSA program eligibility. Producers should report crop acreage they intended to plant, but due to natural disaster, were prevented from planting.

Prevented planting acreage must be reported on form FSA-576 (notice of loss), no later than 15 calendar days after the final planting date as established by FSA and the Risk Management Agency.
According to Beck, the final planting date for Corn is May 25, 2019; and Soybeans is June 10, 2019.
Producers with failed acres should also use form FSA-576 to report failed acres.

For losses on crops covered by the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program and crop insurance, producers must file a notice of loss within 15 days of the occurrence of the disaster or when losses become apparent. Producers must file a timely notice of loss form for failed acres on all crops including grasses.

Please contact the Cuming County FSA office at (402)372-2451 to schedule an appointment to file a notice of loss. To find your local FSA office, visit


 Growers, crop consultants, ag professionals and extension educators are encouraged to attend Nebraska Extension's weed management field day from 8.30 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 26 at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s South Central Agricultural Laboratory near Clay Center.

The field day will include on-site demonstrations of herbicides for weed control in corn, popcorn and soybean. An early morning demonstration will focus on weed control in soybeans followed by a demonstration of projects for weed control in corn and popcorn.

“A number of projects will be demonstrated during the field day, including weed control in XtendFlex soybean, Enlist Corn, and Alite 27 Soybean,” said Extension Weed Management Specialist Amit Jhala.

New this year for participants to learn about research project aimed at terminating cereal rye before and after planting soybean and control of volunteer corn in Enlist Corn.

Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) continuing education units are available.

There is no cost to attend the field day, but participants are asked to register at

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


Growers, crop consultants and extension educators interested in management of glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth are encouraged to attend Nebraska Extension's field day, supported by the Nebraska Soybean Board, from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. July 10 near Carleton.

Palmer amaranth is a member of the pigweed family and is one of the most troublesome weeds in soybean fields because of its resistance to glyphosate and some other herbicide groups. Greenhouse dose-response studies have confirmed resistance when glyphosate was applied even at higher rates.

At the field day, experiments will demonstrate how to control glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth in Roundup Ready 2 Xtend, Enlist and Alite 27 soybeans in Nebraska. Keynote speaker, Jason Norsworthy will share his experiences for management of glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth. Norsworthy is a professor of weed science at the University of Arkansas

Three certified crop adviser credits will be available.

 There is no cost to attend the field day. However, pre-registration is required before 3 p.m. on July 9. To register, visit

Directions to the field day: From Geneva, go south on Hwy 81 for 14.6 miles, turn west onto Hwy 4 for 5.3 miles. Site is located on the south side of Hwy 4 between C St. and Renwick St. in Carleton. GPS coordinates: 40°18’24.7”N 97°40’29.0”W.

For more information, contact Amit Jhala at 402-472-1534 or

Southeast Nebraska High Risk for Wheat Head Scab

Randy Pryor, NE Extension Educator

Dr. Stephen Wegulo, UNL Plant Pathologist, and I checked wheat fields in the area yesterday (Wednesday, May 29th) and he declared Southeast and South Central Nebraska as a high risk area for a wheat scab outbreak or fusarium head blight, the same fungus organism as fusarium corn stalk rot.  You may recall 2015 was one of the worst outbreak of head scab in wheat in Nebraska which was also a wet year during wheat heading stage.

Most of the fields we checked are in the wheat flowering stage which is the time to act with a fungicide application.  Now is the time to consider a fungicide application with 3 products to choose from.  The following are the highest rated products for scab protection:  Prosaro at 6.5 oz; Caramba at 14 oz; or Mivavis Ace SE at 13.7 oz.

Dr. Wegulo rates these products the same for head scab control, therefore, price accordingly to save money.  Due to the wet weather preceding flowering and continuing into the flowering period, fusarium head blight (scab) is likely to occur. Now is the time to make a decision to spray for scab; once symptoms appear, it is too late to spray.

The key is this, the field needs to be headed out and at beginning flower stage, not boot stage.  Once headed and at beginning flower stage you typically have about 6 days to act with a fungicide application, so it’s a very tight window of time to act. After 6 days from beginning flower stage, research indicates head scab control diminishes significantly.  Once scab symptoms appear on the wheat heads, it’s too late to do anything.  An added bonus is there is added protection from late season foliar diseases that are expected to increase in severity with all the moisture and humidity even though the crop is not showing any symptoms of foliar diseases at this time.

For more information, go to CropWatch or call the Saline County Extension Office at 402-821-2151.


In the Northern Plains Region (Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota) there were 30,000 workers hired directly by farm operators on farms and ranches during the week of April 7-13, 2019, down 6 percent from the April 2018 reference week, according to USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Workers numbered 25,000 during the week of January 6-12, 2019, unchanged from the January 2018 reference week.

Farm operators paid their hired workers an average wage of $15.58 per hour during the April 2019 reference week, up 6 percent from the April 2018 reference week. Field workers received an average of $16.13 per hour, up $1.61. Livestock workers earned $13.42 per hour compared with $13.47 a year earlier. The field and livestock worker combined wage rate, at $14.60, was up 60 cents from the April 2018 reference week. Hired laborers worked an average of 42.9 hours during the April 2019 reference week, compared with 41.0 hours worked during the April 2018 reference week.

Farm operators in the Northern Plains Region paid their hired workers an average wage of $15.79 per hour during the January 2019 reference week, up 7 percent from the January 2018 reference week. Field workers received an average of $16.64 per hour, up $1.88. Livestock workers earned $13.42 per hour, compared with $13.47 a year ago. The field and livestock worker combined wage rate at $14.70, was up 65 cents from the January 2018 reference week. Hired laborers worked an average of 42.9 hours during the January 2019 reference week, compared with 41.4 hours worked during the January 2018 reference week.


There were 20,000 workers hired directly by farms in the Cornbelt II Region (Iowa and Missouri) during the reference week of January 6-12, 2019, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Farm Labor report. Farm operators paid their hired workers an average wage rate of $15.55 per hour, up $1.70 from January 2018. The number of hours worked averaged 34.9 for hired workers during the reference week, compared with 32.8 hours in January 2018.

During the reference week of April 7-13, 2019, there were 24,000 workers hired directly by farms in the Cornbelt II Region (Iowa and Missouri). Farm operators paid their hired workers an average wage rate of $15.39 per hour during the April 2019 reference week, up $1.75 from April 2018. The number of hours worked averaged 37.1 for hired workers during the reference week, up from 31.7 hours in April 2018.

April Hired Workers Down 3 Percent; Wage Rate Increased 7 Percent from Previous Year

There were 629,000 workers hired directly by farm operators on the Nation's farms and ranches during the week of April 7-13, 2019, down 3 percent from the April 2018 reference week. Workers hired directly by farm operators numbered 499,000 during the week of January 6-12, 2019, down 7 percent from the January 2018 reference week.

Farm operators paid their hired workers an average wage of $14.71 per hour during the April 2019 reference week, up 7 percent from the April 2018 reference week. Field workers received an average of $13.80 per hour, up 8 percent. Livestock workers earned $13.61 per hour, up 6 percent. The field and livestock worker combined wage rate, at $13.73 per hour, was up 8 percent from the 2018 reference week. Hired laborers worked an average of 40.7 hours during the April 2019 reference week, up 1 percent from the hours worked during the April 2018 reference week.

Farm operators paid their hired workers an average wage of $14.96 per hour during the January 2019 reference week, up 6 percent from the January 2018 reference week. Field workers received an average of $13.77 per hour, up 7 percent, while livestock workers earned $13.80 per hour, up 7 percent from a year earlier. The field and livestock worker combined wage rate, at $13.78 per hour, was up 7 percent from the January 2018 reference week. Hired laborers worked an average of 39.3 hours during the January 2019 reference week, up 3 percent from the hours worked during the January 2018 reference week.

Meat Animals Production, Disposition, and Income 2018 Summary

Total 2018 production of cattle and calves and hogs and pigs for the United States totaled 85.1 billion pounds, up 5 percent from 2017. Production increased 5 percent for cattle and calves and 5 percent for hogs and pigs.

Total 2018 cash receipts from marketings of meat animals increased slightly to $88.2 billion. Cattle and calves accounted for 76 percent of this total and hogs and pigs accounted for 24 percent.

The 2018 gross income from cattle and calves and hogs and pigs for the United States totaled $88.7 billion, up slightly from 2017. Gross income increased slightly for cattle and calves and increased slightly for hogs and pigs from previous year's gross income.

Cattle and Calves: Cash receipts from marketings of cattle and calves increased slightly from $66.9 billion in 2017 to $67.1 billion in 2018. All cattle and calf marketings totaled 58.9 billion pounds in 2018, up 4 percent from 2017.

Hogs and Pigs: Cash receipts from hogs and pigs totaled $21.1 billion during 2018, up slightly from 2017. Marketings totaled 40.1 billion pounds in 2018, up 5 percent from 2017.

Milk Production, Disposition, and Income 2018 Summary

Milk production increased 1.0 percent in 2018 to 218 billion pounds. The rate per cow, at 23,149 pounds, was 235 pounds above 2017. The annual average number of milk cows on farms was 9.40 million head, down 7,000 head from 2017.

Cash receipts from marketings of milk during 2018 totaled $35.2 billion, 7.1 percent lower than 2017. Producer returns averaged $16.28 per hundredweight, 8.0 percent below 2017. Marketings totaled 216.6 billion pounds, 0.9 percent above 2017. Marketings include whole milk sold to plants and dealers and milk sold directly to consumers.

An estimated 1.02 billion pounds of milk were used on farms where produced, 2.6 percent more than 2017. Calves were fed 91 percent of this milk, with the remainder consumed in producer households.

RMA Announces Special Provisions for Cover Crop Terminations

The Risk Management Agency announced changes to cover crop termination rules in eight states.

According to the May 28 Manager’s Bulletin, “Producers in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin have been severely affected by wet weather and muddy field conditions. Additionally, many acres of failed fall-seeded crops, like winter wheat and barley, have been appraised and released for termination. However, the excess moisture has delayed the normal and customary timeframe for mechanical or chemical termination of the crops. In some situations, producers are unable to fully terminate the fall-seeded crops prior to the onset of some of the plants reaching the headed or budded stage. If not for the wet weather, producers would have been able to terminate the crops timely in the normal and customary timeframes.”

RMA announced that for the 2019 crop year, insurance may attach to spring-planted crops following a crop even though some plants may have reached the headed or budded stage, provided producers take adequate and appropriate measures to terminate the crops no later than June 5, 2019. Farmers should contact their crop insurance agents for further information.

Court Strikes 2015 Water Rule

A federal court on Tuesday invalidated the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers’ 2015 expansion of federal jurisdiction over small and isolated waters. After years of litigation in suits filed by dozens of state governments and trade groups, this is the first court to reach a final decision on the lawfulness of the 2015 Waters of the United States rule. Several court decisions have preliminarily blocked the rule in many states while the litigation progressed. 

The U.S. Court for the Southern District of Texas ruled that the agencies violated basic requirements of fair process when they concluded the 2015 rulemaking without first releasing for comment a key report that was the basis for many of their most controversial decisions.

The order came in response to suits by a group of 17 private-sector plaintiffs that included the American Farm Bureau Federation and a broad coalition of business and industry organizations as well as the states of Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. The groups challenged the 2015 WOTUS rule as unlawfully expanding federal jurisdiction at the expense of state and municipal authority and offending basic rules of fair process. Having found the rule unlawful for procedural violations, the court did not consider the various other statutory and constitutional challenges.

AFBF General Counsel Ellen Steen praised the court’s decision. “This decision provides strong vindication for what many of us have said for years — the waters of the U.S. rule was invalid. It is time for the agencies to move on to a legally sound basis for determining federal jurisdiction over waters.”

Several other legal challenges to the 2015 rule remain pending in federal courts across the country. Under the Trump administration, EPA and the Corps of Engineers have proposed to repeal the rule and issue a new regulation that appropriately defines federal waters.

Romania and Greece Look to U.S. Soy for Vegetal Protein Ingredients, Superior Amino Acid Composition for Animal Feed

A new export batch of U.S. Soy is set to arrive in mid-May in Constanta Port, Romania and will immediately be discharged and distributed to Romanian and Bulgarian end users. The shipment consists of 50,000 metric tons (MT) of U.S. soybean meal. Prior to this shipment, all deliveries of U.S. Soy to Romania this year have been beans that were crushed locally. Greece also imported another large vessel containing U.S. soybeans in mid-May, increasing market share in that country as well. The growth of U.S. soy imports into Romania, Bulgaria and Greece represents opportunities offered by the region’s growing feed industries and sustained marketing efforts, combined with technical programs implemented by the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) in the sub region over the past year.

Romania has taken advantage of an excellent window of opportunity for their feed and livestock industries to get access and use soy originating from the U.S. The local industries have fully benefited from U.S. Soy’s quality for the past seven months and this has generated excellent feedback from customers, saying that U.S. Soy has proven to be the ‘gold standard’ for them in terms of all vegetal protein ingredients used in animal feeding.

This is supported by an analysis performed by several European feed mills and commercial labs over the past six months to establish the amino acids profile of U.S. soy products sampled at the import destination. All of the numbers received from the lab analysis have proven that U.S. Soy has a superior amino acid profile versus other origins of soybean meal. Additionally, animals fed with U.S. Soy have performed better. This is in line with the findings of USSEC’s studies conducted in Europe by a research group from Madrid University, strengthening customer confidence in the U.S. soy products they purchase. Romanian nutritionists also take into consideration what they consider to be superior physical characteristics of U.S. soybean meal.

Europe is a key market for U.S. Soy and the growing feed and livestock industries in Eastern European countries and Greece’s aqua sector offer promising opportunities. USSEC will continue to pursue efforts in promoting U.S. Soy and supporting end users by offering technical assistance programs.

The U.S. and EU Animal Pharmaceutical Industries in the Age of Antibiotic Resistance

A New Report from the Economic Research Service

U.S. consumer demand for products raised without any antibiotics has risen, particularly for poultry. In 2017, approximately 44 percent of U.S. broilers were raised without antibiotics, up from 2.7 percent in 2012, according to a new USDA report, The U.S. and EU Animal Pharmaceutical Industries in the Age of Antibiotic Resistance.

Between 2015 and 2017, total U.S. sales of antibiotics for food-animal production declined 30 percent (by weight), after annual increases in each year between 2009 and 2015. From 2010 to 2015, in 17 EU countries, antibiotics sales for production dropped 31 percent.

U.S. restrictions on use of growth-promoting antibiotics enacted in 2017 appear to have contributed to declines in antibiotics sales, and similar European regulations are generally correlated with declines in overall antibiotics sales.

Approvals of food-animal antibiotics have declined both in number and as a share of approvals of all food-animal pharmaceuticals. Since 1992, most new antibiotic approvals for use in food animals have been generic drugs that are also used in human medicine.

This report compiles and analyzes data from a variety of sources, including meat production and export data from multiple countries, antibiotics sales data from both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine and the European Medicines Agency, animal pharmaceutical industry data from firm annual reports and industry trade groups, and license data for U.S. veterinary biologics from USDA’s Center for Veterinary Biologics.

For additional information, please view the report.

Mexico Gets Ball Rolling on USMCA

The Mexican government has launched the process of securing legislative approval for the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement, the trade deal negotiated last year to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said officials would deliver the text and related documents to the Senate on Thursday afternoon, adding he was optimistic the deal will be ratified.

"We consider it's in our interest, that it's beneficial for there to be more foreign investment, with companies participating to create well-paid jobs in the country," he said at his daily press conference.

The trade agreement, which requires congressional ratification in all three countries, is expected to get broad support from Mexico's main political parties.

Two obstacles to starting the ratification process were cleared in the past month when the Mexican Congress changed labor laws to bring them in line with the new trade deal, and the U.S. lifted tariffs on Mexican and Canadian steel-and-aluminum imports. Mexico and Canada in turn eliminated tariffs imposed in retaliation.

Mr. Lopez Obrador said resolving the steel issue was a condition for Mexico to move forward in the ratification process.

"We've said it before: free trade yes, trade war no," he said. The Canadian government introduced legislation Wednesday seeking to ratify the new pact, known as USMCA. The deal could face the stiffest opposition in the U.S.

Beef Checkoff Refuses to Spend Producer Dollars on Beef Promotion

USDA recently admitted it is keeping Montana producers’ beef checkoff money —a federal tax on cattle producers that must be used to promote beef —from being put to use. For years the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) has claimed the Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America’s (R-CALF USA’s) constitutional challenge to the checkoff would reduce funding for beef promotion. As part of this publicity campaign, on April 25, 2019, the editor of the Western Ag Reporter, Kayla Sargent, started her checkoff story, “Making Money Count in Montana” by stating R-CALF USA’s checkoff lawsuit “has a large portion of Montana’s contributions tied up in a frozen account until the case is settled.”

USDA has now admitted it is the one draining the checkoff of money, in the hopes of protecting the private Montana Beef Council. In 2016, in response to R-CALF USA’s suit, a federal district court held the Montana Beef Council could only use checkoff payments if payers consented to it doing so, because the council is a private entity and uses the money to fund its private speech. If payers don’t consent, the First Amendment requires all of the money to go to the Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB), because it uses the government-mandated tax to fund government speech.

USDA has now informed R-CALF USA that while the Montana Beef Council is technically sending more money to the CBB, USDA is allowing CBB to keep the money in a special account so it will not be used at all, in hopes they will eventually be able to overturn the court’s ruling and put the money back under the private council’s control.

In response to these revelations, R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard stated:
What is clear here is that the beef checkoff program is defying the choices made by Montana producers to stop funding the Montana Beef Council and its abuse of the checkoff funds. It is solely the decision of the CBB and the government to refuse to use that money as it was intended, that NCBA would attempt to distract from this reality by pointing the finger at R-CALF USA is no surprise.

In the past, the private Montana Beef Council has used the money to support the NCBA-controlled Federation of State Beef Councils and the meatpacker-led U.S. Meat Export Federation. The U.S. Meat Export Federation lobbied for the repeal of country-of-origin labeling (COOL) and for trade agreements that harm the economic interests of independent cattle producers, while benefiting NCBA’s corporate donors.

Throughout this case, NCBA has put out misinformation that we are trying to keep the checkoff from succeeding. Now the truth has come out: NCBA and its allies on the Montana Beef Council are so desperate to protect their slush fund they’ll actually reduce the entire checkoff budget for years on the off chance that someday they’ll be able to regain access to that money.

“While the Government and Montana Beef Council are not violating the specific words in the court’s order —as it only required that the money go to the CBB unless producers consent to the money staying with the Montana Beef Council —they are clearly ignoring its spirit. The point of requiring checkoff money to go to the CBB is that is the only way it could be constitutionally expended, so there is no basis to keep the money locked away; everyone thought USDA and the CBB would use the money as required under the Beef Act,” said David Muraskin, a Public Justice Food Project attorney and lead counsel in R-CALF USA’s beef checkoff litigation from which the ruling stems.

“The council and government’s conduct highlights why the suit is so important. By allowing the private councils to have so much control over the checkoff, their concerns, not those of producers determine how the money is spent (or here stashed away). This is why the First Amendment prohibits them from taking money without the payers’ consent,” continued Muraskin.

Attorneys for R-CALF USA include lead counsel David Muraskin, a Food Project Attorney at Public Justice, J. Dudley Butler of Butler Farm and Ranch Law Group, PLLC, and Bill Rossbach of Rossbach Law, P.C. in Missoula, Montana.

Weekly Ethanol Production for 5/24/2019

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending May 24, ethanol production retreated 13,000 barrels per day (b/d), a 1.3% decrease, at an average of 1.057 million barrels per day (b/d)—equivalent to 44.39 million gallons daily. However, it remains 16,000 b/d (1.5%) above year ago levels. The four-week average ethanol production rate moved 0.8% higher to 1.054 million b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 16.16 billion gallons (bg)—the second time this year to breach 16 bg.

Ethanol stocks shrank by 3.3% to 22.6 million barrels. However, this remains 6.4% higher than year-ago reserves. Stocks declined in all regions (PADDs) except the West Coast, which have been building for three straight weeks (up 2.3% since the start of May).

There were no imports reported by EIA for the 28th week in a row. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of March 2019.)

The volume of gasoline supplied declined 0.4% to 9.394 million b/d (394.5 million gallons per day, or 144.01 bg annualized). Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol were trimmed 0.3% to 948,000 b/d, equivalent to 14.53 bg annualized.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production decreased to 11.25%.

Session recordings now available from 2019 Stakeholders Summit

The Animal Agriculture Alliance announced today that materials from the 2019 Animal Agriculture Alliance Stakeholders Summit, themed “A Seat At The Table,” are now accessible online. The Summit was held May 8-9 in Kansas City, Missouri and attracted 335 attendees, making it the largest Summit to date.

Recorded presentations from the Summit’s 26 expert speakers are available to view at: Presentations from the 2016, 2017 and 2018 Summits are also available at the same link. Highlights and quotes from the sessions can be accessed at:

"If you weren’t able to take your seat at the table this year, or if you just want to watch your favorite session again, I highly encourage you to watch the presentations from this year’s Summit,” said Kay Johnson Smith, Alliance president and CEO. “Attendees heard from a wide variety of expert speakers on topics including consumer preferences, product marketing and labeling, influencer engagement, sustainability, animal welfare, alternative proteins, blockchain technology, farm security and many, many more.”

The conference agenda and speaker biographies can be viewed at: This year’s successful event would not have been possible without the support of our sponsors, who are also listed on the Summit website.

The 2020 Summit is set for May 7-8 at the Renaissance Capital View Hotel in Arlington, Virginia. Stay tuned to and #AAA20 for event updates.

Wednesday May 29 Ag News

JBS USA Announces Nearly $100M Investment at Grand Island Beef Production Facility

JBS USA, a leading U.S.-based, global food company, today announced a $95 million expansion project at its Grand Island, Neb., beef production facility. The project includes new, improved animal handling facilities, a state-of-the-art, temperature-controlled harvest floor and facility reconfiguration designed to improve team member experience, food safety and product quality.

The 107,000 square-foot expansion and facility enhancements will better position the company to sustainably meet evolving customer and consumer expectations for high-quality, great-tasting U.S. beef products. This expansion project has already begun and is anticipated to be completed in early 2021. Operations at Grand Island will continue uninterrupted throughout project execution.

"Today’s announced expansion is an important strategic investment to secure Grand Island as an unquestioned leader in food quality, animal care and beef innovation for years to come,” said Tim Schellpeper, JBS USA Fed Beef President. “Around the world, from North and South America to Asia and Africa, consumers crave the superior taste and quality of American beef. Partnering with leading Nebraska and other area beef producers, we are proud to invest in a vibrant future for U.S. beef.”

Located in the heart of American cattle country in central Nebraska, JBS Grand Island partners with more than 670 local producers to export U.S. beef to more than 30 countries around the world, including Canada, Chile, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Mexico and Singapore, under such signature brands as 1855 Black Angus©, Swift© and Swift Black Angus©. The expansion project will allow the company to strategically capitalize on increased international demand forecasts for high-quality U.S. beef and value-added beef products.

“JBS Grand Island has been a standard-bearer for American beef for over half a century,” said Zack Ireland, Grand Island Plant Manager. “Our team sends the best U.S. beef products the country has to offer to customers both domestically and globally. Today’s announcement strengthens our long-standing commitment to local farmers and ranchers, our team members, key customers and the community of Grand Island, whose support has been critical to our ongoing success.”


Congressman Don Bacon (NE-02) today urged Congress to support the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade agreement; a bipartisan treaty that benefits American farmers, ranchers, businesses, and workers by fixing longstanding imbalances and cutting regulations. This trade agreement will grant American farmers and businesses greater freedom to sell their goods and products throughout North America without the interference of government appropriations.

“Failure to bring this approval to the floor would put American farmers and workers at risk. As a nation of free trade, we must do what is best for America,” said Rep. Bacon. “To do this, non-tariff barriers and unfair subsidies must be eliminated and replaced. USMCA offers a fairer playing field for America. Every change in this agreement is better than NAFTA. I urge Congress to bring this to the House floor for approval.”

Rep. Bacon is a member of the House Agriculture Committee which has general jurisdiction over federal agriculture policy including agriculture, forestry, nutrition, water conservation, and other agriculture-related fields. The Committee can recommend funding appropriations for various governmental agencies, programs, and activities, as defined by House rules.


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

Wet, muddy pastures require special grazing techniques.

As this year’s wet weather continues, most pastures are soft and wet.  Grazing can quickly get these pastures muddy and damaged by hoof traffic.

Use special grazing techniques to limit damage in soft, muddy pastures.  The worst thing you can do is graze a pasture for several days until it’s all torn up and then move to a new area.  Trampling that occurs repeatedly over several days greatly weakens plants; doing this across a wide area can reduce production for months, even years.

In contrast, pastures muddied up by grazing only briefly usually recover quickly.  Maybe not as fast as when the ground is solid, but fast enough to minimize yield or stand loss.

Take advantage of this rapid recovery by moving animals frequently, at least once a day, to a new area.  This might require subdividing pastures with temporary electric fences to increase the number of new areas you can move cattle into.  Fencing supplies you use around corn stalks during winter should work well for this temporary use.  Once the ground firms up you can return to your normal grazing rotation.

Another option is to graze all your cattle together in one small ‘sacrifice’ area until the rest of your pasture ground gets solid again, feeding hay if needed.  This protects most of your pasture acres from trampling losses.  But it can virtually destroy the area grazed so it might need reseeding.  This may be a small price to pay, though, to protect the rest of your acres.

Don’t let mud and trampling ruin your pastures.  Temporary grazing adjustments can save grass now and for the future.


Do you plan to use summer annual forages to boost pasture or hay supplies this year?  If so, get your seed soon before supplies get tight.

Hay supplies started out this spring at record low amounts.  In many states, alfalfa winterkill was much higher than average, which means hay production could be lower than usual this summer.  The wet, cold spring has compromised pasture and hay field growth.  It also has played havoc with planting crops throughout the corn belt, causing some farmers to change their planting plans, sometimes to include planting more summer annual forages.

Put this all together and what could happen?  More summer annual forages planted to rebuild hay supplies.  Summer annual forages planted to replace lost alfalfa hay acres.  Plantings of summer annual forages to boost pasture availability.  And summer annual forages planted when it gets too late to plant anything else.

Get the picture?  Demand for summer annual forage seed could be high.  So – if you think you might want or need to plant some summer annual forage grasses this year after wheat, in regular cropland, or wherever and have not already obtained your seed, do it soon.  Waiting until the last minute could limit your choices.

There was a good seed supply to begin this season, especially when you consider all the choices – sudangrass, sorghum-sudan hybrids, forage sorghum, teff, pearl millet, foxtail millet, and Japanese millet.  But that can change quickly.

These summer annual forage grasses can be a great resource and insurance that you have enough feed for your livestock.  But you first need the seed to take advantage of their potential.

Climate Assessment Response Committee to Meet

Amelia Breinig, assistant director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, has scheduled a meeting of the Climate Assessment Response Committee (CARC) for June 4. The meeting will begin at 9:30 a.m. in room 901, Hardin Hall, on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln East Campus.

Officials will brief CARC members on existing, as well as predicted, weather conditions and provide a water availability outlook.

For more details, call the Nebraska Department of Agriculture at (402) 471-2341.

Organic Agronomy Training Series to Feature Iowa State Faculty

Organic producers and service providers can participate in a three-state training opportunity, known as The Organic Agronomy Training Series (OATS) Collaborative, Aug. 14-15 in La Crosse, while also hearing from an Iowa State University Extension and Outreach specialist.

The program will offer a science-based education for agricultural professionals including agronomists, technical service providers, extension staff, agency personnel, educators and farmers – both organic and those interested in transitioning to organic.

“OATS is the first combined effort between Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota to target educators or service providers who work with transitioning farmers,” said Kathleen Delate, professor and organic extension specialist in horticulture and agronomy at Iowa State University.

Delate will speak Aug. 14 on “Pest Management in Organic Grain Systems.” The first day also includes classroom workshops on organic certification, crop rotations, nutrient and pest management, as well as markets.

The second day will include a field trip to local organic farms where hands-on training in basic and innovative organic practices, including organic no-till, will be demonstrated.

Presentations will show attendees how to guide farmers through the transition to U.S. Department of Agriculture organic compliance, including weed management, insect and disease management, fertility strategies and designing rotations to benefit both agronomic and economic goals.

Participants can network with other organic-focused professionals and visit a nearby organic operation for experiential learning.

The training is supported by Pipeline Foods, Clif Bar and the Organic Trade Association’s Organic Grains Council, in partnership with Iowa State University, the University of Minnesota, the University of Wisconsin, Albert Lea Seed Co., and the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES).

The training will be held at the Radisson Hotel, 200 Second St. South, 200 Harborview Plaza in La Crosse. The cost of the two-day training is $85.

Registration is available at More information, including workshop descriptions, is available on the Organic Agronomy Training Series website

Urea Continues to Shift Higher

Retail urea prices increased 5% compared to last month while the rest of the retail fertilizer prices tracked by DTN were mixed.

According to retail fertilizer prices tracked by DTN for the third week of May 2019, urea had an average price of $428/ton, up $20 from the same time last month.

Five other fertilizers were higher than last month, although the move to the high side was fairly muted. DAP had an average price of $497/ton, fractionally higher; potash $392/ton, up $4; 10-34-0 $487/ton, up $4; anhydrous $595/ton, up $1; and UAN28 $270/ton, up $2.

The remaining two fertilizers were slightly lower compared to last month but again the move lower was small. MAP had an average price of $527/ton, down $3, and UAN32 $314/ton, down $1.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.47/lb.N, anhydrous $0.36/lb.N, UAN28 $0.48/lb.N and UAN32 $0.49/lb.N.

All eight of the major fertilizers are now higher compared to last year with prices shifting higher. DAP is 3% higher, MAP is 4% more expensive, both potash and 10-34-0 are all 11% higher, UAN28 is 12% more expensive; UAN32 is 14% higher and both urea and anhydrous are now 18% more expensive compared to last year.

Late Planting with Grain Sorghum Could Provide Farmers Opportunity

Grain sorghum is one crop option that can provide opportunity to growers in regions impacted by historically adverse weather during the 2019 planting season. As wet conditions persist for farmers across the U.S., producers calculating options as major crop plant deadlines loom need to keep the following considerations in mind when planting grain sorghum.

Grain sorghum can typically be planted later than other crops, and sorghum is a lower risk option, specifically as it relates to seed costs. For example, sorghum seed typically costs $9-$18 per acre depending on seeding rate, while corn seed typically costs $55-$110 an acre depending on seeding rate and traits. Harvest costs are often lower, as well.

“Grain sorghum provides a number of benefits to growers as we enter a replant and late/prevent plant time period for the 2019 growing season,” said Brent Bean, Sorghum Checkoff agronomist, Ph.D. “There is typically a yield benefit for soybeans, cotton and corn when planted after sorghum. In addition, its root system is often able to penetrate compacted soils and can reduce diseases and nematodes that plague other crops.”

From a demand standpoint, despite ongoing negotiations and tariff restrictions with China, the U.S. has sold multiple vessels to China in the last month. NSP CEO Tim Lust said this demand and market signals offer optimism for global feed grain needs like sorghum.

“Despite trade uncertainty, demand for feed grain remains strong across the globe,” Lust said. “Furthermore, anticipated feed grain shortages from areas impacted by adverse planting weather will create significant localized demand for additional starch sources like sorghum. We continue to receive feedback from ethanol plants and other end-users about the need to fill gaps in supply this winter. Some have already posted sorghum bids, and others are strongly considering doing so.”

Growers should also consider that current guidance from USDA shows in order to collect a Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payment, farmers must plant a program crop or alfalfa. Final plant dates for crop insurance vary by region, but growers can contact their local insurance agent for insurance coverage and options. Sorghum also works well as a cover behind prevented planting, and resources on this provision are available from the USDA Risk Management Agency.

Additional agronomic and marketing resources, including information on Sorghum Management Following a Wet Winter and Spring, Pre-emergence Weed Control, Fertilizing Grain Sorghum, Seeding Rate, sorghum marketing connections, Sorghum Checkoff marketing staff, are available at

For information on local bids or additional information, producers can contact National Sorghum producers at 800-658-9808.

Canada Introduces Legislation to Ratify North American Trade Pact

Canada's Liberal government on Wednesday introduced legislation that would ratify the revised version of the North American free-trade pact, moving ahead less than two weeks after the Trump administration lifted tariffs on the country's steel and aluminum exports.

The announcement from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau comes hours before U.S. Vice President Mike Pence visits Ottawa on Thursday to discuss the trade treaty, now referred to as the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA. It is intended to replace NAFTA, or the North American Free Trade Agreement, which President Trump criticized as flawed and in need of improvement.

"With the tariffs now lifted, the members of this house can now move to begin the ratification process of the new Nafta," Trudeau said in a statement in Canada's legislature.

Canada is the largest foreign supplier of steel and aluminum to the U.S., according to trade data. Canadian officials linked ratification to the removal of metals tariffs.

Earlier this week, Canada's legislature passed by a wide margin, 255-47, a government motion that formally kick-started the ratification process. The support to get a ratified trade pact exists, but the government has been coy about when a vote would be called.

Trudeau and others have said Canada wants to move "in tandem" with the U.S. and Mexico. The timing of ratification in Congress remains uncertain, as the Trump administration will require support from a sizable number of Democrats. An increasingly personal clash between Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has raised questions about whether the two can collaborate on legislation.

In Mexico, there is no clear timeline for ratification from that country's senate, but the process is widely expected to be smooth and get multipartisan support.

Ratification of the trade agreement in Canada could be complicated by this fall's election. The legislature is scheduled to end its current session late next month, with lawmakers and political aides expected to begin preparations for the Oct. 21 national election.


The Fuels Institute FUELS2019 conference in Dallas provided attendees with the opportunity to take a deep dive into topics around internal combustion engines, the future of retail, biofuels and more. FUELS2019 explored the market through a series of panel discussions and presentations that evaluated the pressures from the environment, government regulations and consumer behavior.

“This was a great opportunity to build new relationships, especially with the members of the retail community,” said Director of Renewable Fuels Mark Palmer. “Gaining insights from the various sectors represented at the conference helps us better understand the challenges and opportunities we have for getting more ethanol into the marketplace.”

There were roughly 150 participants in attendance from all aspects of the liquid transportation industry including retailers, refiners, auto manufacturers, ethanol producers and RIN traders.

The National Corn Growers Association was a sponsor of the event, providing participants with the opportunity to “refuel” their phones at charging stations. NCGA Manager of Renewable Fuels Peter Magner also attended the conference.

Economics of Soil Health to be Assessed across North America

Management practices that improve soil health can be good for the farm and the environment, but farmers need information on economics when deciding whether to adopt these practices.  To address this critical issue, Cargill and the Soil Health Institute have announced a new partnership to assess, demonstrate and communicate the economics of soil health management systems across North America. 

"At Cargill, we're committed to helping farmers increase their productivity so that we can nourish a growing population. We work with partners like The Soil Health Institute to give farmers the tools and resources they need to bring greater sustainability to their operations, while ensuring their productivity," said Ryan Sirolli, global row crop sustainability director, Cargill. "Farmers are looking for a more robust picture of the economic benefits of investing in soil health on their farms. By partnering with the Soil Health Institute, we will be able to provide the research and insight they need to understand how investing in soil health can provide both financial and environmental benefits. Together, we can help farmers build drought resilience, increase yield stability, reduce nutrient loss and increase carbon sequestration."

"The most desirable information on how soil health affects profitability comes from real-world, on-farm data.  However, a challenge is that every farm is different, making it difficult to know how repeatable results are from one farm to another," said Dr. Wayne Honeycutt, CEO of the Soil Health Institute.  "Insight into how reproducible results are across different soils, climate zones, and production systems can be obtained with experimental research plots; recognizing that research plots are very different from farms."

"The bottom line is that when it comes to assessing economics, both types of information are useful - the research experiment and the farmer experience," said Dr. Cristine Morgan, Chief Scientific Officer of the Soil Health Institute.  "That is why we are using a two-pronged approach for assessing profitability of soil health systems that integrates results from research sites with those experienced by nearby farmers," she added.

Supported by an $850,000 grant from Cargill, Dr. Morgan will lead the Soil Health Institute's Agricultural Economist in developing enterprise budgets to compare profitability of soil health-promoting systems with conventional management systems on approximately 100 farms near 120 research sites across North America.  "This will significantly expand our existing partnership with the National Association of Conservation Districts and USDA-NRCS for understanding profitability of soil health systems," added Morgan.

"Together, Cargill and the Soil Health Institute can address the single most influential factor affecting adoption of soil health systems ─ the economic impact on farmers. This partnership will produce more meaningful and profitable programs for growers and accelerate adoption so that agriculture can be part of the solution to the environmental challenges we face," added Sirolli.

May 28 Crop Progress & Condition Report - NE - IA - US


For the week ending May 26, 2019, there were 2.2 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 0 percent very short, 0 short, 60 adequate, and 40 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 0 percent very short, 0 short, 72 adequate, and 28 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn planted was 81 percent, behind 95 last year and 94 for the five-year average. Emerged was 50 percent, well behind 77 last year and 73 average.

Soybeans planted was 56 percent, well behind 84 last year, and behind 74 average. Emerged was 23 percent, well behind 49 last year, and behind 36 average.

Winter wheat condition rated 1 percent very poor, 3 poor, 26 fair, 59 good, and 11 excellent. Winter wheat headed was 19 percent, behind 32 last year, and well behind 50 average.

Sorghum planted was 23 percent, well behind 52 last year and 50 average.

Oats condition rated 1 percent very poor, 1 poor, 33 fair, 56 good, and 9 excellent. Oats planted was 94 percent, near 98 last year, and behind 99 average. Emerged was 78 percent, behind 92 last year and 95 average. Headed was 1 percent, behind 14 both last year and average.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 1 percent very poor, 2 poor, 17 fair, 70 good, and 10 excellent.


Heavy rainfall and damaging storms kept Iowa farmers from making much planting progress with only 1.0 day suitable for fieldwork statewide during the week ending May 26, 2019, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. South central and southeast Iowa farmers reported less than a half day suitable for fieldwork this past week with little to no planting progress. Several comments were received about Iowa farmers investigating prevented planting options.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 0 percent very short, 0 percent short, 41 percent adequate and 59 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 0 percent very short, 1 percent short, 44 percent adequate and 55 percent surplus.

Only 6 percent of the expected corn crop was planted this past week. Iowa corn growers now have 76 percent of the expected crop planted, 10 days behind last year and 2 weeks behind the 5-year average. This is the smallest amount of corn planted by May 26 since 1995 when 75 percent of the expected crop had been planted. Forty-two percent of the crop has emerged, 9 days behind last year and 10 days behind average.

Less than one-third of the expected soybean crop has been planted, two weeks behind last year and average. This is the smallest percent of soybeans planted by May 26 since 1993 when just 23 percent of the expected crop had been planted. Eight percent of the crop has emerged, 12 days behind last year and 8 days behind average.

Eighty-seven percent of the expected oat crop has emerged, 8 days behind average.

There were reports that some alfalfa hay is ready to be cut, but wet conditions prevented Iowa farmers from entering the fields. Hay condition decreased slightly to 60 percent good to excellent.

Pasture condition improved to 64 percent good to excellent. Continued rains made feedlots muddy and stressed cattle.

Corn, Soybean Planting Slogs on in Waterlogged US Midsection

Farmers in the waterlogged midsection of the U.S. continued to slowly slog along in planting corn and soybeans last week, but made little headway in narrowing the gap between this year's progress and the five-year average, according to USDA NASS' weekly Crop Progress report released Tuesday. The report was delayed a day due to the Memorial Day holiday.

An estimated 58% of U.S. corn was planted as of Sunday, the slowest progress since at least 1980. Corn planting was up 9 percentage points from 49% the previous week but was still well behind 90% at the same time last year and 32 percentage points behind the five-year average of 90%. That was further behind average than in last week's report when corn planting was 31 percentage points behind the average pace.

Corn emergence also continued to be slow with an estimated 32% of the crop emerged as of Sunday, the lowest total for this time of year since 2008. Emergence was far behind 69% last year and 37 percentage points behind the five-year average of 69%. In last week's report, emergence was 30 percentage points behind the average.

Soybean planting progress continued to fall further behind the average pace. As of Sunday, an estimated 29% of the crop was planted, the slowest progress since 2009. Progress was up 10 percentage points from the previous week but was behind last year's 74% and 37 percentage points behind the five-year average of 66%. Soybeans emerged was 11%, 24 percentage points behind the average of 35%.

Winter wheat was 66% headed as of Sunday, behind last year's 71% and 10 percentage points behind the five-year average of 76%. USDA estimated that 61% of winter wheat was in good-to-excellent condition, down 5 percentage points from 66% the previous week.

Spring wheat growers continued to close the gap between 2019 planting progress and the five-year average last week. NASS estimated that 84% of spring wheat was planted as of Sunday, 7 percentage points behind the five-year average of 91%. That was closer to the average pace than the previous week when planting was 10 percentage points behind normal. Spring wheat emerged, at 47%, was 22 percentage points behind the five-year average of 69%.

Sorghum was 28% planted, compared to 48% last year and a five-year average of 44%. Oats were 85% planted as of May 26, compared to 93% last year and an average of 96%. Oats emerged were at 65%, compared to 80% last year and an average of 86%.

Cotton planting was 57% complete, compared to 61% last year and near the average of 58%. Rice was 84% planted, compared to 97% last year and an average of 96%. Sixty-three percent of rice was emerged, compared to 83% last year and an average of 83%.

Tuesday May 28 Ag News

Scout Emerging Corn for Insects; Don’t Assume Protection
Justin McMechan - NE Extension Crop Protection and Cropping Systems Specialist

As corn begins to emerge, be alert to the potential for damage from early season insects such as cutworms, wireworms, white grubs, or other insects.

Wireworms and white grubs are most often associated with fields that have been in pasture or CRP where the grasses were allowed to grow for more than one year. It is rare to see these problems in continuous corn, but exceptions happen. Since wireworms and white grubs feed underground and cutworms feed on or below the soil surface, scout for plant damage and then dig in soil around the plant to identify the insect causing the damage. A variety of other insects are sporadic early season pests of corn.


Cutworms and other insects may hinder emerging corn plants this spring, even if seed was treated with insecticide or Bt corn hybrids were used. High populations of insects can overwhelm the protection method, regardless of whether it was an insecticide applied at planting (liquid, granular, or seed treatment) or a Bt corn hybrid.

In some cases products are not labeled for the full spectrum of Nebraska insects. For example, Bt corn hybrids expressing the Cry 1F and VIP3A Bt proteins list control of black cutworm on the label, but only VIP3A lists control of another soil cutworm (dingy cutworm) species. See the Handy Bt Trait Table for a list of which hybrids express which Bt proteins.

Cutworms can cause serious damage to corn in the first couple weeks after emergence so it is important to scout fields early for damage. Several species of cutworms attack corn. The severity and the area affected will vary greatly, depending on species involved, previous crop history, and weather conditions.

The black cutworm does not overwinter in Nebraska, and infestations depend on moths moving up in spring winds from the south. They are most commonly found in the eastern one-fourth of the state. We have been capturing black cutworm moths in pheromone traps in several counties in eastern Nebraska. Fields with winter annual weeds or abundant crop residue are more attractive to the egg-laying black cutworm moths in the spring. Special attention should be placed on fields where a cover crop has been planted. Black cutworms moths are attracted to the dense cover crop vegetation to lay eggs.

After hatching, cutworm larvae may begin feeding on the cover crop and later move to a cash crop when the cover crop is terminated. In 2016, Dunbar et al. captured significantly higher numbers of black cutworm moths in rye cover crop plots from late April through early May. A couple of weeks later corn plants were assessed for cutworm damage, but no significant cutworm damage was observed. Such observations reinforce the need to scout fields even when adults have been observed. True armyworm has a similar behavior to black cutworm in that it targets areas of dense vegetation for egg laying. Significant populations of true armyworm adults were observed in early May in eastern Nebraska. Unlike black cutworm, true armyworm feeds at the edges of the leaves.

Several other cutworm species (dingy, claybacked, army, and Sandhills cutworms) overwinter as partly grown caterpillars (Figure 1) and can be found more widely in Nebraska. Remember that early detection of a problem is essential because most cutting occurs within seven days of plant emergence.

Treatment. Generally, a postemergence "rescue" treatment should be considered if cutting is observed on 3-5% or more of plants and the worms are one inch or less in length. Rescue treatments are effective in controlling soil cutworms.

Insecticides containing pyrethroids or chlorpyrifos will give satisfactory control as postemergence sprays. If soil is dry or crusted, rotary hoeing immediately before or after a chlorpyrifos application may enhance control. Products containing pyrethroids should not be incorporated.


Wireworms are the larvae of click beetles. The adult beetles prefer to lay eggs in grass and the larvae can remain in that stage for up to six years, depending on the species. Wireworms are our earliest corn pests each season, as they can feed on the seed before germination, causing reduced plant emergence. Later feeding may kill or stunt small emerged plants.

All wireworm feeding is done underground. Wireworms are white, yellow, orange, or brown with hard shells. They tend to be more numerous in fields that have been in grass or pasture or fields that have had grassy weed problems. In 2018, greater numbers of click beetles, the adult stage of wireworm, were observed in cover crop plots relative to the no cover crop treatment. Wireworms prefer cooler soil temperatures under 70°F, so fields that were planted early or have heavy surface residue may be at higher risk than tilled fields.

Treatment. There is no rescue treatment for wireworms, so the main decision at this time is whether there is sufficient stand reduction to warrant replanting. The use of seed treatments like Cruiser and Poncho has greatly reduced the incidence of wireworm damage. These products are excellent early season stand protectors.

White Grubs

White grubs are the larvae of May (or June) or Japanese beetles. They prefer to feed on grasses and most commonly damage corn in eastern Nebraska. There are two basic types of grubs.

Annual grubs complete their development in one year. Both masked chafers and Japanese beetles have similar life cycles. They do most of their feeding in the late summer and fall and are not considered serious pests of spring-planted field crops.

Three-year grubs, however, can damage corn severely in the last two years of their larval stage. The larvae overwinter deep in the soil. As the soil warms they begin feeding on plant roots. Damage to corn may not occur until the corn is in the 2- to 6-leaf stage. This is difficult because up to the time of feeding, the stand may look fine. Often three-year grub damage is near shelter belts where the adults may congregate to feed and mate.

To identify white grubs examine the pattern of spines on the underside of the last abdominal segment. Three-year grubs have two rows of parallel spines in a line; annual white grubs have spines scattered randomly.

Treatment. Like wireworms, there is no rescue treatment for white grubs. Again, high risk areas need to be treated at planting. Products for white grub control are similar to wireworm control.

If wireworm or white grub damage is serious enough to warrant replanting, use planting time treatments, although the odds of damage diminish with the warming of the soil.

For More Information ...

On insecticide products and rates, see the Insect Management section of the 2019 Guide for Weed, Disease and Insect Management in Nebraska (EC 130).

On managing cutworms, see the UNL Extension NebGuide Corn Cutworms (G1153)

What to do with Cows that have Lost Calves

Mary Drewnoski, Nebraska Extension Beef Systems Specialist

Due to the recent severe weather, many cow-calf producers have a significant number of first-calf heifers or cows that have lost calves this spring. The following are things to evaluate and think through in making decisions regarding what to do with these cows. Options with cows that have lost calves:
 1.    Keep and expose cows to rebreeding for spring calving in 2020.
 2.    Put weight on and sell as cull cows later this spring or summer.
 3.    Sell cows immediately and replace immediately with a cow-calf pair or wait to replace in the fall with a bred heifer/cow.

Factors to consider when evaluating options:

1. Age and potential productivity of cows that have lost calves.

Evaluating the value of a cow today based on her expected future production potential minus her remaining production costs is referred to as net present value. Develop a partial budget for the estimated cost to retain a cow that has lost a calf from now until she will next wean a calf. How many calves can she be expected to wean based on her current age? Young cows (ages 2-5) have a greater potential to have the life expectancy needed to cover the costs of holding and rebreeding them. Older cows with dental deterioration have less remaining production potential and it may be best to sell them immediately or in the late spring or summer, prior to historical seasonal cull cow market declines in the fall.

2. Cost and availability of summer pasture as well as fall and winter feed.

For many cow-calf producers, summer pasture is in short supply. All available grass or harvested feed may be needed for cows that have calves. If an abundance of pasture is available, will it be fully utilized with producing cows or replacement heifers? If pastures will not be fully stocked, then retaining cows that lost calves for weight gain or rebreeding may be a good use of this resource.

3. Current cattle cycle and projected cattle prices.

Cattle numbers have been growing since 2014 and are expected to peak in 2019 or 2020 and then hold steady or begin trending down. This larger supply of calves will be one of the factors that will influence calf prices for the next few years. Will current projected calf prices be adequate to cover costs of holding non-productive cows? Cows retained this summer for breeding are essentially replacement animals. They won't be providing any income from calf production till the fall of 2020. Does this added cost fit into your herd management plans and the number of productive cows you want to have in the herd for the next several years?

4. Bio-Security Risk of bringing in bred cows or cow-calf pairs.

Bringing in outside cattle into a herd brings with it bio-security risks. Use care when purchasing bred cows or cow-calf pairs and then integrating these new purchases into the herd. Young calves can be especially susceptible to disease risks.

5. Selling Cull Cows and Purchasing Cow-calf Pairs.

Selling a cow that has lost her calf and buying back a cow-calf pair is an option that many producers will consider. Besides the bio-security risk, evaluating this option financially involves comparing the value of a cull cow today, against the price of a cow-calf pair and the expected value of a weaned calf in the fall. Then take into account the additional cost of carrying a cow-calf pair through the summer and early fall versus a dry cow. Assuming the cow brought into the herd was of equal future productive value as the cow culled from the herd, this would give you the net cost of the exchange. Doing this allows a person to compare what would be the estimated cost/value of the bred cow in the fall that came from the purchased cow-calf pair versus retaining and breeding the cow that is currently part of the herd and lost her calf.

6. Cost of Production.

Knowing cost of production will be important when evaluating replacement options. Costs for overheads related to labor and equipment in caring for cattle don't change very much based on the number of cows that are in the herd. If overhead costs remain the same while productive cow numbers drop, the overhead costs per cow will increase. Carefully evaluate the impact of having fewer productive cows in the herd and the impact of that on overhead costs per cow.

7. Cash flow and financial needs.

The need to meet financial obligations and service debt may require that any cows without calves be sold. Visit with your ag lender about what may be best for the overall financial needs of the operation when evaluating what to do with cows that have lost calves.

Deciding what to do with cows that have lost their calves is a decision which needs to be thought through in order to effectively evaluate what options may be best. Several factors can influence the best choice to make in your situation. Whether keeping the cows and rebreeding them or selling them now as cull cows, careful considerations of cost and benefits is key to figuring out the best option.

Bill Luckey of Columbus Appointed to National Pork Board

The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced the appointment of five members to the National Pork Board. Bill Luckey of Columbus, Nebraska was among those selected and will serve a three-year term.

Other appointed members are: Russell A. Nugent III, Lowell, Ark.; Gene Noem, Ames, Iowa; Alicia Pedemonti, Hopkinton, N.H.; and Michael P. Skahill, Williamsburg, Va.

The National Pork Board is composed of 15 pork producers nominated by the National Pork Producers Delegate Body, which is made up of 132 producer and importer members.

Bill Luckey owns a wean-to-finish operation in Columbus, Nebraska where he also holds partial ownership of a sow farm. Bill is responsible for the daily care of 740 nursery pigs and 1,400 finisher pigs. In addition, his family operates a 2,000 head custom contract finisher. They market 10,000 pigs annually. Bill also raises corn, soybeans and cattle on 700 acres.

Bill is currently serving on the board of directors for the Swine Health Information Center. He has also been active on numerous National Pork Board committees and currently serves as chairman of the International Marketing Committee. In addition, has given over 50 speeches as an Operation Main Street 2.0 speaker. Previously, Bill served on the National Pork Producers Council board of directors from 2008-2014 and on the Nebraska Pork Producers Association (NPPA) board of directors from 2001-2007 where he was president from 2006-2007. NPPA President, Tim Chancellor offered his congratulations stating, “It gives me great pleasure to extend my warmest congratulations to Bill on his appointment to the National Pork Board. I am confident that Bill will continue his unwavering dedication to the pork industry.”

The program was created and is administered under the authority of the  Pork Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act of 1985. It became effective September 5, 1986, when the  Pork Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Order  was implemented. Assessments began Nov. 1, 1986.

Since 1966, Congress has authorized the development of industry-funded research and promotion boards to provide a framework for agricultural industries to pool their resources and combine efforts to develop new markets, strengthen existing markets, and conduct important research and promotion activities. The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) provides oversight of 22 boards, paid for by industry assessments, which helps ensure fiscal accountability and program integrity.

More information about the board is available on the AMS  National Pork Board  page and on the National Pork Board website,

NC/NSDA Host a May 29 webinar on "no-match letters"

The Social Security Administration (SSA) recently announced that beginning in spring 2019, it would begin reissuing Employer Correction Request Notices, commonly referred to as "no-match letters." The SSA had previously issued no-match letters but discontinued the practice in 2012. Since the announcement, an estimated 570,000 employers nationwide have received no-match letters and more are likely on the way. 

No-match letters will be sent to employers who submitted wage and tax statements (Form W-2) for employees that contain name and Social Security Numbers that do not match SSA records. Reasons for these discrepancies can be innocuous, like marital name changes and typos on forms, but they can also indicate immigration status. These notices have the potential to expose employers to increased liability during I-9 audits and must be corrected within 60 days of receipt. 

If you received a letter or are worried about potential employment liability, please consider participating in this webinar. Topics will include background on no-match letters and potential legal risks for employers; guidance and a timeframe for responding; and how to take proactive steps to reduce your risk of receiving future no-match letters. 

The webinar is open to current dues-paying members of either Nebraska Cattlemen or the Nebraska State Dairy Association. 

Date and Time: 12:00 pm CST on May 29, 2019. The webinar will be recorded for viewing after its completion for those that can't participate live.

Featured Speakers:
    David Zaritzky Brown, Brown Immigration Law PC, LLO
    Torrey J. Gerdes, Baylor Evnen, LLP
    Susan M. Foster, Baylor Evnen, LLP

How to Register:
All participants must register in advance by clicking here... After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Please send your questions to in advance of the webinar. This will help ensure that all questions are answered and the appropriate information is made available.

Nebraska Ethanol Board Welcomes New Administrator

The Nebraska Ethanol Board (“NEB” or “the Board”) is pleased to announce that Roger Berry began working at the Board today and will assume the position as NEB’s Administrator following the next board meeting this Friday, May 31.

Berry is from Nebraska, farmed in the state and has served in senior positions in agricultural organizations. Most recently, he spent over three years as Director of Market Development at the Nebraska Corn Board. In that role, Berry worked with NEB staff to carry out ethanol promotion events, spoke about ethanol markets and policy at industry conferences and was involved in industry ethanol policy discussions.

“I commend the NEB members on their choice in Roger Berry to serve as Administrator following my departure,” said current NEB Administrator Sarah Caswell. “Roger is the right person to lead the work of the board at this crucial time for Nebraska’s ethanol industry. He knows the importance of ethanol as a value-added agriculture market, especially during these times of trade uncertainty and an ongoing downturn in the farm economy. His farming background and deep experience and knowledge of the industry will enable him—from day one—to effectively direct the work of the NEB and its staff to carry out the mission of the NEB to the benefit of Nebraska’s ethanol industry stakeholders, including farmers, ethanol producers, consumers and the state’s economy.”

“We thank Sarah for her great work on behalf of the board,” said Nebraska Ethanol Board Chairperson Jan tenBensel. “Her guidance and forethought on industry issues is commendable, and we appreciate all she’s done. This will allow for a seamless transition to Roger, who is a familiar face who is well-known and well-respected in the ag community. He has notable, established relationships with commodity and trade groups both locally and nationally. Roger will be another great asset to the agency.”

ACE welcomes Governor Ricketts to 32nd annual conference

During Renewable Fuels Month in the Cornhusker State, the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) announces it will host Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts as the keynote speaker during its 32nd annual ACE conference. Governor Ricketts will kick off the general session on Wednesday, August 15, welcoming attendees and providing an update on how Nebraska is advancing ethanol in the marketplace. The organization’s upcoming event takes place August 14-16 at the Omaha Marriott Downtown at the Capitol District.

“For decades, ethanol has been an amazing success story, helping grow Nebraska and communities all across the heartland,” said Governor Pete Ricketts. “We look forward to hosting the 32nd annual conference of the American Coalition for Ethanol in Omaha this year.”

“We’re thrilled Governor Ricketts can join us again as we gather together to discuss pressing industry issues,” said Brian Jennings, ACE CEO. “The governor is a great advocate, and we look forward to hearing an update on Nebraska’s E30 demonstration program, as well as his perspective on a number of trade and policy issues impacting the industry.”

The 2019 ACE conference general session will follow Governor Ricketts’ welcome with an update from ACE leadership. Jennings will be joined by Ron Lamberty, ACE Senior Vice President, and Duane Kristensen, ACE Board President representing Chief Ethanol Fuels’ two Nebraska plants in Hastings and Lexington, in discussing the past year’s successes and challenges and highlighting upcoming opportunities for ACE members.

More agenda details will be available soon. For more information about the event, please contact Shannon Gustafson at and visit to register. There are several conference sponsorship opportunities available. The 2019 Sponsorship and Advertising Guide also offers bundled advertising opportunities in ACE’s Ethanol Today magazine for event sponsors. Contact Chuck Beck at to find out how you can maximize your reach while minimizing the expense.

Nebraska Farm Bureau Disaster Relief Efforts Connect Utah Boy and Virginia Bridge to Help Cedar County

It all started with six-year-old Kai Baldwin of Vernal, Utah. He saw a news story about the flooding in Nebraska and could not hold back the tears. “How will they get home and save their animals without a bridge?” he asked his mom. “We have to send them our money!”

Touched by her son’s desire to help, Kai’s mom, Kristin Forbis, researched a reputable source where a donation could be sent, and the pair invited friends and family to empty their pockets and add their change to Kai’s piggy bank donation of $3.21. The donations would be sent to the Nebraska Farm Bureau Disaster Relief Fund, knowing that 100 percent of it would be used to help farmers, ranchers, and rural communities.

“I let him set his own goal, and Kai decided a new bridge would cost $60,” said Forbis. “Kai walked our neighborhood gathering change and was ecstatic as he counted every nickel and penny.” Forbis also posted the fundraiser on her Facebook page, Kai raised $285.28. The check was sent to the Nebraska Farm Bureau Disaster Relief Fund along with Kai’s ‘Dear Nebraska, I’m sorry you got flooded…’ card and all his hope that a bridge could now be fixed.

Enter Jesse Wise of Culpeper, Virginia, a farmer who raises hay on 200 acres near Culpeper and feeds it to his cow/calf pairs. He also owns Wise Services and Recycling, a scrap metal recycling business. Recently, a customer had Wise scrap a functional temporary bridge, and Wise thought he would find a home for the bridge somewhere in Nebraska.

“I knew people were hauling hay to Nebraska; I didn’t have enough hay to share, but I wanted to help. So, I wondered if Nebraska could use the bridge we scrapped. Believe me, I had a lot of dead silence on the phone as I tried to find the bridge a home,” Wise laughed. “It’s not every day you get a call saying; ‘I have a bridge for you, can you use it?’” he said.

After getting nowhere, Wise called staff members from the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation, which manages the Nebraska Disaster Relief Fund. The Foundation began working with Cedar County Commissioner Craig Bartels who lives near Belden, Nebraska.

“There is a good chance that at least two bridges, if not more, will need to be replaced in Cedar County,” said Bartels. “We have several miles of road in Cedar County that is completely washed out and in need of repair. With all the rain that continues to fall, and all the mud, it is hard to fix those well-traveled roads, and now the less traveled ones are in need of repair too.”

Two months after floods devastated Nebraska causing billions of dollars of damage, road crews are working hard to repair 3,300 miles of roads that were closed due to flood damage. According to the Nebraska Department of Transportation website, it is estimated that 27 state bridges were washed out or damaged. The number of county bridges damaged is still unknown.

It costs a lot to load a bridge and transport it across the country, but Wise put the pieces together. The cost to get the bridge to Nebraska is being split by Wise Services and Recycling, who donated the bridge; Neff Crane Rental, who donated their crane time to load the bridge onto a truck; and Read Transportation, who transported the bridge from Culpeper to Coleridge. “We thank them for their generosity and support of our rural community needs,” Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president said.

Talk of bridges had died down in the weeks leading up to the day Kai received a Thank You card in the mail from the Nebraska Farm Bureau with a note attached to call for updates. “I was told that just days after receiving Kai’s donation the Nebraska Farm Bureau staff received a call that Mr. Wise of Virginia had a bridge to donate. They immediately thought of Kai and after a few seconds of silence said to me, ‘It’s Kai’s bridge!’ and that left me just speechless,” Forbis said.

As for Kai, he hasn’t seemed surprised with the announcement of the bridge donation, as if a hard-working stranger across the country donating a bridge is the most natural thing he’s ever heard. Maybe that’s because six-year-old Kai Baldwin of Vernal, Utah and Jesse Wise of Culpeper, Virginia have something very rare in common. A kind heart and the desire to help in whatever way they can.

The Nebraska Farm Bureau Disaster Relief Fund continues to seek financial donations to meet the growing aid requests. To donate, apply for aid, or access other disaster assistance resources, visit

Ban on Dicambia Use Dismissed by Arkansas Supreme Court

The Arkansas Supreme Court has dismissed the state's appeal of a judge's decision to block the enforcement of a 2018 herbicide ban, saying the case is moot now that new restrictions are in effect.

According to the Associated Press, justices dismissed the appeal of a Clay County judge's order prohibiting the state from enforcing its dicamba ban against a group of farmers in that county. The court in 2018 had halted the judge's order while they took up the appeal.

The 2018 ban was issued after the board received nearly 1,000 complaints the previous summer that the herbicide drifted onto neighboring crops and caused damage. That ban had prohibited dicamba's use from April 16 through Oct. 31.

The board in February approved a new ban that allowed dicamba's use through May 25.

Bacon is Back - And Capturing a Growing Share of the Pork Cutout

Michael Nepveux - AFBF Economist

Nowadays it seems like bacon is on everything as consumers go hog wild for the most popular part of the pig.  Well beyond a burger topping, bacon is being paired with  everything from steak to popcorn. You’ll even find it in a glass of “bacon washed” whiskey. Spurred by this growing popularity and the price volatility that comes with it, on May 13 CME Group announced it had begun to publish a new Fresh Bacon Index to provide those across the bacon supply chain with a transparent weekly price to understand the market dynamics of bacon that is sold in the cash market.

The new index reflects the value of one load of 40,000 pounds of fresh, derind pork bellies in cents per pound. It uses a combination of negotiated and formula transactions from USDA reported data to establish a weekly bacon price each Monday. The USDA publishes prices for fresh, derind bellies on a weekly basis (LM_PK610 and LM_PK620). To calculate the index price, the number of pounds is multiplied by the price in each weight category in these USDA reports, and then summed to determine the total weekly value. This weekly value is then divided by the sum of the weights from each category, with the result being a weekly weighted average of fresh, derind bellies quoted in cents per pound.

This new index focuses on fresh pork bellies, an important distinction. CME Group used to have a successful contract that was a physically delivered contract for frozen bellies, but it slowly went out of favor as the market moved away from frozen to a fresh belly market and was delisted in 2011. Lean-hog futures are traded in Chicago, but pork-belly pricing is limited to physical markets. It should be clarified that this new bacon index is not a futures contract, it is a reference price for fresh pork bellies used to make bacon.

Pork Belly Volatility

One reason cited by CME Group in developing this index is increasing volatility of pork belly values in recent years. Pork bellies are the most volatile of all the pork primal cuts, with volatility increasing greatly since 2011. For most of the first decade of the 2000s, pork belly prices hovered largely in the $60-$100/cwt range, but that substantially changed in the new decade with pork belly price swings reaching as low as $63/cwt and as high as $215/cwt. The coefficient of variation, a measure of variability of the data in relation to the mean of the population, was reasonably steady throughout the earlier timeframe but began to spike dramatically beginning in 2011.

Pork Cutout

The Pork Carcass Cutout is an estimate of the value of a 53-54% lean, 205 lb. hog carcass using wholesale prices that are paid for sub-primal pork cuts. A composite value is derived each day for each of the pork primals. Those composite values are then used to represent a single composite value of the pork carcass. There are six primals for the pork carcass that are used to calculate the cutout: loin, butt, picnic, rib, ham and belly. The cutout is a series of mathematical calculations through which current pork subprimal prices and typical industry yields are used to calculate primal values. The calculated primal values are factored against their typical yield from the carcass and combined into the final cutout value. As a result of the calculated nature of the cutout, various primal values can significantly impact the final value of the cutout.

Changes in the Pork Cutout

The degree to which various subprimal and primal cuts contribute to the cutout changes over time.  The overall value of the cutout has increased by $5.71 relative to the three-year average, with the change being mostly driven by the belly and ham primals. The loin primal, another important cut that contributes a large share to the overall value of the cutout, actually declined relative to the three-year average. It should be mentioned that volatility plays a large role here. In the matter of a month, the value of the pork belly has fallen by almost $40, a drop of approximately 25%. This results in the pork belly’s contribution to the overall value of the cutout falling from 30% to 25%.

One interesting development is the consistent two-decade decline of the share of the loin primal, which has dropped from about 35% to less than 25%. Hams have been trending sideways throughout the time period, neither gaining nor losing share of the cutout. In contrast to loins, pork bellies have been steadily gaining share of the cutout. At the same time, increasing volatility has meant wide swings in the share of the cutout that bellies account for.

Friday May 24 Cattle on Feed + Ag News


Nebraska feedlots, with capacities of 1,000 or more head, contained 2.56 million cattle on feed on May 1, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This inventory was down 4 percent from last year. Placements during April totaled 435,000 head, up 4 percent from 2018. Fed cattle marketings for the month of April totaled 440,000 head, up 2 percent from last year. Other disappearance during April totaled 15,000 head, down 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 680,000 head on May 1, 2019, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Cattle on Feed report. This was down 4 percent from April 1, 2019, and down 7 percent from May 1, 2018. Iowa feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head had 625,000 head on feed, down 2 percent from last month and down 1 percent from last year. Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in all Iowa feedlots totaled 1,305,000 head, down 3 percent from last month and down 4 percent from last year.

Placements of cattle and calves in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during April totaled 85,000 head, down 18 percent from last month but up 6 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head placed 66,000 head, up 20 percent from last month and up 27 percent from last year. Placements for all feedlots in Iowa totaled 151,000 head, down 5 percent from last month but up 14 percent from last year.

Marketings of fed cattle from Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during April totaled 113,000 head, up 13 percent from last month and up 30 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head marketed 72,000 head, up 16 percent from last month and up 44 percent from last year. Marketings for all feedlots in Iowa were 185,000 head, up 14 percent from last month and up 35 percent from last year. Other disappearance from all feedlots in Iowa totaled 6,000 head.

United States Cattle on Feed Up 2 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 11.8 million head on May 1, 2019. The inventory was 2 percent above May 1, 2018. This is the highest May 1 inventory since the series began in 1996.

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

Colorado .......:            1,060              113    
Iowa .............:              680                   93       
Kansas ..........:            2,380                104   
Nebraska ......:            2,560                 96          
Texas ............:            2,790                106         

Placements in feedlots during April totaled 1.84 million head, 9 percent above 2018. Net placements were 1.78 million head. During April, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 355,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 250,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 447,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 495,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 210,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 85,000 head.

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

Colorado .......:                170                  117    
Iowa .............:                  85                  106    
Kansas ..........:                 435                  114      
Nebraska ......:                 435                  104   
Texas ............:                 415                  108        

Marketings of fed cattle during April totaled 1.93 million head, 7 percent above 2018.  Other disappearance totaled 60,000 head during April, 5 percent below 2018.

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

Colorado ........:                165                  110                  
Iowa ..............:                 113                  130                 
Kansas ...........:                 420                  100                 
Nebraska .......:                 440                  102                 
Texas .............:                 465                  104                 

Lower Elkhorn NRD board discusses future flood-control projects

As the area continues to recover from the recent flood events, communities are looking for assistance in studying possible solutions for the future.

The Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) Board of Directors discussed possible options for these communities at their May board meeting.  One of the LENRD’s 12 responsibilities includes flood prevention and control as well as prevention of damages from flood water and sediment.

The City of Battle Creek has had a history of flood-related problems.  City officials recently approached the LENRD board, asking if the potential flood-control projects that were deemed feasible in 2014 could be revisited.  The LENRD board of directors instructed staff to work with the City of Battle Creek in developing a proposal for the board to consider, identifying the project the city would like to pursue as well as updated construction costs for the potential project.

Battle Creek’s City Council met on May 13th and voted to explore options for a 1,200-acre flood-control reservoir on the south side of Battle Creek.

Over 100 citizens of the Battle Creek area attended the May 23rd LENRD Board of Directors meeting.  After a lengthy discussion the board voted to move ahead with the process of securing funding for a flood-control project.  The board voted 11 to 2 to file a letter of intent with FEMA/NEMA for flood protection for Battle Creek.  The board also voted 12 to 1 to direct staff to contract with consulting firms to prepare all the necessary documentation and complete a grant application to the State of Nebraska Water Sustainability Fund in the amount of $36 million as well as a grant application to the USDA Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations program.

LENRD General Manager, Mike Sousek, said, “There are multiple benefits to think about when considering a project of this size.  First and foremost is the flood-control potential.  Along with that comes the benefits of recharge and retiming as well as recreation.”  Sousek continued, “The vote tonight has started the ball rolling to secure funding for a project.  This is just the first of many steps in this process.”

The 2 reservoirs that have been proposed for the area, south of Battle Creek, are a 160-acre pool for approximately $17 million and a 1,200-acre pool for $36 million.

The Village of Pender is requesting assistance to complete a drainage study of the area.  The LENRD board directed staff to develop an interlocal agreement to provide 50% of the cost of the study not to exceed $19,400 of district funds.

Some concerned citizens of Norfolk also requested assistance with a study.  The board instructed the LENRD staff to work with the City of Norfolk to address the request for a drainage study on the east side of Norfolk.

Sousek added, “Other towns or communities who need flood-control assistance should contact the LENRD as soon as possible so funding can be applied for before the deadlines.”

In other action, the board made a motion to schedule a Public Hearing to be held on Thursday, June 27th at 7:30 p.m. to receive public testimony on proposed changes to the LENRD’s Groundwater Management Area Rules and Regulations.

LENRD Assistant General Manager, Brian Bruckner, said, “The proposed changes include amendments to Rule 1, which would add language outlining additional penalties when enforcing the plan’s rules and regulations, inclusion of some definitions for terms that relate to current groundwater management strategies, and other changes to integrate management components that are included in the recently adopted Integrated Management Plan.”

A complete summary of the proposed changes is available at the LENRD office in Norfolk and on the district’s website.

The next LENRD board meeting will be Thursday, June 27th at 7:30 p.m. at the LENRD office at 1508 Square Turn Boulevard in Norfolk.  Stay connected with the LENRD by subscribing to their monthly emails at


During the next few weeks, USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will conduct two major inquiries, contacting nearly 5,700 producers across Nebraska to determine crop acreage and stock levels as of June 1, 2019.

“These are two of the most important surveys NASS conducts, due to the widespread and significant impact of their results,” explained Patrick Boyle, Deputy Director of the Northern Plains Regional Field Office. “When producers complete these surveys, they contribute essential information that determines the expected acreage and supply of major commodities for the 2019 crop year. The results are necessary for everyone who relies on agriculture for their livelihoods. This includes those providing farm and ranch supplies, those purchasing commodities directly from the producers, and everyone else involved in ensuring a safe and affordable food supply reaches the consumer in a timely manner.”

Data for the June Agricultural Survey are gathered via the Internet, mail, phone, or by in-person interview. For the June Area Survey, trained National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) enumerators representing NASS visit select tracts of land to interview the operators of any farm or ranch within that selected tract. Producers are asked to provide information on planted acres, acres expected to be harvested, and grain stocks. This survey also collects data on livestock inventory, cash rents, land values, and value of sales.

“NASS protects the privacy of all respondents and publishes only state- and national-level data in these reports, ensuring no operation or producer can be identified. I urge all producers to respond to these surveys when contacted, and thank them for their cooperation,” said Patrick Boyle.

NASS will publish the results in a series of USDA reports, including the Acreage and Grain Stocks reports, on June 28, 2019. Survey data also contribute to NASS’s Crop Production reports, Small Grains Summary, Farms and Land in Farms, and Land Values reports, as well as various livestock reports, including Cattle, Sheep and Goats, and Quarterly Hogs and Pigs.

New Crops and Water Educator in Northeast Nebraska

Welcome to Mitiku Mamo, the new Nebraska Extension educator for water and cropping systems in northeast Nebraska. Officed in Dixon County, Mamo’s geographic area of responsibility extends to Cedar, Knox, and Wayne counties.

Northeast Nebraska is familiar terrain to Mamo, a native of Ethiopia who has worked as a research engineer at the Haskell Ag Lab near Concord for 20 years. His work has focused on irrigation water and nutrient management, water quality, and riparian buffer establishment and maintenance.

He received his B.S from Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia, his M.S. from the National University of Ireland, and his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, all in agricultural engineering. His Ph.D. research focused on how living plant roots affect the detachment rate, erodibility, and shear strength of soils.

Mamo plans to conduct educational programming and on-farm research related to soil health and nutrient management as well as buffer strips and surface water quality. He also will be working with the Bazile Groundwater Management Area as part of the management area is in Knox County.

Mamo can be reached at or (402) 584-3819. His office is at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Haskell Agricultural Lab, 57905 866th Road, Concord.

2019 Corn Grower Open

Come one, come all! It’s time to register for the 2019 Corn Grower Open. This year the Nebraska Corn Growers Association will be hosting the annual members golf tournament at Meadow Lark Hills Golf Course in Kearney on Wednesday, August 14. Shotgun start will be at 10 AM. All members are welcome to form a team and join us on the course for a fun day of fellowship and golf. The cost is $500 per team or $125 per player. The cost includes lunch, heavy hors d’oeuvres after golf, and prizes  If you do not have a full team but would still like to participate, submit your registration form and staff will fill your team with our generous sponsors.

A member team for can be found HERE...

Do you know a company who would be interested in sponsoring the Corn Grower Open? Send them this form... Sponsors are integral to the success of the golf tournament. There are a many options at a variety of sponsorship levels, to fit every companies budget. Questions about sponsorship or golf? Contact Morgan Wrich, Director of Grower Services, at or (402) 438-6459.

Farm Finance and Ag Law Clinics this June

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

Clinic Sites and Dates

    Fairbury — Wednesday, June 5
    Grand Island — Thursday, June 6
    Norfolk — Wednesday, June 12
    North Platte — Thursday, June 13
    Lexington — Thursday, June 20
    Norfolk — Thursday, June 27
    Valentine — Friday, June 28

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.

DATE CHANGE:  Veteran farmers invited to barbecue

Veteran farmers in Nebraska are invited to meet and discuss agricultural issues in a free gathering hosted by the Center for Rural Affairs.

The Nebraska Veteran Farmer Barbecue is scheduled from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 15, at the Barreras Family Farm, 11564 County Road P30, near Blair, Nebraska. This event is for current or former active duty, guard, or reserve military service members and their families.

“We’ve listened to veteran farmers across Nebraska and have heard a desire for networking and opportunities,” said Cora Fox, Center for Rural Affairs policy associate and veteran of the National Guard.

This is a potluck-style gathering with a main dish provided. Attendees are encouraged to bring a side dish.

“Veterans attending can see how others have translated the duty and drive of military life into rewarding second careers in farming,” Fox said. “It is often shared that the traits needed to excel in military service: initiative, organization, dedication, and creative problem solving, are also required to start and grow a farm.”

To RSVP, visit or contact Fox at 402.687.2100 ext. 1012 or

This event is funded in part by New Belgium Brewing Company.

Fischer Urges Speaker Pelosi to Reconvene House and Pass Disaster Relief Bill

In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) today called on House leadership to reconvene immediately and call up a vote on the disaster relief bill. Earlier today, a member of the House of Representatives objected to the bill, delaying help for Americans in need. Senator Fischer worked to include Nebraska in this critical bill, which passed the Senate yesterday with strong bipartisan support.

Senator Fischer’s full letter to Speaker Pelosi and Steny Hoyer is below...

I write to respectfully request that you reconvene the House of Representatives to take up and pass H.R. 2157, the Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2019. As you know, this bipartisan bill would help Americans around the country who are still recovering from recent natural disasters. After months of negotiations, this bill passed the Senate by a vote of 85 to 8, with strong support from Republicans and Democrats and the administration.

The fact that this bill received such broad support is not surprising. Americans have a time-honored tradition of helping their neighbors when they are in need.

Many across this country, including Nebraskans, are hurting at the moment. By holding up a vote, Representative Chip Roy delayed relief for Americans. Families now have to continue to wait for the help they need. Moreover, our military installations are waiting for Congress to act so they can rebuild and repair. I am severely disappointed that so many Americans and the men and women of our military will be affected by this hold up.

I have no doubt that if H.R. 2157 were put for an up-or-down vote on the House floor today, it would pass with a significant bipartisan majority, just as it did in the Senate. Additionally, President Trump has indicated that he will sign this bill immediately once it reaches his desk; thus there is no reason to delay the House’s passage of this much-needed legislation.

As such, I ask that you use your authority to reconvene the House immediately and call a vote on this critical measure. We need to get this done so that Congress can provide relief to millions of suffering Americans.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter. I appreciate your consideration of my request. Please know I stand ready to work with you to bring relief to hurting Americans during this difficult time.

Joint Statement from the Chief Veterinary Officers of Canada and the United States

On Wednesday, United States Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO), Dr. Jack Shere working in collaboration with the Canada’s CVO, Dr. Jaspinder Komal, issued the following statement:

We are pleased to announce that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) have agreed to allow safe trade to continue in the event African swine fever (ASF) is reported in either country.

For business continuity, Canada and the United States have worked to modify their export certificates to allow trade of live swine, swine semen, pet food and animal by-products and meat to continue trade in approved disease-free zones in the event of an ASF outbreak. This builds on Canada and U.S. zoning arrangements entered into by CFIA and USDA on August 15, 2018, which set out principles for zoning and trade.

Zoning is an internationally-recognized tool used to help manage diseases and facilitate international trade. If a case of ASF is identified, geographic boundaries are defined to contain the outbreak. These geographic boundaries are control zones established in accordance with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) guidelines. The areas outside of these control zones are disease-free zones.

This zoning arrangement has been established to safeguard the Canadian and American pork industries. In Canada, the pork industry contributes to more than 100,000 jobs and generates close to $24 billion when farms, inputs, processing and pork exports are included. Canada is the third-largest pork exporting country in both value and volume and represents about 20% of world pork trade. In 2017, 1.2 million tons of Canadian pork valued at $4 billion were exported to over 100 countries.

In the United States, pork producers marketed over 120 million hogs in 2017, which provided total cash receipts of more than $20 billion, and provided about 25 billion pounds of meat to consumers worldwide.  Additionally, the U.S. pork industry supports more than half a million jobs in the United States, the majority of those in rural areas. 

The importance of zoning and safe trade was echoed by all levels of governments and industry representatives at the ASF Forum, an international event hosted by Canada April 30-May 1, in collaboration with the United States and supported by leaders from Mexico, the European Union, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the OIE, provincial, territorial and state partners, as well as industry.

A global threat, ASF cannot be addressed in isolation. Only by working together with governments, industry and other stakeholders can we best address the threat of ASF while maintaining trade of pork and pork products which are important to the North American economies.

New Aquaculture Study Deepens Understanding How Soy Meets Nutritional Needs

US Soybean Export Council 

Soybean meal is the No. 1 protein source used in aquaculture worldwide, and U.S. soybean farmers have realized the market potential of the aquaculture industry. According to the U.S. Soybean Export Council, soy went from a possible fishmeal substitute to a critical ingredient in most aquafeeds. With its high protein density and desirable amino acid profile, U.S. Soy is well-suited for the aquaculture sector. As with any growing industry, there are opportunities for improving production and understanding nutritional needs.

The Soy Aquaculture Alliance released the results from a 2018 SAA-funded study looking deeper at those nutritional needs.

The study on using metabolites as a biological marker for nutritional stress in red drum, completed with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, opens the door to a better understanding of the impact soybean-formulated diets have on fish growth and feed conversion, SAA says.

The alliance says improving the metabolic fingerprint of red drum based on a closely studied comparison with the best two performing reference diets over a 12-week feed trial provided a number of insights.

For the study, researchers fed eight unique diets to red drum fish, and then tested liver, intestine, heart, muscle tissue and plasma samples. Results found a metabolic marker in all diets, and fish fed a 60% supplemented soybean meal diet had nearly the same growth, weight and feed conversion as fish fed natural reference diets that included squid, shrimp and fish, SAA says.

The alliance says this research provides a path for assessing this biological marker and allowing nutritionists to develop feed alternatives within acceptable limits for various fish species without causing nutritional stress.

Ultimately, the marker opens the door to further research for higher and better soybean meal inclusion rates to benefit both the U.S. aquaculture industry and the U.S. soybean farmer.

Pioneer Launches #ProudToBeAFarmer Campaign

American farmers are the backbone of this country. Since our nation’s founding, farmers have toiled and strived to feed both this nation and the world.

Since 1926, Pioneer has worked side by side with American farmers, providing the best seed genetics and agronomic insights. Pioneer is proud to be an American business and today announces its #ProudToBeAFarmer campaign to celebrate the nation’s farmers.

From Memorial Day through the Fourth of July, two holidays that honor and celebrate our country’s heritage, Pioneer invites American farmers to go to and submit photos or videos explaining why they are proud to be farmers. Participants will be featured on Pioneer social media channels and weekly winners will be chosen throughout the campaign, with an overall winner named at the conclusion. Weekly winners will be sent a Pioneer-branded prize. The grand prize winner will receive a Yeti® cooler stocked full of the weekly prizes.

As the flagship seed brand of Corteva Agriscience™, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont, Pioneer® is dedicated to helping farmers succeed, both in the field and in life. Farmers are proud, hard-working people who spend their days, and often nights, producing food for the world. Their stories are inspirational and humbling, and Pioneer is with them every step of the way, because we should all be #ProudToBeAFarmer — just as we are proud to be Americans.

Thursday May 23 Ag News

Peet's Feed of Fremont joined the Form-A-Feed Family

Peet’s Feeds has been a regional feed manufacturer since 1916, serving Eastern Nebraska, South Dakota, Western Iowa and Northeast Kansas. They have placed emphasis on providing high quality nutritional supplements for all phases of swine, beef and dairy production. They have always offered nutrition and management consulting including feed testing and ration formulation using an experienced and well trained team of feed professionals to help producers meet or exceed performance and profit objectives. In May, 2019, Peets Feeds joined the Form-A-Feed family.

Nebraska Farm Bureau Identifies Prevented Planting Options for Farmers, Reminds of May 25 Deadline for Corn Planting

Nebraska farmers struggling to get crops planted due to recent flooding and ongoing rainfall events may be eligible for a prevented planting payment if crop acres have not been planted due to an insured cause of loss. In Nebraska, the crop insurance final planting date for corn in all counties is May 25 and the final planting date for soybeans is June 10.

“We know many farmers are sorting through options as they deal with flood recovery and the continued rainfall events that have kept them from putting seed in the ground. We’ve identified some options that we hope will be helpful as they evaluate their situation, particularly corn producers who are bumping up against the May 25 deadline,” said Jay Rempe, Nebraska Farm Bureau senior economist.

United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) May 20 crop progress report shows 70 percent of Nebraska’s estimated corn acres and 40 percent of Nebraska’s estimated soybean acres have been planted. In comparison, the 5-year average is 86 percent for corn and 54 percent for soybeans.

“Farmers may be eligible for a prevented planting payment if acres have not been planted due to an insured cause of loss by the final planting date. Prevented planting will provide coverage equal to 55 percent of the original production guarantee in their policy. To qualify for prevented planting they must meet several qualifications,” said Rempe. “Acres must eligible for prevented planting due to an insured cause of loss; the tract must be at least 20 acres or represent 20 percent of the field; prevented planting must be general to the surrounding area; and the acres must have a history of being planted to corn or soybeans.”

According to Rempe, farmers can still plant a crop after the final planting date and receive crop insurance coverage. However, the coverage will be reduced one percent per-day after the planting final date during the late planting period. The late planting period runs until June 14 for corn and July 5 for soybeans. Crop insurance agents must be notified within 72 hours after the final date of the late planting period if acres are left unplanted to be eligible for prevented planting coverage.

“There are several options for farmers to consider on corn acres that don’t get planted by the May 25 final planting date,” said Rempe.

As noted, acres can still be planted to corn during the late planting period with the crop still being insured, but the coverage will decline by 1 percent each day. Acres planted are not eligible for prevented planting.

Acres could be planted to soybeans or another crops like grain sorghum. Crop insurance would still be available on the crop if coverage has already been purchased for the crop on other acres. Factors which could influence the decision on whether to plant an alternative crop: fertilizer or herbicide applications; crop rotations; potential trade aid; and underlying economics.

After the late planting period for corn ends June 14, the acres could still be planted to another crop, and a prevented planting payment of 35 percent of corn coverage received, but a premium of 35 percent of the corn premium must be paid. Taking this option also mean the acres will receive a 60 percent yield plug in the Average Production History.

Acres can be left unplanted and if eligible receive a prevented planting payment equal to 55 percent of the original production guarantee. These acres can be planted to a cover crop so long as the cover crop is not hayed or grazed prior to November 1 and cannot be harvested for grain or seed at any time. The Average Production History on the acres will not be affected.

“Farmers should contact their crop insurance agent to discuss options before making any decisions on corn acres that don’t get planted before the May 25 deadline,” said Rempe. “It’s also important farmers know that if they take prevented planting, they cannot qualify for the recently announced new round of trade related market facilitation program payments.”

Groundwater Level Rise 1.22 Feet on the Average in the Upper Big Blue NRD

During April-May 2019, the UBB-NRD measured 531 observation wells throughout the District and then averaged the data of all these wells.  Overall, the spring 2018 average measurement for the groundwater level change shows a rise of 1.22 feet from last spring.  The findings show that the spring 2019 average groundwater level is 5.11 feet above the “Allocation Trigger.”  As a result, there will be no allocation restrictions for the 2020 irrigation season.

The District goal is to hold the average groundwater level at, or above the 1978 level.  In 2005, the District Average groundwater level reached the “Reporting Trigger” initiating groundwater users to report annual groundwater use to the District and to certify their irrigated acres.  If the District average level falls below the 1978 level (“Allocation Trigger”), groundwater allocation will begin.

Observation wells are measured in the spring of each year, allowing the water table to rebound from the previous irrigation season.  The observation wells measured are uniformly distributed and represented geographically throughout the District to provide an accurate profile of the District average.  Each well measured is assigned an area of the District based on distances to other measured wells.  This method of averaging is called the Thiessen Polygon Method and give the average groundwater level change calculation a weighted average.  For more information, please visit or call (402) 362-6601.

Senate Passes Disaster Bill with NE Flood Recovery Assistance

Today, the U.S. Senate passed a disaster supplemental bill that included funding for Nebraska flood recovery. U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), who worked with her staff to include the state of Nebraska in the bill, applauded its passage and released the following statement:

“Today the U.S. Senate came together in a bipartisan manner and passed a disaster supplemental bill that includes significant relief for Nebraska.  Our families, ag producers, communities, and military installations affected by the catastrophic flooding need assistance and that’s why I fought hard for our state throughout this process." 
Senator Fischer fought to include the following provisions in the Senate-passed disaster bill that will help Nebraska:

·       $3,005,442,000 for crop losses
·       $435 million for the Emergency Watershed Protection Program in the Natural Resources Conservation Services
·       $558 million for the “Emergency Conservation Program”

Economic Development
·       $600 million for the Economic Development Assistance Program

Army Corps of Engineers
·       $1 billion for the Flood Control and Coastal Emergencies account in the Corps of Engineers

·       $670 million for the Air Force Operations and Maintenance in support of disaster relief and recovery
·       $1 billion for Air Force Military Construction
·       $42 million for National Guard Military Construction

Senator Fischer says, "What we passed today is a critical first step to help Nebraskans rebuild and move forward in a positive direction. I hope the House will follow suit and pass this bill without delay.”

Sasse Statement on Disaster Relief Vote

U.S. Senator Ben Sasse released the following statement after voting to pass disaster relief legislation.

“Nebraskans are tough. We’re working hard to rebuild, but we still have work to do. The legislation the Senate just passed is an important down payment to help us rebuild. The relief for our farmers and ranchers is critical. That’s a big deal for Nebraskans, and I'm glad Senate Democrats stopped playing games.”
Legislation background:

Expands payment for lost crops and livestock to include “on-farm stored commodities” and “crops prevented from planting in 2019.”

Adds emergency funding and technical assistance to farmers and ranchers for rehabilitating farmland damaged by natural disasters from $500 million to $558 million and expanded coverage to 2019 floods.

Increases funds for Air Force construction costs from $700 million to $1 billion and included 2019 flood damage.

Statement by Steve Nelson, President, Regarding Deal Between White House and Congress on Disaster Assistance Package

“Today’s announcement of an agreement between the leadership of the House, Senate, and White House on a disaster assistance package is welcomed news to Nebraska farmers and ranchers. The package will provide much needed aid to help with recovery from the March flooding and blizzards in our state.”

“With the Senate passing the package today, the House is expected to take it up as soon as tomorrow. It is our hope the President will sign this critical legislation shortly thereafter so farmers and ranchers who continue to work through recovery will soon receive targeted disaster funding.”

“The package includes about $3 billion to cover crop damage, including additional funding for farmers who were prevented from planting due to the floods, as well as payments for on-farm stored grain that was damaged. The bill also provides $558 million in funding for the Emergency Conservation Program, the primary program farmers and ranchers can utilize for fence repair and debris removal, including clearing sand from farm fields.”

“We want to thank the entire Nebraska Congressional delegation for all of their behind the scenes work in getting this package across the finish line.”

2018 Nebraska Poultry Production and Value

The value of egg production in Nebraska during 2018 was $198 million, up $67.3 million from $131 million in 2017, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service.  Egg production in 2018 was estimated at 2.39 billion eggs, down 100 million from the previous year. Average number of layers for 2018 at 7.83 million was down 338,000.0 from 2017.

U.S. Value of Production and Sales Up 8 Percent

The combined value of production from broilers, eggs, turkeys, and the value of sales from chickens in 2018 was $46.3 billion, up 8 percent from $42.7 billion in 2017. Of the combined total, 69 percent was from broilers, 23 percent from eggs, 8 percent from turkeys, and less than 1 percent from chickens.

The value of broilers produced during 2018 was $31.7 billion, up 5 percent from 2017. The total number of broilers produced in 2018 was 9.04 billion, up 1 percent from 2017. The total amount of live weight broilers produced in 2018 was 56.8 billion pounds, up 2 percent from 2017.

The value of turkeys produced during 2018 was $3.88 billion, down 20 percent from the $4.87 billion the previous year. The total number of turkeys raised in 2018 was 245 million, down slightly from 2017. Turkey production in 2018 totaled 7.60 billion pounds, up 1 percent from the 7.54 billion pounds produced in 2017.

The value of sales from chickens (excluding broilers) in 2018 was $49.4 million, up 5 percent from $47.0 million a year ago. The number of chickens sold in 2018 totaled 190 million, down slightly from the total sold during the previous year.

Value of all egg production in 2018 was $10.6 billion, up 39 percent from $7.60 billion in 2017. Egg production totaled 109 billion eggs, up 2 percent from 107 billion eggs produced in 2017.

Trump Considering Visit to Iowa Ethanol Refinery

President Donald Trump is considering visiting an ethanol refinery in Iowa in the coming weeks, according to people familiar with the matter, a signal that the administration will fulfill a pledge to permit the year-round sale of high-ethanol gasoline sought by corn farmers in the state.

According to Bloomberg, Iowa Republican Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, as well as Governor Kim Reynolds, will be invited, according to four people familiar with the matter who asked not to be named discussing the private deliberations.

Last fall, Trump visited Iowa and delivered a victory to corn farmers and biofuel producers when he said he signed a memo telling the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to lift summertime fueling restrictions on E15 gasoline, which contains 15% ethanol. The corn-based fuel currently accounts for 10% of U.S. gasoline consumption and higher blends are restricted during the summer months in some areas.

Since then, agricultural groups have been pressing EPA to meet the June 1 deadline when the higher blends are restricted. Midwestern farmers, who helped propel Trump to the White House, have suffered a loss of sales due to Trump's trade war with China that has resulted in tariffs on American agricultural products.

The move to allow year-round E15 is opposed by oil refineries. The two sides have long been locked in battle over the Renewable Fuel Standard, the law that compels oil refiners to mix ethanol and biodiesel into petroleum.

Some 37% of U.S. corn production is consumed by ethanol plants. Iowa is the largest manufacturer of both commodities.

Record Total Red Meat, Beef, and Pork Production in April

Commercial red meat production for the United States totaled 4.55 billion pounds in April, up 6 percent from the 4.28 billion pounds produced in April 2018.

By State:       (million lbs.   -   % April '18) 

Nebraska ......:     664.9            105
Iowa .............:     711.5            113      
Kansas ..........:     493.1            109      

Beef production, at 2.26 billion pounds, was 7 percent above the previous year. Cattle slaughter totaled 2.83 million head, up 7 percent from April 2018. The average live weight was down 6 pounds from the previous year, at 1,328 pounds.

Veal production totaled 6.0 million pounds, 2 percent below April a year ago. Calf slaughter totaled 42,800 head, down slightly from April 2018. The average live weight was down 4 pounds from last year, at 241 pounds.

Pork production totaled 2.27 billion pounds, up 6 percent from the previous year. Hog slaughter totaled 10.6 million head, up 6 percent from April 2018. The average live weight was unchanged from the previous year, at 287 pounds.

Lamb and mutton production, at 15.2 million pounds, was up 22 percent from April 2018. Sheep slaughter totaled 235,900 head, 30 percent above last year. The average live weight was 129 pounds, down 8 pounds from April a year ago.

January to April 2019 commercial red meat production was 17.9 billion pounds, up 2 percent from 2018. Accumulated beef production was up 1 percent from last year, veal was down 1 percent, pork was up 4 percent from last year, and lamb and mutton production was up 2 percent.

June 12 Webinar Explores Different Cow-Calf Management Systems

Iowa Beef Center’s Cow Systems Project, a research project to characterize three cow-calf production management systems across Iowa, will be the focus of a June 12 webinar sponsored by Iowa Farm Bureau.

The webinar is set to begin at 1 p.m. and will include an overview of the project results. It was originally designed to identify costs, environmental impacts and best practices of three cow-calf systems: limited, traditional and extended grazed systems. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach beef specialists Denise Schwab and Erika Lundy will lead the webinar discussion.

“The traditional or conventional system consists of pasture grazing during the growing season and winter feeding of harvested or purchased feed in either a lot or open area,” Schwab said. “The second is an extensive grazing system, which aims to have cows grazing most of the year with little supplemental feeds. The third system is a limited grazing system where most of the feed is harvested and cows are confined in a building or drylot for much of the time.”

The research project included 28 Iowa producer cooperators with real data on production costs, forage quality, feeds and rations, as well as soil samples.

"In the webinar, we will focus on some of the research findings, best management practices, keys to profitability in each system, as well as opportunities and challenges of the systems,” Lundy said. "We encourage participants to ask questions during the webinar."

The full results of the project can be found as Iowa Cow-calf Production – Exploring Different Management Systems on the Extension Store, The publication can be downloaded at no cost as pdf documents in entirety and by individual chapter and appendix.

See all webinar details, including information on testing your computer's ability to access the webinar site and preregistering, on the Iowa Farm Bureau website at Preregistration is encouraged but not required. The webinar will be archived and available for later viewing on the Iowa Farm Bureau website. 

Long-Awaited Trade Breakthroughs Fuel Optimism at USMEF Spring Conference

U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) members gathered in Kansas City Wednesday for Day 1 of the USMEF Spring Conference and Board of Directors Meeting, with recent trade developments lending an optimistic tone to the event. In his address to the USMEF membership, President and CEO Dan Halstrom reported on Mexico’s removal of retaliatory duties on U.S. pork, Canada’s elimination of a 10% duty on prepared beef products and Japan’s lifting of longstanding restrictions on U.S. beef exports.

“When I was preparing my comments a week ago there were a lot of negative things to talk about, like the 20% duty on pork going into Mexico,” Halstrom explained. “But we received some great news with the U.S., Mexico and Canada reaching a resolution on steel and aluminum tariffs and removal of the retaliatory duties on U.S. products. So on Monday morning, the first loads of pork in nearly a year crossed the border into Mexico at zero duty.”

Halstrom said he is also encouraged by the recent launch of U.S.-Japan trade negotiations, noting that Japan’s new trade agreements with the European Union and countries participating in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) have put U.S. pork and beef at a significant disadvantage in the leading value market for both products. He added that gaining access to Japan for U.S. beef from cattle of all ages, which was announced last week and took effect May 20, will provide immediate, added momentum for U.S. beef exports.

“Now that the 30-month cattle age limit has been lifted, we estimate that this will provide a $150 to $200 million per year incremental boost for beef exports to Japan,” Halstrom said. “This opens up new product lines such as mountain chain tripe and tongues on the variety meat side, and for primal cuts we’ll see demand for middle meats and chuck rolls. It’s very exciting news and I want to extend a great big thank you to USDA and USTR for their work on this issue.”

USMEF Chair Conley Nelson, a pork producer from Algona, Iowa, said resiliency and industry unity are key factors in gaining broader market access for U.S. agricultural exports.

“Obviously we are in a period of uncertainty and volatility, and that can sometimes lead to increased tension and division in U.S. agriculture,” Nelson explained. “That’s something we absolutely cannot afford, especially in these difficult times. So I’m excited to see such a high level of cooperation among all industry sectors.”

Wednesday’s keynote speaker was Peter Zeihan, a global trade expert and best-selling author who offered his perspective on how the current trade environment impacts U.S. agriculture and the red meat industry specifically. He noted that despite facing many challenges, the United States is remarkably well-positioned to have continued success as an agricultural exporter.

“Geographically, the U.S. has it made,” Zeihan explained. “The Greater Midwest is the single largest chunk of arable land in a temperate zone in the world, and it out-produces the next two largest agricultural zones put together. The Greater Mississippi, by itself, has more miles of naturally navigable waterway than the combined internal systems of the rest of the world. This chunk of North America is both the richest territory on the planet and the most securable. Decades of bipartisan effort have yet to screw this up, and this will not be the administration that cracks the code.”

When asked about the United States’ trade deficit, Zeihan acknowledged that the deficit has expanded under the Trump administration and that the administration’s approach to trade has been hard on U.S. agriculture. However, Zeihan feels strongly the U.S. has the upper hand in trade relations, especially with China.

“The United States holds all the cards here, and if the U.S. is willing to walk away from the game board and kick it over, it won’t be the one feeling the pain,” he said. “What you’re seeing right now with the trade deficit is a transitional period. In this moment, it looks like the United States doesn’t have as much leverage as it actually does. You feel that more than any other sector, because agriculture is the only thing that foreign governments can target. But this moment of transition isn’t going to last long. The title of my presentation was ‘At the Edge of Disorder,’ and we’re at the edge.”

The USMEF Spring Conference continues Thursday with an address (via teleconference) from Ted McKinney, USDA under secretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs, and meetings of USMEF’s standing committees. The conference will conclude Friday with a panel discussion on the trade implications of African swine fever.

 Peterson, Johnson Introduce Bill to Stop the EPA from Undermining the RFS

Representatives Collin C. Peterson (D-MN) and Dusty Johnson (R-SD) and the co-chairs of the Congressional Biofuels Caucus introduced the Renewable Fuel Standard Integrity Act of 2019 which establishes an annual June 1st deadline for refineries to submit small refinery exemption (SRE) petitions from their RFS blending obligations each year and increases transparency in the process.

“It is clear to me that EPA is abusing its authority by recklessly handing out small refinery waivers and refusing to account for them,” said Peterson. “This is hurting farmers and agriculture communities at the worst time. This bill ends the gamesmanship in the waiver process and increases transparency along the way.” 

“The EPA has let oil refiners off the hook by circumventing congressional intent, putting ethanol producers at a disadvantage,” said Johnson. “The Renewable Fuel Standard Integrity Act makes sure that moving forward, the EPA’s waiver process will be fair, timely, and transparent.”

Since 2018, EPA granted 54 waivers to refineries for the 2016 and 2017 RFS compliance years totaling 2.61 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons being taken out of the market place. By law, the RFS requires that the EPA make adjustments when determining future biofuels targets to account for waivers to ensure that the overall biofuels targets are not reduced by waivers. However, the agency is not accounting for these waivers and the demand for biofuels is being undercut.

By setting a June 1st petition submission deadline each year, the EPA will have time to account for renewable fuel gallons stripped from the market due to these waivers. The bill also increases transparency in the process by making information with respect to a petition subject to public disclosure.

The bill is supported by Growth Energy, Fuels America, National Corn Growers Association, Renewable Fuels Association, National Biodiesel Board, MN Corn Growers Association and MN BioFuels Association.


National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) today applauded legislation introduced by House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn., and Representative Dusty Johnson, R-S.D. The Renewable Fuel Standard Integrity Act of 2019 would set a deadline for refineries to apply for Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) waivers and bring much-needed transparency to the waiver process.

Within the past year, EPA has granted 54 exemptions to refineries, waiving 2.61 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons of renewable fuel blending under the RFS. EPA has another 39 waiver petitions pending, with decisions from EPA expected in the coming weeks.

Currently, most refineries do not apply for a waiver until after EPA sets the RFS volumes for the coming year. This new legislation would set a June deadline for refineries to apply for RFS exemptions, allowing ample time for the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to determine exemptions before the annual renewable volume obligations (RVOs) are finalized, allowing EPA to avoid retroactive waivers.

While NCGA has asked the EPA to use the annual volume-setting process to account for projected waivers, EPA has, to date, failed to do so. The bill’s deadline for applications means EPA would have no excuse to avoid incorporating waived gallons in the RVOs and the RFS would be kept whole. In addition, the legislation brings transparency to the waiver process by releasing basic information such as which refineries receive waivers.

Farmers are facing a sixth consecutive year of depressed income and commodity prices, with farm income for 2019 projected to be half of what it was in 2013. EPA’s refinery exemptions benefit big oil refiners at the expense of farmers, and waivers negatively impact farmers by undercutting the RFS and reducing corn demand.

NCGA thanks Representatives Peterson and Johnson and the co-chairs of the House Biofuels Caucus, Reps. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, Roger Marshall, R-Kansas and Rodney Davis, D-Ill.  for taking the lead on this legislation. NCGA supports this bill and will be asking House members to co-sponsor this legislation.

NBB Welcomes Proposed Limit on RFS Small Refinery Exemptions

The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) today thanked House Committee on Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN), and Reps. Dusty Johnson (R-SD), Dave Loebsack (D-IA), Rodney Davis (R-IL), and Roger Marshall (R-KS) for introducing the bipartisan Renewable Fuel Standard Integrity Act of 2019. The legislation would require small refineries to petition for Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) hardship exemptions by June 1 each year. The change would ensure that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) properly accounts for exempted gallons in the annual Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) it sets each November.

“NBB and its members appreciate Representative Peterson’s legislative solution to EPA’s recent flood of small refinery exemptions. This is just one of the many things EPA could do on its own to ensure that the RFS volumes it sets each year are met and the market for biodiesel and renewable diesel remains open,” said Kurt Kovarik, NBB’s Vice President of Federal Affairs.

“EPA’s retroactive small refinery exemptions destroyed demand for more than 360 million gallons of biodiesel and renewable diesel over the past sixteen months. EPA is right now preparing to grant another flood of retroactive exemptions, which will further undercut use of advanced biofuels for the rest of 2019 and into the future. The legislation would prevent further economic harm to U.S. biodiesel producers and soybean growers. NBB and its members will continue to ask EPA to restore that lost demand and ensure that annual RFS volumes are met with actual renewable fuel use.”

Over the past two years, EPA retroactively granted RFS hardship exemptions to nearly every refiner that petitioned. The retroactive exemptions reduced RFS RVOs for 2015, 2016, and 2017. NBB conservatively estimates the demand destruction at 364 million gallons of biomass-based diesel. University of Illinois Economist Scott Irwin estimates the economic harm to U.S. biodiesel producers at $7.7 billion dollars.

RFA Statement on Renewable Fuel Standard Integrity Act of 2019

Today, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN) and Representative Dusty Johnson (R-SD) introduced the Renewable Fuel Standard Integrity Act of 2019. The bill would require refineries seeking an exemption from the RFS to submit petitions in a timely manner so that any waivers granted would be prospectively reallocated to non-exempt obligated parties. The legislation also would enhance transparency by ensuring that key information surrounding small refinery exemptions is publicly disclosed. Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper issued the following statement in support:

“The ethanol industry thanks Chairman Peterson and Rep. Johnson for their leadership and proactive efforts to rein in EPA’s abuse of the small refiner exemption program. This bipartisan bill would prevent companies like ExxonMobil, Chevron, Holly Frontier, and CVR from further gaming the system and undercutting the Renewable Fuel Standard. For five years in a row, EPA has failed to enforce the RFS conventional biofuel volume requirements set forth by Congress, even though there has been ample supply available at a low cost to meet the statutory volumes. The consequences of EPA’s chronic mismanagement of the RFS have been economically devastating for ethanol producers, farmers, and consumers alike.

“In recent years, the Congressionally required RFS volumes have been undermined by a surge in secretive small refiner exemptions and an abject failure on the part of EPA to reallocate those exempted volumes. This bill would put an end to EPA’s destructive practices by effectively requiring the reallocation of any waived volumes and ensuring the statutory volumes are fully enforced. We applaud Chairman Peterson and Rep. Johnson for their work to restore transparency and integrity to the RFS.”

Growth Energy Backs Bipartisan Renewable Fuel Standard Integrity Act of 2019

Today, Chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture Collin Peterson (D-MN), along with Reps. Dusty Johnson (SD-At Large), Dave Loebsack (IA-04), Rodney Davis (IL-13), and Roger Marshall (KS-01), introduced the bipartisan Renewable Fuel Standard Integrity Act of 2019, legislation that would bring much-needed transparency to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) secretive small refinery exemption (SRE) process and ensure refiners meet their biofuel blending requirements. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor gave the following statement in support of the legislation:

“The real economic hardship is happening in our nation's farm belt, and not among its largest refiners,” said Skor. “In 2018, Big Oil saw record profits, while in America’s heartland, quarterly farm income has dropped $11.8 billion since December and ethanol consumption fell for the first time in 20 years - contributing to the steepest drop in farm income since 2016. The rapid escalation of small refinery exemptions compounds these factors, and makes an already-bleak economic environment even worse.

“We applaud Reps. Collin Peterson, Dusty Johnson, Dave Loebsack, and Rodney Davis for their steadfast commitment to supporting a fair and open process for small refinery exemptions. There is an urgent need to address the lack of transparency over small refinery exemptions, and reallocate the 2.6 billion lost gallons of biofuels demand as a result of these continued handouts to oil refineries.”

Currently, refiners have no deadline when submitting a request for a small refinery exemption, which allows them a secretive, backdoor way to avoid their legal obligations. The bipartisan Renewable Fuel Standard Integrity Act of 2019 sets the deadline for refineries to submit an application for an SRE by June 1st, as well as requires EPA to re-allocate exempted gallons so that biofuel targets are met in earnest. Additionally, the legislation prevents refineries from claiming submitted info as confidential business information, allowing the public greater insight into who is receiving these waivers and why.

ACE statement on Renewable Fuel Standard Integrity Act of 2019

Today, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN) and Representative Dusty Johnson (R-SD) introduced the Renewable Fuel Standard Integrity Act of 2019, legislation that addresses the timing and transparency issues associated with the small refinery exemption (SRE) program under the RFS. The bill would set a deadline for refineries to submit petitions for RFS exemptions to ensure granted waivers are prospectively reallocated to non-exempt obligated parties, as well as require that key information surrounding the SREs is publicly available. American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings issued the following statement in support:

“ACE thanks Chairman Peterson and Rep. Johnson for bipartisan legislation to correct EPA’s brazen mismanagement of the RFS small refinery exemption provision. Under President Trump, EPA has retroactively granted more than 50 so-called hardship waivers for small refineries, erasing 2.61 billion gallons worth of the RFS blending obligations for 2016 and 2017 compliance years, and has 39 more requests pending for 2018.

“The uptick of waivers without reallocation as required by law has undermined Congressional intent of the RFS. This legislation would help ensure EPA’s abuse of small refinery exemptions is put to a stop by requiring timely reallocation of any granted waiver and ensuring the statutory RFS volumes are enforced. ACE is grateful for the leadership of Chairman Peterson and Rep. Johnson to help get the RFS back on track by following the rule of law.”

ACE revisits Tijuana to provide more in-depth ethanol information for returning and prospective retailers

This week, American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) Senior Vice President Ron Lamberty returned to Tijuana, the western-most city in Mexico and largest city of Baja California State which borders Southern California. This trip marks his fourth time to the country this year to speak at ethanol technical information forums for Mexican petroleum equipment installers and retailers. The forums are a joint effort of the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and the Mexican Association of Service Station Suppliers (AMPES), to inform Mexican petroleum marketers about opportunities in sourcing, marketing, and retailing ethanol-blended gasoline, as Mexico’s transportation fuel sector evolves.

“This is my eleventh marketer workshop with the U.S. Grains Council in the past year and a half, and the workshops, along with a multitude of other efforts in Mexico, are working,” Lamberty said. “More Mexican retailers are buying ethanol–mostly E10 purchased at U.S. terminals and delivered to stations in the northern states, like here in Baja California–and interest is increasing all over the country.”

Because it’s only minutes from San Diego’s fuel terminal, some Tijuana retailers are already selling E10, and the city is expected to be a top destination for U.S. ethanol in the short-run. Tijuana is also a major gateway to the interior of Mexico for road transportation, and by sea via the port of Ensenada. Fuel ethanol consumption in Mexico is still low, with its use as a transportation fuel not permitted until 2017 and lack of private infrastructure, but over 30 fuel terminals are currently under construction in Mexico. Mexico’s refineries operate far below capacity, with 70 percent of the fuel sold in the country imported.

“Recent workshops in Mexico have included discussions with state and federal ag and energy officials, and in addition to ethanol’s low cost for retailers and consumers, one of the messages hitting home with them is ethanol’s ability to reduce refinery operating costs,” Lamberty added. “While I’ve railed against U.S. refineries “stealing” octane by switching the U.S. base gasoline to 84-octane v-grade, older refineries like the ones owned by the Mexican government could last longer by making lower octane base fuels and using ethanol for octane. We’re making it clear that it’s not ethanol versus gasoline, it’s ethanol to add octane, lower emissions, and bring down the cost of gasoline.”

Last month, Lamberty spoke at an ethanol technical forum in Tuxtla Gutiérrez. Other cities he’s visited include Monterrey, Mérida, Mexico City, Xalapa, Chihuahua, León, and Guadalajara. Interest increases at each event and ACE will continue to work with USGC to provide information to retailers and others.

CME Group Reaches New Open Interest Record of 140.5 Million Contracts

CME Group, the world's leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace, announced total open interest (OI) reached a record 140,537,653 contracts on May 21, 2019. Since the end of 2018, overall OI has grown 22%.

Interest Rate futures and options OI surpassed 100 million contracts for the first time yesterday, reaching 100,035,345 contracts. Interest Rate OI has been climbing steadily in 2019, increasing 30% since 2018 yearend. Additionally, options complex OI reached a record 85,509,328 contracts, growing 36% since the end of 2018.

OI represents the number of active positions that market participants are holding open without taking delivery or offsetting, a measure that typically increases during times of market uncertainty. 

NGFA urges STB to develop principles, guidance governing rail demurrage and accessorial charges and practices

The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) urged the federal Surface Transportation Board (STB) to develop policy principles or guidance to discipline Class I rail carrier demurrage and accessorial charges and practices during a two-day public hearing conducted by the agency that concludes today.

The NGFA said an outcome of the oversight hearing should be the agency directing the Class I railroads to modify their tariffs and practices to comply with policy principles or guidance that ensure rail carrier tariffs implementing demurrage and accessorial charges are commercially fair, commercially practicable and reciprocal in nature, imposing comparable penalties on railroads if they fail to perform. The NGFA also urged the STB to retain oversight to monitor changes in railroads’ tariffs in accordance with the agency’s directives.

“We believe that in far too many cases, current demurrage and accessorial charges and practices are egregious and merely exemplify the market power of today’s Class I railroads, reflecting their ability to unilaterally impose one-sided terms and conditions on their customers,” testified NGFA President and Chief Executive Officer Randy Gordon. “Frankly, NGFA members in some segments of our industry believe they are at a ‘tipping point’ in their relationship with Class I rail carriers” because of these and other practices, particularly with the increased adoption of the so-called precision scheduled railroad operating model.

NGFA’s testimony, as well as a 43-page written statement submitted previously to the agency, highlighted numerous specific examples of railroad demurrage and accessorial tariffs that are not commercially fair, practicable or reciprocal, and result in individual rail customers incurring millions of dollars in charges even when operating efficiently. Data submitted to the STB by the seven U.S. Class I railroads showed that they generated more than $1.43 billion in demurrage and accessorial charges from rail customers in 2018 alone, and are on a pace to exceed that level in 2019 based upon first-quarter filings.

“At a minimum, to be reasonable, demurrage and accessorial tariff provisions should clearly establish the conditions for when a rail customer is not liable for such charges, either because the carrier is at fault or because of other circumstances beyond the rail customer’s control,” the NGFA said. “But true reciprocity and commercial fairness goes a step beyond waiver or non-payment of charges because the harm to rail customers extends beyond the amount of the charge to the harm to their investment in railcars and other facility assets, as well as disruptions to their business operations, including plant shutdowns or slowdowns, the need to use alternative transportation modes, the need to source commodities on an emergency basis and disruptions to their supply chains and customers.”

Demurrage historically has referred to charges imposed by railroads that are intended to encourage the efficient utilization of rail assets, including railcars and locomotives. Meanwhile, accessorial charges are not defined by any statute or regulation, but generally refer to a wide array of rail services and activities not included in demurrage or the line-haul freight charge.

The NGFA said the majority of complaints received from its members about commercially unfair and non-reciprocal demurrage and accessorial charges were associated with the Union Pacific (UP) and Norfolk Southern (NS) Railways. But NGFA noted it also received multiple complaints involving the BNSF, Canadian Pacific (CP), Canadian National and CSX railroads.

Among other things, the NGFA cited several railroads’ practice of reducing the so-called “free-time” for loading and unloading cars to as little as zero days from the previous 48 to 72 hours. “Such tariffs should be ruled to be presumptively unreasonable,” the NGFA said, with a minimum of 24 to 48 hours of free time provided to a rail customer to load or unload railcars once the train actually is placed at the customer’s facility.

NGFA also referenced the absence of language in railroad tariffs regarding equitable reciprocal penalties that should apply to railroads if they are the cause for delays in loading or unloading railcars or efficient utilization of rail assets. One such example involves a UP tariff that imposes a “not-prepared for service” charge on rail customers but does not adequately address commensurate penalties when the UP does not deliver trains on schedule or does not provide adequate notification time to customers. Another UP tariff imposes a $10,000-per-occurrence charge on a unit train customer if it cancels the order within 48 hours of the forecasted date of release of the train. But there is no reciprocal penalty on UP when its locomotives and crews do not arrive to pick up a loaded train within that same timeframe, which can congest a facility’s track space and prevent it from receiving or shipping other trains. 

NGFA also cited the NS for having a flawed and commercially unfair demurrage debit-and-credit system – including providing zero credits for loading or unloading privately owned or leased cars and unfair storage charges for railcars sitting in its serving yards, yet not committing to serve the facility within a specific time frame. NGFA also informed the STB of numerous unfair and unreasonable CP tariff provisions, including those that impose a $500-per-car fee on rail customers for diverting a car, even if CP is responsible; a $125-per-mile charge for special train service even if CP is at fault, and a $110 fee assessed on rail customers that successfully challenge the accuracy of a CP invoice.

In this regard, NGFA also expressed concerns about the Class I railroads’ generally cumbersome and tedious processes for resolving disputes when rail customers challenge an inaccurate demurrage or accessorial charge invoice. In essence, Class I railroads have placed the entire burden on their customers to prove the charges are not valid, and given themselves sole discretion to reject or modify an invoice that is subject to a rail customer challenge, NGFA said.

NGFA also called out the phenomenon of “bunching” of railcars at a customer’s facility, i.e., when railroads deliver more cars for loading or unloading than the shipper or receiver has ordered or whose facility can handle, while still imposing demurrage or accessorial charges on the customer for those cars. Railroad tariffs should be required to contain language that specifically states when charges will be waived because of bunching, NGFA said, as well as whether penalties should apply to the railroad if bunching results in congestion at the rail customer’s facility.

NGFA stressed that the lack of reciprocity in railroad tariffs – imposing the same penalties on railroads for failure to perform as those imposed on their customers – is particularly important now that more than 70 percent of the nation’s railcar fleet is owned or leased by rail customers, rather than the railroads, a marked departure over the last several decades. In the agricultural sector, rail shippers and receivers now own or lease 100 percent of the tank cars and nearly 80 percent of grain hopper cars. 

In addition, NGFA said, many rail customers have invested tens of millions of dollars at individual facilities to acquire, expand, operate and maintain track and other physical loading and unloading assets, as well as hired additional personnel to perform tasks previously done by the railroads. These activities include loading and unloading cars, inspecting cars and trains prior to departure, switching cars between tracks within a plant, assembling unit and manifest trains, and building side tracks for railcar storage.

“NGFA believes it is very clear that the STB needs to step in and take action to provide policy and guidance to restore balance to demurrage and accessorial practices, and it has the authority to do so as an outcome of this proceeding,” NGFA concluded.

Sentera FieldAgent™ Delivers Advanced Analytics and Field Insights to More Farmers Through the Climate FieldView™ Platform

Today, Sentera announced an expanded platform partnership with The Climate Corporation (Climate), a subsidiary of Bayer, that will provide advanced plant population and weed pressure analytics from Sentera to the Climate FieldView™ digital agriculture platform. Through this continued partnership, both companies are further delivering the value of data-driven, digital tools  for mutual farmer customers throughout the growing season.

"Sentera and Climate are committed to providing farmers and their agronomic partners accurate, relevant data insights that are easy to access," said Eric Taipale, CEO of Sentera. "Through the new integration of our stand count and weed pressure analytics in FieldView, we're giving more farmers the ability to easily visualize their field data, detect issues fast and quickly make more informed management decisions, within one digital ecosystem. Users don't have to manage multiple apps, log-ins, and passwords to make use of Sentera's analytics in FieldView, and we can focus on gathering data and delivering insights."

Once the connection is established, FieldAgent will automatically sync with each customer's FieldView account, providing new data insights to better inform economic and agronomic decisions.

"FieldAgent's integration with the Climate FieldView platform provides our customers with real time, AI-driven-analytics throughout the growing season," said Mark Young, CTO and Head of Product for The Climate Corporation. "Together we provide farmers with valuable tools and the data insights they need to efficiently manage their farming operations and improve profitability. "

The integration between FieldAgent and Climate FieldView is active and available today. For a limited time, any FieldView customer who integrates selected Sentera analytics solutions with an eligible FieldView account will receive 12-months of unlimited stand count analysis. These users can also add 12 months of unlimited weed pressure mapping for $500 (a $1,000 value).

May 23 - USDA Announces Farmer Support for Trade Retaliations & Disruptions

USDA Announces Support for Farmers Impacted by Unjustified Retaliation and Trade Disruption

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will take several actions to assist farmers in response to trade damage from unjustified retaliation and trade disruption. President Trump directed Secretary Perdue to craft a relief strategy to support American agricultural producers while the Administration continues to work on free, fair, and reciprocal trade deals to open more markets in the long run to help American farmers compete globally. Specifically, the President has authorized USDA to provide up to $16 billion in programs, which is in line with the estimated impacts of unjustified retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods and other trade disruptions. These programs will assist agricultural producers while President Trump works to address long-standing market access barriers.

“China hasn’t played by the rules for a long time and President Trump is standing up to them, sending the clear message that the United States will no longer tolerate their unfair trade practices, which include non-tariff trade barriers and the theft of intellectual property. President Trump has great affection for America’s farmers and ranchers, and he knows they are bearing the brunt of these trade disputes. In fact, I’ve never known of a president that has been more concerned or interested in farmer wellbeing and long-term profitability than President Trump,” said Secretary Perdue. “The plan we are announcing today ensures farmers do not bear the brunt of unfair retaliatory tariffs imposed by China and other trading partners. Our team at USDA reflected on what worked well and gathered feedback on last year’s program to make this one even stronger and more effective for farmers. Our farmers work hard, are the most productive in the world, and we aim to match their enthusiasm and patriotism as we support them.”


American farmers have dealt with unjustified retaliatory tariffs and years of non-tariff trade disruptions, which have curtailed U.S. exports to China. Trade damages from such retaliation and market distortions have impacted a host of U.S. commodities, including crops like soybeans, corn, wheat, cotton, rice, and sorghum; livestock products like milk and pork; and many fruits, nuts, and other crops. High tariffs disrupt normal marketing patterns, raising costs by forcing commodities to find new markets. Additionally, American goods shipped to China have been slowed from reaching market by unusually strict or cumbersome entry procedures, which affect the quality and marketability of perishable crops. These boost marketing costs and unfairly affect our producers. USDA will use the following programs to assist farmers:

    Market Facilitation Program (MFP) for 2019, authorized under the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) Charter Act and administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA), will provide $14.5 billion in direct payments to producers.
o  Producers of alfalfa hay, barley, canola, corn, crambe, dry peas, extra-long staple cotton, flaxseed, lentils, long grain and medium grain rice, mustard seed, dried beans, oats, peanuts, rapeseed, safflower, sesame seed, small and large chickpeas, sorghum, soybeans, sunflower seed, temperate japonica rice, upland cotton, and wheat will receive a payment based on a single county rate multiplied by a farm’s total plantings to those crops in aggregate in 2019. Those per acre payments are not dependent on which of those crops are planted in 2019, and therefore will not distort planting decisions. Moreover, total payment-eligible plantings cannot exceed total 2018 plantings.
o  Dairy producers will receive a per hundredweight payment on production history and hog producers will receive a payment based on hog and pig inventory for a later-specified time frame.
o  Tree nut producers, fresh sweet cherry producers, cranberry producers, and fresh grape producers will receive a payment based on 2019 acres of production.
o  These payments will help farmers to absorb some of the additional costs of managing disrupted markets, to deal with surplus commodities, and to expand and develop new markets at home and abroad.
o  Payments will be made in up to three tranches, with the second and third tranches evaluated as market conditions and trade opportunities dictate. The first tranche will begin in late July/early August as soon as practical after Farm Service Agency crop reporting is completed by July 15th. If conditions warrant, the second and third tranches will be made in November and early January.

     Additionally, CCC Charter Act authority will be used to implement a $1.4 billion Food Purchase and Distribution Program (FPDP) through the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) to purchase surplus commodities affected by trade retaliation such as fruits, vegetables, some processed foods, beef, pork, lamb, poultry, and milk for distribution by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to food banks, schools, and other outlets serving low-income individuals. 

    Finally, the CCC will use its Charter Act authority for $100 million to be issued through the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP) administered by the Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) to assist in developing new export markets on behalf of producers.

Further details regarding eligibility and payment rates will be released at a later date.

Nebraska Farm Bureau Reaction to Agricultural Assistance Package

“We appreciate President Trump and Secretary Perdue recognizing the challenges faced by U.S. farmers as a result of the administration’s ongoing trade disputes with some of our major trading partners. Nebraska farmers have been hard hit by flooding, retaliatory tariffs and a tremendous downturn in the agricultural economy. Today’s announcement of a trade assistance package could help many farmers through this difficult time in agriculture.”

“Farmers would rather have open markets. Stable, predictable, transparent, international trade, that provides the agricultural economy with certainty and a clear path to growth, is much more preferable. In 2017 Nebraska sold $979 million of major agriculture commodities to Canada and $889 million to Mexico. We need congressional approval of the United State-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). In 2017 Nebraska sold $937 million of Nebraska commodities to China. We need good outcomes to current negotiations with China, Japan, and the European Union. Canada, Mexico, and China are three countries critical to boosting Nebraska agriculture and it’s economic growth. This is the long-term solution farmers want to see.” 

Statement from Iowa Corn Growers Association President Curt Mether

We, along with other agriculture groups, are welcoming the $16 billion issued by the Trump Administration today in assistance to help farmers with potential loss due to the recent tariffs and China’s retaliatory tariffs. These funds will be used to calm the destruction of the perfect agriculture storm. Us farmers are caught right in the middle of the agriculture storm with low prices due to the current trade disputes, demand destruction of ethanol by the EPA granting RFS waivers to oil refiners, plus devastating weather conditions this spring. All these factors are affecting farm incomes and farmers need fair treatment during these uncertain times. Although the amount as not yet been issued for bushels of corn, we continue to push for more aid than was given in the first trade aid last year. ICGA issued a call to action last week encouraging members to express to the Administration that one cent per bushel of corn is not enough due to the economic situation for corn farmers. This week, there was a media report stating a draft of the Trump Administration’s plan will allocate 4 cents per bushel of corn.  ICGA has continued daily with the Administration and Congress continuing to state that 4 cents does not reflect trade impact on corn. According to an NCGA-commissioned economic analysis conducted last May, corn farmers suffered a loss of at least 44 cents per bushel in the price of corn. We continue daily to speak up for our corn farmers by saying a couple cents is not enough.

Naig: Farmers Want Long-Term Trade Agreement

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig issued the following statement today in response to the USDA’s announcement that farmers will receive another round of financial aid to help with the damages sustained from unjustified retaliation and trade disruption.

“We appreciate President Trump and the USDA offering an interim solution to assist farmers affected by trade disruption,” said Secretary Naig. “However, farmers want trade not aid. Farmers need markets to sell their products. This current situation is not sustainable. We need long-term trade agreements, and I believe we can get there, but we need China to come to the table to negotiate. It’s also imperative that Congress takes action to pass USMCA as quickly as possible to provide certainty for our farmers and businesses.”

NPPC Applauds Trump Aid for Trade Retaliation

The Trump administration today announced a trade relief package in response to the U.S. trade dispute with China. USDA's trade retaliation relief program includes direct payments to qualifying pork producers, pork surplus purchases for the benefit of low-income families and others in need, and additional funding to develop new export opportunities. The amount of farmer payments and commodity purchases will be announced at a later date.

"We thank President Trump for recognizing that our patriot farmers have borne the brunt of China's trade retaliation," said David Herring, a pork producer from Lillington, N.C., and president of the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC). "The U.S. pork industry has been one of the most adversely affected sectors, receiving a one-two punch in the form of a 50 percent punitive tariff from China on top of the existing 12 percent duty and, until recently, a 20 percent punitive tariff from Mexico. This trade aid will help repair some of the damage inflicted upon U.S. pork producers."

"The current situation in China represents a historic sales opportunity for U.S. pork," Herring added. "The world's largest pork-consuming nation is currently experiencing a dramatic reduction in domestic supply because of an animal disease that has ravaged its national swine herd. We look forward to continued work with the administration to restore favorable access to China, allowing U.S. pork producers to capitalize on this opportunity, reduce our trade deficit with China and deliver enormous benefits to the U.S. economy."

In addition to resolution with the China trade dispute, NPPC urges Congress to quickly ratify the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement, which preserves zero-tariff access to markets that represent more than 30 percent of total U.S. pork exports.

NPPC Attends White House Event on Trade Aid

The Trump administration today announced a trade reliefpackage in response to the U.S. trade dispute with China. Three National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) members—President and North Carolina producer David Herring, Minnesota producer Randy Spronk and Illinois producer Phil Borgic—joined President Trump and USDA Secretary Perdue for the White House announcement.Untitled_design_(18)_197660.png

"It was an honor to attend this event and represent U.S. pork producers, who have been significantly harmed by China's unfair trade retaliation," said Herring. "We thank President Trump and USDA Secretary Perdue for standing up for U.S. agriculture, restoring zero-tariff trade with Mexico and providing support for American farmers."

China is the largest consumer of pork in the world. Its swine herd has been ravaged by African swine fever, significantly reducing domestic production and increasing pork imports. However, U.S. pork producers have been hamstrung by a 50 percent punitive tariff from China, on top of the existing 12 percent duty. NPPC is eager for a resolution to the China trade dispute. Absent punitive tariffs, China currently represent an historic sales opportunity for U.S pork producers.

Additionally, NPPC urges Congress to quickly ratify the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement, which preserves zero-tariff access to markets that represent more than 30 percent of total U.S. pork exports. NPPC has designated USMCA ratification as a "key vote" and will closely monitor support of the agreement among members of Congress. U.S. pork exports to Mexico and Canada support 16,000 U.S. jobs.

NPPC also urges the administration to quickly complete a trade deal with Japan, the largest value market and the second largest volume market for U.S. pork exports. Japan's new trade agreements with the European Union and other regions are causing an erosion of U.S. pork market share.

According to Dr. Dermot Hayes, an economist at Iowa State University, U.S. pork will see exports to Japan grow from $1.6 billion in 2018 to more than $2.2 billion over the next 15 years if the U.S. quickly gains access on par with international competitors. Hayes reports that U.S. pork shipments to Japan will drop to $349 million if a trade deal on these terms is not quickly reached with Japan.

Soybean Growers Appreciate Assistance for Now, Still Need Long Term Relief

The news from U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue of trade mitigation including, most importantly to soy, Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments and Agricultural Trade Promotion (ATP) program funding, is news welcomed by soy growers who have suffered from the ongoing ill effects of tariffs.

“We recognize and are thankful that these funds will help offset the persisting damage from tariffs, as well as enable new market development through ATP,” said Davie Stephens, president of the American Soybean Association (ASA) and soybean grower from Clinton, Ky.

Stephens reiterated, however, that the soybean industry needs open trade access, saying, “The key word from today’s announcement is “facilitation”: Trade assistance will only facilitate soy growers’ ability to farm, not make their losses whole or tariff woes disappear long term. Trade assistance will only help in the short term.”

The 2019 MFP program under the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) Charter Act and administered by Farm Service Agency (FSA) will provide $14.5 billion in payments to producers, among them soy growers. Payments this year, however, will be based not on individual crops as in the past, rather on county-specific rates determined by, “long term distortion from tariff damage,” according to USDA. That single-county rate will be multiplied by a farm’s total planted acreage for all eligible crops to determine payment so that planting decisions are not skewed, and eligible plantings cannot exceed total 2018 plantings. The first payments will begin in late July or early August after Farm Service Agency (FSA) crop reporting is completed July 15th. Second and third payments will be made in November and early January if conditions warrant, USDA has reported.

An additional $100 million will be issued through the ATP to assist in developing new export markets on behalf of producers, along with Food Purchase and Distribution Program (FPDP) relief for other commodities.

ASA appreciates the Administration’s effort to bridge the gap during this difficult time. However, a second round of financial support to offset farm losses is only a partial and temporary solution, and not a permanent solution for soy growers who have lost their number one export market since tariffs were implemented by the U.S. and then China in July, 2019.

Soybean Growers Attend White House Event to Hear President on Trade

After months of hardships suffered as a result of the U.S.-China trade war, American soybean growers accepted an invitation from President Trump to hear his plan to support farmers as the tariff battle with China persists.

“We appreciate that our President understands the plight in which this ongoing feud with China has pushed us, and that he and his Administration have sought ways to ease this burden,” said Davie Stephens, president of the American Soybean Association (ASA) and soybean grower from Clinton, Ky. “But, farmers are resolute that the only real solution is to take away the tariffs that have hemorrhaged our sales and landed our relationship with China on life support.”

Stephens, along with fellow soy grower Josh Gackle, Kulm, N.D., and ASA CEO Ryan Findlay, St. Louis, Mo., were among farmers and leaders from multiple agriculture industries invited to attend Thursday’s press event at the White House in which the President outlined plans for his farm support program, details of which were officially released by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) earlier in the day.

While ASA appreciates this effort to bridge the gap during this difficult time, a second round of financial support to offset farm losses is only a partial and temporary Band-Aid and not a permanent solution for soy growers who have lost their number one export market since tariffs were implemented by both countries July, 2019.

NMPF Statement on Federal Trade-Mitigation Package for Farmers

National Milk Producers Federation President and CEO Jim Mulhern

“Dairy farmers have been harmed substantially by disrupted markets. We know that USDA is concerned about the damage being done to dairy farmers by ongoing tariff battles. We hope it will use the full range of tools available to provide a large segment of the payment in the first tranche to appropriately assist milk producers who have experienced a prolonged downturn in prices because of these conflicts,” he said. “We appreciate USDA’s concern for dairy’s needs, and we look forward to working with USDA, Congress and the White House as the department further develops its plans.”

NMPF estimates that producers have lost at least $2.3 billion in revenues through March due to higher tariffs against U.S. dairy, which has lowered milk prices for all producers.

NCGA Welcomes Trade Aid, Continues Call for Equitable Relief and Market Opportunities for Corn Farmers

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) today welcomed the Trump Administration’s announcement of up to $16 billion in assistance to help farmers to make up for potential agriculture losses due, in part, to the most recent tariff increases and prolonged trade dispute with China.

“Farmers across the country are struggling. Wet spring weather, trade disputes and tariffs and demand destruction in the ethanol market are forcing farmers to make difficult decisions. We appreciate the Administration’s recognition of these challenges and support for America’s farmers,” said NCGA President Lynn Chrisp who joined President Trump for the White House announcement.

Following President Trump’s announcement that the Administration would be pursuing a second round of trade aid, NCGA put forward recommendations that would provide both short-term assistance and support market access for farmers.

NCGA called on USDA to update the Market Facilitation Program (MFP) to factor market impacts into the calculation of MFP payment rates. NCGA analysis showed an average price loss of 20 cents per bushel from May 2018 to April 2019. As trade talks with China lagged on in March and April of 2019, losses widened closer to 40 cents per bushel.

NCGA is also encouraging additional actions the Administration could take to open markets and provide more certainty to corn farmers, including stopping RFS waivers to big oil refiners and restoring waived ethanol gallons, and resolving trade disputes and tariffs.

“NCGA looks forward to continuing our dialogue with the Administration to craft a complete package that will provide corn farmers with more equitable short-term relief while also supporting and expanding the market opportunities farmers need most,” Chrisp said.

Farm Bureau Statement on Agricultural Relief

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall

“The Trump Administration’s agricultural assistance package is welcome relief to an economic sector that has been battered by foreign competitors and retaliatory tariffs. We thank the President for living up to his commitment to stand by our farmers and ranchers. While farmers and ranchers would rather earn their income from the marketplace, they have been suffering during the agricultural downturn and trade war. This aid package will help us weather the storm as the Administration works to correct unfair trade practices that have hurt the U.S. economy for too long.

“We are grateful for the work that President Trump and Secretary Perdue have devoted to this issue. However, the real, long-term solution to our challenges in agriculture is good outcomes to current negotiations with China, Japan and the European Union, as well as congressional approval of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. America’s farmers and ranchers need fair and open access to markets.”

USMEF Statement on Additional ATP Funding

On May 23, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced another round of agricultural aid designed to offset the impact of retaliatory measures imposed by trading partners. This includes an additional $100 million to be issued through the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP) administered by the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) to assist in expanding export markets. The first round of ATP funding, which totaled $200 million, was allocated earlier this year.

U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) President and CEO Dan Halstrom issued the following statement:

The additional round of ATP funding is greatly appreciated, as U.S. red meat products and other agricultural exports still face significant obstacles in key international markets. ATP funding has been a valuable resource as USMEF works to defend U.S. market share and secure new customers in both established and emerging markets. We thank the Trump administration for recognizing the impact of current trade disputes and other trade barriers on U.S. agriculture, and we look forward to receiving more details about the latest round of ATP funding.

USDA Announces Details of Trade Assistance Package

NFU Urges Adoption of Supply Management Policies

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today released initial details for a trade assistance package to support family farmers and ranchers struggling with oversupply and low prices due to international trade conflicts. The agency plans to allocate as much as $16 billion, including $14.5 billion in direct payments to producers through the Market Facilitation Program (MFP). Additionally, USDA has designated $1.4 billion for commodity purchases through the Food Purchase and Distribution Program (FPDP) as well as $100 million for the development of new export markets through the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP).

National Farmers Union (NFU) supports efforts to address China’s unfair and manipulative trade practices and has repeatedly urged the administration to provide necessary assistance to farmers caught in the crosshairs. NFU President Roger Johnson issued the following statement in response to the agency’s announcement:

“Family farmers and ranchers have been grappling with low commodity prices and excess production for many years now, and the trade war with China and other major trading partners has compounded both problems. We appreciate USDA’s work to mitigate family farmers’ losses as a result of these trade disputes. However, while this trade aid package is an improvement over last year’s Market Facilitation Program, by definition it fails to provide predictable, consistent and adequate relief across American agriculture.

“We are pleased that USDA will be providing payments for a broader range of commodities than were covered under last year’s program. We also appreciate that producers of all covered commodities will receive equitable support. At the same time, basing payments on 2019 planted acres fails to help those who have faced or are facing impossible planting conditions.

“Ultimately, this package is only a short-term fix for a very long-term problem. Farmers rely on markets to make a living. Our ongoing trade wars have destroyed our reputation as a reliable supplier and have left family farmers with swelling grain stores and empty pockets. The very least we can do is provide our country’s struggling food producers with the certainty of a longer-term plan that also addresses the persistent and pernicious problem of oversupply.”

NAWG Responds to Second Round of Support for Farmers Impacted by Trade Disruptions

Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced that the White House has authorized the Agency to provide up to $16 billion dollars in assistance to farmers who are being impacted by the U.S. trade war with China and other trade disruptions. NAWG President and Lavon, TX farmer Ben Scholz attended today’s ceremony at the White House which focused on this announcement and made the following statement in response:

“NAWG is grateful for the President’s understanding of the stress and damages China’s retaliatory tariffs have had on growers. Further, we look forward to working with the Administration to quickly finalize other trade agreements that open up new markets for wheat farmers.

“While we appreciate the trade mitigation program, it doesn’t make farmers whole. The U.S. exports 50% of its wheat which means we need a long-term solution. This includes getting the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) across the finish line, completing negotiations with China and supporting our WTO case, and closing a trade deal with Japan.

“Lastly, NAWG will continue to work with the Administration and USDA as the Agency crafts a relief strategy to ensure that the program works best for wheat farmers. We are pleased to hear that the USDA will take a broader look that the tariffs have had on all trade deals and markets when considering a longer-term relief package.”

Wednesday May 22 Ag News

Ricketts to Lead Trade Mission to Germany in November

Governor Pete Ricketts and the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED) have announced plans to lead a trade mission to Germany this November.  The Governor made the announcement from the Midwest International Trade Association (MITA) Annual World Trade Conference in La Vista.

“Germany is a global economic force with advanced capabilities in manufacturing, biotechnology, and agriculture.  Engaging with Germany is imperative in order to continue to raise Nebraska’s visibility with companies in the country—several of which already invest in Nebraska.  We look forward to this visit and to opening up new opportunities for Nebraska in Germany,” said Governor Ricketts.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Ag Services and the U.S. Census Bureau, exports to Germany from Nebraska totaled nearly $1.5 billion from 2010 to 2017.  Soybean exports alone totaled $696 million during that period, while machinery saw a 200% increase from 2010 to 2017.  Additionally, German companies have invested in Nebraska.  CLAAS, a prominent manufacturer of agricultural equipment, selected Omaha as its North America headquarters.  Graepel, a manufacturer of perforated metals, located its North American base in Omaha as well.

DED Director Dave Rippe and staff were in Germany in April 2019 to promote Nebraska and introduce companies to the advantages of doing business in the state.  During the upcoming trade mission, the delegation will attend the Agritechnica trade fair for agricultural technology in the Hanover region to increase Nebraska’s profile and drive interest in the state.  The trade fair exhibits technology in smart farming and advanced ag equipment, and has attracted 458,000 visitors from 128 countries at previous shows.

“Germany continues to be an area of significant opportunity for economic development efforts,” Director Rippe said.  “This trade mission to Germany will build upon the relationships we have established with companies and officials alike, and set the stage for our future engagements.”

Governor Ricketts has led trade missions to many countries, including members of the European Union, Japan, Canada, China, and Mexico to expand trade relationships and export opportunities for Nebraska’s farm and ranch families.  The Governor’s Council for International Relations, which he established in 2017, focuses on increasing Nebraska exports and identifying new business opportunities in international markets.

The itinerary for the upcoming trade mission was developed in cooperation with the Governor’s Office, DED, German officials, and U.S. Consulate staff in Germany.  The delegation is expected to meet with German government officials to discuss trade policy, and will hold meetings with agricultural officials and industry leaders in agricultural manufacturing.

The trip is scheduled for November 10-18, 2019, and will include visits to Berlin, the Hanover region, the Düsseldorf region, and Frankfurt.  Since space is limited, those interested in participating in the trade mission should email Cobus Block, International Business Manager, at to ask questions and/or register.

Nebraska Cattlemen to Launch New Market Reporting Service Features

A significant upgrade of Nebraska Cattlemen's (NC) Market Reporting Service (MRS) electronic fed cattle market information delivery system for producers will debut on June 5 during NC's Midyear Meeting in Columbus, NE. NC MRS will introduce both Android and iOS smartphone applications during the NC Marketing and Commerce Committee meeting which begins at 10:15 a.m. CT Wednesday, June 5th at the Ramada Rivers Edge Convention Center.  The meeting will be open to registered attendees of NC's Midyear Meeting. Early registration is available until Thursday, May 30th at or by calling 402-475-2333, and onsite registrations will be accepted at the door.

Available exclusively to NC Market Reporting Service subscribers, the new smartphone applications are designed to ensure instantaneous delivery of market information and also streamline subscribers' ability to communicate with Market Reporting Service staff via efficient "one click" built in email communication media as well as an interactive feature for reporting of cash fed cattle trades.  In addition to the Market Reporting Service's real-time cash fed cattle sales information and market news feed, the apps will also feature CME Group / Chicago Board of Trade futures quotes as well as DTN's exclusive newly released weather module.

The Market Reporting Service was initiated in the late 1980's by a group of Nebraska Cattlemen member feedyards and provides an assimilation point for "real time" cash fed cattle bids and asking levels as well as sales prices, terms of trade, and delivery windows for completed cash trades.

The MRS information footprint has steadily expanded over the past three decades through working agreements with the Iowa Cattlemen's Association, the South Dakota Cattlemen's Association, and the North Dakota Stockgrowers Association.  Staffed by analysts with over 65 collective years of Midwest cash fed cattle market experience, and maintaining a network of cattle and beef industry contacts throughout the United States, the NC-MRS market information feed has become increasingly valuable to producers in the region and throughout the country as the core of the fed cattle industry's price discovery has become increasingly concentrated along the I-80 corridor.

This technology upgrade represents a significant investment on behalf of NC's Market Reporting Service towards maintaining active price discovery within the region - directly benefiting producers in Nebraska and other Midwestern states as well as the beef cattle production and marketing chains throughout the United States.

Producers unable to attend the unveiling of the NC MRS apps during the NC Midyear Meeting can obtain information by contacting the NC MRS office at 402-475-2333.


“Global Economic Growth and Agricultural Trade: Prospects, Policies and Perspectives” is the focus of a symposium June 4 at the Graduate Hotel, 141 N. Ninth St. in Lincoln.

The symposium is jointly hosted by the Farm Foundation Food and Agricultural Trade Resource Center and the Clayton Yeutter Institute of International Trade and Finance at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. It is free and open to the public.

A keynote presentation by Luke Chandler, chief economist of Deere and Company, will be followed by a panel discussion with agricultural trade experts. Those experts are:

> Richard Crowder, former U.S. chief agricultural negotiator, and professor and Thornhill Endowed Chair in agricultural trade, Virginia Tech University

> Darci Vetter, former U.S. chief agricultural negotiator and global lead, public affairs, and vice chair for agriculture and food, Edelman

> John Beghin, Michael Yanney Chair of International Trade and Finance, Yeutter Institute and Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Nebraska–Lincoln

A reception will start at 5 p.m. with the symposium scheduled for 6 to 7:30 p.m.

The event will be streamed live at

The vision of Nebraska alumnus and renowned trade expert Clayton Yeutter, the Yeutter Institute connects academic disciplines related to law, business and agriculture to prepare students for leadership roles in international trade and finance, support interdisciplinary research and increase public understanding of these issues.

Farm Foundation is an agricultural policy institute cultivating dynamic nonpartisan collaboration to meet society's needs for food, fiber, feed and energy. Since 1933, it has connected leaders in farming, business, academia, organizations and government through proactive, rigorous debate and objective issue analysis. The Resource Center is one example of this collaborative work. To learn more, visit

Request USDA Assistance to Protect Infrastructure Damaged by March Blizzard/Flooding

Assistance Request Deadline Extended to June 20, 2019

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Nebraska is accepting requests for assistance through the Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) program to address watershed impairments resulting from the March “Bomb Cyclone” and associated flooding. Requests for assistance must be submitted to the NRCS State Conservationist in Nebraska by June 20, 2019.

NRCS Nebraska State Conservationist Craig Derickson said, “We have extended this sign up period to provide additional time for those impacted by the March severe weather to apply for this assistance.” Derickson explained, “EWP is designed to install recovery measures to safeguard lives and property as a result of a natural disaster. We have teams out now completing damage survey reports. These reports help us understand the extent of the damage and the amount of funding needed for recovery work.”

Watershed impairments that the EWP program addresses include debris-clogged stream channels, scoured or eroded bridges, and undermined and/or unstable streambanks that pose an imminent threat to public infrastructure (i.e.: bridges, county roads, etc.).

EWP work is completed through a local project sponsor. EWP project sponsors must be a legal subdivision of state government such as a city, county, state agency, town, or a federally-recognized American Indian tribe or tribal organization.

“Generally, NRCS will pay up to 75 percent of the restoration costs. The project sponsor is responsible for the remaining balance of funding needs, which can include in-kind support. It’s important to note that any recovery measures already implemented by the sponsor or in process by the sponsor would not be eligible for reimbursement,” Derickson said.

Potential sponsors seeking assistance through EWP should work with their local USDA service center, which can be found at For more information about the EWP Program, contact Allen Gehring, at (402) 437-4037.

Iowa Corn Growers Association® Invites Members to Discuss Key Policy Issues at Local Roundtables

Policy development at the Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) is a vital grassroots process. Each year, ICGA hosts roundtable meetings in local communities across the state to gather insight and feedback on priorities from members. The meetings, which will be held in June and July, allow ICGA members to come together, share a meal, and discuss key issues impacting corn farmers. Policies brought forward and approved at roundtable meetings go on to the annual ICGA Grassroots Summit on August 26-27 for the ICGA delegates to debate for adoption into the ICGA policy book. This process enables the organization to take action in lobbying for and supporting sound policy development and pro-farmer legislation.  See the below listing for locations and times.

June 11
Clarion – Hagie Manufacturing, 721 Central Ave W. (5PM optional tour of Hagie, 6PM Roundtable)

June 18
Okoboji – Pearson Lakes Art Center, 2201 US-71 (6PM)
Mt. Pleasant – Airport Road Vineyard & Winery, 2555 Lexington Ave. (6:30PM)

June 20
Templeton – Templeton Center, 230 S. 5th Ave (3PM optional tour of Templeton Rye, 5PM Roundtable)
Donahue – Cinnamon Ridge Farms, 10600 275th St. (6PM)

June 24
Mason City – North Iowa Events Center, 4-H Learning Center 3700 4th St. SW (6PM)
Galva – Quad County Corn Processor Plant, 6059 159th St. (5PM optional tour of plant, 6PM Roundtable)

June 25
Red Oak – AgriVision, 2405 N. 4th St. (6PM)

June 26
Arlington – Mark Recker’s Farm, 9768 70th St (5:30PM)
Ottumwa– Ottumwa Golf & Social Club, 304 E Golf Ave (6PM)

July 2
Orient – Henry A. Wallace Life Center, 2773 290th St. (6PM)

July 8
Central City – Pete Brecht’s Farm, 3925 Jordans Grove Rd (6PM)

July 9
Ames – Johnny’s at Hilton Coliseum with ISU VIP guest appearance, 1705 Center Dr. (5PM)

Roundtables are FREE for ICGA members, but registration is requested. A meal will be included at each session. If you can't attend a roundtable but wish to present a policy resolution for consideration, please contact your local ICGA Board member. Go to for more information.

Iowa Farm Rental Rates Decline, But Not as Much as Commodities

Cash rental rates for Iowa farmland are down 1.4% compared to last year, but are still higher than in 2011, despite significant decreases in crop prices.

According to Iowa State University Extension and Outreach’s “Cash Rental Rates for Iowa 2019 Survey,” (FM 1851) published in the May Ag Decision Maker newsletter, the average cash rent per acre is $219, down from $222 per acre last year.

Meanwhile, corn and soybean prices have dropped 50% and 45%, respectively, since mid-2013, according to Alejandro Plastina, assistant professor and extension economist at Iowa State.

“Cash rents declined slightly in 2019 but won’t offset lower prices for farmers who are renting land,” said Plastina. “It will be tough to break even with these cash rents if you are renting land.”

Cash rents have only dropped about 19% since the historic high of $270 per acre, in 2013, but the decline is in line with the cumulative 16.7% decline in land values since 2013.

The survey is based on 1,262 responses across the state for cash rent prices received to grow corn, soybeans, hay, oats and pasture. The rate of change varied by county and by region, with 65 counties experiencing a decline in the average rent for corn and soybeans.

The 2019 survey showed a range from a 3.4% increase in southeast Iowa (District 9), to a 2.7% drop in north central Iowa (District 2). The lowest rents are in the south central counties, where most averages are below $200 an acre.

Plastina said the survey can serve as a reference point for negotiating rental rates, but should not be blindly used in leasing contracts.

“These are averages so I always say that they should not be used as off-the-shelf truths to avoid negotiations between tenants and landowners,” Plastina said. “Both parties have to figure out what actually works for them in terms of the land quality, historic yields, what kind of improvements are being made to the land and other factors unique to their situation.”

Other articles in this month’s Ag Decision Maker include a look at farm stress and marriage, called “Keys when ‘married’ to farm stress,” by Larry Tranel, dairy specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach.

The newsletter also includes information for farmers who want to compute their own cropland rental rates, as well as the publications “Livestock Enterprise Budgets for Iowa,” and “Financial Performance Measures for Iowa Farms.”

More resources on rental agreements can be found on the Ag Decision Maker leasing page.

Farmland leasing meetings are being scheduled for July and August across the state for in-person discussions for landowners and tenants on leasing trends and issues that impact renting Iowa farmland.

USDA Cold Storage April 2019 Highlights

Total red meat supplies in freezers on April 30, 2019 were up slightly from the previous month but down 5 percent from last year. Total pounds of beef in freezers were down 5 percent from the previous month and down 9 percent from last year. Frozen pork supplies were up 2 percent from the previous month but down 2 percent from last year. Stocks of pork bellies were up 4 percent from last month but down 5 percent from last year.

Total frozen poultry supplies on April 30, 2019 were up 2 percent from the previous month and up slightly from a year ago. Total stocks of chicken were up 3 percent from the previous month and up 3 percent from last year. Total pounds of turkey in freezers were up slightly from last month but down 5 percent from April 30, 2018.

Total natural cheese stocks in refrigerated warehouses on April 30, 2019 were up 1 percent from the previous month and up 4 percent from April 30, 2018.  Butter stocks were up 8 percent from last month but down 5 percent from a year ago.

Total frozen fruit stocks were down 5 percent from last month and down slightly from a year ago.  Total frozen vegetable stocks were down 8 percent from last month and down 4 percent from a year ago.

Urea Prices Spike 5% Higher Amid Transportation Trouble

Retail fertilizer prices continued to be fairly steady the second week of May 2019, although one spiked higher, according to retailers surveyed by DTN.

Like the last two weeks, prices for four of the eight major fertilizers were higher, while the other four were lower than last month. But, unlike the last few weeks, one fertilizer was considerably higher.

Urea was 5% more expensive compared to the second week of April, up $22 per ton with an average price of $426/ton. This marks the first time since the second week of February a fertilizer has seen a significant price move, which DTN considers 5% or more.

The remaining three fertilizers with higher prices saw more marginal increases. Potash had an average price $392/ton, up $4; 10-34-0 $487/ton, up $6; and anhydrous $595/ton, up $1.

The remaining four fertilizers were slightly lower looking back to the prior month. DAP had an average price of $498/ton, $6 lower; MAP $526/ton, down $5; UAN28 $267/ton, $3 lower; and UAN32 $311/ton, down $6.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.46/lb.N, anhydrous $0.36/lb.N, UAN28 $0.48/lb.N and UAN32 $0.49/lb.N.

All eight of the major fertilizers are now higher compared to last year. DAP is 3% higher; MAP is 4% more expensive; potash, 10-34-0 and UAN28 are all 11% higher; UAN32 is 13% more expensive; urea is 16% higher and anhydrous is 17% more expensive compared to last year.

Agriculture Industry Groups Call on Congress to Immediately Extend the Biodiesel Tax Credit

Thirteen trade groups representing farmers, rural lenders, crop and biobased oil producers, and biodiesel producers today wrote leaders of the House of Representatives and Senate, asking them to take action on bipartisan legislation to extend the biodiesel tax incentive.

“America’s farmers and rural communities are facing a mounting economic threat. With your leadership, Congress can help mitigate the crisis by taking immediate action on a policy that enjoys bipartisan, bicameral support. We are writing today to ask you to renew and extend the biodiesel tax incentive at the earliest opportunity,” the letter states.

“Senators and Representatives from both sides of the aisle and across the country agree that the biodiesel tax incentive should be renewed.,” the letter continues. “We ask you to bring an extension of the biodiesel tax incentive up for immediate consideration in Congress.”

Kurt Kovarik, NBB’s Vice President of Federal Affairs, added, “Income for America’s farmers is falling, and the impact is beginning to be felt in other sectors of the rural economy. Biodiesel production adds value to oil seed crops and recycled oils, providing one bright spot for the agriculture sector. Congress can take rapid action to renew the biodiesel tax incentive – a policy that enjoys broad bipartisan support – to help U.S. biodiesel producers continue growing.”

The groups include the Agricultural Retailers Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, CoBank, Corn Refiners Association, Farm Credit Council, National Biodiesel Board, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, National Farmers Union, National Oilseed Processors Association, National Renderers Association, National Sorghum Producers, and U.S. Canola Association.

Weekly Ethanol Production for 5/17/2019

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending May 17, ethanol production rose 19,000 barrels per day (b/d), a 1.9% increase, at an average of 1.071 million barrels per day (b/d)—equivalent to 44.98 million gallons daily. That is the largest volume in 37 weeks and 42,000 b/d (4.2%) above year ago levels. The four-week average ethanol production rate lifted 0.6% to 1.046 million b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 16.04 billion gallons (bg)—the first time this year to breach 16 bg.

Ethanol stocks moved 5.2% higher to 23.4 million barrels, building across all PADDs. This is the largest volume in seven weeks and stands 5.9% greater than year ago reserves.

There were no imports reported by EIA for the 27th week in a row. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of March 2019.)

The volume of gasoline supplied expanded 3.1% to 9.429 million b/d (396.0 million gallons per day, or 144.55 bg annualized). Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol moved fractionally lower (-0.2%) to 951,000 b/d, equivalent to 14.58 bg annualized.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production decreased to 11.36%.

Over 200 Farm, Food and Rural Groups Support Agribusiness Merger Moratorium Bills

Today, a broad-based coalition of 219 farm, food, rural, faith and consumer advocacy organizations delivered a letter to Congress endorsing food and agribusiness merger moratorium bills introduced by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Jon Tester (D-MT) and Representative Mark Pocan (D-WI).

The Food and Agribusiness Merger Moratorium and Antitrust Review Act of 2019 would initiate a moratorium on large agriculture, food and beverage manufacturing and grocery retail mergers to allow time to assess the impact corporate consolidation has on farmers, workers, consumers and communities. It also recommends improvements to antitrust enforcement. The bills were also introduced in the House and Senate in 2018.

“Over the past several decades, lax antitrust enforcement has greatly reduced competition in the industries that supply and buy from family farmers and ranchers, saddling them with higher input costs, fewer choices, and less innovation,” said National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson. “After a recent wave of agribusiness mega-mergers, Senator Booker and Representative Pocan’s legislation would provide a much-needed opportunity to evaluate the damage and establish stronger safeguards to prevent this level of consolidation in the future. We heartily support this merger moratorium, and we urge Congress to do so as well by passing it swiftly.”

“The hyper-consolidation of our food supply means that farmers earn less, consumers pay more and our food system is less resilient,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. “With mega-deals like ChemChina-Syngenta, Monsanto-Bayer and Dow-DuPont going through in just the last few years, it’s past time for Congress to act to stop the further consolidation of our food system.”

The letter outlines the impacts of a merger and acquisition spree that has swept through food and agriculture in the last decade, with mergers between major seed, fertilizer, food processing and grocery retail giants. This wave of consolidation has contributed to falling farm prices, declining farm incomes, stagnant wages for food workers, rising food prices and economic stagnation in rural communities.

The Booker-Pocan bill would put a strategic pause on merger combinations of over $160 million in sales or assets and establish a commission to study the impacts of consolidation in the food and agricultural sectors on farmers, rural communities, workers and consumers. The commission would also recommend any necessary changes to federal antitrust statutes or other laws and regulations to restore a fair and competitive agricultural marketplace.

“Smaller-scale and historically disadvantaged farmers who have long depended on livestock to sustain their diverse operations face disproportionate challenges marketing their products at fair prices in an increasingly concentrated agribusiness dominated market,” said Lorette Picciano, Executive Director of the Rural Coalition. “Mega-mergers are the prime driver of the downward spiral in income, wages and working conditions for this sector of producers as well as farm and food chain workers, and small businesses that erodes rural economic vitality and ecological health, and pits workers and communities against each other to survive. It is long past time for policy makers to provide them the time and statutory tools they need to build the futures they want.”

The letter, signed by groups from 46 states, urged other Members of Congress to cosponsor the legislation to stop the mergers that threaten independent family farmers, consumers and communities.

"For too long, corporate consolidation in the food and agriculture sectors has been ignored despite alarms raised by family farmers and rural communities of the negative, anti-democratic impacts of this trend,” said Jim Goodman, Board President of the National Family Farm Coalition. “Corporate domination of our rural economies and agricultural markets has undercut independent producers, exploited the workers who grow and process our food, forced rural businesses to close, and degraded our ecosystems. We are encouraged by the leadership of Senator Booker and Representative Pocan in bringing attention to this issue and taking a first step toward protecting the viability of small and mid-scale family farmers and local food systems."

Farm Credit Makes Grant to Improve Access to Mental Health Care for Farmers

Farm Credit has partnered with AgriSafe Network to support its Total Farmer Health campaign. The program will educate rural health professionals on the mental health risks faced by farmers and ranchers and trains them to integrate basic mental health screenings into their primary care practices.

“The name of the program, Total Farmer Health, says it all. This grant will help improve access to mental health care in rural America,” said Farm Credit Council CEO Todd Van Hoose. “As we commemorate Mental Health Month in May, Farm Credit hopes to play a role in helping improve the mental health resources available to agricultural producers across the country.”

Farmers and ranchers face a number of barriers to accessing mental health care. Farmers struggling with mental health issues are often more likely to seek help from their primary care practitioner than from mental health service providers, due to perceived stigma. Many rural areas lack specific mental health services entirely, making primary care practitioners an even more vital resource for producers and other rural residents in need of care. This funding will help better prepare these primary caregivers to address farmers’ mental health needs.

Farm Credit joins CHS in this partnership that will allow AgriSafe to train 300 rural primary care professionals on integrating farmer mental health services within primary care settings.

USDA Announces New Packers and Stockyards Act Regulations to be Issued

Today, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it will invite the public to comment on new proposed revisions to regulations under the Packers & Stockyards Act in compliance with a 2008 congressional mandate by the Bush administration. At issue is whether or not family farmers have a legal leg to stand on when the largest agriculture monopolies bully them in the marketplace using predatory and retaliatory practices to either keep farmers in line or to drive them out of business.

USDA’s action complies with its commitment to a federal court in 2018 in response to Organization for Competitive Markets’ (OCM) litigation against Secretary Sonny Perdue and USDA for having illegally withdrawn two of the Farmer Fair Practices Rules that were filed by the Obama administration to comply with the congressional mandate. These rules were the market safeguards that OCM, allied farm organizations, and individual farmers and ranchers have been advocating for over a decade.

Today’s USDA announcement states: “This action would invite comments on proposed revisions to regulations issued under the Packers and Stockyards Act (P&S Act). The revisions would specify criteria the Secretary could consider in determining whether conduct or action by packers, swine contractors, or live poultry dealers constitutes an undue or unreasonable preference or advantage and a violation of the P&S Act.”

In response, OCM issued the following statement:

“The fate of America’s family farmers is now in the hands of Secretary Perdue. Whether he will side with large transnational corporate monopolies like JBS and Tyson or stand up for America’s independent family farmers is yet to be seen. We have legitimate concerns about the Secretary’s motivation in light of his statement when withdrawing the previous protections was that the abusive practices by these large corporations were moral actions that neither litigation nor regulation could solve. Perdue later eliminated the standalone Grain Inspection, Packers, and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) agency which was charged with enforcing the Packers & Stockyards Act, and transferred its delegation to the historically big agribusiness-friendly Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).

Abusive market practices not only bankrupt family farmers but they destroy rural communities, local businesses and banks while denying consumers healthy and safe food choices at their grocery stores. All of us must be prepared to accept the Secretary’s invitation and issue our comments about the exceptional need for market protections.” 

FCA Board Chairman Dallas Tonsager dies

Dallas P. Tonsager, board chairman of the Farm Credit Administration, died yesterday of lymphoma in Falls Church, Virginia. He was 64. He is survived by his wife, Sharon; his son Keith and daughter-in-law, Lindsey; his son Josh; and his granddaughter, Ilia.

Chairman Tonsager was appointed to the FCA board by President Barack Obama on March 13, 2015. He was designated chairman and CEO by President Obama on November 22, 2016.

“Dallas dedicated his life to helping farmers, ranchers, and other rural Americans,” said FCA Board Member Jeff Hall, who was designated CEO on May 20. “Both at USDA and FCA, he worked hard to promote investments in rural communities. As chairman of FCA, he urged the Farm Credit System to work with borrowers experiencing stress as a result of the current downturn in the farm economy. He was also a fine colleague and friend. His passing is a great loss to agriculture and rural America and a personal loss to everyone who knew him.”

“Dallas’ commitment to agriculture and rural America has been an inspiration,” said FCA Board Member Glen Smith. “I am grateful and honored to have had the opportunity to serve with him these past 17 months. His leadership as a regulator has helped keep the System strong despite the extended period of stress in the farm economy, and his work to expand investments in rural communities has made rural America a better place for future generations.”

In a press release, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin C. Peterson and Ranking Member K. Michael Conaway also offered their condolences to the Tonsager family and recognized Chairman Tonsager’s contributions. “He worked especially hard to ensure the success of the biofuels industry, as well as highlighting the healthcare and broadband needs of rural America,” said Chairman Peterson. “His leadership and dedication to rural communities will be greatly missed.”

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

He served as under secretary for rural development at the U.S. Department of Agriculture from 2009 to 2013. In this position, he expanded broadband communication in rural America and implemented other key elements of the Recovery Act for rural America. He dramatically expanded USDA's water and wastewater programs, expanded funding for first- and second-generation biofuels, and funded hospitals and other public facilities in rural America. He also worked with the Farm Credit System and others to set up new venture capital investment funds.

From 2010 to 2013, Chairman Tonsager was a member of the Commodity Credit Corporation board of directors. From 2004 to 2009, he served as a member of the FCA board, as well as a member of the board of directors of the Farm Credit System Insurance Corporation.

Before this, Chairman Tonsager served for two years as executive director of the South Dakota Value-Added Agriculture Development Center. In this position, he coordinated initiatives to better serve producers interested in developing value-added agricultural projects. Services provided by the center include project facilitation, feasibility studies, business planning, market assessment, technical assistance, and education.

In 1993, he was selected by President William J. Clinton to serve as USDA's state director for rural development in South Dakota. Chairman Tonsager oversaw a diversified portfolio of housing, business, and infrastructure loans in South Dakota. His term ended in February 2001.

A longtime member of the South Dakota Farmers Union, Chairman Tonsager served two terms as president of the organization from 1988 to 1993. During that same period, he was a board member of Green Thumb Inc., a nationwide job training program for senior citizens. In addition, he served on the board of National Farmers Union Insurance from 1989 to 1993, and he was a member of the advisory board of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission from 1990 to 1993.

Chairman Tonsager grew up on a dairy farm near Oldham, South Dakota. For many years, he and his older brother owned Plainview Farm in Oldham, a family farm on which they raised corn, soybeans, wheat, and hay. He was a graduate of South Dakota State University where he earned a Bachelor of Science in agriculture in 1976.

The Tonsager family plans to host a funeral service in South Dakota and a memorial service in Washington.

NCGA Remembers Farm Credit Chairman Dallas Tonsager

Farm Credit Administration Chairman Dallas Tonsager passed away Tuesday after a battle with lymphoma. Tonsager was a long-time champion of agriculture and rural America.

“Dallas was a good and honest man who worked hard on behalf of farmers and ranchers,” NCGA CEO Jon Doggett said. “He never lost touch with his rural roots and used his leadership positions to advocate for rural communities.”

Tonsager served as undersecretary for rural development at USDA from 2009 to 2013, overseeing an expansion of rural broadband development and increased funding for first- and second-generation biofuels, among other initiatives.

Statement on the Death of Dallas Tonsager

Farm Credit Council President and CEO Todd Van Hoose made the following statement on the death of Dallas Tonsager.

“Dallas had a life-long passion for rural communities and agriculture. During his time in Washington, D.C., Dallas worked tirelessly to support farm families and make a more vibrant rural economy. His leadership and his friendship will be deeply missed.”

Tuesday May 21 Ag News

Nebraska Cover Crop Selector Tool Now Available
Gary Lesoing - NE Extension Educator

An online Cover Crop Selector Tool is now available for Nebraska, thanks to work by the Midwest Cover Crops Council and representatives of Nebraska Extension, the Natural Resource and Conservation Service (NRCS), and the cover crop industry in Nebraska. The new Cover Crop Selector Tool is available on the Midwest Cover Crops Council website.

Users can plug in the top three attributes they’re seeking in a cover crop and the tool will provide a 1-4 rating of those attributes for individual cover crops and/or cover crop mixes. The tool rates such attributes as:  nitrogen source, nitrogen scavenger, soil building, erosion fighter, weed fighter, good grazing, quick growth, lasting residue, and winter survivability. The user can then click on the individual cover crop description and learn specific information, such as planting rates and timing, termination methods and timing, and advantages and disadvantages of the cover crop.

With the information provided, users can determine the cover crops best suited to their purpose. The Nebraska site includes 47 cover crops and six mixes.

The development of this tool was led by Dean Baas, sustainable agriculture educator at Michigan State University, and Anna Morrow of Purdue University, Midwest Cover Crops Council program manager. They worked with over 20 team members from Nebraska. Baas has led most of the states within the Midwest Cover Crops Council through this process to develop a cover crop selector tool. Selection tools are also available for Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin as well as the province of Ontario.

Nebraska Extension has been a member of the Midwest Cover Crops Council for five years. Gary Lesoing, extension educator and Nebraska State SARE Coordinator, represents Nebraska on the Board of Directors. The Midwest Cover Crops Council has a number of excellent resources, including the “Midwest Cover Crop Field Guide,” a cover crop pocket guide used by many farmers in Nebraska and across the Midwest.

This summer Nebraska Extension plans to release several cover crop recipes for beginning cover crop growers. These resources help guide a new grower through cover crop planning and preparation, fall work, spring work, and adjustments under various conditions and production systems.

USDA Seeks Project Proposals from Partner Organizations to Protect and Restore Wetlands

USDA is making available up to $40 million in technical and financial assistance to help eligible conservation partners voluntarily protect, restore and enhance critical wetlands on agricultural lands. Restored wetlands improve water quality downstream and improve wildlife habitat, while also providing flood prevention and recreational benefits to communities.

“These locally-led partnerships are instrumental in achieving greater wetland acreage and maximizing their benefits to farmers, ranchers and the local communities where wetlands exist,” said Craig Derickson, Nebraska state conservationist of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). “For example, we see this program as important to helping communities respond to natural disasters, such as the flooding in Nebraska. These partnerships can help with addressing croplands that flood frequently. The restored wetlands can provide critical water storage during times of flooding.”

Proposals should be emailed to NRCS at by June 14, 2019.

About the Wetland Reserve Enhancement Partnership

Funding will be provided through the Wetland Reserve Enhancement Partnership (WREP), part of the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), a Farm Bill conservation program.

Through WREP, states, local units of governments, non-governmental organizations and American Indian tribes collaborate with NRCS through cooperative and partnership agreements. These partners work with landowners who voluntarily enroll eligible land into easements to protect, restore and enhance wetlands on their properties.

Wetland reserve easements enable landowners to successfully reduce impacts from flooding, recharge groundwater, enhance and protect wildlife habitat and provide outdoor recreational and educational opportunities. Partners benefit from WREP by targeting outreach and enrollment priorities supported by NRCS, including places impacted by natural disasters, such as the severe flooding that has impacted Nebraska.

The voluntary nature of NRCS' easement programs enables effective integration of wetland restoration on working landscapes, providing benefits to farmers and ranchers who enroll in the program, as well as benefits to the communities where the wetlands exist. Easements enable landowners to adopt a variety of conservation practices that improve the function and condition of wetlands.

Partners interested in WREP are encouraged to work with their NRCS state office as part of developing the proposal. Proposals must follow ACEP guidelines for wetland reserve easements.

Growth Energy Applauds House Biofuels Caucus Letter to EPA in Support of E15 Year-Round

Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor thanked 20 members of the House Biofuels Caucus, led by Co-Chairs Collin Peterson (D-MN), Rodney Davis (R-IL), Dave Loebsack (D-IA), and Roger Marshall (R-KS), who sent a bipartisan letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler in support of the year-round sales of E15. The lawmakers called on EPA to finish lifting outdated restrictions on the biofuel blend in time for this year’s summer driving season.

“We are grateful for the continued support of champions on both sides of aisle who are fighting for a strong rule that will ensure more biofuels reach consumers at the pump," said Skor. "The rural economy is at a breaking point, and it’s vital that EPA act by June 1 to uphold the president’s commitment to farm families and allow retailers to keep more homegrown fuel on the market this summer.”

Signers of the letter are: Reps. Collin Peterson (MN-07), Rodney Davis (IL-13), Dave Loebsack (IA-02), Roger Marshall (KS-01), Darin LaHood (IL-18), Steve King (IA-04), Cheri Bustos (IL-17), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Adrian Smith (NE-03), Don Bacon (NE-02), Dusty Johnson (SD-At Large), Cindy Axne (IA-03), Angie Craig (MN-02), Steve Watkins (KS-02), James Comer (KY-01), Abby Finkenauer (IA-01), Jeff Fortenberry (NE-01), Tom Emmer (MN-06), Pete Stauber (MN-08), and Sam Graves (MN-06).

Nebraska farmer to Senate Ag Committee: Climate solutions start on the farm

Matt Rezac, a fourth-generation corn and soybean farmer from Weston, Nebraska, said today in testimony to the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee that farmers’ commitment to future generations, paired with their willingness to embrace new technology, positions them to lead on climate solutions. Rezac was invited to testify as part of the Committee’s hearing entitled “Climate change and the agriculture sector.”

“When we talk about stewardship of the land, and doing what’s right for the land, there’s no one better than the American farmer,” Rezac said in his testimony. “In Nebraska and across the nation, farmers are constantly seeking ways to safeguard natural resources while also strengthening their business. As we continue to embrace innovation and technology in these conservation efforts, farmers can make a real difference in providing climate solutions.”

Rezac said that like many farmers, environmental stewardship is already core to his farm management, noting some of his 2,500 acres of corn and soybeans have been in the family for nearly 140 years. He named three core strategies to help farmers unlock even greater environmental and economic results in the coming years.

First, he said, farmers and their ag retailers must continually deploy the latest technology through “precision conservation.”

“On our farm we use variable rate fertilizer, moisture probes in the soil to manage water, and we are extremely precise about our nutrient management, making adjustments in-season,” said Rezac. “In addition, with precision conservation tools like Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN’s Truterra Insights Engine and help from our ag retail advisers at Frontier Cooperative, we’re able to highlight the financial opportunities for different field management systems. Technology is critical, and the future of agricultural conservation is precision.”

Second, enhanced collaboration between the public and private sectors will help farmers achieve more, with federal agencies like USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service working even more closely alongside local ag retailers.

“My stewardship journey is a one of relationships and collaboration. We could not have accomplished what we did on my farm without my District Conservationist and my local NRCS office that has worked with me to tailor conservation solutions to my own farm,” Rezac said. “Unfortunately, my local NRCS office is overworked, and truthfully, overwhelmed. To fill some of that void, I turned to my local co-op, Frontier Cooperative. Frontier has been a leader in sustainability, and they joined the Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN program when it launched in 2016. Frontier embraced bringing agronomists out to the farm, educating farmers about being more efficient.”

The result, he said, has been a stronger capacity to use analytics and data to focus and target conservation practices on the farm.

Third, Rezac reinforced that economics and environmental stewardship can, and must, go hand-in-hand as farmers strive to deliver climate solutions.

“In today’s farm economy, we aren’t farming to rake in a profit. We’re not making money, and we’re farming to lose as little as possible. I’m speaking to you as a fourth-generation family farmer whose top priority is to make sure my farm is healthy and strong when my sons Jacob and Chase are grown up,” he said. “I know focusing on environmental stewardship also makes economic sense, when it’s done right.

Rezac thanked members of the Senate Agriculture Committee for focusing on how farmers can deliver climate solutions, while keeping their farms environmentally strong and economically healthy for future generations.

“With the right policy and the right incentives, farmers can keep improving across the board. We can produce an abundant food supply, safeguard resources for the future, maintain our businesses, and lead the way on climate solutions,” said Rezac.

Rezac Farms is a member of Land O’Lakes, Inc., America’s third-largest farmer-owned cooperative, and Rezac received the 2017 Outstanding Sustainability Award from Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN – a business launched by Land O’Lakes to support farmer-led, farmer-driven stewardship solutions. Rezac has also worked alongside Frontier Cooperative to bolster his on-farm stewardship efforts using the Truterra™ Insights Engine from Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN, an interactive, on-farm digital platform launched in 2018 to help farmers advance their stewardship goals and optimize their return-on-investment in real time, acre-by-acre.

Beef Cattle Industry Has Great Story to Tell On Climate

Testifying on behalf of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, Kansas cattle producer Debbie Lyons-Blythe delivered a clear message at a U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee hearing on climate change this morning.

“The U.S. cattle industry is proud of its history as stewards of our nation’s natural resources,” Lyons-Blythe testified at the Committee’s hearing on Climate Change and the Agricultural Sector. “The industry takes very seriously its obligation to protect the environment while providing the nation with a safe and affordable beef supply. Cattle producers are America’s original conservationists, and we work hard every day to ensure that we can pass our operations on to the next generation.”

Lyons-Blythe, who helps run Blythe Family Farms in the Flint Hills of Kansas, also pushed back against claims that beef cattle production in the United States is responsible for a disproportionate or even significant percentage of greenhouse gas emissions.

“The beef cattle industry has a great story to tell in the climate conversation and the facts support that,” Lyons-Blythe testified. “According to the Environmental Protection Agency, direct emissions from beef cattle represent two percent of all greenhouse gas emissions in the country. A recent study published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that emissions from cattle ‘were not a significant contributor to long-term global warming.”

Lyons-Blythe also highlighted her work as a board member with the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, which recently released its landmark U.S. Beef Industry Sustainability Framework and encourages operations all along the beef value chain to measure key environmental metrics like water resources, air and greenhouse gas emissions, and land resources.

“The Roundtable is an example of ranchers leading the way on conservation,” Lyons-Blythe said. “Cattle ranchers took the initiative to identify their unique footprint in beef sustainability, demonstrating their positive contributions to landscapes, wildlife populations, rural communities, our nation’s economy, and a global food supply. But we also reflected on opportunities where we can improve. It demonstrates our commitment to doing right by the land, responsibly raising animals, caring for the people who raise beef, and making money to support our families and the next generation of beef producers.”

ACE elevates low carbon White Paper to Senate Ag Committee

American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings highlights the scientific and economic opportunities U.S. farmers and biofuel producers hold to support climate change mitigation and get the rural economy back on track in a letter to Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) as the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee hold a hearing on climate change and the agriculture sector today.

“As the committee begins this timely discussion about the role of agriculture in climate change, the current economic stakes intensify the need for policies which can provide a meaningful return on investment,” the letter stated. Jennings noted, U.S. farmers are under tremendous financial stress from collapsing net farm income, rising expenses, ongoing trade tensions, weather-related disasters, and the undermining of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) with demand destroying small refinery waivers.

As Congress tackles climate change, Jennings believes one way to thread that needle would be by providing “rural America with concrete benefits from climate-centered policies that outweigh potential negatives, such as recognizing the role agriculture can play to mitigate climate change and increasing the use of low carbon fuels.”

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has made it clear agriculture can play an important role in mitigating climate change through soil carbon sequestration. “ACE believes unlocking the marketplace for low carbon fuels creates the economic driver to help farmers adopt practices that maximize atmospheric carbon sequestration in soil,” the letter stated.

To underpin the scientific and economic opportunity for ethanol use to increase via low carbon fuel markets, last year, ACE published a White Paper titled “The Case for Properly Valuing the Low Carbon Benefits of Corn Ethanol” that highlights how U.S. farmers and ethanol producers are improving efficiencies, investing in technologies, and adopting practices to dramatically reduce lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from corn ethanol.

The full letter is available here and ACE’s White Paper is available online by visiting

Committee Holds Hearing on Climate and Agriculture - Farmers Union Encouraged by First Step to Address Crisis

The U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry today held a hearing dedicated to the issue of climate change and the agricultural sector.

In written testimony, (National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson thanked the committee for addressing the deleterious effects of climate change on the agricultural industry and emphasized the need for federal policies that assist farmers with the implementation of practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, sequester carbon, and build resilience to extreme weather events.

“Climate change is not a future or hypothetical issue for family farmers and ranchers – they are already suffering its effects every day. Higher average temperatures, altered precipitation patterns, and more frequent and severe natural disasters have added several more layers of uncertainty to the already difficult job of food production. As the climate continues to change, we can only expect the challenges to multiply. This serious and immediate problem requires serious and immediate action – and we are glad that the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry is taking the first steps by holding this hearing.

“Though the agricultural sector is among the most directly impacted by climate change, it is also among the most capable of mitigating and adapting to its effects. Farmers and ranchers are not only able to cut greenhouse gas emissions on their operations, but they can also offset greenhouse gas emissions from other sectors by sequestering carbon in the soil, growing biofuels, and engaging in on-farm energy production. Many of the USDA’s existing conservation programs support these important efforts with financial and technical assistance. We encourage Congress to continue providing farmers with the tools they need by expanding and enhancing these programs. Additionally, we recommend robust investments in public agricultural research as well as the creation of market-based incentives for climate-smart practices.

“Farmers Union members understand the urgent threat that climate change poses to agriculture, and they want to do everything they can to lessen the damage. But this work isn’t free or easy – it often requires significant time, money, and expertise. We look forward to working with you to identify policies and solutions that help family farmers and ranchers achieve their sustainability goals.”

USDA Statement on Support for Farmers

From a USDA Spokesperson: “Details on the new farming support program will be forthcoming shortly, but we want to be clear that the program is being designed to avoid skewing planting decisions one way or another. Farmers should continue to make their planting and production decisions with the current market signals in mind, rather than some expectation of what a farming support program might or might not look like based on inaccurate media stories.”

R-CALF USA Asks Court to Declare Beef Checkoff Practices in 15 States Unconstitutional

Yesterday, R-CALF USA, through its attorneys, filed documents in the federal district court in Montana asking that its motion to declare the beef checkoff practices in 15 states unconstitutional be granted. Those states are: Hawaii, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, and Wisconsin.

The documents contend that in each of the 15 states, the state beef councils are private corporations that have been keeping half of all the mandatory beef checkoff assessments collected within their states to fund their private speech.

The group is challenging this practice on the grounds that the First Amendment prohibits the government from compelling cattle producers and other citizens to subsidize private speech.

The remedy to this constitutional violation, according to R-CALF USA, is to allow producers in those 15 states to choose whether or not to fund private corporations. If producers choose not to fund their private state councils, their money should go to the government to fund its work on behalf of ranchers, which the Supreme Court has held is constitutional. This now occurs in Montana where R-CALF USA was granted a preliminary injunction in June 2017.

The court documents state R-CALF USA and its members are injured by the state council’s private speech because rather than promote consumption of domestically produced beef, which R-CALF USA believes will benefit its members, the councils promote beef regardless of how or where it was raised. The injury arises because the councils are not accountable to the public, meaning R-CALF USA cannot employ traditional lobbying techniques to advocate for change.

Another of the group’s objections is that the state beef councils send checkoff money to third-party entities that are likewise not publicly accountable and that use the money to support the consolidation of the cattle and beef industry, another outcome R-CALF USA opposes. In 2018, the Texas Beef Council, for instance, gave $2 million to the private Federation of State Beef Councils and U.S. Meat Export Federation. Other councils have donated to political advocacy groups like the Wisconsin Livestock Identification Initiative.

“The beef checkoff is eliminating opportunities for U.S. cattle producers to remain profitable by promoting foreign beef as if it were equal to domestic beef and by supporting corporate efforts to consolidate and control our industry. Our members said enough is enough and our plan is to put producers back in control of the checkoff, which our lawsuit helps accomplish,” said R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard.    

“The court should grant this motion and bring relief to ranchers in these fifteen states. Independent producers of beef are currently being compelled to subsidize the speech of multinational corporations regardless of their wishes,” said Public Justice Food Project Senior Attorney David Muraskin, who represents R-CALF USA.

“Hopefully the unfettered misuse of U.S. cattle producer’s checkoff dollars by the state beef councils, many of which are closely associated with NCBA affiliated state cattlemen’s associations that fought to repeal country of origin labeling for beef, will be a thing of the past,” said J. Dudley Butler.

Attorneys for R-CALF USA include lead counsel David Muraskin, a Food Project Attorney at Public Justice, J. Dudley Butler of Butler Farm and Ranch Law Group, PLLC, and Bill Rossbach of Rossbach Law, P.C. in Missoula, Montana.


All layers in Nebraska during April 2019 totaled 8.62 million, up from 7.76 million the previous year, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service.  Nebraska egg production during April totaled 207 million eggs, up from 192 million in 2018. April egg production per 100 layers was 2,405 eggs, compared to 2,471 eggs in 2018.


Iowa egg production during April 2019 was 1.40 billion eggs, down 2 percent from last month but up 5 percent from last year, according to the latest Chickens and Eggs report from the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.  The average number of all layers on hand during April 2019 was 59.3 million, up slightly from last month and up 3 percent from last year. Eggs per 100 layers for April were 2,366, down 2 percent from last month but up 2 percent from last year.

April Egg Production Up 5 Percent

United States egg production totaled 9.34 billion during April 2019, up 5 percent from last year. Production included 8.18 billion table eggs, and 1.17 billion hatching eggs, of which 1.08 billion were broiler-type and 87.1 million were egg-type. The average number of layers during April 2019 totaled 403 million, up 3 percent from last year. April egg production per 100 layers was 2,318 eggs, up 2 percent from April 2018.
All layers in the United States on May 1, 2019 totaled 402 million, up 2 percent from last year. The 402 million layers consisted of 339 million layers producing table or market type eggs, 59.4 million layers producing broiler-type hatching eggs, and 3.59 million layers producing egg-type hatching eggs. Rate of lay per day on May 1, 2019, averaged 77.2 eggs per 100 layers, up 2 percent from May 1, 2018.

Egg-Type Chicks Hatched Up 3 Percent

Egg-type chicks hatched during April 2019 totaled 60.7 million, up 3 percent from April 2018. Eggs in incubators totaled 55.1 million on May 1, 2019, down 2 percent from a year ago.  Domestic placements of egg-type pullet chicks for future hatchery supply flocks by leading breeders totaled 295 thousand during April 2019, up 44 percent from April 2018.

Broiler-Type Chicks Hatched Up 2 Percent

Broiler-type chicks hatched during April 2019 totaled 817 million, up 2 percent from April 2018. Eggs in incubators totaled 701 million on May 1, 2019, up 1 percent from a year ago.  Leading breeders placed 8.04 million broiler-type pullet chicks for future domestic hatchery supply flocks during April 2019, up 5 percent from April 2018.

ISU Extension and Outreach to Offer Delayed and Prevented Planting Webinar on May 24

Wet conditions have made planting a challenge for farmers across Iowa. According to the United States Department of Agriculture-National Agricultural Statistics Service, 70% of Iowa’s expected corn crop has been planted and 27% of the expected soybean crop, as of May 20.

With June around the corner, farmers have questions about late planting or prevented planting options. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will host a webinar on May 24 at 9 a.m. to address these concerns and questions. ISU Extension and Outreach field agronomists Virgil Schmitt and Rebecca Vittetoe will discuss late planting options and considerations for both corn and soybean. The webinar will also include a discussion on crop insurance and prevented planting policies and considerations by ISU Extension and Outreach farm management specialist Ryan Drollette. The webinar can be accessed through the following link:

The webinar is free and open to the public. No pre-registration is required. The webinar will be recorded and uploaded online to for those unable to join the webinar live.

For more information or questions, contact Drollette at 319-337-2145 or; Schmitt at 563-260-3721 or; or Vittetoe at 319-653-4811 or

May Is Beef Month in Iowa, But Producers Face Spring Challenges

Ranked fourth for cattle and calves on feed, and 10th for the number of beef cows, Iowa’s beef industry plays a major role in the state’s economy. Iowans have nearly 4 million head of beef cattle on inventory, and market more than 1.8 million head a year.

The state’s beef industry contributes more than $6.3 billion annually to the state’s economy, and supports more than 32,000 jobs, according to a May Beef Month proclamation signed by Gov. Kim Reynolds.

Cattle in field by davidhewison/ Iowans certainly have a lot to celebrate this month, many are also facing the challenges of a cool, wet spring, and the continuous challenge of being profitable amid high feed and input costs.

To help producers overcome these challenges, the Iowa Beef Center and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach have published a number of resources this spring that address common problems, including flooding and grain storage, pasture management, pasture renovation, and grazing and silage options.

In late April, the Iowa Beef Center published a six-tip guide to managing pastures, called “Spring Pasture Management Tips for Cattle Producers.” The guide covers such things as scouting, testing soils and rotating paddocks.

In an article called “Step Two in Flood Recovery — Pasture Renovation,” ISU Extension and Outreach experts discuss what’s involved with renovating damaged pastures.

For cattle and sheep producers who are considering adding forage crops, or grazing to their operation, ISU Extension and Outreach published an article called “Weathering the Weather – Options for Haying, Grazing and Silage.”

Upcoming events

Looking ahead, Iowa beef producers also have a few educational opportunities to put on their calendar. Cattle Feeder’s Day will be held June 13, at the Wallace Foundation Learning Center, and will cover disease detection, nutrition management and the production of high quality beef.

Speaking of “quality,” producers have multiple upcoming opportunities to earn their Beef Quality Assurance certification. Training can be done in person or online. For a list of upcoming trainings, visit the Iowa Beef Quality Assurance Program webpage, at

For more information about beef events at Iowa State University, visit the Iowa Beef Center.

Additional information is available through the Iowa Beef Industry Council and the Iowa Beef Checkoff.

Iowa’s beef cattle standing

Here is a look at where Iowa stands for beef cattle production, in the state and in the nation. Information provided by the Iowa Beef Industry Council, ISU Department of Economics and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Census, 2017.

Total cattle inventory in Iowa            3.95 million head
State rank all cattle and calves        Eighth
Cattle on feed in Iowa                      1.32 million head
State rank cattle/calves on feed       Fourth
Number of beef cows                       950,000 (ranked 10th)
Number of cattle operations             25,367
Number of dairy cows                      220,000

Beginning Farmer Tax Credit Creates Opportunities for Landowners and New Producers

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig released the following statement in response to Gov. Kim Reynolds signing HF768, the Beginning Farmer Tax Credit bill, into law today.

“I want to thank Gov. Reynolds for signing and legislature for passing this important legislation that supports farmers who are just starting out,” said Secretary Naig. “The new law expands the Beginning Farmer Tax Credit to allow more individuals to participate. This is a great opportunity for existing landowners to earn tax credit and help new farmers establish their own operations.”

About the Beginning Farmer Tax Credit
-    Under Chapter 16 of Iowa code, a “beginning farmer” is an individual, partnership, family farm corporation or family farm LLC with a low or moderate net worth that engages in farming or wishes to engage in farming.
-    Cash rent, commodity share and flex leases to beginning farmers qualify for the credit, which is equal to 5 percent and 15 percent, respectively, of the lease payment.
-    Up to $12 million in tax credits will be available each year to landowners who lease to beginning farmers.
-    The average Iowa farmer is 57 years old, there are more than 86,000 farms in Iowa, and we have less than 15,000 young producers, according to the 2017 Census of Ag

FFAR Awards MSU Grant to Enhance Milk Production

Feeding the 9 million US dairy cows requires millions of acres of crops and accounts for more than half of total dairy farm costs. The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) awarded Michigan State University a $1 million grant to improve dairy cow feed efficiency, which could improve farmer profitability and substantially reduce the greenhouse gas footprint of the dairy industry. The Council on Dairy Cattle Breeding (CDCB) provided matching funds, for a total award of $2 million.  Collaborating institutions include the University of Wisconsin, Iowa State University, University of Florida, and USDA Animal Genomics Improvement Laboratory.

Dairy farmers could significantly reduce their expenses by selecting cows with the highest feed efficiency, which are the cows that produce the same or more milk while consuming less feed. In 2010, Michigan State researchers participated in a US Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)-sponsored study that found breeding for more feed-efficient cows could save the U.S. dairy sector $540 million a year with no loss in milk production.

The major challenge to achieving this goal has been collecting enough data on enough cows to develop reliable genomic breeding values for feed intake.  This project will measure feed intake, milk production, body weight, and other information on 3,600 dairy cows to add to the existing database created as part of the earlier USDA NIFA project.  In addition, the research team, led by Dr. Michael VandeHaar, will use new sensor technologies to monitor dairy cows’ body temperature, feeding behavior, and locomotion, along with milk spectral data, to predict feed intake and gather data from thousands of cows to further improve the ability of farmers to select the most efficient cows. The researchers also will evaluate whether their genetic predictions can be used to decrease methane emissions from dairy cattle.

“I am excited about this project. We have a great group of geneticists and nutritionists working together to collect intake and sensor data on 3,600 cows from 5 locations,” said Dr. VandeHaar. “Our project will enhance the reliability of feed intake breeding values and enable inclusion of feed costs as a trait in Net Merit. We also expect that our predicted feed intake index can be used for making culling and breeding decisions.”

The Council on Dairy Cattle Breeding plans to provide genomic evaluations for residual feed intake in 2020, so that dairy producers worldwide can include better predictors of feed efficiency in their genetic selection and management decisions.

Additionally, this project will help improve the sustainability of milk production. Feed production is responsible for about 20 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions for every gallon of milk, according to the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. Reducing the amount of feed dairy cows consume will reduce this footprint and could also reduce emissions associated with manure and digestion.

“Breeding cows for enhanced feed efficiency reduces rising feed costs on dairy farms, which could increase dairy farmers profitability and improve the competitiveness of the U.S. dairy industry,” said Sally Rockey, FFAR’s executive director. “Improving dairy cows feed intake will reduce greenhouse gas emissions while producing more feed-efficient cows, more profitable herds and a more sustainable dairy sector that is prepared to meet global food demands.”

May 20 Crop Progress & Condition Report - NE - IA - US


For the week ending May 19, 2019, there were 5.0 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 0 percent very short, 5 short, 80 adequate, and 15 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 0 percent very short, 4 short, 81 adequate, and 15 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn planted was 70 percent, behind 86 both last year and for the five-year average. Emerged was 27 percent, well behind 49 both last year and average.

Soybeans planted was 40 percent, well behind 64 last year, and behind 54 average. Emerged was 7 percent, behind 22 last year and 14 average.

Winter wheat condition rated 1 percent very poor, 4 poor, 26 fair, 57 good, and 12 excellent. Winter wheat headed was 8 percent, near 4 last year, but behind 27 average.

Sorghum planted was 18 percent, behind 29 last year and 28 average.

Oats planted was 90 percent, near 94 last year, and behind 97 average. Emerged was 67 percent, behind 84 last year, and well behind 91 average.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 1 percent very poor, 2 poor, 19 fair, 68 good, and 10 excellent.


Iowa farmers worked hard to make planting progress with drier conditions during the early part of the week ending May 19, 2019, according to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service. However, heavy rain fell late in the week which limited farmers to 2.7 days suitable for fieldwork statewide.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 0 percent very short, 0 percent short, 59 percent adequate and 41 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 0 percent very short, 1 percent short, 58 percent adequate and 41 percent surplus.

Iowa corn growers have 70 percent of the expected crop planted, 5 days behind last year and 9 days behind the 5-year average. This is the smallest percent of corn planted by May 19 since 1995 when just 53 percent of the expected crop had been planted. Even with limited days suitable for fieldwork, farmers in the northern districts and east central Iowa managed to plant at least a quarter of their expected corn crop this past week. Northeast Iowa planted the highest percentage of corn as they planted 43 percent of their expected crop. Twenty percent of the crop has emerged, over a week behind last year and average.

Twenty-seven percent of the expected soybean crop has been planted, 8 days behind last year and 9 days behind average. Three percent of the crop has emerged, 6 days behind average.

Nearly all the expected oat crop has been planted with 76 percent emerged, 2 days behind last year and 1 week behind average.

There were scattered reports for the first cutting of alfalfa hay. Hay condition rated 62 percent good to excellent.

Pasture condition improved slightly to 63 percent good to excellent. Warmer temperatures early in the week helped pastures grow, allowing cattle farmers to move more cattle out to graze.

Corn Planting Only 49% Complete Nationwide

Farmers across the country took advantage of the short period of drier weather last week to make up for lost time in getting seed in the ground. But, as of Sunday, May 19, only about the half of the nation's corn crop and less than a quarter of the soybean crop was planted, according to USDA NASS' weekly Crop Progress report on Monday.

An estimated 49% of U.S. corn was planted as of Sunday, a jump of 19 percentage points from 30% the previous week, but still well behind 78% at the same time last year and 31 percentage points behind the five-year average of 80%. That was a slight improvement from last week's report when corn planting was 36 percentage points behind the average pace.

Corn emergence continued to be sluggish with an estimated 19% of the crop emerged as of Sunday, behind 47% last year and 30 percentage points behind the five-year average of 49%. In last week's report, emergence was 19 percentage points behind the average.

Soybean planting progress fell further behind its average pace. As of Sunday, an estimated 19% of the crop was planted, up 10 percentage points from the previous week, behind last year's 53% and 28 percentage points behind the five-year average of 47%. In last week's report, soybean planting was 20 percentage points behind average.

Meanwhile, spring wheat growers continued to close the gap between 2019 planting progress and the five-year average. NASS estimated that 70% of spring wheat was planted as of Sunday, 10 percentage points behind the five-year average of 80%. That was closer to the average pace than the previous week when planting was 22 percentage points behind normal.  Spring wheat emerged, at 26%, was 25 percentage points behind the five-year average of 51%.

Winter wheat was 54% headed as of Sunday, behind last year's 59% and 12 percentage points behind the five-year average of 66%. USDA estimated that 66% of winter wheat was in good-to-excellent condition, up 2 percentage points from 64% the previous week.

Sorghum was 26% planted, compared to 38% last year and a five-year average of 38%. Oats were 77% planted as of May 19, compared to 84% last year and an average of 90%. Oats emerged were at 53%, compared to 64% last year and an average of 76%.

Cotton planting was 44% complete, compared to 50% last year and an average of 45%. Rice was 73% planted, compared to 92% last year and an average of 90%. Fifty-two percent of rice was emerged, compared to 72% last year and an average of 75%.