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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
September 25 Crop Progress & Condition Report - NE - IA - US


For the week ending September 24, 2017, temperatures averaged near normal across western Nebraska, but six to ten degrees above normal in the east, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Rainfall of an inch or more was received across most of the State, with some central counties recording up to four inches. Harvest activities were slowed due to the moisture. There were 5.7 days suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 4 percent very short, 26 short, 69 adequate, and 1 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 7 percent very short, 34 short, 58 adequate, and 1 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn condition rated 3 percent very poor, 8 poor, 22 fair, 50 good, and 17 excellent. Corn dented was 96 percent, near 98 last year and 97 for the five-year average. Mature was 55 percent, behind 66 last year and 62 average. Harvested was 7 percent, near 6 last year, but behind 13 average.

Soybean condition rated 2 percent very poor, 8 poor, 26 fair, 52 good, and 12 excellent. Soybeans dropping leaves was 80 percent, ahead of 72 last year and 70 average. Harvested was 10 percent, near 8 last year, and equal to average.

Winter wheat planted was 47 percent, well behind 68 last year, and behind 59 average. Emerged was 15 percent, well behind 37 last year, and behind 21 average.

Sorghum condition rated 1 percent very poor, 2 poor, 21 fair, 56 good, and 20 excellent. Sorghum coloring was 98 percent, near 100 last year and 94 average. Mature was 50 percent, behind 60 last year, but ahead of 42 average. Harvested was 13 percent, near 9 last year, and ahead of 4 average.

Alfalfa condition rated 2 percent very poor, 8 poor, 27 fair, 47 good, and 16 excellent. Alfalfa fourth cutting was 83 percent complete, ahead of 69 last year and 74 average.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 4 percent very poor, 20 poor, 44 fair, 27 good, and 5 excellent. Stock water supplies rated 2 percent very short, 9 short, 89 adequate, and 0 surplus.


There were above average temperatures and scattered rains throughout the state for the week ending September 24, 2017, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were 5.8 days suitable for fieldwork. Activities for the week included starting to harvest corn for grain and soybeans, planting cover crops, spreading manure, hauling grain, and finishing up chopping corn silage, harvesting seed corn, and cutting hay.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 22 percent very short, 27 percent short, 50 percent adequate and 1 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 21 percent very short, 33 percent short, 46 percent adequate and 0 percent surplus.

Ninety-four percent of the corn crop has reached the dent stage or beyond, one week behind last year and three days behind the 5-year average. Fifty-two percent of corn had reached maturity, five days behind average. Corn condition remained the same as last week at 59 percent good to excellent.

Ninety-one percent of soybeans were turning color or beyond, equal to last year and three days ahead of average. Sixty percent of soybeans were dropping leaves, two days behind last year but one day ahead of average. Five percent of the soybean crop has been harvested, two days behind average. Soybean condition improved slightly to 60 percent good to excellent.

There were multiple reports of a fourth cutting of alfalfa hay being cut, and scattered reports of possibly being a fifth cutting in parts of Iowa.

Pasture conditions declined to 48 percent poor to very poor. Livestock conditions were normal, although there were reports of water for cattle being an issue in parts of the state due to dry conditions.

USDA Weekly Crop Progress

Corn and soybean harvest and winter wheat planting all lagged the five-year average pace during the week ended Sept. 24, according to USDA's latest Crop Progress and Condition report issued Monday.

USDA estimated that 51% of corn was mature as of Sunday, well behind the average of 64%. Eleven percent of corn was harvested, also behind the five-year average of 17%. Corn condition held steady at 61% good to excellent.

While soybeans dropping leaves matched the average pace of 63%, soybean harvest continued to run slightly behind normal at 10% complete as of Sept. 24 compared to the five-year average of 12%. USDA estimated soybean condition at 60% good to excellent, up 1 percentage point from the previous week.

USDA guessed winter wheat planting to be 24% completed as of Sunday, even though no firm estimate on 2018 acreage has been established yet. That was 4 percentage points behind the five-year average of 28% planted. The key growing state of Kansas was estimated to be 14% completed as compared to the five-year average of 20%.

Sorghum was 32% harvested, slightly behind the five-year average of 33%.

Cotton was 57% bolls opening and the crop was 14% harvested nationwide, ahead of the average of 9% harvested. Cotton condition worsened from 61% good to excellent the previous week to 60% last week. Rice was 69% harvested, compared to a 61% average.

Monday September 25 Ag News

Stalk Rot Diseases in Nebraska Corn Fields
Tamra Jackson-Ziems, Extension Plant Pathologist

Various stalk rot diseases have been confirmed in samples from corn fields across Nebraska. Stalk rot diseases and the pathogens that cause them are common in corn. They can weaken corn stalks, leading to stalk lodging and harvest difficulties for producers.  These diseases also can impact yield if corn plants are killed prematurely. It’s important to be aware of their incidence in fields to better understand the risk of harvest difficulties if plants lodge. In addition, knowing which diseases are present in individual fields can help producers anticipate, manage and prevent them in subsequent growing years.

Unfortunately, the symptoms that stalk rotting pathogens cause can be misleading and make it difficult to diagnose. For example, some of the earliest symptoms of stalk rot disease may be the discoloration of leaves and rapid plant wilting and/or premature death. In recent weeks, several samples of dead leaves have been submitted to the UNL Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic. Microscopic observation and testing of these samples has failed to identify any pathogens or provide a diagnosis we can be confident of, leading us to suspect stalk rot diseases.

Crown and Stalk Rot Sampling Tips

As you continue to scout fields late in the season, it is important to collect the right kind of sample to ensure proper diagnosis. Over the course of several days, the leaves can become necrotic with symptoms resembling sunscald. However, splitting the stalk and crown can reveal the real cause of leaf dieback. Certain stalk rots, such as Anthracnose, are managed through resistant varieties. Others, like Fusarium spp., are controlled through cultural practices that lessen plant stress – balanced fertility, proper planting populations, and insect control.

Even though the noticeable symptoms appear on the leaves, the pathogen is not present in the leaves. Additionally, it may be easier to cut the plant a few inches above ground level and leave the crown and roots, but the main difference between crown and stalk rots is where the pathogen is infected. If the crown and roots are left and the disease has not progressed up the stalk, it is difficult to get an accurate diagnosis. Submitting entire plants is the best way to get an accurate diagnosis.  Proper management starts with a proper diagnosis.

Please do not send dead plants. It is difficult to ID the exact cause of death on a plant once other, opportunistic pathogens and microorganisms have had a chance to infect the weakened plant. Ideal samples are ones that are just starting to show symptoms. Keeping soil on the root ball is helpful in keeping the plant alive a little longer as we work through our diagnosis. Please enclose the root ball in a separate plastic bag to prevent soil from spreading to the rest of the plant. In order to fit the entire plant into a bag or shipping container it is fine to cut, or bend them to fit into a trash bag or large zip lock bag. 

As always, please fill out the sample ID form with as much information as possible.

Numerous stalk rot diseases occur in Nebraska and other states and your sample analysis results can identify one or more common pathogens in samples submitted to the UNL Plant & Pest Diagnostic Clinic.

Risk Factors for Stalk Rot

Crop stress during the growing season contributes to the development of some stalk rot diseases. Pay special attention to fields that have one or more of the following risk factors for stalk rot diseases and lodging:
-    Higher yielding hybrids
-    Lost leaf area (due to leaf diseases, hail, etc.)
-    Excessive rainfall/ponding
-    Stalk wounding, usually by hail or insect feeding
-    High planting populations
-    Thin stalks

Evaluating Stalk Strength Prior to Harvest

Walking through a field, randomly select a minimum of 100 plants representing a large portion of the field. To test for stalk rot you can PUSH the plant tops away from you approximately 30 degrees from vertical. If plants don’t snap back to vertical, the stalk may have been compromised by stalk rot disease. An alternative method is to PINCH the internodes of the lower stalk. If the stalks crush easily by hand, their integrity is reduced by stalk rot and they are prone to lodging. If more than 10% of plants exhibit stalk rot symptoms, harvesting that field first should be a priority over others at less risk in order to reduce the chance of plant lodging prior to harvest.

Several fungi are common in our production fields and can opportunistically cause stalk rot diseases in stressed plants. Some of the most common stalk rot diseases this year are listed below:

    Charcoal rot is one of the few diseases that is more common during drought conditions, and so, is more likely to affect corn in non-irrigated fields or pivot corners. The disease is characterized by the presence of many minute black round structures inside the stalk that can give it a gray to black appearance (Figure 3a). In addition, the fungus that causes charcoal rot, Macrophomina phaseolina, has a wide host range and can cause the same disease in several crops, including corn, soybean, sorghum, and alfalfa.

    Fusarium stalk rot is especially common during damp conditions, but may occur anywhere. One of the most common symptoms is the development of crown rot inside the lower stalk, below the soil line, near where roots attach to the stalk. The pathogen, Fusarium verticillioides, can sometimes be visible as white fungal growth on the outside of stalk nodes. Eventually, the disease may cause a pink or salmon discoloration to the inside of stalks.

    Anthracnose stalk rot can also cause a leaf disease and is a common cause of top rots in corn. In more advanced stages the disease can cause the development of black lesions visible on the outside of the stalk and is caused by the fungus Colletotrichum graminicola.

Managing for Stalk Rots in Corn

There is nothing to be done at this point in the season to stop stalk rots as affected stalks will continue to degrade over time, further weakening them. Growers can minimize losses by identifying which fields have the worst stalk rot diseases and adjust the harvest order of those fields. Consider harvesting or chopping fields heavily impacted by stalk rots first or earlier than others to minimize losses that can occur after lodging. Some seed companies provide ratings for their hybrids’ reactions for a few stalk rot diseases that may be helpful in selecting hybrids for fields with chronic stalk rot disease.

Natural Air Drying of Binned Soybeans 

Paul Jasa, NE Extension Engineer

If you're looking at storing soybeans harvested at over 13% moisture, you'll want to dry them to 13%, the recommended level for longer term storage.

The time to dry soybeans, or any grain, depends on a number of variables:
    The initial moisture content, %
    The desired moisture content, %
    The average ambient air properties — temperature and relative humidity
    Airflow through the bin — cubic feet per minute per bushel
    Whether the incoming air is heated

A grain drying program was used to estimate the time it would take to dry soybeans (see Table 1). It estimated the days to dry soybeans in a grain bin using natural air and 1 cubic foot per minute per bushel of grain in the bin. When drying in the bin, avoid using the stirator as it can damage soybeans.

Weather conditions are a huge factor in how long it takes to dry grain.  Click here to read more....


The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service has released the results of its 2016 Certified Organic Survey. Certified organic operations in Nebraska sold a total of $96 million in organic products in 2016, up 33 percent compared to 2015. The number of certified organic operations in Nebraska totaled 162, up 1 percent from last year.

The 2016 Certified Organic Survey is a census of all known U.S. farmers and ranchers with certified organic production in 2016. The survey collected acreage, production, and sales data for a variety of certified organic crop and livestock commodities.

Heuermann Lecture:  Nebraska: If Not Immigrants, Who? 

Nebraska Innovation Campus Conference Center
2021 Transformation Drive, Lincoln, NE
October 3, 2017 - 3:30 p.m. CST
Reception preceding lecture at 3:00 p.m.

Lourdes Gouveia, professor emerita of sociology and co-founder of the Office of Latino/Latin American Studies (OLLAS) at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, will speak at the first Heuermann Lecture of the season Oct. 3. Gouveia will examine the role that immigrants have played, and continue to play, in the social, economic and cultural development of Nebraska and its diverse communities.

Gouveia has authored and co-authored a number of articles aimed at documenting the profound sociodemographic changes and processes of immigrant incorporation occurring in new destination states such as Nebraska. As OLLAS director, she was charged with the task of producing a number of policy-relevant reports, which have been offered as key evidence by Nebraska state senators opposing the passage of draconian bills seeking to restrict immigrant rights.

Gouveia’s current work focuses on the growing exodus of middle-class, highly educated Venezuelans. The work is situated within the contest of increasing global precarity of unskilled and skilled labor alike, and the compounded impacts of Latin America’s failed development and governance modes. The theme for the seventh year of Heuermann Lectures is “Think Globally, Act Locally.” The lectures are funded by a gift from B. Keith and Norma Heuermann of Phillips.

Heuermann Lectures are free and open to the public.  Lectures are streamed live online at

Pork Checkoff’s Asian Trade Mission Offers Insight

With a clearer vision on how to elevate U.S. pork as the global protein of choice, three National Pork Board officers and two members of the senior leadership team have returned from an Asian trade mission. The team representing the Pork Checkoff toured Japan and China from Sept. 5–16, visiting with pork processors, distributors and retailers, as well as importers and traders. Asian team members of the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) also accompanied the Pork Checkoff crew.

“Pork is the No. 1 most consumed protein in the world, and that was certainly obvious as we toured parts of Japan and China,” said National Pork Board CEO Bill Even. “It is important for us to see firsthand how pork is raised, processed and promoted in Asia. The Asian customer and consumer culture is unique, and we need to understand the global motivation to purchase U.S. pork.”

The U.S. is facing record-breaking pork production in 2017. The Pork Checkoff is committed to growing demand, not only in the U.S., but also among top customers in Asia. In terms of pork volume (pounds), China/Hong Kong and Japan are currently the No. 2 and 3 export customers of the U.S. Combined volume in these areas is 534,953 metric tons (or about 1.18 billion pounds). In terms of pork value (U.S. dollars), Japan is No. 1 and China/Hong Kong is No. 3, with a combined value of nearly $1.6 billion of exports, both according to the most recent (through July) USMEF data.

“Marketing pork comes down to building long-term relationships and having a safe, dependable, high-quality product that is presented well to the buyer,” said Pork Board President Terry O’Neel, a producer from Friend, Nebraska. “Consumers are encouraged to experience U.S. pork through fun events and social activities.”

While in Japan, the trade team were able to see specifically how U.S. pork is marketed, including through USMEF’s current Gochipo (sumptuous pork) campaign. That marketing campaign extols the virtues of high-quality, delicious U.S. pork and the rising value of U.S. pork products.

“My most distinct takeaway as a producer is the vital and versatile role that U.S. pork plays in the Asian diet,” said Pork Board Treasurer Brett Kaysen, a producer from Nunn, Colorado. “No matter the level of retail outlet in Japan – from discount to high-end – U.S. pork is present.”

After spending five days on the ground in Japan, Checkoff leadership traveled to China. While in China, O’Neel and Even presented the U.S. pork production perspective at the annual China Swine Industry Symposium. O’Neel spoke on managing financial, environmental and labor risk in U.S. pork production.

“China is a huge market in terms of volume and opportunity,” said Pork Board Vice President Steve Rommereim, a producer from Alcester, South Dakota. “While China is 98 percent self-sufficient in pork production, we need to further our outreach efforts here. The economic growth and infrastructure development we saw in China is intimidating, to say the least. This level of growth points to a greater dependence on foreign market imports, with price a key buying criteria.”

Kaysen added, “In China, I envision cold pork storage experiencing dramatic growth as the population grows and as the country continues to consume more meat. Our job is to make U.S. pork truly recognized in the meatcase at the retail level in China as much as it is in Japan.”

O’Neel called the Board’s Asia trade mission a great success.

“Our leadership gained a greater understanding of the Asian market by visiting with people in the Japanese and Chinese meat trade,” O’Neel said. “U.S. pork is doing well in Asia, but we can do more to improve. Free trade issues remain both a barrier and a pathway to future U.S. pork export growth.”

Rommereim agreed, saying, “This was an important trip for the officers to make. As the U.S. pork industry expands, our dependence on these markets becomes even more important and valued. Through increasing our level of knowledge, we are better qualified to spend Checkoff dollars wisely to expand exports.”

Including both muscle cuts and variety meat, exports have increased to 27.5 percent of total production in 2017 (up from 25.6 percent last year). Growing that amount is the result of developing Asian customer relationships and working with USMEF and the National Pork Producers Council.

Producing safe food is chief goal for Iowa pig farmers

The men and women who raise hogs in Iowa are celebrating National Pork Month in October and want consumers to know they are firmly committed to the We Care ethical principles of pork production.

This means protecting and promoting animal well-being, humanely producing safe food, safeguarding natural resources, ensuring all production practices protect public health, contributing to a better quality of life in their communities, and providing a safe work environment on the farm.

These six ethical principles were adopted in 2008 and help guide each person who raises hogs in Iowa and across the nation. The purpose of the We Care initiative is to maintain a safe, high-quality pork supply.

"The ethical principles define our values and who we are," says Iowa Pork Producers Association President Curtis Meier of Clarinda. "Consumers can be confident that the pork they eat was raised using the ethical principles."

Pork Month is a celebration of all things pork and farmers want to make sure that today's consumers, many of whom are generations removed from the farm, know how pork is raised today.

"If you eat, you have a connection to a farmer," said Meier. "October Pork Month is an opportunity to reestablish that producer-to-consumer relationship. Our mission is to produce safe, nutritious food in a responsible manner, and we need to share how we do that with consumers."

Pork is the world's most widely eaten meat, representing 42 percent of all meat consumed, according to the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service.

The top five most popular cuts sold in the United States are center-cut chops, assorted chops, back ribs, blade roasts and center-cut loin roasts, according to Nielsen Perishable Group retail sales data for the 52 weeks ending July 1, 2017. In terms of value, center-cut chops accounted for more than $980 million in sales, assorted chops for $484 million, back ribs for $422 million, blade roasts for $289 million and center-cut loin roasts for $275 million.

"Consumers are putting more pork on their fork," said Meier. "To ensure a flavorful eating experience, we remind consumers to cook pork until the internal temperature reaches between 145 degrees and 160 degrees Fahrenheit, followed by a three-minute rest."

Yes, Larger Placements, But Let's Dig Deeper in the Report

David P. Anderson, Professor and Extension Economist
Department of Agricultural Economics, Texas A&M University

Feedlot placements bucked seasonal trends in July by declining, but rebounded in August according to USDA's Cattle on Feed Report.  Placements were reported up 2.6 percent over a year ago.  The 1.928 million head placed were the most for an August since 2012.  While the average pre-report estimates were for placements to be below a year ago, a 2.6 percent increase was within the range of estimates.  It's also interesting to note that the range of pre-report placement estimates was large, about 16 percentage points, reflecting a lot of uncertainty prior to this report.  That uncertainty reflected regional placement patterns, red ink in recent closeouts, drought in the Northern Plains, but abundant grass likely holding calves in other regions.  All in all, this report was likely a surprise for some market participants.

The distribution of placements by weight was, perhaps, the most interesting part of the report.  All of the increase in placements was in the 800-899 (up 50,000 head) and the 900-999 pound category (up 15,000 head).  That 65,000 head increase in placements was slightly offset by lower placements in the 600-699, 700-799, and 1,000 pound plus categories.

Digging in a little deeper suggests more evidence of cattle numbers pushing on-feed inventories to reflect older seasonal patterns.  It is normal for August placements to exceed those in July.  Most years during this decade that month to month increase has been around 100,000 head.  This year's increase from July was 313,000 head, slightly larger than last year's 307,000 head and the largest July to August increase since 2010.  In the decade of the 2000's it was not uncommon to have over a 400,000 head increase in placements over the July to August period.

Before we all freak out about placements being above the average expectation, a little perspective is in order.  Total placements were 49,000 head above August 2016.  That's not a large number compared to total placements of 1.9 million.  The 65,000 head increase in the heavier categories marketed over a likely 2 month period is about 1,500 head per day, likely early in 2018, with maybe a few in late 2017.  And remember, marketings exceeded placements in August for the first time since 2013, pulling down on-feed inventories.  Feedlot marketings continued at their rapid pace, up 6 percent, which is preventing backed up supplies.

Cattle on feed were reported up 3.6 percent.  It's likely that if a year ago we would have said that cattle on feed would be up about 3.6 percent in mid-late 2017 most would have said "that seems about right."  The on-feed number is not really out of line with longer term trends in cow herd and calf crop estimates.  I think it's also fair to say that USDA's rounding of the placement and on-feed numbers in the report makes the headline numbers seem more alarming.  On-feed up 4 percent seems a lot worse than 3.6 percent.

Fed cattle sold at about $108 this week, up $2 from last week.  It's worth remembering also that current prices reflect the current market.  The cattle on feed report contains information about market affecting supplies that will affect prices some months down the road.  If anything, there is some fundamental market information that would suggest $108 fed cattle might be underpriced.

ASA Steps up Urgency in Search for Answers on Dicamba Damage

As nationwide reports of dicamba-related damage to soybeans and other crops continue to climb, American Soybean Association (ASA) President and Illinois farmer Ron Moore reiterated the association’s commitment to find a solution to the issue:

“This issue isn’t going away—in fact, it’s only getting worse. There are now a reported 2,242 complaints affecting 3.1 million acres of soybeans in 21 of our 30 soybean-growing states, and we expect that number to continue to rise. This is unacceptable, and we are committed to establishing both a cause and a path forward on the dicamba issue, including what actions need to be taken to assure that soybean farmers can use the product safely without damaging their own or their neighbors’ crops.

“We continue to strongly support independent research underway at several land grant universities and coordinated by the national soybean checkoff to find answers. This includes research at the University of Arkansas, University of Illinois, Iowa State University, Kansas State University, the University of Kentucky, University of Missouri, Mississippi State University, the University of Nebraska, North Dakota State University, The Ohio State University, Purdue University, Southern Illinois University, the University of Tennessee, and University of Wisconsin.

“We need this independent university research as well as other efforts by the national and state soybean checkoffs to determine the root causes of this widespread problem and how to address them, whether that be additional education, application restrictions, or other actions to ensure that low-volatility formulations of dicamba stay on target and don’t damage neighboring crops.

“There is an important good neighbor aspect to consider here as well. While damage may be related to product sprayed over soybeans, the effects have reportedly impacted other adjacent crops, including tree fruit and other specialty crops. As the policy representative for soybean farmers, ASA has a duty to ensure that we are successfully coexisting with other crops, so we take these reports very seriously.

“And, we continue to engage the relevant technology providers to determine what went wrong and how we can move forward. Their cooperation will be key as we try to find answers to questions regarding product performance or volatility, environmental conditions, off-label application or use of older formulations, tank mixing and clean-out, or other causes. It is very important to recognize that we do not yet have all of the data we need to clearly determine the causes of this problem, or the next steps we’ll need to take.

“It is absolutely true that farmers need and want new technologies to help fight resistant weeds, and we are going to support the marketing of those new technologies and new formulations. That need is not blind, however, and we need to ensure that these products can be used by farmers in varied climates and growing regions safely.”

CWT Assists with 1.7 Million Pounds of Cheese and Butter Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 9 requests for export assistance from Dairy Farmers of America, Foremost Farms and Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold) that have contracts to sell 1.296 million pounds (588 metric tons) of Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese, and 385,809 pounds (175 metric tons) of butter to customers in Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Oceania. The product has been contracted for delivery in the period from September through December 2017.

So far this year, CWT has assisted member cooperatives who have contracts to sell 55.148 million pounds of American-type cheeses and 4.115 million pounds of butter (82% milkfat) to 21 countries on five continents. The sales are the equivalent of 601.598 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis

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

CHS Foundation Strengthens Partnership with the National FFA Organization

The CHS Foundation, funded by charitable contributions from CHS Inc., and  a key National FFA supporter for more than 40 years, recently announced a $3.8 million commitment to the National FFA Organization, growing its support to a platinum sponsorship level.

This investment helps ensure that the National FFA Organization continues to support members as they strive to become a workforce that understands the food and agriculture industry, and develop the leadership skills necessary to pursue careers in agriculture.

“Generous, broad and continued support from the CHS Foundation has an impact on our members and agriculture education teachers at the local, state and national levels,” said Molly Ball, president of the National FFA Foundation. “With an estimated 60,000 jobs opening every year and with 27 percent of those being in agriculture, FFA is working to ensure that our career development events and proficiency award areas align with our students’ evolving interests and emerging challenge areas in food, fiber and natural resources. The continued contributions of the CHS Foundation help us achieve the FFA vision of growing leaders, building communities and strengthening agriculture, and supplying the talent pipeline to fill those needs.”

This new commitment provides ongoing support to the diversified crop, environmental and natural resources management proficiencies, the environmental and natural resources management CDE, increased support of teacher education and retention programs through National Teach Ag and CASE institute teacher scholarships. New funding is dedicated to developing cooperative education curriculum and sponsorship of the New Century Farmer program.

“The CHS Foundation is proud to continue our long standing relationship with National FFA that began more than four decades ago,” says Nanci Lilja, CHS Foundation president. “Through our continued support of National FFA and Teach Ag, we are building on our commitment to develop the next generation of ag leaders and ensure ag education teachers have the resources they need to be successful teaching agricultural concepts in the classroom.” 

FB:  Bacon and Chicken Up, OJ Too

Higher retail prices for several foods, including bacon, chicken breast, orange juice, sliced deli ham and flour resulted in a slight increase in the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Fall Harvest Marketbasket Survey.

The informal survey shows the total cost of 16 food items that can be used to prepare one or more meals was $51.13, up $1.43, or about 3 percent, compared to a survey conducted a year ago. Of the 16 items surveyed, 12 increased and four decreased in average price.

Several foods showed significant retail price increases from a year ago, including bacon, chicken breast and orange juice, according to Dr. John Newton, AFBF’s director of market intelligence.

“Bacon was up significantly because of the lower inventory and higher prices of pork bellies. We saw a rally in wholesale bacon prices this summer and fall which is being reflected at the retail level,” Newton said. “Bacon is a sexy food item in restaurants and everywhere else, creating an inventory decline and thus a price increase.”

The following items showed retail price increases from a year ago:
-    bacon, up 19 percent to $5.24 per pound
-    chicken breast, up 9 percent to $3.13 per pound
-    flour, up 7 percent to $2.37 per 5-pound bag
-    orange juice, up 6 percent to $3.46 per half-gallon
-    vegetable oil, up 5 percent to $2.52 for a 32-ounce bottle
-    sliced deli ham, up 3 percent to $5.62 per pound
-    sirloin tip roast, up 3 percent to $5.17 per pound
-    whole milk, up 3 percent to $2.93 per gallon
-    white bread, up 2 percent to $1.61 for a 20-ounce loaf
-    toasted oat cereal, up 1 percent to $2.84 for a 9-ounce box
-    shredded cheddar, up 1 percent to $4.11 per pound
-    apples, up 1 percent to $1.61 per pound

These items showed moderate retail price decreases compared to a year ago:
-    bagged salad, down 16 percent to $2.41 per pound
-    ground chuck, down 3 percent to $3.99 per pound
-    eggs, down 3 percent to $1.44 dozen per dozen
-    potatoes, down 2 percent to $2.68 for a 5-pound bag
“Supply and demand for chicken breasts is tight, which is why retail prices are higher,” Newton said. In addition, he said the price increase for orange juice is related to the lower supply of oranges, which could worsen due to the impact of Hurricane Harvey.

Consumers saw a slight decline in egg prices. “Egg supplies are fully rebuilt from what we saw a few years ago and we are seeing egg prices continue to come back to where they were prior to the bird flu a few years ago,” Newton said.

Price checks of alternative milk choices not included in the overall marketbasket survey average revealed the following: 1/2 gallon regular milk, $2.07 and 1/2 gallon organic milk, $4.27.

For many food items, the year-to-year direction of the marketbasket survey tracks with the federal government’s Consumer Price Index report for food at home. As retail grocery prices have increased gradually over time, the share of the average food dollar that America’s farm and ranch families receive has dropped.

“Through the mid-1970s, farmers received about one-third of consumer retail food expenditures for food eaten at home and away from home, on average. Since then, that figure has decreased steadily and is now about 15.6 percent, according to the Agriculture Department’s revised Food Dollar Series,” Newton said.

Using the “food at home and away from home” percentage across-the-board, the farmer’s share of this $51.13 marketbasket would be approximately $8.00.

AFBF, the nation’s largest general farm organization, began conducting informal quarterly marketbasket surveys of retail food price trends in 1989. The series includes a Spring Picnic survey, Summer Cookout survey, Fall Harvest survey and Thanksgiving survey.

According to USDA, Americans spend just under 10 percent of their disposable annual income on food, the lowest average of any country in the world. A total of 81 shoppers in 25 states participated in the latest survey, conducted in September.

New Corn Product Could Open Door to Multiple Future Uses

In a continuing effort to discover new uses for corn, the National Corn Growers Association is proud to announce an investment with QMaxx Products Group to develop a bio-renewable gun oil for use in both the civilian market and potential military applications.

"The National Corn Growers Association recently completed negotiations with QMaxx to provide financial support for military specifications testing of their bio-renewable based cleaning, lubricating, and protecting (CLP) gun oil," said Larry Hoffmann, chairman of NCGA's Corn Productivity and Quality Action Team. "With our support QMaxx will submit a formulation derived from corn sweeteners to the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC)."

The QMaxx formulation is designed to meet the high-performance standards required by our military.  In addition, it will meet federal bio-renewable standards and reduce soldiers' exposure to some harmful components.

Hoffmann, a former U.S. Army officer, said "It's exciting to think CLP, a product I used almost daily in the Army, soon may contain the corn I produce every year on the farm." Hoffmann further noted "while we project only a modest increase in additional corn demand from QMaxx's CLP product there are other potential applications of this same corn-derived chemical that have significant market potential."

"QMaxx is pleased to have this opportunity to work with the National Corn Growers Association," said President and CFO Craig Hiddleston. "QMaxx has other initiatives in the works that will utilize similar corn-derived chemicals - we hope to work with the National Corn Growers Association on these initiatives also." 

Since 2010, QMaxx Products Group, a Fenton, Missouri-based company, has been developing, manufacturing and distributing anti-corrosion, water-displacing products for industrial and consumer markets. QMaxx uses state-of-the-art technology to interrupt the rust and corrosion cycle-creating a durable, long-lasting solution for rust prevention. It also has the benefit of being an all-in-one solution that cleans, lubricates, prevents rust and corrosion and protects all metal surfaces. QMaxx gun cleaning oils are popular with gunsmiths, hunters and competitive shooters. For more information on their line of products, please visit:

States Will Lose Billions in Tax Revenue to Internet-only Sellers

Unless Congress acts on legislation to promote fair competition between Main Street retailers and internet-only sellers, states will lose more than $211 billion in tax revenue over the next five years, according to new analysis released by the Marketplace Fairness Coalition.

Currently, a legal loophole allows some online retailers to avoid collecting the sales tax due during a transaction. While consumers are still liable for paying what’s owed, few do, which gives online stores a strong advantage over their Main Street competitors.

One of farmers and ranchers’ biggest concerns about the lack of fair competition between brick-and-mortar stores and internet-only sellers is that local governments and schools often try to make up for the lost sales tax revenue by increasing property taxes, a burden that falls heavily on land-based business owners.

The American Farm Bureau Federation is backing two bills, the Remote Transactions Parity Act of 2017 (H.R. 2193) and the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2017 (S. 976), that would allow states to apply sales tax laws uniformly.

“The businesses that line the streets of our nation’s small and rural towns provide essential goods and services to the farmers and ranchers who work the fields that surround them. But hometown businesses are at a disadvantage when they compete with online-only retailers who don’t have to collect sales taxes. When this disadvantage causes a ‘Main Street’ business to close or scale back, the impact is especially hurtful to already struggling small and rural towns,” AFBF President Zippy Duvall said in a letter to House and Senate lawmakers encouraging them to support the bills.

Friday September 22 Cattle on Feed + Ag News


Nebraska feedlots, with capacities of 1,000 or more head, contained 2.15 million cattle on feed on September 1, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This inventory was up 2 percent from last year. Placements during August totaled 470,000 head, up 1 percent from 2016. Fed cattle marketings for the month of August totaled 470,000 head, up 4 percent from last year. Other disappearance during August totaled 10,000 head, up 5,000 head from last year.


Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 640,000 head on September 1, 2017, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Cattle on Feed report. This was down 2 percent from August 1, 2017, but up 10 percent from September 1, 2016. Iowa feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head had 440,000 head on feed, down 4 percent from last month and down 11 percent from last year. Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in all Iowa feedlots totaled 1,080,000 head, down 3 percent from last month but up 5,000 head from last year.

Placements of cattle and calves in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during August totaled 92,000 head, an increase of 53 percent from last month and up 30 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head placed 41,000 head, up 3 percent from last month and up 14 percent from last year. Placements for all feedlots in Iowa totaled 133,000 head, up 33 percent from last month and up 24 percent from last year.

Marketings of fed cattle from Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during August totaled 101,000 head, up 28 percent from last month and up 12 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head marketed 60,000 head, down 22 percent from last month and down 6 percent from last year. Marketings for all feedlots in Iowa were 161,000 head, up 3 percent from last month and up 5 percent from last year. Other disappearance from all feedlots in Iowa totaled 2,000 head.

United States Cattle on Feed Up 4 Percent

Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 10.5 million head on September 1, 2017. The inventory was 4 percent above September 1, 2016.

On Feed by State   (1,000hd, - % Sept 1 '16)

Colorado .......:            860      -      108          
Iowa .............:             640      -      110          
Kansas ..........:           2,220    -      102        
Nebraska ......:           2,150    -      102        
Texas ............:           2,590    -      104       

Placements in feedlots during August totaled 1.93 million head, 3 percent above 2016. Net placements were 1.88 million head. During August, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 360,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 285,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 418,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 485,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 270,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 110,000 head.

Placements by State (1,000 hd - % Aug '16)

Colorado .......:          175     -      103         
Iowa .............:            92      -     130          
Kansas ..........:           495     -      102          
Nebraska ......:           470     -      101           
Texas ............:           385     -       97            

Marketings of fed cattle during August totaled 1.98 million head, 6 percent above 2016.  Other disappearance totaled 49,000 head during August, 20 percent above 2016.

Marketings by State  (1,000 hd - % Aug '16)

Colorado .......:              190     -      109              
Iowa .............:               101     -      112             
Kansas ..........:               445     -      107            
Nebraska ......:               470     -      104               
Texas ............:               435     -      105             


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               As October starts to arrive, our  thoughts naturally turn towards crop harvest.  But don’t forget, it’s also thistle time again.  Even if they are hard to see, this is the time to control them.

               Timing is everything.  That's particularly true with thistle control.  And October to early November is one of the best times to use herbicides.

               Did you have thistles this year?  If so, walk out in those infected areas this week.  Look close.  I'll bet you find many thistle seedlings.  Most thistle seedlings this fall will be small, in a flat, rosette growth form, and they are very sensitive now to certain herbicides.  So spray this fall and thistles will not be a big problem next year.

               Several herbicides are effective and recommended for thistle control.  Several newer herbicides like ForeFront, Milestone, and Chaparral work very well.  Two other very effective herbicides are Tordon 22K and Grazon.  Be careful with all these herbicides, but especially Tordon and Grazon, since they also can kill woody plants, including trees you might want to keep.  2,4-D also works well while it’s warm, but you will get better thistle control by using a little less 2,4-D and adding a small amount of Banvel or dicamba to the mix.

               Other herbicides also can control thistles in pastures – like Redeem, Cimarron, and Curtail.  No matter which weed killer you use, though, be sure to read and follow label instructions, and be sure to spray on time.  

               Next year, avoid overgrazing your pastures so your grass stands get thicker and compete with any new weeds or thistle seedlings.

               Give some thought now to thistle control during October and November.  Your pastures can be cleaner next spring.

Nebraska Corn Board offers new flex fuel pump grant incentive for fuel retailers

 The Nebraska Corn Board recently allocated funds in its 2017-18 fiscal year budget to further develop the renewable fuel infrastructure in Nebraska.

Through a grant program, the Nebraska Corn Board will award qualifying retailers up to $50,000 for installation of flex fuel pumps, other necessary equipment and hardware to offer higher blends of ethanol fuel. Blender pumps make it easier for retailers to offer additional ethanol blended fuels. This expands their fuel offerings and provides a point of distinction in the marketplace while serving the growing number of motorists driving flex fuel vehicles.

Such pumps also provide opportunities for stations to more easily offer E15, which is approved for use in all vehicles model year 2001 and newer. This includes cars, light-duty trucks and SUVs.

Grants are available on a first come, first served basis. Once funding is exhausted, retailers will be placed on a waiting list and awarded grant money in the order applications were received, if additional funding becomes available.

“In the last several years we have partnered with many fuel retailers and currently have close to 100 stations across the state of Nebraska offering mid and higher level ethanol blends,” said Tim Scheer, Nebraska Corn Board director and farmer from St. Paul, Nebraska. “This has provided good coverage across the state, and with this grant program we can continue to expand that coverage for every Nebraskan to have a choice at the fuel pump.”

“There are currently around 235,000 flex fuel vehicles in Nebraska and that number is increasing every day,” said Roger Berry, director of market development with the Nebraska Corn Board. “Nebraska is the second largest producer of ethanol in the country and many of those ethanol plants partner with retailers to make E15 and flex fuels an even better value for consumers.”

Station owners who install blender pumps benefit from the blending economics and a higher volume of ethanol sales, while their customers enjoy a new array of fuel choices at the pump. “Flex fuel vehicle owners of today and tomorrow will appreciate the ability to pull up to a pump and find higher blends of ethanol fuel such as E30 or E85,” Scheer said. “Additionally, drivers of vehicles 2001 and newer can save at the pump and help clean the air with E15.”

“We are encouraging every fuel retailer to take a look at this new grant program,” said Berry. For more information about the grant program or to request an application, email Berry at or call him at 402-471-2676.

Drop the Most Deadly Industry Title by Improving Tractor Safety

Agriculture continues to be the most deadly industry in the United States based on the number of deaths per 100,000 workers. The leading causes of these agricultural fatalities are tractor overturns, runovers and collisions. The tragedy is that the majority of these agricultural tractor fatalities are preventable with the addition of rollover protective structures, using safe tractor practices and adequate marking.

Charles Schwab, farm safety specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, and other safety professionals maintain that many tractor-related deaths can be prevented. Rollover protection structures keep the tractor operator in a safe area when the tractor overturns. Without ROPS, the entire weight of the tractor can crush the operator during an overturn.

The good news is modern tractors built since 1985 are required to have ROPS. The bad news is there are a significant number of older tractors without ROPS in Iowa. Choosing to operate a tractor without ROPS could cost you your life.

“Using only tractors with ROPS is a smart and safe decision,” said Schwab “Tractor rides for kids are risky and potentially a deadly activity.”

Many of the tractor runovers fatalities occur when an innocent tractor ride turns tragic. Other tractor runovers occur when young children are not seen by operators as the tractor approaches high traffic area of the farmstead.

“Have firm rules about permitting extra riders and when it is safe for young children to approach a tractor around the farmstead” Schwab said.

If taking a tractor on a public road, make sure your Slow Moving Vehicle emblem is not faded or covered with mud. This is an important visible indicator to other motorists that your vehicle is traveling slower than other traffic and needs their full attention. The rapid closure speed between approaching vehicles and your tractor need the advance warning an SMV emblem provides.

Do your part putting farm safety into practice this fall by improving tractor safety. If Iowa could reduce the number of tractor injuries and fatalities this year, it could be the year when agriculture loses the title of the most deadly industry in the United States.

Corn Farmers Commend Senator Ernst for Supporting USDA’s MAP & FMD Funding

Iowa Corn Growers Association President Mark Recker

We would like to thank Senator Ernst for introducing the CREAATE ACT, a bill to increase investment in two federal U.S. Department of Agriculture programs vital to U.S. agricultural exports, the Market Access Program (MAP) and the Foreign Market Development (FMD) Program. These initiatives support the promotion of corn in all forms in international markets.

The bipartisan legislation, introduced by Senators Angus King (I-Maine), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Joe Donnelly (D-Indiana), would increase investment in MAP and FMD programs. A companion bill was introduced in the House earlier this year. We need Congress to pass this legislation quickly.

MAP and FMD form public-private partnerships that promote U.S. agriculture. Cooperators in the initiatives, like the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), employ staff around the world, to build and defend U.S. market share of corn in all forms, including meat, distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and ethanol. The Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB) each year designates Iowa corn checkoff dollars to match and support international market development programs through these partner organizations. They deliver a strong return-on-investment, every $1 invested creates $28 in exports.

These initiatives not only support our agricultural economy but the nation’s economy overall. For instance, exports of Iowa’s corn, ethanol, DDGS, corn gluten feed, corn gluten meal and corn-fed meat products generated an estimated $5.2 billion in economic output in 2015 creating 15,665 full-time jobs, according to an Informa Economics study. At a time when the farm economy continues to struggle, we should be investing more in these programs, not less.

Funding for MAP and FMD have not kept pace with inflation, administrative costs, global marketplace growth nor the investments made by competing countries. The CREAATE Act would gradually increase MAP funding from $200 million to $400 million per year and FMD funding from $34.5 million to $69 million per year, over the course of the next five years.

The protection of MAP and FMD funding continues to be one of the top priority issues of the Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA). We call on our farmer-members and those in agriculture to urge Congress to pass the CREAATE Act.

Iowa Farmers Union to Host Food Safety Field Day

The Iowa Farmers Union (IFU), along with Iowa State University Extension & Outreach, and the Center for Rural Affairs, will be hosting an on-farm food safety field day for fruit and vegetable growers on Sept. 28 from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Buske farm near Fort Dodge. The field day will focus on new requirements for fruit and vegetable growers under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule. Guests will learn more about FSMA regulations and trainings, Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) training, and food safety record-keeping. Guests also will have a chance to observe an on-farm food safety inspection. An evening meal will be provided for field day participants.

"Any Iowa farmer who grows or handles produce should be up to speed on FSMA and how these new rules will impact their farming operation," said IFU Food Safety Coordinator Ronald Tigner. "Even if they think their farm may be exempt from the new rules, many produce buyers will be using FSMA as the new food safety standard for their growers. This field day will provide a good overview about what FSMA will mean for your farm and what practical steps farmers will need to take to get trained and implement good on-farm food safety practices."

Field day presenters include:
- Shannon Coleman, extension specialist with the ISU Department of Food Sciences and Human Nutrition.

- Joe Hannan, horticulture specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach. Joe will lead discussions on produce safety, demonstrate an on-farm food safety inspection, and share information on the latest trends for hoop house production.

- Anna Johnson, policy program associate with the Center for Rural Affairs. Anna will give a presentation on the upcoming 2018 Farm Bill and its relevance for fruit and vegetable growers.

The Buske Farm is located at 1550 Madison Ave., Fort Dodge. Directions from Fort Dodge: From the junction of US Hwy 169 and IA Hwy 7 on the northwest side of Fort Dodge, proceed north on Hwy 169 for 2 miles. Turn east (right) onto 170th Street (County Rd D14). Travel east 0.4 mile to Madison Avenue. Turn north (left) onto Madison Avenue. Go 1.5 miles, then turn east (right) into the farm lane for the Buske Farm at 1550 Madison Avenue.

The field day is free and open to the public. An evening meal will be provided to guests.

Please RSVP by Sept. 26 to Ronald Tigner,, (515) 357-0503.

For more information on FSMA and food safety rules and trainings, please visit the food safety resource page on the IFU website:

Veterinary researcher receives grants worth more than $700,000 to investigate swine diseases and influenza B virus

A Kansas State University veterinary researcher is taking aim at swine diseases with the help of two major grants.

Wenjun Ma, associate professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology in the College of Veterinary Medicine has received a National Institutes of Health R21 grant of $411,664. His second award of $303,865 is a contract grant from Merck Animal Health.

The NIH grant will be used to investigate the connections between respiratory swine disease and influenza B virus.

"Unlike influenza A virus that infects a wide range of species, influenza B virus infections are almost exclusively restricted to humans, despite sporadic infections reported in seals," Ma said. "It is unclear whether other animal species can support the replication of influenza B virus and serve as a reservoir."

One of Ma's previous studies provided evidence that domestic pigs are susceptible to influenza B virus infection. Swine herds previously exposed to porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus, or PRRSV, had a higher prevalence of influenza B virus antibodies.

"Studying the differences between human and swine influenza B virus isolates might improve our understanding of how influenza B viruses are maintained when they are not circulating in humans," Ma said. "The results of these experiments would likely reveal new information about the molecular mechanisms of influenza B virus replication and its evolution in nonhuman species, which is an important issue in the influenza research community."

The Merck grant will be used to study the molecular epidemiology and pathogenicity of porcine circovirus 3, or PCV3, in pigs.

"While unproven, we suspect that PCV3 plays an etiologic role in porcine dermatitis and nephropathy syndrome, and may be responsible for reproductive failure," Ma said. "To date, no viruses have been successfully isolated and cultured. In this proposal, we try to address critical questions regarding epidemiology and pathogenicity of PCV3 in pigs by collaborating with Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory."

USDA Cold Storage August 2017 Highlights

Total red meat supplies in freezers on August 31, 2017 were up 7 percent from the previous month but down 3 percent from last year. Total pounds of beef in freezers were up 10 percent from the previous month but down slightly from last year. Frozen pork supplies were up 4 percent from the previous month but down 5 percent from last year. Stocks of pork bellies were up 8 percent from last month but down 40 percent from last year.

Total frozen poultry supplies on August 31, 2017 were down slightly from the previous month but up 6 percent from a year ago. Total stocks of chicken were down 2 percent from the previous month but up 1 percent from last year. Total pounds of turkey in freezers were up 2 percent from last month and up 14 percent from August 31, 2016.

Total natural cheese stocks in refrigerated warehouses on August 31, 2017 were down 3 percent from the previous month but up 7 percent from August 31, 2016.  Butter stocks were down 9 percent from last month and down 12 percent from a year ago.

Total frozen fruit stocks were up 7 percent from last month but down 2 percent from a year ago.  Total frozen vegetable stocks were up 22 percent from last month but down 2 percent from a year ago.


As a member of the Fair Port Practices Coalition, the National Pork Producers Council joined 69 other U.S. trade organizations on a letter to the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, expressing concerns about their 2017 Clean Air Action Plan. The CAAP, which is required by California law, outlines strategies for reducing air pollution from all port-related sources, for meeting greenhouse gas reduction goals and achieving zero emissions for trucks and terminal equipment. The groups were critical of the draft CAAP’s “lack of information with respect to the commercial availability of specified technologies, the uncertainty of the draft plan’s cost, the absence of any analysis regarding the ports’ future competitiveness, the exclusion of certain technologies and fuels, and the lack of a cost-benefit analysis on the air quality benefits that would result from this program.”

NPPC also joined the Ports Coalition in petitioning the Federal Maritime Commission regarding unfair daily charges and other business practices being levied against shippers due to inefficient port operations. As a member of the Ports Coalition, NPPC remains focused on the efficient and competitive operation of U.S. ports to globally distribute U.S. pork products and support international trade.

USDA:  August Egg Production Up 1 Percent

United States egg production totaled 8.85 billion during August 2017, up 1 percent from last year. Production included 7.69 billion table eggs, and 1.17 billion hatching eggs, of which 1.09 billion were broiler-type and 77.3 million were egg-type. The total number of layers during August 2017 averaged 371 million, up 1 percent from last year. August egg production per 100 layers was 2,384 eggs, down slightly from August 2016.
All layers in the United States on September 1, 2017 totaled 372 million, up 1 percent from last year. The 372 million layers consisted of 312 million layers producing table or market type eggs, 56.7 million layers producing broiler-type hatching eggs, and 3.19 million layers producing egg-type hatching eggs. Rate of lay per day on September 1, 2017, averaged 76.2 eggs per 100 layers, down 1 percent from September 1, 2016.

Egg-Type Chicks Hatched Up 5 Percent

Egg-type chicks hatched during August 2017 totaled 45.6 million, up 5 percent from August 2016. Eggs in incubators totaled 40.2 million on September 1, 2017, down 6 percent from a year ago.

Domestic placements of egg-type pullet chicks for future hatchery supply flocks by leading breeders totaled 254 thousand during August 2017, down 22 percent from August 2016.

Broiler-Type Chicks Hatched Up 3 Percent

Broiler-type chicks hatched during August 2017 totaled 833 million, up 3 percent from August 2016. Eggs in incubators totaled 674 million on September 1, 2017, up 4 percent from a year ago.

Leading breeders placed 8.16 million broiler-type pullet chicks for future domestic hatchery supply flocks during August 2017, up 6 percent from August 2016.

IOWA:  Iowa egg production during August 2017 was 1.34 billion eggs, down 1 percent from last month, but up 4 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 August 2017 was 55.1 million, a slight increase from last month and up 5 percent from last year. Eggs per 100 layers for August were 2,432, down 1 percent from both last month and last year.

Looking beyond color for next season’s soybean seed treatment

As growers navigate this year’s harvest, decisions for next season are already underway. Increasing those numbers on the yield monitor next year means creating the optimal management plan. Between choosing the right herbicides, soybean varieties, fungicides and more, seed treatments often get overlooked. But in an age where more than 85 percent of soybean seed is treated, this decision merits full attention.

According to the University of Minnesota Extension, seedling infections can cause damage that will persist throughout the growing season. However, when seed treatment decisions are made, it is impossible to know if next season’s weather conditions will be conducive for disease or other pressures.

“Growers need to be prepared for anything,” said Dale Ireland, Ph.D., Seedcare technical product lead at Syngenta. “And seed treatments are the first line of defense against early-season diseases and pests.”

Choosing the right seed treatment is critical to starting the season off strong. According to experts, a robust seed treatment should provide the following:
    Resistance to seedborne and soilborne disease
    Broad-spectrum protection against damaging early-season insects
    Fast emergence and speed-to-canopy
    High stand count
    Improved root mass and health
    Minimal issues with dust off, seed flow and equipment build-up
    Product stability, which allows for consistent doses of active ingredients on each seed

Growers who opt for generic and custom blend seed treatments should ask their seed treaters or retailers if their seed treatments fulfil the needs above. On the surface, they may seem similar to a seed treatment like CruiserMaxx® Vibrance® Beans seed treatment, a combination of separately registered products, but they may fall short in performance.

“Generic and custom blend seed treatment ingredients are at risk of separating in the tank prior to application – forming a solution visually similar to adding oil and water together – which leads to inconsistent doses of active ingredients across seeds,” Ireland said. “This means that some seeds do not receive proper protection from insects and diseases. Product separation can also lead to on-farm equipment clogging, making the planting process less efficient.”

Another example of varying performance across seed treatments is stand count. Syngenta trials compared plant-stand performance of different seed treatments under disease pressure. The following percentages represent the average plant stand per acre*:
·       Untreated soybean seeds – 41 percent
·       Generic blend – 56 percent
·       Valent Intego® Suite – 61 percent
·       Pioneer Premium Seed Treatment® – 63 percent
·       CruiserMaxx Vibrance Beans – 95 percent

Ireland attributes the superior performance of CruiserMaxx Vibrance Beans in these trials to its four active ingredients that help soybeans establish a strong defense system to cope with various disease and insect pressures. The Cruiser® Vigor Effect is scientifically proven to help produce more robust, vigorous plants, even in the absence of insects. This boost also helps increase speed-to-canopy and as a result, aids in weed control. In contrast, generic treatments often use older technologies that have been replaced in the market with newer, higher performing active ingredients.

“Though they may look similar, not all seed treatments are created equal,” Ireland said. “Growers working to start the season strong need to know what’s on their seed. CruiserMaxx Vibrance Beans is proven to be a stable formulation that not only provides the benefits growers expect from their seed treatment, but additional physiological advantages for the soybean roots and seedlings.”

CruiserMaxx Vibrance Beans also contains the RootingPower of Vibrance® fungicide, which protects the entire root system through soil mobility and long-lasting systemic activity for an added level of Rhizoctonia protection.

“The color of different seed treatments may be the same, but the performance isn’t,” Ireland said. “Make sure you know what’s on your seed. Talk to your retailer or seed treater to ensure you start the 2018 season strong with a proven seed treatment.”

Thursday September 21 Ag News

 Nebraska Extension to launch beef webinar series targeting feedyards

Nebraska Extension is offering a new way to get information on timely beef topics in a series of hosted webinars. The webinars will be on select Wednesdays for one hour, and will feature discussions from participants to determine educational needs on new topics, presentations by experts and updates on current activities. 

The educational presentations will be recorded and posted at for use and viewing at later times.

The initial series will contain three webinars starting on Sept. 27 from 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. Other webinars will be held on Nov. 1 and Nov. 29.

The first webinar will cover vaccination timing for newly received calves with speaker Brian Vander Ley from the Great Plains Veterinary Educational Center. There will also be a discussion concerning animal health as higher risk cattle are in feedyards in the fall. The Nov. 1 webinar will feature Rick Koelsch, livestock environmental engineer at Nebraska, speaking on the value of manure and the positive attributes of using it as a soil amendment. During the Nov. 29 webinar, Galen Erickson, Nebraska Extension beef feedlot specialist, will review nutrition highlights from the 2018 Nebraska Beef Report.

To view the webinars online visit, To access the webinars using a telephone dial 408-638-0968 or 646-876-9923. The meeting id is 751-919-398.

For more information, contact Galen Erickson at 402-472-6402 or

Nebraska BQA: Preconditioning and Weaning Preparation

 Amy Timmerman – NE Extension Educator
Cow-calf producers are nearing weaning time of their 2017 calf crop, with current market and industry trends, producers should be considering and preparing for preconditioning or weaning programs. It is important to consider the best programs for the health of calves during these stressful periods and into the feeding phases.

Preconditioning is designed to mitigate stress that occurs during the transitional period between weaning and going on feed or moving into the next production cycle. The typical preconditioning program involves a health protocol of vaccinations administered 21-30 days prior to weaning. The basic concept of preconditioning programs is to boost the calf’s health status or immune system prior to exposure to stressors and pathogens as the calves enter that next production cycle. Preconditioning has also been shown to improve efficiency, as well as, reduce the risk and cost of treatment for health diagnosis after weaning. Nebraska Extension NebGuide G2248, “Economic Considerations for Preconditioning Calves for Feedlots” (, can assist producers that are considering preconditioning for their operations.

The first step in developing a preconditioning or weaning program should be to consult with your veterinarian under a Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship (VCPR). Working with your veterinarian will ensure a program designed specifically for your operation goals, and addressing the potential pathogens or parasites the animals might encounter. The recommended preconditioning or weaning protocol from the University of Nebraska Great Plains Veterinary Education Center includes a four-way BRD viral (IBR, BVD, PI3, and BRSV), BRD bacterial (at least Mannheimia Hemolytica), and clostridial (Blackleg) vaccinations. It is also important to follow Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) guidelines by reading product labels to ensure proper handling, storage, and administration of these products.

With the changes in feeding medicated feeds through the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD), preparation before weaning is important. Producers should consult with their veterinarian to review not only vaccination protocols but also treatment protocols for health issues that may have a high risk of occurring in the coming months. Documented treatment protocols can ensure proper treatment of illness or lameness diagnosis. If the protocol calls for treatment with a feed grade antibiotic, producers must have a written order or VFD signed by their veterinarian with appropriate copies for the feed supplier and themselves, prior to administering these type of products. Some of these VFDs can be in place prior to actual health risk occurring for prevention or control, in addition to treatment. VFD information can be found online at: .

Weaning is a major stress in a calf’s life and on their immune system. As producers, it is our responsibility to develop the best vaccination and treatment programs to ensure the health, care and wellbeing of these calves. Preparation can help in making this transition less stressful on livestock and producers.

Nebraska Farm Bureau Board Offers Support to Ibach

Nebraska Farm Bureau Board of Directors voted to send a letter of support for Nebraska Department of Agriculture Director Greg Ibach as the next Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Sept. 21.

The letter, sent to Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), emphasized Ibach’s service to Nebraska Agriculture as the Nebraska Director of Agriculture since 2005 and his service as the immediate past President of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture.

“Throughout his tenure, Greg has been a strong leader in promoting Nebraska agriculture products both domestically and internationally, taking an active role in trade missions and on trade policy issues. He has also directed the many regulatory functions of the department impartially and with professionalism,” Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson said.

While Ibach has been a tireless leader for the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, he also continues to maintain a farm and ranch operation near Sumner, Nebraska.

“I have no doubt that Greg would be an excellent addition to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s staff at the USDA, and we hope the Senate Agriculture Committee gives him due consideration. We look forward to a speedy confirmation process,” Nelson said.

Natural Resources Experts Gather at NRD Conference to Encourage and Inform Public About Conservation Efforts in Nebraska

Nebraska’s 23 Natural Resources Districts’ top priority is to help protect the state’s water and soil for all to use now and in the future. Natural resources experts will be center stage at the Nebraska Association of Resources Districts (NARD) Annual Conference on Monday, September 25th and Tuesday, September 26th of 2017 focusing on the latest research, innovative technology, programs and coalition building that help protect natural resources and the economy. An agenda is attached.

The Annual Conference is being held at the Younes Conference Center at 416 W. Talmadge Road in Kearney, NE. Several local, state and federal leaders are planning to speak at the conference on Monday, September 25th at 8:30 a.m. in Room: Diamond 3-4 about the current successful natural resources programs and new technologies and research for future programs.

There are several important topics that affect all Nebraskans. Six sessions are highlighted below.  Here are a few key topics:

    NCORPE (Nebraska Cooperative Republican Platte Enhancement Project) operations are being enhanced after new agreements with Kansas. Plus, an expert attorney will speak on legal problems created for all irrigators if NCORPE is forced to be sold as proposed in the Nebraska Legislature.  (Monday, 9:30 am – 10:30 am, Room: Diamond 3)

    Updates on Project SENSE, a collaboration between UNL and several NRDs, to improve fertilizer applications that increase farm profitability and protect water quality. (Tuesday, 9:30 am – 10:30 am, Room: Diamond 1)

    An update from a coalition of seven (7) NRDs that are working on a basin-wide water management plan to protect all existing and future uses of water as well as the economy in the Loup, Elkhorn and Lower Platte Basins. (Tuesday, 9:30 am – 10:30 am, Room: Diamond 2)

    Dawson County farmers and ranchers have worked with NRDs and other agencies to implement prescribed burns on about 20,000 acres in the past three years to restore and protect native pastures and grasslands. Find out about successes and challenges that lie ahead. (Tuesday, 9:30 am – 10:30 am, Room: Diamond 6)

    Seeing is believing. An update from the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) 14 demonstration farms in Nebraska that showcase beneficial soil health practices that improve soil health and profitability. (Tuesday, 10:45 am – 11:45 am, Room: Diamond 2)

    National security is a hot-button issue right now and water is one of the biggest concerns. How will worldwide natural resource challenges impact immigration, migration, food security and future wars along with international relations between the U.S., Russia, China and the Middle East? (Tuesday, 10:45 am – 11:45 am, Room: Crystal 1)

Three Hall of Fame inductees and six Conservation Award winners will be available for interviews, including our newest Soil Stewardship Conservation Award. Tree Planter of the Year, Grassland Conservation Award, Community Conservation Award, Director of the Year and Educator of the Year awards will also be handed out at the Luncheon at Noon on Monday. Hall of Fame inductees will be recognized at the Banquet at 6:30 pm on Monday. Both will be in Room: Diamond 3-4.

A live and silent auction will begin around 5:30 pm on Monday to help raise money for the Nebraska Association of Resources Districts (NARD) Foundation. The NARD Foundation assists youth programs involved in natural resources and agriculture. It helps encourage our youth to learn about our environment and care about our land.

Follow Fire Prevention and Management Tips during Harvest

It’s always difficult to forecast weather, but if dry field conditions persist, the potential for combine and field fires this fall could be a problem. All it takes is a single high-temperature source in the engine area or an overheated bearing to ignite dry plant material.

During harvest periods with increased fire potential, fires cause millions of dollars in property damage in Iowa, including loss of machinery, crops and time. Injuries to farm workers and firefighters also are an unfortunate outcome in some instances.

Modern, high-productivity combines are powerful machines; and power means heat. Fire cannot start without heat and fuel. Heat cannot be removed from the engine, hydraulics and other hard-working systems, but it can be removed from the fuel source by keeping a combine clean.

Field Agronomist Clarke McGrath and Agricultural Engineering Specialist Mark Hanna with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach offer these prevention and management tips.

Prevention tips

    Keep the machine clean, particularly around the engine and engine compartment. Use a high pressure washer or compressed air to remove caked-on oil, grease and crop residue.
    Check coolant and oil levels daily.
    Check the pressurized oil supply line to the turbocharger for wear areas that rub and may start an oil leak.
    Frequently blow leaves, chaff and plant material from the engine area with compressed air or a portable leaf blower. Doing this at night is better than in the morning when dew may make it harder to blow residues off.
    Remove plant materials wrapped on or near bearings, belts or other moving parts.
    Examine exhaust or hot bearing surfaces. Repair leaking fuel or oil hoses, fittings or metal lines immediately.
    Inspect and clean ledges or recessed areas near fuel tanks and lines.
    Prior to fueling, wait 15 minutes to reduce the risk of a spill volatilizing and igniting.
    Delay harvest when wind speeds exceed 30 mph and conditions are dry.

Management tips

In case of fire, call 911 first and then attack with fire extinguishers if it is safe to do so. Try to fight from the “black," the area already burned; attacking fire from areas with combustibles (stalks for example) is much riskier.

Create lists of the 911 addresses for each of your field locations prior to harvest and have them easily accessible to family and farm employees. Many fire departments have GPS equipment onboard their apparatus to assist directing them to incidents. When an incident is called in with a 911 address, dispatch can more readily identify the incident location and relay this information to apparatus drivers. Precious time can be saved when apparatus are able to dispatch immediately with GPS guidance rather than having to double check maps and directions.

A fire can double in size in less than a minute. Burning embers blown downwind can spread a fire well beyond the control of a fire extinguisher in just seconds. Two ABC-type fire extinguishers are recommended: a smaller 10-pound unit in the cab and a larger 20-pound extinguisher at ground level on the combine.

Invert and shake the extinguishers once or twice a season to ensure machine vibrations don’t compact the powder inside. A shovel to throw dirt can also help.
Create an emergency plan

Fires may start from plant materials that have smoldered unnoticed for 15-30 minutes or more. The ignition source for field fires may have been the earlier passing of a truck, tractor or combine. Flames aren’t apparent until additional oxygen is supplied, perhaps by a gust of wind. Harvest crews and neighbors may want to discuss a plan for emergency tillage of a fire break should that option become advisable. Keep in mind that personal safety is more important than property loss.

Another Year Yields Another Message about Grain Safety

Nearly every year, Iowa experiences at least one grain suffocation. So it should not be a surprise that one of the Farm Safety and Health Week messages has a focus on grain safety.

“Most people don’t truly understand the tremendous force grain has unless they’ve experienced it,” said Charles Schwab, farm safety specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. “The misconception for most people is that they can easily be rescued once they are entrapped in flowing grain."

The reality of the situation is as a victim sinks deeper and the grain exerts more force, the magnitude of force holding the victim in grain can easily exceed 2,000 pounds.

Even when the grain has stopped flowing, it is difficult to help a submerged victim escape. Those with great upper body strength can't pull themselves out if they are buried to the chest. The force holding the submerged victim in the grain is too much. Trained first responders don’t pull victims out of flowing grain. They labor with great effort digging each one out as the hours tick by.

Flowing grain suffocations are preventable and that is why each one is a tragic event.

There are several ways to prevent flowing grain entrapment. Always lock all access doors to grain storage structures. Never allow anyone to play or ride on grain wagons or grain semi-trucks. Lock out power to all types of grain-handling equipment when entering storage bins. Notify a second person of where you are at all times when loading or unloading grain.

Helping others understand the dangers associated with flowing grain and entrapment hazards that often lead to suffocations is the first step. Do your part putting farm safety into practice this fall by sharing your rules for handling flowing grain hazard and seeing that everyone follows those rules.

Bankers: Rural Economy Continues to Struggle in 10 States

(AP) _ A new report says low commodity prices and weak farm incomes are continuing to hamper the rural economy in parts of 10 Plains and Midwestern states.

The Rural Mainstreet Index for the region fell to from 42.2 in August to 39.6 in September, its lowest level in 2017. The index released Thursday ranges between 0 and 100, with any number under 50 indicating a shrinking economy.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss, who oversees the survey of bankers, says more than half of the bankers reported that they have restructured farm loans. Nearly 20 percent have increased their collateral requirements.

Bankers reported a 2.1 percent increase in farm loan defaults over the past year.

Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming were surveyed.

USDA: All-Time Monthly Record High for Red Meat Production

Commercial red meat production for the United States totaled 4.63 billion pounds in August, up 4 percent from the 4.43 billion pounds produced in August 2016.

Beef production, at 2.40 billion pounds, was 6 percent above the previous year. Cattle slaughter totaled 2.94 million head, up 7 percent from August 2016. The average live weight was down 7 pounds from the previous year, at 1,345 pounds.

Veal production totaled 6.4 million pounds, 5 percent above August a year ago. Calf slaughter totaled 46,200 head, up 13 percent from August 2016. The average live weight was down 17 pounds from last year, at 238 pounds.

Pork production totaled 2.21 billion pounds, up 3 percent from the previous year. Hog slaughter totaled 10.7 million head, up 3 percent from August 2016. The average live weight was up 2 pounds from the previous year, at 278 pounds.

Lamb and mutton production, at 12.8 million pounds, was up 2 percent from August 2016. Sheep slaughter totaled 194,100 head, slightly above last year. The average live weight was 132 pounds, up 2 pounds from August a year ago.

Red Meat Production by State                         

                            (million lbs.   -  % Aug '16)

Nebraska ...........:     745.7            102      
Iowa ..................:     618.9            101      
Kansas ...............:     525.6            110      

January to August 2017 commercial red meat production was 34.0 billion pounds, up 4 percent from 2016. Accumulated beef production was up 5 percent from last year, veal was down 1 percent, pork was up 3 percent from last year, and lamb and mutton production was down 4 percent.

 Cargill to build state-of-the-art biodiesel plant in Wichita, Kansas

Cargill has announced today plans to build a state-of-the-art $90 million biodiesel plant in Wichita, Kansas. Set to open January 2019, it will produce 60 million gallons of biodiesel annually.

“This new facility will enable Wichita to be a competitive supplier in the biofuels market, bringing value to the suppliers and customers we work with, and connecting farmers with industrial customers by supplying quality biomass-based diesel,” said Pat Woerner, biodiesel commercial leader for Cargill’s Agricultural Supply Chain business. “Biofuels are good for the U.S. farm economy and can bring capital investment to agriculture while boosting economic development in farm communities.”

Opening the facility in Wichita will strengthen Cargill’s biodiesel operations in the heart of the Midwest where it already has biodiesel plants in Iowa Falls, Iowa, and Kansas City, Missouri. Unlike other traders of biodiesel, Cargill is an integrated producer managing the entire supply chain from origination to production to delivery.

“We are excited to bring this new facility to our farmers and customers in Wichita,” said Warren Feather, oilseed managing director for Cargill’s Agricultural Supply Chain business. “At Cargill, we’re prepared to handle demand for biofuels while balancing it against the need to nourish a growing global population.”

Construction of the new 42,000 square foot facility begins December 2017. Located at 1401 N. Mosley, Wichita, Kansas, it will employ approximately 35 full-time employees. The plant will be located next to its oilseed processing plant and replaces an existing oil refinery managed by Cargill’s Global Edible Oil business. Cargill has invested significantly in oil and shortenings products and remains committed to the food industry. Cargill’s Global Edible Oils business will transfer existing edible oils production to alternate Cargill facilities.

Cargill offers biofuels from a variety of renewable resources, including corn, soybeans, sugar cane, palm oil, and biogas. It produces ethanol and biodiesel in the U.S. and the EU, ethanol in Brazil, and biodiesel in Argentina.

New Project to Increase Soybean Yields by Harnessing Photosynthesis

A new project aims to more efficiently turn the sun’s energy into food and sustainably increase worldwide food productivity.

The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), a nonprofit organization established through bipartisan congressional support in the 2014 Farm Bill, is contributing $15 million to a five-year, $45-million research project at the University of Illinois that has boosted crop yields 20 percent by improving photosynthetic efficiency. The American Soybean Association (ASA) supported the creation of FFAR, because of projects like this one, and FFAR’s commitment to increase the scientific and technological research, innovation and partnerships that are so critical to keeping America’s agricultural economy moving forward.

FFAR joined co-funders the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the U.K. Department for International Development (DFID), and government and agricultural leaders at the University of Illinois in Champaign to announce the investment and see the transformative research firsthand.

The project, Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency, or RIPE, will harness a plant’s photosynthesis process to increase output, or yield, in food crops including soybeans, cassava and cowpeas. Photosynthesis is how plants use sunlight and carbon dioxide to grow. The $45 million reinvestment in RIPE supports this critical, ongoing research meant to break through the stagnant yield ceilings for several staple food crops, providing farmers around the world with another tool to enhance global food security and their own livelihoods.

“The RIPE project has proven that photosynthesis can be redesigned to increase crop yields by at least 20 percent without additional resources,” said FFAR Executive Director Sally Rockey, Ph.D. “FFAR is proud to support this innovative leap toward reducing global hunger, an issue that often seems intractable in the face of a growing population, changing climate, and limited natural resources.”

Researchers anticipate commercial seeds benefiting from this research will be available to farmers within approximately 15 years. RIPE and its funders will ensure their high-yielding food crops are globally available, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, and affordable for smallholder farmers to help feed the world’s hungriest and reduce poverty. Agriculture has been shown to reduce poverty four times more effectively than growth in other sectors.

Growth Energy Congratulates Magellan Midstream Partners on Expanding E15 Choice

Magellan Midstream Partners, the Tulsa, Okla.-based transportation, storage, and distribution company, is now offering blending services for E15—a fuel with 15 percent ethanol—throughout their midcontinent terminal system.  Magellan owns the longest refined petroleum product pipeline system in the country.

Following reports of this development from our fuel marketing partners,  Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor released the following statement:

“We applaud Magellan on making E15 available at their terminals. This will allow forward-thinking retailers a more efficient distribution of this fuel into the marketplace by automating the process and generating an E15 bill of lading.

“This is a major win for consumer choice and a testament to the momentum behind E15, which is a high-octane, cleaner burning fuel that gives American drivers a more earth-friendly, economical, and engine safe option at the pump.

“Now that the infrastructure is prepared for year-round blending of E15, we will continue to push to get Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) relief applied to E15 to finally give American drivers a choice at the pump all year.”

Leading retailers including Casey’s, Cenex, Family Express, Kum & Go, Kwik Trip, MAPCO, Minnoco, Murphy USA, Protec Fuel, QuikTrip, RaceTrac, Sheetz, and Thorntons offer E15 currently at more than 900 locations in 29 states.

Magellan is offering blending services for E15 on a seasonal basis, which will comply with all laws and regulations.

Biotech Working Group Meets in Minnesota

The American Soybean Association (ASA) Biotech Working Group met earlier this month in the Minneapolis area to discuss the most pressing issues facing biotechnology and how these challenges impact farming and the soybean industry.

Immediately following the meeting, Syngenta representatives hosted the group for dinner and a tour of the Syngenta Seedcare Institute the next morning in Stanton, Minn. Biotech Working Group members who attended the meeting included several farmer-leaders and staff members from ASA, the United Soybean Board (USB) and U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC), as well as industry executives from several companies representing the leading technology providers in agriculture.

The meeting began with a presentation offering a current overview of world soybean markets, growth markets and projections by Thomas Mielke, editor and chief executive officer with Oil World and Jim Sutter, chief executive officer of USSEC. Following this presentation, Paul Spencer, with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), provided an update on the Global Low Level Presence Initiative and China 100-days plan. ASA Washington representative Renee Munasifi updated the group on ASA’s responses to USDA questions regarding the Biotech Disclosure Law.

A significant amount of time at the meeting was also spent discussing recent concerns over dicamba-related damage to crops. ASA remains committed to bringing the industry together to find answers and solutions. The Biotech Working Group meeting provided another opportunity for farmers to continue ongoing discussions with companies selling dicamba-based products. ASA is also coordinating with USB and checkoffs at the state level to draw on the data generated by their research into crop damage, as well as working alongside state departments of agriculture and land-grant universities as they investigate to understand what has happened in each specific incident and why.

The Biotech Working Group provides a consultative forum for the soy biotech industry to meet with key soybean industry and grower leadership on a consistent basis. The forum provides grower leaders the opportunity to review the progress of individual company traits, engage in dialogue and provide feedback along with the needed support and advocacy to advance approvals for new technologies.

Certified Organic Agricultural Production Up 23 Percent

Sales of organic agricultural production continued to increase in 2016, when U.S. farms produced and sold $7.6 billion in certified organic commodities, according to data released by the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Results of the 2016 Certified Organic Survey show that 2016 sales were up 23 percent from $6.2 billion in 2015. During the same year, the number of certified organic farms in the country increased 11 percent to 14,217, and the number of certified acres increased 15 percent to 5.0 million.

California, with $2.9 billion in certified organic sales, continued to lead the nation in certified sales, accounting for 38 percent of the U.S. total. It also had the largest share of certified organic acres and farms. Three states had more than 1,000 certified farms: California (2,713), Wisconsin (1,276), and New York (1,059).

"The results of the 2016 Certified Organic Survey show the continued interest and growth in organic foods," according to Hubert Hamer, NASS Administrator. "The survey provides the only comprehensive source of national and state data on certified organic production. It was expanded in 2016 from previous years to include fresh and processed information separately for all fruit and berry crops, as well as to include grape data by variety."

Ten states accounted for 77 percent of U.S. certified organic sales, virtually the same share as in 2015 and 2014.

Crops accounted for 56 percent of the sale of certified organic production; livestock, poultry, and their products accounted for 44 percent. Organic production encompasses a wide range of commodities, including livestock and poultry products (primarily milk and eggs), with 2016 sales of $2.2 billion; vegetables, $1.6 billion; fruits, tree nuts, and berries, $1.4 billion; livestock and poultry, $1.2 billion; and field crops, $763 million.

Other top organic crops were strawberries, grapes, tomatoes, corn, potatoes, hay, spinach, and mushrooms.

Syngenta and Coalition for Urban/Rural Environmental Stewardship produce pollinator stewardship film

The Coalition for Urban/Rural Environmental Stewardship (CURES), with support from Syngenta, today released an educational film showcasing best-management practices (BMPs) for protecting pollinators on farms and urban landscapes.

“Because farmland treated for pests is often shared by pollinators, it is important to help farmers and pesticide applicators understand how best to control damaging crop pests, while minimizing the impact on pollinators,” said Parry Klassen, executive director, CURES, and the film’s producer and narrator. “Additionally, proper pesticide use should protect pollinators’ forage and habitat.”

In the film, “Pollinators and Pesticide Stewardship,” Klassen shares BMPs set forth in the brochure of the same name. These guidelines include reading and following pesticide label directions and precautions—and using integrated pest management (IPM), an approach that takes into account the unique chemical, cultural, mechanical and biological aspects of a farmer’s operation to inform a customized pest-management program.

“Many crops are dependent upon the pollination role provided by bees and other pollinators, and it is incumbent on farmers and crop input providers to protect pollinators, while managing crop pests and improving crop yields,” said Caydee Savinelli, pollinator and IPM stewardship lead, Syngenta. “Delivering crop protection products brings the responsibility to educate farmers and applicators on BMPs for using these important inputs in a safe and environmentally sustainable way.”

This film reflects the latest project resulting from a long-standing collaboration between Syngenta and CURES—a relationship built on the common goal of proactive pesticide stewardship. Since CURES’ inception 20 years ago, Syngenta has worked with the organization to sponsor educational outreach efforts on a wide range of topics relating to health, safety and the environment.

Wednesday September 20 Ag News

Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               Will you plant some new alfalfa next spring?  How about interseed legumes into pasture?  Production and profits can increase if you soil test and maybe even fertilize yet this fall.

               Alfalfa and other legumes need more nutrients than most other crops we grow.  For example, an average ton of alfalfa hay will contain about 50 pounds of nitrogen, 12 pounds of phosphate, 50 pounds of potash, and 4 pounds of sulfur.

               Fortunately, well-nodulated legume plants get their nitrogen from the air.  All other nutrients must come from fertilizer or the soil.

               Soil tests tell you how much nutrition your soil can provide to your alfalfa and pasture legumes.  Then we can determine how much more fertilizer, if any, should be applied for maximum profits.

               Collect and analyze samples this fall before soils freeze from fields you expect to plant or interseed next year.  In fact, gather a “special” soil sample as well.  Gather one sample from the usual seven or eight inch depth plus another one only a couple inches deep.  This shallow sample will determine if you have an acid surface layer that many growers have been finding recently.  If the pH of your surface layer is below 6, you need lime.  However, it the deeper sample is above 6.2, you need only about half the usual amount.  If possible, apply that lime this fall so it can neutralize that acidity, which will speed seedling establishment next spring.

               If you find out that you need phosphorus or sulfur or potash, they also can be applied this fall or you can wait until planting next spring.

               Alfalfa and pasture legumes can reduce nitrogen costs and boost production and profits.  Soil testing can help.

 Nebraska Youth Beef Symposium

The 14th annual Nebraska Youth Beef Leadership Symposium will be held at the Animal Science Complex on UNL's East Campus on November 17-19. This symposium introduces participants to careers and current issues within the beef industry. For more information on this event, visit Registration is due October 6th.

If you're selected to participate, there is a $75 registration fee. This covers the cost of hotel, meals, and materials.

 Agricultural Education Teachers Receive Awards

The Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation is working to keep agricultural educators in Nebraska classrooms by awarding 16 Nebraska agricultural education teachers $14,750 toward their student loans.

“All 16 teachers show a continued commitment to teaching agriculture in Nebraska,” said Megahn Schafer, executive director of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation. “We’re very proud to be a part of supporting those who have a strong passion to teach agriculture, and we’re seeing that payoff as the number of schools that offer agriculture education and FFA here in Nebraska continues to grow,” she continued.

Recipients are all agricultural education teachers in their first through fifth year of teaching. Teachers are eligible for increasing awards each year. As the teachers’ impact grows in the classroom, in their FFA chapters, and in their communities each year, the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation aims to recognize and support their contributions.

The 16 recipients of the scholarships are Evey Choat, Laurel-Concord-Coleridge School; Reed Kraeger, Elwood Public Schools; Miranda Paitz, Cambridge Public School; Kathleen Cullinan, Kearney High School; Hannah Horak, Shelton Public School; Lacey Peterson, Riverside Public School; Tyler Schindler, Omaha Bryan High School; Wade Overturf, Wisner-Pilger Jr./Sr. High School; Nicole D’Angelo, Seward Public School; Shauna Roberson, Garden County Schools; Morgan Schwartz, Stanton High School; Victoria Armstrong, Maywood Public School; Jesse Bower, Sutton Public School; Justin Nollette, Sandhills Public School; Casey Carriker, Raymond Central Public School; Samantha Jensen, Bertrand-Loomis Public School.


Nebraska Extension is encouraging the state’s farmers and ranchers to complete a survey regarding their farm or ranch succession plans. The survey seeks to uncover how Nebraska farmers and ranchers are planning for succession or retirement, and how retirement would be financed.

The data collected will be used to design educational materials, website and meetings specific to Nebraska producers.

Allan Vyhnalek, farm succession extension educator; Dave Aiken, agricultural law specialist; and Kate Brooks, assistant professor, in the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln are the conducting the survey.

Vyhnalek, recently relocated to the department from Platte County Extension. He will provide succession planning support and education to Nebraska’s farms and ranches. Vyhnalek hopes to use the survey data collected to plan educational efforts.

“We hope that Nebraska farmers and ranchers understand the need to participate in the survey so we have correct information. We want to be able to design materials and educational outreach that fit the needs of Nebraskans,” Vyhnalek said.

The survey can be completed online at The survey will take between 5 to 10 minutes to complete and participants must be 19 years or older to participate. 

For more information or assistance, please contact Vyhnalek at 402-472-1771 or

Agrisure Duracade® Import Approval Gives Rob-See-Co™ Seed Customers Greater Options

China’s grain import approval on July 17, 2017 of the Agrisure Duracade® corn rootworm trait will open many more grain marketing options to U.S. corn producers. Hybrids with the Agrisure Duracade trait are available through Rob-See-Co, an independent seed company located in Waterloo, NE.

Rob-See-Co has been offering Agrisure Duracade-traited seed corn since 2014, but prior to this approval, the grain produced could only be used by growers as livestock feed on their own farms or delivered to a designated, approved dairy, feedlot or feed mill. With the import approval by China, farmers will now have more choices and outlets for their grain during the 2018 growing season and beyond.

"Agrisure Duracade is highly effective in controlling corn rootworm and offers farmers a choice compared to what’s available today, not only in terms of a new mode of action, but also as a different technology provider," said Rob Robinson, CEO of Rob-See-Co.

Rob-See-Co corn hybrids containing the Agrisure Duracade trait deliver dual mode of action control for both above- and below-ground insect pests, and feature a unique mode of action that provides a higher level of corn rootworm control to help growers achieve healthier crops for greater yields. A study conducted by Dr. Bruce Hibbard at the University of Missouri showed a 99.7 percent reduction in adult corn rootworm beetle emergence by using Agrisure Duracade, a highly significant improvement over a single mode of action rootworm trait.

Rootworms are known as the “billion dollar bug,” costing farmers more than $1 billion annually in lost yields and insect control costs. In addition, biological shifts that reduce effectiveness of current control methods are forcing farmers to change their approach to managing this insect. For the greatest efficacy and to minimize resistance, farmers should deploy a comprehensive protection plan against corn rootworm.  This should include crop rotation, using the dual mode-of-action Agrisure Duracade trait stack and adding a soil insecticide in cases of expected heavy pressure. Use of a beetle spray program to reduce adult populations during the prior year, followed by planting an Agrisure Duracade hybrid, is also an effective program.

With the recent grain import approval by China, Rob-See-Co customers will now have a greater choice in the number of hybrids available with Agrisure Duracade, as well as expanded marketing opportunities for the grain they produce. All hybrids with the Agrisure Duracade trait stack are also E-Z Refuge, which means growers have the simplicity and convenience of a 5% integrated refuge in the bag.

“Agrisure Duracade is the best trait on the market to fight corn rootworm,” said Eric Ford, head of product management.  “Farmers need every tool at their disposal to battle this difficult pest, and we are excited to provide our customers with Agrisure Duracade options at an even greater level than before.”

 Studies Show Ethanol Crop Residues Provide A Billion-Dollar Business Opportunity

Two new studies show that generating energy from ethanol industry byproducts can fuel a billion-dollar business opportunity for the farm economy.  Reports from the studies are available at

Iowa-based Regional Strategic, Ltd. examined the economic impact of collecting, processing, and delivering corn stover byproducts of ethanol – the stalks, leaves, and stems of corn plants – for use in generating electricity. The stover is compressed into biomass pellets that can be burned like coal in existing power plants, reducing CO2 emissions and increasing renewable energy supplies. This is similar to the use of wood pellets in European power plants.

The studies reveal that with modest infrastructure investments, building even a single pellet facility can deliver large quantifiable economic benefits across farm economies. Developing a broader industry around corn stover represents a multi-billion dollar opportunity.

For farmers, harvesting stover means reaping more value from their crops. For electric utilities, burning biomass pellets provides low-cost emissions reductions and renewable energy from existing facilities without the intermittency challenges of wind and solar.  For ethanol-producing states, expanding bioenergy capacity delivers significant economic benefits, including an increase in jobs, economic output, and state GDP.

The studies, commissioned by Larksen LLC, Trestle Energy's affiliate for biomass supply, focus on Nebraska and Iowa, two leaders in U.S. ethanol production, with an eye toward how building out a new biomass industry would impact the economies of these states. Nebraska's ethanol industry produces roughly 8.32 million tons of harvestable corn stover annually, and Iowa's industry produces around 15.6 million tons. Utilizing this stover to reduce carbon emissions elsewhere in the economy reduces the overall carbon footprint of ethanol – increasing the value of that ethanol in jurisdictions with Low Carbon Fuel Standards or Clean Fuel Standards ("LCFS/CFS"). This increased value helps farmers earn extra profits from their stover and fuels a new economic engine for agricultural states.

The economic impacts show that building a corn stover industry to complement ethanol production in Iowa could deliver over $1 billion in additional labor income and contribute $2 billion to Iowa's GDP by 2030. In neighboring Nebraska, the analysis shows the potential to generate $840 million in labor income and $1.5 billion in GDP over the same period. This can be achieved using mature technologies.  What is required is modest infrastructure investments to enable coal-fired power plants to blend biomass into their fuel mix. Agricultural states can start reaping the benefits today by enabling infrastructure investments that open the door for this billion-dollar business opportunity.

NCGA Supports Funding Increase for MAP, FMD Programs

The National Corn Growers Association praised the introduction today of the CREAATE Act, a bill to increase investment in two federal programs with a proven track record of building global demand for U.S. agricultural products.

The bipartisan bill, introduced by Senators Angus King (I-Maine), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Joe Donnelly (D-Indiana), and Susan Collins (R-Maine), would increase investment in the Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development program (FMD). A companion bill was introduced in the House earlier this year.

MAP and FMD are public-private partnerships that promote U.S. agriculture. Together, they are responsible for 15 percent of U.S. agricultural export revenue—$309 billion since 1977.

“MAP and FMD are critical programs for building and expanding global markets for American agricultural exports. We must increase investment in these programs,” said Wesley Spurlock, a Texas farmer and president of NCGA.

“These programs deliver a strong return on investment. Every $1 invested in MAP and FMD generates $28 in exports—that means more American jobs, and more money coming into our communities. Now more than ever, we need to invest in export and market development programs like these to build global demand and help farmers’ bottom lines,” said Spurlock.

Funding for MAP and FMD has not kept pace with inflation, administrative costs, the growth of the global marketplace, or the investments other countries have made in their own export promotion. The FMD program is also under threat to lose its baseline funding when the farm bill expires in 2018.

The CREAATE Act would gradually increase MAP funding from $200 million to $400 million per year and FMD funding from $34.5 million to $69 million per year, over the next five years.

“Thank you to Senator King, Senator Ernst, Senator Donnelly, and Senator Collins for leading the effort to strengthen the MAP and FMD programs. These programs have already been successful, but with increased investment, they can help even more American farmers and ranchers compete around the world,” said Spurlock.

ASA Supports CREAATE Act in Senate

American Soybean Association (ASA) Vice President John Heisdorffer signaled the association’s strong support today for legislation that would double the funding for the Foreign Market Development program and the Market Access Programs, two federal cost-share efforts at the core of the soybean industry’s overseas market development work. Heisdorffer, who farms in Keota, Iowa, welcomed the Cultivating Revitalization by Expanding American Agricultural Trade and Exports (CREAATE) Act, introduced by his home state senator Joni Ernst, along with Sens. Angus King (I-Maine) and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.). The Senate version of the CREAATE Act accompanies similar legislation introduced in May by Reps. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.) and Chellie Pingree (D-Maine).

“MAP and FMD are two of the real success stories when it comes to partnerships between American farmers and the federal government. We work together with the U.S. Soybean Export Council to leverage MAP and FMD funds to establish and expand markets for American soy in all corners of the globe, and the CREAATE Act will go a long way to ensuring that good work can and will continue.

“These are programs that yield exponential benefits for farmers and for our economy, generating almost $30 in net return for every dollar invested. Those dollars have gone to expanding overseas demand in the fields of animal agriculture, cooking oils, and the emerging field of aquaculture, which will be key as our industry works to provide protein to a growing global population in places like Southeast Asia and Latin America.

“We applaud Sens. King, Ernst and Donnelly for introducing the CREAATE Act in the Senate, and we take the time to again thank Reps. Newhouse and Pingree for their version in the House. We hope that leadership in both chambers will commit to moving this important legislation forward as quickly as possible.”

Senators Introduce Legislation Strengthening Trade Programs for the Wheat Industry

Today, Senators Angus King (I-ME), Joni Ernst (R-IA), and Joe Donnelly (D-IN) introduced the “Cultivating Revitalization by Expanding American Trade and Exports (CREAATE) Act” which will increase the funding for the Foreign Market Development Program from $34.5 million to $69 million annually and the Market Access Program from $200 million to $400 million. On May 03, 2017, Congressmen Dan Newhouse (R-WA) and Chellie Pingree (D-ME) introduced the companion bill, CREAATE Act (HR 2321), in the House.

NAWG CEO Chandler Goule made the following statement:

“With the United States exporting 50% of its wheat, a strong trade agenda is essential for growing and opening new markets for wheat growers abroad.

“The Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) program have proven to have excellent return on investment and increase the global demand for wheat while raising farm income here at home.

“These programs provide the U.S. agricultural community with the tools needed to retain its edge in an increasingly competitive global economy.

“NAWG commends Senators King, Ernst, and Donnelly for working across party lines to introduce the CREAATE Act which will help American farmers create, expand, and maintain access to foreign markets.”

EIA: Ethanol Stocks Flat

 The Energy Information Administration's weekly supply report released Wednesday, Sept. 20, showed total ethanol inventory was unchanged for the third straight week while both plant production and blending demand declined during the week-ended Sept. 15.

The EIA's Weekly Petroleum Status Report showed fuel ethanol stocks were steady at 21.1 million barrels (bbl) while posting a 1.1 million bbl, or 5.5%, year-on-year surplus.

Domestic plant production fell 14,000 barrels per day (bpd), or 1.3%, to 1.033 million bpd during the week reviewed, while up 51,000 bpd, or 5.3%, year-on-year. For the four weeks ended last week, fuel ethanol production averaged 1.045 million bpd, up 43,000 bpd or 4.3%.

Net refiner and blender inputs, a gauge for ethanol demand, decreased 3,000 bpd to 898,000 bpd, while down 22,000 bpd, or 2.4%, year-on-year. For the four-week period ended Sept. 15, blending demand is down 7,000 bpd. or 0.8%.

The report also showed gasoline demand declined 178,000 bpd to 9.441 million bpd during the week-ended Sept. 15, down 2.2% versus the same week in 2016. Over the last four weeks, gasoline product supplied averaged over 9.517 million bpd, down 0.2% from a year ago.

America's Farmers Grow Communities Enrollment Now Open

Nonprofit organizations help rural communities thrive, and farmers across the U.S. have an opportunity to help these organizations. Through the America’s Farmers Grow Communities program, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, farmers can enroll for a chance to direct a $2,500 donation to a local eligible nonprofit organization.

New this year, all farmers are now eligible to enroll in the program, if they meet the requirement of being 21 years old and actively engaged in farming at least 250 acres or more. The Grow Communities program will award more than $3 million to nonprofits in rural America in 2018.

These funds are used to provide support to a variety of rural nonprofit organizations that reflect the makeup and character of their local communities, including food banks, emergency response organizations, youth agriculture programs and many others. Since the program began in 2010, the Grow Communities program has awarded more than $26 million in donations.

Randy & Linda Bialas, a 2017 winning farmer from Phelps County directed the donation to the Holdrege FFA Chapter. The chapter will use the funds for leadership and chapter development opportunities for chapter officers and members to attend COLT Conference, Washington Leadership Conference, a chapter retreat and Youth Farm Safety camp this fall.

Jeff Moore, Holdrege FFA Chapter Advisor, said to KRVN, “This grant will allow our chapter members to develop leadership skills through various programs and provide an educational opportunity for Phelps County Youth.  Monsanto’s continued support of this funding is valuable to developing young leaders in the field of agriculture locally and across the nation.”

Through the years, we have seen this program impact countless local communities, and we are proud to partner with farmers on this initiative to continue supporting nonprofit organizations important to them,” said Al Mitchell, Monsanto Fund president. “Because of farmers’ commitment to the Grow Communities program, their donations have provided vital support to organizations that make a lasting impact in local communities throughout the U.S.”

Farmers can easily enroll in the Grow Communities program from now to Nov. 1, 2017. Online enrollment, as well as a complete list of program rules and eligibility information, can be found at or by calling 1-877-267-3332 toll-free. 

Bayer Now Expects Monsanto Deal to Close in Early 2018

Bayer AG on Tuesday said that it submitted an application on Monday to extend the European Commission review deadline for its planned acquisition of Monsanto and that it now expects the deal to close in early 2018.

Bayer said that it requested the extension in order to facilitate "an appropriate evaluation given the size of the transaction," reports Dow Jones news.

In late June, Bayer filed a submission to obtain antitrust approval for the deal from the European Commission. The European Commission initiated an in-depth investigation into the deal on Aug. 22.

Bayer's application on Monday requested a ten-working-day extension of the review deadline to Jan. 22, 2018.

ASI Accepting Nominations for Annual Awards

"We have brilliant and dedicated people and organizations in the sheep business that do impressive things with sheep production or lamb and wool processing and marketing," said ASI President Mike Corn. "We wanted to test the interest in a new award that would recognize innovations in the sheep business. ASI awards have traditionally recognized service and media coverage associated with the organization, so this Industry Innovation Award is an exciting addition."

Nominations for the accolade - as well as ASI's traditional awards - are now open. The deadline for nominations is Nov. 13.

The Industry Innovation Award will recognize the accomplishments of an individual or organization that improves the American sheep industry in a game-changing way, regardless of whether its impact is felt at the regional, state or national level.

There are four other awards also open for nominations: The McClure Silver Ram Award, the Camptender Award, the Distinguished Producer Award and the Shepherd's Voice Award.

The McClure Silver Ram Award is dedicated to volunteer commitment and service and is presented to a sheep producer who has made substantial contributions to the sheep industry and its organizations in his/her state, region or nation. The award may recognize a lifetime of achievement or may recognize a noteworthy, shorter-term commitment and service to the industry.

Nominees should be recognized as industry leaders with nominations spelling out the candidates' contributions to the industry and its producers. Producers should be actively involved in sheep production and may or may not produce sheep as their sole income. However, their nominations should not be based in any part on a paid position serving the sheep industry.

The Camptender Award recognizes industry contributions from a professional in a position or field related to sheep production. Nominees should show a strong commitment and a significant contribution to the sheep industry, its organizations and its producers above and beyond what is called for in his/her professional capacity. Nominees should be well respected in their fields by their peers and by sheep producers.

Nominees may be involved with the industry as teachers, consultants, scientists, youth leaders, promoters, event managers, journalists or any other position directly related to the sheep industry, enabling the nominee to affect the sheep industry in a positive and long-lasting way. Nominees may be recognized for lifetime service to the sheep industry or may be recognized for a shorter-term commitment that resulted in significant benefits for the sheep industry.

The Distinguished Producer Award was launched in 2014 to recognize the 150th anniversary of the national organization - the oldest livestock association in the country. This award is a way to recognize an individual who has had a significant long-term impact on the industry, including involvement with the National Wool Growers Association or American Sheep Producers Council, the predecessor organizations to ASI.

The Shepherd's Voice Award for Media recognizes outstanding year-long coverage of the sheep industry by either print or broadcast outlets. The award excludes all publications and affiliates related solely to the sheep industry, allowing for recognition of outlets with general coverage for excellence in covering sheep industry issues.

Nominations may be publications, networks or specific reporters exhibiting a strong commitment to balanced reporting and consistent coverage of the sheep industry locally, statewide and/or nationally.

Nominations must be submitted to the ASI national headquarters by Nov. 13, and past recipients of these awards are not eligible. Awards will be presented at the ASI Annual Convention, Jan. 31-Feb. 3 in San Antonio. To receive an application, call or email: 303-771-3500 or The one-page nomination form can also be downloaded at

NFU President Joins Advisory Board of New Energy America

In a move to further National Farmers Union’s (NFU) commitment to promoting American grown, renewable energy sources, NFU President Roger Johnson today joined the advisory board of New Energy America, a new organization created to promote clean energy jobs in rural America.

Johnson and NFU will support New Energy America’s engagement with communities and lawmakers in rural America to demonstrate how policies that support the deployment of clean energy create jobs in rural America.  While the fossil fuel industry enjoys support from the politicians elected in these states, the data is clear that policies that support reducing emissions are creating good jobs in rural America.

“National Farmers Union members have long been staunch supporters of clean, renewable energy, especially when that energy development puts folks to work on the farm and in rural communities,” said Johnson. “I’m eager to work with my colleagues at New Energy America to ensure the success of the America renewable energy sector for the benefit of American family farmers, ranchers, and their rural communities.”

As part of its launch today, New Energy America released the first Fifty State Clean Energy Jobs Report, which contains a detailed analysis of clean energy jobs in each of the 50 states. The report shows that clean energy jobs outpace fossil energy jobs in 41 states.

“Too often the debate in Washington misses the fact that what is good for clean energy is good for rural America.  We will no longer let politicians off the hook,” said Mike Carr, Executive Director of New Energy America.  “New Energy America will make sure that rural America knows that clean energy policies are creating jobs in their communities.”

The 2017 Fifty State Clean Energy Jobs Report, and more information about New Energy America, can be found at  

Tuesday September 19 Ag News

Farm Credit Services of America Announce New President and Chief Executive Officer

Farm Credit Services of America (FCSAmerica) and Frontier Farm Credit today named Mark Jensen as incoming president and chief executive officer of the customer-owned financial cooperatives.  Jensen, the Associations’ chief risk officer, will assume his new role on November 1, 2017.  He succeeds Doug Stark, who is retiring.

Jensen joined FCSAmerica in 1992 and has held senior vice president positions with the Association for the past 16 years.  He was named senior vice president – chief risk officer in 2013.  Jensen was instrumental in modernizing FCSAmerica’s credit process and implementing an enterprise risk management framework, and today provides executive leadership of the Associations’ risk management, credit and appraisal teams.  He graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a degree in agricultural economics.

FCSAmerica and Frontier Farm Credit are customer-owned financial cooperatives proud to finance the growth of rural America, including the special needs of young and beginning producers.  FCSAmerica provides credit and insurance services to farmers, ranchers, agribusiness and rural residents in Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming.  Frontier Farm Credit serves eastern Kansas.  Learn more at and 

Crop Residue Exchange Program
Larry Howard, NE Extension Educator, Cuming County

The Crop Residue Exchange is an online engagement tool designed to assist farmer-cattlemen relationship development with the goal of encouraging mutually beneficial agreements to utilize crop residue for the purposes of grazing. A recent UNL survey showed that 17% of farmers, that do not have any cattle grazing corn residue on acres they farm, list lack of access to cattle as the major reason. This online exchange serves as a way for corn and other crop producers to better market their crop residue to cattle producers and develop mutually beneficial grazing agreements.

The Crop Residue Exchange is available online at After establishing a login account, farmers can list cropland available for grazing by drawing out the plot of land available using an interactive map and entering in basic information about the type of residue, fencing situation, water availability, and dates available. Producers also provide their preferred contact information. Livestock producers can login and search the database for cropland available for grazing within radius of a given location of interest.

The primary objective of this exchange is to assist in the development of farmer-cattlemen relationships. In the near future the exchange also seeks to provide educational material and tools that support these relationships. Items under development include a lease agreement template to assist in the contract arrangement between the cattle owner and the farmer, links to tools and guidelines to help farmers and cattle owners correctly stock crop residue fields, and summary information on crop residue grazing rates. These will be available to all registered users of the exchange.


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               Pastures and hay meadows provide higher quality feed, are more productive, and cheaper to grow if they have good forage legumes growing in them.

               Yes – nitrogen fertilizer prices have come down.  But they still are so high it’s going to be difficult to justify fertilizing pastures next spring.  So instead, let’s grow our own N using legumes.

               Do you have a pasture area or hay meadow that is relatively free of weeds and makes up no more than about 15 percent of your total pasture acres?  If so, here is what I want you to do.  From now until that grass will grow no more this year, I want you to graze the living daylights out of that grass.  Grub it down, then graze it some more.

               Now why would I want you to do that?  Surely it will hurt the grass.  Well surprise, that's exactly what I want.  Because next spring, you will interseed legumes like red clover, white clover, and alfalfa into that grass to make it more nutritious and productive.

               The biggest challenge to establishing these legumes into a grass sod is competition by that existing grass on new, slow growing legume seedlings.  Anything you do to reduce competition and slow down grass growth will help.  Overgrazing this fall prior to next spring’s sodseeding will weaken the grass and slow its spring growth, thus giving new legume seedlings a better chance to get started.

               And while you’re at it, also collect some soil samples.  Then analyze them and apply any needed fertilizer.  Legumes especially need good phosphorus and soil pH.

               So, plan to add some legumes to your pasture next spring.  Graze your grass this fall until virtually nothing is left.  Then, keep grazing a couple weeks more just to make sure.

               Legumes you add next spring will establish better because of it.

Sasse Talks Security and Trade with South Korean Trade Minister

Today, after President Trump forcefully condemned North Korea at the United Nations in New York City, U.S. Senator Ben Sasse met with South Korean Trade Minister Hyun-Chong Kim.

“The United States must confront North Korea’s dictatorship – through diplomatic measures if possible or through military action if necessary. Trade Minister Kim and I agree that trade plays a critical role in that diplomatic response in two ways. First, we want to strengthen our alliance through trade that benefits Nebraskans and South Koreans. Second, sanctions can put pressure on North Korea’s despot and force China to step up and prevent a nuclear arms race in its backyard.”

Earlier this month, Senator Sasse strongly condemned any U.S. exit from our trade deal with our ally South Korea.

Since May, Senator Sasse, the Chairman of the Senate Banking Subcommittee on National Security and International Trade and Finance, has worked to highlight the utility of secondary sanctions against China to force additional pressure on North Korea.


The Nebraska Tractor Test Lab recently completed its evaluation of the XERION 5000 and XERION 4500 four-wheel-drive tractors by CLAAS of America and the final results are in. Between the two machines, several records were broken for efficiency, cab noise, pull-to-weight ratio and more.

PTO and Engine Testing

The XERION 4500 now holds the record as the most fuel-efficient tractor in the 4WD, 450-500 hp class. The XERION 4500 set records for power take-off (PTO) hp (hr)/gallon in rated engine speed (18.33), rated PTO speed (19.13) and maximum engine power (19.52). Both the XERION 4500 and XERION 5000 outclassed similarly rated models in each of these three categories.

Of course, it’s not all about horsepower, it’s about what that power can do for the operator. The XERION 4500 and 5000 went head-to-head against the top competitors in engine lugging capacity, and both came out on top, setting a record for low engine speed while providing maximum torque thanks in large part to the XERION tractor’s ECCOM CVT transmission.

The XERION 4500 also set a new record in the ballasted portion of the test. By correctly weighting the XERION 4500, the pull-to-weight ratio set a new 25-year record in 4WD tractors.

3-Point Lifting

The XERION 5000 did very well in the 3-point hitch test, achieving a maximum force of 21,738 pounds in the continuous lift test.

Sound Level Testing

The noise level recorded in the cab of the XERION 4500 was a record-breaking 68.5 decibels. The record was short lived, however, as the XERION 5000 tested out an even more quiet 67.0 decibels. Both tractors were quieter than a Cadillac Escalade traveling at 65 miles per hour.

Tire vs. Tracks

There’s a common belief that tracks provide more pulling power than a tire. Results of the XERION 4500 test prove otherwise. In fact, there is actually a loss in power when a tractor with tracks pulls a load. The XERION 4500 tested with a higher maximum pull, pull difference and pull-to-weight ratio than a comparable tractor with tracks.

Governor Ricketts to Host First Annual Nebraska Steak Fry

Today the Ricketts for Governor campaign announced Governor Pete Ricketts will be hosting the First Annual Nebraska Steak Fry early next month. Nebraskans are invited to join us as we enjoy a steak fry, music, family games and a program with elected officials from Nebraska and across the Midwest to celebrate Nebraska's number one industry, agriculture. The Steak Fry will be held on October 8th from 12:00-3:00 p.m at Rod & Deb Gangwish's Farm - 57252 145th Road, Shelton, NE.

Special guests include Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin, Missouri Governor Eric Greitens, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Tickets can be purchased online at by clicking the Steak Fry link. Single tickets are available for $20 and family tickets can be purchased for $35. An early bird discount of 50% off is available by using the code "HUSKER" during checkout. A limited amount of VIP tickets are also available.

60-Day Harvest Weight Limit Exemptions Granted

To help haul in this year's harvest, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed into effect Monday a proclamation granting a temporary 60-day weight limit exemption for trucks on Iowa roads. The 2017 Harvest Weight Proclamation specifically increases the weight allowable for shipment of corn, soybeans, hay, straw and stover, by 12.5 percent per axle (up to a maximum of 90,000 pounds) without the need for an oversize/overweight permit.

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

"I am pleased to sign this proclamation allowing Iowa farmers to move their crops in an effective and efficient manner," Gov. Reynolds said. "Farmers are a critical component of our state's economy, and this proclamation ensures they're able to transport their crops ahead of deteriorating weather conditions."

"We sincerely thank Governor Reynolds for this proclamation," said Iowa Corn Growers Association President Mark Recker, a farmer from Arlington. "With the extremely dry conditions across Iowa, it is important that farmers can get their crops out of the field and to market efficiently. We appreciate Governor Reynolds' efforts knowing that the harvest weight proclamation is not a right by law, but a petition we as corn farmers make to the Governor who at her sole discretion may choose to grant the increased harvest weight tolerance."

ICGA made the request to Governor Reynolds in August and worked with the Governor's office to ensure the Proclamation moved forward to benefit Iowa's farmers. The proclamation directs the Iowa Department of Transportation to monitor the operation of the proclamation, assure the public's safety by facilitating the movement of the trucks involved. Farmers who are transporting grain are also required to follow their vehicle safety standards on axle weights.

The exemption is granted for 60 days beginning, Monday.

The Iowa Department of Transportation is directed to monitor the operation of this proclamation to ensure the public's safety and facilitate the movement of the trucks involved in our state's harvest.

August Milk Production in the United States up 2.0 Percent

Milk production in the United States during August totaled 18.1 billion pounds, up 2.0 percent from August 2016.  Production per cow in the United States averaged 1,919 pounds for August, 24 pounds above August 2016.  The number of milk cows on farms in the United States was 9.41 million head,
71,000 head more than August 2016, but unchanged from July 2017.

Iowa:  Milk production in Iowa during August 2017 totaled 434 million pounds, up 3 percent from the previous August according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Milk Production report. The average number of milk cows during August, at 217,000 head, was the same as last month and 3,000 more than last year. Monthly production per cow averaged 2,000 pounds, up 30 pounds from last August.

Perdue Statement on Censky & McKinney Senate Committee Hearing

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today gave high marks to Steve Censky and Ted McKinney for their joint appearance before the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.  President Donald Trump has nominated Censky to service as Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, while McKinney is the president’s choice to be the very first Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs.  The two await approval of the entire U.S. Senate before beginning work at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Secretary Perdue issued the following statement:

“Today we saw two nominees who are experienced, prepared, and capable of providing the steady leadership we need at USDA, and we can’t wait to get them on board.  We have accomplished a great deal in a short amount of time in our department, but we need Steve Censky and Ted McKinney to join the team as we face serious challenges in agriculture in the coming months and years.

“With producers in many states just beginning to assess the damages and losses from back-to-back hurricanes – and with wildfires continuing to rage in large swaths of the country – we will need Steve Censky’s counsel to help navigate the landscape.  And as Congress continues work on the 2018 Farm Bill, his guidance and input will be invaluable.  Likewise, as we continue USDA’s mission of feeding an ever-growing world population, we will need Ted McKinney to be the unapologetic advocate of American agriculture as we expand U.S. access to international markets.  He will be the one who wakes up every morning asking where he can sell more American products to foreign consumers.  I trust that the Senate will confirm them both in a speedy fashion.”

Checkoff to Relaunch 'Beef, It's What's for Dinner' Campaign

The Beef Checkoff will relaunch their famous "Beef, it's what's for dinner" campaign next month. The iconic beef brand known across the U.S. turns 25 this October.

Alisa Harrison is Senior Vice President of Global Marketing at the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, a contract partner of the beef checkoff program.

"The last couple of years it's been in the background in our consumer marketing. We went out and talked with consumers, especially to millennials to see what kind of equity we had in Beef it's what's for dinner and it is still really strong 25 years later," Harrison said. "It's the voice and it's also the rodeo music. When those young millennial parents hear it, it is a latent memory for them. They smile, get's them excited about beef, and reminds them of growing up."

She adds the checkoff's challenge is how to make beef relevant today. By doing that, it is not just about pushing the product but explaining how beef is raised.

The Beef Checkoff launched the original campaign in 1992. The upcoming relaunch is part of a bigger campaign to educate consumers about beef along unveiling a new logo and website.

NFU Reinforces Need for Trade Agenda Reforms Through NAFTA

Ahead of a third round of renegotiation talks on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), National Farmers Union (NFU) reinforced it’s call for a fair trade agreement framework that benefits American family farmers, ranchers and consumers, and restores American sovereignty on farm and food policy.

In a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, NFU endorsed a series of trade reform recommendations proposed by the Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA), of which NFU is a member.

“NAFTA has had significant impacts on family farms and rural communities,” wrote NFU President Roger Johnson. “The U.S. has a trade deficit with Mexico and Canada, despite the fact that agricultural trade has usually been a bright spot in America’s ever-growing trade deficit. Agricultural markets and farms have consolidated since NAFTA was agreed to. We urge you to heed the advice of those advocating for the benefits for all consumers and family farmers, rather than corporate profits.”

Johnson highlighted CPA’s proposed changes to NAFTA, including:
·         Reducing bilateral trade imbalances
·         Remedies for currency manipulation and misalignment
·         Strengthening rules of origin
·         Reinstating country-of-origin labeling (COOL)
·         Eliminating investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS)
·         Automaticity of enforcement of the agreement
·         Eliminating provisions on domestic procurement
·         Improve wages and labor standards
·         Compliance with food, product, and highway safety standards
·         Sunset NAFTA in 10 years
·         Remedies for perishable and cyclical products
·         Addressing border adjustable taxes

Johnson added that USTR should address non-tariff barriers that act as hidden tariffs, particularly as it relates to Canada’s restrictions on the sale of U.S. wine.

“As you renegotiate NAFTA, we urge you to act in the best interest of American farmers, ranchers and consumers, and to restore the United States’ sovereignty over farm and food policy. I look forward to working with your administration to reset the nation’s failed trade agenda,” he concluded.

NCGA Urges Farmers to Harvest Safely This Fall

The National Corn Growers Association reminds farmers of the importance of proper grain bin safety procedures this harvest. With farmers across the country preparing to hit the fields in their combines, NCGA offers both a list of safety reminders and a video on the important topic of grain bin safety.

1.  Road Safety
Reduce vehicle width as much as possible and ensure adequate warning lighting.  Use "Slow Moving Vehicle" signs on all slow-moving equipment.

2.   Equipment Safety
Be incredibly careful when approaching harvesting equipment.  Approach from the front and gain eye contact with the operator before approaching.  Ensure the harvesting equipment is fully stopped and disengaged before climbing onto a vehicle.  Do not place yourself near any unguarded or otherwise running machinery.  Avoid pinch points between equipment - such as tractors with grain wagons. Visibility can be limited and serious injury can occur.  Watch for trucks backing up or pulling away.  Steer clear and maintain eye contact with the driver if you approach a truck or tractor.

3.  Entanglement Hazard
Entanglement hazards can happen very quickly.  Do not ever try to unplug any equipment without disengaging power and removing energy from the equipment.  Never pull or try to remove plugged plants from an operating machine. Always keep shields in place to avoid snags and entanglement when working around equipment.

4.  Fall Hazard
Be careful climbing on and off equipment.  Be alert and extremely careful when working in wet or slippery conditions.  Keep all walkways and platforms open and free of tools, dust, debris or other obstacles.  Clean all walkways and platforms before use.  Wear clothing that is well fitting and not baggy or loose.  Also wear proper non-slip, closed toe shoes.  Use grab bars when mounting or dismounting machinery. Face machinery when dismounting and never jump from equipment.  Never dismount from a moving vehicle.

5.  Fire Prevention
Carry a fire extinguisher with you in your vehicle (A-B-C, 5 or 10 pound).  Remove dust and buildup from equipment.  Check bearings regularly to prevent overheating and chance of fire.

6.  Grain Wagon Safety
Be careful to monitor grain wagon weight to never exceed maximum weight limits.  As weight increases, grain wagons can be more difficult to control.  Load grain wagons evenly to distribute weight to prevent weaving or instability across the grain wagon.  Inspect grain wagon tires and replace any worn or cracked tires.

In addition to these tips, NCGA is again offering a video highlighting the importance of proper safety procedures and reviewing helpful guidelines.  First released in 2011, this video remains relevant and illustrates the significant threat bin entrapment can pose.  The video is available at and on NCGA's YouTube channel.

Set Sail for World Dairy Expo

With just two weeks to go before ‘Discovering New Dairy Worlds’ at World Dairy Expo 2017, now is the time for attendees to finalize plans. WDE offers many tools to help dairy enthusiasts make the most of their time at the must-attend event of the global dairy industry.

Expo’s award-winning Trade Show – featuring more than 850 companies – is best navigated with a plan. Interactive maps, available at, allow attendees to explore the show before and during their visit. Complete with search features for specific companies, products and categories, the interactive maps allow each attendee to create a personalized “Must See” list before the show to download or print, ensuring no stop is forgotten. A list of new products and services highlighted in the Trade Show are also included in Innovation Unveiled, available on the WDE website.

Attendees can steer through the Trade Show without fear of missing the Dairy Cattle Show. Multiple large screens located around the grounds are tuned to ExpoTV, displaying the Showring, along with extra coverage on Expo360, ExpoTV’s newest channel. This addition will provide a complete 360-degree look at World Dairy Expo, with Trade Show coverage, twice-daily newscasts, Virtual Farm Tours, Expo Seminars and more.

To enhance the attendee experience, two new information booths have been added in 2017 – located in the lobby of New Holland Pavilion 1 and on Fairgrounds Drive – in addition to the existing information booths in the west lobby of the Coliseum and the Exhibition Hall lobby. These booths will be staffed with Expo experts and provide daily schedules, the Official Program, published by Dairy Herd Management, the Expo Daily Edition, published by Dairy Star, and more. Attendees are encouraged to visit the booths for details on how to register for Expo’s exclusive giveaway of a Reveal Forage Analysis and one year of service from Cargill Animal Nutrition.

Map a route and set sail to ‘Discover New Dairy Worlds’ at the 51st World Dairy Expo. Visit for all planning needs before and throughout WDE.

September 18 Crop Progress & Condition Report


For the week ending September 17, 2017, temperatures averaged four to eight degrees above normal, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Precipitation ranged from half an inch to an inch across a majority of the State. Dry edible bean harvest was underway in western counties. There were 6.4 days suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 10 percent very short, 33 short, 56 adequate, and 1 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 11 percent very short, 36 short, 52 adequate, and 1 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn condition rated 5 percent very poor, 9 poor, 24 fair, 44 good, and 18 excellent. Corn dented was 94 percent, equal to last year, and near 93 for the five-year average. Mature was 37 percent, behind 43 both last year and average. Harvested was 2 percent, equal to last year, but behind 7 average.

Soybean condition rated 4 percent very poor, 8 poor, 28 fair, 48 good, and 12 excellent. Soybeans dropping leaves was 54 percent, ahead of 48 both last year and average. Harvested was 3 percent, near 2 both last year and average.

Winter wheat planted was 23 percent, behind 41 last year and 34 average.

Sorghum condition rated 3 percent very poor, 2 poor, 20 fair, 55 good, and 20 excellent. Sorghum coloring was 91 percent, behind 98 last year, but near 87 average. Mature was 30 percent, behind 39 last year, but ahead of 22 average. Harvested was 2 percent, near 0 both last year and average.

Alfalfa condition rated 4 percent very poor, 10 poor, 34 fair, 40 good, and 12 excellent. Alfalfa fourth cutting was 68 percent complete, ahead of 59 last year and 61 average.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 5 percent very poor, 20 poor, 45 fair, 27 good, and 3 excellent. Stock water supplies rated 2 percent very short, 10 short, 88 adequate, and 0 surplus.


 It was mostly dry in Iowa with above normal temperatures for the week ending September 17, 2017, according to USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were 6.2 days suitable for fieldwork. With increased heat and little moisture, crops matured rapidly in the past week. Activities for the week included seeding cover crops, spreading manure, harvesting seed corn, chopping corn silage, and hauling grain.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 21 percent very short, 30 percent short, 49 percent adequate and 0 percent surplus. According to the September 12, 2017 U.S. Drought Monitor, parts of south central and southeast Iowa remain in extreme drought status. Subsoil moisture levels rated 20 percent very short, 34 percent short, 46 percent adequate and 0 percent surplus.

Eighty-eight percent of the corn crop has reached the dent stage or beyond, eight days behind last year and three days behind the 5-year average. Thirty percent of corn had reached maturity, six days behind last year and average. Reports were received from throughout the state that corn harvest for grain has begun. Corn condition declined slightly to 59 percent good to excellent.

Seventy-four percent soybeans were turning color or beyond, two days behind last year but one day ahead of average. Thirty-one percent of soybeans were dropping leaves, one day behind average. Scattered soybean fields across most of the state have been harvested. Soybean condition dropped to 58 percent good to excellent.

The third cutting of alfalfa hay is nearly complete at 96 percent.

Pasture conditions worsened over the past week with 47 percent poor to very poor. Livestock conditions remain good, although there were scattered reports of flies and pink eye being an issue.

USDA Weekly Crop Progress

Corn and soybean harvests lagged the five-year average pace, while conditions held pretty steady during the week ended Sept. 17, according to USDA's latest Crop Progress and Condition report issued Monday. 

USDA's National Ag Statistics Service estimated corn to be 86% dented, 34% mature, and 7% harvested. The 5-year averages are 90%, 47%, and 11% respectively. 

NASS estimated 41% of the soybean crop is dropping leaves and 4% harvested; the 5-year averages are 43% and 5%, respectively. 

Sorghum is 29% harvested, equal to the five-year average.

Cotton bolls are 44% opening and the crop is 11% harvested nationwide. Cotton condition worsened to 14% poor to very poor, compared to 11% last week. Rice is 55% harvested, compared to a 51% average.

Monday September 18 Ag News

Cover Crop Field Day Monday, Sept. 25 near Lincoln 
Paul Jasa - NE Extension Engineer

A field day to view a variety of cover crops seeded after wheat harvest will be held at the UNL Rogers Memorial Farm just east of Lincoln.  The free event will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. on Monday, September 25.

Cover crop topics will include:
-    Understanding the goals and objectives of cover crops
-    Selection and management of cover crops to achieve the objectives
-    Using cover crops to improve soil health and help control weeds
-    Discussing the effects on yields and the soil system, both short-term and long-term

Six cover crop mixes, each planted for a specific objective, will be featured, showing how different species can be used for different purposes. Fertilizer has been applied in a strip across these six mixes to show the improvement in growth and biomass production, important if grazing is one of the objectives. In addition, a shredding across the six mixes was done to simulate grazing to show regrowth and recovery of the different species.

The field day will also include a no-till drill demo, seeding a 14-way diverse mix into wheat stubble. This will be the sixth planting date of the same mix, once every two weeks since wheat harvest, allowing attendees to compare the differences in growth and species performance.  Also featured will be a nitrogen rate response study to estimate the apparent nitrogen contribution of various legume cover crops for corn production in 2018.  Data from the same study conducted in 2012 and 2015 will be discussed.

Seed vendors and cover crop users will be in attendance to share some of their experiences, adding to the discussion and helping answer questions.

The Rogers Memorial Farm is located at 18630 Adams Street, Lincoln (north side of the road, about 7 ½ miles east of Lincoln, 2 miles north of Highway 34).

Ricketts Concludes Successful International Trade Mission to Japan

Governor Pete Ricketts has concluded his second international trade mission of 2017 following a six-day visit to Japan, including stops in Tokyo, Shizuoka, and the Kansai region.  Key members of the Governor’s administration as well as public and private sector leaders joined the Governor on the mission, which focused on efforts to grow Japan’s investments in Nebraska.  Department of Economic Development Director Courtney Dentlinger and Department of Agriculture Assistant Director Mat Habrock helped lead the Governor’s 40-member Nebraska Delegation.

“During my second trade mission to Japan, I saw firsthand how innovative leaders at Kawasaki and Shizuki are leveraging technology which has led to new opportunities for Nebraska’s workforce across our state from Lincoln to Ogallala,” said Governor Ricketts.  “Kawasaki’s new aerospace division in Lincoln will employ an additional 50 people, and new equipment at ASC in Ogallala will streamline their operations, improving production output by more than 20 percent.  Collaborative efforts to grow these companies and others are essential to help our state compete in a global economy.”

Japan is Nebraska’s number one direct foreign investor and has a number of investments within the state.  Kawasaki and the Shizuki Electric Company currently operate facilities in Nebraska and Japan.  In May, the Governor celebrated the opening of Kawasaki’s first aerospace division in the United States at its Lincoln facility.  For the past 30 years, the Shizuki Electric Company has manufactured capacitors at American Shizuki Corporation (ASC) in Ogallala.

This week, the Governor toured Kawaski’s Hyogo Works Heavy Industries plant and the Shizuki Electric Company in Nishinomiya.  In addition, Lt. Gov. Foley visited ACS’s Ogallala facility in early September for a tour of the plant’s ongoing remodeling project. 

Kawasaki employs more than 34,000 people worldwide and is Japan’s largest manufacturer of rolling stock.  The company’s Hyogo Works facility is home to six Kawasaki plants that specialize in aluminum, environmental and marine machinery, hydraulic equipment, jet engines, motorcycles, robotics, and ships.  The company has been investing in Nebraska since 1974.

“We appreciate Kawasaki’s long-standing relationship with Nebraska, as well as the company’s confidence and trust in our workforce to produce motorcycles, passenger rail and subway cars, and now, cargo doors for aeronautics,” said DED Director Dentlinger.  “Over the past 16 years, workers in Kawasaki’s Lincoln plant have manufactured more than 2,000 subway and commuter cars for transit authorities in other states.  This is just one example of the company’s direct foreign investment in Nebraska, which continues to grow our reputation as a global competitor in manufacturing.”   

On Monday, UNK and Toyo University signed an agreement to implement faculty and student exchanges, research projects and educational programs.  For the past three decades, the University of Nebraska-Kearney (UNK) has had the largest enrollment of Japanese students in Nebraska.  UNK’s efforts to facilitate a relationship with Toyo University in Tokyo were created to build research, education and networking opportunities for students and faculty in both countries.

While meeting with Japanese business and government officials, leaders from the state’s ag and business sectors provided first-hand knowledge about the value of Nebraska’s products and commodities.  On the trip, Governor Ricketts was briefed on Japan’s agricultural markets, discussed trade issues with national government officials, and celebrated a new agreement with Japan’s Sagami Restaurant Chain to purchase Nebraska pork for their 170+ facilities in Japan and around the world.

“Last year, Japan imported almost half of the $398.7 million in Nebraska pork exports,” said Department of Agriculture Assistant Director Habrock.  “The agreement with Sagami Restaurant Chain will keep our state in a strong position as a leading pork exporter.  Throughout this mission, we have shared Nebraska’s agricultural story with government officials and industry leaders.  We have shown our ability to provide Japanese consumers the high-quality products they are seeking.”

Other notable events during the Governor’s Japan visit included a promotional meeting to introduce Japan’s travel and media officials to tourism opportunities in Nebraska.  Nebraska Tourism Commission Executive Director John Ricks led a discussion on educational and recreational tourism destinations unique to our state, such as Nebraska’s annual Sandhill Crane migration.

Earlier this week, Governor Ricketts attended the Midwest US-Japan Association’s annual conference in Tokyo.  Nebraska is one of nine U.S. states involved in the association, which was designed to create pathways for investment opportunities between Japan and the central U.S.  In 2018, Omaha will host the association’s 50th anniversary celebration.

This week’s Japan trip was the Governor’s second trade mission of 2017 and concludes less than a month after the Governor’s trade mission to Canada, which marked the state’s first-ever Governor-led trade mission to the country.

Trade missions have been a critical part of the Governor’s Grow Nebraska agenda.  As mentioned earlier, this was the Governor’s second trip to Japan in two years.  Following his 2015 trade mission to Japan, Kawasaki announced the location of their first U.S. aerostructures production in Lincoln.

AFAN joins education effort for National Farm Safety and Health Week

About 23 out of every 100,000 farmers die of workplace injuries in a year, and new Department of Labor data lists the agricultural sector as the most dangerous in America, costing about 570 lives a year. To top it off, harvest season in the Corn Belt is the peak time for accidents involving farm children.

Those are a couple of the reasons that the Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska (AFAN) is assisting with safety education as part of National Farm Safety and Health Week, Sept. 17-23.

"Farming and ranching is one of the most dangerous professions out there, and I would venture to say that everyone in agriculture has experienced or witnessed the devastation that farm accidents can bring to families and communities," said AFAN Executive Director Kristen Hassebrook. "This is the 73rd year that National Farm Safety and Health Week has been designated to the third week of September, as farmers enter the harvest season."

The theme for the 2017 Farm Safety & Health week is "Putting Farm Safety into Practice."
"This is a great reminder that we must follow all best practices to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe," Hassebrook said. "The National Education Center for Agriculture Safety (NECAS) offers safety information on topics including tractor safety; farmer health; child/youth health & safety; confined spaces in agriculture; and rural roadway safety."

Watch for AFAN to focus one day on each of these five categories on its social-media platforms this week. Get more in-depth information from NECAS at

U.S. Ag Centers’ YouTube channel ready for National Farm Safety Week, Sept. 17-23

The U.S. Agricultural Centers’ YouTube channel provides the quickest way of “Putting Farm Safety into Practice,” the theme for this year’s National Farm Safety and Health Week, Sept. 17-23.

The 11 U.S. Agricultural Centers, funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), have posted 100 safety and health videos related to agriculture, forestry and fishing. The videos, many in both English and Spanish, can be used by Extension agents, agricultural science teachers, producers, first responders, families and others interested in agricultural safety best-practices.

The videos have undergone formal review and only the best are put on YouTube. Popular topics include grain bins, heat illness, tractor rollovers and needlestick injuries.

Agriculture is among our most hazardous industries, with a work-related death rate of 22.2 deaths per 100,000 workers annually, according to the most recent numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, far ahead of transportation (13.1/100,000) and mining (12.3/100,000).

NIOSH joins the Ag Centers in recognizing National Farm Safety and Health Week as an opportunity to emphasize the importance of working together to prevent injuries and illnesses to agriculture workers. Additional information and resources for the Week are available through the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety.

How are you advocating for farm safety? Find ideas in the social media kit. Do you have news to share regarding events during National Farm Safety and Health Week? Join the conversation on Twitter, #USAgCenters #NFSHW #necasag.

Iowa Beef Center Introduces New Heifer Development Program

Iowa’s new heifer development program, Iowa Cowmaker Elite, is officially underway, according to program coordinator Patrick Wall, ISU Extension and Outreach beef specialist. Wall said the intent of the long-term project is to help Iowa’s beef producers select, manage and develop high quality heifers year after year.

“Information from Iowa Cowmaker Elite females will be compiled and used for constant improvement in Iowa’s cowherd,” he said. “These females will be selected for longevity and ability to thrive in Iowa’s various environments, and in turn, will generate more desirable feeder cattle backed with reliable herd health, performance and carcass information.”

The Iowa Cowmaker Elite program is a cooperative effort of the Iowa Veterinary Medical Association and the Iowa Beef Center at Iowa State University, with the end goal of aiding Iowa’s cattle producers in building more profitable and sustainable cow herds, regardless of operation size or system.

“The educational component of this project is two-fold: help producers decide which heifers are the right ones to keep and breed, and then help them find the right bulls to use on those females,” Wall said. “We want producers to set goals for their operation, then we’ll teach them the visual indicators, the genetics, even which columns on the paper that will most likely get them there.”

Heifers enrolled in the program may be purchased or home-raised and developed at any cooperating central location or on-farm, he said. Entry fees for the Iowa Cowmaker Elite program include an annual membership fee of $25 per owner and a $5 per head fee for heifer enrollment. In addition, the owner is responsible for the cost of the program tag for females who graduate from the program.

Details of the program including standards, health protocols, list of centralized development locations and contact information is on the Iowa Cowmaker Elite web page. An informational video on the program itself and the enrollment process also is available on that page.

Enrollment of heifer calves is a simple process.
-        Visit the Iowa Cowmaker Elite page at
-        Download the Data Entry file.
-        Print the program requirements.
-        Share the files with your local veterinarian to ensure the herd health protocols are met.
-        Fill in the columns chute-side as the heifers cross the scale.
-        Email the Data Entry file to Wall at

Producers will receive a detailed analysis of their heifers compared with others in the program at each stage in the process: weaning, yearling, breeding and pregnancy check.

Study Examines Current Financial Stress in Iowa Farms

Iowa farm financial conditions have deteriorated since 2012, but average indicators of liquidity and solvency remain close to their long term levels, according to a new study published in the September issue of Ag Decision Maker.

The study is titled “Financial stress in Iowa farms,” and was written by Alejandro Plastina, assistant professor and extension economist with Iowa State University. The study is also available as a publication from the ISU Extension Store.

Nearly 300 farms were analyzed in the study based on their financial statements for 2014, 2015 and 2016. These farms are representative of medium-sized commercial farms largely managed by experienced farmers.

“When looking at the averages of the last three years, it’s not surprising that current financial conditions are close to their historical averages,” Plastina said. “What was surprising is the consistent increase in financial stress by the end of 2016. Four out of ten farms showed vulnerable levels of liquidity, so it’s important to let people know that financial stress is more common than most would like to admit.”

Liquidity in Iowa farms has dropped over the last three years, with 47.3 percent of farms in a strong liquidity position in 2014 and 41.7 percent in that same category in 2016. At the same time, the number of farms in a vulnerable liquidity position has risen from 31.5 percent to 42.9 percent. This translates to an average loss in working capital of $180 per acre during that period. Farms with vulnerable liquidity ratings were hurt even more, averaging a loss of $347 in working capital per acre.

Similar trends are seen in these farms’ debt-to-asset ratio. Strong farms have declined from 42.5 percent in 2014 to 39.9 percent in 2016. Vulnerable farms have increased from 20.5 percent to 25.3 percent.

“It is apparent that solvency issues are much less prevalent than liquidity issues,” said Plastina. “However, it must be noted that machinery, land and other long-lived assets are valued at their cost or book value, and do not reflect the recent decline in asset value.”

The number of financially stressed farms – those with vulnerable liquidity or solvency ratings – increased from 38 percent in December 2014 to 47 percent in December 2016.

“Farmers need to be benchmarking their own financial situation,” Plastina said. “If they have financial statements or if they are able to create their own balance sheets they should do that and analyze their situation objectively.”

Farmers with concerns regarding their operational finances can also schedule a consultation with an ISU Extension and Outreach Farm Financial Associate. The associates will run a complete FINPACK analysis that provides an in-depth evaluation of the farm business and financial projections based on potential changes to the operation.

Farmers can also contact an ISU Extension and Outreach farm management specialist with questions regarding their finances.

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

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 9 requests for export assistance from member cooperatives that have contracts to sell 760,600 pounds (345 metric tons) of Cheddar, and Monterey Jack cheese, and 275,600 pounds (125 metric tons) of butter to customers in Asia. The product has been contracted for delivery in the period from September through December 2017.

So far this year, CWT has assisted member cooperatives who have contracts to sell 53.851 million pounds of American-type cheeses, and 3.729 million pounds of butter (82% milkfat) to 20 countries on five continents. The sales are the equivalent of 580.952 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.

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

Growth Energy: McKinney, Censky Nominations Strong Choices for USDA

Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor released the following statement today in support of the nominations of Stephen Censky to be Deputy Secretary of Agriculture and Ted McKinney to be Under Secretary of Agriculture for Trade and Foreign Affairs at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

“Having strong leaders at the USDA who understand the role biofuels play in improving the U.S. farm economy and rural America is of the utmost importance to our industry. We have faith that both Mr. Censky and Mr. McKinney would bring this knowledge to these positions, and we fully support their nominations.

“Through his years at the helm of the American Soybean Association, Mr. Censky has seen biofuels transform the U.S. agricultural economy, which assures us he knows that biofuels can be an excellent tool as we seek innovative ways to strengthen the farm economy.

“Mr. McKinney has a keen understanding of what drives the growth of American ethanol in the international marketplace. Given trade challenges across the globe, including in Brazil, China, and the European Union, we need a strong agricultural voice at USDA who will make sure our trading partners understand that open markets mean more prosperity for all.”

The nomination hearing will be held at 9:30 a.m. EST on September 19, 2017, in the Hart Senate Office Building.

Mexico Mulls Pork as Response to U.S. NAFTA Produce Proposal

Mexican negotiators are working on a response to informal U.S. proposals to include protections for fresh produce in the re-negotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), two people briefed on the proposals said. U.S., Canadian and Mexican delegations finished a second round of talks last week to renegotiate the 23-year-old treaty, which U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to abandon if he could not get a better deal for U.S. workers.

According to Reuters, Mexico is looking at creating its own list, that might include pork, in case Washington formally proposes to give seasonal fruit and vegetable farmers added protection, the people briefed on the matter said.

Mexican negotiators are studying the inclusion of pork legs in its counterproposal, including possible limits on the volume of U.S. exports to its southern neighbor, the people said.

The legs account for the bulk of Mexico's pork imports from the United States and are used to make some of the country's most popular dishes, like tacos al pastor and carnitas.

Some Mexican agricultural leaders have said that dairy and chicken could also be deemed sensitive, though those products were not mentioned by the sources briefed on the proposal.

In its NAFTA negotiating objectives published in July, the Trump administration said it would seek a "domestic industry provision for perishable and seasonal products" in trade cases. Since then the issue has not come up in official statements and it was unclear whether the idea was brought up again in the latest round of talks.

However, the possibility of a tit-for-tat response by Mexico to a potential U.S. proposal to limit fresh produce trade highlights the risks of granting exceptions to selected interests. Several U.S. retail, restaurant and agriculture groups flagged such risks last week in letters sent to Trump administration officials.

Beef Board CEO Search

The Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion & Research Board (CBB) announces a national search to fill the position of Chief Executive Officer after accepting the resignation of current CEO Polly Ruhland in late August.

CBB’s primary function is to oversee and administrate the national beef checkoff through the management of programs that are proposed and carried out by various contractors. As part of the administration of the program, CBB oversees the collection of a mandatory assessment fee on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle and imported beef and beef products through a coordinated effort with qualified state beef councils.

CBB consists of 100 board members representing domestic beef, dairy and veal producers and importers of beef and beef products. A staff of nine employees conducts day-to-day operations.

Under the direction of the Board, the CEO manages all administrative and organizational affairs of CBB. The successful candidate will lead CBB operations, manage organizational strategy, financial and legal matters, and communications, as well as CBB’s relationships with the United States Department of Agriculture and beef community stakeholders.

The position is based in Centennial, Colorado, and the new CEO must reside in the Denver area.

Interested parties should click here to find a job description and additional information, or contact with inquiries. All discussions will be held strictly confidential.

Ruhland resigned in late August to accept the position of CEO at the United Soybean Board. The CBB Executive Committee subsequently tapped Chief Financial Officer Katherine Ayers as interim CEO, effective beginning Nov. 1, 2017.

The Value of Preconditioning Calves

Brenda Boetel, Professor and Extension Economist
Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Wisconsin-River Falls

Preconditioning is a generic term that means different things to different people and encompasses the different operating procedures that may be applied to a calf prior to shipping. Preconditioning activities may include weaning, vaccinations, dehorning, castration, and starting calves on a high energy diet. Several reasons exist for the cow/calf producer to precondition their calves, but the underlying goal is to increase the value of the calf being sold or the productivity of the calf being retained.

Preconditioning adds weight and health to the calf, which in turn enhances the cow/calf producer's reputation. Most preconditioning programs require 45 days where the calf is bunk broke and the manager follows specified animal health protocols and a nutritional program. Several studies show the decreased morbidity and mortality of preconditioned calves, a higher feedlot performance level, and a higher quality carcass. The economic justifications for preconditioning are harder to quantify though as the additional economic value is dependent on several factors.

One of the biggest economic justifications is the added weight. Total revenue for cow/calf producers is largely dependent on calf weight. The added calf weight from a preconditioning program typically adds additional dollars in the cow/calf producer's pocket. Obviously, the management challenge is to find a feed ration where the cost of gain is less than the value of additional pounds. Typically the preconditioned calf has approximately half the shrink experienced by the non-preconditioned calf. The decreased shrink will also help keep the value higher than the cost.1 Nonetheless, the additional value will be somewhat dependent on the current market and whether the classic price slide is being experienced. Note also that preconditioning will typically delay the sale of the calf until November or December, which can have a slight seasonal price increase.  

Another value to preconditioned calves is the increased ability to comingle your calves with another producer's calves through a marketing agent. Typically, the commission rates are lower in this scenario.

Although, keeping the calves an additional 45 days to precondition increases feed costs, labor costs, death loss, interest, etc., the premiums received for the preconditioned calves is a pretty convincing argument to precondition.  This premium continued to increase through 2014. In the current environment preconditioning may become even more important, not necessarily due to the premium received for preconditioning, but because the cow/calf producer can avoid the discount received for calves with unknown health status of non-preconditioned calves.  Buyer interest in preconditioned calves is expected to continue to grow as increases are realized in calf prices and the cost to finish cattle. Yet many producers still do not precondition calves, and are essentially leaving money on the table.

Franken Teams with Grassley to Protect Midwest Family Farmers

The Senate unanimously approved a key piece of bipartisan legislation introduced by U.S. Sens. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) that will enable family farmers in Minnesota, Iowa, and across the country to get a fairer shake when they fall on hard times.

As a part of a 2005 bankruptcy reform bill, Congress passed a provision to address the unique financial situations of family farmers who are reorganizing their assets following bankruptcy. However, a 2012 Supreme Court ruling found that the 2005 law, as written, failed to achieve Congress' express goal of helping family farmers. Grassley and Franken's Family Farmer Bankruptcy Clarification Act of 2017 fixes the ruling and ensures that the law, as first intended, will protect our family farmers.

"Our bipartisan bill is a commonsense fix to ensure that the law functions as intended and protects family farmers in Minnesota and across the country," said Sen. Franken. "Getting this measure passed, which I'm glad to say we did in the Senate, will help ensure farmers going through bankruptcy get a fair shake and are able to repay the debts they owe without sacrificing their families' futures."

The Family Farmer Bankruptcy Clarification Act will allow struggling family farmers to reorganize their debts to treat capital gains taxes owed to a governmental unit, arising from the sale of farm assets during a bankruptcy, as general unsecured claims. It also removes the IRS' veto power over a bankruptcy reorganization plan's confirmation, giving the family farmer a chance to reorganize successfully.

Merck Animal Health Applauds Dr. Dee Griffin as Mentor of the Year

Merck Animal Health (known as MSD Animal Health outside of the United States and Canada) and the American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP) recently presented Dr. Dee Griffin with the Mentor of the Year Award as a result of his significant contributions to the bovine medicine industry and his commitment to mentoring the next generations of bovine veterinarians. Each year, the award is given out at the AABP Annual Conference to recognize an individual who has played a role in educating, supporting and advancing the careers of future bovine veterinarians.

     “We admire Dr. Griffin’s contributions to veterinary medicine and his ongoing passion for being a resource for students,” said Norman Stewart, DVM, livestock and technical services manager for Merck Animal Health. “We commend him for his ability to engage with and share his experience and knowledge with students and young veterinarians.”

     Dr. Griffin’s interest in beef production began at an early age, as he was raised on a cow-calf operation in western Oklahoma. He played a key role in founding the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program. He has been a member of the BQA advisory board since it began and is passionate about educating producers on the program. The program works to teach producers about beef quality issues, including animal husbandry, antibiotic stewardship and health management.

     "Dr. Griffin is dedicated to the next generation and never quits giving back,” said Bob Smith, DVM, a long-time friend and colleague of Dr. Griffin. “He is always encouraging and uplifting students and instilling in them a deep passion for the beef industry and vet medicine.”

     As a result of his dedication and service to the beef industry, Dr. Griffin also received the Industry Leadership Award and was inducted into the Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame.  

     "Dr. Dee Griffin has made an impact on the career of many veterinarians. A mentor is an experienced and trusted advisor, and Dr. Griffin certainly fulfills that definition,” said Dr. Fred Gingrich II, DVM, executive vice president of AABP. “His lifelong passion for veterinary medicine and teaching make him the ideal candidate to join the long list of other Mentor of the Year recipients.”

     Dr. Griffin is an active member of numerous veterinary organizations, including AABP, and is the eleventh recipient of the Mentor of the Year Award, which was instituted in 2007. He completed his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree at Oklahoma State University in 1976 and then completed his Master of Science (MS) degree in pathology and ruminant nutrition from Purdue University. He practiced beef-cattle medicine before becoming faculty at Nebraska’s Great Plains Veterinary Education Center (GPVEC). Dr. Griffin retired from GPVEC after 25 years and is now working as a clinical professor and director of the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Center at West Texas A&M University.

Friday September 15 Ag News

Nelson Appointed to Serve on Nebraska Ethanol Board

Taylor Nelson, who farms near Jackson, Nebraska, joins the Nebraska Ethanol Board as the corn representative. He was appointed by Gov. Pete Ricketts Sept. 8.

Nelson earned his agriculture economics degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He returned to the family farm in 2012, and produces corn and soybeans in Dixon and Dakota counties with his father, Doug Nelson, and uncle, Jim Nelson. Along with his wife and parents, Nelson also operates the Jackson Express convenience store.

“After college, we were looking for an opportunity to concentrate my time and get started farming,” Nelson said. “Land opportunities were few and far between and we didn't own livestock, but we saw an opportunity to build a convenience store in my hometown of Jackson.

Although we didn’t have experience in the retail, fuel or food service, we saw it as a way to diversify our operation and bring many needed goods and services to the Jackson area including the ability to sell and promote ethanol.”

Opening in November 2012, Jackson Express quickly became known for quality ethanol fuel and an ideal meeting place for coffee or lunch. Initially, Nelson spent most of his time getting the business off the ground. Now his wife, Emily, is the general manager and he is back farming.

Nelson is now putting his diversified experience to action as a member of the American Coalition for Ethanol and vice president of the northeast Nebraska chapter of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association.

“Taylor’s background in both fuel sales and farming makes him a unique addition to the board,” said Todd Sneller, Nebraska Ethanol Board administrator. “As the youngest board member, we look forward to his input on using new marketing techniques to engage drivers.”

Nelson joins current board members: Mike Thede, chairman (Palmer, Neb.); Jan tenBensel, vice chairman (Cambridge, Neb.); Mark Ondracek, secretary (Omaha, Neb.); Randy Gard (Grand Island, Neb.); Tim Else (Belvidere, Neb.); Scott McPheeters (Gothenburg, Neb.); and University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chemical Engineering Professor Hunter Flodman, who serves as the board’s technical advisor.

Members of the Nebraska Ethanol Board are appointed by the Governor to serve four-year terms. The seven-member board includes four members actively engaged in farming (general farming, corn, wheat and sorghum), one member representing labor interests, one member representing petroleum marketers and one member representing business. The Board’s technical advisor serves as a non-voting member.

DNA Technology in Beef Cattle Conference

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension is pleased to announce its DNA technology in beef conference at 11:30 a.m. Oct. 16 at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, Clay Center, Neb. The topic is "DNA Technology: Where We Have Been, Where We Are, and Where We Are Headed."

"Genetic selection tools are constantly evolving," said Matt Spangler, UNL Extension Beef Genetics Specialist, said. "Participants will learn about genetic/genomic selection tools in beef cattle and research discoveries over the past year". Presentations will focus on selection for feed efficiency, genetic control of water intake, genetics of feed and leg structure, and new "single-step" genomic evaluations.

Speakers include: Dr. Matt Spangler, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Dr. Bob Weaber, Kansas State University; Dr. Megan Rolf, Kansas State University; Dr. Larry Kuehn, U.S. Meat Animal Research Center; Dr. Mark Thallman, U.S. Meat Animal Research Center; and Dr. Gary Bennett, U.S. Meat Animal Research Center.

Registration fee is $15, which includes lunch and all handout materials.

For more information, contact Matt Spangler at 402-472-6489 or Please RSVP by Oct. 2 by contacting Sherri Pitchie at 402-472-2907 or


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist
               Corn may soon be dry enough to combine in many areas.  Maybe it would be wise to harvest some corn early to get some stalks.

               Most of us soon will have only a little pasture left.  But your cows will still be out there trying to get what little they can.  You know the cows and calves can’t be doing very well unless you also are feeding them, but what also is this grazing doing to your pasture?

               Pastures put up with a lot of stress during grazing.  As we approach winter, these plants need time to recover and to winterize.  Even if they have received plenty of rain this year and are growing well, severe grazing now will weaken plants as they go into winter.  Next spring they will green-up later, early growth will be slow, and they'll compete poorly with weeds.

               Maybe the best way to get some rest for these pastures is to harvest some corn a little early and then move the cows to stalks.  Early stalks usually have more protein and energy than late stalks so they can put some condition on your cows while also relieving your pastures.  And after the growing season is completely over you can graze any remaining growth on your pastures without causing much stress.

               Since you need a little time to set up fences and water tanks on stalk fields anyway, maybe you should start corn harvest a little early this year.  It might lessen the hectic pace you often feel later when you want to spend time in the combine harvesting crops as well as setting up stalk grazing.

               Moving to stalks early is good for both your animals and your pastures.  If you can work it out, take the time to make the change.

Fortenberry Receives Golden Triangle Award From Farmers Union

Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) presented Representative Jeff Fortenberry with the Golden Triangle Award, National Farmers Union’s (NFU) highest legislative honor.  The award was presented recently as part of the annual NFU fall Fly-In that brought 320 Farmers Union members from across the country to Washington, DC to share their views and concerns with their elected officials.  Fortenberry was one of 33 House and Senate members honored this year.

Eight Nebraskans participated in the NFU Fly-In meetings with members of Congress and their staffs.  In addition to Hansen, Nebraska participants included Bill Armbrust and Jeffrey Downing from Elkhorn, Kevin Harrington and Camdyn Kavan from Lincoln, Sean Mohlman from Red Cloud, Jim Knopik from Belgrade, and Dr. Merlin Friesen from Filley.

The Golden Triangle is an annual award presented to members of Congress who have demonstrated leadership and support policies that benefit America’s family farmers, ranchers, and rural communities.

The Golden Triangle, first presented in 1988, symbolizes the core principles of the Farmers Union:  education, cooperation, and legislation. This year’s Golden Triangle honorees were selected for their leadership and contribution to several issues important to family farmers and ranchers.

Representative Fortenberry’s award was presented by NeFU President John Hansen and the NeFU team during their meeting with him Wednesday morning.

“We appreciate Representative Fortenberry’s continued leadership on renewable energy, conservation, rural development, and a wide range family farm and ranch issues that support farm and ranch families and their rural communities,” said NeFU President John Hansen.  “We appreciate Representative Fortenberry’s thoughtful approach to understanding the issues that impact family farm and ranch agriculture and our state.” 

Taiwanese Goodwill Delegation Signs Letters of Intent to Purchase Iowa Corn

A trade team from the Taiwan Feed Industry Association visited Iowa this week and met with Iowa Corn leaders as part of a Goodwill Mission to build contacts between Taiwanese agricultural leaders and Iowa farmers and suppliers.

As part of this mission, the delegation met with Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB) and U.S. Grains Council (USGC) in taking part in a signing ceremony held today. The letter of intent signed between ICPB and the Taiwan Feed Industry Association, outlines the intention by the Taiwanese to purchase 5.0 million metric tons (197 million bushels) of corn and 0.5 million metric tons of distillers dried grain with solubles (DDGS) between 2018 and 2019. The estimated value of these future purchases totals $1.05 billion.

“Taiwan is an important buyer of U.S. corn and co-products,” said ICPB Director Mark Heckman, a farmer from West Liberty. “By having this Goodwill Mission in our state, we are strengthening trade ties and helping to maintain the well-established partnership between the United States and Taiwan. Trade matters to our economy and to U.S. farmers who need access to global markets to maintain and expand exports of corn in all forms.”

Taiwan imported more than 2 million metric tons (80.2 million bushels) of U.S. corn in marketing year 2015/2016, claiming nearly 40 percent of total market share and a position as the sixth largest U.S. corn market. Taiwan also serves as a key buyer of U.S. DDGS, a co-product of ethanol production that is a high-protein feed ingredient for livestock.

The Goodwill Mission has been organized by Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) every other year since 1998 and allows Taiwanese participants to gain familiarity with U.S. coarse grains’ yield, production and quality. It also educates the delegation on the advantages of U.S. coarse grains and related co-products and reconfirms the United States’ commitment to being the long-term, reliable supplier of grains for their market.

Trusted Rancher Recordkeeping Tool Soon Available for 2018

A pocket-sized recordkeeping tool used by cattle producers for more than 30 years will be available for the 2018 year starting October 2, 2017.  The Redbook from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association helps cattle producers effectively and efficiently record their daily production efforts, helping enhance profitability.

The 2018 Redbook has more than 100 pages to record calving activity, herd health, pasture use, cattle inventory, body condition, cattle treatment, AI breeding records and more.  It also contains a Producers Guide for Judicious Use of Antimicrobials in Cattle, Beef Quality Assurance Best Practices and proper injection technique information, as well as a calendar and notes section.

“I’m more comfortable leaving home without my pocket knife than my Redbook,” according to Dan Kniffen, a Pennsylvania beef producer. “The Redbook puts documentation in my shirt pocket and helps me identify potential day-to-day problems with my herd, as well as progress I’m making in efforts to improve it. The challenges I face are more manageable when I have the information for dealing with them right in front of me.”

Redbooks can be purchased for $7.00 each, plus shipping and handling. Customization of the Redbooks is available (for 100 books or more), and quantity discounts are available.  To order, visit  

Japan Expands Market Access for U.S. Chipping Potatoes

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced today that Japan is expanding market access for U.S. chipping potatoes, resuming imports from Idaho for the first time in 11 years.

“The United States has a reputation around the globe for growing high-quality potatoes,” said Secretary Perdue. “We are committed to opening up new market opportunities for U.S. producers, and I am gratified that farmers in Idaho, our largest potato-producing state, will prosper while helping Japan with their supply of fresh chipping potatoes.”

The United States enjoys a 98-percent share of the Japanese potato market, with exports of fresh and chilled potatoes growing from $1 million in 2010 to $19 million in 2016.  Beginning with the 2018 season, Idaho will again be among the U.S. states eligible to ship chipping potatoes to Japan.

Japan halted imports of chipping potatoes from Idaho after detection of pale cyst nematode (PCN) in the southeastern part of the state in 2006. USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has worked closely with the U.S. potato industry and the Idaho State Department of Agriculture to demonstrate the effectiveness of the PCN eradication program. As a result, Japan has reopened the market to chipping potatoes from all Idaho counties except Bingham and Bonneville, which remain under quarantine for PCN.

Japan has also clarified that all U.S. seed-producing states that are free from PCN and golden nematode are eligible to supply seed potatoes to produce chipping potatoes for export to Japan.

Bayer and Luke Bryan Toast American Farmers with Tour

Country music superstar Luke Bryan is no stranger to celebrating America's hard-working farmers. At this year's Bayer Presents Luke Bryan Farm Tour, tour sponsor Bayer will join him in toasting U.S. farmers with its Here's To The Farmer campaign.

"I come from a farming background so I understand the hard work and passion it takes for farmers to feed America and feed the world," Bryan said. "That's why I'm proud to join my friends at Bayer in thanking farmers for everything they do by saying, 'Here's To The Farmer.' "

Bryan, the son of a peanut farmer from Georgia, launched his annual Farm Tour in 2009 as a way to highlight and celebrate the contributions of America's farmers. Bayer, a world leader in innovation and agriculture, is the title sponsor of the tour for the third consecutive year and will highlight its Here's To The Farmer campaign which asks fans to share #HeresToTheFarmer online to show their gratitude to America's farmers. For every share, Bayer will donate a meal* to someone in need through Feeding America.

"Last year, Bayer and Luke donated 500,000 meals. With the help of Luke's fans across the country sharing #HeresToTheFarmer, I know we'll be able to reach our new goal of donating 1 million meals to fight hunger right here in America," said Ray Kerins, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Bayer.

Bayer's Here's To The Farmer campaign will also help tackle hunger locally by donating more than $10,000 to area food banks, and by honoring a local farmer on stage with Bryan at each location.

"America's farmers work tremendously hard to give all of us safe, affordable and nutritious food. What better way to show our appreciation to them than by providing some great country music and raising a glass with Luke Bryan to say, 'Here's To The Farmer,' " Kerins said.

To learn more about Bayer's Here's To The Farmer campaign visit

Dates and locations for the tour include:
- Sept. 28 -- Lincoln, Neb., Benes Farm
- Sept. 29 -- Baldwin City, Kan., Don-Ale Farms
- Sept. 30 -- Boone, Iowa, Ziel Farm
- Oct. 5 -- Fort Wayne, Ind., Spangler Farms West
- Oct. 6 -- Edinburg, Ill., Ayers Family Farm
- Oct. 7 -- Centralia, Mo., Stowers Farm

For details on show locations and tickets, visit

$1 helps provide 11 meals secured by Feeding America on behalf of local member food banks. Bayer provided the financial equivalent of 1,000,000 meals in conjunction with the promotion from 09/21/2017 to 10/31/2017.

Thursday September 14 Ag News


The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is working with Nebraska high schools to develop an online tool focused on climate modeling.

Cory Forbes, associate professor of science education in the School of Natural Resources at Nebraska, will lead the four-year project funded by a $1.7 million grant from the National Science Foundation. To develop the curriculum, the team will use global climate models, which are used to produce daily weather reports and climate-related news. While the general public rarely comes into contact with the models, they are commonly used by NASA scientists.

"A lot of science in today's world is based around these computer-based models, something historically K-12 students don't really have a lot of exposure to," Forbes said. “Students need an understanding of how these models are used in science."

Forbes said the team will use climate as a launch-pad for high school students to explore other issues related to food, energy and water. For instance, students will use the tool to look at historical data and climate trend predictions in the Great Plains to see how they might impact the agricultural economy and other industries.

Forbes will work with Mark Chandler, a climate scientist at Columbia University who also works at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies; Devarati Bhattacharya, a K-16 STEM education postdoctoral fellow at Nebraska; and partner school districts throughout the state to develop, implement and assess the new curriculum. Funding also supports a doctoral student and undergraduate student researchers. 

"We’re taking the largest computational models on the planet and getting them into the hands of high school students in Nebraska," Chandler said.

Martha Shulski, director of the Nebraska State Climate Office, will advise the team on curriculum development.

"Educating youth on climate and climate change will help lead to an informed public that is able to navigate this complex issue that impacts us all," Shulski said.

The first phase of the project will be focused on designing and piloting locally relevant, standards-based curriculum built around the online tool. The team will work with a small number of Lincoln Public School teachers to develop the curriculum, which will be piloted in high school science classrooms in LPS and other districts. By the project's fourth year, the team expects to include 55 secondary teachers and 3,000 students. 

Climate change is an interdisciplinary core idea included in Nebraska's new science standards. The project also contributes to the missions of the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources' Science Literacy Initiative and Nebraska Collaborative for Food, Energy and Water Education. They are core parts of IANR's efforts to foster a scientifically literate society capable of making effective decisions grounded in science-informed analysis of complex, real-world challenges associated with food, fuel, water, landscape and people.


The University of Nebraska–Lincoln has announced the dates for the second annual Nebraska Grower and Brewer Conference and Trade Show. The two-day conference will be held Thursday and Friday, Jan. 18-19, 2018, at Embassy Suites Omaha – Downtown/Old Market, 555 S. 10th St., Omaha.

The two-day event will feature a variety of sessions for hop growers and craft brewers. Several prominent speakers from around the country will be on hand to discuss market outlook, horticultural practices of growing hops, pest and disease control, harvest and post-harvest practices, nutrient management, legal and regulatory topics, water sciences, marketing and branding, crop and brewery insurance and much more.

A networking reception featuring a Nebraska-hopped beer, brewed specifically for this conference, will be held Thursday evening, Jan. 18th and is open to all conference attendees.

This event is sponsored by the University’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Nebraska Hop Growers Association, Nebraska Craft Brewers Guild and Midwest Hop Producers, LLC.

There will be a discount for those who register before December first.

For more information and to register, visit Follow along on Facebook at 

 Nebraska Farmers Union Brings 8 Members to Washington to Advocate on Behalf of Family Farmers and Ranchers

Eight Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU)Members returned home from Washington, D.C. after participating in the National Farmers Union (NFU) Fly-In that included 320 Farmers Union members from across the nation.

“Times are tough right now for American family farmers and ranchers,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “And when times get tough for farmers, Farmers Union members step up and advocate.”

NeFU President John Hansen said his participants were polite, but not shy about sharing the fact that times were tough out in the country.  They explained that agriculture has seen a dramatic, 50 percent drop in farm income over the past four years.  Congress needs to step up their efforts to address the growing crisis in farm and ranch country.  These economic problems are directly tied to failed farm and trade policies and are not going to magically disappear,” he said.  “Farmers and their bankers need a strong and swift response from Congress before ag loans are considered.” 

NeFU District 2 Board of Director Jim Knopik of Belgrade said, “It is up to us farmers and ranchers to share our views, problems, and concerns with our elected officials.  It is up to our elected officials to listen, and then respond in an appropriate way.  We think they listened to our concerns.  Time will tell whether or not Congress comes up with a better Farm Bill, works across party lines to fix health care issues, and accelerate the use of more renewable energy and bio fuels. Congress needs to heal itself by working together across party lines so it can function better and do the people’s business.”

Monday morning NFU Fly-In participants began with a briefing at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). NFU members heard from USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue, USDA Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett, National Resources Conservation Service Acting Chief Leonard Jordan and USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service Administrator Hubert Hamer.

Monday afternoon, participants visited Capitol Hill where they heard from the House and Senate Agriculture Committees majority and minority staff, and also asked questions and shared perspectives.  Participants heard differing views on the level of funding available for the Farm Bill, approaches to farm policy, rural development, and .

Tuesday and Wednesday were spent on Capitol Hill as participants met in small-group meetings with all 535 congressional offices. NeFU members met with House of Representatives Jeff Fortenberry, Don Bacon, and Adrian Smith and Senators Ben Sasse and Deb Fischer.

This year, the Fly-In focused on the need to strengthen the farm safety net in the next Farm Bill; support homegrown renewable energy development; and ensure family farmers and ranchers have access to affordable and quality health care.

NFU Honors 33 Congressional Champions of Agriculture with Golden Triangle Award

National Farmers Union (NFU) proudly recognized 33 outstanding U.S. Senators and Representatives who have demonstrated leadership and support at the federal policymaking level for family farmers, ranchers and their rural communities.

The Golden Triangle Award, the family farm organization’s highest legislative honor, will be presented to recipients at an awards reception tonight, during NFU’s Fall Legislative Fly-In.

“The Golden Triangle Award recognizes farm and food champions in Congress that display outstanding leadership on the issues that are important to both our industry and our organization. We’re appreciative of their insight and devotion to securing the nation’s food supply for the good of both American family farmers and consumers,” said NFU President Roger Johnson.

The Golden Triangle, first presented in 1988, symbolizes the core principles of the Farmers Union organization: education, cooperation, and legislation. This year’s Golden Triangle honorees were selected for their leadership and dedication to improving the livelihoods of family farmers and ranchers.

The 2017 recipients of the Golden Triangle Award are:
U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, Wisconsin
U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, Colorado
U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, Ohio
U.S. Senator Bob Casey, Pennsylvania
U.S. Senator Steve Daines, Montana
U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, Illinois
U.S. Senator Al Franken, Minnesota
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, New York
U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp, North Dakota
U.S. Senator John Hoeven, North Dakota
U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota
U.S. Senator Ed Markey, Massachusetts
U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, Missouri
U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley, Oregon
U.S. Senator Christopher Murphy, Connecticut
U.S. Senator Gary Peters, Michigan
U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, New York
U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Michigan
U.S. Senator Jon Tester, Montana
U.S. Representative Cheri Bustos, Illinois
U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro, Connecticut
U.S. Representative Jeff Fortenberry, Nebraska

U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard, Hawaii
U.S. Representative Marcy Kaptur, Ohio
U.S. Representative Ann Kuster, New Hampshire
U.S. Representative Dave Loebsack, Iowa
U.S. Representative Michelle Lujan Grisham, New Mexico
U.S. Representative Jim McGovern, Massachusettes
U.S. Representative Rick Nolan, Minnesota
U.S. Representative Nancy Pelosi, California
U.S. Representative Collin Peterson, Minnesota
U.S. Representative Chellie Pingree, Maine
U.S. Representative Tim Walz, Minnesota

SHIC Rapid Response Corps Training Now Live

Memories of PEDv are never far from pork industry stakeholders’ minds. Anticipating another novel or transboundary disease will someday strike, the Swine Health Information Center (SHIC) took on creation of a Rapid Response Program including the infrastructure ability to respond to an outbreak from a known or unknown etiology. SHIC funded a proposal from Iowa State University to develop the Rapid Response Program including creation of a Rapid Response Corps, a team of skilled and purposefully trained persons.

Training for Corps members is now available online at the SHIC website. While Corps members will be required to participate in the online training, it is open to all who are interested in the Rapid Response Program or wish to grow their knowledge of epidemiological investigation and processes. The objective of the newly available training program is to standardize the conduct of epidemiological investigations conducted by the Rapid Response Corps in the event of a swine disease outbreak.

“Quick response in the event of a new incident requires collaboration, training, and willingness to participate in the process,” remarked Dr. Paul Sundberg, executive director of SHIC. Corps members have been identified through nomination and recruited to join the Rapid Response Program. The Corps will consist of veterinarians, state and federal animal health officials, diagnosticians, virologists, and epidemiologists.

When a disease investigation is requested by a producer or veterinarian, SHIC will coordinate engaging Rapid Response Corps members in the appropriate region.  Within 72 hours of notification, a Rapid Response Team will be able to be on site to conduct the epidemiological investigation in cooperation with the producer and veterinarian. SHIC has a cooperative agreement with USDA to help fund the Rapid Response Corps investigations.

Roberts, Stabenow Announce Hearing on USDA Nominees

U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., announced the Committee will hold a hearing to consider two nominations within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Tuesday, Sept. 19. The nominations include American Soybean Association (ASA) CEO Steve Censky, to be deputy secretary of agriculture, and also Ted McKinney to be under secretary of agriculture for trade and foreign agricultural affairs.

EIA increases 2017, 2018 ethanol production forecasts

The U.S. Energy Information Administration has increased its 2017 and 2018 ethanol production forecasts in the September edition of its Short-Term Energy Outlook. The U.S. is now expected to produce 1.03 million barrels of ethanol per day this year, increasing to 1.04 million barrels per day next year. Last year, production averaged 1 million barrels per day. In the August STEO, the EIA predicted 2017 ethanol production would average 1.02 million barrels per day, falling to 1.01 million barrels per day in 2018.

On a quarterly basis, the EIA predicts ethanol production will average 1.03 million barrels per day during the third and fourth quarters of this year. During the first quarter of 2018, ethanol production is expected to be maintained at 1.03 million barrels per day, increasing to 1.04 million barrels per day during the second and third quarters, and increasing to 1.05 million barrels per day during the fourth quarter of next year.

The EIA currently predicts an average of 940,000 barrels of ethanol per day will be blended into motor gasoline this year, maintaining the 2016 blend volume. In 2018, ethanol blending is expected to increase to 960,000 barrels per day.

The STEO also notes U.S. regular gasoline prices reached $2.69 per gallon on Sept. 11, up 29 cents per gallon from Aug. 28 and the highest weekly average since August 2015. EIA forecasts the average U.S. regular gasoline retail price will be $2.61 per gallon in September, falling to $2.40 per gallon in October. These prices are 25 cents per gallon and 10 cents per gallon higher, respectively, when compared to the forecasts made in the August STEO. Regular gasoline prices are expected to fall to $2.23 per gallon in December.

The EIA’s most recent weekly ethanol production data shows production reached 1.047 million barrels per day the week ending Sept. 8, down from a near record setting 1.06 million barrels per day the previous week. The current weekly ethanol production record sits at 1.061 million barrels per day and was set the week ending Jan. 27.

The EIA’s most recent monthly import data shows the U.S. imported 252,000 barrels of ethanol in June, all from Brazil. During the same month, the U.S. exported 2.21 million barrels of ethanol, primarily to Canada, Brazil, and India.

Farm Bureau Urges Lawmakers to Stop the HIT for 2018

Citing a recent report that estimates the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance tax will force families purchasing coverage in the small group market to pay an additional $500 on average in premium costs next year, the American Farm Bureau Federation and 20-plus other organizations representing small businesses are urging the Senate Finance Committee to suspend the HIT for 2018.

“Absent immediate congressional action, our members, as well as seniors, Medicaid beneficiaries and individuals purchasing coverage on their own will face a $14.3 billion tax hike, driving up the cost of coverage for those struggling to afford the cost of care,” the groups—all members of the Stop the HIT Coalition—wrote to Senate Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

The groups noted that previous congressional efforts to provide HIT relief—including bipartisan action from nearly 400 Republicans and Democrats in the House and the Senate to suspend the HIT for 2017—represented a significant step forward for small businesses.

The House this spring approved legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The American Health Care Act of 2017 (H.R. 1628) also repealed the health insurance tax, ended penalties on employers that fail to purchase health insurance for their workers and eliminated penalties for individuals who fail to purchase health insurance.

While efforts to pass an ACA repeal and replace bill fizzled out in the Senate earlier this summer, some lawmakers in that chamber are pressing on. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chair Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) has teamed up with Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.) in an effort to draft legislation geared toward stabilizing health insurance markets. Also, Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) recently announced legislation that would convert ACA funding into block grants.

In addition, the Senate HELP Committee conducted a series of ACA hearings over the past two weeks and the Senate Finance Committee is holding a hearing on Sept. 14 on health care issues.

ECJ Ruling on Member State GMO Bans a Victory over the Precautionary Principle

The American Soybean Association (ASA) welcomed news yesterday that the European Court of Justice ruled EU member state governments cannot ban cultivation of genetically engineered crops in the absence of scientific evidence of risk to human health. ASA President Ron Moore, a soybean farmer from Roseville, Ill., issued the following statement on the ruling:

“From a scientific standpoint, today’s ECJ ruling is a comforting one. The Court’s decision reverses the ‘precautionary principle,’ which has been the EU’s longstanding default argument that, in the absence of proof that a product is absolutely safe, unverified concerns about its safety are sufficient to ban either importation or cultivation. Unfortunately for the last 20 years, this unscientific approach has given rise to an equally unscientific patchwork of restrictions or prohibitions on EU imports and cultivation of biotech crops by member states, even after those products have been approved by the European Food Safety Authority, not to mention countless other food safety and global health agencies. We are happy to see this ruling and hope it will lead to similar science-based stances on genetic engineering in Europe in the years to come.”

Southeast Asia Summit Targets Future Regional Grain Demand

Deb Keller, U.S. Grains Council (USGC) chairman, left corn harvest preparations at her farm in Iowa behind this week to speak directly with customers during the Southeast Asia Agricultural Leadership Summit (SEALS) in Auckland, New Zealand.

“The growing importance of the Southeast Asia region for future feed grain demand is why I am here today,” Keller said during opening remarks at her first overseas mission since assuming the role of chairman in August. “This is a critical opportunity for our industry to talk about how we can partner to build together.”

The Summit, jointly organized by the Council and the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC), brought together grain buyers, traders and end-users from across the Southeast Asian region with the goal of enhancing understanding of world grain flows and trends as well as facilitating dialogue on how U.S. feed grains and co-products can meet future regional demand.

According to the World Economic Forum on ASEAN in Cambodia, rapid population growth and climate volatility are projected to push up demand for food in the region by 40 percent by 2050. The Council includes Brunei, Cambodia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam in the Southeast Asian region. Together, these countries represent a large and growing market for U.S. feed grains and co-products.

“U.S. farmers know that our growth lies beyond our borders, and that our success depends on building markets, serving customers, working to achieve better trade policy and engaging with the world,” Keller said. “We continue to work with you to serve customers who already know the product is worth using, to introduce DDGS to new buyers and to ensure robust markets stay open.”

In addition to commodity-specific presentations, the conference included discussions on China’s impact on world meat markets, new food security technologies, consumer demographic changes, the changing agenda for trade, price risk management and other topics. Farmers Don Duvall, representing the Illinois Corn Marketing Board, and Wayne Humphreys, representing the Iowa Corn Promotion Board, shared updates from the corn crop harvest currently in progress.

The Council has operated a regional headquarters office in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, since 1991 and continues to expand capacity through the region, including recently naming Manuel Sanchez as the new South and Southeast Asia Region Director.

“We often say we are working around the world and around the clock for our members and our customers,” Keller said to Summit attendees. “We know dedication to these markets and additional effort from the Council are needed to continue to see those markets grow and to increase U.S. market share.”

U.S. Tractor Sales Steady in August

According to the Association of Equipment Manufacturer's monthly "Flash Report," the sale of all tractors in the U.S. in August 2017, were up 1% compared to the same month last year.

For the eight months in 2017, a total of 152,178 tractors were sold which compares to 144,883 sold thru July 2016 representing a 5% increase for the year.  Combine sales were down 2% for the month.

For the month, two-wheel drive smaller tractors (under 40 HP) were up 2% from last year, while 40 & under 100 HP were up 2%. Sales of 2-wheel drive 100+ HP were down 13%, while 4-wheel drive tractors were up 66%.

For the year, two-wheel drive smaller tractors (under 40 HP) are up 10% over last year, while 40 & under 100 HP were even. Sales of 2-wheel drive 100+ HP are down 15%, while 4-wheel drive tractors are down 1%.

Sales of combines for the year total 2,459 a decrease of 6% from 2016.

ACE reminds retailers annual E15 restrictions soon lifted

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) is reminding retailers they can resume offering E15 to drivers of all gasoline-powered 2001 and newer passenger vehicles after the low-Reid vapor pressure (RVP) season ends Sept. 15. EPA rules controlling maximum RVP effectively ban the sale of lower-cost, higher-octane E15 from June 1 through Sept. 15 in most of the U.S., even though E15 has a lower RVP and lower emissions than the gasoline sold in those markets each summer.

The industry is as close as it’s ever been to getting RVP relief for E15 and higher blends thanks to bipartisan leadership in Congress and a new way of thinking at EPA, and ACE hopes that this is the last time the organization needs to remind retailers of the end of the RVP restriction.

As Congress reconvenes this fall, ACE will continue to urge Senators to keep exploring ways to enact RVP legislation (S. 517 and H.R. 1311), and Administrator Pruitt is examining legal options for RVP relief at EPA. Record growth and investment in retail infrastructure for flex fuels has occurred over the past two years, with nearly 1,000 locations in 29 states selling E15, and 90 percent of the vehicle market able to use the fuel. ACE emphasizes that it’s important to double down on efforts to make this commonsense RVP fix, with expanding E15 availability and both legislative and administrative options on the table. 

It appeared that the end of the low-RVP season came early this year for many areas, as a result of efforts to address fuel shortages caused by Hurricane Harvey. In an Aug. 31 letter, EPA granted designated states emergency waivers from summer RVP regulations. However, because EPA did not expand the one-pound RVP waiver to blends beyond 10 percent ethanol, gasoline meeting the higher allowable RVP could not be used for E15. In its expansion of the waiver, EPA clarified that retailers would still have to comply with the federal rules associated with selling E15, which includes a registration process and wait for EPA approval that would unlikely be completed before the Sept. 15 end of the low-RVP season.

“Unless a retailer had already planned on marketing E15 in September or was already marketing it in June when the low-RVP season started, it would be virtually impossible to utilize the fuel early,” said Ron Lamberty, ACE Senior Vice President. “Whether an oversight or planned, there was no extension of the one-pound waiver, and it was a missed opportunity. We’re hopeful with the end of the low-RVP season upon us, we can get some traction on this issue.”

Taiwan Flour Millers Sign Letter of Intent to Import U.S. Wheat

Taiwan Flour Millers Association (TFMA) Chairman Tony I. T. Chen (center right) and U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) President Vince Peterson (center left) signed a letter of intent by TFMA to purchase a total of 1.8 million metric tons of U.S. wheat in 2018 and 2019 on Sept. 13, 2017, in the Mansfield Room of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. The ceremony is a part of a biennial Agricultural Trade Goodwill Mission to the United States to purchase grains and other agricultural products for the people of Taiwan. Witnesses to the signing include Congressman Roger Marshall of Kansas (left of Vince Peterson), Representative Stanley Kao, Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States (right of Tony Chen) and a Republic of China agricultural minister.

“We all look forward to this event and appreciate the long history of mutually beneficial trade relations with the Taiwan milling and wheat foods industries,” said Peterson.

USW, the U.S. Grains Council, the U.S. Soybean Export Council and the North American Export Grain Association honored delegates from TFMA and Taiwan’s feed and oilseed industries at a reception Sept. 12, 2017, in Washington, D.C. The delegates also signed letters of intent to import U.S. corn and soybeans.

Taiwan is on average the sixth largest market for U.S. wheat. TFMA imports wheat on behalf of all 20 Taiwanese flour mills and has imported far more wheat from the United States compared to other origins, at an average of 1.03 million metric tons (37.9 million bushels) per year since marketing year 2011/12 (June to May).

Significant hard red spring (HRS) imports reflect a need for strong gluten flour for breads, rolls and frozen dough products as well as for blending with hard red winter to make traditional Chinese flour foods and noodles. Year-to-date sales of HRS to Taiwan in marketing year 2017/18 are up 93 percent from 2016/17. Soft white (SW) wheat imports, including Western White wheat (a blend of SW and up to 20 percent club), help meet growing demand for cake, cookie and pastry flours.

Chairman Chen and other TFMA delegates will also visit North Dakota, Montana and Idaho to make similar commitments and to meet with state wheat commission representatives and state government officials.

The Upside of Preconditioning Programs

Progressive cow/calf producers think about calf health even before the calves are born. Raising healthy, heavy calves is the goal and preconditioning is a critical management step.

“From cow/calf to feedlot sectors, preconditioning is the most conscientious choice producers can make for the betterment of their animals’ health,” said Che Trejo, DVM, with Zoetis Beef Technical Services. “Preconditioning programs promote calf growth, enhance immune function and minimize stress as calves move from their ranch of origin to the stocker or backgrounder operation and then to the feedlot.”

SelectVAC® is a calf preconditioning program that combines cattle vaccination and management services to prepare calves for weaning and shipping. Every enrollment is validated by a third party prior to approval. Once accepted, producers receive a physical or electronic barn card so they can let buyers know those calves are enrolled in SelectVAC.

A study demonstrated that calves enrolled in SelectVAC were four times less likely to get sick or die in a feedlot setting than calves with an unverified health history.1

“With these lower chances of sickness and death, feedyard operators purchasing calves that meet the requirements and are enrolled in SelectVAC may be able to adjust on-arrival protocols because the calves are better able to respond to health challenges,” Trejo said.

According to Brad Peek, general manager for Western Video Market, SelectVAC adds additional value to their customers’ cattle.

“Over the course of the past seven or eight years that we have been tracking SelectVAC®, there has been anywhere from a $3 to $9 per hundredweight additional premium,” Peek said. “Our buyers are asking for a branded program—and specifically SelectVAC.”

Selling cattle with a history in a verified preconditioning program, like SelectVAC, provides transparency to buyers because it provides which products were administered, when they were administered and verification through a third party.

For Laurie Johnson, a cow/calf producer in northeastern South Dakota, SelectVAC is a risk management tool used on her family’s operation.

“I think it allows us to get our calves on the map before they’re in the sale barn, so buyers are aware. It’s on the SelectVAC website when these calves are selling, how many there are, who it is that’s selling them and what program they’re enrolled under,” Johnson said. “Because we’re small, getting my calves on the market and people knowing about them is important to me as a producer. It’s a good risk management tool for us.”

Wednesday Sept 13 Ag News

Ricketts Signs Pork Agreement During Japan Trade Mission

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts participated in a signing ceremony at Sagami Restaurant in Tokyo, Japan on behalf of Nebraska’s pork producers.  During the ceremony, representatives from Smithfield Foods International Group and Sagami Chain Co. Ltd. signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) designed to expand the business relationship between the two parties.  This expansion will result in the sourcing of pork products by Sagami from Smithfield’s processing plant in Crete, Nebraska.

“Japan is Nebraska’s largest export market for pork products,” said Governor Ricketts. “Having a high-end restaurant chain such as Sagami and a well-respected pork processor such as Smithfield recommit to their business relationship is a positive sign for Nebraska’s pork producers.  We will continue our efforts to increase the sales of our value-added products to bring more opportunities for our farm and ranch families who help grow our state’s number one industry.”

The Sagami Chain has more than 170 restaurants located across Japan.  They specialize in deep-fried pork cutlets.  A year ago, Sagami CEO Toshiyuki Kamada visited Nebraska to tour the Smithfield facility in Crete.

“Last year’s visit from Mr. Kamada was important because it gave him the opportunity to see first-hand that Nebraska can produce high-quality pork that his restaurants require,” said Nebraska Department of Agriculture Assistant Director Mat Habrock.  “Nebraska’s pig industry is expanding rapidly.  Getting the stamp of approval from restaurant chains such as Sagami will go a long way in assisting us in increasing pork exports.”

Habrock is part of the Nebraska delegation in Japan led by Governor Ricketts.  Earlier in the week, the Governor attended the Midwest U.S. Japan Association annual meeting.  The group has since been traveling to various locations in the country to expand business and investment opportunities for Nebraska.

“Nebraska pork is a perfect fit for customers in Japan not only because of the quality aspects of the pork but our production standards from animal and land stewardship meet the expectations of the Japanese consumer.  It is refreshing to see Sagami to take a pragmatic approach to trade, and do what is best for their customers,” said Trent Loos, Nebraska delegation representative for the National Pork Producers.

Greater Fremont Development Council Appoints New Director

The Greater Fremont Development Council (GFDC), an active partner in the Greater Omaha Chamber Economic Development Partnership, has appointed Garry Clark as its next Executive Director. He will be responsible for the promotion of economic development activities in Greater Fremont effective Sept. 18.

"I was intrigued by the potential to combine my energy and knowledge with that of the GFDC team and local business leaders," Clark said. "I am eager to engage and do my part to build new programs and explore opportunities that will help to retain existing industries and promote the expansion of our workforce."

Prior to this appointment, Clark served as Nebraska Opportunity Fund Manager for the Nebraska Investment Finance Authority. His body of economic development work spans from West Point, NE (Executive Director of Cuming County Economic Development) to Washington, D.C. (Executive Director of North Capitol Main Street, Inc.) to Bowie, Maryland (Economic Development Specialist).

"My background provides a great mix of local, urban and rural economic development expertise along with a very clear understanding of the legislative process and economic development resources within the state of Nebraska," Clark said. "I feel confident my experience will help me be the catalyst needed to achieve direct, sustainable economic development in this next chapter."

Clark will be responsible for coordinating GFDC's program of work as he focuses on expanding current business and industry in Greater Fremont.

"With a string of recent economic successes under our belts, we've built up some great momentum. Now, under Garry's leadership, we know the Greater Fremont area will continue the march forward as one of Nebraska's leading economic centers," said Bill Vobejda, president of the GFDC Board.

Clark will work closely with the GFDC Board and the broader Greater Omaha Chamber Economic Development Partnership to strengthen the competitiveness of GFDC within the local, state and global economy.

Randy Thelen, the Greater Omaha Chamber's Senior Vice President of Economic Development, said, "Garry has an energy, an enthusiasm and a vision for Greater Fremont that -- when coupled with his economic development expertise -- will make him an incredible asset for the region and our Partnership."

A three-time All-American and member of the Dana College Athletic Hall of Fame, Clark holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Dana and a Master of Science in Urban Studies (Public Administration) from University of Nebraska Omaha.


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               What do grazing cattle prefer to eat.  If you can accurately predict what your cows will select, you’re doing better than me.

               Last week I turned the cows and calves grazing my pastures into a new paddock.  Well, not actually new since they had grazed it earlier in the year, but it had been nearly eight weeks since they were last in there.  It’s a paddock that is well dominated by big bluestem with lots of indiangrass, too.  Those two warm-season grasses probably contribute about eighty percent of the growth in that paddock.  There also are modest amounts of alfalfa, red clover, smooth bromegrass, and bluegrass.

               The forage was quite lush and leafy with only occasional seedstalks of bluestem and indiangrass because the earlier grazing had topped off the stems as they were developing.  It looked really desirable to me, at least if I was a cow.  And as the animals entered they readily sampled a little bit of everything and seemed pretty content.  At least it was better than the brome-alfalfa they just finished.

               Anyway, as they moved around sampling the buffet, all of a sudden they just stopped and started grazing vigorously in one spot.  I walked over, and guess what they were eating eagerly – field bindweed!  It was a spot where mineral had been placed previously and the other plants had been grazed or trampled really short so the bindweed thrived.

               I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised because I often see the cows eat bindweed wherever it appears in my pastures so I don’t consider it a problem weed.  But it shows how sometimes our traditional thinking can mislead us into missing out on opportunities.  I could have spent time and money spraying out that bindweed, something that the cows like.

               It makes me wonder – what else have I missed?  How about you?

Cattlemen Release Second Video in Tax Reform Campaign

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association today released the second video in its monthlong media campaign to promote comprehensive tax reform. The first video, which was posted on Sept. 6, was viewed more than 109,000 times on Facebook and reached more than 200,000 people.

NCBA’s second video in the campaign features Jay Wolf, a third-generation Nebraska rancher, who discusses the time, energy, and financial cost he’s forced to spend on estate planning due to the death tax.

“You’d think in operating a business like this, the most important decisions would be strategic decisions about buying or selling cattle or buying and selling land,” Wolf says while sitting in his pickup truck surrounded by his cattle. “Instead the most important decisions I’ve made have been estate-planning decisions, and they have impacted our ability to maintain our operation more than anything else – and that doesn’t really seem right.”

Wolf also discussed how the death tax is fundamentally unfair and burdensome because it forces family ranchers to pay tax and estate-planning costs in cash based upon an appraised value of their land, which they’ve already paid property taxes on for decades.

“The value of the land has changed dramatically, especially in the last few years,” Wolf explained. “Now our income hasn’t necessarily changed… and it becomes difficult to face a tax on something like that. It’s not a cash asset but if you’ve got a big estate tax on it, it’s out of proportion to its earning ability, and it can be just devastating.”

NCBA last week kicked off the media and advertising campaign that is shining a spotlight on how various federal tax provisions impact America’s cattle and beef producers, particularly the death tax, and is building support in Washington for comprehensive tax reform that will make the tax code more fair for producers. The campaign is centered around a new website,, and will run through September.

Over the coming weeks, NCBA will roll out several other promoted videos and infographics on social media that will feature profiles of ranchers and other members of the cattle-production community and their priorities for tax reform. The campaign will also connect grassroots ranchers and producers with their elected officials on Capitol Hill as tax-reform legislation is considered this autumn.

Bioheat to Improve Heating Emissions in Downstate New York

New Yorkers in downstate counties will soon benefit from cleaner air due to the increased use of Bioheat® fuel in heating oil.  Legislation signed today by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo requires Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester counties to follow New York City’s lead by blending at least five percent biodiesel (B5) into all home heating oil sold by July 1, 2018.

“New York has long been a leader in recognizing the environmental, public health and economic benefits of biodiesel, not only in transportation applications but in the heating oil market as well,” said National Biodiesel Board CEO Donnell Rehagen.  “We commend Governor Cuomo for signing this important bill that will provide cleaner air for more New Yorkers by improving emissions from heating oil.  Increasing the use of Bioheat® in the nation’s largest heating oil market also supports local jobs in the clean energy sector.”

Biodiesel was the first alternative fuel designated as an “Advanced Biofuel” by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and has been verified to reduce total greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50 percent compared to petroleum.

Assemblyman Steve Englebright and Senator Phil Boyle sponsored the legislation, which is supported by a broad range of industry and environmental advocates due to its environmental and public health benefits.

New York City, the largest municipal consumer of heating oil in the country, has already taken advantage of biodiesel's benefits by instituting a citywide 2 percent biodiesel requirement in 2012 that increases to 5 percent on October 1, 2017. Now the entire New York City Metropolitan Area, representing approximately 70 percent of the state’s heating oil market, will have a 5 percent biodiesel blending requirement.

Operating Committee Approves FY18 Plan of Work

The Cattlemen’s Beef  Promotion and Research Board will invest about $38 million into programs of beef promotion, research, consumer information, industry information, foreign marketing and producer communications during fiscal 2018, subject to USDA approval.

Brett MorrisIn action at the end of its September 12-13 meeting in Denver, the Operating Committee approved checkoff funding for a total of 14 “Authorization Requests” – or proposals – brought by seven contractors for the fiscal year beginning October 1, 2017. The committee, which includes 10 producers from the Beef Board and 10 members from the Federation of State Beef Councils, also recommended full Beef Board approval of a budget amendment to reflect the split of funding between budget categories affected by their decisions.

The seven contractors had brought a total of $45 million worth of funding requests to the Operating Committee this week, $7 million more than what was available from the CBB budget.

“We showed up Tuesday morning ready to roll our sleeves up and get to work. We knew that we were going to have to make cuts of about $7 million,” said Beef Board Chairman Brett Morris, a cattle producer from Oklahoma.

“They are all good programs, and we hate for any of them to get cut, but with the amount of resources we had to work with, we had to make cuts,” Morris said. “I think the whole committee came through in agreement. Bottom line, we had a great task to accomplish, and we got there. I think the beef industry is in good shape because of it.” 

In the end, the Operating Committee approved proposals from seven national beef organizations for funding through the FY 18 Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board budget, as follows:
-    National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (five proposals for $27.3 million)
-    U.S. Meat Export Federation, a subcontractor to NCBA (one proposal for $7.4 million)
-    North American Meat Institute (four proposals for $1.35 million)
-    Cattlemen’s Beef Board (one proposal for $1.1 million)
-    American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture (one proposal for $435,131)
-    Meat Import Council of America (one proposal for $366,000)
-    National Livestock Producers Association (one proposal for $53,150)

Broken out by budget component, the Fiscal Year 2018 Plan of Work for the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board budget includes:
-    $10.1 million for promotion programs, including continuation of the checkoff’s consumer digital advertising program, as well as veal promotion
-    $8.9 million for research programs, focusing on a variety of critical issues, including pre- and post-harvest beef safety research, product quality research, human nutrition research and scientific affairs, market research, and beef and culinary innovations
-    $7.4 million for consumer information programs, including a Northeast public relations initiative; national consumer public relations, including nutrition-influencer relations and work with primary- and secondary-school curriculum directors nationwide to get accurate information about the beef industry into classrooms of today’s youth
-    $3.1 million for industry information programs, comprising dissemination of accurate information about the beef industry to counter misinformation from anti-beef groups and others, as well as funding for checkoff participation in a fifth annual national industrywide symposium focused on discussion and dissemination of information about antibiotic use
-    $7.4 million for foreign marketing and education in 80 countries in the following regions: ASEAN region, Caribbean, Central America/Dominican Republic, China/Hong Kong, Europe, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Middle East, Russia/Greater Russian Region, South America, Taiwan, and new markets
-    $1.1 million for producer communications, which includes investor outreach using national communications and direct communications to producers and importers about checkoff results; as well as development and utilization of information conduits, such as auction markets; maintenance of a seamless partnership with state beef council producer-communication efforts; and producer attitude research to determine producer attitudes about and desires of their checkoff program

"This was my third year on the Operating Committee and our decisions were a lot harder to make than they ever have been before,” said Stacy McClintock, a cow-calf producer from Kansas. “Everybody on the committee came together and we made some great decisions for the industry.”

The full fiscal 2018 budget is $40.9 million. Separate from the authorization requests, other expenses funded include $221,000 for evaluation; $295,000 for program development; $450,000 for USDA oversight; and about $2 million for administration. The fiscal 2018 budget represents an increase of $124,700 or 0.3 percent from the $40.8 million FY17 budget.

Operating Committee Member and Federation Director Jerry Effertz of North Dakota might have summed up the committee’s hard work best in his final comment on the meeting: “I have never been as privileged to be a part of something as I am our grassroots checkoff decision-making system.”

Average Prices for All Fertilizers Continue to Decline

Average retail fertilizer prices continued to inch lower the first week of September 2017, according to fertilizer retailers surveyed by DTN.

All eight of the major fertilizers were lower compared to last month, though none were down by a significant amount.

DAP had an average price of $431 per ton, MAP $458/ton, potash $338/ton, urea $302/ton, 10-34-0 $418/ton, anhydrous $413/ton, UAN28 $215/ton and UAN32 $248/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.33/lb.N, anhydrous $0.25/lb.N, UAN28 $0.38/lb.N and UAN32 $0.39/lb.N.

All but one retail fertilizer are lower compared to a year earlier. Three of the eight major fertilizers are double digits lower.

Anhydrous is now 18% lower from a year ago, while 10-34-0 is 13% less expensive and UAN32 is 10% lower. Urea is 7% less expensive, UAN28 is 6% lower, DAP is 3% less expensive and MAP is 1% lower. The one fertilizer higher compared to last year is potash, which is now 4% more expensive.

Taiwan Goodwill Mission Pledges To Purchase Five Million Tons Of U.S. Corn

Members of the 2017 Taiwan Agricultural Goodwill Mission pledged Wednesday to purchase 5 million metric tons (197 million bushels) of U.S. corn and 500,000 tons of U.S. distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) between 2018 and 2019. The commitment was made during a signing ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

The members of the Goodwill Mission also signed letters of intent to purchase soybeans and wheat. The biennial team is part of a long-term effort to strengthen economic ties between Taiwan and the United States.

“The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) has worked in Taiwan for more than four decades and has watched Taiwan grow into one of our largest customers,” said Deb Keller, USGC chairman and a corn farmer from Iowa. “The Goodwill Mission helps us maintain a healthy trading relationship with Taiwanese buyers and end-users by providing continued confidence in the U.S market.”

Prior to the official ceremonies, the corn representatives of the Goodwill Mission visited the farm of Chip Councell, USGC past chairman, on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Councell participated in the Wednesday signing ceremony on behalf of the Council and U.S. corn producers, with Keller in Southeast Asia for a Council-sponsored regional trade summit. 

The Taiwanese delegation was also honored this week in Washington at a reception with government officials and representatives of the agriculture industry, sponsored jointly by the Council, U.S. Wheat Associates, the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC), the North American Export Grain Association (NAEGA) and the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA).

Following the events in D.C., corn members of the Goodwill Mission will travel to Iowa, Indiana and Missouri to sign letters of intent with those states' governors, tour farms and elevators and meet with local producers, agriculture groups and policymakers. 

Taiwan is an important market for U.S. agricultural products, particularly U.S. grains. Taiwan is the fifth largest market for U.S. corn. Thus far in the 2016/2017 marketing year (September-July) Taiwan has purchased 2.91 million tons (114.5 million bushels) of U.S. corn, the highest sales in the last seven marketing years. Taiwan also ranks as the third largest buyer of U.S. barley in 2016/2017.

The Goodwill Mission has been organized by Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) every other year since 1998 and allows Taiwanese participants to gain familiarity with U.S. coarse grains’ yield, production and quality. The Goodwill Mission also provides education on the advantages of U.S. coarse grains and co-products as well as reconfirms the commitment by the United States to serve as a long-term, reliable supplier for Taiwan.

Prairie's Edge Dairy's 2nd Trident System Installed to Recover NPK Nutrients from Dairy Cow Manure

"Trident's nutrient recovery process for dairy manure is now installed at a second location at Prairie's Edge Dairy Farms," announced Kerry Doyle, CEO of Trident Processes LLC. "Trident's new cold manure process makes nutrient recovery viable for thousands more dairymen." Trident is the leading company in the US for nutrient recovery technology for agriculture with processes that enable dairy farms to manage their livestock manure more effectively.

"Our system turns a liability into assets," says Doyle. "The concentrated nutrients recovered are ready for precision land application or fertilizer production, and the water sent to the lagoons is clean enough to be irrigated directly through center pivots without clogging."

Prairie's Edge (formerly Fair Oaks Farms) is located on I-65 between Chicago and Indianapolis. The farm is known for its leading role in the industry implementing sustainable technologies and its managers continue to pursue and share their vision of sustainable agriculture.

This is the second Trident nutrient recovery system installed at Prairie's Edge Dairy. The first system was installed in April 2015 at Prairie's Edge's 14,000-cow site only a few miles away. It was one of the first successfully implemented wastewater treatment systems on a dairy farm in the US.

Carl Ramsey, Operations Manager at Prairie's Edge Farms, is tasked with managing all the manure for the farm and strongly advocates for advanced nutrient recovery. "Because Trident's system is fully automated our manure is now much easier to handle and manage. It separates the beneficial parts of manure and converts it all into usable byproducts. When you compare the components of milk and manure, it's clear that there is a lot of value in the manure too. Trident's system is allowing us to capitalize on that value, and at the same time reduces our operational costs."

Latest USDA Supply and Demand Estimates Lower U.S. Beef Production

Brian R. Williams, Assistant Extension Professor
Department of Agricultural Economics, Mississippi State University

The USDA released its monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) on Tuesday morning, which should prove to be neutral to slightly bullish. U.S. beef production for 2017 was lowered by 140 million pounds from 26.699 billion pounds to 26.559 billion pounds while 2018 production was lowered by 85 million pounds to 27.275 billion pounds. There are likely a few things driving this reduction in beef production. One driver is lower than expected fed cattle marketing as reflected in the last Cattle on Feed Report, although we know those cattle are still out there and will end up coming to market at some point in the future. For many of those cattle it is more of a matter of when they go to market rather than if the will go to market. Probably the biggest driver is reduced slaughter weights. Total slaughter numbers have been trending at or above last year's numbers most of the year, however slaughter weights have been trending well below year-ago levels. When those two are put together, the lower slaughter weights outweigh the increase in the number of head, leading to lower production numbers.

On the demand side, minimal changes were made. Exports remained the same as last month, as did ending stocks. However, per capita use for 2017 was lowered from 57.9 pounds per person to 57.6 pounds per person. Lower production with no changes in exports means that there is less beef per person available.

What impact will the WASDE have on the markets? So far, not much. While both feeder cattle and fed cattle futures are down on the day, there was little movement in the intraday prices around the time the report came out. In other words, traders were not surprised by what they saw in the report and outside factors are more important in driving the market at this point in time. Looking forward into the fall and winter, as feedlot profitability turns negative we may see an uptick in the slaughter weights relative to where we have been trending most of the year, which could boost production numbers again in future reports. A big part of the reason for the decline in slaughter weights over the last year was that positive feeding returns provided an incentive for feedlots to fill their pens and run more total cattle through while feeder for a shorter period of time. Now that profits are turning negative, that incentive is gone and instead feedlots will likely shift toward trying to squeeze as much gain out of each animal as possible. If that does indeed happen, look for the uptick in slaughter weights to shift total beef production higher in the coming months.

ACE hosts market development webinar

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) Senior Vice President, Ron Lamberty, hosted the third quarter webinar of ACE’s webinar series yesterday. The webinar covered the organization’s market development work and highlighted legislative and policy priorities that can make a difference in marketing higher ethanol blends, including a timely update on Reid vapor pressure (RVP) relief, as the RVP restriction for E15 ends this week on Friday.

Some highlights of what the webinar covered include:
 ·    Legislative and policy priorities, including an update on Renewable Fuel Standard related issues and RVP relief;
 ·    Developing markets for higher ethanol blends and how others can play a role;
 ·    Assistance retailers need to start offering higher ethanol blends;
 ·    An update on flex fuel gas station projects;
 ·    And a tour of resources on ACE's and Retailer Roadmap websites.

“The strategy behind our website is that fuel marketers trust information they get from other marketers like themselves,” Lamberty said. “This matches what we have seen on our site; three of the most viewed pages are our featured retailers addressing common questions and concerns of other retailers.”

Lamberty added that the retailers he’s spoken with want others to start selling E15. “The more E15 retailers people see across the U.S., the more comfortable consumers become with the product and the more likely they’ll use it at whatever station they visit offering the fuel,” Lamberty said.

In addition to others joining the ranks, retailers want a variety of barriers to offering higher blends addressed, including regulatory burdens, the cost and availability of funds, available RIN-less E85, consistent identification of fuel blends, and RVP relief.

The webinar walked through ACE’s resources retailers can utilize to learn more about what it would take to overcome these obstacles and profitably offer higher ethanol blends to their customers. Lamberty pointed out that the site makes the business case for adding E15 in place of premium or diesel.

“Whether it’s a switch of products in the tank or a new installation, “the math” favors E15 over either of those fuels,” Lamberty said. “Almost 90 percent of the market can use E15, and while marketers consider premium or diesel, our website reminds them E15 generally costs less than E10 “regular” fuel, while those other fuels cost more.”

Calcium to Phosphorus Ratio in Pig Diets Established

The amount of digestible calcium included in pig diets has a direct impact on phosphorus digestibility, but the optimum ratio between the two minerals has not yet been found. In a recent study from the University of Illinois, scientists have established a first approximation of that ratio for 25 to 50 kilogram pigs.

"Because calcium is an inexpensive ingredient, the thinking was that we could add as much as we wanted. We discovered several years ago that may not be a good approach, because if you increase calcium in the diet, you reduce absorption of phosphorus," says Hans Stein, professor in the Department of Animal Sciences and the Division of Nutritional Sciences at U of I. "As phosphorus availability goes down, so does the pigs' growth performance. Feed intake, and therefore body weight gain and feed efficiency, goes down."

Stein and his collaborators formulated 20 corn-soybean meal-based diets, varying in calcium and phosphorus concentration, and fed them to 240 pigs over four weeks. Diets were formulated to contain 0.15, 0.31, 0.39, or 0.47 percent standardized total tract digestible (STTD) phosphorus and 0.13, 0.27, 0.42, 0.57, or 0.72 percent STTD calcium. These values represented 48 to 152 percent of the STTD phosphorus requirement and 27 to 173 percent of the total calcium requirement.

By the end of the four-week trial, the researchers were able to determine pig growth performance, in terms of average daily gain and gain to feed, as well as incorporation of the minerals into bone.

In a separate trial, 120 pigs were fed the same 20 diets for two weeks. For these animals, urine, fecal, and blood samples were analyzed for calcium and phosphorus concentrations.

"The results confirmed what we've seen before. If you feed too much calcium, in particular with low or marginal phosphorus in the diet, pig growth performance goes down," Stein says. "We still need to do more work to determine the optimum ratio between the two, but we have definitely confirmed that the ratio is very important."

Stein says most pig diets are currently formulated with marginal phosphorus, partly due to cost of the ingredient and partly because producers want to avoid having to mitigate excreted phosphorus in manure. But diets formulated with too much calcium or too little phosphorus could be reducing pig growth performance.

"If someone asked us today, we would say that to maximize average daily gain and gain to feed for 25 to 50 kg pigs, the ratio of STTD calcium to STTD phosphorus should be between 1.16:1 and 1.43:1. However, it is possible that we will have to change that ratio as we get more data. It is still very early," Stein says.

The article, "Requirements for digestible calcium by 25 to 50 kg pigs at different dietary concentrations of phosphorus as indicated by growth performance, bone ash concentration, and calcium and phosphorus balances," is published in the Journal of Animal Science. Stein's co-authors include J.C. Gonzalez-Vega, C.L. Walk, and M.R. Murphy.

Tuesday September 12 Ag News


Based on September 1 conditions, Nebraska's 2017 corn crop is forecast at a record 1.72 billion bushels, up 1 percent from last year's production, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Area harvested for grain, at 9.50 million acres, is down 1 percent from a year ago. Average yield is forecast at 181 bushels per acre, up 3 bushels from last year.

Soybean production is forecast at a record 316 million bushels, up 1 percent from last year. Area for harvest, at 5.65 million acres, is up 10 percent from 2016. Yield is forecast at 56 bushels per acre, down 5 bushels from a year ago.

Sorghum for grain production of 10.3 million bushels is down 42 percent from a year ago. Area for harvest, at 110,000 acres, is down 37 percent from 2016. Yield is forecast at 94 bushels per acre, down 8 bushels from last year.


Iowa corn production is forecast at 2.45 billion bushels according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Crop Production report. Based on conditions as of September 1, yields are expected to average 187 bushels per acre, down 1 bushel per acre from the August 1 forecast, and down 16 bushels per acre from last year. If realized, this will be the third highest yield and production on record behind 2016 and 2015, respectively. Acres harvested for grain remain unchanged at 13.1 million acres.

Soybean production is forecast at 567 million bushels. If realized, this will be the second highest production on record behind last year’s 572 million bushels. The yield is forecast at 57.0 bushels per acre, up 1 bushel per acre from the August 1 forecast, but down 3.5 bushels per acres from 2016. If realized, this will be the second highest yield on record behind 2016. Area harvested remained unchanged at 9.95 million acres.

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

USDA:  Corn Production Up Less Than 1 Percent from August Forecast

Soybean Production Up 1 Percent
Cotton Production Up 6 Percent

Corn production is forecast at 14.2 billion bushels, down 6 percent from last year but up less than 1 percent from the August forecast. Based on conditions as of September 1, yields are expected to average 169.9 bushels per acre, up 0.4 bushel from the August forecast but down 4.7 bushels from 2016. If realized, this will be the third highest yield and production on record for the United States. Area harvested for grain is forecast at 83.5 million acres, unchanged from the August forecast but down 4 percent from 2016.

Soybean production is forecast at a record 4.43 billion bushels, up 1 percent from August and up 3 percent from last year. Based on September 1 conditions, yields are expected to average 49.9 bushels per acre, up 0.5 bushel from last month but down 2.2 bushels from last year. Area for harvest in the United States is forecast at a record high 88.7 million acres, unchanged from August but up 7 percent from 2016.

Ricketts Touts Nebraska’s Beef and Tourism on Second Day of Trade Mission to Japan

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts began the second day of the Nebraska Trade Mission to Japan with an interview with the Nikkei Asian Review, which is the world’s largest financial newspaper with a daily circulation exceeding three million.

The Governor and Nebraska trade delegation then attended the morning session for the last day of the Midwest U.S.-Japan Association Annual Conference before hosting a promotional lunch with the Nebraska Tourism commission. The purpose of the lunch was to provide those in the Japanese tourism industry an overview of what there is to see and do in Nebraska; provide sample itinerary lists of potential stops; and begin to build relationships within the Japanese tourism trade.

Following the lunch, members of the NE trade delegation met with State Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries Yosuke Isozaki about Nebraska’s beef trade with Japan.  Governor Ricketts then met with board members of the American Chamber of Commerce Japan and with executives of Kewpie Corporation, who owns Henningsen Food which employs 185 people in Nebraska. The Governor followed this meeting up with a meeting with the Japanese State Minister of Foreign Affairs Kazuyuki Nakane while other members of the trade delegation toured the Kashima Grain Storage and Processing facility.

The Nebraska trade delegation wrapped up the day two of the Nebraska Trade Mission to Japan with dinner at Alexander’s Steak House where they were able to promote Nebraska beef to their Japanese guests. Governor Ricketts ended his night with a call back with Nebraska media.

The Governor and Nebraska trade delegation will begin day three of the trade mission with Embassy and agricultural market briefings.


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               Pastures sometimes have lots of weeds remaining this time of year.  It’s tempting to graze hard enough to use those weeds, but is this actually good for the pasture?

               Many pasture weeds can provide satisfactory protein and energy for cattle when eaten, but cattle avoid them due to poor palatability.  That’s why they’re weeds!  If pressed hard enough, though, cattle will eat many of them when there is nothing else to eat.  While this gets rid of the weeds temporarily, if might not be healthy for the pasture.

               Every pasture has millions of weed seeds in the soil and the potential to become weedy.     Since some pastures stay relatively clean while other pastures become weedy, other factors undoubtedly influence the weed population.  Simply grazing or controlling weeds by spraying or cutting does little to prevent weeds from coming back again unless these other factors are changed to better support desirable plants.

               To control weeds, it is much more important to manage grazing to support healthy desirable plants than to weaken or remove unwanted weeds.  Grazing that allows sufficient leaf area to remain following grazing that supports rapid regrowth, allows good winterizing, and holds snow and rain moisture on the land rather than running off will benefit the desirable grasses and legumes.  Giving pasture plants adequate time to recover after grazing before grazing again is another way to improve or maintain pasture health and strengthen the competitive ability of desirable plants.

               Weeds in a pasture can indicate that the pasture itself and the desired plants in it are not in a healthy condition.  For improvement to occur, controlling weeds is not enough.  Changing management to strengthen desired grasses and legumes also is essential.

NE Grangers Meet in Columbus for Annual Meeting

The annual meeting of the Nebraska State Grange was held at the Ramada Rivers Edge Inn, Columbus, Nebraska, September 8-9-10. 2017.

Friday, at noon, Grangers met at Barcel Mill and Lumber Company. They took a tour of the shops and machines that cut, shred and other wise make the lumber useful. They use cottonwoods mostly, finding use for lumber that was once seen as worthless. They make pallets, mulch for both landscaping and playgrounds, and also find uses for beams and planks. The lumber mill is Mr. Barcel's business. He also uses his passion for making use of the unappreciated, by taking numerous foster children into his home, giving them a safe and warm place to be, and teaching them that they are important both in his eyes and God's, he is in the process of making a wonderful Tree House and other interesting attractions on his property, to give children a place where they can relax, play, and forget, for a while, the stress they have lived with. Those things are his gifts, no cost attached. He also has two Rottweiler dogs, trained as Therapy Dogs, that give the children comfort.

Resolutions endorsed by the delegates were 1, To keep commodity checkoffs subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA); 2, To require that all Counties in Nebraska enforce noxious weed laws: 3. To make members of Congress and their staff participate in the same healthcare insurance as the general public; 4, To give each public school $1500 per year for each student enrolled K-12, and that each district is to offset their property tax by the same amount they receive in Foundation Aid; 5. To limit Congressional terms to 12 years, and that the current pension plan be identical to federal employee retirement plans; 6. Require voters to show personal identification to vote; 7. Continuing federal crop insurance at the at 2016-2017 levels. 8. To support legislation to require students attending Nebraska schools to be vaccinated for contagious diseases, except for legitimate medical reasons. 9. To limit the terms of US congress members to 12 continuous years, and that the congressional pension plan be identical to federal employee pensions. 10. To base tax on Agricultural land on production rather than valuation.

The National Representative this year was Amanda Brozana Rios, Director of Communications and Development. She is very energetic and enthusiastic person. Part of her message is that the purpose of Granges is to serve and care about their communities, help people learn basic skills so that they can do things for themselves, to look forward, seeing what will need to be done. There are so many opportunities to aid constructive projects, so we must find a need and try to fill it. We may disagree but we must find agreement to make a more Constructive America.

The Deaf Education Awareness Scholarship was presented by Shannon Cooksley, director, to Evangelina Ortiz, who has been hearing impaired since early childhood. She remembers hearing things for the first time when she was given hearing aids. She could hear rain hit the ground, the windshield wipers, and her Mother's voice. Things most of us take for granted.

Community Service Awards: honoring Granges for the number of hours members spent on projects to improve their communities. 1st place went to Riverview Grange, Blair NE., $100; 2nd place to Custer County Grange, Broken Bow NE, $75. 3rd place to Elkhorn VE Grange, $50. 4th place went to Geneva Grange, $25.

At he Annual Banquet, Dan Holtz provided the entertainment. His program is entitled, Nebraska Through Song and Story. He interweaves songs accompanied on guitar and harmonica with excerpts from works by Willa Cather, John Neihardt, Mari Sandoz and Bess Streeter Aldirch, in narratives from 1850 to 1904.

On Sunday morning a memorial service planned by State Grange Chaplin, Ricki Wulf, of Blair, honored Nebraska Grangers who passed on this year: Robert Smith, Broken Bow Ne., Dana Wolf, Blair, Ne., Irma Holstein, Blair, NE., Wilmer Dunkel, Broken Bow, Ne., Kay Kraus, Friend Ne., Mary Graf, Arapahoe, Ne., and Florence Lefever, Geneva, Ne.

Program Director, Darlene Janing, arranged for Jeanne K. Schieffer, from Nebraska Public Power, to give an interesting program about the history and growth of publicly owned power in our state. She had videos and pictures showing the many changes that have taken place since the beginning of Public Power.

Phyllis Tooker, from Ralston, Ne., Family Activities Committee Chairman, reported that 881 dictionaries were donated to 3rd graders in Nebraska, 92 blankets and 8 handmade toys, and caps for premature babies were donated this year. Phyllis is retiring, after serving for 15 years.

NPPC Seeks Waiver From ELD Mandate

The National Pork Producers Council today asked for a waiver and exemption for livestock haulers from U.S. Department of Transportation regulations that could have negative effects on animal well-being.

NPPC delivered to the office of DOT Sec. Elaine Chao a petition, which was filed on behalf of the U.S. pork industry and other livestock sectors, requesting the waiver and exemption because of concerns about the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Rule’s effects on animal well-being. It also asked the agency to address incompatibilities between the transportation of livestock and DOT’s Hours of Service rules. Those regulations limit truckers to 11 hours of driving daily, after 10 consecutive hours off duty, and restrict their on-duty time to 14 consecutive hours, which includes nondriving time.

“The ELD Rule presents some serious challenges for livestock haulers and the animals in their care,” said NPPC President Ken Maschhoff, a pork producer from Carlyle, Ill. “We’re asking the secretary to exempt truckers transporting hogs, cattle and other livestock from this regulation because they have a moral obligation to care for the animals they’re hauling regardless of what some bureaucratic rule says.”

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

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

NPPC and other livestock groups also are supporting language included in the transportation fiscal 2018 funding bill that would delay the ELD mandate for one year for livestock haulers.

NCBA and Livestock Groups Petition Department of Transportation for ELD Waiver

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) today joined other livestock groups in hand delivering to Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao a petition for a waiver followed by a limited exemption from compliance with the Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) rule. The petition also asks the Department of Transportation (DOT) to address livestock industry concerns that the current Hours of Service (HOS) rules are not compatible with the realities of the livestock industry. Under current regulations, ELD’s must be implemented starting on December 18, 2017.

“U.S. beef producers and livestock haulers are focused on protecting public safety and ensuring the health and well-being of cattle transported around the country,” said NCBA President Craig Uden, a fourth-generation beef producer from Elwood, Nebraska. “A limited exemption from ELDs will allow for our haulers to continue to safely transport livestock while providing the livestock industry time to continue working with DOT to find workable solutions within the HOS rules that take into account the unique needs of livestock haulers.”

Livestock haulers have a challenging task of ensuring motorist safety while also maximizing the health and welfare of transported animals. To meet these demands, a large number of livestock haulers participate in specialized training programs covering safe animal handling and transportation methods. Unfortunately, the upcoming ELD rule would decrease driver safety, jeopardize the well-being of hauled animals, and force small business owners out of the marketplace.

More time is needed to address livestock industry concerns and educate all stakeholders to avoid disruption in an industry that already has concerns with driver shortages. NCBA will continue to work with the DOT to find a workable solution that allows our drivers, our cattle, and others on the road to move safely around the country and get where they need to go.

Background: Specific Asks of NCBA and Livestock Industry Partners on ELD and HOS

NCBA is actively engaging with the Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), and Congress on the ELD and HOS rules. Echoing previous requests in meetings with FMCSA officials, and language currently found in the House Appropriations FY 18 Bill, NCBA continues to request:

    Delayed ELD Enforcement: The current ELD enforcement deadline should be delayed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for no less than one year. Additional time will allow industry concerns to be addressed and provide training/educational opportunities for impacted stakeholders.

    Increased Flexibility within HOS: Hours of Service (HOS) rules applying to livestock haulers must be made more flexible so that drivers can safely do their jobs while preserving the welfare of the animals.

Farm Bureau, Livestock Groups Request Waiver for Logging Device Mandate

Concerned about livestock haulers’ readiness to comply with a problematic electronic logging device mandate, as well as how the mandate will affect the transported animals’ well-being, the American Farm Bureau Federation and seven livestock organizations are asking the Department of Transportation for a waiver and exemption from the fast-approaching Dec. 18 ELD  implementation deadline.

Unless Congress or the administration acts, carriers and drivers who are subject to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s ELD rule must install and use ELDs by Dec. 18. While most farmers and ranchers should be exempt because they can claim covered farm vehicle status, drivers who haul livestock, live fish and insects are likely to fall under the requirements.

Drivers who have to use ELDs would be limited to current hours of service rules, which restrict a driver to only 14 “on duty” hours, with no more than 11 active driving hours. Once a driver hits those maximum hour allotments, he must stop and rest for 10 consecutive hours, which would be problematic when transporting livestock and other live animals.

In their petition, the groups pointed out livestock haulers’ strong commitment to ensuring the safety of both the animals they’re transporting and the drivers they share the road with.  In addition, livestock haulers often receive specialized training beyond that required for their counterparts driving conventional commercial motor vehicles. The pork industry’s Transport Quality Assurance Program and the beef industry’s Master Cattle Transporter program provide detailed instruction on proper animal handling and transportation methods.

“As reflected in FMCSA’s data, the emphasis these programs place on animal welfare benefits driver safety as it encourages livestock haulers to slow down, be more aware of their surroundings and road conditions, and avoid rough-road situations that could result in animal injury,” the groups noted.

Another major roadblock to implementation for livestock haulers is their lack of awareness of the rule. Because the livestock hauling industry is small compared to the overall trucking industry, it isn’t well-represented before or strongly engaged by DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

As a result, livestock drivers who are aware of the program have had difficulty researching the ELD marketplace and identifying cost-effective solutions that are compatible with livestock hauling. In addition, as with the agriculture industry as a whole, livestock haulers are likely significantly older than the average American truck driver, making them less familiar with the use of ELD technology and in need of more training on ELD use.

In their petition, the groups also asked DOT to address the incompatibilities between FMCSA’s hours of service rules and the structure and realities of the U.S. livestock sector.

“For many drivers, there is concern that there are those, with no understanding of or concern for animal welfare or livestock hauling, who will arbitrarily penalize them for choosing the proper care of animals over stopping in excessive heat or cold because of an arbitrary HOS cutoff,” the groups said.

While FMCSA’s recent change to include livestock in its interpretation of the 150-air mile exemption for agricultural commodities is a positive development, it doesn’t fully address livestock haulers’ struggles.

The organizations are committed to working with industry and FMCSA to address the issues presented by the ELD mandate and hope that FMCSA will grant additional time and flexibility for haulers who have a responsibility to care for the animals they are transporting.

September 11 Crop Progress & Condition Reports - NE - IA - US


For the week ending September 10, 2017, temperatures averaged near normal across western Nebraska, but two to six degrees below normal in the east, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Precipitation was scattered and limited. Seed corn harvest was underway. There were 6.9 days suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 11 percent very short, 33 short, 56 adequate, and 0 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 12 percent very short, 35 short, 53 adequate, and 0 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn condition rated 4 percent very poor, 8 poor, 24 fair, 47 good, and 17 excellent. Corn dented was 86 percent, near 87 last year and 85 for the five-year average. Mature was 18 percent, behind 25 last year and 27 average. Harvested was 2 percent, near 1 last year and 3 average.

Soybean condition rated 3 percent very poor, 7 poor, 27 fair, 51 good, and 12 excellent. Soybeans dropping leaves was 28 percent, near 27 last year and 25 average.

Winter wheat planted was 7 percent, behind 17 last year and 13 average.

Sorghum condition rated 1 percent very poor, 2 poor, 29 fair, 50 good, and 18 excellent. Sorghum coloring was 84 percent, behind 94 last year, but ahead of 77 average. Mature was 15 percent, behind 21 last year, but ahead of 8 average.

Alfalfa condition rated 3 percent very poor, 10 poor, 31 fair, 44 good, and 12 excellent. Alfalfa fourth cutting was 57 percent complete, ahead of 50 last year and 47 average.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 5 percent very poor, 18 poor, 47 fair, 27 good, and 3 excellent. Stock water supplies rated 1 percent very short, 11 short, 88 adequate, and 0 surplus.


It was another dry week in Iowa with only localized showers during the week ending September 10, 2017, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were 6.8 days suitable for fieldwork. Activities for the week included cutting hay, chopping corn for silage, seeding cover crops, hauling grain, and preparing for grain harvest.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 17 percent very short, 32 percent short, 51 percent adequate and 0 percent surplus. South central and southeast Iowa continue to be the driest parts of the state with over 80 percent of topsoil moisture rated short to very short. Subsoil moisture levels rated 19 percent very short, 34 percent short, 47 percent adequate and 0 percent surplus.

Seventy-six percent of the corn crop has reached the dent stage or beyond, three days behind the 5-year average. Fifteen percent of corn had reached maturity, six days behind last year and eight days behind average. Corn condition rated 60 percent good to excellent.

Forty-seven percent of soybeans were turning color, one day behind average. Eight percent of soybeans were dropping leaves, four days behind average. Soybean condition rated 61 percent good to excellent.

The third cutting of alfalfa hay was 95 percent complete, over one week ahead of last year. There were some reports of producers starting to cut their fourth crop of alfalfa.

Pasture conditions declined to 41 percent poor to very poor due to continued dry conditions slowing growth. Livestock conditions remained good, with reports of cattlemen weaning calves.

USDA Weekly Crop Progress

Soybean conditions fell slightly from the previous week and the crop's progress fell behind the average pace, according to USDA's weekly Crop Progress report released Monday.  USDA said 22% of soybeans were dropping leaves, as of Sunday, Sept. 10, down from 24% a year ago and below the five-year average of 25%. Sixty percent of the soybean crop was rated in good-to-excellent condition, down 1 percentage point from 61% the previous week.

Corn progress also continued to lag behind the normal pace with USDA reporting 96% of corn in the dough stage as of Sunday, down from 99% a year ago and down from the five-year average of 97%. Seventy-five percent of corn was dented, down from 85% a year ago and down from the five-year average of 81% dented. Twenty-one percent of corn was considered mature, down from 31% a year ago and the five-year average of 31% mature. Five percent of corn was harvested as of Sunday, even with a year ago but down from the five-year average of 6% harvested.  Sixty-one percent of corn was rated in good-to-excellent condition, the same as the previous week.

Spring wheat harvest was nearing completion with USDA reporting that 95% of spring wheat was harvested as of Sunday, up from 94% a year ago and above the five-year average of 87% harvested.

Winter wheat farmers have also begun planting next year's crop, with USDA reporting 5% of winter wheat planted as of Sunday, even with a year ago and below the five-year average of 6% planted.

Sorghum was 74% coloring, equal to the average pace, while mature was 35%, behind the average of 39%. Sorghum harvested was 24%, behind the average of 27%. Sorghum condition rose to 66% good to excellent from 63% the previous week.

Cotton was 34% bolls opening compared to an average pace of 40% bolls opening. Cotton harvest was estimated at 9%, ahead of the average of 4%. Nationwide, cotton condition fell to 63% good to excellent from 65% good to excellent the previous week.

Barley was 96% harvested as of Sunday, ahead of the average pace of 93%. Oats were 96% harvested, slightly behind the average of 97%. Rice was 43% harvested, slightly ahead of the average of 40% harvested.

Monday September 11 Ag News

Walk in the Woods held at Wilderness Park, West Point

It was a beautiful day to walk in the woods!  That’s what 120 fourth graders found out at the 9th Annual Walk in the Woods held on Wednesday, September 6th at Wilderness Park in West Point.  The hands-on learning day focused on the importance of trees, wildlife, and prairie.  Students from West Point-Beemer Elementary, Guardian Angels Catholic School in West Point, St. Paul Lutheran School in West Point, and Wisner-Pilger Elementary attended the event.

Pam Bergstrom, Forester with the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) said, “This experience gives students the opportunity to learn about trees and nature by observing and learning through their senses rather than just reading or being taught about it in a classroom.   Wilderness Park, with its maintained trails, is an awesome forest and prairie setting for the event, and allows the foresters and wildlife biologists to present the information in a fun and unique way.”

Steve Rasmussen, District Forester with the Nebraska Forest Service (NFS) said, “This continues to be a very good program to teach youth about our natural resources right in their backyard.  The students get physical education, science, history, and math all in one morning session.”

Julie Wragge, LENRD Information & Education Specialist said, “It’s so wonderful to get students out in the woods.  Their eyes light up when they get to use their senses to experience the wonders of our natural resources.  We are so privileged to be a part of helping young people learn more about the world around them.”

The Walk in the Woods event is sponsored by the Nebraska Forest Service, the Great Plains Society of American Foresters, and the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District.  Other presenters and volunteers included staff from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Nebraska Game & Parks Commission.

Ricketts Leads Second Japan Trade Mission to Expand Trade Opportunities

For the second time in two years, Governor Pete Ricketts and key administrative officials are leading a delegation of ag and business leaders to expand trade and investment opportunities for Nebraskans in Japan.  The Governor’s 2017 international trade mission to Japan began in Tokyo today and will include visits to Shizuoka and the Kansai region later this week.  Department of Economic Development Director Courtney Dentlinger and Department of Agriculture Assistant Director Mat Habrock are helping lead the Governor’s Nebraska Delegation, which includes members of the state’s business and agricultural sectors.

This morning, the Governor and the delegation participated in the Midwest US-Japan Association (MWJA) and the Japan-Midwest US Association Conference.  MWJA is comprised of nine Midwestern states, including Nebraska, and was formed to bolster international relationships with companies with a particular interest in growing in the central United States.

“The U.S. Midwest Japan Association Conference is an outstanding opportunity for Nebraska to thank our number one direct foreign investor and for our ag and business leaders to build relationships that grow bilateral trade,” said Governor Ricketts. “Nebraskans who understand Japan’s markets and resources are in a unique position to grow business relationships with our state’s number one trading partner outside of North America.  The connections fostered here are invaluable, and we look forward to hosting the association’s 50th anniversary in Omaha next year.”

In 2016, Gov. Ricketts addressed delegates during the 48th annual conference in St. Louis and announced that Omaha will host the 2018 joint conference.  Nebraska joined MWJA shortly after the organization’s inaugural event in 1967, when members of Chicago’s Association of Commerce and Industry hosted a delegation from the Japan Committee for Economic Development.  Next year’s event in Omaha will mark the 50th anniversary of the conference.

During this trip to Tokyo, Gov. Ricketts is highlighting Nebraska’s long-standing relationship with a number of foreign companies. Omaha-based Tenaska employs nearly 300 Nebraskans and specializes in power plant, electric, and natural gas development.  The company has built partnerships with several Japanese firms, including J-Power, Mitsubishi, and Itochu.  

“For the past 30 years, Tenaska has successfully built its reputation in the U.S. and abroad,” said DED Director Courtney Dentlinger. “Development of the company’s strong, bilateral relationships resulted in plans for a $500 million natural gas generating company in Pennsylvania, made possible through investments from both countries.  Nebraska’s international trade missions continue to showcase the great work of Nebraska companies around the world.”  

Later this week, Gov. Ricketts will visit Japan’s independent government agency established to consolidate the country’s efforts in export promotion.  The Japan Export Trade Research Organization (JETRO) supports efforts by foreign companies interested in entry and expansion in the Japanese market.  In 2016, JETRO Chairman Hiroyuki Ishige met with Gov. Ricketts in Lincoln on the Nebraska Innovation Campus.  This week’s meeting will focus on additional opportunities to strengthen Nebraska’s relationship with JETRO officials.

Director Dentlinger and Assistant Director Habrock will address Tokyo-area businesses at JETRO’s investment and trade promotional event to highlight Nebraska as an attractive, business-friendly location for continued foreign investment.  Total agricultural and manufactured exports from Nebraska to Japan equaled an estimated $1.13 billion in 2015.

“The Nebraska agriculture industry has proven itself as a dependable and consistent supplier of agricultural products and services worldwide,” Assistant Director Habrock said.  “We appreciate and welcome the opportunity to provide potential investors with information about the abundant resources available in Nebraska that have made our state one of the top producers of crops, livestock, agricultural equipment, and biotech products in the United States.”

On Thursday, Gov. Ricketts and the trade delegation will visit Shizuoka, a sister city of Omaha, Nebraska to promote additional investment opportunities in the state.

The trade delegation will spend the last two days of the trade mission in the Kansai region, where they will host a variety of events and meetings in Osaka, Kobe, and Kyoto.  Kawasaki and several other Japanese companies with investments and operations in Nebraska are based in the Kansai region.

Review Herbicide Restrictions Before Planting Forage Cover Crops 

Amit Jhala - NE Extension Weed Management Specialist

If you're planning to plant cover crops this fall, particularly forage cover crops, you'll likely want to plant as soon after crop harvest as possible to assure the longest growing season possible for your cover crops. As you prepare for the hectic harvest season, this is a good time to check the label plant-back restrictions of any herbicides applied previously in the field as you plan your cover crop planting and use.

Following are two resources with further information on herbicide considerations when planting forage cover crops.

Herbicide Options for Planting Forage Cover Crops after Corn and Soybean (, a March 2016 CropWatch article. This article outlines what to consider and includes Herbicide Label Plant-Back Restrictions, as of the publication date, for pre- and post-emergence in corn and soybean. Always check the herbicide labels for the products previously applied and use the most restrictive plant-back restrictions applicable. See the 2017 Guide for Weed, Disease, and Insect Management in Nebraska for more information on herbicides labeled for use in Nebraska and their restrictions. 

Herbicide Options for Planting Forage Cover Crops Following Corn and Soybean (Nebraska Extension NebGuide G2276) by Nebraska Extension Specialists Amit Jhala, Daren Redfearn, Bruce Anderson, Mary Drewnoski, and Chris Proctor. As the use of cover crops increases in Nebraska, with many acres being planted after corn and soybean harvest, this publication looks at herbicide recommendations in respect to forage cover crops and includes tables fof Herbicide Label Plant-Back Restrictions. Requirements for integrating forage cover crops within a herbicide program are the most restrictive of the cover crop uses. In the NebGuide the authors write:

"Most herbicide labels list crop rotation intervals or plant back restrictions that limit how soon a subsequent crop can be planted following a herbicide application. It is important to note that this is different from the grazing or forage restrictions posted on a herbicide label for crops to which a herbicide is directly applied. When planning a fall-planted forage cover crop following corn or soybean, a herbicide crop rotation interval or plant back restriction should be short enough to allow the forage cover crop to establish. If the forage cover crop species you intend to plant is not listed on the label, you must follow the rotation restriction listed for “other crops.” In addition, the rotation restriction for a forage cover crop mixture is dictated by the species in the mixture with the longest restriction. Meeting these requirements can be challenging, as many forage cover crop species are not listed on herbicide labels and as a result replant restrictions fall outside the ideal fall planting window. Hail or other crop damage, seed corn, and silage corn all provide opportunities for earlier forage cover crop planting; however, herbicide plant back restrictions still must be observed in these situations.


Top executives of Nebraska’s three largest public power utilities will be the luncheon speakers on Monday, November 13, at the Nebraska Wind and Solar Conference. The conference is a two-day event that brings together people from across the country united by their passion for advancing wind and solar energy.

Among the featured speakers are Tim Burke, CEO of Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) - Pat Pope, CEO of Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) - and Jason Fortik, Vice President of Power Supply at Lincoln Electric System (LES). 

The conference runs Monday, November 13 – Tuesday, November 14 with these speakers at the luncheon on Monday, November 13 from 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm at the Cornhusker Marriott Hotel, 333 S. 13th Street in Lincoln, NE. 

“The presentation by public power executives is always one of the most well-attended sessions,” said John Hansen, conference co-chair. “The panel provides a wealth of information on the current state of renewables in the public sector and the role they will play in the future growth of Nebraska’s public energy.”

Registration is $125 until October 15 and student registration is $65. More information is available on the conference website  Contact to register.

Facebook: NEWindandSolarConference | Twitter: @NebraskaWSC10 | Instagram: @NebraskaWSC10

To view last year’s presentations, go to

Propane Availability Forecast

Are hurricane Harvey or Irma likely to affect propane availability for farmers and rural Nebraska homeowners for winter 2017-18?

Not in the long run as propane availability is good, said Gregg Walker, director of communications for the Propane Education and Research Council. Hurricane Harvey delayed exports from Texas ports for a few days and may have hampered processing at some facilities, but “we make more than enough propane to meet US supply,” Walker said.

He does encourage rural users to work with local suppliers to order propane early to guarantee they’ll have what they need when they need it this winter.

“Nebraska is fairly close to a major distribution center at Conway, Kansas, which puts Nebraska markets in a good position,” Walker said; however, propane competes for space with other energy commodities in the transportation system and sometimes there just aren’t enough rail cars or trucks available to get it where it needs to go on a short deadline. Ordering early helps everyone in the supply chain better identify and plan for domestic need and respond to potential export sales.

“The US produces more propane than any other country in the world and is the world’s largest exporter,” he said. That means that even if the US were to have a mild winter, if Europe had an unusually long and bitterly cold winter, export needs would increase, affecting supplies.

Growers may still remember 2013-14 when there was a high demand for grain drying, followed by a tough winter. As the “Polar Vortex” dipped down, the US sustained record lows over an extended time, increasing propane needs for many rural Americans, sometimes beyond normal expectations.

Rural users can take steps to help ensure they have a ready supply when they need it, just as they would with other farm inputs, Walker said. He recommends users establish a good relationship with their local supplier and make plans with them soon regarding winter propane needs and purchases.

While growers may take a risk that the price of propane moves higher or lower after the price is contracted, setting the price early can help with budgeting and provide peace of mind that the fuel will be available when needed, said Anthony Barrett, farm financial consultant at Nebraska Farm Business Inc. Growers purchasing inputs in the fall also may be able to lock in cash discounts.

Seaboard Triumph Foods Sioux City pork processing plant completes first week of commercial production
PrairieFresh Premium Pork donated to Operation BBQ Relief for hurricane disaster relief

After a successful opening week of commercial production at the Sioux City pork processing plant, Seaboard Triumph Foods announced that a trailer load of PrairieFresh® Premium Pork from the first week’s production will be donated to Operation BBQ Relief (OBR) for disaster relief. OBR will be able to serve more than 100,000 meals from this donation.

Commercial operations started Sept. 5 at the newly constructed processing plant that is ramping up toward full one-shift capacity to process 10,000 head of market hogs a day with 1,100 employees.

“I couldn’t be more proud of our workforce and their commitment to producing high-quality, wholesome pork,” says Mark Porter, Seaboard Triumph Foods chief operating officer. “The product quality looks great. We’re on our planned schedule after the first week, and grateful that some of the product we produced this first week can be donated to help Operation BBQ Relief serve hot, delicious meals to those dealing with the aftermath from the recent natural disasters.”

Operation BBQ Relief mobilizes barbecue cook teams into natural disaster areas to provide hot barbecue meals to those impacted and the many people who come to help. OBR completed an 11-day deployment this past weekend in Texas where the non-profit group prepared 371,760 meals. Today, OBR is preparing for deployment in Florida following Hurricane Irma.

PrairieFresh® Premium Pork is the official premier pork supplier to OBR. The Seaboard Triumph Foods Sioux City plant, owned equally by Seaboard Foods and Triumph Foods, produces PrairieFresh® Premium Pork branded products along with other fresh pork product for domestic and international markets.

In addition to the PrairieFresh® Premium Pork donation from the Sioux City plant, about 2 more trailer loads of fresh pork produced by the St. Joseph and Guymon plants have been donated to OBR for disaster relief in the past two weeks.

To learn more about Operation BBQ Relief and to donate, visit

$14 Million Committed for Iowa State’s Feed Mill and Grain Science Project

Kent Corporation is committing $8 million, the Iowa Corn Promotion Board $4 million and Sukup Manufacturing Co. $2 million in support of a new Iowa State University educational and research facility for feed milling and grain science.

The $14 million in gifts are the first to be announced for the $21.2 million feed mill and grain science complex, which will be funded entirely through private giving, according to a Sept. 8 news release published by Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Science.

The commitments made by Kent Corporation and Iowa Corn Promotion Board represent the largest gifts each has ever made. Sukup Manufacturing Co.’s commitment will be in-kind support, including the complex’s grain storage bins.

“We are very grateful to Kent, Iowa Corn Promotion Board and Sukup Manufacturing for their lead gifts that will jump-start in-depth planning and development of our feed mill and grain science complex,” said Benjamin Allen, interim president of Iowa State University. “Their tremendous generosity will help make this facility a valuable addition to hands-on student learning, meaningful faculty research, and extension and outreach to industry workforce.”

The facility will be a new venue for continuing education and extension programs for employees in feed milling and grain handling industries. These programs will help workers more effectively meet an increasing number of regulatory compliance issues, address biosecurity concerns and gain experience in advanced processing methods. They also will be valuable for demonstrating to international visitors the sophistication of the U.S. feed industry, and in educating visitors on how to best use U.S. corn and corn products in their own livestock industries.

The new facility will centralize feed production close to university animal teaching and research farms. It is expected to improve the quality of research by Iowa State faculty, serving as a source for custom-made animal feeds for academic studies. Variability and inconsistency in making experimental diets have been a stumbling block in the past — one that will likely be eliminated or reduced through use of the new facility. Researchers also will use the complex to study feed safety and biosecurity issues linked to transportation and handling of feeds.

The location for the feed mill and grain science complex will be on approximately 10 acres of university-owned land southwest of the intersection of Highway 30 and State Avenue in Ames. The land, managed by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, has been the site of crop research, seed operations and crop yield performance trials for more than 50 years.

At the proposed facility, classes and short courses will be taught, research conducted and feeds prepared to meet the dietary requirements of animals housed at several university teaching and research farms in the Ames area.

The complex is envisioned to include a feed mill tower and feed milling and mixing structures, grain storage bins and a one-story classroom and laboratory building.

The Kent Corporation, Iowa Corn Promotion Board and Sukup Manufacturing Co. commitments are part the Forever True, For Iowa State campaign, with a historic goal to raise $1.1 billion, which will help support Iowa State in becoming the premier land-grant university for the 21st century and beyond.

Iowa Learning Farms Webinar to Explore Edge-of-Field Practices

Edge-of-field nitrate reduction practices such as bioreactors, saturated buffers and wetlands are receiving increased attention for the role they play in the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy. As these practices gain in popularity, questions linger about how these practices work and the scale of implementation required to make progress towards strategy goals.

Matt Helmers, Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering at Iowa State University and Dean’s Professor in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, will discuss how to increase awareness and understanding of these practices during the Iowa Learning Farms webinar on Wednesday, Sept. 20 at 12 p.m.

“For large-scale implementation of the Nutrient Reduction Strategy to be successful, we need trained individuals that can work with farmers and landowners in the private and public sectors,” Helmers said. “We need for everyone to understand where these practices are appropriate, how effective they are, and the scale and rate of practice implementation that is required.” 

One of the most effective ways to convey information about edge-of-field practices is to show people how they work. Helmers will introduce the Conservation Station “On the Edge,” a new outreach tool designed to increase awareness and understanding of edge-of-field practices for both general and technical audiences. 

Helmers researches the impact of nutrient management, cropping practices, drainage design and management and strategic placement of conservation practices on nutrient export from agricultural landscapes. His extension work is focused on increasing adoption of practices that have the potential to reduce downstream nutrient export.

The Iowa Learning Farms monthly webinar series will take place on the third Wednesday of each month at noon. To log in, go to: at 12 p.m. and log in through the “guest” option. The webinar will be recorded and archived on the ILF website for viewing at any time at

The National Pork Producers Council will host its fall Legislative Action Conference in Washington, D.C., Sept. 13-14. The biannual fly-in draws from around the country more than 125 pork producers, including 15 who will be participating in NPPC’s Pork Leadership Institute, a grassroots leadership development program.

Producers will lobby congressional lawmakers on issues of importance to the U.S. pork industry, including asking them to urge the Trump administration to pursue bilateral trade agreements, to rescind regulations detrimental to agriculture and to support establishing and funding a Foot-and-Mouth Disease vaccine bank.

Over 150 Biofuels Champions in D.C. Today to Kick Off Industry’s Largest Advocacy Summit

Growth Energy is holding its annual advocacy conference in Washington, D.C., this week, bringing together over 150 leaders in the ethanol industry from across the country to champion the association’s policy priorities on Capitol Hill.

During Growth Energy’s Biofuels Summit, advocates will meet with members of Congress to urge support for protecting the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and for securing a legislative fix for the Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) restriction that places barriers on consumer fuel choice during the summer.

“Now, more than ever, this industry is poised to drive the next great wave of economic development across the American heartland,” Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor said.

“We know that the most effective way to influence members of Congress is to connect them in person, face-to-face with the men and women moving this industry forward. The biofuels industry has a great story to tell and great people to tell it. The RFS has ensured lower fuel prices, a stronger rural America, and cleaner air. To continue this progress, we need Congress behind us. This summit gives us the opportunity to thank and build stronger relationships with our champions as well as foster new allies on Capitol Hill who share our commitment to increasing consumer choice at the pump through cleaner, homegrown biofuels.”

Growth Energy advocates will ask members of Congress to cosponsor the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act (S. 517, H.R. 1311), which would correct an outdated regulation that restricts retailers from selling fuel containing 15 percent ethanol (E15) during the summer fueling season (June 1 through September 15).

More Than 300 Farmers Union Members ‘Fly-In’ to Washington to Lobby Congress, the Administration

Today, 320 Farmers Union members gathered in the nation’s capital for National Farmers Union’s (NFU) Fall Legislative Fly-In. The annual event allows Farmers Union members from across the country to meet directly with lawmakers, USDA leaders and other administration officials to discuss issues important to family farmers and ranchers.

“Times are tough right now for American family farmers and ranchers,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “And when times get tough for farmers, Farmers Union members step up and advocate.”

“We’ve seen a dramatic, 50 percent drop in farm income over the past four years,” he continued. “At the same time, farmers are enduring major weather volatility due to climate change, uncertainty over foreign trade markets, massive consolidation of farms and agribusiness companies, and the ongoing degradation of farming and rural community infrastructure and services. The men and women who feed and fuel our nation need the support of their elected leaders, and that’s why 320 of them took four or five days out of their busy fall schedules to advocate at our Fly-In.”

NFU Fly-In participants are in Washington to lobby their elected officials on legislative solutions to issues that heavily affect their farming and ranching operations.

“Congress has a long list of issues to deal with this fall, and we want to make sure they’re considering the social and economic well-being of American family farmers and ranchers with every vote they cast,” said Johnson. “NFU members are especially concerned about the prospect of an adequate farm safety net through the 2018 Farm Bill, bipartisan health care system fixes that ensure accessible, affordable, quality health care, and expanded markets for American grown, renewable fuels, including E30 and advanced biofuels.”

The three-day event began today with a briefing at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). NFU members heard from USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue, USDA Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett, National Resources Conservation Service Acting Chief Leonard Jordan and USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service Administrator Hubert Hamer.

Informational sessions will continue this afternoon, as Fly-In participants meet with U.S. Senate and House of Representatives agriculture committees’ staff members to gain insight into the committees’ fall agendas. NFU members will then take to Capitol Hill on Tuesday and Wednesday to meet in small-group meetings with all 535 congressional offices, and to present 33 members of Congress with the Golden Triangle Award, the group’s highest legislative honor.

CWT Assists with 5.2 Million Pounds of Cheese and Butter Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 29 requests for export assistance from Dairy Farmers of America, Foremost Farms and Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold) that have contracts to sell 4.784 million pounds (2,170 metric tons) of Cheddar, Gouda and Monterey Jack cheese, and 440,925 pounds (200 metric tons) of butter to customers in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and Oceania. The product has been contracted for delivery in the period from September through December 2017.

So far this year, CWT has assisted member cooperatives who have contracts to sell 53.091 million pounds of American-type cheeses, and 3.454 million pounds of butter (82% milkfat) to 20 countries on five continents. The sales are the equivalent of 567.731 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.

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

Canada Antitrust Agency Clears Fertilizer Merger

Canada's antitrust agency says it would not challenge the proposed fertilizer merger between Agrium and Potash Corp of Saskatchewan. In a statement, Canada's Competition Bureau says its probe concluded that the transaction would not result in a weakening, or prevention, of competition for products sold by both companies, including potash fertilizer, dry or liquid phosphate fertilizer and nitric acid. The agency says it conducted its probe in cooperation with the US Federal Trade Commission.

Last week, the two companies said they were working to resolve final issues with Canadian and US antitrust agencies, but noted authorities in China and India said approval was conditional on Potash Corp selling certain minority interests. Both firms say they expect the merger to close by end of 4Q. 

Farm Bureau, John Deere Announce New Discount Partnership

Farm Bureau and John Deere are excited to announce a new partnership that will give Farm Bureau members in participating states special access to John Deere’s GreenFleet Loyalty Rewards program, providing members with a free two-year Platinum membership. This new member discount program will strengthen the existing partnership between John Deere and Farm Bureau, and continue to grow John Deere’s dedication to strengthening their support of America’s farmers and ranchers.

“John Deere is committed to the success of customers whose work is linked to the land. Together with Farm Bureau, we are strengthening our agricultural communities and building for the future,” said Steve Geick, John Deere director of ag industry relations, US/Canada. “The GreenFleet Loyalty Rewards program for Farm Bureau members is John Deere’s way of rewarding those who cultivate, harvest, transform, enrich and build upon the land.”

Along with valuable equipment discounts, GreenFleet Loyalty Rewards Platinum members are eligible for special parts savings, Home & Workshop Products discounts, and other members-only promotions. Normally, a customer must initially purchase two pieces of qualifying equipment within 12 months to reach Platinum status. Farm Bureau members will automatically qualify by signing up through for these benefits:

    Equipment Discounts – Savings on everything from mowers to tractors to Gator Utility Vehicles purchased at your authorized John Deere dealer

    Special Parts Savings – Money-saving parts coupons and offers to help keep your equipment at its best

    Home & Workshop Product Discounts – A 10 percent discount off MSRP on eligible John Deere tools and workshop equipment – air compressors, generators, pressure washers and more

    Exclusive Member Promotions – New exclusive offers and promotions delivered to your inbox – along with insider tips and great ideas for enhancing your equipment experience

Farm Bureau members in participating states are eligible. To participate, Farm Bureau members can visit their state Farm Bureau website or Once the registration is complete, the member will receive their GreenFleet member number and can instantly access program benefits. Members can simply purchase online at or by visiting a local John Deere dealer.

Friday September 8 Ag News

2017 Dodge County Crop Tech Cafe Yield Tour: September 5-7
Nathan Mueller, NE Extension Educator, Dodge County

The 2017 corn preharvest yield estimate was 197 bu/ac, which is up 13 bu/ac from a year ago and similar to 2015 (Table 1 below). Irrigated and rainfed yields averaged 224 bu/ac and 173 bu/ac, respectively. Irrigated yields were 12 bu/ac and 15 bu/ac higher than 2016 and 2015, respectively. However, rainfed yields are up 6 bu/ac from 2016, but 15 bu/ac less than 2015. Ear counts across the county averaged 28,200/acres, which is up from 2016 (July 5 Wind Storm impacted 75,000 acres with green snap) and similar to 2015. Corn maturity is behind from last year but ahead of 2015 (tours roughly the same time each year, so not a perfect comparison).

The 2017 soybean preharvest yield is estimated at 56 bu/ac for the county (averaged across rainfed and irrigated), down 7 bu/ac from a year ago and down 2 bu/ac from 2015 (Table 2 below). The county average for pods per 1/10,000 of acre was down nearly 100 pod from 2016 but similar to the pod count in 2015. Seeds per pod was 2.5 that is similar to the 2.4 in 2016 and 2.6 in 2015. Maturity was only slightly behind from last year, but ahead of 2015 similar to corn.

Click the link to see all the details on each section of Nathan's crop tour, and see the methodology behind the tour....


The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) has an important role at Husker Harvest Days and other ag-related events. This year at Husker Harvest Days, NDA staff will be on hand to share information on farm mitigation and negotiations, livestock development, pesticide management and the NextGen Beginning Farmer program. Husker Harvest Days is celebrating its 40th anniversary Sept. 12-14 in Grand Island.

“Husker Harvest Days is a great opportunity for Nebraska farmers and ranchers to see what’s new and innovative in the way of equipment, supplies and technology,” said NDA Director Greg Ibach. “This long-standing event supports agriculture and gives people the opportunity to expand their knowledge of Nebraska’s number one industry as well as the role of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture.”

NDA staff will be at Husker Harvest Days to answer questions and share information about various agriculture programs that affect farmers and ranchers in Nebraska. Here is more information about the NDA programs featured at Husker Harvest Days and where staff can be found.....

-    Farmer mitigation, negotiations and NextGen Beginning Farmer program: Look for NDA staff  in the Nebraska Farmer Hospitality Tent;

-    Animal health: NDA’s Animal Health Protection programs will be represented in the Livestock Industries Building in the northwest corner;

-    Pesticide/fertilizer management: NDA staff from the Pesticide/Fertilizer program will be in the Nebraska Farmer Hospitality Tent (at the corner of Main Street and Central Avenue);

-    Noxious weed control: Staff from NDA’s Noxious Weed program will be at the Nebraska Weed Control Association Tent (Lot 1016, in the northeast part of the grounds); and

-    Livestock development: NDA Ag Promotions & Development will be represented in the Nebraska Commodities Building (Lot 8, at the east end of Main Street).


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               Did weeds take over your alfalfa this summer?  Well, join the crowd.  So, why were the weeds so vigorous and what might happen to your alfalfa?

               Weeds seemed to show up everywhere in alfalfa fields during August.  And I'm not exactly sure why.  One thing is for sure, though.  The weeds were worst in older fields, thinner stands, and in areas where rainfall was higher than normal.

               Summer weeds that invade alfalfa when rain is heavy isn't unusual, especially if it is wet right after harvest.  Alfalfa stubble just doesn't compete well with weeds, so weed growth gets a jump start on the alfalfa.

               If the alfalfa plants are healthy and vigorous, though, this weed invasion should be just a temporary problem.  After the next cutting, or maybe as late a next year, most weeds will disappear and the alfalfa will take over again.

               What I'm more concerned about are your older fields, those fields starting to get a little thin.  I've noticed this year that many alfalfa fields seemed to be getting weaker and weaker as the year went on, especially if they were harvested within a month of the previous cut.        What I think is happening is that alfalfa plants in many fields have slowly been weakened naturally by root and crown diseases, but they weren't killed.  Then, as the summer went on, the weakened root systems eventually couldn't handle the stress caused by frequent harvesting.  So plants slowly died.  And weeds invaded the open areas.

               If this scenario describes one or more of your alfalfa fields, check it closely this fall.  It might be time to reseed.

               Preparing to reseed now will help avoid bad surprises next spring.

Striking Conservation Conversations

We know that Nebraska farmers and ranchers go to great lengths to protect the land and animals in their care, all while raising safe and nutritious food to help feed America and beyond.

It was that focus on stewardship that drew the Aliiance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska (AFAN) to help promote the inaugural "Conservation in Agriculture Day" at the Nebraska State Fair this year.

As part of its outreach to help Nebraska farmers and ranchers achieve viability and opportunity for long-term growth, AFAN worked with the Sand County Foundation to promote a series of State Fair presentations by conservation experts.

"The messages to consumers who stopped in to listen to the 'lightning talks' focused on the importance of conservation of water, soil and wildlife to our world's future," said AFAN Livestock Development Coordinator Emily Skillett.

"It was a great opportunity for experts to share sound research and stories about all of the things that farmers and ranchers do to protect the land, animals and resources they steward on a daily basis," she said. "I think some consumers are surprised to hear the truth about agricultural conservation when they're faced with emotionally charged misinformation in mainstream media and life every day."

Participants in the lightning talks at the fair got information firsthand from not only representatives of respected organizations such as The Nature Conservancy , the Nebraska Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Nebraska Land Trust, and University of Nebraska Extension, but also directly from Nebraska farmers, including The Kalkowski Family Ranch in north Central Nebraska; Patrick Peterson of Gordon, Nebrask a's Plum Thicket Farms; and Rose, Nebraska rancher Homer Buell (pictured, above).

"Nebraska's is the only state fair presenting this kind of conservation program," Skillett said. "It was exciting to see consumers engaging on these important topics and speaking one-on-one with conservation experts. We hope this is just the first of many such opportunities to come at the Nebraska State Fair."

The priorities of Kalkowski Family Ranches featured during the talks do a good job of summarizing the importance of agricultural conservation: "We will remember that we are only stewards of the soil and have a grave obligation to conserve all natural resources and do everything possible to protect and preserve the land."

2017 Iowa Farm Bureau Summer Policy Conference Held This Week

The voting delegate body of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF), the state’s largest grassroots general farm organization, met in West Des Moines this week to develop the legislative policy direction on issues important to members statewide.  The voting delegates, representing each Iowa county, again is making conservation a priority, seeking to maximize the environmental benefit of conservation programs.  Members also approved policies to protect taxpayers and combat the spread of Palmer amaranth. 

“IFBF’s annual, two-day Summer Policy Conference provides our organization with a clear policy direction for the upcoming year to serve our membership,” says IFBF President Craig Hill.  “IFBF’s year-round policy development process is truly grassroots with engagement and input from members in each county of the state culminating with the Summer Policy Conference.  This process helps to ensure a strong, unified voice on behalf of our membership to support Iowa agriculture.”  

The delegates affirmed support for conservation programs, including the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), and will seek to maximize the environmental benefit of the program and also create opportunities for young and beginning farmers.    

Palmer amaranth, an invasive weed which can devastate corn and soybean yields, was a major concern for the delegates. The weed has spread rapidly across Iowa and caused a significant economic impact for Iowa farmers.  The planting of native grasses to promote pollinator habitat has inadvertently brought the noxious weed to the state and has spread from just five Iowa counties in 2016 to as many as 80 today.

“Palmer amaranth spreads so much faster than any other weed,” said Jason Russell, a voting delegate from Linn County.   “If your neighbor makes a mistake letting Palmer amaranth get established, it becomes your problem as well.  That’s why I feel that better labeling should be required.  Let’s not dance around it; let’s make sure we know what we’re doing.”

The delegates enacted policy for all CRP seed mixes to be certified noxious weed free, to eliminate the possibility of unintentional planting of the weed when establishing pollinator habitat.   

The IFBF Summer Policy Conference is the culmination of a year-round grassroots policy process in each of the 100 county Farm Bureaus across the state.  National policies are subject to debate during American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) policy discussions, which will take place at the AFBF Annual Convention in Nashville, Tennessee, January 5-10, 2018.

Management Recommendations, Scouting for Fall Corn Diseases

As the 2017 growing season comes to an end, agronomists and farmers are reminded to scout for stalk and ear rots of corn as harvest nears. According to Alison Robertson, professor and extension crop plant pathologist at Iowa State University, stalk rots may be more prevalent this year, due to the stressful growing season across most of Iowa.

So far, Robertson has started seeing some anthracnose and Fusarium stalk rot, along with some Gibberella and Fusarium ear rot. While Robertson believes the moisture that Iowa has received over the past two weeks has likely mitigated some risk, she recommends farmers and agronomists begin scouting now.

“Farmers should start scouting for ear and stalk rots from approximately the one-half milk line and onwards,” said Robertson. “If less than 10 percent of plants in the field are affected, they should think about scheduling an earlier harvest.”

To help farmers and agronomists identify, scout and manage corn diseases, a new Corn Diseases booklet, published by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, is now available to crop producers and industry professionals. The up-to-date publication provides current recommendations for management, along with identification and scouting information. Also included are illustrated disease cycles for primary diseases, a foliar disease estimation chart and corn growth and development and staging information.

“We update these publications every so often to make sure they remain current with new information and to increase the usefulness to farmers and ag business personnel,” said Adam Sisson, extension specialist for the Integrated Pest Management Program at Iowa State. “The revised Corn Diseases publication includes many new images and updated disease listings such as bacterial leaf streak and tar spot.”

The Corn Diseases publication is available to purchase online at the Extension Store. A hard copy of the publication costs $5; boxed quantities of 50 for a reduced price of $3.50 per publication also is available. Printable downloads are $2.50 each.

To stay updated on specialists’ findings of crop diseases, insects and weeds across Iowa, visit Integrated Crop Managment Blog, and look to Integrated Crop Managment News for management recommendations based on current conditions.


The United States, Mexico and Canada completed the second round of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) talks, a five-day meeting that ended on Sept. 5 in Mexico City. While media reports suggested considerable differences on key issues, the lead negotiators signaled solid progress.

At a press conference following the talks, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said, “I am hopeful we can arrive at an agreement that helps American workers, farmers and ranchers, while also raising the living standards of workers in Mexico and Canada."

The third round of talks is set to take place Sept. 23-27 in Ottawa. Retaining zero tariff rates and the enormous benefits realized by the U.S. economy and agriculture are among top trade advocacy priorities. The National Pork Producers Council says withdrawing from NAFTA would cost the U.S. pork industry $1.5 billion.  


Members of the Coalition to Promote U.S. Agricultural Exports were among the signatories to a letter to the House Committee on Agriculture this week emphasizing the need for enhanced international market development. The coalition is calling for increased U.S. Department of Agriculture funding for the agency’s key export programs: the Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) initiative. The coalition asked the committee to consider $400 million and $69 million of increased annual funding for MAP and FMD, respectively, through the 2018 Farm Bill. These programs have not seen budget increased since 2002.

Thursday September 7 Ag News

Big Red Grain Mkt & Risk Mgt Breakfast

Extension is hosting a "Big Red Grain Marketing & Risk Management" breakfast meeting on Friday Sept 15th at ENREC (formerly ARDC) near Mead.  Breakfast at 745am, featured speaker at 8:15am.  Guest speakers are Jeff Peterson with Heartland Farm Partners, NE Extension Economist and Ag Mkt Sp. Cory Walters, and Saunders Co FSA Exec. Dir. Tim Davis.  You're asked to RSVP with Keith Glewen by noon on Sept 13th.... call 800-529-8030 or email 


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist
               Remember the old grazing adage “take half and leave half”?  Let’s see how it applies to your pastures this fall.

               "Take half and leave half” was the grazing management recommended for many years on rangeland and for planted warm-season grasses.  And in many cases it still is.  But today, more emphasis is on grazing techniques that use cross-fences to form multiple paddocks.  These techniques are known by many names like management intensive grazing, controlled grazing, even mob grazing.  Used correctly, they permit increased stocking rates and can produce excellent animal performance.

               How you graze your pastures, though, does not affect the basic growth processes of your grasses. If you severely graze a pasture short, plants in that pasture need extra time to recover before they are grazed again.  And warm-season grasses are particularly sensitive to recovery periods that are too short.  This is true regardless of whether the plants are in a continuously grazed pasture or the plants are separated into many rotationally grazed paddocks.

               Recovery time is particularly important as winter approaches.  Extra rain on many pastures recently allowed grass to thrive.  You still may have enough growth to provide grazing for another month or two.  But plants grazed hard earlier this summer may not have fully recovered yet despite the rain.  Severe grazing now, before full recovery from earlier grazing, will weaken plants as they go into winter.  Plants probably will survive, but next spring they will green-up later, early growth will be slow, and they'll compete poorly with weeds.

               As we approach winter, “take half and leave half” still may be a good management technique.  It helps assure that your pastures will be healthy and grow vigorously again next year.

Farmers elected to Iowa Soybean Association, national leadership posts

Soybean farmers were elected to leadership positions at the September meeting of the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) board of directors.

Those tabbed to serve as ISA officers were: Lindsay Greiner, Keota — president-elect; Stephanie Essick, Dickens — treasurer; Tim Bardole, Rippey — secretary; and Dave Walton, Wilton — executive committee.

Bill Shipley of Nodaway accepted the gavel as president and welcomed the newly elected state soybean leaders to their key posts.

“It’s an important time in agriculture as we work to manage the variability and uncertainty that accompanies erratic weather, trade and regulations,” he said. “The Iowa soybean board is committed to serving the needs of farmers by providing the tools and resources to manage the continuous changes that impact our competitiveness as farmers.

“I look forward to working with our executive committee and all directors to represent the needs of all farmers,” he added, “while effectively managing the investment soybean farmers make in their industry courtesy of the soybean checkoff.”

ISA directors also elected John Heisdorffer of Keota to serve a third term as a director of the American Soybean Association.

Heisdorffer said he looks forward to helping craft a new farm bill and serving fellow farmers and soybean growers.

“We’ll continue to focus on trade given the importance of finding markets for America’s most valuable export,” he said. “We’ll also remain actively engaged in production issues, including the use of dicamba. It’s important we work with industry to review, investigate and, where necessary, resolve any performance issues related to this important tool for managing weeds.”

U.S. Beef Exports Stay Red-hot in July; Pork Exports Lower

U.S. beef exports remained well above last year’s pace in July, posting one of the highest monthly export value totals on record, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). July pork export volume dipped below its year-ago level for the first time in 15 months, with export value also down slightly.

July beef exports totaled 104,488 metric tons (mt), up 5 percent year-over-year, while export value reached $623.7 million – up 18 percent from a year ago and the highest since December 2014. For January through July, exports increased 11 percent in volume (711,364 mt) and 15 percent in value ($3.97 billion) compared to the first seven months of last year.

Exports accounted for 13.2 percent of total U.S. beef production in July and 10.7 percent for muscle cuts only. These were the highest ratios of 2017, but down from 14.2 percent and 11 percent, respectively, last July. For January through July, beef exports accounted for 12.8 percent of total production and 10 percent for muscle cuts – roughly steady with last year. Export value per head of fed slaughter averaged $299.21 in July, up more than $35 (or 13 percent) from a year ago. Through July, per-head export value was up 9 percent to $273.52.

Pork exports totaled 173,675 mt in July, down 4 percent year-over-year, valued at $488.9 million, down 0.6 percent. January-July volume was still up 11 percent from a year ago to 1.43 million mt, while export value was up 13 percent to $3.7 billion.

Exports accounted for 26 percent of total pork production in July (down from 27.5 percent a year ago) and 21 percent for muscle cuts only (down from 23 percent). For the first seven months of the year, with U.S. production at a record pace, the percentage of total production exported increased from 25.6 percent to 27.5 percent. For muscle cuts only, the increase was from 21.6 percent to 23 percent. Export value per head slaughtered in July was $54.22 – up slightly from June but 3 percent below last July. The January-July per-head average increased 10 percent from a year ago to $54.11.

“July was certainly a solid month, especially for beef exports, but these results remind us that the U.S. red meat industry operates in an intensely competitive global environment,” said USMEF CEO Philip Seng. “At a time when some of our most essential trade agreements are under review, we must be mindful of how these agreements have helped make U.S. beef, pork and lamb more readily available and more affordable for millions of global customers, to the benefit of U.S. producers and everyone in the U.S. supply chain.”

Beef export volume to Japan largest in four years; value highest of post-BSE era

Beef exports to leading market Japan totaled 27,689 mt in July, up 20 percent from a year ago and the largest since July 2013 – which was shortly after Japan increased the eligible U.S. cattle age to 30 months. July export value to Japan increased 36 percent to $175.7 million, the highest monthly total since 1996. For January through July, exports to Japan were up 23 percent in volume (178,501 mt) and 29 percent in value ($1.08 billion). USMEF’s featuring of chilled beef in Japan continues to pay dividends as chilled exports were up 39 percent to 83,951 mt valued at $613 million (up 40 percent). Driven by strong growth in Japan’s foodservice industry, especially the gyudon beef bowl chains which heavily rely on U.S. short plate, U.S. frozen beef exports to Japan were up 12 percent to 64,928 mt (valued at $250 million, up 18 percent). But Japan’s frozen beef safeguard was triggered in late July, increasing the duty on frozen beef imports from suppliers without a trade agreement with Japan, including the U.S., from 38.5 percent to 50 percent. The impact of the safeguard is not likely to surface until the September export data is available. But since August, U.S. frozen beef has been at an even larger tariff disadvantage compared to Australian beef, which is subject to a duty rate of 27.2 percent under the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement.

Beef exports to South Korea dipped below the large volume of last July to 15,587 mt (down 5 percent), but were still the largest of 2017. July export value to Korea increased 8 percent from a year ago to $101.7 million. Through July, exports to Korea increased 9 percent in volume (98,944 mt) and 19 percent in value ($629.4 million), including an impressive 83 percent increase in chilled beef exports (22,432 mt) valued at $199 million (up 88 percent). The U.S. is now the largest supplier of beef to both Japan and Korea on a value basis, with the U.S. share of Korea’s imports increasing from 43 percent to 48.5 percent.

Other January-July highlights for U.S. beef exports included:

    After a slow start in 2017, beef exports to Hong Kong continue to rebound. Exports were up 13 percent year-over-year in volume (65,379 mt) and 21 percent higher in value ($417.8 million). July was the first full month for exports to China, as exports totaled 137 mt valued at $1.3 million.
    Beef exports to Taiwan increased 16 percent from a year ago in volume (24,234 mt) and 24 percent in value ($215.5 million), including chilled beef exports of 9,883 mt (up 19 percent) valued at $114 million (up 22 percent). U.S. beef holds more than 70 percent of Taiwan’s chilled beef market, the highest share of any Asian destination.
    Led by strong growth in Chile, Peru and Colombia, beef exports to South America increased 20 percent year-over-year in volume (16,159 mt) and 21 percent in value ($63.2 million). Exports to Brazil, which launched in late April, reached 1,198 mt valued at $3.2 million.
    A strong performance in the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam fueled 79 percent year-over-year growth in export volume to the ASEAN region (23,376 mt), with value up 59 percent to $114.1 million. This region is especially strong for beef variety meat exports, as volume reached 7,145 mt (up 176 percent) valued at $12.5 million (up 164 percent).
    Within North America, beef exports were fairly steady with last year as Mexico continues to be the second-largest volume destination for U.S. beef exports while Canada ranks fourth. Exports to Mexico increased 2 percent in volume (134,543 mt) but slipped 2 percent in value ($544.8). Exports to Canada were up 1 percent in volume (68,097 mt) and 4 percent in value ($475.7 million).

July pork exports slip despite powerful growth in Mexico, Korea, South America

Pork exports to Mexico remained on pace for a sixth consecutive annual volume record, with July volume up 7 percent from a year ago to 58,625 mt and value increasing 9 percent to $122.9 million. Through July, exports increased 20 percent in volume (457,190 mt) and 26 percent in value ($854.4 million). Both the U.S. and domestic pork industries continue to reap the benefits of Mexico’s rapidly growing per capita pork consumption, which has increased by about one-third over the past 10 years to 18 kilograms annually (based on USDA estimates).

Leading pork value market Japan saw a year-over-year decline in July, as exports dipped 7 percent in both volume (28,314 mt) and value ($120.5 million). Through July, exports to Japan remained modestly higher year-over-year in both volume (228,489 mt, up 2 percent) and value ($931.1 million, up 6 percent). This included chilled pork exports of 122,755 mt (down 3 percent) valued at $577 million (up 3 percent), as Canada continues to compete strongly for Japan’s high-value chilled pork market.

Other January-July highlights for U.S. pork exports included:

    In South Korea, pork exports continued to capitalize on strong red meat consumption growth, especially for convenience products and home meal replacement items, as exports to Korea climbed 30 percent in volume (103,142 mt) and 36 percent in value ($282.6 million).
    Led by strong growth in Colombia and Chile, pork exports to South America more than doubled year-over year in both volume (56,345, up 104 percent) and value ($143.6 million, up 109 percent). The White House recently announced that Argentina will soon open to U.S. pork, adding further opportunities in this growing region.
    Led by Honduras, exports to Central America are on a record pace, reaching 38,720 mt, up 6 percent from a year ago, valued at $92.4 million (up 8 percent). 2017 is also shaping up as a record year for pork exports to the Dominican Republic, where exports totaled 21,278 mt (up 42 percent) valued at $47.8 million (up 49 percent).
    Strong growth in the Philippines fueled a 24 percent increase (to 26,710 mt) in pork exports to the ASEAN region, valued at $68.8 million (up 34 percent). Exports also increased to Singapore and were steady to Vietnam.
    In the China/Hong Kong region, July exports dropped significantly from a year ago to 32,167 mt (down 33 percent) valued at $68.8 million (down 27 percent). July variety meat exports were the smallest in 18 months at 22,960 mt (down 10 percent). As China’s domestic pork production continues to rebound in 2017, January-July exports to the region were 8 percent below last year’s pace in volume (306,404 mt) but slipped just 1 percent in value ($627.1 million).

Lamb exports lose momentum in July

U.S. lamb export volume in July was below last year’s level at 593 mt (down 13 percent) while value was fairly steady at $1.48 million. Through July, lamb exports were down 13 percent from a year ago in volume (4,348 mt) but increased 8 percent in value to $11.1 million. For lamb muscle cuts only, January-July exports were up 13 percent in volume (1,264 mt) and 18 percent in value ($7.7 million) including year-over-year growth to Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean and Canada.

U.S. Exports Of Feed Grain In All Forms Breaks Record In 2016/2017 Marketing Year

The U.S. government released international trade figures for July on September 6, the eleventh month of data for the 2016/2017 marketing year for corn and sorghum. With just one month of data still unpublished, U.S. exports of feed grain in all forms (GIAF) has set a new record high, the result of increased demand, competitive U.S. prices and extensive marketing efforts by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC).

Thus far this marketing year (September-July), U.S. GIAF exports increased 17 percent from the same time the year prior (Sept.-July) to 106.4 million metric tons, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and USGC analysis. The 11-month total now exceeds to previous record set for the full 2015/2016 marketing year.

Impressive year-over-year gains for corn and the grain equivalent of ethanol bolstered the record for exports. Corn exports totaled 54.7 million tons (2.15 billion bushels) during the first 11 months of the marketing year, a 29 percent jump year-over-year and the best performance for U.S. corn exports since 2007/2008.

With one month of data still remaining, current ethanol exports of 1.3 billion gallons have already exceeded the all-time high of 1.1 billion gallons set in 2011/12, largely due to record-setting exports to Brazil and India.

Additionally, increases in the grain equivalent of beef, pork, and poultry meat exports realized an 11 percent gain in corn compared to the same time the year prior and account for more than 21 million tons (827 million bushels) of corn equivalent exported in the form of meat.

These large export increases offset declines in other coarse grains (sorghum and barley) of 30 percent for a year-to-date export total of 5.8 million tons. Of note, exports for U.S. distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and corn gluten meal fell only slightly year-over-year, despite the absence of the top two traditional buyers - China and Vietnam - the latter of which announced a return to the market as of Sept. 1, 2017. Other markets, including the Southeast Asian region and countries like Mexico, have diversed the marketplace this year by increasing purchases.

All Fertilizers Lower at End of August

Retail fertilizer prices continued to move lower the fifth week of August 2017, according to fertilizer retailers surveyed by DTN.

All eight of the major fertilizers were lower compared to last month. But, like last week, only two were down by any significant amount. UAN32 was 6% lower compared to the previous month and had an average price of $248 per ton. UAN28 was also lower, down 5% compared to last month. UAN28 had an average price of $215/ton.

The remaining six fertilizers were just slightly lower compared to last month. DAP had an average price of $433/ton, MAP $457/ton, potash $338/ton, urea $303/ton, 10-34-0 $418/ton and anhydrous $417/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.33/lb.N, anhydrous $0.25/lb.N, UAN28 $0.38/lb.N and UAN32 $0.39/lb.N.

All but one retail fertilizer are lower compared to a year earlier. Three of the eight major fertilizers are double digits lower.

Anhydrous is now 18% lower from a year ago, while 10-34-0 is 15% less expensive and UAN32 is 10% lower. UAN28 is 8% less expensive, urea is 7% lower, DAP is 4% less expensive and MAP is 2% lower.

The one fertilizer that is higher compared to last year is potash, which is now 3% more expensive.

Application Deadline for Conservation Legacy Awards Extended to Sept. 15

Share the story of how conservation is part of your farm operation, and you could be recognized with a Conservation Legacy Award at the next Commodity Classic, Feb. 27 – March 1, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. This program showcases farm management practices of U.S. soybean producers that are both environmentally friendly and profitable. If you’re using conservation practices on your farm such as cover crops, reduced tillage, or other valuable conservation practices, don’t miss your opportunity to apply for this award. The deadline to enter is extended to Sept. 15.

All U.S. soybean farmers are eligible to enter to win a Conservation Legacy Award. Entries are judged on soil management, water management, input management, conservation, environmental management and sustainability. Three regional winners and one national winner are selected.

Award Winners Receive:

• An expense paid trip for two to Commodity Classic, Feb. 27 – March 1, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif.
• Recognition at the ASA Awards Banquet at Commodity Classic.
• A feature on your farm and conservation practices in Corn & Soybean Digest and a special online video.
• Potential opportunity to join other farmer-leaders on a trip to visit international customers of U.S. soybeans.

The Conservation Legacy Awards are sponsored by the American Soybean Association, BASF, Corn & Soybean Digest, Monsanto, the United Soybean Board/soybean checkoff and Valent. More information on past winners of the award and how to submit your application is available here... All applications must be submitted by Sept. 15, 2017.

Cattlemen Launch Monthlong Media Campaign for Comprehensive Tax Reform

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association today kicked off a media and advertising campaign that will shine a spotlight on how various federal tax provisions impact America’s cattle and beef producers. The campaign, which will focus heavily on the death tax, aims to build support in Washington for comprehensive tax reform that makes our tax code fair for agricultural producers. The campaign will be centered around a new website,, and will run through September.

“We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to enact truly comprehensive tax reform, and we can’t afford to let this opportunity pass or to get it wrong,” said NCBA President and Nebraska cattleman Craig Uden. “Family ranchers and farmers deserve a full and permanent repeal of the onerous death tax, which charges them in cash on the often-inflated appraised value of their property and equipment. This campaign will shine a spotlight on the stories of real ranchers who have had to deal with this issue, and it will also highlight current tax provisions that we need to maintain, such as stepped-up basis, cash accounting, and deducibility of interest payments.”

In addition to the launch of the new website, the campaign kicked off with a two-minute video that will be heavily promoted on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms. The campaign’s first video features fifth-generation California rancher Kevin Kester, whose family struggled for a decade to pay a large death-tax bill after his grandfather passed away. With the specter of the death tax still looming, Kevin is forced to spend precious time and energy – not to mention thousands of dollars – planning for how to pass the ranch on to his children and grandchildren.

“Without a doubt the biggest challenge that keeps me up at night is trying to figure out how to pass the ranching operation – our family operation on to the next generation,” Kester says in the video as he drives across his Bear Valley Ranch near Parkfield, Calif. “The current tax code is…leading toward more fragmentation of farms and ranches, which is not good for the environment or our ranchers and farmers.”

Over the coming weeks, NCBA will roll out several other promoted videos and infographics featuring profiles of ranchers and other members of the cattle-production community. The products will enable American cattlemen and women to share their priorities for tax reform in their own words. The campaign will also connect grassroots ranchers and producers with their elected officials on Capitol Hill as tax-reform legislation is considered this autumn.

“There’s a lot of misinformation out there on the tax debate – especially when it comes to who’s affected by the death tax,” Uden said. “This campaign will educate elected officials, the media, and the general public about how the tax code affects our American farmers and ranchers, who literally feed the world.”

American Biofuels Producers Demand U.S. Government Respond to Brazilian Tariff

Growth Energy, the Renewable Fuels Association, and the U.S. Grains Council are calling upon the U.S. government to develop an immediate response to Brazil’s newly implemented tariffs on U.S. ethanol imports, a trade barrier that threatens over $750 million in U.S. exports and American jobs.

On August 23, 2017, Brazil’s Chamber of Foreign Trade imposed an immediate two-year tariff-rate quota (TRQ) system for ethanol imports. Under the TRQ, a 20 percent tariff will be applied to purchases from the U.S. after a 600 million-liter (158.5 million gallon) quota is met. This year fuel ethanol exports to Brazil are at 1.17 billion liters (310 million gallons) through July, according to Census Bureau trade data.

The three organizations, which work jointly and with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to develop overseas markets for U.S. ethanol, are imploring the Administration to immediately engage their Brazilian counterparts on the future of our relationships with regard to biofuels. It is vital that the Administration take immediate action and consider all avenues to encourage Brazil to either revoke the TRQ or substantially increase the tariff-free quota level to better reflect the current ethanol market and trade realities.

Brazil’s tactics are the latest step in a troubling global trend towards protectionist tariffs and other actions against the American biofuels industry. As the largest ethanol export market for American producers, the impact of this economic attack is both damaging and thoroughly counterproductive. American jobs, farms, and businesses are at risk; this cannot go unanswered.

As the two largest democracies and economies in the Western Hemisphere, Brazil and the U.S. share one of the world’s most important trade and economic relationships. However, this decision will not only hurt America’s ethanol industry, because ultimately, Brazil’s consumers will also pay the price as this will drive up their costs at the pump. Our hope is that this decision will be reversed.

“Brazil’s action is a violation of our mutual, longstanding agreement to maintain open trade between our countries, and the United States should not take this lying down,” Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor said.

“When faced with the consequences of their decisions and bad economics, countries are shifting the pain to the American corn farmer. Brazil’s actions undermine the zero-ethanol tariff arrangement between our two countries that has been in place for several years and that damage the potential cooperation between our two countries to expand global ethanol demand and trade. President Trump has been a strong supporter of America’s biofuels producers, and decisive action to defend this crucial domestic industry will be a clear reminder of the Administration’s continued commitment to strengthen the American economy. With ethanol production remaining a significant market for American corn and America’s farmers facing low commodity prices, government inaction on this vital issue would signal a detrimental economic downturn,” Skor said.

"About a decade ago, the U.S. and Brazil put aside a long-standing dispute over trade policy and began a process of mutual trade barrier disarmament,” said Renewable Fuel Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “In fact, U.S. policies like the RFS actually created additional opportunities that further incentivized the importation of Brazilian sugarcane ethanol. Both countries have benefited greatly from the free and fair trade that resulted from the elimination of arcane barriers, and the U.S. and Brazilian ethanol industries worked arm-in-arm to build a robust global market for renewable fuels. Unfortunately, Brazil’s recent protectionist actions are turning back the clock to an era of isolationism and inefficient global trade. In the end, Brazil’s new trade policy not only harms U.S. ethanol producers, but also penalizes Brazilian consumers who will be forced to pay more for their fuel as a result of CAMEX’s actions,” he added.

“We are encouraging our leadership to take action that will get us working together again,” said U.S. Grains Council President and CEO Tom Sleight. “I look forward to the day we are back to working together on global markets rather than putting in place protectionist measures that will ultimately hurt the global industry and our collective ability to reap the benefits of biofuels.”

Deere to Advance Machine Learning Capabilities in Acquisition of Blue River Technology

Deere & Company (NYSE: DE) has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Blue River Technology, which is based in Sunnyvale, California and is a leader in applying machine learning to agriculture.

"We welcome the opportunity to work with a Blue River Technology team that is highly skilled and intensely dedicated to rapidly advancing the implementation of machine learning in agriculture," said John May, President, Agricultural Solutions, and Chief Information Officer at Deere. "As a leader in precision agriculture, John Deere recognizes the importance of technology to our customers. Machine learning is an important capability for Deere's future."

As an innovation leader, Blue River Technology has successfully applied machine learning to agricultural spraying equipment and Deere is confident that similar technology can be used in the future on a wider range of products, May said.

Blue River has designed and integrated computer vision and machine learning technology that will enable growers to reduce the use of herbicides by spraying only where weeds are present, optimizing the use of inputs in farming – a key objective of precision agriculture.

"Blue River is advancing precision agriculture by moving farm management decisions from the field level to the plant level," said Jorge Heraud, co-founder and CEO of Blue River Technology. "We are using computer vision, robotics, and machine learning to help smart machines detect, identify, and make management decisions about every single plant in the field."

Already in 2017, Blue River Technology has been listed among Inc. Magazine's 25 Most Disruptive Companies, Fast Company's Most Innovative Companies, CB Insights 100 Most Promising Artificial Intelligence Companies in the World, and the Top 50 Agricultural Innovations by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers.

Deere said it will invest $305 million to fully acquire Blue River Technology. Deere plans to have the 60-person firm remain in Sunnyvale with an objective to continue its rapid growth and innovation with the same entrepreneurial spirit that has led to its success. The transaction is expected to close in September.

May said the investment in Blue River Technology is similar to Deere's acquisition of NavCom Technology in 1999 that established Deere as a leader in the use of GPS technology for agriculture and accelerated machine connectivity and optimization.

Farmer’s Business Network, Inc. Releases Seed Relabeling Report

Farmer’s Business Network, Inc., analyzed more than 7,500 seed labels, 2,550 unique genetic varieties from 110 seed companies, and 10,000 seed price invoices, and released the industry’s first-ever Seed Relabeling analysis. Comprising at least a $2.5 billion segment of the US corn and soybean market, Farmers Business Network℠ analysts set out to study the impact of relabeling on American farms and to add transparency to farmers’ arguably most important purchasing decision.

Seed Relabeling is a practice in which identical seed varieties and hybrids are sold by under multiple different brand names, often in the same market for very different prices. Seed companies use different “brand names” for each seed, which are almost always different than a seed’s actual genetic “Variety ID”, making it nearly impossible for farmers to track which products are resold by which brands.

Through its analysis, the report found that a full 38% of corn seed analyzed, and 45% of soybean seed analyzed, are relabeled and re-sold by multiple different brands. Individual corn seeds were found being sold by as many as 12 brands, for as much as a $97/bag price difference (35%) in the same state.

Over 63% of FBN℠ members planted seeds sold by multiple brands, and 95% of FBN members planted seeds from a seed company that engages in relabeling. Relabeled varieties are planted on at least 17% of FBN corn and soybean acres.

Seed Relabeling and Its Impact on Farmers

Seed relabeling has been a major frustration for farmers for a long time, but has lacked any transparency. Farmers can substantially over pay for seed by not knowing that the identical seed is sold by other brands at a lower price. It also means the actual genetic diversity available within each crop is much smaller. And most importantly, it can create the dangerous potential for farmers to accidentally concentrate genetic risk, leading to increased resistance issues.

An Industry-Wide Practice, Not Just Smaller Companies

Seed Relabeling was found to be common amongst the vast majority of seed companies. 71% of corn seed companies, and 79% of soybean companies studied, were found to be relabeling at least some of its seeds. More than 50 corn seed companies relabeled more than 50% of its seeds, and 10 companies more than 80%.

Many smaller, regional, and independent seed companies without breeding programs utilize relabeling to increase their product offerings and compete on price and service. However, the study also found widespread relabeling amongst the major consolidated agrichemical companies. Amongst the very largest seed and agrichemical companies, it is not uncommon to see more than 60% of a company’s seed product portfolio being relabeled and re-sold by multiple brands.

First Ever Broad Analysis

Seed Relabeling is relatively common knowledge but there’s been little transparency brought to the table to decode how prominent seed relabeling is. University researchers have in the past created variety matching analysis in particular crops, but have never been able to analyze the majority of the seeds available on the national market. 

“This was only possible by crowdsourcing from thousands of farmers, nationwide, simultaneously this planting season,” said FBN network Head of Analytics, Matt Meisner. “We rigorously examined every seed label and pricing invoice to build our cross-matching database.”

“We are a network of and by farmers whose mission it is to put Farmers FirstSM,” said Co-Founder & VP of Product, Charles Baron. “This information is critical for farmers and is their basic right as consumers.”

Likely A Conservative Estimate

As widespread as the practice of relabeling was found to be, FBN analysts still believe the estimates are actually conservative. “Each additional new seed entered in our system, the likelihood that it matches another seed increases. As the data set expands to encompass  all seeds on the market, the percent of each brand’s relabeling will almost certainly rise,” said Meisner.

FBN Network Providing Resources to Assist Farmers in Identifying Relabeled Seeds

As a part of the FBN membership, FBN analysts create a personalized Seed Relabeling assessment for any farm that adds seed tags. Later this fall, Seed Relabeling analysis will be incorporated into the industry leading FBN Seed Finder product.

“Once you’ve determined if your brands relabel,” said Baron, “it’s critical to identify identical hybrids to find the best prices and make the most informed seed purchase possible.”

Wednesday September 6 Ag News

Planning That Last Cutting of Alfalfa
Larry Howard, Extension Educator, Cuming County

As we start September, it's time to decide when to take your last cutting of alfalfa.  The date you take your last harvest of alfalfa affects its winter survival and next spring's vigor. Alfalfa needs about six weeks of uninterrupted growth in the fall to become fully winterized. This winterizing generally begins about three weeks before the average date of first frost. Here in West Point, there is a 70% chance that we will have our first 32 degree temperature on or after October 9th, an 80% on the 13th and a 90% on the 18th. Your last harvest can occur any time before winterizing begins or after the winterizing period is over with little worry about affecting stand life. But, harvest during winterizing can be risky.

That risk depends on how much total stress your alfalfa experienced this year. The most important factor is the number of cuts that were taken this year. Fields cut 4 or 5 times are more susceptible to winter injury than fields cut 3 times or less. Also, young stands of winter hardy, disease resistant varieties are less stressed and can be harvested during winterizing with less risk than older stands of varieties that may be only moderately winter hardy.

You should also consider the need for extra alfalfa or its value as a cash crop.  When hay prices are high, the hay from this final harvest may be worth the risk of lowering next year’s yield. Stock cow and grinding hay many times is lower in value. When hay is plentiful and reasonably priced, it may be better to purchase extra hay than risk another cutting. Remember, you can cut or graze after winterizing with less risk.  Harvesting alfalfa during its winterizing period is risky, but by reducing total stress, producers can control that risk.

Nebraska Farm Bureau Tells President KORUS Withdraw Would Be “Devastating” to Nebraska Farmers, Ranchers

Nebraska farmers and ranchers would suffer “devastating consequences” should President Trump act to withdraw the United States from the South Korean Free Trade Agreement (KORUS). In a letter sent to the President, Sept. 6, Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson called actions to pull the U.S. out of the agreement “reckless” and urged President Trump to pull back considering the importance of the South Korean trade deal to Nebraska farmers and ranchers. 

“The success Nebraska has experienced trading on the world stage is largely due to the free trade agreements the United States has signed with numerous countries around the world,” wrote Nelson. “Nebraska exports boost farm prices and income, while supporting 50,000 jobs both on the farm and in related industries such a food processing, transportation, and manufacturing. More specifically, South Korea is Nebraska’s fifth largest trading partner with more than $213 million of agricultural products being exported in 2016, a total that has grown by more than 107 percent since 2010.”

In the letter, Nelson pointed out that Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers are continuing to struggle with lower commodity prices and eliminating a trade agreement that’s provided underlying support for agriculture prices would only make a tough situation worse.

“The families that have dedicated their lives to producing food, should not be used as part of a misguided attempt to gain leverage over our trading partners. While we hope new levels of success can be achieved for all segments of our nation’s economy, we must ensure the significant gains achieved in agricultural trade are not sacrificed,” wrote Nelson. “Many of our major international competitors have already signed similar agreements with South Korea. An exit from KORUS will only benefit those nations and put Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers at a competitive disadvantage.”

Smart farming the topic for international ag event in Grand Island

Nebraska farmers will have the opportunity to discuss trends in technology with German farmers and agriculture experts in Grand Island on Sept. 11, 2017. The event, Smart Farming Technologies, is part of the Transatlantic Dialogue program organized by the German American Chambers of Commerce. The aim of the program is to bring German and American farmers and agriculture experts together to share information that might help them improve their operations and gain insights that might ultimately lead to a reduction in trade barriers.

Smart Farming Technologies will be held Monday, Sept. 11 from 4:00 p.m.–7:15 p.m. in the Raising Nebraska building on the grounds of the Nebraska State Fair in Grand Island. The event is free and includes dinner after the panel discussions, but farmers interested in attending are encouraged to register online at

The first session will focus on how both nations use technology on the farm while the second examines how agriculture regulations impact transatlantic trade.

The Smart Farming Technologies roundtable is sponsored by the Nebraska Soybean Board, Nebraska Corn Board, Nebraska Wheat Board, Nebraska Cattlemen, Nebraska Farm Bureau and the Nebraska Department of Agriculture.


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               Plastic.  Every year I emphasize this word: plastic.  Plastic is one of those things you forget how useful and valuable it can be.

               Many of you are chopping or about to chop silage.  You will invest time and money to store good feed for your livestock.  However, when you start to feed your silage you may find that the top couple feet has an off color, smells bad, or has spoiled.

               After silage has been chopped and piled and packed correctly, it still can be damaged seriously by air and moisture slowly penetrating the outer 3 to 4 feet.  Animals often eat less when fed moldy silage and can even experience health problems due to mycotoxins.  Good, well-eared silage can lose over 20 percent of its feed value from fermentation and spoilage under normal conditions.  Silage made from corn with little or no grain might have even greater losses.  This loss can be cut in half, or even less, if silage is covered well by a sheet of plastic.

               Cover freshly chopped silage with black plastic immediately after you finish filling the trench, bunker, or pile.  Then cover the plastic with something to help hold it down.  Old tires are readily available and do a good job of keeping the plastic from blowing away.  But tires only keep the plastic in contact with the silage directly under the tire.  In between the tires, air can circulate and cause some spoilage.  An even better choice would be a solid cover, something like freshly chopped forage or weeds.  Then, the entire surface of silage will be fully protected.

               You go to a lot of time and expense to make good silage.  Isn't it worth it to spend just a little bit more to protect that investment?  Cover silage with plastic – it's worth it.

Nebraska Farmers Union Brings 8 Members to Washington to Represent Family Farmers and Ranchers

Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) President John Hansen announced today that eight NeFU members will participate in the National Farmers Union (NFU) Fly-In scheduled for September 10-13 joining nearly 300 other Farmers Union  members from across the country.  Hansen said this year is particularly important because this is the fourth year in a row of below cost of production ag commodity prices.

“The September NFU Fly-In is a long standing organizational tradition.  It gives rural Americans and family farmers and ranchers the opportunity to make their voices heard with federal legislators,” said Hansen.  “No one knows more about what farmers and ranchers are facing than the farmers and ranchers themselves. They are the real experts on their own operations.”

This year, the Fly-In will focus on the need to strengthen the farm safety net in the next Farm Bill; support homegrown renewable energy development; and ensure family farmers and ranchers have access to affordable and quality health care.

The Fly-In will begin Monday morning with a visit to the United States Department of Agriculture. Monday afternoon members will meet with House and Senate Ag Committee staff about Farm Bill issues.  Tuesday and Wednesday teams will meet with Congressmen and Senators and their staffs, working together to knock all 535 doors of the House and Senate.

Members from Nebraska Farmers Union that will be participating in this year’s NFU Fall Fly-In are:  NeFU District 2 Director Jim Knopik from Belgrade, Sean Mohlman of Red Cloud, Gage/Jefferson County President Dr. Merlin Friesen from Filley, William Armbrust from Elkhorn, Camdyn Kavan from Lincoln, Midwest Regional Agency Insurances General Manager Jeffrey Downing, Midwest Regional Agency from Elkhorn, Financial Services Specialist Kevin Harrington of Lincoln, and NeFU State President John Hansen.  “We have a nice mix of grain and livestock producers, several young farmers, and two members of our insurance team with us that help us cover a wide range of interests, perspectives, and parts of the state,” said Hansen.

Hansen said “Production agriculture is facing a major financial crisis as grain prices continue to sink, grain inventories build, exports are flat, and ag production costs stay at or near historic all time high levels.   We think the best way for our elected officials to understand the size and scope of the financial hardship farmers and ranchers are facing is to talk directly with the farmers and ranchers themselves.  We are extremely pleased that we have 8 Nebraskans willing to share their stories with our elected officials.”

2017 NeFU Fall District Meetings Schedule

District 7 Fall Meeting: Valentino’s, 1025 S. 13th St, Norfolk, NE 68701
Monday, September 18, 2017, 6:00 pm buffet supper on own with meeting to follow.
· District 7 Director’s Report:  Martin Kleinschmit
· NFU Fly-in report:  Farm Bill/Farm Crisis, health care, & renewable energy:  John Hansen
· State issues:  Report on legislative and initiative property tax relief efforts.
· Select 2 delegate candidates to NFU Convention-new Bylaw:  NeFU now gets 3 delegates.

District 5 Fall Meeting:  Lee’s Chicken Restaurant, 1940 W Van Dorn St, Lincoln, NE 68522
Thursday, September 21 2017.  6:00 pm supper on your own with meeting to follow.
 · District 5 Director’s Report:  Ben Gotschall
· NFU Fly-in report:  Farm Bill/Farm Crisis, health care, & renewable energy:  Camdyn Kavan.
·State issues:  Report on legislative and initiative property tax relief efforts. Nominate NeFU
·Select 2 delegate candidates to NFU Convention-new Bylaw:  NeFU now gets 3 delegates.
· Nominate NeFU District 5 Director candidates to be elected at State Convention-3 year term.

District 6 Fall Meeting:  Randy Ruppert Farm:  2108 County Road O
2 miles west of Nickerson on County Road “O”,  or 1 mile west of “County Road “O” & Hwy 275.
Monday, October 2, 2017, 6:00 pm Barbeque supper—bring a side dish, with meeting to follow.
 · District 6 Director’s Report:  Graham Christensen
· NFU Fly-in report:  Farm Bill/Farm Crisis, health care, & renewable energy:  Bill Armbrust
· State issues:  Report on legislative and initiative property tax relief efforts.
· Select 2 delegate candidates to NFU Convention-new Bylaw:  NeFU now gets 3 delegates.

· 2017 NeFU State Convention:  December 8-9, 2017   (800) 542-5542 Reservations
Hotel Grand Conference Center, 2503 South Locust St., Grand Island   

·         2018 NFU Convention, March 3-6, Westin Kansas City, Crown Center, KC, MO
Bring a friend, neighbor or family member that needs to get active in NeFU.
For more info, call Art Tanderup (402) 278-0942 Cell or (402) 887-1396 Home.

USDA, USTR Announce that Vietnam Reopens Market to U.S. DDGS Exports

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) today announced that the government of Vietnam has notified the U.S. that it will resume imports of American distillers dried grains (DDGS).  In December 2016, Vietnam suspended imports of U.S. DDGS after reported detections of quarantine pests in U.S. shipments.  Prior to the suspension, Vietnam was the third-largest market for U.S. DDGS, with exports valued at more than $230 million in 2016.  The resolution of this issue also opens the way for corn and wheat shipments, which were restricted due to previous treatment requirements.

DDGS are a co-product of ethanol production and are used as an ingredient to provide protein and energy in animal feed.  Between 2007 and 2016, annual U.S. exports of DDGS worldwide grew from $392 million to $2.16 billion.

The DDGS ban is one of several agricultural and other priority issues raised in connection with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s visit to Washington in May 2017, where he met with President Trump as well as Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.  Following the series of meetings, the two governments released a joint statement pledging to work closely together to resolve the DDGS issue.

“This is great news and I am pleased that the U.S. exporters will once again be able to ship DDGS to Vietnam, which is one of the fastest-growing global markets for U.S. agriculture,” said Secretary Perdue.  “Expanding markets around the world can only help American agriculture.”

“We welcome the resolution of this issue, which will help in our efforts to balance trade and deepen our trade relations with an important Asia-Pacific partner,” said Ambassador Lighthizer.

Following the suspension, representatives from USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) engaged in technical discussions with Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development regarding alternative treatment options that would allow U.S. exports to resume.  APHIS and USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) and Federal Grain Inspection Service then partnered with industry to host a delegation of Vietnamese officials to view the U.S. fumigation and export infrastructure.  USTR, FAS, and U.S. Embassy officials also met with their counterparts in Vietnam.

The U.S. Government continues to work with Vietnam to address other priority agricultural issues.  These include Vietnam’s adoption of Codex Maximum Residue Limits for veterinary drugs, as agreed during Prime Minister Phuc’s May visit, as well as removal of Vietnam’s ban on “white offal.”

Secretary Perdue Statement on President Trump’s Tax Reform Agenda

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today reiterated his strong support for President Trump’s tax reform agenda, as the president outlined today in North Dakota.  Perdue issued the following statement:

“Farming is a complicated operation, so to place more burdens on the people of agriculture through the tax code has never made any sense.  Most agricultural enterprises are small businesses, and the costs and time required simply to comply with the tax code are impediments to what these folks really ought to be doing, and that’s growing and producing food to feed the United States and the world.

“It’s an old, not-so-funny joke that farmers live poor and die rich, because of the value of the land they own.  It isn’t right that a family’s hard work will be punished by the Death Tax, through which many farms have to be broken up or sold off just to pay the tax bill.  I urge Congress to take up the tax reform agenda to give American agriculture the best chance to succeed.  That would be in line with our new motto here at USDA – ‘Do right and feed everyone.’”

Farmers, Ranchers Need to Deliver Strong Tax Reform Message To Congress

Republican congressional leaders, just returning from their month-long August recess, are geared up to revamp and modernize the tax code, making it all the more urgent for farmers and ranchers to share their tax reform priorities with lawmakers.

“While September brings cooler temperatures for most of the country, including Washington, D.C., the heat is on Capitol Hill leaders to make good on the tax reform promises they made just before the start of recess and during their campaigns. For farmers and ranchers, it’s time to send those email messages, make those phone calls or meet with in-district and Capitol Hill staff to share your personal tax reform message,” said Cody Lyon, American Farm Bureau Federation director of advocacy and political affairs.

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

Summer Doldrums Continue As Expected

Stephen R. Koontz, Dept of Ag & Resource Economics, Colorado State University

It looks likely that the cattle and beef markets will show typical seasonal weakness through much of the fall.  There is some good news but much of what we observe have the potential to hold prices down.  The Cattle on Feed report - as Katelyn reported - was rather bullish.  Placements and on-feed numbers were surprisingly low relative to expectations and futures prices rallied the following trading day.  But the underlying fundamentals that this report has revealed all spring and most of the summer clearly suggests increases in the supplies of beef through the fall.  This is, in part, seen within the last report by the increases within the calculated volume on feed over 120 days.  The volume was lower than last year but up sharply (+9%) when the seasonal tendency is to moderate.  Fed animal liveweights were also up sharply (+5%) and matched by persistent increases in steer and heifer dressed weights.  Dressed weights are up 5-6% from spring lows.  The seasonal increase in meat per carcass is right on track and the expected increase in animal numbers are as well.  Weekly slaughter through last month was strong but the volume of animals this market has to source from is very large.  Weekly cattle slaughter is running 3-10% above last year through July and early August.  There remains lots of pressure to hold prices down.

Strong packer margins and Saturday kills show no problems as of yet but what plays out over the months of September and October will be important for fed and feeder cattle prices well into next year.  Packer margins were solid and cattle feeding margins remain in the black.  This bodes well for maintaining fed cattle marketings at current prices and current feeder cattle prices.  When downstream participants make money then they usually pay well.  Weekly fed slaughter and monthly fed cattle marketing will need to be watched closely.  The slowing of either will lead cattle prices lower.  Another recent concern is the lack of abundant news about beef featuring at retail.  And this is comparing what was heard around Memorial Day relative to Labor Day.  Late summer featuring is present but not as strong and that of early summer.  Retail prices sharply rebounded upward through May and June after months of softening last fall.  This summer's retail prices are similar to last year and the retailer margin strengthen a lot last month.  Strong consumer demand will be needed in the fall and it is not clear is that's likely.

While domestic demand is not clear, trade in beef products continue to show and have forecasts that show solid strength.  Beef exports have steadily increase through the spring and summer while other exports - most notably pork - have shown weakness.

What do the technicals say?: sell and maintain sold positions.  The fall contracts show substantial resistance that will prevent prices from moving higher.  Selling pressure emerges at price levels where the market was turned lower before.  Resistance in live and feeder cattle contracts was formed in early-May, mid-June, mid- and late-July.  Each plane for feeder cattle is at progressively lower prices.  Live cattle showed one strong resistance-breaking rally in mid-June.  I am not worried about exit strategies for forward priced positions.  I think we have continued weakness in cattle and beef prices through October.

College Aggies Online scholarship competition kicks off September 10

Eliminating animal agriculture farms of all types and sizes was a key message shared at the 2017 National Animal Rights Conference last month. Spreading misinformation and wedging themselves between consumers and the animal agriculture community is common for animal rights groups to reach their goals, and college students are a key target. “How to engage with millennials and gen X-ers should be our number one question,” said one activist speaking at the conference, with another urging the audience to look to land-grant universities to bring future animal rights activists into the movement.

Seeing this trend, the Animal Agriculture Alliance launched the College Aggies Online (CAO) scholarship program in 2009 as one way to help bridge the communication gap between farm and fork. This year’s competition begins September 10, 2017 with the goal of developing life-long advocates for agriculture. Registration for the competition is open to individuals and clubs through October 1 at

“Animal rights groups are prevalent on college campuses spreading misinformation about America’s farmers and ranchers using ‘undercover’ video footage, Meatless Mondays petitions, and other tactics,” said Kay Johnson Smith, president and CEO at the Alliance. “CAO is a way to ensure agriculture students have the tools they need to share factual, science-based information with their peers about how our food is produced.”

Each week students competing in CAO will complete assignments and participate in webinars to help enhance their communication and advocacy skills. Assignments include: writing a blog post, designing an infographic, surveying fellow students about agriculture issues and much more. Students will also create social media content to share on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #CAO17.

“College Aggies gives students the skills and confidence to speak up against misinformation and set the record straight,” said Casey Whitaker, communications manager at the Alliance. “The clubs and students involved will not only learn how to communicate about animal agriculture, but have the opportunity to network with college students and industry leaders from across the country.”

The Alliance has a put together a strong lineup of industry professionals to offer advice and answer questions throughout the competition. Mentors will also judge assignments and social media posts and give tips and feedback on how students can improve their strategies.

2017 program mentors include:
    Casey Whitaker, communications manager, Animal Agriculture Alliance
    Josie Peterson, communications manager, Biotechnology Innovation Organization
    Don Schindler, senior vice president of digital innovations, Dairy Management Inc.
    Chloe Carson, manager of digital communications, National Pork Producers Council
    Kourtney Determan, manager of strategic and digital communications, National Chicken Council
    Allison Devitre, regulatory information management and communications manager, Monsanto
    Eric Mittenthal, vice president of public affairs, North American Meat Institute
    Charmayne Hefley, manager of organizational communications, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
    Tim Hammerich, agribusiness recruiter and founder, Ag Grad, LLC

At the end of the competition, the top three individuals and clubs with the most points will win the following scholarships:
    First place: $2,500
    Second place: $1,000
    Third place: $500

In addition to the overall winners, a weekly winner will be selected from the individual competition to receive $100 for submitting the best assignment. For the club competition, a winner will be named for each challenge to receive $250 at the end of the program.

Collegiate clubs and individuals interested in promoting agriculture and becoming confident communicators are invited to sign up through October 1, 2017 at

CAO would not be possible without the generous support of our sponsors. 2017 sponsors include: Dairy Management Inc., the National Pork Industry Foundation, CHS Foundation, Pork Checkoff, Monsanto, Domino’s Pizza Inc., Biotechnology Innovation Organization, Kuhn North America and the Ohio Poultry Association.

Hundreds of Workers Leave EPA

Nearly 400 workers have left the Environmental Protection Agency in recent days, the agency said Tuesday, part of a wave of departures that soon could take the agency's staffing to its lowest point in almost 30 years.

The departures come primarily from buyouts offered as part of President Donald Trump's efforts to fulfill a campaign promise of "tremendous cutting" at the EPA. His budget proposal in March suggested a 31% funding cut that would result in approximately 3,200 fewer jobs at the agency.

The voluntary buyouts were offered in June to more than 1,200 workers. Almost a third of those eligible took the buyout and, coupled with a dozen retirements on Aug. 31, the agency trimmed its staff by about 2.5% in less than a week. Several dozen more workers could retire or opt to take the buyout later this month, which would cut EPA's total number of employees to almost 14,400 workers, the lowest since 1988. Two years ago it had more than 15,500 employees nationwide.

"We're giving long-serving, hardworking employees the opportunity to retire early," EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said in a statement. "We're proud to report that we're reducing the size of government, protecting taxpayer dollars and staying true to our core mission of protecting the environment and American jobs."

Some of the agency's critics among employee groups and lawmakers on Capitol Hill are skeptical of the agency's ability to meet its regulatory responsibilities as it shrinks, while others question whether buyouts are an effective use of tax money.

Mr. Pruitt hasn't laid out any plan for how to reshape the agency or its priorities, making it more difficult to improve its performance with fewer resources, said Jeff Ruch, executive director at Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, which represents government employees in environmental fields. It wasn't immediately clear how the departures broke down among different departments within the EPA.

Asked about whether the cuts would hamper the ongoing response to Hurricane Harvey, an EPA spokeswoman said agency leaders designed the buyout plan so it wouldn't leave them with too few people to respond to any unforeseen natural disasters.

Mr. Ruch's group released numbers late last month suggesting that criminal cases opened and won by the agency have slowed as its staff has shrunk. The EPA's criminal investigation division has lost more than half its special agents since 2003, and has only three-fourths of the 200 agents required by law, according to data the group gathered through information requests. New criminal cases are down by two-thirds since 2012 and successful prosecutions are down by half since 2014.

September 5 Crop Progress & Condition Report - NE - IA - US


For the week ending September 3, 2017, temperatures averaged two to six degrees above normal across western Nebraska, but two to six degrees below normal in the east, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Precipitation was scattered and limited with rainfall of less than half an inch received in some northcentral and Panhandle counties. There were 6.5 days suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 9 percent very short, 27 short, 63 adequate, and 1 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 10 percent very short, 30 short, 59 adequate, and 1 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn condition rated 4 percent very poor, 9 poor, 24 fair, 45 good, and 18 excellent. Corn dough was 97 percent, equal to last year, and near 96 for the five-year average. Dented was 68 percent, behind 74 last year, and near 72 average. Mature was 10 percent, near 8 last year and 13 average.

Soybean condition rated 3 percent very poor, 7 poor, 26 fair, 51 good, and 13 excellent. Soybeans dropping leaves was 8 percent, behind 15 last year, and near 11 average.

Winter wheat planted was 1 percent, near 4 last year and 3 average.

Sorghum condition rated 1 percent very poor, 2 poor, 37 fair, 49 good, and 11 excellent. Sorghum coloring was 65 percent, well behind 87 last year, but ahead of 59 average. Mature was 6 percent, behind 11 last year, but near 3 average.

Alfalfa condition rated 4 percent very poor, 9 poor, 32 fair, 42 good, and 13 excellent. Alfalfa third cutting was 96 percent complete, equal to last year, and near 94 average. Fourth cutting was 38 percent, near 40 last year, but ahead of 32 average.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 5 percent very poor, 20 poor, 44 fair, 27 good, and 4 excellent. Stock water supplies rated 1 percent very short, 13 short, 86 adequate, and 0 surplus.


It was a cool dry week in Iowa during the week ending September 3, 2017, according to USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were 6.2 days suitable for fieldwork. Activities for the week included haying, hauling grain, chopping corn silage, seeding cover crops, and harvesting seed corn.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 13 percent very short, 27 percent short, 59 percent adequate and 1 percent surplus. According to the August 29, 2017 U.S. Drought Monitor, areas of south central and southeast Iowa have been in a severe drought for 5 consecutive weeks. Subsoil moisture levels rated 17 percent very short, 31 percent short, 52 percent adequate and 0 percent surplus.

Ninety-four percent of the corn crop was in or beyond the dough stage, five days behind last year but three days ahead of the five-year average. Sixty percent of the corn crop has reached the dent stage, eight days behind last year and three days behind average. Corn condition rated 62 percent good to excellent.

Eighteen percent of soybeans have started to turn color, five days behind last year and three days behind average. Soybean condition improved to 61 percent good to excellent. There were scattered reports of disease issues in soybeans such as sudden death syndrome.

The third cutting of alfalfa hay reached 91 percent complete, 8 days ahead of last year and over 2 weeks ahead of average.

Pasture condition rated 16 percent very poor, 23 percent poor, 35 percent fair, 24 percent good and 2 percent excellent. Cooler temperatures have been ideal for livestock; however, there were still reports of producers in south central and southeast Iowa feeding hay to cattle due to poor pasture conditions.

USDA Weekly Crop Progress

Corn condition continued to lag behind the average pace, and the condition of the crop fell slightly from the previous week, according to USDA's weekly Crop Progress report released Tuesday. The report was delayed a day due to the Labor Day holiday on Monday.

In this week's report, USDA estimated that 92% of corn had reached the dough stage as of Sunday, down from 95% a year ago, and down from the five-year average of 94%. Sixty percent of corn was dented, down from 74% a year ago and down from the five-year average of 68% dented. Twelve percent of corn was considered mature, down from 17% a year ago and down from the five-year average of 18% mature.  Corn condition also dropped slightly, from 62% good to excellent the previous week to 61% last week.

USDA estimated that 97% of soybeans are setting pods, even with a year ago and above the five-year average of 96%. Eleven percent of soybeans were dropping leaves, even with a year ago and below the five-year average of 12%.  Sixty-one percent of the soybean crop was rated in good-to-excellent condition last week, the same as the previous week, according to USDA.

This week's Crop Progress report also showed 89% of spring wheat was harvested as of Sunday, down from 90% a year ago, but above the five-year average of 78% harvested.

Sorghum was 62% coloring, behind the average of 64%, and mature was 31%, also behind the average of 34% mature. Sorghum harvested was 23%, near the average of 24%. Sorghum condition dropped to 63% good to excellent from 65% the previous week.

Barley was 92% harvested as of Sunday, ahead of the average pace of 84%. Oats were 91% harvested, behind the average of 94%.

Cotton was 96% setting bolls and 25% bolls opening compared to an average pace of 97% setting bolls and 30% bolls opening. Nationwide, cotton condition held steady at 65% good to excellent.

Rice was 29% harvested as of Sunday, near the average of 30% harvested.

Tuesday September 5 Ag News

Nebraska is among the top states in “revenue per dairy cow”

Nebraska ranks in the top ten among all states in “revenue per dairy cow”, according to an American Farm Bureau Federation analysis.

Nebraska’s average of $3,941 per dairy cow in 2016 was nearly $230 higher than the U.S. average of $3,712.  It also ranked second among all Midwestern states, just slightly behind Wisconsin.

“This study provides more evidence that Nebraska is a great place to milk cows,” said Rod Johnson, Executive Director of the Nebraska State Dairy Association. “We have a winning combination of abundant, high-quality feed and water resources and top-notch producers who work hard to provide their cows with nutritionally balanced diets and proper animal care.”

Another example of Nebraska’s dairy prowess, Johnson says, comes from the National Agricultural Statistics Services, which shows Nebraska’s annual average milk production per cow of 23,500 pounds, which ranks in the top ten states in the nation. Nebraska’s herd is primarily Holsteins, which is the highest producing breed amongst all the dairy breeds.

“While these numbers may surprise some people, they don’t surprise us,” Johnson says. “Nebraska is a good place to milk cows.”


Agriculture and livestock competitions are always fan favorites at the Nebraska State Fair. The grandest competition of all took place over Labor Day weekend as 4-H and FFA champions from all over the state participated in the annual Nebraska Elite Showman Competition. This was the 12th year for the event which is coordinated by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) and the Nebraska Rural Radio Association in cooperation with the Nebraska State Fair.

“Participating in the Nebraska Elite Showman Competition is a great honor for 4-H and FFA members to demonstrate their showmanship, interview and leadership skills,” said NDA Director Greg Ibach. “I’m pleased that NDA and our partners are able to coordinate and sponsor events like these to recognize the hard work, dedication and passion that young Nebraskans have for agriculture.”

Elite Showmen competitors must be between 14-18 years of age and enrolled in 4-H or FFA. Counties are able to select only one 4-H or FFA member to represent them to compete at the State Fair. Agricultural business and organizations generously contribute to the contest in order for the winners to receive monetary prizes along with their statewide recognition.

“Programs such as the Elite Showman Competition encourage youth in our state to grow and learn about agriculture from judges and other showmen,” Ibach said. “That spirit of competition is important in agriculture as it is in life to make people stronger and drive them to achieve their goals.”

In this year’s Nebraska Elite Showman Competition, 37 counties were represented.

Competitors are scored on beef, swine and sheep showmanship, as well as interview skills and knowledge via a written test. Along with first, second and third place overall winners, winners are selected for each division. The top overall Elite Showman receives $2,000, the second place finisher receives $1,000 and the third place overall winner receives $500. Division winners are awarded $300 each. All other competitors receive a $50 prize.

The 2017 overall winners were:
1st place overall: Fina Choat from Boone County
2nd place overall: Blake Guenther from Cuming County

3rd place overall: Jennifer Tidwell from Douglas/Sarpy County

The 2017 Elite Showman division winners were:
Swine Showmanship: Lindsi Loos from Sherman County
Sheep Showmanship: Fina Choat from Boone County
Beef Showmanship: Megan Muller from Dixon County
Written Test: Fina Choat from Boone County
Interview: Felicia Knoerzer from Gosper County

Other participants included: Madalynn Welsch (Franklin); Kade Bose (Harlan); John Alfs (Fillmore); Abigail Lutjelusche (Colfax); Kelsay Schlichtman (Jefferson); TaraLee Hudson (Thayer); Chase DeVries (Adams); Cameron Lashley (Red Willow); Blake Bruns (Lincoln); Brock Uhlir (Howard); Abbey Vales (Saline); Courtney Philips (Phelps); Hannah Robertson (Perkins); Blake Wert (Hamilton); Whitney Steckel; (Loup); Karleigh Kleinknecht (Dawson); James Wetovick (Nance); Sophia Lenter (Gage); Caitlyn Walbrecht (Lancaster); Jency Starr (McPherson); Taylor Gregory (Dodge); Cara Wolverton (Seward); Kylie Kempf (Wayne); Shelby Wachter (Washington); Riley Eisenhauer (Frontier); Creighton Hirschfeld (York); Payton Flower (Scotts Bluff); Saige Skalsky (Keith); Mykala Tincher (Buffalo); Grant Romshek (Butler); Ty Groth (Platte).

Agricultural Producers Encouraged to take Survey

Nebraska farmers and ranchers are invited to take a survey about their farm or ranch succession plans. The survey can be completed online at

The survey seeks to uncover how Nebraska farmers and ranchers are planning for succession or retirement. How retirement would be financed is another key issue being examined. The data collected will be used to design educational materials, website and meetings specific to Nebraska producers. 

Allan Vyhnalek, farm succession extension educator; Dave Aiken, agricultural law specialist; and Kate Brooks, assistant professor, the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln are the conducting the survey.

Vyhnalek recently relocated to the department from Platte County Extension.  He will provide succession planning support and education to Nebraska farms and ranches. Vyhnalek hopes to use the data collected to plan educational efforts. “When I visit with Nebraskans, I want to use Nebraska data for my transition and succession talks,” said Vyhnalek.

“We hope that Nebraska farmers and ranchers understand the need to participate in the survey so we have correct information. We want to be able to design materials and educational outreach that fit the needs of Nebraskans,” added Vyhnalek.

The survey will take between 5 to10 minutes to complete and participants must be 19 years or older to participate.  Anyone with questions can contact Allan Vyhnalek at 402-472-1771 or e-mail at:

For more information or assistance, please contact Allan Vyhnalek, Extension Educator, Farm Succession Education for Nebraska Extension.  Phone: 402-472-1771 or e-mail     

Combine Settings for Variable Crop Conditions

Amy Timmerman – Extension Educator

Although generally good, corn and soybean crops are quite variable across Nebraska as harvest season approaches.  Spotty rainfall, in many cases too little but in a few cases too much, along with sandy or clay soil spots, and temperature extremes or storms have resulted in varying ear, and bean pod and stalk sizes, both among nearby fields and in some cases within fields or even individual rows.  Such variations put a premium on combine adjustment this fall.

Proper adjustment  can only be accomplished by taking time to measure and observe grain loss and quality. Combine grain losses can be held to one bushel per acre or less if the crop is standing reasonably well.  One bushel loss equals two corn kernels or four soybeans per square foot on the ground.  Grain quality is evaluated by inspecting harvested grain in the tank, looking for splits in soybeans, and cracked or damaged seed coats in corn or soybeans. 

Losses occurring at the head can be separated from losses of the entire combine by stopping the combine and backing up several feet to look for losses on the ground traversed by the head, but not the rear of the combine.  Field studies show 90% of soybean loss and 60% of corn loss typically occur at the head with proper threshing and separating adjustments. 


Corn:  Ear diameters in some fields are smaller than normal. The gap between deck plates above snapping rolls (1.25 inches  in normal conditions) should be narrow enough to avoid shelling kernels on the ear but  yet wide enough for stalks to be pulled through without wedging.  Stalk roll speed should be matched to ground speed and ear savers (at the bottom of stalk rolls) in good condition to hinder ears bouncing from the head.
Soybeans: Research identifies the cutterbar as most responsible for soybean losses, but reel speed and position, and cross-auger operation can also affect losses.   Ensure cutterbar sections are sharp, in register with guard positions, and held firmly against the guard with hold-down clips.  The reel centerline is normally about 8-12 inches  in front of the cutterbar, with height adjusted so that reel finger tips are no closer than about two inches to the flexible cutterbar when at its highest position.  Reel speed index (ratio of peripheral reel speed to combine travel speed) is normally about 1.25 (25% faster reel than ground speed) but may be up to 2.0 (twice as fast) if the crop is severely lodged.  If plants are short, cross-auger position on some heads can be moved forward to help pull plants into the feederhouse.  The position of the front idler drum of most feederhouse chains is adjustable and should be in the lower position for soybeans (particularly if the crop is short) to help pull in crop. 

Rotor and concave

Before harvest, check condition of rotor or cylinder and concave.  Level and calibrate rotor position according to the manual or re-zero the concave to the rotor.  Start at the lower end of suggested rotor speeds, using only enough speed to minimize threshing loss.  Clearance of the concave with the rotor may be narrower than normal for smaller corn ears or shorter/fewer soybean plants.  Low yield areas in some fields may keep plant stems green when beans and pods are mature and ready for combine harvest.  These conditions require more attention to adjust the aggressiveness of threshing (speed, clearance) for adequate threshing and throughput without causing green discoloration to soybeans.  Keeping the thresher loaded limits grain damage, but may be more difficult in lighter crops where excessive travel speed can increase combine grain loss. 

Cleaning shoe

Sieve openings may need to be smaller if corn kernels or soybeans are smaller, but this may increase the amount of grain going to tailings return and increase grain damage as it passes again through the rotor or concave area.  Kernel size can also be larger on ears with significantly fewer kernels requiring larger sieve openings.  Adequate airflow is necessary for good separation and cleaning, so start near the upper end of fan speed and reduce speed only if necessary to limit lighter weight grain blowing out the rear of the combine.


Review safety procedures and train everyone involved with harvest.  Fire is always a potential with dry, combustible plant material and combine heat sources.  Equipment lighting and marking should be checked to ensure safety when moving between fields.  Three billion bushels are expected to be removed from Iowa fields during the 2017 harvest season. 


Don’t assume crop conditions.  Do a pre-harvest inspection of fields for variability.  Be sure to check before harvest with your crop insurer if losses will be claimed. Schedule field harvest based on factors of dry down  and pre-harvest loss potential as well as optimizing adjustments required on the combine.  Harvest fields with invasive weeds last or clean out the combine between fields.  Develop the right attitude and make it a safe harvest.  Unscheduled downtime due to accidents or fire is more costly than the taking short breaks to re-charge and rest.

Nebraska State Grange Convention 2017

The annual meeting of the Nebraska State Grange will be held at the Ramada Rivers Edge Inn on the South Side of Columbus, Nebraska, just north of the Bridge, September 8-9-10. 2017.

Friday, at noon, Grangers will meet at Barcel Mill and Lumber Company. Bring your own lunch and a Lawn Chair, and gather under the trees to eat, then have a tour and conversation with B.J. Barcel, about his lumber business.

Convention registration will begin at 7:30 PM, followed by a preliminary look at incoming resolutions to be cinsidered for National or State Grange policy, and ending the day with an evening Ice Cream Social.

Some of the resolutions to be considered are: 1, To keep commodity checkoffs subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA); 2, To require that all Counties in Nebraska enforce noxious weed laws: 3. To make members of Congress and their staff participate in the same healthcare insurance as the general public; 4, To give each public school $1500 per year for each student enrolled K-12, and that each district is to offset their property tax by the same amount they receive in Foundation Aid; 5. To limit Congressional terms to 12 years, and that the current pension plan be discontinued; 6. Require voters to show personal identification to vote.

The Convention will begin Saturday, at 8:30 AM, with a welcome from the city of Columbus, followed by the formal opeining of the Grange, which will be followed by the State President's report from Kevin Cooksley, of Weissert NE. Resolutions for changes-additions in Grange Policy, will be introduced.

The National Representative this year will be Amanda Brozana Rios, Director of Communications and Development. She lives in Greenbelt Md. with her husband, Victor. She has previously taught journalism, public relations, and speech communications at several universities. She will be the speaker for the noon lunch. Joe Fryman, of Blair Ne. will be the MC.

The Deaf Education Awarness Scholarship will go to Evangelina Ortiz, who has been hearing imapired since early childhood. Community Servicce Awards will be presented to local Granges for their projects to improve the area where they live. The Distinguished Service Award will be presented to the Nebraska Rural Response Hotline.

The Annual Banquet will be at 6:30 PM. Kevin Cooksley, President, from Weissert, NE, will be the MC. Dan Holtz will be providing the entertainment. His program is entitled, Nebraska Through Song and Story. He interweaves songs accompanied on guitar and harmonica with excerps from works by Willa Cather, John Neihardt, Mari Sandoz and Bess Streeter Aldirch, in narratives from 1850 to 1904. The program will be followed by an auction of the baked goods chosen as winners, by the judges of the Baking Contest. Other miscellanious items will be auctioned also.

On Sunday morning there will be a memorial service for Grange members who have passed on this year and a brief worship service, planned by State Grange Chaplin, Ricki Wulf, of Blair. State Grange Lecturer (Program Director), Darlene Janing, of Geneva Ne., has asked Jeanne K. Schieffer, from NPPD, to speak to the group, following the service.

Following the Sunday Brunch, Phyllis Tooker, from Ralston, Ne., Family Activities Committee Chairman, will present awards for the Baking and Needlework Contests and give her report on other projects, Stuffed “Toys for Loving”, and the number of Lbs. of pop tabs collected for Ronald McDonald Houses for this year.

The afternoon will be spent finishing up Resolution Committee Reports.  

September Farm Finance and Ag Law Clinics

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

Clinic Sites and Dates
    Valentine — Friday, September 1
    Norfolk — Wednesday, September 6
    Grand Island — Tuesday, September 19
    North Platte — Wednesday, September 20
    Norfolk — Tuesday, September 26
    Fairbury — Tuesday, September 26

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.

Nebraska’s Natural Resources Districts Aim to Assist Public at Husker Harvest Days

Hundreds of Colorado Blue Spruce tree seedlings are currently being prepared and packaged for the Natural Resources Districts (NRDs) to hand out to the public at Husker Harvest Days 2017. The NRD blue building at Lot 1106 will have NRD general managers, NRD staff and several agencies and organizations inside the building, ready to educate anyone interested in conservation methods, grants, cost-share programs, water quality and soil protection this year at the event.

Husker Harvest Days is September 12th – 14th, 2017. Not only will there be free tree seedlings, but the NRDs are also handing out native Prairie Grass seed. The Nebraska Forest Service is displaying a new educational tool they use and several other agencies are planning on handing out useful information for your properties. The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services is excited to offer free water testing for nitrates. If you’d like to participate, please bring a 2-ounce sample of water from home.

“The Natural Resources Districts want to be present and easily accessible in Nebraskans’ day to day lives,” said Jim Bendfeldt, Nebraska Association of Resources Districts (NARD) board president. “Husker Harvest Days is a fun way to get a face-to-face with the people we want to help.”

On Wednesday Sept. 13th at 11 am, the NRDs are holding a press conference at Lot 1106 to announce three new Hall of Fame inductees. Three special Nebraskans who’ve made significant contributions to protecting Nebraska’s natural resources will be announced for induction into the NRD Hall of Fame. The winners receive the most prestigious awards offered by the NRDs.

The Nebraska Association of Resources Districts (NARD) partners with several other agencies, along with the 23 Natural Resources Districts at Husker Harvest Days. The Nebraska Department of Natural Resources (NDNR), Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (NHHS), Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ), Nebraska Forest Service (NFS), USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Platte River Recovery Implementation Program, Rainwater Basin Joint Venture, USDA Nebraska Farm Service Agency (NFSA), and U.S. Forest Service - Bessey Nursery will all be ready to help Husker Harvest Days visitors with water and soil conservation programs and education throughout the three-day event.

ICA pleased with Northey's appointment to USDA

The Iowa Cattlemen's Association is pleased about Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey's appointment as undersecretary for farm production and conservation, at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).  The position is one of three created by new USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue. Northey will oversee the Farm Service Agency, Risk Management Agency and the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

"Secretary Northey has served Iowa farmers well for over ten years, focusing on a balance between production agriculture and conservation efforts like the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy," said Iowa Cattlemen's Association CEO, Matt Deppe. "His accomplishments in Iowa have prepared him well and we are excited to see him continue his work in Washington, DC."

Northey is one of many Iowans who have represented agriculture at the federal level. Former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack served as Secretary of Agriculture for 8 years during the Obama administration, and Former Governor Terry Branstad was recently appointed as the US Ambassador to China, where he began immediately strengthening the agricultural trade relationship between the two countries.

Corn Farmers Welcome Northey to USDA

The National Corn Growers Association today congratulated Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey on his nomination to Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“Bill Northey is a longtime friend of NCGA and a passionate advocate for farmers. We congratulate him on this well-deserved appointment, and we urge the Senate to move quickly to confirm him,” said NCGA President Wesley Spurlock. “His roots in production agriculture run deep. He will give farmers and ranchers a senior-level voice on important issues such as risk management and conservation programs, especially as we craft the next farm bill.”

Northey is a fourth-generation farmer who grows corn and soybeans near Spirit Lake, Iowa. Throughout his career, he has been a leader in a variety of agricultural groups, including serving as President of the Iowa Corn Growers Association from 1991-92 and President and Chairman of the National Corn Growers Association from 1995-97. In his three terms as Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, he has promoted science- and technology-based solutions to better conserve soil, water, and air, and helped to expand the state’s ethanol infrastructure.

In his new role as USDA Undersecretary of Farm Production and Conservation, Northey will oversee the Farm Service Agency, Risk Management Agency, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

“We’re pleased to see another strong, experienced leader nominated in Bill Northey, and we wish him a speedy confirmation process. We also urge the Administration and the Senate to continue filling out the entire USDA leadership team, so that we can move agriculture forward through these challenging times.”

Teaching fall and electrical safety in agriculture: free webinar, Sept. 13

Falls and electricity are among the most common hazards encountered in agriculture. Learn how to educate others about these hazards during an AgriSafe Network Webinar, 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. (CT), Wednesday, Sept. 13. The webinar is free but attendees must register at

Marsha Salzwedel, M.S., Youth Agricultural Safety Specialist with the National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety, will present a full curriculum that is ideal for school agricultural classes, but also adaptable for community events and other educational scenarios.

Salzwedel will explore the different types of falls experienced on farms and how to protect against them, including fall protection systems. She’ll discuss issues associated with electrical hazards and strategies to prevent injuries and fatalities when working around electricity. Salzwedel also will address “Stand T.A.L.L.”, a concept that empowers youth to “Talk, Ask, Learn, Live”, so that they adequately understand work tasks. The session will conclude with a brief overview of other free instructional materials that can be used in combination with the fall and electrical materials to create a more comprehensive agricultural safety program. 

USDA Dairy Products July 2017 Production Highlights

Total cheese output (excluding cottage cheese) was 1.03 billion pounds, 1.0 percent above July 2016 but 0.3 percent below June 2017.  Italian type cheese production totaled 450 million pounds, 1.2 percent above July 2016 but 0.1 percent below June 2017.  American type cheese production totaled 402 million pounds, 0.2 percent above July 2016 but 0.4 percent below June 2017.  Butter production was 137 million pounds, 1.6 percent above July 2016 but 2.0 percent below June 2017.

Dry milk powders (comparisons with July 2016)
Nonfat dry milk, human - 148 million pounds, down 1.6 percent.
Skim milk powders - 50.2 million pounds, up 2.9 percent.

Whey products (comparisons with July 2016)
Dry whey, total - 99.2 million pounds, up 21.0 percent.
Lactose, human and animal - 99.3 million pounds, up 1.5 percent.
Whey protein concentrate, total - 41.7 million pounds, up 8.5 percent.

Frozen products (comparisons with July 2016)
Ice cream, regular (hard) - 70.6 million gallons, down 1.7 percent.
Ice cream, lowfat (total) - 42.5 million gallons, up 3.4 percent.
Sherbet (hard) - 2.97 million gallons, down 5.3 percent.
Frozen yogurt (total) - 5.43 million gallons, down 4.3 percent.

CWT Assists with 793,664 Pounds of Cheese Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 10 requests for export assistance from member cooperatives that have contracts to sell 793,664 pounds (360 metric tons) of Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese to customers in Asia. The product has been contracted for delivery in the period from September through November 2017.

Through August this year, CWT has assisted member cooperatives who have contracts to sell 48.307 million pounds of American-type cheeses, and 3.013 million pounds of butter (82% milkfat) to 18 countries on five continents. The sales are the equivalent of 513.654 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.

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

 Strong Chicken Demand Prompts Tyson Foods to Expand Production

In response to strong consumer demand for chicken, Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE: TSN) today announced plans to build a $320 million poultry complex in eastern Kansas.

The company will construct a processing plant, hatchery and feed mill near the city of Tonganoxie, in Leavenworth County, which will employ approximately 1,600 people and contract with northeast Kansas farmers and ranchers to raise chickens. The operation, currently scheduled to begin production in mid-2019, will produce pre-packaged trays of fresh chicken for retail grocery stores nationwide.

“More people want fresh food and as one of the world’s leading protein companies, we’re well-positioned to provide it,” said Tom Hayes, president and CEO of Tyson Foods. “We believe this new operation, which will incorporate the latest production technology, will enable us to meet the sustained growth in consumer demand for fresh chicken.”

The poultry plant will be capable of processing 1.25 million birds per week, increasing Tyson Foods’ overall production capacity. The payroll and payments to farmers from the new operation, along with its purchase of grain and utilities, is expected to generate an annual economic benefit to the state of Kansas of $150 million.

“Kansas will be an outstanding home for this Tyson complex,” said Governor Sam Brownback. “Growing Kansas means we must grow the food and agriculture sector which accounts for nearly 45 percent of the state’s economy. The far-reaching impact of this development will be felt by farmers, ranchers, agribusinesses and communities throughout eastern Kansas. This is a step in the right direction to further diversify and grow our state’s economy.”

The Governor emphasized the importance of local-level support for economic development. “Kansas is known throughout the world for our commitment to animal agriculture and for our communities which offer an exceptional place for companies of this quality to find a talented workforce in a business-friendly environment.”

“Tonganoxie is looking forward to a successful partnership with Tyson Foods,” said Tonganoxie Mayor Jason Ward. “We have planned for a development of this type for many years by making strategic investments in public infrastructure targeted to support future industrial growth. This project will bring much anticipated opportunities for local residents to enjoy the quality of life benefit of working close to home. Tyson has a long history of support for small towns and local markets. They will be a great fit for our community.”

“The Leavenworth County Board of Commissioners is excited that Tyson Foods will be opening a state-of-the-art poultry processing facility in southern Leavenworth County,” said Mark Loughry, Leavenworth County administrator. “This represents a significant investment by Tyson and creates new jobs at the plant for our citizens. More than that, it provides an opportunity for area ag producers that was previously unheard of in Kansas.”

“We believe eastern Kansas is the right location because of the availability of grain and labor, as well as access to our nationwide customer base that is accessible through the state’s top-notch transportation network,” said Doug Ramsey, group president of Poultry for Tyson Foods. “We’re grateful for the tremendous support we’ve received for this project from Governor Brownback, as well as leaders from the City of Tonganoxie, Leavenworth County, the Leavenworth County Development Corporation, and a host of other city, county and state officials.”

Tyson Foods anticipates purchasing about 300 acres of property south of Tonganoxie and currently plans to break ground sometime this fall. The company will work with outside contractors to build the plant, hatchery, feed mill and related infrastructure and expects the construction project to involve hundreds of workers. Farmers and ranchers who have interest in raising chickens for the new poultry complex are encouraged to go to for more information.

Earlier this year, Tyson Foods announced it was moving to No Antibiotics Ever (NAE) in its Tyson® branded retail chicken products, making it the world’s largest producer of NAE. The Tonganoxie plant will be part of the continued expansion of the company’s NAE offerings.

Tyson Foods currently operates facilities in six Kansas communities, employing about 5,700 in the state with an annual payroll of more than $210 million. In its 2016 fiscal year, Tyson Foods paid Kansas cattle suppliers more than $2 billion and hog suppliers more than $1.3 million. The company estimates its total statewide annual impact for fiscal 2016, including grain purchases, utilities, property taxes and charitable contributions to be more than $2.4 billion. 

DowDuPont™ Merger Successfully Completed

DowDuPont™ (NYSE:DWDP) today announced the successful completion of the merger of equals between The Dow Chemical Company (“Dow”) and E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company (“DuPont”), effective Aug. 31, 2017. The combined entity is operating as a holding company under the name “DowDuPont™” with three divisions – Agriculture, Materials Science and Specialty Products.

Shares of DuPont and Dow ceased trading at the close of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on Aug. 31, 2017. Beginning today, DowDuPont will start trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the stock ticker symbol “DWDP.” Pursuant to the merger agreement, Dow shareholders received a fixed exchange ratio of 1.00 share of DowDuPont for each Dow share, and DuPont shareholders received a fixed exchange ratio of 1.282 shares of DowDuPont for each DuPont share.

“Today marks a significant milestone in the storied histories of our two companies,” said Andrew Liveris, executive chairman of DowDuPont. “We are extremely excited to complete this transformational merger and move forward to create three intended industry-leading, independent, publicly traded companies. While our collective heritage and strength are impressive, the true value of this merger lies in the intended creation of three industry powerhouses that will define their markets and drive growth for the benefit of all stakeholders. Our teams have been working for more than a year on integration planning, and -- as of today -- we will hit the ground running on executing those plans with an intention to complete the separations as quickly as possible.”

“For shareholders, customers and employees, closing this transaction is a definitive step toward unlocking higher value and greater opportunities through a future built on sustainable growth and innovation,” said Ed Breen, chief executive officer of DowDuPont. “DowDuPont is a launching pad for three intended strong companies that will be better positioned to reinvest in science and innovation, solve our customers’ ever-evolving challenges, and generate long-term returns for our shareholders. With the merger now complete, our focus is on finalizing the organizational structures that will be the foundations of these three intended strong companies and capturing the synergies to unlock value. With clear focus, market visibility and more productive R&D, each intended company will be equipped to compete successfully as an industry leader.”

Board and Governance

The Board of Directors of DowDuPont comprises 16 members – eight directors formerly on the DuPont Board and eight directors formerly on the Dow Board. There are two lead directors: Jeffrey Fettig, who previously served as the lead independent director for Dow; and Alexander Cutler, who previously served as the lead independent director for DuPont. Liveris serves as the executive chairman of the Board and Breen also serves on the Board. Other Board members include:
From Dow:
        James A. Bell, Former Chief Financial Officer, Boeing
        Raymond J. Milchovich, Former Chairman and CEO, Foster Wheeler AG
        Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever PLC and Unilever N.V.
        Dennis H. Reilley, Non-Executive Chairman, Marathon Oil Corp.
        James M. Ringler, Chairman, Teradata Corporation
        Ruth G. Shaw, Former Group Executive, Public Policy and President, Duke Nuclear
From DuPont:
        Lamberto Andreotti, Former Chair of the Board and CEO of Bristol-Myers Squibb Company
        Robert A. Brown, President of Boston University
        Marillyn A. Hewson, Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Lockheed Martin Corporation
        Lois D. Juliber, Former Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer of Colgate-Palmolive Company
        Lee M. Thomas, Former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Rayonier Inc.
        Patrick J. Ward, Chief Financial Officer of Cummins, Inc.

Three Advisory Committees have been established by the DowDuPont Board, chartered to generally oversee the establishment of each of the Agriculture, Materials Science (Dow) and Specialty Products divisions in preparation for the separations. Additionally, each Advisory Committee will develop a capital structure in accordance with the guiding principles set forth in the Bylaws, and designate the future chief executive officer and leadership team of its respective intended company.

DowDuPont Officers
As previously announced, DowDuPont will be led by a proven leadership team that reflects the strengths and capabilities of both companies. Along with Liveris and Breen, it includes the following executives:
    Howard Ungerleider, Chief Financial Officer
    Stacy Fox, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary
    Charles J. Kalil, Special Counsellor to the Executive Chairman, General Counsel for the Materials Science Division
    James C. Collins, Jr., Chief Operating Officer for the Agriculture Division
    Jim Fitterling, Chief Operating Officer for the Materials Science Division
    Marc Doyle, Chief Operating Officer for the Specialty Products Division

Unlocking Value for All Stakeholders

By merging the highly complementary portfolios of Dow and DuPont and subsequently creating intended industry leaders, DowDuPont expects to maximize value for all its stakeholders.

    Shareholders are expected to benefit from the stronger, focused investment profile of each intended company and substantial cost synergies, as well as from long-term growth and sustainable value creation following the intended separations into three independent companies. The transaction is expected to result in run-rate cost synergies of approximately $3 billion and the potential for approximately $1 billion in growth synergies. The company expects to reach 100 percent run rate on the cost synergies within the first 24 months of merger closing.

    Customers will benefit from superior solutions and expanded product offerings. By combining the complementary strengths of Dow and DuPont, each intended company will be able to respond faster and more effectively to rapidly changing conditions with innovative products and greater choice.

    Employees will benefit from being part of these intended highly focused and competitive industry-leaders, built for sustainable, long-term growth – which will create opportunities for our businesses and opportunities for our people.

Paths to Separation

Dow and DuPont leaders and integration teams are developing the future state operating models and organizational designs that will support the refined strategy of each intended company. Once each division has its own processes, people, assets, systems and licenses in place to operate independently from the parent company, DowDuPont intends to separate the divisions to stand within their own legal entities, subject to Board approval and any regulatory approvals. The intended separations are expected to occur within 18 months.

The intended companies are expected to include:
    A leading Agriculture Company that brings together the strengths of DuPont Pioneer, DuPont Crop Protection and Dow AgroSciences to better serve growers around the world with a superior portfolio of solutions, greater choice and competitive price for value. The combined capabilities and highly productive innovation engine will enable the intended Agriculture Company to bring a broader suite of products to the market faster, so it can be an even better partner to growers, delivering innovation and helping them to increase their productivity and profitability. The intended Agriculture Company will be headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware, with global business centers in Johnston, Iowa, and Indianapolis, Indiana.
    A leading Materials Science Company, to be named Dow that will consist of the businesses comprising the following current Dow operating segments: Performance Plastics, Performance Materials & Chemicals, Infrastructure Solutions and Consumer Solutions (Consumer Care and Dow Automotive Systems; Dow Electronic Materials is intended to go to the Specialty Products Company), as well as DuPont’s current Performance Materials operating segment. The intended Materials Science Company will offer the strongest and broadest chemistry and polymers toolkit in the industry, with the scale and competitive capabilities to enable truly differentiated solutions for customers in high-growth end markets, including packaging, transportation, infrastructure and consumer care. The intended Materials Science Company will be headquartered in Midland, Michigan.
    A leading Specialty Products Company that will consist of powerful, market-leading businesses including DuPont Protection Solutions, Sustainable Solutions, Industrial Biosciences and Nutrition & Health, which will integrate the Health and Nutrition business from FMC pending the close of that transaction; as well as Electronic Technologies, which combines DuPont’s Electronics & Communications business with Dow’s Electronic Materials business unit. The intended Specialty Products Company will be an innovation leader composed of technology-driven specialty businesses with highly differentiated products and solutions that transform industries and everyday life. The intended Specialty Products Company will be headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware.

As announced, the DowDuPont Board is conducting a comprehensive portfolio review to assess current business facts and leverage the knowledge gained over the past year and a half to capture any material value-enhancing opportunities in preparation for the intended creation of industry-leading companies.

Monday September 4 Ag News

ASA Warns White House Against Misguided Withdrawal from KORUS

In response to indications that the White House is preparing a withdrawal from the free trade agreement between the United States and South Korea as early as Tuesday, the American Soybean Association issued a stern warning that withdrawal from the pact, and the larger strategy of brinkmanship with regard to trade agreements by the White House, could have disastrous consequences for the nation's soybean farmers. ASA President Ron Moore issued a statement addressing the matter directly with President Donald Trump.

"Trade helps our country, Mr. President, and withdrawal from KORUS would hurt us all. As soybean farmers, we benefit greatly from exports, which contribute a $2 billion annual surplus to our nation’s balance of trade. Trade makes our local businesses and our communities stronger. Yet whether it's South Korea, Mexico and Canada, or our neighbors on the Pacific Rim, we once again find ourselves fighting to communicate the value of trade to farmers.

“With respect to South Korea, we supply nearly half of the 1.3 million tons of soybeans that country imports, with no tariffs as a result of the KORUS agreement. Most of Korea’s soybean imports, however, come from our competitors in Brazil and Argentina. If we withdraw, reinstatement of tariffs will make it hard to maintain our market share and will further increase our competitors’ advantage. And it would be devastating for our U.S. livestock customers who export meat products to South Korea.

“The idea that we're the only game in town when it comes to selling soybeans or other agricultural products abroad is false. So is the notion that there’s always another country that will buy our commodities. Furthermore, even the threat to withdraw from this or any trade agreement is a dangerous course of action. Repeatedly walking our trade relationships to the brink, or actually breaking them, only weakens our standing abroad.

“As American soybean farmers, we demand that the U.S. remain in KORUS, and that we move forward to negotiate new trade agreements rather than retreating from existing ones. We must expand rather than abandon access to essential overseas markets for the products we produce."

Statement On Potential Withdrawal From KORUS
U.S. Grains Council (USGC):

"The Council strongly opposes withdrawal from the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS), an action that will lead to immediate and sustained losses in sales to our third largest corn customer.

"South Korea is an example of the transformational partnership available to U.S. grain farmers and their global customers through strong trade policy and overseas market development.

"The Council has worked in South Korea since 1972, offering expertise on how to use corn, distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and, most recently, ethanol. This work has helped spur dynamic growth in the South Korean livestock and feed grains sectors and made it one of the largest and most loyal customers of U.S. grain.

"Fully 96 percent of feed producers in South Korea now use DDGS, an astounding statistic for a product that barely existed in the market 20 years ago, and one critical to U.S. producers who have suffered lost business due to China’s adverse tariffs decisions. Just last week, we hosted a team of South Korean buyers to the Midwest to see the progress of the U.S. corn crop first hand.

"KORUS has solidified and enhanced our longtime and fruitful partnership with South Korea. Unilaterally walking away from it now is a rash move that will harm relationships we have built over a period of 40 years at the expense U.S. farm country.”

U.S. Wheat Organizations Urge Administration Not to Withdraw from KORUS

U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) strongly urge the Trump Administration not to withdraw from the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS).

“We believe it would be irresponsible to unilaterally walk away from this or any other trade agreement,” said Mike Miller, USW Chairman and a wheat grower from Ritzville, Wash. “Withdrawing raises the specter of retaliation against agricultural exports and creates unnecessary uncertainty in the market. Any disruption in the relationship wheat growers have built in Korea over more than 60 years gives Australia, Canada and even Russia an opening to move in and take business away from us at a time when we are all struggling to stay profitable. KORUS, like the North American Free Trade Agreement, has been very good for American agriculture.”

"We think this trade agreement, negotiated in good faith and strongly supported in Congress, reinforces the Administration's stated goal to sell more agricultural products overseas,” said David Schemm, NAWG President and a wheat grower from Sharon Springs, Kan. “We support finding ways to improve any agreement, but let’s do that in a reasoned and respectful way, with input from all stakeholders so U.S. wheat farmers can gain greater access to world markets."

Korea was the third largest volume importer of U.S. wheat in marketing year 2016/17 (June to May).

Friday September 1 Ag News

Perdue Applauds President Trump’s Selections for Key USDA Posts

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today applauded President Donald J. Trump’s selection of three individuals for key positions within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).  The president announced Gregory Ibach as Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs (MRP), Bill Northey as Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation (FPAC), and Stephen Vaden as USDA’s General Counsel.

The Under Secretary for MRP oversees three critical USDA agencies: the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service; the Agricultural Marketing Service; and the Grain Inspection, Packers, and Stockyards Administration.  The Under Secretary for FPAC oversees three critical USDA agencies: the Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Risk Management Agency.

Regarding the individual selections, Perdue issued the following statements:

On Greg Ibach:
“Greg Ibach will bring the experience and vision necessary to serve as a first rate Under Secretary for MRP at USDA.  His exemplary tenure as Nebraska’s Director of Agriculture places him squarely in tune with the needs of American agriculture, particularly the cattle industry.  His proven track record of leadership will make him a great asset to USDA’s customers, the hard working, taxpaying people of U.S. agriculture.”

On Bill Northey:
“Bill Northey will continue his honorable record of public service in leading FPAC.  Having served the people of Iowa for the last ten years as their Secretary of Agriculture, and as a fourth generation corn and soybean farmer, Bill has a unique understanding of issues facing farmers across the nation.  He will be an invaluable member of the team.”

On Stephen Vaden:
“Stephen Vaden has a keen legal mind, as we have already experienced through his work since he joined USDA as part of the beachhead team on day one.  He has a firm grasp of the legal issues facing American agriculture, and very importantly, understands the breadth and complexity of the regulatory burdens placed on our producers.  Our farmers, ranchers, foresters, and producers will be well served by his counsel.”

“I look forward to the confirmations of Greg Ibach, Bill Northey, and Stephen Vaden, and urge the Senate to take up their nominations as quickly as possible,” Perdue said.  “This is especially important given the challenges USDA will face in helping Texans and Louisianans recover from the devastation of Hurricane Harvey.”

Ricketts Congratulates Ag Director Ibach on Forthcoming USDA Nomination

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts congratulated Nebraska Department of Agriculture Director Greg Ibach on the news that President Donald J. Trump intends to nominate Ibach as the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs.

“During his twelve years as director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, Greg helped grow Nebraska by building the Nebraska brand and Nebraska’s international trade relationships,” said Governor Ricketts.  “Greg brings outstanding experience to this role.  While we will miss Greg’s day-to-day presence here in Nebraska, he will continue to be a resource for Nebraska as we partner with him in his new role as well as a tremendous asset to the USDA and President Trump’s Administration.  I urge the President to send his nomination to the U.S. Senate, and urge senators to take up his confirmation in a timely manner.”

USDA’s Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs includes Agricultural Marketing Service, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyards Administration.  Governor Ricketts noted that Ibach will bring broad experience to this new role from his work with Nebraska’s animal and plant health programs as well as the livestock disease tractability program

Ibach, a lifelong rancher and farmer, has also been active in the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture since his appointment as NDA’s director in 2005 serving as chair of the marketing and international trade committee, animal and plant health committee, and, most recently, as president.

Fischer Statement on Gregory Ibach

U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) released the following statement after learning that President Trump intends to nominate Nebraska Agriculture Director Gregory Ibach to serve as Under Secretary of Marketing and Regulatory Programs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture:

“Bruce and I extend our congratulations to Greg Ibach on his nomination for the Marketing and Regulatory Programs Under Secretary position at the Department of Agriculture. I have known and worked with Greg for many years. He is an agriculture expert who has extensive knowledge of the industry and its numerous contributions to Nebraska, our country, and the world. I’m pleased the president accepted my recommendation of such an impressive Nebraskan. Once he’s confirmed, I look forward to working with Greg to ensure Nebraska’s producers have the tools necessary to continue feeding the world.”

Sasse Congratulates Ibach

U.S. Senator Ben Sasse issued the following statement regarding President Trump’s nomination of Greg Ibach to be Under Secretary of Agriculture for Marketing and Regulatory Programs.

"A Nebraskan through and through, Greg has served our state well, and I have full faith that he will serve America with the same skill and hard work. Nebraska's farmers and ranchers congratulate Greg and his family on the President's decision to invite him to this new calling."

Statement Regarding Greg Ibach Nomination for USDA Under Secretary Position

Steve Nelson, President, NE Farm Bureau

“Greg Ibach has a tremendous track record of serving Nebraska agriculture. His years of service in leading the Nebraska Department of Agriculture make him an outstanding choice for the position of USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs. We wish him the best as he proceeds in the nomination process.”

Nebraska Farm Bureau Tells Delegation Crop Insurance is “Most Important and Vital Piece” of Farm Bill

Protecting crop insurance should be at the top of the Nebraska Congressional delegation’s list as members go to work in shaping the 2018 Farm Bill, according to the Nebraska Farm Bureau. Nebraska Farm Bureau President, Steve Nelson outlined the importance of crop insurance in testimony provided to all five members of the delegation during a farm bill listening session hosted by Farm Bureau and other groups at the Nebraska State Fair, Sept. 1.

“Federal crop insurance has become the most important and vital piece of the farm bill,” said Nelson. “One doesn’t need to travel far to hear Nebraska farmers talk about instances where crop insurance was the only thing that stood between them and total financial disaster. Nebraska’s yearly sporadic weather patterns nearly always result in ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ when it comes to timely rains, drought, hail, or anything else mother nature throws at us each year.”

In 2016, Nebraska farmers placed more than 17.4 million acres, or 90 percent of Nebraska’s total crop production acreage, into the federal crop insurance program. That same year, Nebraska farmers paid over $217 million in premiums. While the federal government provides premium assistance, Nebraska farmers on average pay five percent more of their overall crop insurance costs than the national average.

“I know some in Washington have proposed cuts to the federal crop insurance program. We are told that little cuts here and there won’t make much of a difference to most farmers who rely on the protection offered by this program. Yet, it is important to remember that every small cut, every small restriction, and every small tweak has the potential to throw this vital program off balance,” said Nelson. “Like any insurance product, crop insurance rates are complex and are balanced with farms of many shapes, sizes, and risk levels. Placing short-sighted restrictions on one of the most successful farm programs in U.S. history to save minimal federal dollars is irresponsible, unacceptable, and totally inappropriate.”

In addition to highlighting crop insurance, Nelson pointed to several other overarching farm bill priorities including:
•               Protection of current farm bill spending;
•               Maintaining a unified farm bill containing both nutrition and farm programs;
•               Prioritizing the funding of risk management tools, including Title I commodity programs like the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs; and
•               Ensuring all farm bill programs are compliant with World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements.

“We greatly appreciate the delegation’s desire to hear what farmers and ranchers are thinking on what’s needed in the farm bill. I continue to remind people that food security is national security. The ability for us to work together to develop the programs that help American farmers and ranchers stay viable in producing food, fuel, and fiber for our country and the world can’t be understated,” said Nelson.

Ag Technology Expert and Investor to Speak at NECC

A fifth generation farmer and a leading investor in farmland and agricultural technologies will be bringing his message to Northeast Community College in Norfolk, Neb. Clay Mitchell, Waterloo, Iowa, will be speaking to agriculture students and to the public during his Sept. 5 visit to the College.

Since 2000, Mitchell has farmed 3,000 acres of corn and soybeans near Waterloo. Mitchell Farm has been a leader in the use of automation in farming operations and has pioneered quality testing of field operations that uses satellite imagery, genomics, artificial intelligence, software, and hardware.

While at Northeast, Mitchell will be speaking on specific practices he uses to improve his operation's productivity.

"I think when people see 'cover crops, technology, soil health, etc.' the risk is that the audience is being sold a product, or that the talk is a general talk full of platitudes. I think people get the most out of my presentation if I speak in specific and technical terms on the things I'm doing on my farm and what we do on our investment farms."

In an interview with No-Till Farmer magazine, Mitchell said his operation has seen a boost in crop yields due to the use of precision technologies.

"Controlled traffic helps create soil qualities in which we see higher yields," he said.

Mitchell uses a real-time kinematic (RTK) guidance system where tractors, combines, sprayers and planters drive on exactly the same paths from one year to the next. GPS devices allow Mitchell to plant seed, apply fertilizer and spray herbicides with centimeter accuracy.

Driving the same path reduces compaction of topsoil that can reduce yield and allows Mitchell to precisely track performance row-by-row. After five-years, soil tests showed better water flow in Mitchell's no-till operation than on neighboring farms.

Mitchell also noted improvements in machinery efficiency. Not only do his GPS-guided tractors travel less ground, they also exert 40-percent less effort while driving on heavily compacted traffic lanes. That results in significant energy savings.

Mitchell also takes advantage of intercropping corn and soybeans by alternating 30-foot swaths of each crop in fields. This allows the corn to take advantage of additional sunlight to improve yields without causing too much of a drop in the soybean crop. Maps showing yield in single rows allow him to correct mistakes and refine delivery of fertilizer and chemicals.

"When everything becomes aligned, you reveal errors. Differences as high as 83 bushels can be seen between rows," he said.

Despite the occasional challenge, Mitchell said his system is paying off.

"For grain farmers, the sum of their work is contained in the fullness of their bins at the end of the year. This is really a fantastic story of energy savings and soil improvement on our farm."

Mitchell consults to the largest farm in Russia and Ukraine. He is a graduate of Harvard University where he earned a Bachelor's Degree in Biomedical Engineering, and a Master's Degree in Crop and Soil Science from Cornell University, where he was a Saltonstall Fellow.

Over his farming career, Mitchell's leadership in the industry has been built upon cooperation with manufacturers and institutions of higher learning, a willingness to host groups of domestic and international farmers, and accepting invitations to deliver keynote and plenary lectures across the world. Such activities have helped him develop a deep and invaluable network across the farmer, academic, industry, agricultural journalism, and government communities.

Mitchell is also co-founder and managing director of Fall Line Capital, a Silicon Valley-based private equity firm that buys, improves and manages farmland. Fall Line closed its first fund with $125 million of commitments in the spring of 2013.

During his Sept. 5 visit to Norfolk, Mitchell will be speaking to Northeast's Issues in Agriculture class, which is made up of approximately 100 freshmen students in the College's agriculture programs. The class was established to make students aware of what challenges and opportunities are occurring in the agriculture world and how they can address them in their careers or farming operations.

At 6:30 that evening, Mitchell will speak during a public forum in the Lifelong Learning Center on Northeast's Norfolk campus. There is no charge to attend.

Hurricane Harvey Causes Fuel Changes

Due to the fuel supply emergency caused by Hurricane Harvey, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a waiver, which relaxes the Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) requirement so E15 may be sold immediately in 38 states, including Nebraska.

As of Aug. 31, more than 20 percent of the U.S. oil refining capacity remains offline due to hurricane and flooding damage. Oil Price Information Service (OPIS) predicts a worst-case scenario price spike of 40 to 60 cents.

Under normal circumstances, reformulated gasoline and low volatility conventional gasoline (winter blends) can only be sold after Sept. 15. This short-term waiver helps ensure an adequate fuel supply throughout the country.

By blending more ethanol, the fuel supplies can go further, especially if flex-fuel-vehicle-owners fill up with E85 and drivers with a vehicle 2001 or newer choose E15, noted Jan tenBensel, Nebraska Ethanol Board vice chairman, who farms south of Cambridge, Nebraska.

“One of easiest things we can do to help with Hurricane Harvey recovery is use more ethanol,” tenBensel said. “By using our homegrown, renewable fuel, we can allow petroleum to be diverted to areas that are in a greater need, which also helps mitigate price hikes.”

E15 is a fuel blend containing 15 percent ethanol, just 5 percent more ethanol than the most commonly used fuel in the U.S. – E10.  E15 is often sold at a 5 to 10-cent per gallon discount to E10, and is higher octane for better vehicle performance. E85 contains up to 85 percent ethanol and should only be used in flex fuel vehicles.

“EPA’s expanded emergency waiver allows us to continue to show that ethanol is a high-octane, low cost alternative,” said Pam Miller, Renewable Fuels Nebraska executive committee chair. “RFN recently launched, a website and brand campaign to bring awareness to Nebraska-produced biofuels and higher ethanol blends, like E15 that are available to consumers across the state.”

Due to a quirk in federal gasoline volatility regulations, E15 sales to non-flex fuel vehicles (FFVs) are usually halted from June 1 to September 15. The EPA waiver enacted because of this natural disaster means anyone with a 2001 and newer vehicle can again fill up with E15.

“With gas prices predicted to rise for the foreseeable future, purchasing higher ethanol blends is one way consumers can help free up fuel for areas impacted by the hurricane, and keep money in their own pockets,” said Dave Merrell, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board, who farms near St. Edward, Nebraska. “Ethanol blends are truly better fuels that cost less.”

Nebraska drivers can find higher blends of ethanol throughout the state by visiting or

2017 Nebraska Cattlemen Cow Calf Tour

 "Local, National, and International Trade in the Cattle Industry"

When:  Tuesday, September 26th - Speakers will begin at 9 AM at the Wheeler Co. Fairgrounds in Bartlett, lunch will be served at 11:30, and the tour will begin promptly at 12:45.

Where:  Wagonhammer Ranches, Bartlett - Speakers for the event include representatives from the USMEF, Nebraska Cattlemen, Samson, and the Nebraska Department of Agriculture.

Sponsors - Ericson State Bank, Homestead Bank-Albion Branch, Boone Nance Cattlemen, Town & Country Veterinary Clinic, Zoetis, and RB Angus

Everyone is welcome, bring a neighbor!

Any questions can be directed to Mackenzie Johnston at (402)350-6372

Researchers Provide Guidance for Micronutrient Management

Micronutrients are needed in very small quantities by plants, but are essential for their growth and production. A search for understanding how micronutrients can be better managed in the Midwest’s soybean fields has led to new research and a regional publication on the topic.

This research and general management guidelines are summarized in the publication “Micronutrients for Soybean Production in the North Central Region” (CROP 3135) and is available through the Iowa State University Extension Store. Antonio Mallarino, professor and extension specialist in agronomy at Iowa State University, led a team of researchers and fertility extension specialists from five universities across the Midwest who worked on the project.

“This publication is intended to be a resource for farmers and crop advisers of the North Central Region regarding micronutrient use in soybean production,” Mallarino said. “Its purpose is to provide information on micronutrient requirements by soybean, factors that influence their utilization and the value of soil and plant tissue testing.”

Mallarino oversaw about 100 recent trials in Iowa, with researchers from the University of Minnesota, Kansas State University, University of Wisconsin and Purdue University developing many other trials.

“The team effort also included reviewing research that had been conducted in other states of the region during the last few decades,” Mallarino said. “This publication wasn’t done to establish specific recommendations for each state but to give a global view of the issues useful for the entire region.”

The team’s work showed that micronutrient deficiencies have been observed in specific soil types or conditions. Course textured soils, highly eroded soil that has lost organic matter and highly calcareous soils proved to be more susceptible to deficiencies than other soils.

While in Iowa micronutrient deficiencies in soybean are uncommon except for iron in highly calcareous soils, it is still important to monitor crops to make sure they are healthy, Mallarino said. The publication discusses the use of soil and tissue testing to ensure farmers and crop advisers have a proper understanding of their value and potential problems.

“In spite of recent research, the value of soil testing and tissue testing for micronutrients involves more uncertainty than it does for other nutrients,” Mallarino said. “Farmers should make sure not to consider soil and tissue testing results blindly, but keep a watchful eye on their fields where soil deficiencies can be detected.”

The research and publication were funded through a grant from the North Central Research Program.

USGC Statement On End Of Vietnam Suspension Of U.S. DDGS

A statement from U.S. Grains Council (USGC) President and CEO Tom Sleight on the announcement that Vietnam will lift its suspension of U.S. distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) imports and ease fumigation requirements for U.S. corn and wheat imports:

“We are very pleased to hear the news from Vietnam overnight that, as of today, import permits will be issued for U.S. DDGS and new phosphine fumigation protocols will be acceptable for shipments of U.S. corn, DDGS and wheat.

“Since the suspension on imports was put in place late last year, our staff has worked closely with industry and government both here in the United States and in Vietnam to find a resolution to this issue. This intense effort was strongly supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) leadership, officials in its Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR).

“While we never want to see a market closed to our products for any reason, this was an example of how to effectively and comprehensively tackle a scientific challenge impeding trade flows. It was also a reminder of the importance of strong trade policy. Vietnam is one of the fastest growing feed markets in the world, and the disruptions and losses this issue caused reinforce the need for agreements that ensure open access and outline resolution processes for mutual concerns.

“We enthusiastically thank everyone involved in our own government, the government in Vietnam and industries in both countries for their collaboration on this critical issue to our industry.”


The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) this week filed to get on the 2018 California ballot an initiative to ban the sale of out-of-state pork produced through the use of gestation stalls. The HSUS proposal also seeks to ban the sale of out-of-state eggs and veal from animals raised in housing that California outlawed in 2008 through a ballot proposition.

Initiatives like this and others in states such as Massachusetts are the reason the National Pork Producers Council supports the “No Regulation Without Representation Act of 2017” (H.R. 2887), legislation introduced by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., that would prohibit states from imposing regulatory burdens on businesses, including pork operations, not physically present in the state.

NPPC CEO Neil Dierks recently testified on H.R. 2887 before a House Judiciary subcommittee, saying: “Several states – most with little pork production – have banned gestation stalls, either through ballot initiatives or legislation. That was their prerogative, however ill-advised or uninformed their motives were. What NPPC and pork producers object to is one state adopting a law or regulation that dictates the practices of the other 49 states.”

USDA Grain Crushings and Co-Products Production

Total corn consumed for alcohol and other uses was 509 million bushels in July 2017. Total corn consumption was up 4 percent from June 2017 but down slightly from July 2016. July 2017 usage included 91.1 percent for alcohol and 8.9 percent for other purposes. Corn consumed for beverage alcohol totaled 3.07 million bushels, up 11 percent from June 2017 and up 18 percent from July 2016. Corn for fuel alcohol, at 455 million bushels, was up 5 percent from June 2017 but down slightly from July 2016. Corn consumed in July 2017 for dry milling fuel production and wet milling fuel production was 90.7 percent and 9.34 percent respectively.

Dry mill co-product production of distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) was 1.92 million tons during July 2017, up 7 percent from June 2017 but down 6 percent from July 2016. Distillers wet grains (DWG) 65 percent or more moisture was 1.34 million tons in July 2017, up 6 percent from June 2017 and up 9 percent from July 2016.

Wet mill corn gluten feed production was 328 thousand tons during July 2017, down 4 percent from June 2017 and down 3 percent from July 2016. Wet corn gluten feed 40 to 60 percent moisture was 272 thousand tons in July 2017, down 9 percent from June 2017 and down 18 percent from July 2016.

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

Soybeans crushed for crude oil was 4.67 million tons (156 million bushels) in July 2017, compared to 4.45 million tons (148 million bushels) in June 2017 and 4.60 million tons (153 million bushels) in July 2016. Crude oil produced was 1.80 billion pounds up 4 percent from June 2017 and up 1 percent from July 2016. Soybean once refined oil production at 1.50 billion pounds during July 2017 increased 10 percent from June 2017 and increased 4 percent from July 2016.

Canola seeds crushed for crude oil was 161 thousand tons in July 2017, compared to 167 thousand tons in June 2017 and 202 thousand tons in July 2016. Canola crude oil produced was 135 million pounds down 2 percent from June 2017 and down 17 percent from July 2016. Canola once refined oil production at 115 million pounds during July 2017 was down 7 percent from June 2017 and down 16 percent from July 2016. Cottonseed once refined oil production at 37.1 million pounds during July 2017 was down 20 percent from June 2017 but up 42 percent from July 2016.

Edible tallow production was 65.6 million pounds during July 2017, down 7 percent from June 2017 and down 3 percent from July 2016. Inedible tallow production was 267 million pounds during July 2017, down 10 percent from June 2017 but up slightly from July 2016. Technical tallow production was 76.0 million pounds during July 2017, down 3 percent from June 2017 and down 11 percent from July 2016. Choice white grease production at 88.5 million pounds during July 2017 decreased 25 percent from June 2017 and decreased 8 percent from July 2016.

USDA Announces Commodity Credit Corporation Lending Rates for September 2017

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Commodity Credit Corporation today announced interest rates for September 2017. The Commodity Credit Corporation borrowing rate-based charge for September is 1.250 percent, unchanged from 1.250 percent in August.

The interest rate for crop year commodity loans less than one year disbursed during September is 2.250 percent, unchanged from 2.250 percent in August.

Interest rates for Farm Storage Facility Loans approved for September are as follows, 1.500 percent with three-year loan terms, unchanged from 1.500 percent in August; 1.750 percent with five-year loan terms, down from 1.875 percent in August; 2.125 percent with seven-year loan terms, unchanged from 2.125 percent in August; 2.250 percent with 10-year loan terms, unchanged from 2.250 percent in August and; 2.375 percent with 12-year loan terms, unchanged from 2.375 percent in August.

Share Your Conservation Story and Enter to Win a Trip to the 2018 Commodity Classic in California

Share the story of how conservation is part of your farm operation, and you could be recognized with a Conservation Legacy Award at the next Commodity Classic, Feb. 27 – March 1, 2018, in Anaheim, California. This program showcases farm management practices of U.S. soybean producers that are both environmentally friendly and profitable. If you’re using conservation practices on your farm such as cover crops, reduced tillage, or other valuable conservation practices, don’t miss your opportunity to apply for this award.

All U.S. soybean farmers are eligible to enter to win a Conservation Legacy Award. Entries are judged on soil management, water management, input management, conservation, environmental management and sustainability. Three regional winners and one national winner are selected.

Award Winners Receive:
• An expense paid trip for two to Commodity Classic, Feb. 27 – March 1, 2018, in Anaheim, California.
• Recognition at the ASA Awards Banquet at Commodity Classic.
• A feature on your farm and conservation practices in Corn & Soybean Digest and a special online video.
• Potential opportunity to join other farmer-leaders on a trip to visit international customers of U.S. soybeans.

The Conservation Legacy Awards are sponsored by the American Soybean Association, BASF, Corn & Soybean Digest, Monsanto, the United Soybean Board/soybean checkoff and Valent.

More information on past winners of the award and how to submit your application is available here...  All applications must be submitted by Sept. 8, 2017.

ABS Global Launches Sexcel™ Sexed Genetics

ABS Global Inc. (ABS), a division of Genus plc, today launches Sexcel™ Sexed Genetics, made using 21st century technology and designed to deliver more high-value pregnancies to dairy herds worldwide.

Sexcel harnesses ABS’s best genetics and is produced through a novel, proprietary technology for sexing bovine semen. This innovative technology does not subject the cells to the high pressures, electric currents and shear forces used to produce the sexed semen historically available to farmers. The result is a superior sexed genetics product that helps customers maximize their profitability in line with their individual economic and herd goals.

Data from ABS Global's Real World Data® (RWD™) database demonstrates that Sexcel achieves a 90 percent relative conception rate when compared to conventional semen and a higher relative conception rate than other sexed semen used by dairy farmers. RWD contains real results from real customers and is sourced from more than 37 million cows from herds located in key dairy markets throughout the world.

“This is an exciting moment for ABS and its customers,” said Nate Zwald, Chief Operating Officer – ABS Global. “Sexcel gives farmers a new option for achieving their desired genetic blueprint and will help them profit through genetic progress. We have a unique product, and trial results show it is a very effective sexed offering for our customers.”

Prior to today’s launch, competition was restricted in the sexed genetics processing industry. Today’s launch marks the first time sexed genetics produced from a new and differentiated technology will be available to farmers. In March 2017, the U.S. federal court held that Sexing Technologies® (ST) had willfully maintained monopoly power in the market for sexed bovine semen processing in the U.S. and granted a permanent injunction against ST. The court’s judgment validates the importance of customer technology choice for sexed genetics.   

“Our research has shown that our customers are seeking a stronger line-up of sexed genetics and Sexcel brings that to the marketplace,” said Olivier Hiers, Global Sexed Genetics Brand Manager – ABS Global. “Our ground-breaking technology helps farmers fast forward their genetic progress. It enables their elite heifers to produce the replacement animals they want, while also providing farmers a choice of sexed genetics tailored to their specific needs– including calving ease, milk production, feed efficiency, reduction in disease risk or any number of genetic traits.”

To find out more about Sexcel, go to

Thursday August 31 Ag News

 Central Valley Ag, Farmway officially unite September 1

After a Farmway membership vote of approval of 91% on June 8, Farmway Co-op, Inc. (Farmway) and Central Valley Ag (CVA) officially unite into one cooperative September 1, 2017.

The new Central Valley Ag will consist of 90 locations across Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas with more than 800 employees dedicated to serving its producer-owners. CVA is headquartered in York, Neb. with Carl Dickinson serving as President/CEO. Art Duerksen, Farmway President/CEO, joins the CVA management team as Senior Vice President of Business Development.

“We celebrate a historic milestone as we formally join Central Valley Ag and Farmway into one team embracing the cooperative spirit to deliver value to our members,” said Dickinson. “CVA is investing in the people and places that move agriculture forward. As a result, CVA is wholly invested in the long-term success of this region for our employees and customers.”

Combined, the unified cooperative will have more than $400 million in members’ equity creating a strong balance sheet that improves equity revolvement to legacy producers, while providing services and patronage to today’s producers and viability for the future.

“Joining forces with CVA brings together two world-class cooperatives with rich histories and strong track records to create outstanding opportunities for our member-owners and employees,” said Duerksen. “With a 91% vote of approval from our membership, it shows that our producer-owners recognize greater possibilities and have ensured the long-term success of the cooperative by supporting this unification.”

Central Valley Ag offers a wide range of products, services, information and innovation through its agronomy, energy, feed and grain divisions to meet the needs of agricultural producers across the region.

To learn more, visit


Husker Harvest Days exhibits from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln will help show farm and ranch families how minor changes can lead to major returns.

"Small Changes, Big Payback: Strengthening Nebraska's Agricultural Economy" is the theme for the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources exhibits at the farm show Sept. 12-14 near Grand Island.

"Exhibits will outline a wide range of decision points, strategies and tools for farmers, livestock producers and farm families that can have a direct impact on their economic well-being, many of which are incremental in nature but can have dramatic impacts on their bottom line," said IANR Harlan Vice Chancellor Mike Boehm.

Exhibits inside IANR's trademark Husker Red steel building at Lot 321 on the south side of the exhibit grounds will provide information on:
> Strategies for managing family budgets during challenging economic times;
> The relationship between cost, nutritional value and impact of various feed sources for cow/calf operations;
> Understanding the county-by-county differences in the risk factors that affect crop insurance rates and how they impact profitability and management decisions;
> How farmers can better utilize the Farm Bill safety net;
> Benchmarking the costs of pumping irrigation water to better control input costs and make decisions related to pump efficiency and energy usage;
> Crop production strategies that can have a positive impact on cost per acre and profit margin;
> Using crop budgets to analyze the operating costs for a farm to become a low-cost producer;
> The university's annual survey of agricultural land value and rental rates in Nebraska.

Outdoor exhibits adjacent to the building will feature a variety of demonstrations related to improving irrigation efficiency and reducing irrigation pumping costs. The outdoor area will also feature a free solar-powered cellphone charging station.

Inside the building, IANR faculty and staff will be available to answer questions on a variety of extension and research-related topics, provide copies of NebGuides and direct those needing more information to extension experts in their local area. Showgoers can learn about the latest opportunities for students at the university's College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources and the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis. Those interested in the Nebraska Leadership Education Action Development program can also visit with a representative.

"We view this event as an excellent opportunity for us to bring the best of IANR and Nebraska Extension and research to Husker Harvest Days, and we take that very seriously," Boehm said. "This year marks Husker Harvest Days' 40th anniversary, and IANR has been a proud part of it since the very first show. We always appreciate the opportunity to visit with stakeholders about what they see as Nebraska's main challenges and opportunities."


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               As you bring in your round bales for winter storage and feeding, store them to minimize weather losses.

               Hay stored outside will be damaged by rain, snow, wind, and ice this fall and winter.  The average round bale loses about one fourth of its original nutrients during storage, but these losses can be reduced to less than 10 percent or so.  Now, I'm sure you are better than average.  Still, let's look at ways to reduce spoilage by storing that extra valuable hay more carefully this year.

               For instance, do you usually line up bales for easy access so the twine sides touch each other?  Or do you stack your bales?  If so, extra spoilage will occur where these bales touch because rain, snow, and ice will gather in spots where bales touch instead of running off.  Round bales butted end-to-end, cigar-like, usually have less spoilage.

               Does snow drift around your bales?  Bales placed in east-west rows often have drifts on the south side.  Hay next to fencelines or trees can get extra snow.  As snow melts it soaks into bales or makes the ground muddy.  Plus, the north side never gets any sun so it's slow to dry.  This year, line your bales up north-and-south for fewer drifts and faster drying as sunlight and prevailing winds hit both sides of the row.

               Most important is the bottom of your bales.  Always put bales on higher, well-drained ground so water drains away from them.  Keep them out of terrace bottoms or other low spots.  If necessary, use crushed rock, railroad ties, or even pallets to elevate bales to  keep the bottoms dry.  This also will reduce problems getting to your hay or getting it moved due to snow drifts or mud.

               Just a little pre-planning can save lots of hay and frustrations.

Seaboard Triumph Foods Sioux City pork processing plant operations to start

Seaboard Triumph Foods (“STF”) will start operation of its new pork processing plant located in Sioux City, Iowa, on Sept. 5. The facility will begin with one shift of commercial operations that will ramp up employment to approximately 1,100 employees once the shift reaches full production. At full one-shift capacity, the facility will process upwards of 10,000 head of market hogs a day.

Focused on high quality, consistent, wholesome pork, the new pork processing facility will use robotics and innovative technologies to produce a full line of fresh pork products for retail, international, food service, and further processing markets to help fill the increasing world-wide demand for pork. Seaboard Foods will market and sell the pork produced by the Sioux City plant under the PrairieFresh® Premium Pork and Seaboard Farms® brands. The plant will also supply Daily’s® Premium Meats with raw materials for its premium pork products, including raw and precooked bacon.

The plant opening marks a milestone for Seaboard Triumph Foods, a joint venture owned equally by Seaboard Foods and Triumph Foods, which was formed to construct a new pork processing facility in Sioux City. Seaboard Foods is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Seaboard Corporation (NYSE MKT: “SEB”) with a pork processing plant in Guymon, Okla. Triumph Foods is owned exclusively by pork producers with a pork processing plant in St. Joseph, Mo. Seaboard Foods markets and sells pork products produced by both the Guymon and St. Joseph plants under the PrairieFresh® Premium Pork and Seaboard Farms® brands. Together, Seaboard Foods and Triumph Foods also own Daily’s Premium Meats, which manufactures and distributes premium bacon products throughout the United States and internationally.

Approximately 30 percent of the market hogs at the Sioux City plant will be sourced from regional farmers who align with Seaboard Foods’ and Triumph Foods’ animal care and environmental stewardship practices, and share a common commitment to seeking a better way to produce wholesome pork. The remaining hogs will be supplied by Triumph Foods producer-owners and Seaboard Foods’ farms.

Since site work began in late September 2015, numerous local and regional contractors partnered with STF and its project design and construction management firm, Epstein, to build the modern fresh pork plant focused on food safety and efficiency to meet the growing demands of domestic and international customers. The pro-business environment, local and state leadership, ample regional hog supplies, and shovel ready site made Sioux City the prime location to build this state-of-the-art facility.

Chief Operating Officer Mark Porter stated, “We’ve seen great support from the community and local and state government. With their input and our focus on stewardship, the plant design includes modern odor control technologies, bioenergy solutions, and numerous environmentally friendly features.”

He added, “I couldn’t be more proud of the new plant, our team, and all the local and state partners that have helped bring this project to completion over the past two years. We are excited to begin commercial operations and supply the most sought after pork products to our diverse global consumers.”

Dairy Producers Can Enroll for 2018 Coverage

Secretary allows producers to opt out

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) today announced that starting Sept. 1, 2017, dairy producers can enroll for 2018 coverage in the Margin Protection Program (MPP-Dairy).   Secretary Sonny Perdue has utilized additional flexibility this year by providing dairy producers the option of opting out of the program for 2018.

“Secretary Perdue is using his authority to allow producers to withdraw from the MPP Dairy Program and not pay the annual administrative fee for 2018,” said Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation Rob Johansson. “The decision is in response to requests by the dairy industry and a number of MPP-Dairy program participants.”

To opt out, a producer should not sign up during the annual registration period. By opting out, a producer would not receive any MPP-Dairy benefits if payments are triggered for 2018. Full details will be included in a subsequent Federal Register Notice.  The decision would be for 2018 only and is not retroactive. 

The voluntary program, established by the 2014 Farm Bill, provides financial assistance to participating dairy producers when the margin – the difference between the price of milk and feed costs – falls below the coverage level selected by the producer.

MPP-Dairy gives participating dairy producers the flexibility to select coverage levels best suited for their operation. Enrollment ends on Dec. 15, 2017, for coverage in calendar year 2018. Participating farmers will remain in the program through Dec. 31, 2018, and pay a minimum $100 administrative fee for 2018 coverage. Producers have the option of selecting a different coverage level from the previous coverage year during open enrollment.

Dairy operations enrolling in the program must meet conservation compliance provisions and cannot participate in the Livestock Gross Margin Dairy Insurance Program. Producers can mail the appropriate form to the producer’s administrative county FSA office, along with applicable fees, without necessitating a trip to the local FSA office. If electing higher coverage for 2018, dairy producers can either pay the premium in full at the time of enrollment or pay 100 percent of the premium by Sept. 1, 2018. Premium fees may be paid directly to FSA or producers can work with their milk handlers to remit premiums on their behalf.

USDA has a web tool to help producers determine the level of coverage under the MPP-Dairy that will provide them with the strongest safety net under a variety of conditions. The online resource, available at, allows dairy farmers to quickly and easily combine unique operation data and other key variables to calculate their coverage needs based on price projections. Producers can also review historical data or estimate future coverage based on data projections. The secure site can be accessed via computer, Smartphone, tablet or any other platform, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

For more information, visit FSA online at or stop by a local FSA office to learn more about the MPP-Dairy. To find a local FSA office in your area, visit

NMPF Statement on USDA Announcement to Allow Farmers to Opt Out of Margin Protection Program

Jim Mulhern, President and CEO, NMPF

“The Margin Protection Program (MPP) in its current form has been a disappointment to many dairy farmers, which is why NMPF has been working both with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Congress to make significant improvements to the program. We had earlier suggested to USDA that, given this level of dissatisfaction, one option would be to allow farmers to opt out of the MPP in the coming calendar year.

“Today’s announcement to allow farmers to opt out of the program in 2018 is a welcome development, in that it acknowledges the widespread dissatisfaction among farmers enrolled in the program. Simply put, the way the program was enacted in the 2014 Farm Bill, it does not meet the needs of America’s dairy farmers today, and declining participation levels amply illustrate farmers’ disenchantment with the MPP. Farmers who choose to opt out of the MPP will then be able to enroll in the Livestock Gross Margin program for 2018.

“Looking ahead, Congress must make more resources available to the MPP, so that the program provides a more effective, affordable safety net – one that provides support when farmers need it. We are currently working with lawmakers to secure program improvements that will restore farmers’ faith in the value of the MPP. We also will continue to work with USDA and Congress to develop additional risk management options for dairy producers.”

EIA:  Ethanol inventory, production lower

Weekly data from the Energy Information Administration this week showed declines for ethanol inventory and plant production. The agency said fuel ethanol stocks again to 21.3 million bbl during the week-ended Aug. 25, although were 400,000 bbl or 1.9% higher on the year.

Plant production fell 10,000 bpd or 1.0% to 1.042 million bpd, while up 19,000 bpd or 1.9% year-on-year.  Still, trade sources said production remains high for this time of year. "[This] marks the highest [four-week] average in 22 weeks," said Geoff Cooper, vice president for research at Renewable Fuel Association.

NCGA Submits Comments to EPA on 2018 Ethanol Volumes

In comments submitted today to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Corn Growers Association asked the Agency to maintain the proposed amount of conventional ethanol blended into the nation’s gas supply for 2018, and to raise the amount of cellulosic, advanced, and total biofuels.

In a letter to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, NCGA President Wesley Spurlock writes, “In the 10 years since Congress expanded the RFS in 2007, corn farmers have responded to the growing market for ethanol, increasing production efficiency to help meet the RFS goal of moving the United States toward greater energy independence and security, boosting production of clean, renewable fuels and protecting consumers.”

In its proposed rule for the 2018 standards for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program, EPA proposed an implied volume of 15 billion gallons for conventional ethanol in 2018, consistent with the level intended by Congress. This is a change from the previous four years, when EPA proposed conventional ethanol volumes below statute—which negatively impacted investment in the renewable fuels industry. A recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the claim from NCGA and other petitioners that EPA erred in how it interpreted and used general waiver authority in setting volumes for 2014-2016.

However, EPA proposed a 73 million gallon reduction in cellulosic fuel volume and a 40 million gallon reduction in total renewable fuel volume for next year, compared with 2017. Spurlock urged EPA to reconsider and raise the volumes for cellulosic, advanced and total biofuels in 2018. This portion of the proposal takes implementation of the RFS law backward.

“We ask EPA to maintain the proposed conventional fuel requirement in the final rule. We also ask EPA to take a more forward-looking approach with stronger final volumes for cellulosic, advanced and total biofuels in order to draw the continued investment and innovation needed to support the ongoing expansion of cellulosic and advanced fuel production.”

RFA to EPA: Maintain 15 BG Conventional Renewable Fuel RVO, Increase Cellulosic Requirements

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) submitted comments today to EPA on its proposed 2018 Renewable Fuel Standard renewable volume obligations (RVOs), strongly supporting the 15 billion gallon (BG) requirement for conventional renewable fuels like corn ethanol, but urging the agency to finalize the RVOs that were included in EPA’s first draft of the proposal that was submitted for interagency review in May.

In July, EPA proposed a total renewable fuel volume of 19.24 BG, of which 4.24 BG is advanced biofuel, including 238 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel. That leaves a 15 BG requirement for conventional renewable fuels.

“RFA is pleased that the EPA maintained the statutory implied volume requirement of 15 billion gallons for conventional renewable fuels in 2018,” wrote RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen in comments to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “In doing so, the agency has sent a positive signal to the marketplace to continue the infrastructure investments necessary to grow the renewable fuel marketplace and expand the availability of gasoline blends containing more than 10 percent ethanol.”

However, RFA is “concerned that EPA’s assessment of ‘reasonably attainable’ renewable fuel levels in 2018 continues to inappropriately rely on demand-side factors, which is clearly barred by the recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. We encourage the agency to adopt the intended approach of simply evaluating the physical supply of renewable fuels (and RINs) available to obligated refiners, blenders and importers relative to the statutory volume requirements,” Dinneen noted in comments.

In EPA’s initial May draft that it sent to the White House Office of Management and Budget, the proposed RVO requirements were 384 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel; 4.38 BG of advanced biofuel; and 19.38 BG of total renewable fuel, higher than what the agency ultimately proposed in July. In comments, RFA urged EPA to finalize the requirements that were initially proposed.

On cellulosic biofuel, RFA urged the agency to use projections that reflect new and emerging technologies. EPA’s proposed approach for assessing available cellulosic biofuel supplies “pessimistically assumes new and emerging cellulosic biofuel facilities and technologies—including cellulosic ethanol from corn kernel fiber—will not produce any material volume in 2018,” wrote Dinneen. “This backward-looking methodology ignores marketplace realities and turns the market-driving purpose of the RFS on its head. EPA should abandon its proposed approach for projecting likely volumes of cellulosic biofuel and return to the methodology used for the 2016 and 2017 RVO rules (and early drafts of the 2018 RVO proposed rule).”

”RFA strongly recommends that EPA finalize the RVO levels that were included in early drafts of the 2018 proposed rule submitted to the White House Office of Management and Budget….Restoring the 2018 RVOs to these levels would support Congressional intent by returning the RFS program to a growth trajectory and driving continued investment in the biofuel sector,” Dinneen added in his comments.

ASA Asks EPA to Increase Biodiesel RFS Volumes

In comments submitted to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt today, the American Soybean Association (ASA) urged EPA to increase the volumes for biomass-based diesel to 2.5 billion gallons for 2019, an increase of 400 million gallons over the levels in the EPA proposal, yet still below the amount utilized in the U.S. in 2016.

“Biodiesel has expanded markets for farmers and livestock producers and created new jobs and economic growth, particularly in rural America,” said Ron Moore, ASA President and Illinois soybean farmer.

In addition to expanding markets for U.S. farmers and ranchers, biodiesel provides additional economic, energy security, and environmental benefits.

“The EPA and the Administration are missing an easy opportunity to help the agriculture and rural economy,” Moore added. “Given the many benefits that biodiesel provides, EPA should enthusiastically support higher, but easily achievable, volume targets for biomass-based diesel and advanced biofuels. An increase of biomass-based diesel volume requirements to 2.5 billion gallons in 2019 and the advanced biofuels volumes to 4.75 billion gallons in 2018 is achievable and warranted. There is idle domestic production capacity and ample, price competitive feedstock available to supply increased domestic biodiesel production.”

In the comments, ASA pointed to the important market that biodiesel provides as an outlet for increasing soybean oil supplies resulting from increased demand for soybean production to meet protein meal demand.

“Biodiesel production creates a value-added market for the co-product soybean oil generated by the growing global demand for protein meal. Without growing markets for the oil, U.S. farmers will not be able to maximize the opportunities being created by protein demand,” Moore said. “Soybean farmers have met the increased demand for protein meal and done so with increasing efficiency and sustainability. Since 1980 U.S. soybean farmers have increased production by 96 percent while using 8 percent less energy; land use per ton of soybean production has decreased by 35 percent; and greenhouse gas emissions have decreased by 41 percent per ton.”

The U.S. soybean harvest in 2016 was a record 4.3 billion bushels and plantings in 2017 are estimated at a record 89.5 million acres. Modeling indicates that these additional supplies support the increased biomass-based diesel and advanced biofuels volume levels and feedstock prices would still be less than their five-year average.

NBB: RFS Proposal Runs Counter to Congress's Intent; Volumes Should Be Higher

Today the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) formally called for higher volumes of advanced biofuels and biomass-based diesel. Representing more than 150 members and 64,000 jobs, NBB submitted comments on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposal on the advanced biofuel standard for 2018 and the 2019 volume for biomass-based diesel under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

“NBB is extremely concerned with the proposed rule’s unprecedented cut to the advanced biofuel volume and freeze in the biomass-based diesel volume. Both of these proposals run counter to Congress’s objectives to promote the growth of biofuels that provide American jobs, reduce emissions and enhance U.S. energy security. EPA cannot enact its own policy when Congress has spoken, so we look forward to working with the EPA on addressing these concerns,” said Doug Whitehead, chief operating officer at the National Biodiesel Board.

Biomass-based diesel has been a great success story of the RFS. Assisted in its development by the market incentive from both the biomass-based diesel volume and advanced biofuel volume, the biomass-based diesel industry has grown to support more than 64,000 jobs throughout its supply chain. The industry also provides benefits to American farmers and livestock producers by creating demand for the surplus oils from commodity crops and reducing the price of soybean meal.

The industry has routinely surpassed the annual biomass-based diesel volumes and currently comprises the vast majority of advanced biofuel production (roughly 93 percent). Unfortunately, EPA’s proposal would halt the progress of the biomass-based diesel industry and thwart Congress’s intent to increase advanced biofuel production. For the first time, the proposed rule lowers the advanced biofuel volume from the previous year and does not increase the biomass-based diesel volume.

“The proposed rule sends a chilling message that EPA is not interested in promoting growth in biofuels in accordance with the RFS, which will discourage any future investment and cause a contraction in the industry. It will result in a blow to our country’s energy security, a loss of jobs and wages of employees concentrated in rural areas, and a reduction in the income that American farmers receive for their crops and livestock products,” NBB writes in its comments.

NBB suggests the proposal’s volumes be changed more in line with Congressional intent. In its comments, NBB calls on EPA to increase the advanced biofuel volume for 2018 to at least 4.75 billion gallons and the biomass-based diesel volume for 2019 to at least 2.5 billion gallons. Doing so is necessary to effectuate Congress’s intent to “create incentives to increase renewable fuel supplies and overcome constraints in the market” and to respect EPA’s methodology from its own past rules. Raising the advanced biofuel volume to at least 4.75 billion gallons is an increase that could be achieved so easily by the industry that there is no non-arbitrary justification for EPA to set the volumes lower.

An agricultural and biofuels model designed by World Agricultural, Economic, and Environmental Services (WAEES) demonstrates that a 4.75 billion gallon volume could be readily achieved with minimal effects on RIN prices and feedstock prices—the two primary potential impacts EPA has described in its proposed rule.  Anything below an advanced biofuel volume of 4.75 billion gallons would both disregard Congress’s express objective of promoting growth in advanced biofuels and significantly harm those who have relied on EPA’s prior rules that set the advanced biofuel volume based on “reasonably attainable” levels.

As for the biomass-based diesel volume, EPA does not contend that there is any obstacle to biomass-based diesel production greater than 2.1 billion gallons; to the contrary, it concedes that greater production is possible. EPA acknowledges that a volume of 2.5 billion gallons is “reasonably attainable” in its analysis of advanced biofuels. In fact, the achievability of 2.5 billion gallons has already been demonstrated in practice because the industry has already exceeded that volume in 2016. 

And any increase in the biomass-based diesel volume from the proposed rule would have significant and concrete benefits in terms of jobs, agricultural income and energy security. When the benefits that Congress sought can be achieved by the industry, EPA cannot choose to ignore them based on its own policy preferences. 

There has been no reduction in capacity or infrastructure that would indicate the biomass-based diesel industry cannot continue the sustained growth it has already achieved. To the contrary, the biomass-based diesel industry has demonstrated that it can rapidly innovate and grow when the volumes under the RFS provide a sufficient market incentive.

Thus, EPA is not being forced to stop increasing the advanced biofuel volume or biomass-based diesel volume based on new developments suggesting that further increases are not possible. Instead, the agency is choosing to step away from the intent of the RFS based on its own preferences. There is no justification to do so when the biomass-based diesel industry has been consistently meeting annual volumes and furthering Congress’s objectives in the RFS.  

NBB will continue to work with EPA to address these concerns and to raise the volumes in the final rule expected this fall.

Farm Bureau Calls on EPA to Up the Advanced Biofuels Requirement for 2018

The American Farm Bureau Federation is giving the Environmental Protection Agency a thumbs-up for its proposal to keep the 2018 conventional biofuels level at 15 billion gallons, as called for in the Renewable Fuel Standard. At the same time, the organization warned that EPA’s plan to reduce the level of required advanced biofuels in the nation’s fuel supply will undermine the goals set by Congress to create a more robust renewable fuels industry and greater energy independence.                                  

“Renewable fuels have been a tremendous success story for the country and for the rural economy. The Renewable Fuel Standard has reduced our country’s dependence on foreign crude oil, reduced air pollution, increased farm incomes and provided good-paying jobs in rural America,” Dale Moore, AFBF executive director of public policy, noted in comments to the agency.

EPA’s proposal includes an overall 2018 biofuel mandate of 19.24 billion gallons, with 15 billion gallons of that in conventional biofuels, or ethanol, and 4.24 billion gallons in advanced biofuels.

EPA’s intention to reduce the 2018 requirements for advanced renewable fuel to 4.24 billion gallons, down from 4.28 billion gallons this year, not only dampens the prospects for reduced emissions and increased energy security, but also inhibits investment in cleaner, domestic fuels and the infrastructure needed to accommodate higher biofuel blends—all of which are goals of the RFS.

“The RFS was designed to give American consumers more choices at the pump and lower gas prices, and to utilize biofuel as more than just a gasoline additive with octane-boosting value. But EPA’s 2018 proposal fails to send the signal to the industry that greater infrastructure investment is needed and meaningful marketplace changes need to occur,” Moore said.

Farm Bureau is urging EPA to set the advanced biofuel requirements for 2018 at 5.25 billion gallons and the biomass-based diesel volume for 2019 at 2.75 billion gallons.

EPA intends to finalize the rule by Nov. 30.

NFU to EPA: Stand With Farmers and Consumers on RFS;

For the past decade, the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) has been a boon to American-grown renewable energy development, thereby expanding markets for family farmers, creating jobs in rural communities, shoring up American energy independence, and cleaning up the environment.

So when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issues new renewable fuel volume obligations this November, they must continue to build on the success of the RFS, says National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson. In public comments filed to the EPA today, Johnson urged the agency to issue RFS volume obligations that expand markets for higher blends of ethanol and advanced biofuels.

“The RFS has provided tremendous benefits to American family farmers, rural residents, consumers and the environment for the past decade, ” said Johnson. “If the EPA upholds Congress’ intent to institute a market-driving renewable energy policy, the RFS will continue to pave the way for America’s transition to a renewable energy future.”

In his comments, Johnson called on the EPA to improve on their proposed volume obligations from July. While the proposal maintained conventional biofuel levels, it lowered requirements for advanced biofuels.

“President Trump and his administration have assured family farmers and rural residents that this administration plans to support biofuels and uphold the intent of Congress as it relates to the RFS,” noted Johnson. “While we appreciate that EPA’s proposal maintains the implied conventional biofuel RFS volume at 15 billion gallons, the agency continues to consider 'constraints' on ethanol use, when it should continue to support ongoing efforts to increase use of higher ethanol blends in this country.”

“In addition, EPA’s proposal significantly reduces the statutory volume for advanced biofuels and, thereby, the total renewable fuel volume,” Johnson continued. “As such, the overall proposal falls short of preserving the integrity of the RFS – which is to drive the biofuels market and grow the industry.”

“As family farmers navigate a severely depressed farm economy, this is a time the administration should be raising expectations for a policy that drives many economies in rural America. We urge the administration to increase these proposed volumes and reject any calls to further reduce the required volumes,” he concluded.

Saudi Arabia Nearly Doubles U.S. Corn Imports In 2016/2017

Saudi Arabia has nearly doubled purchased of U.S. corn this marketing year due to a combination of favorable government policy shifts, competitive prices and market development work by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC).

Thus far in 2016/2017 (September-June), Saudi Arabia has purchased 2.07 million metric tons of U.S. corn (81.5 million bushels), up significantly compared to the prior five-year average of 861,000 tons (33.89 million bushels). Saudi Arabia has also ramped up purchases of U.S. ethanol substantially over the last two marketing years, with 2.5 million gallons sold in 2016/2017 plus more than 25,600 tons of U.S. distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS), an ethanol co-product.

Changes to local policy have helped spur these shifts. In 2011, the Saudi government added 14 new feed ingredients to the national animal feed subsidy scheme, the major driving force between what types of feed grains, co-products and forages are imported by the Saudi feed, livestock and poultry industries. That new list includes U.S. DDGS and corn gluten feed/meal (CGF), opening the door for increased exports.

A second policy shift in 2016 began the phase out of domestic wheat production, which had been utilized primarily for feed, in order to help conserve Saudi Arabia’s water resources. The policy ends a 30-year program for irrigating domestic wheat production and bodes well for increased U.S. exports of corn and co-products.

This demand potential is huge, but requires extensive market development work. The Saudi dairy industry is one of the most modern in the world and the country’s large poultry industry processes fresh product for domestic use as well as sales to neighboring Gulf countries. While these industries are quick to adopt new technology and ideas, they are still relatively unfamiliar with U.S. co-products. In 2016, Saudi Arabia imported less than 1,000 tons of U.S. CGF and DDGS.

“There is a constant need for market education and customer servicing to address grain quality complaints and the limited knowledge of the U.S. grain marketing and handling system, with key Saudi feed grain importers, end-users and government officials,” said Ramy Taieb, USGC regional director for the Middle East and North Africa.

To accomplish this goal, the Council sponsored a Saudi buyer team to the Council’s biannual Export Exchange in 2016, timed perfectly with the U.S. corn harvest. As a result, the participants reported buying 76,000 tons of corn and DDGS valued at $13 million.

In 2017, the Council continued these efforts with a team in August that brought key feed grain importers and end-users to Illinois, Virginia and and Louisiana to see firsthand U.S. feed grain production as well as meet face-to-face with U.S. suppliers and exporters. The team also learned more about how grain moves through the logistics channels for export markets, quality preservation throughout the supply chain, quality assurance by FGIS, best buying practices and contract specifications.

“Through these activities, the Council is building not just a short-term market, but long-term Saudi confidence in food security through trade,” Taieb said. “We are reassuring this growing market that U.S. corn and corn co-products will be available in abundant quantities at a reasonable price to sustain Saudi meat, milk and egg industries.”

Showcasing Sorghum’s Potential To Feed Catfish In Southeast Asia

The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and United Sorghum Checkoff Program (USCP) are on the road to demonstrate the potential of U.S. sorghum to supply Southeast Asia’s most affordable protein source - fish.

The Council recently concluded in-country feeding trials to test the viability of substituting sorghum or corn for cassava, with support from the USCP, for Pangasius, a large catfish species native to Southeast Asia. The trials concluded both grains could replace cassava as a source of starch for feeding Pangasius.

Results showed no difference between the sources of starch on growth performance, fillet color or physical properties of feed pellet quality (density and floatability). Beyond starch, sorghum is also low in tannins and contains higher protein than cassava as well as more amino acids (similar to corn), particularly tryptophan and threonine.

The Council and USCP are showcasing these results during travel August 27 to September 2 to Vietnam and Thailand, including to one of the world’s leading seafood trade shows - VietFish 2017. Every year, nearly 200 local and international exhibitors participate in the show, with approximately 30,000 visitors from Vietnam and around the world attending. The Council and USCP are conducting a series of seminars during the tradeshow as well as distributing the trial results at technical workshops and discussions in subsequent visits in Thailand.

Dairy Management Inc. proudly supports Animal Agriculture Alliance’s College Aggies Online

The Animal Agriculture Alliance’s annual College Aggies Online (CAO) scholarship competition begins September 10, 2017 with Dairy Management Inc. (DMI) as its largest supporter.

“We are thrilled to have DMI return as our largest sponsor for this year’s College Aggies Online program,” said Kay Johnson Smith, president and CEO at the Alliance. “DMI brings so much value and excitement to the students participating and we can’t wait to make this year the best yet.”

Collegiate clubs and individuals will compete for more than $16,000 in scholarships and mini prizes while engaging online and in person about food and agriculture. The program presents a unique opportunity for students to network with leaders from a wide variety of companies and organizations representing the animal agriculture community.

In addition to sponsoring, DMI will offer hands-on guidance to students as a mentor throughout the individual competition. Don Schindler, senior vice president of digital innovations at DMI will host a webinar about breaking out of the “ag echo chamber” and how to talk to consumers about agriculture issues, provide feedback on social media posts created by the students and help answer any questions the students may have about effective engagement.

“CAO is one of the best programs out there that helps college students become advocates for agriculture,” said Schindler. “I am proud to be a part of the program on behalf of DMI.”

DMI is not only involved in the individual competition of CAO, but will provide resources and support for the club competition with its “Undeniably Dairy” challenge. For this challenge, clubs will host a booth on their campus and hand out pizza or tacos to fellow students to promote and engage about the nutritional benefits of cheese and dairy while also sharing how dairy gets from the farm to the store. Clubs can also host a booth at an athletic event while handing out chocolate milk for muscle recovery.

DMI has supported CAO for the last three years and is the national checkoff organization promoting dairy farmers and the milk, cheese, yogurt and other foods dairy farmers provide to families.

Collegiate clubs and individuals interested in promoting agriculture and becoming confident communicators are invited to sign up through October 1, 2017 at

CAO would not be possible without the generous support of our sponsors. 2017 sponsors include: Dairy Management, Inc., the National Pork Industry Foundation, CHS Foundation, Pork Checkoff, Monsanto, Domino’s Pizza Inc., Biotechnology Innovation Organization, Kuhn North America and the Ohio Poultry Association.

Dairy Farmers Launch "Peel Back the Label" Campaign to Expose Deceptive Front-of-Package Food Labeling, Highlight Need for Responsible Food Marketing

As food manufacturers increasingly turn to fear-based food labeling to prop up profits and consumers face more confusion in the grocery aisles, America’s dairy farmers today launched “Peel Back the Label,” a new campaign to highlight this troublesome trend and stress the need for truth and transparency in food marketing.

The campaign comes as almost 70% of consumers say they look to front-of-label claims when making food purchasing decisions, and as food manufacturers increasingly utilize “free from” labels – i.e. ”no high fructose corn syrup” or “GMO free” or “hormone-free”– to play on consumers food safety fears and misconceptions.

Nowhere is this fear-based marketing more rampant than with GMOs. For example:

    Hunt’s adding a “GMO-free” label to its canned tomatoes, even though there is no such thing as a genetically modified tomato currently on the market.

    Florida’s Natural adding a Non-GMO Project certification to its orange juice labels, despite the fact there are no commercially-grown, genetically modified oranges.

     Dannon adding a line of non-GMO yogurt, citing “sustainable agriculture, naturality and transparency,” but unable to point to any nutritional, environmental, health, or other consumer benefit.

    TruMoo milk acknowledges GMOs are safe on its website, while at the same time launching an advertising campaign for its milk with the tagline, “No GMOs, No Worries.”

    Himalania Rock Pink Salt adding a Non-GMO Project certified label, despite the fact that salt – a mineral – could never be GMO in the first place because it has no genes to modify.

“America’s dairy farmers strongly support open, honest and transparent engagement with consumers. The deceptive labels and fear-based marketing increasingly used by some food manufacturers damages consumer trust and jeopardizes the safe, sustainable farming practices that have enhanced farm productivity over the last 20 years,” said Jim Mulhern, President of the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF). “Consumers have a right to both truth and transparency in food labeling. We launched this campaign to help consumers peel back the label on deceptive food marketing in the name of profits.”

This trend towards deceptive “free from” labels is particularly concerning for the dairy industry. Last year, NMPF and other leading farm organizations publicly raised concerns regarding Dannon’s announcement of its plans to eliminate GMOs from its products – saying the company’s decision was “the exact opposite of the sustainable agriculture that you claim to be seeking.”

Through the Peel Back the Label website, the campaign will give consumers access to the tools they need to separate hype from fact as they work to make informed food decisions for their families. It also will include ways for consumers to tell their own stories about the negative impacts of deceptive labeling, and share information with their social networks.

Concern about deceptive food labeling is widespread, with numerous voices from across the food sector calling out this troublesome marketing tactic. Examples include:

“This trend toward fear-based labeling may help prop up profits for food manufacturers, but it comes at a much greater cost for consumers who are trying to make informed choices for their families. Labels like these make consumers question their understanding of what’s really in their food and how safe it is to eat.” –Kent Messer, The Wilmington News Journal, 6/30/17

“If anything, the scaremongering around GMOs mistreats moms and their families by creating fear and mistrust of the conventional food supply in the absence of any scientific evidence. This can scare mothers on tight budgets to pay money they can’t afford for expensively labeled foods and to avoid fresh produce due to a misplaced fear of pesticides. Praying on a mother’s fears for the safety of her children is the most disingenuous use of marketing that I can imagine. “ –Alison L. Van Eenennaam, BioBeef Blog, 7/7/17

“Unfortunately, food manufacturers are being subjected to great public pressure to go ‘GMO-free,’ with brands like Dannon and Cheerios bowing to the pressure and shifting to sourcing only non-GMO ingredients. If this trend is allowed to continue, the impact on farmers, and in turn the environment, could be monumental. As champions of science continue to make their voices heard, it’s imperative to celebrate and acknowledge the promise of positive change embodied as technology being leveraged in multiple ways. If we allow science its chance at bat, we have a chance to win this.” –Tom Vilsack, The Hill, 4/27/17

“The people who push GMO labels and GMO-free shopping aren’t informing you or protecting you...They use your anxiety to justify GMO labels, and then they use GMO labels to justify your anxiety. Keeping you scared is the key to their political and business strategy.” –William Saletan, Slate, 7/15/15

“What really bothers me as a shopper are the injustices that result from the proliferation of this and other similar anti-GMO marketing...The [Non-GMO Project] seal implies that there are GMO oranges available even though there are no genetically-engineered citrus fruits on the market. Tomatoes, grapes, and sea salt are among several such products that carry the seal even though there are no ‘GMO’ counterparts available.” –Kavin Senapathy, Forbes, 5/31/17

Peel Back the Label is a campaign of America’s dairy farmers and their families. In the United States, 97 percent of dairy farms are family owned, and farmers are committed to producing quality milk for American families, protecting the environment and caring for their animals. Learn more about the campaign at

Wednesday August 30 Ag News

Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               You chopped that silage, packed it into the bunker, bag, or pile and now you finally have some feed for your cows.  But what if it’s poisonous?

               Silage is an important part of the feeding program for many livestock operations.  And it often becomes available when grazing resources often begin to run out, especially if it has been dry.

               Be patient, though.  Don’t be in a hurry to feed it.  It could be poisonous!

               Many times, crops stressed by drought or other factors will contain high levels of nitrates.  Making these crops into silage is one good way to safen these feeds because the fermentation process usually reduces the nitrate content of this feed.

               However, during the first few days of early fermentation the chopped forage begins to heat, converting those nitrates first into nitrites.  And, nitrites are as much as ten times more poisonous to cattle than nitrates.  As the fermentation process continues later on, these nitrites are neutralized and converted into other compounds that make them less toxic.

               So, if you feed your freshly chopped forage before it has completed its full fermentation cycle, you risk giving your cattle highly poisonous forage filled with nitrites.

               Avoid this problem.  First, wait three or four weeks after chopping before feeding fresh silage.  Then, test your silage for nitrates before feeding.  And use the results of the test to feed accordingly.

               Having crops and pastures damaged by dry weather is bad enough.  Don’t make it worse by feeding toxic silage to your cattle.


A new online tool from Nebraska Extension aims to connect farmers and cattle producers to encourage mutually beneficial agreements to use crop residue for grazing. The Crop Residue Exchange tool provides a searchable database of cropland available for grazing.

After creating an account, farmers can list available cropland by drawing their plot on an interactive map and entering information on the type of residue, fencing, water availability and dates available.

"While the primary objective of this exchange is to assist in the development of farmer-cattlemen relationships, we plan to add educational materials and tools that support these relationships in the near future," said Jay Parsons, associate professor of agricultural economics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Items in development include a lease agreement template; links to tools and guidelines to help farmers and cattle owners correctly stock crop-residue fields; and information on crop-residue grazing rates.

The Crop Residue Exchange is available at

IANR Media developed the tool with funding from a Nebraska Extension innovation grant.

ICGA's Contribution to Drainage Districts

In the best interests of Iowa’s corn farmers, the Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) has consistently and transparently sought to provide funds in the defense of the drainage districts who were sued in the Des Moines Water Works lawsuit. With the lawsuit’s dismissal, ICGA President Kurt Hora says they must keep progressing forward.

To this end, Hora says ICGA has contributed $20,000 to the County Boards of Supervisors in Calhoun, Sac and Buena Vista Counties. He says by settling the remaining financial obligations of the impacted drainage districts, they can focus on the important task of continuing to improve water quality.

Hora says as farmers, they want the safest, best quality water for Iowa. A positive, collaborative approach is key to improving our state’s water quality. ICGA and farmer-members will continue to use cooperation and collaboration in proactively solving our water quality issues.

For more information on ICGA’s water quality efforts, go to

Upturn in Farm Sector Profits Expected in 2017

After 3 consecutive years of decline, farm sector profits are forecast to increase in 2017. According to USDA's Economic Research Service, net cash farm income for 2017 is forecast at $100.4 billion, up $11.2 billion (12.6 percent) from 2016. Net farm income, a broader measure of profits, is forecast at $63.4 billion, up $1.9 billion (3.1 percent) relative to 2016. The stronger forecast growth in net cash income is largely due to an additional $9.7 billion in cash receipts from the sale of crop inventories. The net cash farm income measure counts those sales as part of current-year income while the net farm income measure counted the value of those inventories as part of prior-year income. Despite the forecast upturn in these profit measures relative to 2016, levels would be below all other years since 2010 (net farm income) and since 2011 (net cash farm income).

Cash receipts are forecast to rise $14.1 billion (4.0 percent) in 2017, led by a $13.6-billion (8.4 percent) increase in animal/animal product receipts. Dairy, poultry/egg, and hog receipts are up, reflecting expected increases in both price and quantity sold. Cattle/calf receipts are up, reflecting expected increases in the quantity sold. Overall, cash receipts for crops are forecast to remain mostly unchanged from 2016 as expected increases for some crops are offset by declines in others. Soybean, cotton, and vegetable/melon cash receipts are forecast to rise, while fruit/nut cash receipts are forecast to fall. Direct government payments are forecast to remain at just under $13.0 billion in 2017.

The 2017 forecast for farm business average net cash farm income is up by 5.8 percent, with the largest increases for farms specializing in dairy (up 42 percent), hogs (up 38 percent) and cotton (up 31 percent). The only declines in average net cash income are for farms specializing in specialty crops (down 15 percent) and other livestock (less than 1 percent).

After declining for 2 consecutive years, total production expenses are forecast up $4.6 billion (1.3 percent), led by increases in expenditures on interest, hired labor, and fuels/oil. Partially off-setting these increases are expected drops in feed and fertilizer/lime expenses.

Farm asset values are forecast to increase by 4.0 percent in 2017, and farm debt is forecast to increase by 4.4 percent. Farm sector equity, the net measure of assets and debt, is forecast up by $101.8 billion (3.9 percent) in 2017. The increase in assets reflects a 4.6-percent rise in the value of farm real estate. The rise in farm debt is driven by higher real estate debt (up 7.5 percent).

Median Income of Farm Operator Households Expected To Remain Level in 2017

The total median income of U.S. farm households increased steadily over 2010-14, reaching an estimated $81,637 in 2014. Median household income, which fell 6 percent in 2015, is forecast to remain level at $76,831 in 2017. Median farm income earned by farm households in 2016 is estimated to be negative at -$940 and forecast to dip slightly (to -$1,325) in 2017. In recent years, slightly more than half of farm households have lost money on their farming operations each year. Most of these households earn positive off-farm income—and median off-farm income is forecast to increase 2.3 percent next year, from $66,468 in 2016 to $67,969 in 2017. (Because farm and off-farm income are not distributed identically for every farm, median total income will generally not equal the sum of median off-farm and median farm income.)

2017 America’s Pig Farmer of the Year Finalists Announced

The National Pork Board has announced the four finalists who are vying to be named the 2017 America’s Pig Farmer of the YearSM. The program honors a U.S. pig farmer each year who excels at raising pigs using the We CareSM ethical principles and is committed to sharing his or her farming story with the American public.

“The four finalists represent the diversity of the pork industry in the United States,” said National Pork Board President Terry O’Neel, a pig farmer from Friend, Nebraska. “They exemplify the best in pig farming and in taking the lead on environmental sustainability, animal welfare and continuous improvement.”

The 2017 finalists are:
    Bill Luckey – Columbus, Nebraska
    Leslie McCuiston – Columbus, Nebraska
    Leon Sheets – Ionia, Iowa
    Maria Mauer – Greensburg, Indiana

The four finalists are meeting today with an expert panel of third-party judges in Chicago. The judges will view videos produced at the finalists’ farms and will interview each of them.

Through Sept. 8, the public can vote once a day per person per email address for their favorite finalist at The winner will be announced Oct. 3 based on the judges’ scores and the online voting.

About the Finalists

Bill Luckey – Columbus, Nebraska  

Farming and raising pigs has been a family tradition for Bill Luckey, who is a fourth-generation farmer. Luckey, along with his wife and three sons, market 10,000 pigs a year. They also raise cattle, corn and soybeans on their farm.

Leslie McCuiston – Columbus, Nebraska  

Focusing on people is Leslie McCuiston’s main goal as a senior production manager for The Maschhoffs, LLC. McCuiston believes in equipping employees with the right tools to provide the best animal care every day. She oversees 70 employees who care for over 18,000 sows in central Nebraska.

Leon Sheets – Ionia, Iowa  

Raising pigs has been a life-long passion for Leon Sheets, who started raising pigs with his grandfather when he was a young child. Sheets raises 33,000 pigs on his farm in northeast Iowa, where he focuses on animal care and environmental sustainability. With the help of his employees, son and wife, Sheets also raises corn, soybeans, hay and cover crops.
Maria Mauer – Greensburg, Indiana  

Providing sows with a clean, comfortable environment is step No. 1 for Maria Mauer at Smiley Brothers, Inc., where they market 18,000 pigs a year from the farrow-to-finish farm. Mauer believes in the importance of teaching her six-year-old son life lessons by bringing him to the barn with her to care for the sows.

About the Expert Judging Panel

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

About the Contest

The National Pork Board created the America’s Pig Farmer of the Year program to recognize the best in pig farming. This honor is awarded annually to a pig farmer who demonstrates and lives by the We Care ethical principles.

Academic Study: Biodiesel Benefits Under-Valued for Years

A new academic paper published in Biotechnology for Biofuels shows biodiesel’s benefits are even better than previous models suggest. Updated modeling from Purdue University suggests the advantage of using biodiesel has been underestimated by 10 percent.

“This latest research verifies biodiesel is an ideal option to support American-made energy and renewable fuels,” said Don Scott, National Biodiesel Board Director of Sustainability. “The more accurate the models become, the more clearly they show biodiesel’s benefits.”

Research has long supported the benefits of biodiesel in reducing wastes, supporting domestic jobs, and reducing harmful emissions. With all these proven advantages, the remaining question has become: How much biodiesel can we make and maintain each of these benefits? For nearly a decade, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and a handful of scientific institutions have been trying to determine how major biofuel policies might impact land use around the world.

One theory had suggested that policies promoting biofuels will produce economic incentives that encourage farmers to plant more crops.  Since federal policy does not allow biofuels from new cropland to participate in incentive programs, it is assumed that these additional crops add food and livestock feed to global markets.  EPA and CARB have used computer models to predict this additional production in response to the economic signal from biofuels.  If there are carbon emissions associated with creating new farmland, EPA and CARB follow this theory to add those estimated carbon emissions to the lifecycle of biofuels.

This conservative approach ensures no unintended ill-effects from biofuel production, but holding biodiesel accountable for the carbon emissions from putting more food and feed in the world has impacted biodiesel’s carbon score when compared to petroleum fuel.  Without these indirect effects, biodiesel reduces greenhouse gases (GHGs) by 85 percent compared to fossil fuels.  Including predicted indirect emissions estimates has lowered biodiesel’s advantage to just more than 50 percent cleaner than diesel fuel.  That is, according to modeling done by EPA in 2010 and CARB in 2014.   Purdue University’s latest research shows these measures underestimate the carbon benefit of biodiesel by 10 percent.

“Biodiesel is already recognized as the commercial biofuel with the lowest net GHG emissions. The power in these new findings is that science is improving.  The prediction of economic impacts and land use change is becoming more reliable.  More data has been analyzed today than has ever been available in the past.  The data shows that farmers all around the world are becoming more efficient.  We are feeding better food to more people, and we are doing it using less land,” Scott said. “This is great news, because agriculture is our most powerful tool to turn solar energy and carbon dioxide into things like food and biodiesel.  This is a powerful formula, because sunshine is free, and farming turns the liability of excess carbon dioxide into an asset when we use it to support American jobs. Biodiesel is a powerful driver to create jobs and help our environment. As these models look more and more like the real world, biodiesel’s extensive real-world benefits come into focus.”

Perdue Statement on President Trump’s Tax Reform Agenda

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today expressed his strong support for President Trump’s tax reform agenda as a great benefit to the American agriculture community. Perdue issued the following statement:

“Just as he has done with excessive and costly regulations, President Trump has focused on the problem of onerous and burdensome taxes. Most agricultural operations are, in fact, small businesses, and the time and costs associated with merely complying with the tax code are impeding American prosperity. Farming is a complex enterprise, as even the smallest operations know, so the attention and financial resources that are diverted to handling taxes are an extra barrier to success.

“People should be able to keep more of what they have earned through the sweat of their brows, which will also invigorate the entire United States economy. The Death Tax is one section of the code that is particularly offensive to agriculture, as too many family farms have had to be broken up or sold off to pay the tax bill. The president’s tax reform package will be of great benefit to agriculture and help improve rural prosperity.”

UAN Fertilizers Continue Lower

Average retail prices for most fertilizers were lower again the fourth week of August 2017 compared to the previous month, according to fertilizer retailers surveyed by DTN.

Prices for seven of the eight major fertilizers were lower compared to last month, though only two were down significantly. UAN32 was 7% lower compared to the previous month and had an average price of $248 per ton. UAN28 was also lower, down 6% compared to last month. UAN28 had an average price of $216/ton.

The remaining five fertilizers were just slightly lower in price compared to last month. MAP had an average price of $458/ton, potash $338/ton, urea $304/ton, 10-34-0 $419/ton and anhydrous $417/ton.

One fertilizer was unchanged in price compared to a month ago. DAP had an average price of $434 per ton, the same as the fourth week of July 2017.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.33/lb.N, anhydrous $0.25/lb.N, UAN28 $0.38/lb.N and UAN32 $0.39/lb.N.

All but one retail fertilizer are lower compared to a year earlier. Three of the eight major fertilizers are double digits lower.

Anhydrous is now 19% lower from a year ago while 10-34-0 is 17% less expensive and UAN32 is 11% lower. Both urea and UAN28 are 8% less expensive, DAP is 4% lower and MAP is 2%. The one fertilizer higher compared to last year is potash, which is now 2% more expensive.

Reba McEntire Named Farm Bureau Keynote Speaker

Iconic entertainer Reba McEntire will join AFBF President Zippy Duvall during the Closing General Session of the 2018 AFBF Annual Convention and IDEAg Trade Show on Monday, Jan. 8, 2018, for a Q&A keynote touching on her rural roots, family, career and, of course, country music.

Reba is no stranger to agriculture—she grew up in rural Oklahoma on her family’s 8,000-acre ranch. Now, this multimedia mogul and mom is a household name with a successful career that spans across music, television, film, theater and retail.

Registration opens Oct. 2, 2017, so mark your calendars for Music City!

Reba McEntire’s latest album, a two-disc inspirational collection called “Sing it Now: Songs of Faith and Hope” (Nash Icon Records / Capitol Christian Music Group), topped both the Billboard Country & Christian/Gospel charts and marked her 13th summit to reaching a No. 1- selling album. Her iconic career has achieved a rare pinnacle with 35 No. 1 singles and over 56 million albums sold worldwide.

 The Country Music Hall of Fame and Grand Ole Opry member has won 15 American Music Awards, 14 ACM Awards, nine People’s Choice Awards, seven CMA Awards and two Grammy Awards, in addition to other prestigious accolades for her philanthropic endeavors and leadership.

The Oklahoma native is an acclaimed actress with 11 movie credits and her own six-season television sitcom, “Reba.” In 2001, she received critical acclaim for her Broadway debut starring in Irving Berlin’s “Annie Get Your Gun.”

Elevore™ Herbicide Receives Federal EPA Registration

Innovation to fall and spring burndown programs is now reality with the announcement by Dow AgroSciences that Elevore™ herbicide has received federal registration by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  Elevore Arylex.jpg

When tank-mixed with glyphosate and/or 2,4-D, Elevore can be applied up to 14 days before planting in corn and soybeans for thorough control of high-anxiety weeds, including marestail up to 8 inches tall. Labeled for use prior to planting soybeans, corn and cotton, Elevore is now available for farmers to use in the 2018 spring burndown season.

“Unlike many other burndown herbicides, Elevore elevates a farmer’s program by preventing regrowth of emerged weeds,” says Jon Doran, portfolio marketing leader, Dow AgroSciences. “In field trials conducted by Dow AgroSciences over several years, Elevore provided excellent activity on marestail at various heights, including 8 inch tall marestail.  We have also seen consistent control across a wide range of geographies.”

Powered by Arylex™ active, a new Group 4 growth regulator, field trials show Elevore™ herbicide effectively controls labeled broadleaf weeds, including glyphosate- and ALS-resistant marestail, lambsquarters, cutleaf evening primrose and henbit.

The low use rate of one ounce per acre makes Elevore an excellent fit in reduced- and no-till production systems for burndown applications before planting. Elevore can be applied with a farmer’s current burndown program in spring or fall in various climate conditions, including cooler temperatures.

Matt Stagg, a farmer from Bunkie, Louisiana, is impressed with the weed control he experienced in a 5-acre field trial using Elevore conducted on his farm in 2016.

“We had a range of weeds and various sizes of marestail present in the field trial,” says Stagg. “Adding Elevore to our current protocols definitely gave the other products an edge on knocking it down. I also see incorporating a burndown protocol using Elevore and coming back with a preemerge herbicide application as a strong resistance management program. Every year, preemerge herbicides are becoming more of a need as resistance continues increasing.”

Elevore herbicide contains Arylex active and is a novel class of herbicides that acts through a synthetic auxin mechanism to control broadleaf weeds in burndown. Absorbed mainly through leaves, shoots and roots of plants, Arylex active is translocated through the plant for effective control. Although Arylex active is not considered a new mode of action, it does have unique binding affinity that is different from other auxin herbicides such as 2,4-D.

“Visual signs of control aren’t immediately apparent because Arylex active is absorbed by the plant’s cells where the herbicide binds with specific auxin receptors in the cell’s nucleus,” says Jeff Ellis, Ph.D., field scientist, Dow AgroSciences. “The delayed response is due to the gradual, albeit complete, absorption process. Once absorbed by the plant’s nucleus, Arylex active halts growth and the plant dies, providing complete control.”


CLAAS of America and The Climate Corporation, a subsidiary of Monsanto Company, announced today at the Farm Progress Show that they are in discussions to implement data connectivity capabilities that will enable farmers to seamlessly flow data from CLAAS machinery into Climate’s industry-leading Climate FieldView™ digital agriculture platform using the Climate FieldView™ Drive device.

The Climate Corporation’s FieldView Drive is a device that connects to the CAN diagnostic port of compatible equipment, such as a tractor, sprayer or combine, and wirelessly maps field data into a farmer’s Climate FieldView account. The companies expect that beginning in Fall 2017, the FieldView Drive will be compatible with CLAAS LEXION combines and CLAAS JAGUAR forage harvesters, providing more farmers the ability to experience simple data collection and storage, as well as enhanced field map visualization and harvest data analysis, through one connected digital ag platform.

“We are delighted with the co-development that has been taking place between The Climate Corporation and CLAAS of America in our efforts to enable field data compatibility,” said Brandon Olstad, platform manager for Efficient Agriculture Systems by CLAAS. “We look forward to delivering near real-time, in-cab harvest data to the Climate FieldView platform, where our customers can benefit from all of Climate’s powerful digital tools for optimized decision-making.”

Data is generated from the CLAAS Quantimeter yield and moisture measurement systems, and a simple in-cab plug and play architecture allows for the data flow to take place. In turn, the FieldView Drive will seamlessly transfer field data into a farmer’s Climate FieldView account, where they can easily visualize and analyze their yield data, right in the field.

“Helping farmers get all their data in one place, including the data generated from their farming equipment, is a core focus at Climate,” said Max Dougherty, business development account lead for The Climate Corporation. “We are committed to helping every farmer connect their data, across equipment brands, to the Climate FieldView platform so they can experience deeper field insights. We’re pleased to collaborate with CLAAS of America to help even more farmers gain a better understanding of their fields and enhance their productivity through transformative digital tools.”

In August 2016, The Climate Corporation announced that it would extend the Climate FieldView platform to enable other ag innovators to build upon and complement Climate’s digital tools with additional data layers. Through this collaboration with CLAAS of America, farmers will be able to experience even greater value from one centralized digital ag platform.

In less than two growing seasons, the Climate FieldView platform has quickly become the most broadly connected platform in the United States and has continued to expand into new global regions, including expansion into Canada and Brazil. Officially launched in 2015, the Climate FieldView platform is on more than 100 million acres across the United States, Canada and Brazil, with more than 100,000 users engaging in Climate's digital tools. Backed by the most powerful data science engine and most extensive field research network in the agriculture industry, the Climate FieldView platform delivers customized insights that help farmers make data-driven decisions with confidence to maximize yield potential, improve efficiency and manage risk.

CLAAS constantly strives to ensure a better harvest with premium products designed for maximum throughput, efficiency and reliability. The smart technologies offered on CLAAS harvesting equipment dynamically accommodate changing harvest conditions and monitor field performance for greater farming intelligence. Their open platforms make it easy to share data with the Climate FieldView platform and other precision farming technology providers.

Tuesday August 29 Ag News

Two Nebraska Pig Farmers Named Finalists for 2017 America’s Pig Farmer of the Year

Two Nebraska pig farmers, Bill Luckey and Leslie McCuiston, both of Columbus, are two of the four finalists who are vying to become 2017 America’s Pig Farmer of the Year. The goal of the program is to honor the U.S. pig farmer who best excels at raising pigs using the We Care ethical principles and is best able to share his or her farming story with the American public.

“To have two of the four finalists from our state is outstanding,” said Russ Vering, President of the Nebraska Pork Producers Association. “They both represent the best in pig farming and they are two individuals who have taken the lead on environmental sustainability, animal welfare and continuous improvement.

Farming and raising pigs has been a family tradition for Bill Luckey who is a fourth-generation farmer. Luckey, along with his wife and three sons, market 10,000 pigs a year. They also raise cattle, corn and soybeans on their farm.

Focusing on people is Leslie McCuiston’s main goal as a Senior Production Manager for The Maschhoffs, LLC. McCuiston believes in equipping her employees with the right tools to provide the best animal care every day. She oversees 70 employees who help to take care of over 18,000 sows in Northeast Nebraska.

The four finalists are meeting today with an expert panel of third-party judges in Chicago. The judges will view on-farm videos produced at the finalists’ farms and will conduct an in-person interview with each of them.

From Aug. 30 through Sept. 8, the public can vote once a day per person per email address for their favorite finalist at The winner will be announced Oct. 3.

Nebraska Corn Board elects Reiners as new at-large director and Merrell, Bruntz and Borg as officers at August meeting

The Nebraska Corn Board held a board meeting on August 25, 2017 at the Embassy Suites in Lincoln. During this meeting, the Board elected Jay Reiners, a farmer from Juniata, Nebraska, to serve as its at-large director. Reiners will replace Alan Tiemann from Seward, who is stepping down after 12 years with the Nebraska Corn Board.

“I’m honored and humbled the Board has chosen me to serve as a director on the Nebraska Corn Board,” said Reiners. “Alan left big shoes to fill, but I’m ready to hit the ground running to serve our state’s corn farmers.”

Reiners graduated with an associate’s degree in general agriculture from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) before serving in the Army National Guard. He currently grows field corn, seed corn and soybeans on his 1,700 acre farm. Jay is also very active in a variety of leadership roles. He is the vice president of the Adams County Lutheran Education Association, is involved with the Adams-Webster Corn Growers Association, the Nebraska Corn Growers Association and is the vice chair of the National Corn Growers Market Access action team.

Nebraska Corn Board directors serve three year terms with opportunities to be reelected. Reiners began his role directly following the election. In addition to the at-large director selection, the Nebraska Corn Board also held officer elections at the August 25 board meeting.

David Merrell, District 7 director, was reelected as the chairman of the board. Merrell, who has been with the Nebraska Corn Board since 2006, has farmed for over 20 years on his farm near St. Edward, Nebraska. His family farm consists of 1,200 acres of corn and soybeans. He is active in the National Corn Growers Association, U.S. Grains Council and the Nebraska Corn Growers Association. He is a graduate of UNL with a bachelor’s degree in mechanized agriculture (mechanized systems management).

“It’s been a true privilege to work with the other eight members of the Board to help advance and expand Nebraska’s corn industry,” said Merrell. “Each board member is extremely dedicated. They bring unique interests and viewpoints to the table, which represent all of our state’s corn farmers.”
David Bruntz, District 1 director, was reelected as the vice chair of the Nebraska Corn Board. Bruntz has been farming for more than 30 years near Friend, Nebraska. He grows irrigated and non-irrigated corn and soybeans, and he also feeds cattle. Bruntz received his education from UNL’s Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture where he majored in production agriculture. He has been with the Board since 2013.

Debbie Borg, District 4 director, was elected secretary/treasurer of the Board. Debbie lives near Allen, Nebraska and is a partner in TD Borg Farms, a fifth generation farm. On their farm, they raise corn, soybeans, alfalfa, feed cattle and are proactively engaged in establishing the sixth generation in the business. Borg earned a Bachelor of Science degree in agribusiness from Colorado State University. She has served on the Nebraska Corn Board since 2013.

“We are fortunate in Nebraska to have a corn checkoff that actively works to engage in strategies to positively impact our corn farmers,” said Kelly Brunkhorst, executive director of the Nebraska Corn Board. “Each director devotes a significant amount of time and effort to promote the value of corn by creating opportunities.”

Each of the officer positions are effective immediately and will last one year. The Nebraska Corn Board is made up of nine farmer directors who serve three-year terms. Eight members represent specific Nebraska districts and are appointed by the Governor of Nebraska. The Board elects a ninth at-large member.


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               It's hard to believe, but summer is nearing an end and silage harvest time soon will be here.  Let's talk today about making good silage.

               Good silage can reduce feeding costs for your livestock.  And to get good silage, it doesn’t matter whether its drought damaged, hailed, or a normal crop, the same techniques are used.

               There are three keys to making good silage.  The first is chop at the right moisture.  Silage in bunkers should be about 65 percent moisture, and in upright towers around 62 to 65 percent is best.  Bags work well between 60 and 70 percent.  Silage chopped too wet will run or seep, carrying away many valuable nutrients, and it often has a sour, smelly, unpalatable fermentation. Silage chopped too dry usually develops some mold and the silage heats.  Cattle eat it really well but protein and energy digestibility can be low in heat-damaged silage.

               Next, you must eliminate oxygen.  Proper moisture, tight packing, rapid filling, uniform distribution, and correct length of cut all help force air out of the silage.  Then cover the top with plastic to prevent oxygen in the air from penetrating and spoiling the outside two or three feet.

               Finally, encourage rapid fermentation to lower silage pH.  Proper moisture at chopping and tight packing are a great start.  Adding inoculants can speed fermentation and can help reduce storage losses.  Sometimes they also improve silage feeding value.  Inoculants are especially valuable with wet silage but they also can improve drier or proper moisture silage.

               Good silage provides economical animal production.  Correct moisture, a tight pack, and rapid lowering of pH can get you there.

ICGA Commemorates 50 Years at Annual Grassroot Summit

Continuing the legacy became the theme echoed many times throughout the 2017 Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) Grassroots Summit which took place this weekend in Altoona. While celebrating the many achievements of the last 50 years, ICGA delegates set the direction for the policies and priorities in the coming year.

“The hard work that our members put forth and their involvement supports sound policy decisions that will continue to aid in the success of the corn industry,” said ICGA President Mark Recker, a farmer from Arlington. “Our members are passionate about making a difference and cultivating a bright future for our industry for generations to come. I cannot wait to see what we accomplish this next year.”

On Saturday, the nearly 150 delegates in attendance had the opportunity to review expiring policies and debate new resolutions. The Grassroots Summit is the year-end event in the policy development process. The process includes a member-wide survey in the spring, roundtable discussions held across the state in the summer and the Grassroots Summit in late August. Policies that are related to national issues are adopted and brought forth at the Commodity Classic meetings in March with National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) farmer delegates.

The delegates deliberated on many important state issues impacting Iowa corn farmers including these priority issues:
    Ethanol – obtain funding for infrastructure cost-share program (RFIP)
    Conservation/Water Quality – long-term, increased funding for the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy
    Regulations – reduce regulatory barriers where possible
    Taxes – protect agriculture in comprehensive tax reform
    Taxes – Section 179 coupling with State of Iowa

“This meeting reaffirmed our top federal priorities of maintaining a strong Renewable Fuel Standard and supporting international marketing of agricultural commodities by expanding trade agreements and the continued funding of USDA commodity export programs,” ICGA President Recker. “We are focused on supporting legislation that will build markets and create demand for corn and corn products.”

Delegates weighed several key federal issues:
    Ethanol – Retain the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)
    Trade- Expanding bilateral and multi-lateral trade agreements
    Trade – Protect/expand funding for U.S. Department of Agriculture Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development Program as part of the Farm Bill
    Safety Net – Protect crop insurance funding as a part of the Farm Bill
    Tax- Protect agriculture in comprehensive tax reform

During the Grassroots Forum on Friday, incoming ICGA President Recker welcomed attendees with a special video message from Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds then Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg, a graduate of the Iowa Corn I-LEAD program, addressed the group. Iowa Corn CEO Craig Floss moderated an Iowa Corn Leadership Panel of past ICGA farmer-leaders including Pam Johnson, a farmer from Floyd County who served as National Corn Growers Association President from 2012-13, Glen Moeller, a farmer from Scott County who served as ICGA President from 1995-96, and Pete Wenstrand, a farmer from Page County who served as ICGA President from 1988-89. The panel examined the many challenges and opportunities facing them as leaders then and how several of these issues impact the corn industry today. Attendees then divided into roundtable discussions facilitated by representatives of several of Iowa Corn’s partner organizations.

In addition, many of the Iowa Congressional Delegation recorded special 50th Anniversary congratulatory videos that were played throughout the two-day event and former ICGA President Varel Bailey of Anita who received the Walter Geoppinger Lifetime Achievement Award for his service to the corn industry.

ICGA will release its finalized top 2018 state and federal policy priorities in December based on grassroots input provided during the Summit. The complete 2017-2018 policy resolution book is available upon request by emailing or calling 515-225-9242.

ICGA Recognizes Members Receiving the 2017 Iowa Farm Environmental Leaders Award

Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) recognized 28 members and their families who received the 2017 Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award during the Annual Grassroots Summit Awards Luncheon on Saturday.

This award is a joint effort between Governor Reynolds, Lieutenant Governor Gregg, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, and Iowa Department of Natural Resources. It was created to identify farmers who are committed to water quality and soil health. Each recipient has demonstrated excellent voluntary efforts to help keep Iowa’s water clean and our soils healthy. These individuals were also acknowledged during a ceremony held at the Iowa State Fair on August 19th.

ICGA membership selected are as follows:
           Mike and Rhonda Leonard, Harrison
           Alan and LuAnn Bennett, Ida
           Russ and Liz Davis, Sac & Calhoun
           Keith and Sharon Mensing, Adair
           Donald & Betty and Bruce & Deborah Richardson, Buena Vista
           Julius and Cynthia Schaaf, Fremont
           Mark and Melissa Schliesman (M&M Farms), Calhoun & Carroll & Sac
           Paul and Linda Beckman, Des Moines
           John Dingman, Lee
           Roger and Susie Edwards (Ro-Sie View Farm), Louisa
           Jim Goodhue and family, Warren
           Chad Ingels, Fayette
           Joe and Mary Jardon, Fremont & Montgomery
           Eric & Annette Jellum (Jellum Farm), Mitchell
           Bruce and Lisa Johnson, Mitchell
           Wayne and Lisa Koehler, Floyd
           Paul and Avriel Koester, Tama
           Steve and Ann Mallams (Mallams Inc), Henry
           Duane & Karen Martin (Duane Martin Family Inc), Fayette
           John and Joan Maxwell (Cinnamon Ridge Farms), Scott
           Mike and Jon McClure, Dallas
           Moffitt Stock Farms, Warren
           Jim and Mike Penick, Warren
           Mark & Cindy Prevo (Prevo Farms Inc), Davis
           Leon Sheets (Sheets Farms), Chickasaw
           Henry and Meri Kay Shepard, Black Hawk & Benton
           Kenneth Sieren, Washington & Keokuk
           Loran Steinlage, Fayette

This is just one of many examples of how ICGA is leading the way on Iowa’s water quality efforts. ICGA also offers its members a monthly Stewardship Advocate e-newsletter to help them stay up-to-date with news and events related to their farms. The program features monthly updates from Iowa Corn Sustainable Program Manager, Ben Gleason, and other experts on the topics of soil health, conservation and water quality. Go to, for more information.

Iowa Land Values Update

Sam Kain, Asst VP - Real Estate Operations - Farmers National Company  

Land auctions lead the way in Iowa for Farmers National Company with a 30 percent growth in sales in the last year.

Auction sales were 78 percent of Farmers National Company’s transactions in Iowa for the first six months of our fiscal year. Despite a more cautious land market, 97 percent of our auctions were successful and the land sold. That is a testament to the local agent who knows the buyers and sellers in their market.

Good quality land in Iowa has been steady or experienced a slight decline in value in the past six months. Average quality land continues to see a slow decline in value, while pasture land has experienced some strengthening. Estates remain the primary sellers of land as the inherited land is sold and the proceeds divided among the inheritors. Farmers continue to comprise the majority of land buyers with interest by investors coming back into play in the market.

Overall, land values have stayed fairly stable due to the limited amount of land on the market over the past several years. Recent commodity prices indicate there is still room for a downward trend in land values. If we start to see more land available on the market, we may see values decrease more rapidly.

Soybeans Hit the Road in New Goodyear Tires

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Animal Agriculture Alliance issues statement on how to help farmers, ranchers and animals impacted by Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey continues to unleash havoc on farmers and ranchers in Texas with flood waters forcing cattle and other livestock to be moved to higher ground.

Texas ranchers in the affected areas are no strangers to severe weather and storms - many began preparing days before Harvey made landfall by moving cattle and stockpiling hay and feed. Many were also prepared to cut fences on Friday in an effort to allow any remaining cattle to get to roadways and higher ground when Harvey arrived.

“The dedication and hard work of farmers and ranchers is evident as we see cattle being herded from flooded fields to streets to avoid the rising water,” said Hannah Thompson-Weeman, vice president of communications at the Alliance. “Now it is time for our farmers and ranchers to receive the help they deserve.”

Several groups are on route to join forces with local organizations to help animals in need. One of those groups is American Humane Association. It is working with Chicken Soup for the Soul Pet Food “to deliver more than 100,000 pounds of free emergency food to displaced pet owners and frightened, hungry animals separated from their families.”

While animals are being moved to higher ground, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is moving funds into its account as the animal rights group uses the disaster in Texas to fundraise. 

“HSUS is not affiliated with local humane societies and uses only about one percent of its budget to help animals in shelters,” said Kay Johnson Smith, president and CEO at the Alliance. “Instead, they use a significant amount of their funds to lobby against farmers and ranchers like the ones impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

It may seem like HSUS is helping rescue dogs and cats in the Southeast, but the group doesn’t have a good track record. In 2005 after Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana, HSUS raised $34 million to supposedly help reunite lost pets with their families, but after an investigation was launched, the Louisiana Attorney General found that only a sliver of the money was spent for its intended purpose.

In 2010, HSUS used the earthquake in Haiti to fundraise and when the American Humane Association and American Veterinary Medical Association joined with fourteen other organizations to form the Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti (ARCH), HSUS declined to participate. It instead began marketing itself as the sole provider of animal care to the devastated area and launched a massive advertising campaign to secure donations.

The Alliance encourages people that truly want to help the desperate animals in the Southeast this week to choose to support the State of Texas Agricultural Relief (STAR) Fund, the American Humane Association or local organizations that are actually concerned about helping animals and rebuilding communities.

The Texas Department of Agriculture established the STAR Fund to receive donations that will be redirected 100 percent back to livestock producers who need the help. A few local organizations include: Houston Food Bank, United Way of Greater Houston, Food Bank of Corpus Christi, Houston Humane Society and the San Antonio Humane Society.

 An Increase in U.S. Beef Production and Exports

The U.S. has an overall mature beef industry with a steady consumption rate, however the industry has had several disruptions over the last five years leaving room for expansion in the near future.  The second in a new series of reports from the RaboResearch Food and & Agribusiness group, provides a ten-year outlook that sees a rebuilding effort in the beef and cattle industries and increases in U.S. exports.

The report, “Expanding Beef Production Increases the Need for Exports: U.S. Long-Term Beef and Cattle Baseline Outlook,” provides an outlook through 2025 for U.S. beef and cattle industries. The purpose of the baseline is to create a point of comparison which can be utilized for strategic planning and scenario analysis.

“Population growth, along with improving middle-class incomes, are the global drivers behind the opportunity for increased beef exports,” notes RaboResearch Global Senior Data Analyst Sterling Liddell. “Conversely, beef imports into the U.S. face headwinds as an increased number of head available for slaughter combines with relatively persistent carcass weights to equal, or exceed, domestic demand levels.”

The report looks to offer ideas for new opportunities that can be explored and risks that must be monitored over the next five years.

“While the trend of increasing quality is difficult to quantify, the combination of genetic improvement, formula pricing that includes premium price structures, and additional days of feeding due to lower grain prices will continue to drive U.S. beef quality higher,” notes Don Close, Senior Animal Protein Analyst and co-author of the report. “The premiums in the U.S. are expected to increase relative to choice, branded, and select classifications.”

This U.S. Long-Term Beef and Cattle Baseline Outlook report is the second in a six part series. Earlier this month the U.S. Long-Term Grains and Oilseed Baseline Outlook was released. The remaining Rabobank North American Baseline Outlook publications will be released over the course of Q3 2017 will include:
1.      U.S. Long-Term Pork & Poultry Baseline Outlook
2.      Mexico Long-Term Grain, Oilseed, & Animal Protein Baseline Outlook
3.      Canada Long-Term Grain, Oilseed, & Animal Protein Baseline Outlook
4.      U.S. Farm Economics Baseline Outlook

USDA Integrates Recalls Information into 'FoodKeeper' Application

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced new updates to its popular FoodKeeper application that will provide users with new information on food safety recalls. The app has been updated so users can choose to receive automatic notifications when food safety recalls are announced by USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

In the update posted to the Google Play and iTunes stores, users can select to receive information on food safety recalls immediately when they’re announced or select to receive them daily or weekly. The update also adds instructional videos on proper handling and storage of food, and expands the list of food and beverage products from about 400 to more than 500 items.

“This is a great way for the public to stay informed when food is recalled,” said Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety Carmen Rottenberg. “The FoodKeeper app is a very handy and easy to use tool; and it reflects USDA's commitment to provide the public with information and knowledge to help them make informed decisions.”

The FoodKeeper app was developed by FSIS in partnership with Cornell University and the Food Marketing Institute, as a tool to help reduce food waste and improve public health by sharing storage methods that extend the shelf life of the foods and beverages in American homes. It now offers specific storage timelines for the refrigerator, freezer and pantry, for more than 500 products, including various types of baby food, dairy products and eggs, meat, poultry, produce, seafood and more. Since it was launched in April 2015, it has been downloaded nearly 150,000 times.

"These updates to the FoodKeeper are just one more example of FSIS' commitment to reducing the rates of foodborne illness nationally," said Rottenberg. "We want to make sure the valuable recall information FSIS and FDA publish is available to as many Americans as possible. With the expansion of products covered in the apps database, this app is helpful to any type of consumer, and I encourage anyone who hasn't already done so, to download and begin using the FoodKeeper app."

With the FoodKeeper application, each user can:
-    Find specific storage timelines for the refrigerator, freezer and pantry, depending on the nature of the product;
-    Learn cooking tips and methods for various types of meat, poultry and seafood products;
-    Note in their device's calendar when products were purchased and receive notifications when they are nearing the end of their recommended storage date;
-    Submit a question to USDA using the 'Ask Karen' feature of the application. 'Ask Karen' is USDA's 24/7 virtual representative. The system provides information about preventing foodborne illness, safe food handling and storage, and safe preparation of meat, poultry and egg products;
-    Submit items not included in the database for consideration in future updates;
-    Receive information on food safety recalls immediately when they’re announced or select to receive them daily or weekly.

For those that do not have access to a smartphone, the FoodKeeper app can also be accessed at

NMPF: Vegan Petition to Alter Dairy Food Labeling Rules Would Cause Further Confusion in Marketplace

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should reject a petition filed by the Good Food Institute (GFI) that would undermine federal standards of identity for food and sanction existing misleading marketing tactics of imitation dairy products, the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) said in comments filed today.

In the latest salvo over the proper use of long-standing dairy food terms, the vegan advocacy organization GFI submitted a petition earlier this spring requesting that FDA permit manufacturers of plant-based products to use labels that employ standardized dairy terms such as “milk.” In response, NMPF said the petition is at odds with established laws and inconsistent with FDA regulations, which state that foods labeled “milk” must come from an animal.

“GFI’s petition flies in the face of established law and common sense,” said NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern. “Nothing has happened in the last 20 years that makes it OK to combine plant or nut powders with water, sugar, emulsifiers, stabilizers, and other chemicals, and call it ‘milk.’ This request is wrong on its merits and is designed to further mislead consumers.”

In its comments, NMPF argued that when plant-based beverages use standardized dairy terms, “they typically do so to imitate milk and other real dairy products, and to benefit unfairly from the reputation that real dairy foods have for nutritional content and quality.” The organization argues that imitation dairy products seek to “bask in the halo” of milk’s healthy reputation in order to attract consumers seeking the attributes offered by real dairy.

NMPF said GFI’s proposed changes to FDA rules would undermine the agency’s standards of identity and create more confusion in the marketplace. Labeling non-dairy products with dairy terminology, the organization added, can mislead consumers into thinking the imitation contains the same nutritional benefits as the real thing. Data from a 2015 Mintel survey found that 49 percent of respondents said they consumed plant “milks” because they thought the products are nutritious. However, according to an NMPF survey of nearly 250 plant-based imitation dairy beverages, none of the products was nutritionally equivalent to cow’s milk.

“Consumers do not understand that plant-based imitation ‘milks’ are not suitable replacements for the natural, nutrient-packed goodness of real milk,” said Dr. Beth Briczinski, NMPF’s vice president for dairy foods and nutrition. “GFI’s request would only exacerbate this misconception.”

NMPF argued that calling these foods what they really are – plant-based beverages – is the “simplest and most certain way to promote honesty and fair dealing in the interests of consumers.” NMPF cited examples of other “beverages” or “drinks” that both comply with federal labeling regulations and clearly state their composition.

NMPF dismissed GFI’s contention that enforcing standards of identity is “anti-competitive,” and said plant-based drinks are welcome in the marketplace so long as they are labeled appropriately.  The group also rejected as specious GFI’s argument that there is a First Amendment conflict in placing limitations on how food products can describe themselves.

“Congress mandated standards of identity for milk and other dairy products more than 80 years ago.  GFI’s argument that it is now suddenly unconstitutional for FDA to enforce laws that have been on the books for eight decades makes no sense,” Mulhern said.  “In fact, the Supreme Court specifically affirmed in the Central Hudson case that the government may regulate commercial speech in a way that protects the public interest. Congress long ago determined that there is an important government interest in avoiding mislabeling of food products and misleading the public.”

Other nations have taken a more proactive stance on this issue, NMPF wrote, pointing out that brands marketing themselves as “almondmilk” in the United States do not use that term on their products sold in Canada or Europe.

“We have the same standard as the European Union, the United Kingdom and Canada when it comes to labeling plant-based dairy imitators,” Mulhern said.  “The only difference is that the FDA does not enforce that standard, while regulators in other nations do.”

Ram Launches New 2018 Harvest Edition

Ram is celebrating its agricultural bonds with a new model designed specifically for America's farm families.

The Ram Harvest Edition is the industry's first agricultural market-specific truck and is visually distinguished by two new colors: Case IH Red and New Holland Blue.

"The Ram Harvest Edition marks the first time that Ram dealers will be able to stock trucks that exactly match the colors of two of the most popular lines of farm equipment in the nation," said Mike Manley, Head of Jeep & Ram Brands – FCA Global. "Farmers have been asking for these colors, and Ram is proud to be the first in the industry to be able to offer them. The Ram Harvest Edition truck will allow farm families to get their work done while proudly showing their agricultural brand loyalty."

Case IH and New Holland farm tractors and other agricultural equipment are manufactured by subsidiaries of CNH Industrial. CNH Industrial N.V. shares a common ancestry with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. 

The Harvest Edition will be available across the Ram 1500, 2500 and 3500 lineup, in all four-door Quad, Crew and Mega Cab configurations, all box lengths and all powertrains, including 5.7-liter HEMI® V-8, 6.4-liter HEMI V-8 and 6.7-liter Cummins Turbo Diesel.

Harvest Edition trucks are loaded with features that are designed to work. Among them, a ride-height increase of one inch and aggressive on/off-road tires on Ram 1500 Harvest Edition trucks are designed to help owners comfortably and confidently navigate rough farm roads and pastures.

Also included in the farm-life essentials are black tubular side steps, a durable spray-in bedliner, fold-out bumper step and mud flaps, rubber floor mats, skid plates and tow hooks (4x4) and heated seats. Ram Heavy Duty models also come with on/off-road tires and add a cargo-view camera.

Because Ram knows farmers are tech savvy, the Harvest Edition comes standard with an 8.4-inch Uconnect 4C touchscreen radio with navigation, 4G Wifi, Apple Car Play and Android Auto, which gives buyers seamless connectivity, fingertip access to smartphone map mirroring, and up-to-the minute weather maps and forecasts customizable to any location in the nation.

The Harvest Edition features a premium exterior appearance packed with bright highlights, including a chrome "Wave Mesh" luxury cross-hair grille, bright front and rear bumpers, 17-inch chrome wheels (1500 models, 18-inch polished aluminum on Heavy Duty models), chrome mirrors, chrome door handles and chrome-tipped dual exhausts (V-8 1500 models).

The Harvest package also includes body-color (or Bright Silver) wheel flares and upper facia (1500). In addition to Case Red and New Holland Blue, Harvest Edition Ram trucks are also available in Bright White and Brilliant Black. Monotone and two-tone with Bright Silver color schemes are available.

Ram 1500 Harvest Edition MSRP starts at $39,910, plus $1,395 destination charge. Ram Heavy Duty models start at $46,235.

Ram Harvest Edition trucks were unveiled today at the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Illinois, and go on sale in the third quarter of 2017.

Mycogen Seeds Launches Hybrids with Enlist™ Trait to Meet Farmers’ Needs

For the 2017-18 season, the Mycogen® brand corn portfolio features more new, advanced genetics than ever before. Plus, for the first time, Mycogen brand hybrids include the Enlist™ trait so farmers have access to a more effective weed control program and options to help prevent future weed resistance.

“We’re excited to release new genetics for high-yielding hybrids that will drive real value on farms across the country,” says Brent Stauffacher, corn portfolio marketing leader, Mycogen Seeds. “That means higher yield potential and the ability for farmers to protect their investments with a more cost-efficient and effective weed control system.”

Enlist corn hybrids provide tolerance to Enlist Duo® herbicide — a combination of new 2,4-D choline and glyphosate — to help manage hard-to-control and herbicide-resistant weeds. Enlist Duo features Colex-D® technology, which enables near-zero volatility, minimized potential for physical drift, low odor and improved handling characteristics. The two modes of action in Enlist Duo, combined with a program approach, deliver control of weeds that would otherwise use crop moisture and nutrients and rob yield.

Farmers who’ve tried Mycogen brand hybrids with the Enlist trait as part of the stewarded launch are excited with the results they’ve seen.

“Now, we can use Enlist Duo as a new tool with our Mycogen hybrids,” says Illinois-based farmer Jim Koeller, who has trialed Mycogen Enlist hybrids.

“Some weed species are becoming harder and harder to manage,” Koeller says. “All you have to do is look at the list of glyphosate-resistant weeds and you’ll see that list is growing. And it’s also growing by region. Enlist Duo provides two modes of action that help control those hard-to-kill weeds.”

Hybrids available for the first time with the Enlist™ trait
New for next year, Mycogen Seeds offers 35 corn hybrids with the Enlist trait. The new Mycogen® Enlist™ hybrids also are available with Roundup Ready® Corn 2 technology, plus PowerCore® or SmartStax® trait technology, delivering best-in-class weed and insect control to help farmers protect the yield potential of Mycogen genetics.

“Farmers are using weed control options that often require tank mixes of multiple herbicides, on average costing $17.52 per acre for a postemergence application,” Stauffacher says. “Farmers who plant Mycogen brand hybrids with the Enlist corn trait now can apply Enlist Duo as part of a weed control program that will be a more cost-effective solution.”

Featured corn hybrids with the Enlist™ trait
    MY01D86 — 101 RM: Widely adapted hybrid with consistent yield and reliable agronomics, including strong stalks, roots and late-season intactness.
    MY04S86 — 104 RM: High-yielding hybrid with consistent performance across a wide range of soil types and environments.
    MY05U06 — 105 RM: Widely adapted hybrid with excellent yield stability and wide east-to-west adaptation.
    MY06R36 — 106 RM: Widely adapted hybrid for multiple soil types and environments with very good yield stability.
    MY09V46 — 109 RM: High-yielding, widely adapted hybrid for a wide range of soil types and environments.

Additional new hybrids for 2018
    MY00J47 RA — 100 RM: Widely adapted hybrid with consistent yield and reliable agronomics.
    MY04Y97 RA — 104 RM: High-yielding, widely adapted hybrid with fast drydown and good Goss’s wilt tolerance.
    MY09R37 RA — 109 RM: Consistent yield performance with dependable agronomics.
    MY10Y47 RA — 110 RM: Great agronomics and consistent yield performance in the central and eastern Corn Belt.
    MY11B25 RA — 111 RM: High-yielding, central- and eastern-adapted hybrid.
    MY13C17 RA — 113 RM: Attractive product with solid agronomics and wide adaptability.

“I see Mycogen as a leader and that has a lot to do with our choice of hybrids,” Koeller adds.

“We work relentlessly to bring the best genetic options to farmers. Hybrids with the Enlist trait have some of the best genetics available from Mycogen to date with strong agronomics and high yield potential,” Stauffacher says. “With the latest genetics and the Enlist corn trait, our 2018 hybrid lineup is one way we can help farmers be better acre after acre.”

Greater investment in NK® seeds brand reinforces commitment to offering growers and retailers unique choice, greater value

Growers who purchase corn and soybean seeds from retailers will have even more choice and greater value through the reinvigorated NK® seeds brand. Syngenta today announced a comprehensive long-term commitment to NK seeds that includes boosting research and development, expanding staff and enhancing retailer support.

As part of the investment, the number of U.S. plant breeders will increase by 50 percent while the number of product selection leads will increase by 38 percent. In addition, trialing will increase by 30 percent.

“More than ever, today’s growers are looking for increased options to maximize returns. We are committed to investing in our NK seeds brand to deliver unique choice and greater value through our retail partners,” said David Hollinrake, president of Syngenta Seeds. “We will rapidly bring to market new hybrids and varieties, offering greater value for growers to help them achieve that better ROI.”

A boost in R&D

The new investment builds on a legacy of science-driven advancements for NK.

Innovations like high-speed trait conversion – executed at the state-of-the-art Syngenta Advanced Crop Lab in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina – have helped produce fully-traited NK seeds at a much quicker pace, with hybrids and varieties now coming to market an average of two years faster than before. This is the direct result of the $1.3 billion that Syngenta already spends each year on global research and development. And now, the company is committing to a significant incremental investment specific to U.S. seeds over the next five years.

“We expect to develop and deliver game-changing innovations that will keep improving growers’ performance – innovations like NK hybrids featuring Agrisure Duracade® 5222 E-Z Refuge® that offer the ultimate trait stack for premium insect control, choice and simplicity,” Hollinrake said.

Dedicated support in the field

On top of a boost to research and development, retailers will see an expansion of dedicated NK staff. Within the next year, Syngenta will more than triple the NK sales and agronomy teams, adding a dedicated team of NK agronomists and introducing intensified training opportunities – delivering more personalized support to both growers and retailers.

“We are committed to building a strong retail seed brand with NK,” Quinn Showalter, head of NK sales. “By increasing our investment not only in research and development, but also in our people, we’re able to provide greater local support and enable our retailers to better serve their growers’ needs and deliver greater value.”

August 28 Crop Progress & Condition Report - NE - IA - US


For the week ending August 27, 2017, temperatures averaged near normal, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Significant rainfall of an inch or more was received across most eastern counties, however western counties and the panhandle area remained relatively dry. There were 5.1 days suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 7 percent very short, 23 short, 66 adequate, and 4 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 10 percent very short, 29 short, 60 adequate, and 1 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn condition rated 4 percent very poor, 9 poor, 24 fair, 47 good, and 16 excellent. Corn dough was 94 percent, equal to last year, and near 92 for the five-year average. Dented was 51 percent, behind 58 last year and 56 average. Mature was 1 percent, near 4 last year, and behind 7 average.

Soybean condition rated 3 percent very poor, 7 poor, 25 fair, 54 good, and 11 excellent. Soybeans setting pods was 97 percent, near 95 last year and 96 average. Dropping leaves was 3 percent, near 7 last year and 5 average.

Sorghum condition rated 1 percent very poor, 2 poor, 29 fair, 50 good, and 18 excellent. Sorghum headed was 98 percent, equal to last year, and near 94 average. Coloring was 38 percent, well behind 70 last year, but near 39 average.

Alfalfa condition rated 4 percent very poor, 9 poor, 29 fair, 46 good, and 12 excellent. Alfalfa third cutting was 92 percent complete, equal to last year, and near 89 average. Fourth cutting was 30 percent, behind 36 last year, but ahead of 20 average.

Dry edible beans condition rated 2 percent very poor, 8 poor, 18 fair, 51 good, and 21 excellent. Dry edible beans setting pods was 94 percent, ahead of 88 last year. Dropping leaves was 5 percent, behind 17 last year and 15 average.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 7 percent very poor, 20 poor, 43 fair, 26 good, and 4 excellent. Stock water supplies rated 2 percent very short, 10 short, 88 adequate, and 0 surplus.


Iowa experienced below normal temperatures and received adequate rain throughout the western half of the state during the week ending August 27, 2017, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were 4.4 days suitable for fieldwork. Activities for the week included haying, hauling grain, chopping corn, and harvest equipment preparation.

Topsoil moisture levels improved to 13 percent very short, 26 percent short, 60 percent adequate and 1 percent surplus. Topsoil moisture levels in south central Iowa were reported at 85 percent short to very short. This is the first time in 5 weeks that topsoil moisture has been less than 90 percent short to very short in that district. Subsoil moisture levels rated 18 percent very short, 31 percent short, 50 percent adequate and 1 percent surplus.

Eighty-eight percent of the corn crop was in or beyond the dough stage, 8 days behind last year, but 2 days ahead of the five-year average. Forty-one percent of the corn crop has reached the dent stage, 8 days behind last year and four days behind average. Sixty percent of the corn crop was rated in good to excellent condition.

Ninety-four percent of soybeans were setting pods, 2 days behind last year but 1 day ahead of average. Six percent of soybeans started to turn color, 3 days behind average. Soybean condition improved slightly to 60 percent good to excellent. Similar pests and weeds as last year were reported for soybeans, with limited reports of disease pressure such as sudden death syndrome or mold issues.

The third cutting of alfalfa hay reached 82 percent complete, 6 days ahead of last year and 10 days ahead of average.

Pasture condition rated 17 percent very poor, 23 percent poor, 35 percent fair, 22 percent good and 3 percent excellent. Lack of water in ponds and creeks continues to be an issue in the southern district for cattle, with reports of cattlemen hauling water and using CRP acres for emergency haying and grazing.

USDA Weekly Crop Progress

Soybean conditions improved slightly last week while corn conditions continued to hold steady, according to USDA's weekly Crop Progress report released Monday.  USDA estimated soybean conditions at 61% good to excellent as of Sunday, Aug. 27, up 1 percentage point from 60% the previous week.  USDA said 93% of soybeans were setting pods as of Sunday, even with a year ago and above the five-year average of 92%. Six percent of soybeans were dropping leaves, up from 5% for both a year ago and the five-year average.

Meanwhile, corn progress continued to lag behind the average pace last week. USDA estimated that 86% of corn had reached the dough stage as of Sunday, down from 91% a year ago, and down slightly from the five-year average of 87%. Forty-four percent of corn was dented, down from 57% a year ago and down from the five-year average of 51% dented. Six percent of the corn crop was considered mature, down from 8% a year ago and down from the five-year average of 10% mature.  Corn was rated 62% in good-to-excellent condition, unchanged from the previous week. 

Spring wheat harvest progressed to 76% complete as of Sunday, down from 79% a year ago, but above the five-year average of 66% harvested. 

Sorghum was 49% coloring, behind the average of 54%, and mature was 29%, also behind the average of 31% mature. Sorghum harvested was 21%, near the average of 22%. Sorghum condition dropped slightly to 65% good to excellent from 66% good to excellent the previous week.

Barley was 83% harvested as of Sunday, ahead of the average pace of 73%. Oats were 86% harvested, behind the average of 90%.

Cotton was 93% setting bolls and 18% bolls opening compared to an average pace of 93% setting bolls and 20% bolls opening. Cotton condition improved to 65% good to excellent from 63% good to excellent the previous week. Rice was 24% harvested as of Sunday, ahead of the average of 20% harvested.