class="page-template page-template-page-templates page-template-blog-chadmoyer page-template-page-templatesblog-chadmoyer-php page page-id-6432 custom-background group-blog masthead-fixed full-width singular wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-5.6 vc_responsive"
Chad Moyer | KTIC Radio

Chad Moyer

Welcome to the KTIC Agriculture Information blog!!! Check back here for the latest in ag news and information, from local events to international happenings and government reports that affect your operation. Please email with suggestions! -Chad Moyer, Farm Director, KTIC Radio
Friday February 15 Ag News

Colfax Dodge County Corn Growers Scholarship

The Colfax Dodge County Corn Growers Association is please to announce that applications are now available for the 2019 scholarship. The intent of this scholarship is to help young people pursuing a future in agriculture with additional financial support. It is the hope of the Colfax-Dodge County Corn Growers Association that youth will continue to find their future in agriculture.

The scholarship is open to any graduating senior, who is the son/daughter of an active Colfax-Dodge County Corn Growers Association and is pursuing a post-secondary education at any two or four-year College, University, or Trade school.

The local association will be awarding one $500 recipient in the Colfax county school system and one $500 dollar recipient in the Dodge county school system. All applications must be post-marked by Friday, March 22, 2019. Dodge County applicants should send their applications to Dodge County Extension office. Colfax County applicants should send their applications to Colfax County Extension office.

Dodge County Cattlemen Meeting

Date:  February 26
Time:  6:30 pm
Venue:  Z’s Bar and Grill, Scribner, NE

2019 Corn and Soy Ambassadors Announced

This year, nine University of Nebraska-Lincoln students, as part of the 2019 Corn and Soy Collegiate Ambassador Program, are getting the chance to learn more about the corn and soybean industries.

The Nebraska Corn Growers Association and Nebraska Soybean Association launched the Corn and Soy Ambassador Program to give students a comprehensive understanding of the industries. The program’s goals are to educate the students about state and federal policy issues affecting agriculture, and opportunities available to them from supporting organizations like the Nebraska Corn Board, Nebraska Soybean Board and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Following the completion of the program students will be recognized at the annual meetings of the corn and soybean associations, and each will be presented a $500 scholarship to help them with school expenses. Funding for portions of the program is being provided by the Nebraska Corn Board and Nebraska Soybean Board.

The nine members of the 2019 class are:
    Hailey Walmsley, Norfolk
    Jacob Griess, Grafton
    James McArtor, Grant
    Jessica Weeder, Genoa
    Krystin Oborny, Garland
    Lily Woitaszewski, Wood River
    Madison Jones, Papillion
    Morgan Leefers, Otoe
    Nicole Laue, Dennison, MN

During the year the ambassadors will take part in four seminars. The first seminar covers state and federal policies affecting the corn and soybean industries. The second seminar will focus on the role of checkoff programs in promoting corn and soybeans.

During the summer students will partake in an ag industry bus tour. Stops will include different facets of the ag industry including manufacturing, production, and processing. These stops will hopefully give students more insight into potential jobs and internships in the industry.

During the course of the program students are asked to spend time to promoting the state’s corn and soybean grower associations and checkoffs at promotional events such as Husker Harvest Day and Soybean Management Field Days. Following the events, they are required to report on their experiences and what they’ve learned.

The Nebraska Corn Growers Association and Nebraska Soybean Association would like to congratulate the recently graduated seven members of the 2018 Corn and Soy Ambassador class on a successful year. For more information on the program, contact Morgan Wrich, Nebraska Corn Growers Association at 402-438-6459 ( or Lori Luebbe, Nebraska Soybean Association at 402-441-3239 (


As the 2019 crop production season begins, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will contact producers nationwide to determine their plans for the upcoming growing season.

“Each year, the agriculture industry eagerly awaits USDA’s Prospective Plantings report, which provides the first survey-based estimates of U.S. farmers’ planting intentions for the year,” said NASS’ Northern Plains Deputy Director Patrick Boyle. “The March Agricultural Survey provides the factual data that underpins these projections, making it one of the most important surveys we conduct each year.”

NASS will mail the survey questionnaire in February, asking producers to provide information about the types of crops they intend to plant in 2019, how many acres they intend to plant, and the amounts of grain and oilseed stored on their farms. NASS encourages producers to respond online or by mail. Those producers who do not respond by the deadline may be contacted for a telephone or personal interview.

NASS safeguards the privacy of all respondents and publishes only aggregate data, ensuring that no individual operation or producer can be identified.

Survey results will be published in the Prospective Plantings and quarterly Grain Stocks report to be released on March 29, 2019. These and all NASS reports are available online at For more information call the NASS Nebraska Field Office at 800-582-6443.


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

“According to the most recent Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report in December, there were 74.6 million hogs and pigs in the United States,” said Nicholas Streff, Deputy Director of the NASS Northern Plains Regional Office. “The March survey and resulting report will continue to provide important indicators for the industry of what changes are occurring – if any.”

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

The data gathered in this survey allow NASS to accurately measure and report conditions and trends in the U.S. pork industry over the course of the year. The information is used by all sectors of the industry, including producers themselves, to help make sound and timely business decisions.

NASS will publish the survey results in the Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report on March 28. All NASS reports are available online at For more information, call the NASS Northern Plains Regional Office at (800)582-6443.

Fischer Encourages Nebraskans to Submit Comments on New Definition of WOTUS

The EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers have published a rule changing the definition of Waters of the United States (WOTUS). U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and a strong opponent of the Obama administration’s WOTUS rule, released the following statement:

“The administration is now seeking comment on their new definition of WOTUS. Common-sense rule-making involves input from the people the regulations will impact on a daily basis. I encourage all Nebraskans to review the rule and submit their thoughts and concerns over the next 60 days.”

The official 60-day comment period will end on April 15, 2019. Nebraskans can submit their comments here....

Senator Fischer sponsored multiple legislative to stop the Obama administration’s WOTUS rule. In March 2015, she chaired a field hearing of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in Lincoln, Nebraska, to hear firsthand from Nebraskans about the negative effects of the Obama-era WOTUS rule.

Lancaster Co Ext. Hosts Landlord Tenant Farmland Rent Meeting

From 9:30 a.m. -3:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 14 at the Lancaster Extension Education Center, Nebraska Extension will offer a workshop for landlords and tenants on topics such as:
- Equitable rental rates
- Lease communication
- Proper lease terms
- Current land values
- Soil types and productivity
- Soil tests
- Pasture lease provisions
- Stocking rates for pasture

This program is offered FREE and open to the public with funding provided by the North Central Extension Risk Management Education Center and USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture under award number 2015-49200-24226. Lunch is free thanks to our sponsor United Farm and Ranch Management (UFARM). Call 402-441-7180 to pre-register- this ensures there are meals for everyone.

New Mobile iGrow Beef Display Gets Seen... a Lot!

With the support of the Nebraska Cattlemen’s Foundation, there’s a new Mobile iGrow beef display! Mobile iGrow Educational Displays are hands-on, traveling displays, visiting schools across the state, as well as community events and fairs.

Mobile iGrow educational displays are designed to reach elementary-aged youth and increase their knowledge of where our food comes from, careers, and how agriculture is important in our everyday lives. Included with the display is a teaching guide for teachers when classrooms “Go Mobile” to the display, and engaging hands-on activities. Students receive a corresponding activity worksheet to reinforce the concepts.

One teacher described the Mobile iGrow display program as a “mini-field trip at their school."  Another teacher commented: “They loved it! Hands-on and authentic learning in action” and “This is a great model/display to help students who have no agriculture background.”

For more information about the beef display, contact 4-H staff at the Hall County Extension Office at 308-385-5088 or Interested people can also visit the Mobile iGrow beef display at the Cattlemen’s Classic in Kearney. 

Barreras to receive Center for Rural Affairs award

The Center for Rural Affairs has chosen Anthony and Mariel Barreras, of Blair, Nebraska, to receive its 2018 Citizenship Award. They will be recognized at an award ceremony on March 8 in York, Nebraska.

The Citizenship Award is given to an individual or individuals who actively participate in the civic process for creating public policy, and who work closely with the Center for Rural Affairs to advance public policies that strengthen family farms, ranches, and rural communities.

“Together, Anthony and Mariel have supported policy priorities at the state and federal levels,” said Cora Fox, policy associate with the Center for Rural Affairs.

Anthony and Mariel co-own and co-operate Barreras Family Farm. Anthony currently serves in the U.S. Army.

In March 2018, Mariel participated in a farmer fly-in to Washington, D.C., to discuss training and educational resources for veteran farmers. In Nebraska, in both 2018 and 2019, Mariel has provided testimony in favor of the Beginning Veteran Farmer Tax Credit.

“Collaboration with local leaders such as Anthony and Mariel is essential to our work at the Center for Rural Affairs,” Fox said. “They have helped us advance key priorities through their thoughtful, unwavering, and effective advocacy.”

The couple were featured speakers at the second annual Veteran Farmer Conference sponsored by the Center for Rural Affairs and Legal Aid of Nebraska. They hosted a farm tour for beginning veteran farmers in May 2018.

Anthony and Mariel have eight children, who also contribute to the family farm.


NPPC Newsletter

Congress on Thursday passed a massive spending deal just ahead of Friday’s government shutdown deadline. The bill, which the president signed into law on Friday, directs the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to formalize a joint framework for regulating cell-based protein production within 60 days of enactment of the funding measure.

The National Pork Producers Association strongly supports USDA regulatory oversight of laboratory-produced cultured protein (L-PCP). The organization wants L-PCP to be inspected—and have any label claims approved—by the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. FSIS has the expertise and capability to provide continuous inspection to facilities producing L-PCP and to make sure that the product names and label claims are transparent, fact-based and appropriate.

Additionally, the spending bill renewed Congress’ exemption for livestock haulers from the requirement to use electronic logging devices (ELDs) in their trucks. As part of the 2012 Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Enhancement Act mandated that drivers of commercial motor vehicles replace by Dec. 18, 2017, their paper logs with ELDs, which record driving time, engine hours, vehicle movement and speed, miles driven and location information.

NPPC requested – and secured– on behalf of the U.S. pork industry and other livestock sectors an initial waiver from the regulation, citing the incompatibility between transporting livestock and the U.S. Department of Transportation’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.

Further ELD Information from Nebraska Cattlemen

The spending agreement [passed by Congress and signed by the President] DOES contain our ELD delay policy rider! This means that livestock haulers are exempt from the ELD mandate through September 30, 2019. Please have haulers print and place this documentation in their trucks as proof of this ELD exemption....

This further delay is great news for Nebraska’s livestock industry! However, we must continue working on our long-term solution to fix federal hours-of-service regulations for livestock haulers. While we continue pressing Congress to pass legislation such as Senator Sasse’s Transporting Livestock Across America Act, it is imperative that we continue commenting on the NCBA-led petition to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Comment here.....

Perdue Statement on President Trump’s Signing of Appropriations Bill & Declaration of National Emergency

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today issued the following statement regarding President Donald J. Trump’s signing of legislation that funds the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and declaration of a national emergency at the southern border:

“I am pleased that Congress has passed, and President Trump has signed, funding for USDA for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2019. We will be moving at full speed on all of our responsibilities, making good on our motto by doing right and feeding everyone. Since Congress did not act to protect our southern border, the President has also declared a national emergency, which helps him fulfill a clear promise to protect our national security interests. He is exercising his Constitutional authority, as presidents from both parties have done many times in the past.

“Even with the passage of the appropriations bill, Congress still has unfinished business in areas of great concern for USDA and the customers we serve. Farmers and ranchers were battered last year by a series of monumental storms, robbing them of their livelihoods and inflicting damage well beyond the financial risks they normally assume in their operations. These are the men and women who dedicate their lives to feeding, fueling, and clothing this nation, and we cannot turn our backs on them when they need assistance. Just as importantly, another devastating wildfire season left our Forest Service badly in need of replenished funds to fight fires, remove excess fuels, and conduct necessary forest management. Without these resources, we risk falling behind in forest maintenance and inviting even more severe seasons in the future. I will continue to work with the President and the Congress to address these critical issues.”

MillerCoors and Iowa Corn Toast to Farmers

The Iowa Corn Growers Association® (ICGA), Iowa Corn Promotion Board® (ICPB) and the MillerCoors Company celebrated and thanked farmers for providing quality ingredients for their products on February 15, 2019.  The MillerCoors Company set out to recognize the hard-working farmers across the nation who make beer possible with sustainable farming production by starting the social media campaign #ToastToFarmers.

To kick off the social campaign MillerCoors Company CEO, Gavin Hattersley, traveled to Iowa to #ToastToFarmers with Iowa corn farmers. ICGA, ICPB and MillerCoors made three stops along the Des Moines metro including the Hitchin Post (Bevington, IA), 1908 Draught House (Johnston, IA), and West Towne Pub (Ames, IA). Iowa Corn thanks the MillerCoors Company for their support of our Iowa corn farmers.

Follow the social media campaign at #ToastToFarmers. 

IDALS Laboratory Bureau Recognized as ISO Accredited

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig announced today that the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship Laboratory Bureau has received ISO 17025 accreditation from the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA).

“Our laboratory team has a strong history of producing quality work. This certification will allow us to build upon that reputation of providing accurate and reliable testing,” said Naig. “Results from accredited labs tend to be more readily accepted by other laboratories, federal agencies and the courts which will save taxpayer time and resources.”

ISO 17025 is the highest recognized quality standard in the world for calibration and testing laboratories. For an organization to be accredited in ISO 17025, its laboratory must be able to consistently produce precise and accurate results and have implemented a rigorous quality management system.

A2LA is a third-party accreditation body that offers internationally-recognized accreditation services to testing laboratories. A2LA has been offering accreditation services to environmental testing laboratories for more than thirty years.

The Laboratory Bureau tests the guaranteed content of animal feeds, fertilizers, as well as pesticide concentrates and residues. The lab also tests meat, poultry, and milk in regards to food safety.

The additional expense of establishing an accredited laboratory was provided through the support of an FDA cooperative agreement.

The 2019 NAWG/USW Winter Conference Concludes with Wheat Growers Leaving Their Mark on Capitol Hill

The National Association of Wheat Growers and U.S. Wheat Associates held its annual winter conference from February 11-15, 2019 in Washington, D.C. Conducting meetings with Members from wheat states as well as the House and Senate Agriculture Committee and their staff, wheat growers focused their discussions on implementation of the 2018 Farm Bill, challenges facing the wheat industry, and trade. Additionally, NAWG’s Committees covered a range of topics including the farm bill implementation, U.S.-Canada-Mexico Agreement and other trade issues, and wheat research needs.

“The 2018 NAWG/USW Winter Conference was notably busy this year as NAWG really focused on meeting with freshmen Members of Congress as well as staff from the House and Senate Committees on Agriculture,” stated NAWG CEO Chandler Goule. “Our priority is to get the farm bill implemented as Congress intended and to educate freshman Members on who is NAWG and the role wheat farmers, and all growers, play as the backbone of the agriculture economy.”

The 2019 NAWG/USW Winter Conference would not have been made possible without the help of NAWG’s Industry Partners Council. A special thank you WestBred for supporting the Wheat Lounge, BNSF Railway for partnering with us on Wheat 103, Indigo Ag for speaking to our Wheat Breeding Innovation Committee, and FMC for providing Friday’s lunch and workshop.

“On Thursday, February 14th, the National Wheat Foundation held a well-attended educational event for the Administration, Congressional Members and their staff in the Russell Senate Building,” continued Goule. “The event had twenty-three representatives from the wheat value chain and showcased how the wheat industry is truly expansive.”

United States Issues WTO Counter Notification Concerning India’s Market Price Support for Various Pulses

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced that the United States, together with Canada, submitted a counter notification in the World Trade Organization (WTO) Committee on Agriculture (COA) on India’s market price support for five pulses: chickpeas, pigeon peas, black matpe, mung beans, and lentils.

Based on United States/Canadian calculations, it appears that India has substantially underreported its market price support for chickpeas, pigeon peas, black matpe, mung beans, and lentils. When calculated according to WTO Agreement on Agriculture methodology, India’s market price support for each of these pulses far exceeded its allowable levels of trade-distorting domestic support. The United States expects a robust discussion on how India implements and notifies its policies at the next COA meeting, which is scheduled for February 26-27, 2019.


On February 12, 2019, the United States submitted a counter notification, co-sponsored by Canada, in the WTO Committee on Agriculture on India’s market price support for chickpeas, pigeon peas, black matpe, mung beans, and lentils – based on publicly available information. The United States has identified several areas of potential concern with India’s notification of its market price support for chickpeas, pigeon peas, black matpe, mung beans, and lentils. These include issues with the quantity of production used in market price support calculations, exclusion from India’s notification of information on the total value of production for each category of pulse (information necessary to assess compliance with WTO commitments), issues with currency conversions, and issues regarding the prices used in India’s calculations.

This is the third U.S. COA counter notification regarding another country’s measures.  Previous U.S. counter notifications have addressed India’s market price support for cotton, rice and wheat.  Australia has submitted a counter notification regarding India’s market price support for sugarcane.

Thursday February 14 Ag News

2019 Nebraska Dairy Ambassadors are Selected

Six new Dairy Ambassadors were selected to represent Nebraska's Dairy Industry - Dawn Klabenes, Jessilyn Sayers, Marissa Kegley, Hannah Lowe, Erin Muntz, and Liz Ruskamp.

Two Ambassadors, Dawn Klabenes and Jessilyn Sayers, are third year Ambassadors and will serve as leaders and mentors for the four first-year Ambassadors. 

Dawn Klabenes is a junior Animal Science major with a minor in Ag Communications from Chambers, Nebraska.  She is a third year Dairy Ambassador and also a Dairy Extension Intern.  Dawn hopes to advance her communications skills and become a better advocate for dairy.

Jessilyn "Jessi" Sayers is a junior Animal Science major from Clarkson, Nebraska.  she grew up on a small dairy farm and is a third-year Dairy Ambassador.  For the past three years, Jessi has worked at the UNL Dairy Research facilities on campus.  She hopes to serve as a mentor for the first year Ambassadors and create new ways to improve the program while staying connected in the dairy industry.

Marissa Kegley is a junior Animal Science major from Kearney, Nebraska where she grew up on her family farm.  She has been involved in dairy judging for both 4-H and FFA.  Marissa hopes to become a better advocate for the dairy industry and further develop her leadership skills.  She is using this opportunity to learn more about the dairy industry to better serve her clientele as a veterinarian.

Hannah Lowe is a Sophomore Animal Science major from Murray, Nebraska.  She is actively involve in a number of activities on campus including Block and Bridle, Ag Education Club and the NPPA Pork Mentorship Program. Hannah hopes to become a better advocate for dairy and communicate with consumers about agriculture. 

Erin Muntz is a sophomore Animal Science major from Louisville, Nebraska where she grew up on her family's dairy farm.  Erin hopes to promote the dairy industry and give a voice to farmers and producers.  She wants to encourage the public to learn more about the great aspects of the dairy industry. 

Liz Ruskamp is a junior Animal Science major from North Bend, Nebraska.  She grew up on a small alfalfa and wheat and cow-calf pair farm.  Liz is hoping to expand her knowledge of the dairy industry to promote the dairy industry to consumers. 

West Point Chamber of Commerce Ag Appreciation

The annual Ag Appreciation dinner will be held on Tuesday March 19th at the Nielsen Community Center at 6p. Tickets will be available from the event sponsors. R.P. Smith will be the entertainment.

Tuesday, March 19th, 6:00 pm
Nielsen Community Center, 200 Anna Stalp Avenue, West Point, NE 

 USDA FAS Administrator Ken Isley and Former Husker/Olympian Curt Tomasevicz Added to Governor’s Ag Conference Program

Today, Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) Director Steve Wellman announced the addition of two speakers to the 2019 Governor’s Ag Conference, March 4-5, in Kearney. Curt Tomasevicz, Olympic bobsledder and former Cornhusker, will speak at the “Celebrate Nebraska Agriculture” reception on Monday, March 4, and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) Administrator Ken Isley will be the keynote speaker at the Tuesday, March 5, luncheon.

“Administrator Isley works around the world to expand trade and export opportunities for American agriculture,” said Wellman. “We all know how important international trade is to Nebraska farmers, ranchers and agribusiness leaders and we look forward to hearing an update from Administrator Isley on the work being done to foster and grow international agricultural trade efforts.”

Curt Tomasevicz will share his message “Have No Fear” with conference attendees during the reception on Monday, March 4. Tomasevicz was a running back and linebacker at UN-L from 2000 to 2003 and spent 10 years competing for the U.S. National and Olympic bobsled teams and is a two-time Olympic medalist.

The Governor’s Ag Conference gives producers and agri-business leaders in Nebraska an opportunity to discuss the state’s number one industry and how to support future growth in agriculture. The conference begins Monday, March 4, at 3:30 p.m. with a panel presentation featuring Nebraska entrepreneurs and recruiters. The panel includes representatives from three innovative Nebraska companies and three organizations involved in recruiting companies to Nebraska.

On the entrepreneur side, the panelists are Vishal Singh with Quantified Ag; Lukas Fricke with ChorChek; and Mitch Minarick with FarmAfield. The three people representing business recruitment are: Phil Kozera with Bio Nebraska; Dan Duncan with Innovation Campus; and Bryan Slone with the Nebraska State Chamber.

The “Celebrate Nebraska Agriculture” reception featuring food and beverages from Nebraska and speaker Tomasevicz will begin at 6 p.m. Monday evening.

The conference resumes on Tuesday, March 5, at 9 a.m. with a presentation from Jim Smith, executive director of Blueprint Nebraska, an organization that is spearheading a statewide, citizen-led economic development initiative.

Next on the agenda will be Governor Ricketts, NDA Director Wellman and Nebraska Department of Economic Development Director Dave Rippe. The panel will update conference participants on legislative initiatives in agriculture and highlight the work being done between state agencies to grow Nebraska.

Following the panel presentation will be Jim Wiesemeyer, with Pro Farmer, giving participants an update on the national farm bill and trade policy and how they will impact farmers and ranchers nationwide as well as here in Nebraska.

Administrator Isley will wrap up the conference as Tuesday’s luncheon keynote speaker.

The Governor's Ag Conference is coordinated by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture and is co-sponsored by Farm Credit Services of America. This year the conference is at the Younes Conference Center in Kearney. A $125 registration fee covers participation at activities on both Monday and Tuesday. After Feb. 18, the conference registration fee increases from $125 to $145. Registration and additional information is available online at, or by calling NDA toll-free at (800) 831-0550.

WOTUS 60-Day Public Comment Begins

The 60-day public comment period for the newly proposed waters of the United States, or WOTUS, rule launched Thursday with the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers publishing the rule in the Federal Register.

The new rule moves forward while the 2015 rule under the Obama administration remains in legal limbo and essentially in effect in 22 states.

EPA and the Army Corps are on track to finalize the new rule by September, which is likely to trigger a new round of legal challenges.

The publication of the new rule already has drawn praise and outrage from a number of interest groups. The public comment period closes April 15.

ASA Urges Support for Aquaculture in Congress

The American Soybean Association joined more than 120 organizations in a letter urging Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) to support increasing U.S. production of healthful, sustainable and affordable seafood through marine aquaculture. Sens. Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Reps. Collin Peterson (D-MN) and Steve Palazzo (R-MS) intend to reintroduce an updated version of a bill that would clarify a process for permitting aquaculture in federal waters that preserves existing environmental safeguards and minimizes impacts to existing ocean-based industries.

Registration Now Open for the Pork Management Conference

The National Pork Board will host its annual Pork Management Conference, April 16-19, in Nashville, Tennessee. At the annual conference, a diverse set of experts from across the country will address business trends and challenges facing the U.S. pork industry. Through presentations, breakout sessions and networking, attendees will gain important insight into the pork industry and its challenges along with learning more about financial management practices to improve the performance and efficiency of pig farming.

“The Pork Management Conference continues to be an important event for pork producers,” said Emily Erickson, chair of the Pork Checkoff’s Producer and State Services Committee and a pig farmer from Jackson, Minnesota. “It is exciting to have a great line up of guest presenters and industry experts who will provide valuable knowledge and insight for our producers and other attendees.”

In addition to the general sessions on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday mornings, two concurrent afternoon sessions are planned for Thursday. Topics will include benchmarking, disaster recovery, risk management, research and development, tax credits, finding and keeping talented workers, accounting, and tax updates.

Registration is $425 per person through March 22 and $475 after that. No refunds will be made after March 29. A registration form and a detailed list of events are available at

Proposed Rule to Amend the National List for Crops and Handling

On February 15, 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture will publish a proposed rule in the Federal Register to amend the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances for crops and handling based on April 2018 recommendations from the National Organic Standards Board.

This proposed rule would allow:
-    Elemental sulfur to be used as a slug or snail bait to reduce crop losses.
-    Polyoxin D zinc salt to control fungal diseases when other organic fungicides have been found to be less effective.
-    Magnesium chloride to be reclassified from a synthetic to a non-synthetic substance, requiring handlers to ensure that the product complies with the non-synthetic classification by obtaining details about the source of the magnesium chloride and its full manufacturing process.

The USDA welcomes comments on the proposed amendments. The 60-day comment period will close on April 16, 2019.

Sleight To Retire As U.S. Grains Council President And CEO

Tom Sleight, president and chief executive officer of the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) since 2012, will retire this summer following the appointment of his successor, the Council's Board of Directors announced this week at the organization's membership meeting in Cartagena, Colombia.

“I have done what I intended to accomplish, and as I move forward to this new phase of my own life, I am confident the Council is headed in the right direction and poised for continued growth as a relevant, innovative and impactful organization,” Sleight said.

Sleight leaves with the organization on firm footing and with expansion on the horizon. The Council was recently awarded nearly $14 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Agricultural Trade Promotion (ATP) Program; was also recently awarded an increase in funding from USDA’s hallmark market development programs, the Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) program; and enjoys strong support from its growing membership.

“The Board of Directors of the Council has been preparing for this transition for some time, and we have a strong global team in place that Tom has conscientiously built to be able to take on the challenges of a dynamic market development portfolio,” said Jim Stitzlein, chairman of the Council’s Board of Directors.

“We would love for Tom to stay, however we are fully understanding of his desire for what is hopefully a long and well-deserved retirement with his wife and family.”

Stitzlein has appointed a search committee comprised of representatives from its diverse membership, including the corn, sorghum, barley, ethanol and agribusiness sectors.

Sleight has worked at the Council a total of 25 years, beginning in 1983, and having done nearly every job the Council has to offer. Beginning in program implementation, Sleight went on to serve overseas in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, then returned to Washington to direct European, Middle East and Asia regional market development programs. Sleight complemented his international background by also serving in the U.S. administrative side of the Council’s operations, directing its membership, communications and administrative programs.

He left the Council in 1999 to lead the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ marketing division and later the New York Farm Viability Institute in his home state.

Sleight returned to the Council as vice president in 2010 before being selected as president and CEO in 2012.

“When I look back at my time with the Council, I have always been impressed by how nimble the organization is, able to turn over rocks and work where the market does not to find global opportunities for U.S. agriculture and the coarse grains sector,” Sleight said.

“Keeping and honing this innovative edge and staying closely in tune with our members' needs are dual goals the Council must never lose sight of.”

FFA Members Celebrate Agriculture and Leadership During National FFA Week

Agriculture is part of our daily lives—from the food we eat to the clothes we wear. On Saturday, nearly 670,000 FFA members across the country will begin to share the story of agriculture as part of National FFA Week.

Whether it is through service projects or community gatherings, National FFA Week is a time for FFA members to raise awareness about the role the National FFA Organization plays in the development of agriculture's future leaders and the importance of agricultural education.

National FFA Week always runs Saturday to Saturday and encompasses Feb. 22, George Washington's birthday. This year, the week kicks off on Feb. 16 and culminates on Feb. 23.

The National FFA Board of Directors designated the weeklong tradition, which began in 1948, in recognition of Washington's legacy as an agriculturist and farmer. A group of young farmers founded FFA in 1928, and the organization has been influencing generations that agriculture is more than planting and harvesting — it involves science, business and more.

Today, FFA provides the next generation of leaders who will change the world. The top school-based youth leadership development in the nation, FFA continues to help young people rise up to meet new agricultural challenges by helping members develop their unique talents and explore their interests in a broad range of career pathways. FFA members are our future leaders, our future food-suppliers, our future innovators and so much more!

National FFA Week is a time for FFA members to share agriculture with their fellow students as well as their communities. Chapters also give back to their communities through service projects during FFA Week. For example, during FFA Week the Abernathy FFA in Texas will be partnering with the Hub City Outreach Center to make sidewalk chalk that will then be donated to the summer program that focuses on reaching out to at-risk youth at the center. In Ohio, the Ohio Valley CTC FFA chapter will be working with Adams County Soil and Water to create a program to educate students and community members on the proper disposal of used oil and fluids. In Iowa, the Roland-Story FFA chapter is partnering with Meals on Wheels in packaging and providing meals for the elderly who are in need. Peterson Academies Technology FFA is focusing on literacy during FFA Week, by teaching mothers to read to their babies at an early age. The chapter will provide pamphlets on the importance of early literacy and then will donate gently used books to the University of Florida Health to distribute at a local event.

During FFA Week, the six national officers will visit chapters across the country. Western Region Vice President Shea Booster will visit Arkansas; Adrian Schunk, eastern region vice president, will visit West Virginia; Ridge Hughbanks, central region vice president, will visit Iowa; Jordan Stowe, southern region vice president, will visit South Carolina; Layni LeBlanc, national secretary, will visit Washington; and National FFA president Luke O’Leary will visit Connecticut.

National FFA Week is also a time for alumni and sponsors to advocate for agricultural education and FFA. On Tuesday, Feb. 19, the National FFA Foundation will celebrate Give FFA Day, a 24-hour campaign encouraging the public to support various needs impacting FFA members. If interested in giving, one can visit On Thursday, FFA Alumni and Supporters will celebrate Alumni Day. Friday, Feb. 22, all FFA members and supporters are encouraged to wear blue and show their FFA pride!

Sponsored by Tractor Supply Company, National FFA Week will be featured on social media as well. Follow the #FFAweek hashtag on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and don’t miss @NationalFFA Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat posts, including posts from the National FFA Officer Team while on the road.

The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to 669,989 student members who belong to one of 8,630 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The organization is also supported by 459,514 alumni members in 2,236 alumni chapters throughout the U.S.

New Data Shows Trump Administration Tariffs Cost U.S. Businesses $2.7 Billion in a Single Month, Exports of American Products Targeted for Retaliation Plummet 37 Percent

Tariffs Hurt the Heartland, a nationwide campaign against recent tariffs on American businesses, farmers and consumers, today released new data that shows American businesses paid an additional $2.7 billion in tariffs in November 2018 — the most recent month data is available from the U.S. Census Bureau due to the government shutdown. This figure reflects the additional tariffs levied because of the administration’s actions and represents a $2.7 billion tax increase and a massive year-over-year increase from $375 million in tariffs on the same products in November 2017. The historic tax increases come despite overall imports being slightly lower. The data, compiled by Trade Partnership, also shows that U.S. export growth hit its lowest level of 2018 in November, thanks in part to a 37 percent decline in exports of products facing retaliatory tariffs.

“This data shows that Americans, not our foreign competitors, are the big losers in the trade war,” Tariffs Hurt the Heartland Spokesman and former Congressman Charles Boustany said. “U.S. businesses are being hit by a double whammy of historic tax increases in the form of tariffs and declining exports as farmers and manufacturers lose opportunities in the overseas markets they rely on for their livelihoods. As U.S.-China trade talks resume, we hope the administration will heed the concerns of the thousands of American companies facing unprecedented tariff costs while making further progress toward an improved trading relationship and an end to the trade war. The proposed March 1 tariff increase should be completely off the table as American businesses are already facing billions more in tariffs every month.”

The November 2018 data shows that retaliatory tariffs, in particular, have had an immediate and severe effect on US exports. In November 2018, US exports of products subject to retaliatory tariffs declined by $4.1 billion, or 37 percent, from the previous year.
Other key takeaways from the November data:

-    Despite $426 million in monthly steel import tariffs and the Trump administration targeting even allies like Canada and Mexico with tariffs, steel imports actually INCREASED in November 2018. 
-    China Section 301 tariffs cost American companies approximately $2.1 billion in November. Products subject to the Section 301 remedies faced $2.5 billion in tariffs in October, compared to just $363 million in November 2017. Tariffs on most of these products could rise from 10 percent to 25 percent unless the U.S. and China reach a deal in the coming weeks.

Coors Light Holding 'Toast to Farmers Day' on Friday

Coors Light is making a toast to the farming industry on Feb. 15 with the hashtag 'Toast to Farmers'.

The announcement comes after competing company Bud Light, known for it's "Dilly Dilly" catchphrase, showed a barrel of corn syrup being delivered to their castle.

The Bud Light commercial stated that their beer was not made with corn syrup, and the barrel must be Miller Lite's or Coors Light's delivery.

The National Corn Growers Association blasted the ad and many farmers took to social media to express their frustration.

Wednesday February 13 Ag News

53rd Annual TRIUMPH OF AG EXPO – Farm and Ranch Machinery Show Announces Steve Nelson – President from Nebraska Farm Bureau as the 2019 Agri-Award Winner

Over 700 booths with over 150,000 square feet of Exhibit space of the latest technology will be showcased at the 53rd Annual TRIUMPH OF AGRICULTURE EXPOSITION Farm & Ranch Machinery Show, Wednesday, February 27th and Thursday, February 28th at the CHI Health Center Omaha formerly the CenturyLink Center Omaha.

Regarded as one of the Area's Largest Indoor Short-line Farm Machinery Show, the EXPO has become a tradition for area farmers, ranchers, stockmen, and their families to come to the show and ask questions directly to the leading farm manufacturers and suppliers for ways to improve their farm operation right before spring fieldwork begins all at one time and under one roof. The Seminar schedule is listed below and provides a chance to learn more about some of the new products and services available at the Show. The Farm Show is open Wednesday from 9 AM to 4 PM and Thursday 9 AM to 3 PM.

Bob Mancuso, Jr , the Show’s Director, says, “Farming today is more challenging and Midwest farmers are interested in keeping up with the changes and ways to increase their profits and yields per acre while reducing their costs.” The Triumph of Ag Expo offers a one stop opportunity to see and compare hundreds of hands - on demonstrations from the newest farm machinery to the day-to-day supplies and product information that's available for today’s farming decisions. The TRIUMPH OF AG EXPO is proud that they have been able to keep the Admission to the Show FREE for the past 52 years. Advance Free admission tickets can be obtained from County extension agents, farm machinery and equipment dealers, or at the CHI Health Center Omaha’s door. There are over 4,500 parking spaces on site right at the convention center entrance.

At no other time this spring will area farmers be able to see all these agricultural suppliers indoors at one time and under one roof than on these two days at the Triumph of Ag Expo. Brent Pohlman, from Midwest Laboratories, said “Many first-time visitors cannot believe the wide selection of products on display and the tremendous opportunity for savings at the Show”. The Triumph of Ag Expo has something for every kind of farm operation, including tillage equipment, planters, monitor and control systems, soil testing equipment, mowers, cattle chutes, augers, fertilizers, various seed hybrids, feeders, tanks and pumps, hay moving and handling equipment, plows, combines, computers and software, tractors and many more agricultural products and services for today's farmers and ranchers.

Bob Mancuso, Jr., said, “This year there are many show features. There will be antique tractors and equipment from the Camp Creek Threshers and the Elkhorn Valley Antique Power Association at the Show.

THE TRIUMPH OF AGRICULTURE EXPOSITION Farm & Ranch Machinery Show is produced by Mid-America Expositions, Inc., sponsored by the Mid-America Farm & Ranch Machinery Council and is a member of the North American Farm Show Council consisting of the top 25 shows in the nation.

Women landowners connecting to resources leads to more profitability

Women who own or co-own more than 40 acres, may have inherited farmland, or are experiencing transition with farmland they own are invited to a workshop on Thursday, March 7, from 1 to 5 p.m. at Milady Coffeehouse, 105 E. Sixth St. in Fremont. This workshop is rescheduled from Jan. 22.

This “Empowering women through risk management,” workshop is designed for women non-operator landowners, and offers an opportunity for women to learn about areas of the operation that may be at risk, and how to address them.

“Women non-operator landowners face a variety of decisions and often rely on the advice of others,” said Sandra Renner, project associate at Center for Rural Affairs.

She said women who are feeling overwhelmed with all the decisions of farmland management will find this workshop especially helpful.

“Well-intended advice is not always in the best interest of managing the land or the landowner, so we’ve created this workshop for women to find answers and connect with resources while connecting with other women,” said Renner.

There is no cost to attend. Interested women are asked to register by Friday, March 1. Attendees are encouraged to bring their questions or come to listen. Refreshments will be provided.

To register, contact Vicky at or 402.687.2100 ext. 1038. Visit for more information.

This event is hosted by the Center for Rural Affairs and made possible by funding from a U.S. Department of Agriculture Risk Management Education grant.

Lindsay Announces FieldNET® Pivot Watch™, the Industry’s Most Universal Remote Irrigation Monitoring Solution

Lindsay Corporation (NYSE: LNN), a leading global manufacturer and distributor of irrigation and infrastructure equipment and technology, today announced a new addition to its industry-leading Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) offering: FieldNET Pivot Watch. The patent-pending innovation includes a solar-powered remote telemetry device that mounts onto any center pivot irrigation system, regardless of pivot age or brand, and a monitor-only subscription to Lindsay’s award-winning FieldNET irrigation management platform. FieldNET helps growers optimize water use efficiency, save time and ultimately improve yields and profit. Zimmatic® dealers will begin offering FieldNET Pivot Watch in North America in early summer 2019, and will become available in select international markets starting later in 2019.

Pivot Watch is compact, lightweight and attaches directly to the span pipe with a simple aluminum band, without the need to connect to the electric circuitry of the pivot. This means growers will have the ability to install Pivot Watch themselves. Though simple in design and low-cost, the device has integrated cellular connectivity, GPS positioning and other embedded sensors, enabling growers to remotely “watch” or monitor their pivot’s functions, such as current position, status, direction and speed, using the FieldNET app. With FieldNET Pivot Watch, growers will be able to monitor their irrigation operations around the clock, enabling seamless functionality, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

“It is estimated that approximately 70 percent of pivots operating in North America today do not have remote monitoring capability,” said Randy Wood, president of irrigation at Lindsay. “Pivot Watch was designed with exactly those growers, and their challenges, in mind. It essentially brings remote irrigation monitoring to anyone who wants it; its ultra-low price point, DIY installation and access to FieldNET, the industry’s leading irrigation management solution, makes the efficiency of remote irrigation management more accessible than ever before.”

Pivot Watch expands Lindsay’s aftermarket FieldNET offering, which also includes full remote monitoring and control with FieldNET Pivot Control, and FieldNET Pivot Control Lite, which offers monitoring and a mid-range of control. All three products fit any brand and age of electric pivot, and Pivot Watch will also work on hydraulic pivots. Through the FieldNET family of products, both growers and their agronomic advisors have access to Lindsay’s FieldNET Advisor, the industry’s first, automated irrigation scheduling solution, giving growers science-based recommendations to make faster, better-informed decisions about when, where and how much to irrigate. This helps growers increase efficiency and profit while also exercising more sustainable farming practices.

At launch, Pivot Watch will be available with or without a pressure transducer to indicate whether water is on or off, and to display end-of-system pressure. Pricing starts at $299 USD, including the first year, monitor-only FieldNET subscription. After the first year, the subscription will cost $100 USD per year.

For more information about FieldNET technology, visit

“Tools for the Future” at Morningside Crop Fair

In the tradition of providing farmers the latest industry insights, the Iowa Corn District 4 Committee along with the Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) and the Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB) will host “Tools for the Future” crop fair at Morningside College, Buhler-Rolfs Hall Room 202 (Weikert Auditorium) Sioux City, Iowa.

“The crop fairs give Iowa corn farmers access to information they might not get elsewhere,” explained Larry Buss, an ICPB director and farmer from Logan who chairs the Iowa Corn Grassroots Network, Membership & Checkoff (GNMC) Committee. “Crop fairs are customized to include topics that fit each region of the state, with opportunities for farmer-to-farmer learning and a chance to interact with subject area experts on a variety of topics including legislative policy, water quality, market development and risk management.”

Wednesday, February 20, 2019 from 1:00PM - 3:30PM.
1 PM  Ag Policy 101 - Making a Positive Impact - Kelly Nieuwenhuis, ICPB Director, District 1
1:30 PM  Complexity, Strategy and Knowledge in Managing Production Risk - Cory Walters, Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Dept. of Economics

RSVPs are appreciated by February 18 to Janelle Kracht by calling 515-229-9980 or email

“Through the power of your membership we are able to advocate at both the state and federal level for issues which directly impact your bottom-line. If you are not an ICGA member, I encourage you to join us today to have your seat at the table and get engaged on issues impacting your farm,” said GNMC Committee Vice Chair Roger Wuthrich, an ICGA director and a farmer from Bloomfield. You may join at the crop fair or at

Crop fair sponsors include Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Corn District 4 Committee, Nebraska Corn Growers Association and Morningside College.

Century and Heritage Farms Encouraged to Apply

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig encouraged eligible farm owners to apply for the 2019 Century and Heritage Farm Program. The program is sponsored by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation. It recognizes families that have owned their farm for 100 years in the case of Century Farms and 150 years for Heritage Farms.

"The Century and Heritage Farm Program recognizes the hard work that is necessary to keep a farm in the same family for 100 or 150 years," Naig said. "The awards ceremony at the Iowa State Fair is a great celebration of Iowa agriculture and the families that care for the land and produce our food. I look forward to recognizing Iowa's Century and Heritage awardees at the upcoming state fair and encourage those families to apply before June 1.

Applications are available on the Department's website at by clicking on the Century Farm or Heritage Farm link under "Programs".

Applications may also be requested from Becky Lorenz, Coordinator of the Century and Heritage Farm Program via phone at 515-281-3645, email at or by writing to Century or Heritage Farms Program, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Henry A. Wallace Building, 502 E. 9th St., Des Moines, IA 50319.

Farm families seeking to qualify for the Century or Heritage Farms Program must submit an application to the Department no later than June 1.

The Century Farm program was started in 1976 as part of the Nation's Bicentennial Celebration. To date, more than 19,000 farms from across the state have received this recognition. The Heritage Farm program was started in 2006, on the 30th anniversary of the Century Farm program, and more than 1,000 farms have been recognized. Last year 359 Century Farms and 148 Heritage Farms were recognized.

A full list of all past Century Farm recipients is available at

The ceremony to recognize the 2019 Century and Heritage Farms will be held at the Iowa State Fair on Aug. 15 in the Pioneer Livestock Pavilion.

Kansas State University researcher publishes study confirming experimental transmission of African swine fever virus through feed

As an African swine fever outbreak has moved rapidly throughout China and threatens to spread to new countries in Europe, a Kansas State University researcher continues to understand the possible routes for disease introduction and transmission.

Megan Niederwerder, Kansas State University assistant professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology in the College of Veterinary Medicine, is leading a team that is exploring how the currently circulating strain of African swine fever, or ASF, could spread in feed and feed ingredients. A new publication details the dose necessary to transmit the disease when pigs ingest virus-contaminated feed or liquid.

"Although feed and feed ingredients are a less recognized transmission route for African swine fever, the global distribution of feed ingredients makes this pathway important to consider for transboundary introduction of the virus," Niederwerder said. "This study is the first to demonstrate that African swine fever can be easily transmitted through the natural consumption of contaminated feed and liquid."

The study, "Infectious dose of African swine fever virus when consumed naturally in liquid or feed," was published in Emerging Infectious Diseases. Niederwerder and collaborators found that the level of virus required to cause infection in liquid was extremely low, demonstrating the high infectivity of African swine fever through the oral route. Although greater concentrations of virus were required to cause infection through feed, the high frequency of exposure may make contaminated feed a more significant risk factor.

"Working with statistician Trevor Hefley, we were able to model the probability of African swine fever infection when pigs consumed a contaminated batch of feed over time," Niederwerder said. "The likelihood of infection increased dramatically after even 10 exposures, or consumption of 1 kilogram of contaminated feed. Modeling multiple exposures increases the applicability of our experimental data to what would occur at the farm."

Agricultural processing methods for feed ingredients can put them at risk for contamination in countries with African swine fever. One common practice in China, for instance, is to dry crops on roadways. Those roadways could be contaminated by traffic from trucks containing infected pigs. Processing ingredients on contaminated equipment is another possible source of transmitting virus particles to feed.

"Millions of kilograms of feed ingredients are imported from countries where African swine fever virus is currently circulating," Niederwerder said. "Our previous work demonstrated that a wide range of feed ingredients promote survival of the virus after exposure to environmental conditions simulating transboundary shipment."

Introduction of African swine fever virus would be devastating to U.S. swine production because it is a trade-limiting disease that causes severe clinical signs and high mortality in pigs. Another costly swine disease, porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, was introduced into the U.S. in 2013 and caused the death of an estimated 7 million pigs within the first year. Subsequent investigations unveiled the risk of feed for introduction and transmission of swine viruses. Niederwerder's goal is to prevent another catastrophic disease outbreak.

Peter Dorhout, Kansas State University vice president for research, said protecting U.S. producers and consumers against disease outbreaks is an area in which the university excels.

"K-State has world-renowned research strengths in providing biodefense for global threats to agriculture," Dorhout said. "We are proud to have some of the best, highly specialized facilities in which we can safely conduct this research, and Dr. Niederwerder's team is making great strides."

Niederwerder and her group conduct their work in the Biosecurity Research Institute, a biosafety level-3 facility that has helped them perform large studies. Their first study found that the African swine fever virus could survive in a simulated overseas feed shipment. Now that the group has confirmed African swine fever transmission through feed and has identified the oral dose necessary for infection, the next step will be to identify ways to reduce or eliminate this risk, including chemical additives, storage time, heat treatments or other steps.

"African swine fever is arguably the most significant threat to worldwide swine production," Niederwerder said. "With no effective vaccine or treatment, preventing introduction of the virus is the primary goal of countries free of the disease. Our hope is that this research will further define possible routes of disease spread and develop mitigation strategies to prevent introduction into the U.S. swine herd."

The National Pork Checkoff and the State of Kansas National Bio and Agro-defense Facility Fund provided funding for the study. Kansas State University co-authors on the publication include Ana Stoian, doctoral student in pathobiology; Raymond "Bob" Rowland, professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology; Steve Dritz, professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology; Vlad Petrovan, doctoral student in pathobiology; Laura Constance, concurrent Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and doctoral student in pathobiology; Jordan Gebhardt, concurrent Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and doctoral student in animal science; Matthew Olcha, concurrent Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and doctoral student in pathobiology; Cassandra Jones, associate professor of animal science; Jason Woodworth, research associate professor of animal science; Ying Fang, professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology; Jia Liang, doctoral student in statistics; and Trevor Hefley, assistant professor of statistics.

EPA Proposal Promises Clean Water, Clear Rules

Zippy Duvall, President, American Farm Bureau Federation

“Today’s release of a new draft Clean Water Rule is a major step toward fair and understandable water regulation on America’s farms and ranches and other working lands. The previous rule would have treated much of the landscape as though it were water itself. That wasn’t just confusing, but also illegal, which is why so many federal courts blocked its implementation.

“We haven’t yet examined every word of today’s proposal, but even a quick look shows many of the previous rule’s worst problems are on their way out. We will examine this rule in further detail in the coming days and look forward to a thorough discussion over the next few months.

“Until then, farmers and ranchers continue to work hard every day to preserve the world around us. Agriculture Department data shows farmers and ranchers are devoting more of their land to conservation than ever before, thanks to USDA programs that let them do well while doing good. Just one example: Duck populations have recovered strongly from previous lows in the upper Midwest’s Prairie Pothole Region, where they now number 17 percent above long-term averages: We are proud of the progress farmers and ranchers have made in their fields and ranges, and we look forward to making even more progress with fair, clear and reasonable rules.”

Weekly Ethanol Production for 2/8/2019

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association, ethanol production jumped 6.4% (up 62,000 barrels per day, or b/d) to an average of 1.029 million b/d—or 43.22 million gallons daily. However, the four-week average ethanol production rate declined to 1.010 million b/d, 3.3% lower than the level a year ago and equivalent to an annualized rate of 15.48 billion gallons.

Stocks of ethanol receded for the second week, decreasing 1.7% to 23.5 million barrels.

There were no imports for the thirteenth week in a row. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of November 2018.)

Average weekly gasoline supplied to the market subsided 4.7% as 8.648 million b/d (363.2 million gallons per day) reflected the lowest demand in four weeks. This is equivalent to 132.57 billion gallons annualized. The four-week average remains 0.7% above year-ago levels. Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol decreased 1.6% to 873,000 b/d—equivalent to 13.38 billion gallons annualized.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production moved to a four-week high of 11.90%.

Prices for All Fertilizers Higher First Week of February 2019

Average retail fertilizer prices continued on the well-worn path higher the first week of February 2019, according to retailers surveyed by DTN. This marks the fourth consecutive week price for all eight of the major fertilizers have been higher.

While prices are higher compared to last month, only one was up a significant amount. UAN32 was 5% higher compared to the previous month with an average price of $318 per ton.

The remaining seven major fertilizers were slightly higher. DAP had an average price of $511 per ton, MAP $536/ton, potash $385/ton, urea $408/ton, 10-34-0 $470/ton, anhydrous $596/ton and UAN28 $271/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.44/lb.N, anhydrous $0.36/lb.N, UAN28 $0.48/lb.N and UAN32 $0.50/lb.N.

All eight of the major fertilizers tracked by DTN are now higher compared to last year with prices shifting higher. MAP is 9% more expensive, both DAP and potash are 12% higher, 10-34-0 is 13% more expensive, urea is 15% higher, UAN28 is 19% more expensive, anhydrous is 21% higher and UAN32 is now 22% more expensive compared to last year.


Cattle producers Chuck Coffey, Jared Brackett and Hugh Sanburg Sanburg are the new leaders of the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion & Research Board (CBB). This officer team is responsible for guiding the national Beef Checkoff Program throughout 2019.

Coffey, Brackett and Sanburg were elected unanimously by their fellow Beef Board members during the 2019 Cattle Industry Convention in New Orleans on Friday, February 1, 2019. Coffey will now serve as the CBB’s chairman, while Brackett will transition from his role as the 2018 secretary/treasurer to vice chair. Sanburg is the newest member of the officer team, taking on Brackett’s former responsibilities as secretary/treasurer.

The CBB’s new chair, Chuck Coffey, is a fifth-generation rancher who grew up on a ranch in the hill country of Harper, Texas. He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in range science from Texas A & M. After completing his master’s degree in 1985, Coffey taught agriculture at Murray State College in Tishomingo, Oklahoma, eventually chairing the department until 1993 when he joined the Noble Foundation as a pasture and range consultant. Today, Coffey and his wife operate a cow/calf operation with approximately 1,000 head of cattle near Springer, Okla.

“I’ve been active in the cattle business most of my life,” Coffey said. “As I look forward to the year ahead, I truly believe that cattle producers have numerous reasons to be optimistic. As the CBB’s new chair, I plan to work closely with our officer team and do everything I can to successfully guide the checkoff as it continues to pursue its primary mission: increasing beef demand worldwide.”

Vice chair Jared Brackett is a fifth-generation cow/calf producer from Filer, Idaho. Brackett is a Texas A & M alum and diehard Aggie fan with a degree in agriculture economics. A past president of the Idaho Cattlemen’s Association, Brackett continues to serve on a number of other livestock committees and boards in addition to his responsibilities with the Beef Checkoff program.

The CBB’s new secretary/treasurer, Hugh Sanburg, hails from Eckert, Colo., where he is a managing partner, with his brother, of their primarily Horned Hereford cow-calf operation, accompanied by a Registered Hereford operation to compliment the commercial herd. Sanburg graduated from Colorado School of Mines with a degree in mining engineering in 1983 before moving back to the home ranch in western Colorado. For the past 30 years, Sanburg has been an active member of the Colorado Farm Bureau serving on various boards. He is also a member of the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association and serves as chairman of the Gunnison Basin Roundtable.

“We have a tremendously talented and dedicated group of individuals leading the CBB throughout 2019,” said Scott Stuart, CEO of the CBB. “Chuck, Jared and Hugh personally understand the challenges that producers and other beef industry investors have today, but they also clearly see the many opportunities that lie ahead. I’m certain that they’ll work very hard to help the Beef Checkoff achieve new levels of success this year.”

American Lamb Board Elects New Chairman; Releases Results

Dale Thorne, a sheep producer from Michigan, has been elected chairman of the American Lamb Board (ALB). He is serving his second 3-year term on the Board, representing the lamb feeding sector. Thorne has previously served as ALB vice chairman, treasurer and chairman of the Research Committee.

"Being able to help increase demand for American Lamb is an honor. In particular, I am enthusiastic about the progress we are making regarding American Lamb quality and consistency, such as the flavor research we expect to complete in 2019," says Thorne.

Thorne and his family have a flock of 1,000 Polypay ewes, half of which lamb in the fall and half in the spring. Because he is near Detroit, which is the largest Muslim community in the US, Thorne sees first-hand the value of both traditional and non-traditional markets. The majority of the farm's lambs are marketed at about 80 pounds. The farm also produces hay for the horse market, and row crops such as corn and soybeans.

The Lamb Board's Fiscal Year 2018 annual report has also been released. The board directs the American Lamb Checkoff, which is focused on building awareness and expanding demand for American Lamb, and strengthening its position in the marketplace, thereby increasing the potential long-range economic growth of all industry sectors. The majority of lamb checkoff investments go towards promotions and marketing efforts. Funds are also invested in research and industry outreach programs that help improve lamb quality and industry collaboration.

FY 2018 result highlights include:    
-    Fine dining menus called out domestic lamb more than three to one.
-    Blogger Lambassadors developed 38 new American Lamb recipes, and their combined blogs and social media posts reached more than one million consumers.
-    2,353 consumers attended a Lamb Jam event and 54% were new attendees.
-    Lamb flavor research addressing quality factors entered final phases.
-    ALB showcased American Lamb at 24 festivals and events across the US.

During FY2018, the Lamb Board expenditures were $2,412,782, of which 66 percent ($1,599,675) were spent on promotion programs; 18 percent ($441,204) on communications, 5 percent on research, 7 percent on administration and 4 percent on USDA oversight. The complete annual report is available at

"An exciting year is ahead for the American Lamb Board as we complete landmark research that will benefit all of us in the industry and continue with innovative marketing to increase demand for our great product," Chairman Thorne said.

EPA Acting Administrator Wheeler Signs MOU with National FFA Organization to Enhance Environmental Education

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler signed a first-time Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the National FFA Organization to advance educational outreach for EPA’s ongoing environmental and public health initiatives.

“Today’s MOU will expand EPA’s environmental education programs to an important and diverse new audience: the National FFA Organization’s 670,000 student members,” said EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “The MOU reflects the importance of agricultural practices in promoting environmental stewardship and builds on our recent collaborations with America’s farmers and ranchers.”

"This agreement between FFA and EPA recognizes how FFA members are ready to be leaders in environmental fields," said National FFA President Luke O'Leary. "Whether it's studying pH levels in soil or running experiments to reduce water runoff, we're active stewards in preserving and enhancing the resources needed to grow our food."

EPA will continue to work with FFA to ensure environmental education is learned and practiced by all Americans to achieve EPA's mission of protecting human health and the environment.

U.S. Tractor, Combine Sales Rose in January

According to the Association of Equipment Manufacturer's monthly "Flash Report," the sale of all tractors in the U.S. in 2018, were up 5% in January compared to 2017.

For the month of January, two-wheel drive smaller tractors (under 40 HP) were up 13% from last year, while 40 & under 100 HP were down 7%. Sales of 2-wheel drive 100+ HP were down 4%, while 4-wheel drive tractors were up 38%. Combine sales were up 15% for the month.

For the year, a total of 11,917 tractors were sold which compares to 11,315 sold in 2018 representing an 5% increase for the year.

For the year, two-wheel drive smaller tractors (under 40 HP) are up 13% from last year, while 40 & under 100 HP are down 7%. Sales of 2-wheel drive 100+ HP are down 4%, while 4-wheel drive tractors are up 38%.  Sales of combines for the year totaled 216 compared to 228 in 2018, an 15% increase.

USGC Annual Meeting Attendees Share The Colombian Experience

More than 330 attendees at the U.S. Grains Council’s 16th International Marketing Conference and 59th Annual Membership Meeting - happening this week in Cartagena, Colombia - heard from Western Hemisphere trade experts about the importance of the Colombian market to the U.S. feed grains industry.

The event’s general sessions included an update on the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) by Minister Andres Valencia Pinzon from Colombia’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the latest news on the status of U.S.-Colombian relations from Philip Laidlaw, deputy chief of mission, U.S. Embassy in Colombia.

Laidlaw’s presentation was followed by a panel of Colombian industry executives including Jorge Bedoya, president, Sociedad de Agricultores de Colombia; Juan Jaramillo, vice president of purchases and logistics, Solla Animal Nutrition; Augusto Solano Mejia, executive president, Asocolflores; and Ron Gray, USGC past chairman, who offered their perspectives on the impacts of the U.S.-Colombia FTA. The panel was moderated by USGC Director of Trade Policy and Biotechnology Floyd Gaibler, who worked closely with Colombian partners during the FTA approval process.

“Hearing from the high-level U.S. and Colombian officials as well as a broad group of industry participants illustrates to attendees the breadth of our work in the Colombian market and how our international staff in Colombia work hand-in-hand with the U.S. government on behalf of U.S. grains,” said Jim Stitzlein, USGC chairman.

The day culminated with a second panel comprised of USGC Western Hemisphere staff working in the market – Marri Tejada, regional director; Ana Maria Ballesteros, marketing director; Juan Diaz, Latin American regional ethanol consultant; and Michael Conlon, agricultural counselor, Office of Agricultural Affairs, U.S. Embassy, Bogota. Each spoke to their views of grain demand in the region and the continued development of relationships with Colombian industry.

“The Western hemisphere in general, and Colombia specifically, holds so much promise for U.S. corn, value-added products and ethanol, and we are here on the ground to capture and grow that potential,” Tejada said. “With the help of USDA’s Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) funds, and now Agricultural Trade Promotion (ATP) program dollars, we hope to see commensurate growth in all markets in the region.”

The afternoon also featured a recognition of USGC Colombian consultant Jaime Cuellar who has spent more than 20 years in Colombia and Latin America working on various projects for the Council and who shared his perspective on how the country became a major feed grain importer.

Attendees at the meeting also heard from National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) CEO Jon Doggett and Mexico international affairs expert Gabriel Guerra Castellanos on the future of U.S.-Mexico relations and the road to ratification of the U.S-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Mexico is the top importer of U.S. grains in all forms, the largest buyer of U.S. corn, barley and distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS), a large buyer of U.S. sorghum and a significant potential market for U.S. ethanol.

The agenda culminated with a Board of Delegates meeting with reports from each of the seven USGC Advisory Teams (A-Teams) as well as five commodity sector reports with ideas to help continue expanding U.S. exports of corn, sorghum, barley, DDGS and ethanol.

Procure® for Soybeans the Latest Breakthrough Technology in Soil Health

Agnition®, a leader in soil and plant health, announced today another breakthrough in soybean plant health with Procure® for Soybeans. This new product utilizes patented Microbial Catalyst® technology to increase nitrogen fixation, improve soybean plant health and help maximize profitability.

“Procure gives soybeans the boost they need,” said Rachel Raths, Agnition Microbiologist. “When introduced in-furrow next to the soybean seed, it stimulates the microorganisms in the soil that impact the nitrogen fixation and nodulation process for soybeans.”

Active microorganisms are critical to the nitrogen fixation process, where nitrogen is converted into ammonia and other compounds that can be metabolized by plants. Soybeans are legumes, which are the only plants that can fix nitrogen, making them an important part of any crop rotation.

For 40 years, with the help of top agriculture universities, Agnition has worked hard to enhance and perfect the use of Microbial Catalyst technology for soil and plant health. Through this process, microbes are stimulated to break down organic matter in the soil faster, releasing more of the micro- and macro-nutrients plants need. Procure for Soybeans is specifically formulated to target the microbes that drive nitrogen fixation that is critical to the health of soybean plants.

“Procure for Soybeans is a highly soluble and bioavailable form of nutrients. Most products try to supply the plant with nutrients, whereas we are able to use bioavailable forms that microbes can utilize,” said Raths. “Procure stimulates the specific microbes that are needed to give the plant its number one needed resource: nitrogen.”

Procure for Soybeans has been proven to enhance the performance of Agnition’s flagship product, Generate®. “Procure and Generate work best together since Generate focuses on overall plant health and Procure targets the specific beneficial microbes for nodulation in the roots,” said Mike Holmberg, Associate Brand Manager of Agnition. “When you add Procure to the mix, you are able to build on that healthy soil environment by stimulating the specific microbes that are needed to increase nodulation and nitrogen fixation.”

In field trials, Procure for Soybeans has demonstrated significant increases in stand count along with larger root mass and more nodules. Leaves are greener and healthier. The end result: increased yields and much improved drought resistance.

Tuesday February 12 Ag News

Eastern Nebraska Extension Beef Workshops

Nebraska Extension are hosting Beef Profitability Workshops in Eastern Nebraska to help Beef Producers evaluate their operations to make them more profitable through the latest research information. Extension Educators will be presenting the information.

These workshops have been held across Nebraska for the past sixteen years.  Workshops are sponsored by Nebraska Extension.  The cost is $10.00 which is payable at the door, but pre-registration is encouraged so we know how many will be attending.

Workshops that will be held in the area during March includes the following locations.

March 12, 2019 – Dakota County at 1:00 p.m. @ the Dakota County Extension Office, Dakota City, NE. Topics include “Unit Cost of Production”, “Grazing Management – Where to Put the Cows”, and “Heat Stress Management”. Pre-register by contacting Larry Howard at 402-372-6006 by March 8th.

March 13, 2019 – Cuming County at 1:00 p.m. @ Cuming County Courthouse Meeting Room, West Point, NE.  Topics include “Unit Cost of Production”, “Stalking Rates & Rental Rates on Corn Residue for Grazing”, and “Heat Stress Management”. Pre-register by contacting Larry Howard at 402-372-6006 by March 11th.

March 14, 2019 – Dodge County Extension at 1:00 p.m. @ Dodge County Extension Office, Fremont, NE.  Topics include “Unit Cost of Production”, “Grazing Management – Where to Put the Cows”, and “Heat Stress Management”. Pre-register by contacting Larry Howard at 402-372-6006 by March 12th.

Finalists Named in Nebraska Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers Discussion Meet

Sean Krebs of Clearwater, Cadrien Livingston of Orchard, Brady Revels of Omaha, and David Schuler of Bridgeport advanced to the final round of the Nebraska Farm Bureau (NEFB) Young Farmers and Ranchers (YF&R) Discussion Meet to be held at the next NEFB Annual Convention, Dec. 8-10, 2019.

Seth Mangels of Hoskins was named first alternate and Amy Musgrave of Ong is the second alternate.

Rather than debating, contestants work to develop a solution to a problem being discussed, building on each other’s contributions. Competitors in the annual contest must be prepared to speak on any number of agriculture-related topics; the selected question is announced a short time prior to the contest round. Finalists received the top scores of contestants after competing in three rounds of the discussion meet at the YF&R Conference, Feb. 8-9.

Krebs is from Antelope County and a student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, majoring in Agriculture Engineering. He grows popcorn, field corn, and soybeans on his family farm, as well as raising cow/calf pairs.

Livingston is a Knox County Farm Bureau member and serves on the YF&R Committee. She is a student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln majoring in Agriculture Communication and will graduate in December 2019. Livingston raises Registered Gelbvieh Angus cattle with her mother on their family farm. She is also an advocate for safety in agriculture.

Revels is a Douglas County Farm Bureau board member and serves on the YF&R Committee. He grew up on a family farm in Florida but relocated to Nebraska when his job as a sales representative for an animal health company moved him to Omaha. He helps coach several area FFA judging teams and volunteers with the Nebraska State Dairy Contest. His wife, Katie, is a chiropractor.

Schuler is a Morrill County Farm Bureau member and is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a degree in Animal Science. He raises Red Angus seed stock with his family on their ranch. Schuler also served as an FFA State Officer.

Mangels is a Wayne County Farm Bureau member and a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a degree in Business. He farms with his parents on their family farm raising cow/calf pairs and row crops. Mangles also works for Elkhorn Valley Bank in Norfolk.

Musgrave is a Clay County Farm Bureau member and serves as the county board president. She works as a statistician for the United States Department of Agriculture and raises Simmental/Angus cattle, club lambs, and Boer goats along with her husband, Ryan, and their 11-year-old son, Dax. Ryan and Amy were also the recipients of the 2018 YF&R Excellence in Agriculture award.

Finalists received a $50 prize and a chance to compete for $500 and an all-expenses paid trip to compete in the American Farm Bureau Discussion Meet in Austin, Texas. in January 2020. Farm Bureau members between the ages of 18 and 35 are eligible to compete in the Young Farmers and Ranchers Discussion Meet. For more information, visit

Tractor Safety Training Required by Law for Teen Farm/Ranch Workers

 The most common cause of agricultural-related death in Nebraska is overturned tractors and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs).  Employing anyone uncertified under age 16 is a liability risk for farmers if those children operate such equipment.

 Nebraska Extension’s Tractor Safety & Hazardous Occupations Courses take place at 12 Nebraska locations this year for teens 14 or 15 years of age who will work on a farm.  Anyone older than 15 is also welcome to attend, but those under age 14 are not eligible to take the class.  Extensive training on tractor and ATV safety occurs during in-class lessons with hands-on activities.  Instilling an attitude of safety and a respect for agricultural equipment is the primary goal of the course.

 The first day of classroom instruction includes hands-on demonstrations, concluding with a written test.  Classroom instruction will cover the required elements of the National Safe Tractor and Machinery Operation Program.  Students are required to pass the test before taking the driving test on day two.  The second day will include a physical driving test with equipment operation and ATV safety lessons.  To receive certification, students must demonstrate competence in hitching and unhitching equipment and driving a tractor and trailer through a standardized course.  In most locations, instructors will offer an ATV simulator experience to learn about safe behaviors and laws for ATVs and UTVs.  Students will also complete homework assignments for the second day.

 Instructors for the course include staff members of Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health: Aaron Yoder, PhD, Ellen Duysen, Daniel Kent, and UNMC student Jill Oatman.

 All on-site classes begin at 8:00 A.M. and end times will vary, depending on the number of participants.  Training site locations, Site Coordinator contact numbers, and dates of training includes:
June 11 & 12 - Plains Equipment, O’Neill - (402) 336-2760
June 20 & 21 - Fairgrounds, Wayne - (402) 375-3310                          
July 1 & 2 - Fairgrounds, Weeping Water - (402) 267-2205 

Cost of the course is $60, which includes educational materials, instruction, supplies, and lunches.

 To register, print and complete a registration form and submit with payment to the appropriate Site Coordinator at least one week before the course (call the specific location number listed above for mailing address and instructions). 

Ricketts Announces Appointments to Boards and Commissions

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts announced recent appointments he has made to fill Nebraska’s boards and commissions.  Among the nominations are: 

The following appointees are unpaid and are not subject to Legislative confirmation:
Dairy Industry Development Board - Michael Henn, Norfolk
Nebraska Potato Development Committee - Timothy May, Imperial & Matthew Ward, North Platte
Riparian Vegetation Management Task Force - T.J.Walker,  Lincoln & David Zorn, Gothenburg

The following appointees are unpaid and are subject to Legislative confirmation:
State Fair Board - Dawn Caldwell, Edgar & Christopher P. Kircher, Omaha

Thank you to the many Nebraskans that give generously of their time and talent to make a difference in our state.  These appointments will provide crucial insight and expertise to their respective boards, committees, and commissions.  To learn about openings and apply to serve on a board or commission, go to

New study reveals positive economic impacts of Nebraska’s ethanol industry

A recent impact study by University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) economists reveals Nebraska’s ethanol production capacity increased by 23 percent since 2014, and continues to be a significant driver of economic impact for the state.

“The state sees what economists describe as an economic ‘bounce’ when we take advantage of the added value when grain is converted to food, fuel, fiber, renewable chemicals and bio-products,” said Sarah Caswell, administrator of the Nebraska Ethanol Board. “There is enormous potential for biofuels to continue to strengthen the economic health of Nebraska through bio-based innovation and international trade.”

The study’s authors ­– Dr. Kathleen Brooks, UNL agricultural economics professor; Dr. Tim Meyer, UNL agricultural economics professor; Dr. Eric Thompson, UNL economics professor and Bureau of Business Research director; and Dr. Cory Walters, UNL agricultural economics professor – examined the economic impact of Nebraska’s ethanol industry between 2015 and 2017.

As of 2017, Nebraska’s ethanol production capacity was 2.558 billion gallons per year, with 1,453 full-time employees at 24 facilities. This represents an increase of 481 million gallons annually and an additional 152 full-time employees compared to 2014.

These additional jobs reflect the ethanol industry’s substantial and continued annual impact on the local labor market. In 2016, the total labor income impact – including direct and indirect jobs – was $275 million earned from an estimated 3,509 jobs for an average annual earnings of $78,300. Ethanol plant jobs provide significantly higher-wages compared to other manufacturing positions and are uniquely located in rural communities.

These positive economics also occur in the local corn market due to higher demand from nearby ethanol plants. The study noted a consistently positive impact on local basis (the difference between the local cash price and the futures price) from ethanol production. For example, a producer near an ethanol plant producing 220 bushels of corn per acre would receive an additional $11.44 per acre each year.

Nebraska’s large ethanol production results in 94 percent of the product being shipped out of state, making Nebraska one of the largest exporters of bioenergy. In addition, 51 percent of dried distillers grain produced in 2015 and 44 percent in 2016 were shipped out of state. These out-of-state sales result in a net positive for the state and represent a direct economic impact by bringing new money into the state economy.

“The quantifiable economic impact of ethanol production on the Nebraska economy is clear,” said Jan tenBensel, chairman of the Nebraska Ethanol Board. “But we should also understand the enormous savings in health and environmental costs associated with displacing toxic petroleum products with cleaner-burning biofuels like ethanol. Choosing ethanol fuel brings additional and significant cost savings in terms of public health.”

Although ethanol and co-product production increased in 2016 and 2017, prices declined and led to reduced overall production values. Between 2015 and 2017, Nebraska’s value of production for ethanol and co-products averaged $3.8 billion.

While the value of production for ethanol and co-products was lower between 2015-2017 compared to previous years, both ethanol capacity and employment increased indicating a positive long-term outlook. Ethanol plants continue to assimilate technology that increases efficiency and diversifies their production portfolio to take advantage of new market opportunities.

The purpose of the “Economic Impacts of the Nebraska Ethanol and Ethanol Co-Products Industry” study was to estimate the value of production during 2015-2017 as an update to the 2014 study, and compare that value to major commodity production values in Nebraska. In addition, the study measured productive capacity, co-product value, employment, net returns, in-state utilization and exports. To view the full study, visit

Ethanol Industry Makes 'A Significant Contribution' to U.S. Economy, RFA Analysis Finds

The U.S. ethanol industry faced a number of regulatory and marketplace challenges in 2018, but continued to make a remarkable contribution to the nation’s economy, according to a new study released today at the Renewable Fuels Association’s (RFA) 24th annual National Ethanol Conference. The analysis, conducted by ABF Economics on behalf of RFA, found the industry supported nearly 366,000 jobs and generated nearly $46 billion in gross domestic product in 2018.

“The ethanol industry continues to make a significant contribution to the economy in terms of job creation, generation of tax revenue, and displacement of crude oil and petroleum products,” the study noted. “The importance of the ethanol industry to agriculture and rural economies is particularly notable. Continued growth and expansion of the ethanol industry through new technologies and feedstocks will enhance the industry’s position as the original creator of green jobs and will enable America to make further strides toward energy independence,” the study added.

According to the analysis, the production and use of 16.1 billion gallons of ethanol in 2018:
-    Supported more than 71,000 direct jobs and almost 295,000 indirect and induced jobs across all sectors of the economy;
-    Added nearly $25 billion in income for American households;
-    Generated an estimated $4.8 billion in tax revenue to the Federal Treasury and $4 billion in revenue to state and local governments;
-    Supported more than 16,200 jobs and $6.3 billion in GDP through exports alone; and
-    Displaced an amount of gasoline refined from roughly 550 million barrels of imported crude oil, keeping $36 billion in the U.S. economy.

The analysis also estimated the impact of the ethanol industry on the state economy in top ethanol-producing states. Iowa, Nebraska, and Illinois were the top three states in terms of economic impacts, but states like Ohio, Kansas, Michigan, Texas, Missouri, California, and New York also benefited from ethanol plants’ contributions.

“The U.S. ethanol industry continues to serve as a vital economic engine and job creator, especially in our nation’s rural communities,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “Our industry has played an important role in America’s energy renaissance and has been instrumental in reducing U.S. petroleum import dependence to its lowest level in nearly six decades. We are proud of these achievements and look forward to providing even greater benefits to U.S. consumers as the industry continues to grow and evolve.”

Ethanol Industry 'Delivering Huge Wins' Despite 'Tough Year' in 2018

Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) President and CEO Geoff Cooper told nearly 1,000 National Ethanol Conference attendees today that while the U.S. ethanol industry had a “tough year” in 2018, it “continued to deliver huge wins for consumers,” including lower gas prices, cleaner air, a more secure energy supply, and increased job creation. As part of his State of the Ethanol Industry report, Cooper also outlined RFA’s plans driving future growth and creating new market opportunities for American-made ethanol.

The U.S. ethanol industry produced a record 16.1 billion gallons of high-octane, clean-burning renewable fuel in 2018, the sixth straight annual increase in production, Cooper noted. As a result, the ethanol industry continued to play a vital role in the U.S. economy, supporting more than 71,000 direct jobs and nearly 295,000 indirect and induced jobs across all the sectors of the economy.

“One of the greatest successes for our industry in 2018 was growth in the export market,” Cooper said, pointing out that one out of every 10 gallons of ethanol produced in the United States was exported last year. “This accomplishment is even more impressive when you consider that U.S. ethanol faced punitive trade barriers in several key markets.”

However, the ethanol industry experienced “demand destruction” in 2018 as the result of former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s egregious abuse of small refinery exemptions, which excused 48 refiners from their blending obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

“While we were focused on fighting efforts by Texas Senator Ted Cruz and others to cap RIN prices, allow exported renewable fuels to count toward the RFS, water down the RFS with RIN multipliers, and any number of other really bad ideas, former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt was busy cutting the legs out from underneath our industry,” Cooper said. “The RFS is all about moving the renewable fuels industry forward and growing the market. Unfortunately, that isn’t what happened in 2018. We didn’t take this lying down, however, and RFA and its partners continue to fight the small refiner exemptions in court, demanding that the lost volumes be reallocated.”

Cooper underscored that RFA and the industry will be prepared to quickly respond to important developments expected in the near term, including proposed EPA rulemakings for year-round E15 and the RFS “reset” and efforts to re-open the Chinese export market.

“When EPA finally puts out its proposed rule to allow year-round sales of E15, we’ll be ready,” he said. “RFA will throw everything we’ve got into ensuring a defensible rule is finalized as quickly as possible, expanding the domestic ethanol market, enabling competition, and eliminating—once and for all—a needless bureaucratic barrier that offers no economic or environmental benefit whatsoever.

“When EPA releases its proposal to reset the 2020 through 2022 RFS volumes, we’ll be primed to make the case that the reset should be used to increase the required volumes of all renewable fuels over current levels. The reset rule presents a perfect opportunity for the Agency to restore the conventional renewable volumes that were inappropriately erased.”

And on the current trade impasse with China, Cooper said, “We’ll keep the heat on the Administration to resolve lingering trade disputes, and when China finally reopens its doors to U.S. ethanol imports, we’ll be prepared to deliver.”

Looking at the long term, Cooper outlined that the RFA’s vision for the future includes not only strengthening the RFS, but also pursuing a high-octane fuel standard. “The RFS and a high-octane, low carbon fuel program are not mutually exclusive,” he said. “Rather, they can work in concert, not in conflict, to assure air quality improvements, carbon emissions reduction, and consumer savings for decades to come.”

USDA Reminds Producers of Feb. 14 Deadline for Market Facilitation Program

Agricultural producers have until Feb. 14, 2019, to sign up for USDA’s Market Facilitation Program (MFP), launched last year to help producers suffering from damages due to unjustified trade retaliation. Producers can apply without proof of yield but must certify 2018 production by May 1, 2019. Since its launch in September 2018, more than 864,000 producers have applied, supporting those hit hard with nearly $8 billion in estimated payments.

Producers of corn, cotton, dairy, hogs, shelled almonds, sorghum, soybeans, fresh sweet cherries and wheat should apply at their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office.

“Farmers are very resilient, and these payments are helping agricultural producers meet some of the costs of disrupted markets in 2018,” said USDA Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey. “We view it as a short-term solution to help America’s farmers, and we encourage impacted producers to apply for this program by the February 14 deadline.”

USDA previously announced the second and final round of trade mitigation payments. Producers need only sign-up once for the MFP to be eligible for the first and second payments.

How to Apply

MFP applications are available online at Applications can be completed at a local FSA office or submitted electronically either by scanning, emailing or faxing. To locate or contact your local FSA office, visit

Applications can also be completed via the dashboard by producers who have Level 2 eAuthentication accounts. Sign into the dashboard here: Producers who do not have an account can register for an account at

USDA To Host 2018 Farm Bill Implementation Listening Sessions

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey announced that USDA is hosting a listening session for initial input on the 2018 Farm Bill. USDA is seeking public input on the changes to existing programs implemented by the Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Risk Management Agency. Each agency will take into account stakeholder input when making discretionary decisions on program implementation.

“The 2018 Farm Bill is intended to provide support, certainty and stability to our Nation’s farmers, ranchers and land stewards by enhancing farm support programs, improving crop insurance, maintaining disaster programs, and promoting and supporting voluntary conservation,” said Under Secretary Northey. “We are seeking input from stakeholders on how USDA can streamline and improve program delivery while also enhancing customer service.”

The listening session will be held Feb. 26, 2019 at 9:00 a.m. in the Jefferson Auditorium in the South Building located at 14th Street and Independence Ave. S.W. in Washington, D.C.

The listening session is open to the public. Participants must register at by February 22, 2019, to attend the listening session and are encouraged to provide written comments prior to the listening session. For those orally presenting comments at the listening session, written comments are encouraged to be submitted to by February 22, 2019.  Additional written comments will be accepted through March 1, 2019. Comments received will be publicly available on

“Truly this is a Farm Bill that improves farm safety net programs, protects federal crop insurance, and preserves strong rural development and research initiatives. At USDA we are eager to hear from our stakeholders on policy recommendations, so we can start working on implementing these important Farm Bill provisions,” said Northey

For more information on the listening session visit

USDA to Conduct Quarterly Hogs and Pigs Survey

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is contacting producers for the March Hogs and Pigs Survey. This survey is a comprehensive gathering of quarterly data on market hog and breeding stock inventories as well as pig crop and farrowing intentions in every state.

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

The data gathered in this survey allow NASS to accurately measure and report conditions and trends in the U.S. pork industry. The information is used by all sectors of the industry, including producers themselves, to help make sound and timely business decisions. NASS will publish the survey results in the Quarterly Hogs and Pigs Report.

Senate Introduces Legislation to Lift Cuba Trade Embargo

U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., reintroduced major legislation to lift the Cuba trade embargo. The bipartisan Freedom to Export to Cuba Act would eliminate the legal barriers to Americans doing business in Cuba and pave the way for new economic opportunities for American businesses and farmers by boosting U.S. exports and allow Cubans greater access to American goods.

The legislation repeals key provisions of previous laws that block Americans from doing business in Cuba, but does not repeal portions of law that address human rights or property claims against the Cuban government.

“Instead of looking to the future, U.S.-Cuba policy has been defined for far too long by conflicts of the past,” Klobuchar said. “Cuba is an island of 11 million people, just 90 miles from our border—lifting the trade embargo will open the door to a huge export market, create jobs here at home, and support both the American and Cuban economies. Our bipartisan legislation will finally turn the page on the failed policy of isolation and build on the progress we have made to open up engagement with Cuba by ending the embargo once and for all.”

Enzi says history has shown that the embargo with Cuba has not been very effective and that the bipartisan legislation would benefit the people in America and in Cuba. It would also provide new opportunities for American businesses, farmers and ranchers.

Commodity Futures Chairman to speak at USDA’s 2019 Ag Outlook Forum

J. Christopher Giancarlo, chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), will speak at the annual dinner of USDA’s 95th Agricultural Outlook Forum. The forum is USDA’s largest annual meeting and will take place Feb. 21-22, 2019, at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel in Arlington, Va.

Giancarlo was unanimously confirmed as CFTC chairman in August 2017, after serving as acting chairman and as a CFTC Commissioner since 2014. The Commission is the federal agency that regulates commodity futures markets and protects market participants against fraud, manipulation, and abusive trading practices. Prior to his tenure at CFTC, Giancarlo served as an executive in financial services and information technology, and practiced law with firms in New York and London. He has written and spoken extensively on public policy and legal matters on technology and the financial markets.

Last week, USDA announced that Minister Lawrence MacAulay of Canada and Secretary Victor Villalobos Arambula of Mexico will join U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue for the forum’s keynote address on February 21st. The plenary session will mark the first time the three ministers have spoken jointly at a public forum since the signing of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) in November 2018.

This year’s Agricultural Outlook Forum is themed “Growing Locally, Selling Globally.” The forum highlights current issues and trends affecting agricultural production and global markets. The gathering encourages the exchange of ideas, information, and best practices among producers, processors, policymakers, government officials, and nongovernmental organizations, both domestic and foreign. Concurrent sessions explore topics such as global trade trends, innovations in agriculture, developments in animal and crop biotechnology, frontiers in conservation, and outlooks for food and commodity markets. An exhibit hall will showcase resources from USDA agencies and private organizations. Last year, nearly 1,600 stakeholders attended the forum.

 Nationwide's sixth annual grain bin safety contest to promote awareness in rural America

The risk farmers face when they enter large grain bins cannot be overstated. Within seconds, flowing grain can bury a worker who enters the bin to remove clumped or rotting grain while machinery is still running.

To help reduce and prevent these all-too-common accidents, Nationwide has launched its sixth annual Nominate Your Fire Department Contest in recognition of Grain Bin Safety Week. The goal is to prevent injuries by promoting safe bin-entry procedures, such as maintaining quality grain, testing bin atmosphere for toxic gases and wearing proper safety equipment.

This year, Grain Bin Safety Week runs from Feb. 17-23 and has been officially recognized by the following states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

"The work that farmers do can often be dangerous," said Brad Liggett, president of Nationwide Agribusiness, the No. 1 farm insurer. "Along with our partners in Grain Bin Safety Week, we're dedicated to helping first responders save lives on farms across the country. That's why we will continue to make the rescue tubes and training available as long as these dangers exist."

Since 2014, Nationwide has awarded grain bin rescue tubes and training to 77 fire departments in 24 states. Nominations for this year's Nominate Your Fire Department Contest are open until April 30.

According to researchers at Purdue University, more than 900 cases of grain engulfment have been reported with a fatality rate of 62 percent in the past 50 years. In 2010, at least 26 U.S. workers were killed in grain engulfment accidents − the highest number on record.

Injuries & Fatalities: The Startling Facts

-    Suffocation from engulfment is a leading cause of death in grain bin accidents.
-    It takes only seconds to be completely engulfed in flowing grain or overcome by oxygen-deficient atmospheres.
-    24 documented grain entrapments resulted in 14 deaths (58% fatality rate) in 2015.
-    38 documented grain entrapments resulted in 18 deaths in 2014 – the highest recorded since 2010.
-    In 2010, at least 26 U.S. workers were killed in grain engulfments − the highest fatalities on record.
Source: 2015 Summary of U.S. Agricultural Confined Space-Related Injuries and Fatalities

To help prevent further deaths and injuries, Nationwide collaborates each year with the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety (NECAS) to provide safety training. The director of NECAS travels to training locations with a state-of-the-art grain entrapment simulator and rescue tube. The comprehensive training sessions include classroom education and a rescue simulation with the entrapment tool, which is loaded onto a 20-foot trailer and able to hold about 100 bushels of grain.

Grain Bin Safety Week and the Nominate Your Fire Department Contents are supported by Nationwide and the following partners:
    The National Education Center for Agricultural Safety
    KC Supply
    Lutz Agency Inc.
    Nationwide Land As Your Legacy
    Specialty Risk Insurance
    KFSA Insurance Agency
    Grosskreutz Crop Insurance Agency
    Donner-Farber & Associates
    David Larson Financial and Insurance Services Inc.
    Agri-Business Insurance Services
    The Scoular Company
    First Gabrielson Insurance Agency
    Stuber Insurance Agency
    Sump Saver
    Cornerstone Insurance Services

For more information about the program, purpose or nomination process, visit

Monday February 11 Ag News

Registration Underway for Innovative Youth Corn Challenge 
Brandy VanDeWalle - NE Extension Educator
Do you know a teen who loves learning about crops? Perhaps she is considering a career involving crops, insects, diseases, soils, or water or perhaps he wants to figure out how to feed the world's growing population in a sustainable way?

If so, consider recommending to the sixth Innovative Youth Corn Challenge, sponsored by Nebraska Extension and the Nebraska Corn Board. This contest, open to 4-H members (ages 10 and older as of January 1) or FFA members (in-school members), guides participants through all aspects of corn production, as well as agricultural careers related to corn production.

As a team of two or more participants, youth will be challenged to implement a production practice different than normal to determine if the change would increase yield. Economics and sustainability of the practice also will be considered. Yields, cropping history, and production information will be collected in the Corn Yield Challenge management summary.

Cash prizes and plaques will be given to the first, second, and third place teams. First place will receive $1,000, second place will receive $500, and third place will receive $250. Sustainability, crop scouting, and “extra mile” awards also will be given, each worth $200.

To participate in 2019, youth must complete and return an entry form by March 15 to the Fillmore County Extension Office, 1340 G St., in Geneva, Nebr. Forms can be downloaded at For more information, contact Brandy at or 402-759-3712.


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               Last summer’s weather caused much hay to be baled too wet or silage chopped too dry.  Now that hay and silage has heated and turned brown.  How did this affect its feeding value?

               Hay baled too wet or silage chopped too dry can get excessively hot and cause certain chemical reactions to occur.  These chemical reactions and the heat that produces them will darken your forage and often make it smell sweet like caramel.

               Livestock often find such hay or silage very palatable.  But, the reactions that caused this heat-damage consumes valuable energy and also makes some of the protein become indigestible.  Unfortunately, tests for crude protein cannot distinguish between regular crude protein and this heat-damaged protein.  As a result, your forage test can mislead you into thinking you have more usable protein in your forage than actually is there.

               If your forage test is done using NIR, heat-damaged protein may be one of the analyses reported.  And if the heat-damaged protein is high enough, the test also will report an adjusted crude protein that is lower than the regular crude protein.  In my opinion, however, the NIR test for heat-damage may not be accurate enough for you if your ration contains a lot of this forage and has little or no extra protein in it for your cattle.

               When you suspect you have heat-damaged protein, request from your lab a chemical analysis for heat-damaged protein.  Then have them use this test to correctly adjust the amount of crude protein your forage actually will provide to your animals.

               Forage tests can tell us a lot about the nutrient supplying ability of our forages.  But we need to make sure we conduct the right tests and then use the results wisely.


Agricultural workers with disabilities or chronic illness, their families and professional staff are invited to the AgrAbility National Training Workshop from March 25-28 at the Embassy Suites in downtown Lincoln.

The workshop, hosted by Nebraska AgrAbility, is the foremost educational event in the nation addressing disabilities in agriculture. Potential clients and their families, AgrAbility staff members and stakeholders — including U.S. Department of Agriculture and rehabilitation professionals, other nonprofit members, and suppliers of products beneficial to AgrAbility customers — are invited.

The program will offer information on leveraging resources and direct service to clients; networking opportunities with other clients, service providers and agency representatives; and training.

Registration is required at Early-bird registration ends March 1, and registration closes March 21.

AgrAbility aims to enhance the quality of life for farmers, ranchers and other agricultural workers with disabilities so that they, their families and communities can continue to succeed.

Nebraska AgrAbility’s team includes Nebraska Extension educators Nancy Frecks and Susan Harris-Broomfield, University of Nebraska faculty member Aaron Yoder and Nebraska Easterseals staff members Angie Howell, Rod Peterson, Emily Freudenburg and John Davis.

Success can have multiple meanings, whether it is getting back to one’s own business, gaining employment in agricultural production or gaining the assistive technology needed to complete everyday tasks. Nebraska AgrAbility’s priorities are to develop educational programs that increase individual knowledge, advance capabilities through new technologies, encourage peer networking and provide direct services to agricultural workers in need.

Nebraska AgrAbility has worked with 567 clients since 1995, serving clients in 92 of the state’s 93 counties.

For more information on Nebraska AgrAbility, visit

Beginning Field Crop Scouts Encouraged to Attend School March 30

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is hosting a field crop scouting school on Saturday, March 30 at the Field Extension Education Laboratory in Boone. The day-long program is designed for beginning crop scouts to ensure they are ready for success when they get out in the field.

“The main goal of crop scouting is to identify problems in the field so they can be treated before causing major yield loss,” said Warren Pierson, program specialist for the Field Extension Education Laboratory at Iowa State University. “To do this well, crop scouts need to know how to look, where to look, and what to look for. We’ll cover all of this and more in our field crop scout school.”

The course features sessions on corn and soybean growth and development, weed, disease and insect identification, along with scouting methods and techniques. Attendees will rotate through classes and have the opportunity for one-on-one interactions with ISU Extension and Outreach specialists and agronomists throughout the sessions. Five field guides are included in course registration:
-    Corn and Soybean Field Guide
-    Weed Identification Field Guide
-    Field Crop Insects
-    Corn Diseases
-    Soybean Diseases

With field guides in hand, course participants will have the opportunity to apply new knowledge and skills to living crops.

Registration is limited to 75 people to ensure small, interactive groups and more hands-on experience. The course begins at 9 a.m. and ends at 3:15 p.m., with check-in starting at 8:30 a.m. Pre-registration must be made before midnight March 26. The registration fee of $100 covers the cost of the course, field guides, course materials, lunch and refreshments. FEEL is located at 1928 240th Street, Boone, Iowa. Additional information, directions and online registration are available at

Search Begins for Iowa’s Best Burger

Iowa’s beef producers are asking their fellow Iowans to help find Iowa’s Best Burger in 2019. In this year’s quest, the Iowa Beef Industry Council (IBIC) and the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association (ICA) are encouraging you to nominate your favorite burger, whether it’s gourmet or down-home style.

This is the tenth year the two groups are holding the annual Iowa’s Best Burger contest, which officially kicked off February 11, 2019. During the first phase of the contest, Iowans are encouraged to nominate their favorite burger before March 11, 2019. At that point, the 10 restaurants with the most nominations will be visited by a secret panel of judges, who will determine the ultimate winner. The 2019 Best Burger in Iowa will be announced on May 1, 2019 with the kick-off of May Beef Month in Iowa.

Details about the contest, rules, and the voting form are available on the Iowa Beef Industry Council’s website, Burger lovers can also find a link to the online nomination form at the Iowa Beef Council Facebook page; or by texting BEEF to 313131. Photos of your favorite burger can be shared socially using #IABestBurger. The nomination period will close at 5 p.m. on March 11, 2019.

To qualify to be named Iowa’s Best Burger, the burger must be a 100% beef patty and served on a bun or bread product.

Restaurants can download a digital toolkit including promotional materials for the contest from IBIC’s website at to promote the contest to their customers. The promotional materials can be used in the restaurants, online, or on social media.

“Funded by the Iowa State Beef Checkoff Program, this event has been a great way to showcase Iowa restaurants who are serving great beef and Iowa beef farmers who continually producing a wholesome and nutritious product for consumers,” says Janine Moore, chairman of the Iowa Beef Industry Council. “This collaboration between the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association and the Iowa Beef Industry Council is a great opportunity to promote Iowa’s beef industry which generates an estimated $6.3 billion in economic activity in the state.”

In 2018, nearly 10,000 nominations from around 700 restaurants were received in the contest. The final winners in previous years are: 2018 – Café Baudelaire, Ames; 2017 – The Smokin’ Hereford BBQ, Storm Lake; 2016 – The Chuckwagon Restaurant, Adair; 2015 – The Cider House, Fairfield; 2014 – Brick City Grill, Ames; 2013 – 61 Chop House Grille, Mediapolis; 2012 – Coon Bowl III, Coon Rapids; 2011 – Rusty Duck, Dexter; 2010 – Sac County Cattle Company, Sac City. A restaurant can only claim the title of “Iowa’s Best Burger” once.

NBB Applauds Bipartisan Support for Extending the Biodiesel Tax Incentive Now

Today, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) thanked 44 members of the House of Representatives – led by Reps. Dave Loebsack (D-IA) and Darin LaHood (R-IL) – who asked Congressional leaders to adopt a multi-year extension of the biodiesel tax incentive as soon as possible. Congressmembers from across the country – from California to New York – sent the letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), and Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA).

The letter notes that the biodiesel tax incentive was retroactively renewed for 2017 in February of last year but left expired for 2018 and beyond.

“Biodiesel and renewable diesel producers testified before the House Ways & Means Committee last spring and worked with Congress all year to make a case for resolving the off-again, on-again nature of tax incentive eligibility. A multi-year extension of biodiesel and renewable diesel incentives will provide the industry the certainty it needs to continue to generate economic and environmental public benefits,” the letter states.

Kurt Kovarik, NBB’s Vice President of Federal Affairs, added, “NBB and its members appreciate the leadership of Representatives Loebsack, LaHood and others from across the country who co-signed this letter. The letter demonstrates the strong, bipartisan support for a multi-year extension of the biodiesel tax incentive now, in order to provide biodiesel producers, blenders and retailers the opportunity to plan and expand the market for biodiesel. That expansion would deliver economic and environmental benefits to drivers, consumers, farmers and others all along the value chain.”

China Again the Top Destination for U.S. Soybeans in January

Federal Grain Inspections Services (FGIS) issued official export data for the week ending January 31 and, thanks to a strong surge the last half of the month, China regained its crown as the top destination for U.S. soybeans. Inspections data pegged shipments inspected for export to China at 1.307 million tonnes in January with 1.171 million tonnes inspected to ship in the last three weeks of the month. As the destination of 30 percent of the total shipments of U.S. soybeans in 2019, China is set to take shipment of nearly 950,000 tonnes more than the second-largest destination of Spain at 358,000 tonnes. Indonesia (302,000 tonnes), Mexico (297,000 tonnes) and Egypt (283,000 tonnes) round out the top five destinations for the first month of 2019. 

As a means of comparison, inspections data from January 1, 2018 through February 1, 2018 showed that total soybeans inspected for shipment to China totaled 3.179 million tonnes and accounted for 55 percent of the total export volume. Mexico and Thailand were both a distant second at about 280,000 tonnes and were followed by Indonesia (251,000 tonnes), the Netherlands (231,000 tonnes) and Japan (226,000 tonnes) to close out the top five destinations of January 2018.

Growth Energy Hosts 10th Annual ELC Conference

The 10th Annual Growth Energy Executive Leadership Conference concluded after three days at the Terranea Report in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA. Over 400 attendees joined Growth Energy to prepare for “The Next Wave” of biofuels by listening to panel discussions with industry experts and Growth Energy staff, participating in networking and charity fundraising events, and hearing from Oakland Athletics legend and subject of the hit movie “Moneyball," Billy Beane.

Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor kicked off the conference by keynoting an address thanking members for their efforts and support over the last year that helped secure a commitment from the Trump Administration on year-round E15 sales, “we secured one of the industry’s most significant victories since the Renewable Fuel Standard was last expanded in 2007: we opened the door to year-round E15, unleashing the real market potential of higher ethanol blends."

Skor also discussed the industry’s top priorities for 2019, including ensuring a strong Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) during the reset, restoring and growing trade markets around the globe, reallocating lost gallons due to small refinery exemptions, and getting E15 rulemaking across the finish line. Whatever the challenge or opportunity, Skor emphasized that after ten years of pushing ahead, the biofuels industry is ready: “This ELC is Growth Energy’s tenth, a noteworthy milestone. And the next ten years will be even more exciting than the last... This is a new era for America’s ethanol industry.”

Attendees also heard from fuel retailers, corn growers, climate advocates, experts on international markets and regulatory affairs, and engine performance experts from Growth Energy’s American Ethanol program about the future of biofuels.

RFA Releases 2019 Industry Outlook, Pocket Guide

Today at the 24th annual National Ethanol Conference, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) released its 2019 Ethanol Industry Outlook and Pocket Guide, known around the world as the go-to sources for reliable information and data on America’s ethanol industry.

The annual Outlook publication provides policymakers, regulators, consumers, the media, and renewable fuel advocates with key statistics, trends, insight, and analysis on the latest developments in the U.S. renewable fuels industry, as well as commentary on what to expect in 2019. The publication also features a detailed listing of every fuel ethanol plant in the country, along with production capacity.

The Pocket Guide to Ethanol contains much of the same information as the Outlook, but in an abbreviated format and smaller size.

“For 18 years, RFA’s annual Outlook publication has served as the ‘Ethanol Bible,’ full of the facts, figures, and analysis that inform our advocacy and outreach efforts,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “This year’s Outlook is especially useful in offering insight into the impacts of small refiner exemptions and trade wars on our markets in 2018, but also highlights the good news of expanded retail offerings of E15 and flex fuels, record ethanol exports, and ethanol’s incredible impact on job creation and the economy.”

USDA to Release Complete Set of Tables for Agricultural Projections to 2028

On Feb. 14, 2019 at 12 p.m. EST, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will release the complete set of tables prepared for the upcoming USDA Agricultural Projections to 2028 report. The new tables will include projections for farm income, U.S. fruits, nuts, and vegetables supply and use, and global commodity trade. Tables containing long-term supply, use, and price projections to 2028 for major U.S. crops and livestock products as well as supporting U.S. and international macroeconomic assumptions were released on Nov. 2, 2018. Short-term projections from the Oct. 11, 2018 World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report are used as a starting point.

“The baseline tables provide important data to many stakeholders. We had to delay their release due to the lapse in federal funding, but I am pleased to announce they will be available to the public in few days,” said USDA Chief Economist Rob Johansson.

The tables will be in MS Excel format and posted to the USDA Office of the Chief Economist’s (OCE) website.

The complete USDA Agricultural Projections to 2028 report will be released on March 13, 2019 and will include a full discussion of the projections for U.S. commodity supply and use, farm income, and global commodity trade.

USDA’s long-term agricultural projections represent a departmental consensus on a ten-year representative scenario for the agricultural sector. The projections do not represent USDA forecasts, but rather reflect a conditional long-run scenario based on specific assumptions about macroeconomic conditions, policy, weather, and international developments, with no domestic or external shocks to global agricultural markets. The Agricultural Act of 2014 is assumed to remain in effect through the projection period.

CWT Assists with 3.4 million Pounds of Dairy Product Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) member cooperatives accepted 17 offers of export assistance from CWT that helped them capture sales contracts for 2.701 million pounds (1,225 metric tons) of Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese, 220,462 pounds (100 metric tons) of butter, and 440,925 pounds (200 metric tons) of whole milk powder. These products are going to customers in Asia, the Middle East, and South America. The product will be delivered during the period from February through July 2019.

CWT-assisted member cooperative 2019 export sales total 15.547 million pounds of American-type cheeses, 928,146 pounds of butter (82% milkfat) and 6.931 million pounds of whole milk powder to 18 countries in six regions. These sales are the equivalent of 215.0 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.

Assisting CWT members through the Export Assistance program positively affects all U.S. dairy farmers and all dairy cooperatives by strengthening and maintaining the value of dairy products that directly impact their milk price. It does this by helping member cooperatives gain and maintain world market share for U.S dairy products. As a result, the program has significantly expanded the total demand for U.S. dairy products and the demand for U.S. farm milk that produces those products.

Friday February 8 Ag News


Corn for grain production in Nebraska based on year-end surveys is estimated at a record high 1.79 billion bushels, up 6 percent from 2017, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. A record yield of 192 bushels per acre is up 11 bushels from last year. Farmers harvested 9.31 million acres of corn for grain, up slightly from 2017. Corn for silage production is 4.62 million tons, up 13 percent from last year. Silage yield of 21.0 tons per acre is up 1.5 tons from last year. Corn for silage harvested acreage of 220,000 acres is up 10,000 acres from last year. Corn acreage planted for all purposes is 9.60 million acres, up 1 percent from last year.

Soybean production for 2018 totaled a record high 333 million bushels, up 2 percent from 2017. Yield, at 59.0 bushels per acre, is up 1.5 bushels from a year earlier. Area for harvest, at 5.65 million acres, is down slightly from 2017. Planted acreage totaled 5.70 million acres, unchanged from last year.

Sorghum for grain production in 2018 is estimated at 16.0 million bushels, up 38 percent from 2017. Yield, at 94 bushels per acre, is up 5 bushels from a year earlier. Area harvested for grain, at 170,000 acres, is up 31 percent from 2017. Sorghum for silage production is 220,000 tons, unchanged from last year. Silage yield of 11.0 tons per acre is unchanged from last year. Sorghum for silage harvested acreage of 20,000 acres is unchanged from last year. Sorghum acreage planted for all purposes is 230,000 acres, up 50,000 acres from last year.

Alfalfa hay production, at 3.66 million tons, is up 8 percent from a year earlier. The average yield, at a record high 4.30 tons per acre, is up 0.35 ton per acre from 2017. Area harvested, at 850,000 acres, is down 1 percent from 2017. Alfalfa haylage and greenchop production, at 100,000 tons, is down 25 percent from last year. Average yield, at 4.00 tons per acre, is down 2.70 tons per acre from last year. Area harvested, at 25,000 acres, is up 5,000 acres from last year. Seedings of alfalfa during 2018 totaled 120,000 acres, down 30,000 acres from a year earlier.

All other hay production, at a record high 3.33 million tons, is up 30 percent from last year. The average yield, at a record high 1.80 tons per acre, is up 0.25 ton per acre from last year. Area harvested, at 1.85 million acres, is up 12 percent from 2017. All other haylage and greenchop production, at 102,000 tons, is down 51 percent from last year. Average yield, at 6.80 tons per acre, is down 0.20 ton per acre from last year. Area harvested, at 15,000 acres, is down 15,000 acres from last year.

Proso millet production in 2018 is estimated at 2.85 million bushels, up 3 percent from last year's production. Yield, at 32 bushels per acre, is unchanged from a year earlier. Area harvested for grain, at 89,000 acres, is up 3 percent from 2017. Area planted, at 95,000 acres, is down 10 percent from last year.

Oil sunflower production in 2018 is 34.1 million pounds, down 8 percent from last year. Yield, at 1,420 pounds per acre, is up 120 pounds from a year earlier. Area harvested, at 24,000 acres, is down 16 percent from 2017. Area planted, at 25,000 acres, is down 17 percent from last year. Non-oil sunflower production of 13.3 million pounds is down 46 percent from last year. Yield, at 1,400 pounds per acre, is down 250 pounds from a year earlier. Area harvested, at 9,500 acres, is down 5,500 acres from 2017. Area planted, at 12,000 acres, is down 23 percent from last year.

Sugarbeet production is estimated at 1.41 million tons, down 2 percent from last year. Yield is estimated at a record high 31.9 tons per acre, up 0.1 ton from the previous year. Acres harvested are estimated at 44,100 acres, down 2 percent from the previous year. Area planted, at 45,500 acres, is down 600 acres from last year.

Dry edible bean production of 3.25 million cwt is down 17 percent from a year ago. Yield, at 2,480 pounds per acre, is down 40.0 pounds from a year earlier. Area harvested, at 131,000 acres, is down 15 percent from 2017. Area planted, at 140,000 acres, is down 22 percent from last year.
Fall potato production is 9.36 million cwt, up 4 percent from 2017. Yield, at a record high 485 cwt per acre, is up 10 cwt from a year earlier. Area harvested, at 19,300 acres, is up 300 acres from 2017. Area planted, at 19,500 acres, is up 500 acres from last year.


Corn for grain production in Iowa for 2018 is estimated at 2.51 billion bushels, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service Crop Production 2018 Summary report. Current year production is 4 percent less than the previous year’s 2.61 billion bushels. Iowa has led the Nation in corn production for the last 25 consecutive years and 40 of the last 41 years. Iowa's corn for grain yield is estimated at 196 bushels per acre. Area harvested for grain is estimated at 12.8 million acres, 100,000 acres below 2017. Corn planted for all purposes in 2018 is estimated at 13.2 million acres.

Corn for silage production is estimated at 5.54 million tons, down 20 percent from 2017. The silage yield estimate of 20.5 tons per acre is down 0.5 ton per acre from 2017. Producers harvested 270,000 acres of corn for silage, down 18 percent from 2017.

Soybean production is estimated at 565 million bushels in 2018. This is down fractionally from the record of 567 million bushels set in 2017. The Iowa soybean crop yielded 57.0 bushels per acre in 2018. The harvested acreage of 9.91 million is down 30,000 acres from the November 1 forecast and 2017. Soybean planted acreage, at 10.0 million, is unchanged from November 1, and 2017.

All hay production for the state is estimated at 3.00 million tons, down 8 percent from the 3.27 million tons produced in 2017. Producers averaged 3.19 tons per acre, up from 3.08 tons in 2017. All hay harvested acres are estimated at 940,000 acres, down 120,000 acres from 2017.

Alfalfa and alfalfa mixtures production is estimated at 2.29 million tons, down 9 percent from 2017. Producers averaged 3.70 tons per acre, up 0.20 ton from 2017. Harvested acres are down 100,000 from last year, to 620,000 acres. Iowa producers seeded 105,000 acres of new seedings of alfalfa and alfalfa mixtures in 2018, up 31 percent from 2017.

Other hay production is estimated at 704,000 tons, down 6 percent from 2017. Producers averaged 2.20 tons per acre, equal to the 2017 yield. Harvested acres of other hay, at 320,000, are down 20,000 acres from 2017.

USDA Crop Production 2018 Summary

Corn for grain production in 2018 was estimated at 14.4 billion bushels, down 1 percent from the 2017 estimate. The average yield in the United States was estimated at 176.4 bushels per acre, 0.2 bushel below the 2017 record yield of 176.6 bushels per acre. Area harvested for grain was estimated at 81.7 million acres, down 1 percent from the 2017 estimate.

Sorghum grain production in 2018 was estimated at 365 million bushels, up 1 percent from the 2017 total. Planted area for 2018 was estimated at 5.69 million acres, up 1 percent from the previous year. Area harvested for grain, at 5.06 million acres, was up less than 1 percent from 2017. Grain yield was estimated at 72.1 bushels per acre, up 0.4 bushel from 2017.

Soybean production in 2018 totaled a record 4.54 billion bushels, up 3 percent from 2017. The average yield per acre was estimated at 51.6 bushels, up 2.3 bushels from 2017, but 0.3 bushel below the record yield in 2016. Harvested area was down 2 percent from 2017 to 88.1 million acres.

All cotton production is estimated at 18.4 million 480-pound bales, down 12 percent from 2017. The United States yield is estimated at 838 pounds per acre, down 67 pounds from last year. Harvested area, at 10.5 million acres, is down 5 percent from last year.


Nebraska corn stocks in all positions on December 1, 2018 totaled 1.45 billion bushels, down 1 percent from 2017, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Of the total, 910 million bushels are stored on farms, unchanged from a year ago. Off-farm stocks, at 539 million bushels, are down 2 percent from last year.

Soybeans stored in all positions totaled 298 million bushels, up 13 percent from last year. On-farm stocks of 120 million bushels are up 24 percent from a year ago, while off-farm stocks, at 178 million bushels, are up 7 percent from 2017.

Wheat stored in all positions totaled 62.1 million bushels, down 6 percent from a year ago. On-farm stocks of 3.70 million bushels are down 10 percent from 2017, and off-farm stocks of 58.4 million bushels are down 6 percent from last year.

Sorghum stored in all positions totaled 11.7 million bushels, up 20 percent from last year. On-farm stocks of 2.80 million bushels are up 65 percent and off farm holdings of 8.91 million bushels are up 11 percent from last year.

On-farm oats totaled 410,000 bushels, down 32 percent from 2017.

Hay stocks on Nebraska farms totaled 4.50 million tons, up 8 percent from last year.

Grain storage capacity in Nebraska totaled 2.15 billion bushels, up 40.0 million bushels from December 1, 2017. Total grain storage capacity is comprised of 1.20 billion bushels of on-farm storage, up 20.0 million bushels from last year, and 950 million bushels of off-farm storage, up 20.0 million bushels from last year.


Corn stored in all positions in Iowa on December 1, 2018, totaled 2.18 billion bushels, down 9 percent from December 1, 2017, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Grain Stocks report. Of the total stocks, 63 percent were stored on-farm. The September - November indicated disappearance totaled 803 million bushels, 11 percent above the 726 million bushels from the same period last year.

Soybeans stored in all positions in Iowa on December 1, 2018, totaled 528 million bushels, 8 percent above the 487 million bushels on hand December 1, 2017. Of the total stocks, 47 percent were stored on-farm. Indicated disappearance for September - November is 124 million bushels, 6 percent below the 132 million bushels from the same quarter last year.

Oats stored on-farm in Iowa on December 1, 2018, totaled 850 thousand bushels, down 51 percent from December 1, 2017.

Iowa on-farm storage capacity on December 1, 2018, was 2.10 billion bushels, unchanged from December 1, 2017, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Grain Stocks report. Iowa’s 870 off-farm storage facilities have a storage capacity of 1.50 billion bushels, up 30 million from the previous year. As of December 1, 2018, Iowa had a total of 3.60 billion bushels of storage capacity, the largest total storage capacity of any state.

All hay stored on Iowa farms as of December 1, 2018, is estimated at 2.06 million tons, a decrease of 10 percent from December 1, 2017, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Crop Production report. Disappearance from May 1, 2018, through December 1, 2018, totaled 1.30 million tons, compared with 1.62 million tons for the same period in 2017.

USDA: Corn Stocks Down 5 Percent from December 2017

Soybean Stocks Up 18 Percent
All Wheat Stocks Up 7 Percent

Corn stored in all positions on December 1, 2018 totaled 12.0 billion bushels, down 5 percent from December 1, 2017. Of the total stocks, 7.45 billion bushels are stored on farms, down 4 percent from a year earlier. Off-farm stocks, at 4.50 billion bushels, are down 7 percent from a year ago. The September - November 2018 indicated disappearance is 4.61 billion bushels, compared with 4.34 billion bushels during the same period last year.

Soybeans stored in all positions on December 1, 2018 totaled 3.74 billion bushels, up 18 percent from December 1, 2017. Soybean stocks stored on farms totaled 1.94 billion bushels, up 30 percent from a year ago. Off-farm stocks, at 1.80 billion bushels, are up 7 percent from last December. Indicated disappearance for September - November 2018 totaled 1.25 billion bushels, down 20 percent from the same period a year earlier.

All wheat stored in all positions on December 1, 2018 totaled 2.00 billion bushels, up 7 percent from a year ago. On-farm stocks are estimated at 504 million bushels, up 28 percent from last December. Off-farm stocks, at 1.50 billion bushels, are up 1 percent from a year ago. The September - November 2018 indicated disappearance is 390 million bushels, 1 percent below the same period a year earlier.

Grain sorghum stored in all positions on December 1, 2018 totaled 246 million bushels, up 8 percent from a year ago. On-farm stocks, at 36.8 million bushels, are up 9 percent from December 1 last year. Off-farm stocks, at 210 million bushels, are up 8 percent from a year earlier. The September - November 2018 indicated disappearance from all positions is 154 million bushels, down 9 percent from the same period in 2017.


Winter wheat seeded area for 2019 is estimated at 930,000 acres, down from last year's seeded area of 1.10 million acres, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service.

U.S. Winter Wheat Planted Acres Down 4 Percent

Winter wheat seeded area for 2019 is expected to total 31.3 million acres, down 4 percent from 2018. Approximate class acreage breakdowns are: Hard Red Winter, 22.2 million; Soft Red Winter, 5.66 million; and White Winter, 3.44 million.

Ricketts Calls New York Congresswoman’s Plan to Abolish Beef Production “Shockingly Ignorant”

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts issued a statement following news that New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Bronx) had proposed a “Green New Deal” that would abolish cattle production.

“As the Governor of the Beef State, this announcement is shockingly ignorant.  Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez’s plan to end cattle production would kill our state’s number one industry, and destroy countless middle class jobs and family businesses.  I urge congressional leaders to kill this resolution swiftly and decisively to send a message to anti-agriculture socialists that we will fight for our way of life.”

Statement from NFBF Regarding Congress “Green New Deal”

Steve Nelson, NE Farm Bureau President

“Yesterday’s announced ‘Green New Deal’ is totally unrealistic. It is clear its authors and supporters have spent no time in rural areas or even have a basic understanding of how food is produced. The proposal is a blatant and unscientific attack on livestock production as well an assault on Nebraska’s agricultural economy due to our sensitivity to even slight energy price increases. When the House of Representatives attacked agriculture in 2009 with ‘Cap and Trade’, Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers fought back. We intend to do the same thing again.”  

 NEFB Calls Out Conservation Compliance Rules

“Because conservation compliance programs operate as regulatory programs, they should operate with all the duties and rights that a regulatory program entail. Equally important, all guidance, policy and interim rules must match up with federal law,” Nebraska Farm Bureau wrote in comments submitted to USDA this week.

For too long the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) had been making regulatory determinations based primarily on guidance and policy that was not put through the required public process – an error Farm Bureau says permeates the wetland identification and appeals process.

Among the issues raised by Nebraska Farm Bureau in comments were:

1. USDA’s need to fix its repeated application of an incorrect standard for determining the applicability of conservation compliance programs, specifically efforts counter to federal law stating that compliance is exempt for wetland conversions “commencing” before Dec.23, 1985. USDA’s practice has been to say only wetland conversions having “occurred” (finalized) before Dec.23, 1985 qualify for the exemption.

2. USDA must follow Congressional direction that once a parcel has been determined to be a converted wetland, it cannot lose that designation.

3. USDA must provide clear definitions of new and important terms in the regulations. The agency’s proposal amends the definition of “farmed wetland” and “prior-converted cropland” in a way inconsistent with federal law giving the agency broad ranging determination authorities.

4. USDA’s newly added discretion in determining that a decades-old map is no longer sufficient quality to uphold a certified wetland determination which is inconsistent with federal law. “Wetland determinations certified prior to USDA’s adoption of new mapping techniques should be exempt from being determined as invalid due to changes that only new imaging technology can detect,” Farm Bureau commented.

“USDA has an opportunity to both clarify the Interim Rule and promulgate new rules that could provide much needed transparency and certainty for the farmers regulated by the conservation compliance program. USDA should take a hard look at the discretion it has granted to itself, determine if it is in-line with federal law, and adopt new rules that are consistent with Congressional intent and that provide clear, reasonable requirements for farmers and ranchers,” Farm Bureau concluded in comments.


Stephen Censky, deputy secretary for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will discuss leadership and the future of agriculture in the Feb. 14 Heuermann Lecture at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

The free lecture, “Leading Today for America’s Tomorrow,” is 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Nebraska Innovation Campus Auditorium, 2020 Transformation Drive. Boxed lunches will be served. Reservations can be made at

“We’re thrilled to have the deputy secretary of agriculture coming to our campus,” said Chancellor Ronnie Green. “Agricultural production and trade are critical issues to Nebraska’s economy and way of life. And, UNL is and has been a groundbreaking leader in agricultural sciences and natural resources research.  “What a tremendous opportunity for our community to hear from the second-highest ranking official at the USDA on issues that are vital to our state and university.”

The lecture is being held during Nebraska’s Charter Week celebration, which celebrates the university’s 150th anniversary as a Land Grant institution.

Censky has served as the deputy secretary of agriculture since Oct. 11, 2017. He previously worked for 21 years as chief executive officer of the American Soybean Association, a national nonprofit trade association representing U.S. soybean farmers on policy and trade.

He began his career working as a legislative assistant for Sen. Jim Abdnor (R-South Dakota). Censky later served during the Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations within the USDA. His tenure includes working as administrator of the foreign agricultural services, which included involvement in running the nation’s export programs.

Censky received a Bachelor of Arts in agriculture from South Dakota State University and a postgraduate diploma in agriculture science from the University of Melbourne, Australia. He is originally from Jackson, Minnesota.

Heuermann Lectures are sponsored by the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. The Feb. 14 talk is being held in partnership with the Yeutter Institute of International Trade and Finance.

The lecture series is funded by a gift from B. Keith and Norma Heuermann of Phillips. The Heuermanns are longtime university supporters with a strong commitment to Nebraska’s production agriculture, natural resources, rural areas and people.

The Yeutter Institute connects academic disciplines related to law, business and agriculture to prepare students for leadership roles in international trade and finance, supports interdisciplinary research and furthers public understanding of related issues.

Lectures are streamed at and air live on campus channel 4. Lectures are archived after the event and are later broadcast on NET2.

CattleFax elects Officers for 2019

CattleFax elected a new slate of officers at this year’s annual business meeting Jan. 31, 2019, in New Orleans, La., held in conjunction with the 2019 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show. The new CattleFax president is Don Quincey of Chiefland, Fla., a 5th generation rancher and cattle feeder in Florida and past president of the Florida Cattlemen’s Association.

Elected president-elect was Mark Frasier of Fort Morgan, Colo. Frasier is a cow/calf, stocker operator and cattle feeder in Eastern Colorado and is active in his community and local cattlemen’s association. He is a past president of the Colorado Livestock Association and serves on and has chaired the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s Resolution Committee.

The newly elected finance director is Chris Kalkowski of Omaha, Neb. Elected to serve four-year director terms were Mark Frasier as the intermountain director, Pono Von Holt of Kapaau, Hawaii, as northwest director and Jeff Sparrowk of Clements, Calif., as the western director.

Re-elected executive vice president was Randy Blach of Centennial, Colo. 

Other directors currently serving terms for CattleFax are: Todd Allen of Newton, Kan., Jerry Adams of Broken Bow, Neb., Dale Smith of Amarillo, Texas and Nick Hunt of Atlantic, Iowa.

Soy Growers Push for Biodiesel Tax Credit in D.C.

ASA Directors serving on the Biodiesel & Infrastructure Advocacy Team participated in more than 30 meetings with targeted congressional offices this week to push for a multi-year extension of the biodiesel tax credit.

Several of the directors also participated in meetings with key Administration officials on the importance of maintaining anti-dumping and counter-vailing duties on unfairly subsidized biodiesel imports.

ASA grower-leaders participating in the fly-in included Rob Shaffer, Chair (IL); Chris Hill (MN); Gerry Hayden (KY); Dean Coleman (IA); Ken Boswell (NE); Morey Hill (IA); Matt Stutzman (MI) and Brad Kremer (WI).

Funk to Lead IFBF Research

Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) has named Dr. Sam Funk their director of agriculture analytics and research. Dr. Funk is responsible for serving IFBF’s statewide membership by conducting original research and economic analysis on agricultural issues. Dr. Funk succeeds David Miller who has retired after more than 20 years of service.

“We are very excited to have Sam on our staff to provide the leadership and experience in economics, research management and program leadership that Iowa Farm Bureau members have long relied on,” said Joe Johnson, IFBF executive director. “Sam’s background and experience, along with his knowledge of farming, will help us to continue to serve our members with economic analysis, global trade insight and agricultural policy knowledge.”

Dr. Funk is no stranger to agricultural analysis, having served as chief economist for the United Soybean Board, presenting in front of Congress and at the annual U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Outlook Forums. As the former economic and natural resources analyst for the Illinois Farm Bureau, Dr. Funk is also familiar with working with Farm Bureau members to connect them with government officials and external stakeholders to provide perspectives from the family farm on impacts of proposed legislation or regulations.

Dr. Funk later became Administrator of the Kansas Farm Management Association at Kansas State University, the same university where he earned his doctorate in agricultural economics. During this time, he provided insights to Congress leading up to the 2008 farm bill and collaborated with his colleagues to produce extension publications to inform farmers and stakeholders on drivers impacting federal farm policy.

“Challenges facing many farmers and rural communities at this time can be very difficult, so it is imperative to provide credible information, data and analyses to help farmers make informed decisions,” Dr. Funk said.

Dr. Funk was raised on a family farm in Missouri and spent time farming in Kansas where he served on his county Farm Bureau board of directors and chaired a Kansas Farm Bureau Livestock Advisory Committee.  Dr. Funk and his wife, Karisa, have ten wonderful children ranging in age from nine months to 19 years of age. They are huge supporters of 4-H describing themselves as a “4-H loving family.” The Funks are excited to move to the Des Moines area and be a part of the tremendous agriculture scene in Iowa.


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration this week announced that it has received and will begin reviewing a petition filed by National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Livestock Marketing Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Beekeeping Federation, American Honey Producers Association and the National Aquaculture Association requesting an exemption from certain provisions under the Hours of Service rules. The groups are seeking to expand the regulations under which livestock haulers can operate from the current 11-hour limit in a 14-hour workday to 15 hours over the course of a 16-hour workday. Comments on the request for exemption are due March 8, 2019.

Grain Barge Tonnages Dropped in 2018

In 2018, total annual grain barge shipments along the locking portions of the Mississippi, Arkansas, and Ohio rivers were 37.98 million tons, 7 percent lower than last year and 5 percent lower than the 3-year average.

Total soybean movements in 2018 were 1.67 million tons, 24 percent lower than 2017 and 18 percent lower than the 3-year average; mainly due to reduced sales to China.

Total wheat movements in 2018 were 12.82 million tons, 20 percent lower than last year and 22 percent lower than the 3-year average.

On the other hand, the total corn movements were 22.24 million tons, 5 percent higher than last year and 6 percent higher than the 3-year average.

Illinois Scientists Find New Resistance in Waterhemp

Waterhemp has just thumbed its nose at another group of herbicides.

Waterhemp resistant to Group 15 herbicides (very long chain fatty acid inhibitors) has officially been found in Illinois research plots. It is the first dicot (broadleaf) weed in the world to outmaneuver herbicides within the Group 15 chemical family. While scientists aren't sure how widespread the issue is, University of Illinois weed scientist Aaron Hager said the discovery is yet another warning to change weed management behaviors now.

"Waterhemp has now shown the ability to resist seven different herbicide sites of action," Hager said. "Farmers have been leaning heavily on the Group 15 herbicides across all crops as they battle resistant weeds. This is another example of how important it is to diversify weed control approaches to keep the effectiveness of this tool," Hager said.

What makes this discovery unique is the Group 15 herbicides have been fairly resilient. Worldwide, there are only five cases of grass weeds that have been confirmed resistant to very long chain fatty acid inhibitor (Group 15) herbicides. Most of those cases are in wheat and rice. The only confirmed Group 15 resistance in the United States had been in monocot (grass) in Idaho, Washington and Oregon.

The Illinois discovery is the first confirmed case in the world in a dicot (broadleaf) weed species and the first case of Group 15 resistance known associated with corn and soybean production, according to the International Survey of Herbicide Resistance.

Farm Bureau Calls Bernhardt Excellent Choice for Interior

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall

“The president’s nomination of David Bernhardt as Secretary of the Interior is great news for American agriculture. He understands the needs of America’s farmers and ranchers and is an excellent choice for Interior Secretary.

“Bernhardt’s proven leadership while serving in the roles of deputy and acting secretary for the Interior Department has helped restore the multiple use of America’s public lands, through regulatory efforts to reform the outdated and ineffective Endangered Species Act, streamline the National Environmental Policy Act, and promote outcome-based grazing across our nation’s rangelands. Additionally, Bernhardt has been successful in leading a comprehensive reorganization of the Interior Department to improve the effectiveness and transparency of DOI bureaus.

“We look forward to working with Bernhardt as secretary to promote actions that reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire, which has ravaged rural America and threatened infrastructure critical to farmers and ranchers. We urge the Senate to confirm him soon.”

Thursday February 7 Ag News

November Beef Exports Remain on Record Pace; Headwinds Weigh on Pork Exports

Editor’s note: November export data was released about one month later than usual due to the recent government shutdown. Year-end 2018 data is expected to be available in early-to-mid March.
U.S. beef exports continued on a record pace in November while pork exports trended lower year-over-year, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

Beef exports totaled 112,842 metric tons (mt) in November, up 1 percent from a year ago, while value climbed 6 percent to $709.2 million. For January through November, exports reached 1.24 million mt, up 8 percent year-over-year and 6 percent above the record pace of 2011. At $7.63 billion, beef export value was up 16 percent and has already broken the full-year record set in 2017 ($7.27 billion).

Beef export value per head of fed slaughter is also on a record pace, averaging $322.97 in November (up 5 percent from a year ago) and $320.72 during the first 11 months of 2018 (up 14 percent). Exports accounted for 13.1 percent of total November beef production and 10.9 percent for muscle cuts, both steady with November 2017. For January through November, exports equated to 13.4 percent of total production and 11.1 percent for muscle cuts – up from 12.8 percent and 10.3 percent, respectively, in 2017. These numbers highlight the strong international demand for U.S. beef as exports are accounting for a larger share of growing U.S. production and are fetching higher prices, with some U.S. cuts trading at record prices in Asia.

November pork exports totaled 206,852 mt, down 8 percent year-over-year, while value fell 12 percent to $538.7 million as retaliatory duties in key markets continue to generate headwinds for U.S. pork. For January through November, exports were steady with 2017’s record pace at 2.23 million mt and value was down 1 percent to $5.86 billion.

Trade barriers are also pressuring pork export value on a per-head basis. In November, export value per head slaughtered was $48.80, down 16 percent from November 2017. Through the first 11 months of 2018, per-head export value averaged $51.46, down 3 percent. Exports accounted for 24.5 percent of total November pork production and 22 percent for muscle cuts, down from 27.7 percent and 24.1 percent, respectively, in November 2017. For January through November, exports equated to 25.7 percent of total pork production (down from 26.5 percent in 2017) and 22.4 percent for muscle cuts (up slightly).

"2018 was truly a remarkable year for U.S. beef exports, which shattered previous records in both volume and value and reached new heights in several of our top markets," said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. "In the first half of the year, pork exports were also on a very positive trajectory but unfortunately U.S. pork has been heavily targeted for retaliation. We remain hopeful that these disputes can be resolved soon, so that U.S. pork can get back on a level playing field with its competitors."

Asian markets set pace, but beef export growth widespread

November was another strong month for U.S. beef exports to the key Asian markets of Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, while exports to the ASEAN region also increased sharply. For January through November, beef export highlights include:
-    Exports to leading market Japan were up 7 percent year-over-year in volume (306,603 mt) and 10 percent in value ($1.93 billion). But market access to Japan is a major concern for the U.S. beef industry, as key competitors recently joined Australia in benefiting from an 11 percentage point tariff advantage through the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). U.S. beef remains subject to the 38.5 percent tariff rate and to Japan’s quarterly safeguard mechanisms. Competitors’ tariffs will decline again on April 1, the start of the Japanese fiscal year. The Trump administration has announced its intention to negotiate a trade agreement with Japan, but formal negotiations have not yet begun.
-    U.S. beef has already shattered the previous yearly value record in Korea, with export value soaring 45 percent to $1.6 billion, while volume was up 32 percent to 220,770 mt. Although Korea’s imports from Australia and New Zealand also edged higher in 2018, U.S. market share increased significantly – reaching nearly 50 percent in volume and 56 percent in value. Through the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS), the duty rate on U.S. beef to Korea is 18.7 percent this year, down from 40 percent prior to implementation.
-    Exports to Taiwan were up one-third from the record totals posted in 2017, reaching 53,626 mt valued at $495.7 million (a record for the sixth consecutive year). The U.S. holds more than 75 percent of Taiwan’s chilled beef market, the highest of any Asian destination.
-    Beef exports to Hong Kong were lower year-over-year in volume (109,082 mt, down 4 percent), but export value still climbed 13 percent to $865.3 million. Exports to China totaled 6,567 mt valued at $55.1 million. U.S. beef regained access to China in mid-2017, making year-over-year comparisons difficult. But in the second half of 2018, export volumes to China were higher year-over-year in every month except September, and November exports reached a new monthly high of 890 mt, despite an additional 25 percent retaliatory duty.
-    Led by strong increases in the Philippines and Vietnam and slightly higher shipments to Indonesia, beef exports to the ASEAN region climbed 19 percent year-over-year in volume (45,255 mt) and 31 percent in value ($252.4 million).
-    Although beef exports to Mexico were up just 1 percent year-over-year in volume (218,281 mt), export value to Mexico climbed 8 percent (to $966.7 million) and will exceed $1 billion for the first time since 2015. The hike in value reflects a strong year for beef muscle cut exports to Mexico, which increased 7 percent in volume (130,330 mt) and 11 percent in value ($759.2 million).

Bright spots for U.S. pork include Korea, ASEAN, Latin America and Oceania

After a very solid start to 2018, November pork exports to leading volume market Mexico were lower year-over-year for the sixth consecutive month (61,344 mt, down 14 percent) while value fell 30 percent to $97.1 million. This pushed January-November export volume slightly below the record pace of 2017 at 717,618 mt (down 1 percent) while value was down 11 percent to $1.22 billion.

"The good news is that the U.S. continues to export strong quantities of hams, picnics and other pork cuts to Mexico," Halstrom said. "The bad news is that instead of generating positive returns for the U.S. industry, 20 percent of these sales go directly into the Mexican Treasury in the form of tariffs. This is why it is critical that the dispute over steel and aluminum tariffs be resolved as soon as possible."

January-November pork exports to China/Hong Kong were down 29 percent year-over-year in volume (324,623 mt) and fell 19 percent in value ($790.2 million). This region is by far the largest destination for U.S. pork variety meat, and these exports also declined by 29 percent in volume (209,090 mt) and dropped 17 percent in value ($555.5 million) as the 62 percent tariff rate makes it very difficult for U.S. pork to compete in China.

The combination of retaliatory tariffs in China and Mexico contributed to sharp decreases in ham and picnic primal values (down 19 percent and 22 percent, respectively, from June through December, compared to the same period in 2017). The decrease in values for these two primals averaged $9.95 per head for those seven months. China’s retaliatory tariffs have also heavily impacted prices for pork offals and have forced some products into rendering due to the lack of alternative markets. Lost value for feet and picnic hocks was at least $1.80 per head and losses are even worse when products that have been rendered are included. The cost of these retaliatory tariffs has been lost value of at least $11.75 per head on just hams, picnics and feet, or roughly $860 million in industry losses from June through December 2018.

Other key details from the January-November pork export results include:

-    Although November results trended significantly lower, pork exports to leading value market Japan were up 1 percent year-over-year in both volume (364,114 mt) and value ($1.5 billion). Similar to beef, market access disadvantages in Japan are a major concern for the U.S. pork industry due to Japan’s implementation of CPTPP and its economic partnership agreement with the European Union. The most immediate impact of these agreements is expected in Japan’s imports of ground seasoned pork and processed pork products as duties on those products are phased quickly to zero, while the U.S. pays 20 percent.
-    Korea stands out as the largest driver of growth for U.S. pork exports in 2018, with volume up 41 percent to 216,899 mt while value climbed 44 percent to $603.8 million – already shattering previous full-year records set in 2011. Unlike the situation at that time, when Korea was struggling with a widespread outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, Korea’s domestic production was up 4 percent in 2018. So the surge in exports to Korea is being driven by exceptional consumer demand and growing consumption. Most U.S. pork entering Korea also benefits from duty-free treatment under KORUS.
-    Led by strong growth in Colombia and Peru and a second-half rebound in Chile, pork exports to South America have already topped the records set in 2017, increasing 24 percent year-over-year in volume (120,059 mt) and 17 percent in value ($292.3 million). Colombia is an especially important destination for hams and picnics at a time when Mexico and China are imposing higher duties.
-    In Central America, pork exports were higher year-over-year in mainstay markets Honduras and Guatemala and posted very strong growth in Panama, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Export volume to the region was up 15 percent to 74,980 mt, breaking the 2017 record. Export value was 12 percent higher at $176.8 million, and will set a new record when December results are included.
-    Pork exports to the Dominican Republic have also exceeded previous yearly highs, with volume up 37 percent year-over-year to 39,453 mt and value jumping 29 percent to $85.7 million.
-    With solid growth in both Australia and New Zealand, pork exports to Oceania were up 12 percent in volume (77,336 mt) and 10 percent in value ($224.3 million). This region is also a key destination for U.S. hams when retaliatory duties are in place in Mexico and China.
-    Strong performances in the Philippines and Vietnam drove pork exports to the ASEAN region 46 percent higher in volume (63,978 mt) and 33 percent higher in value ($158.6 million). Pork variety meat exports to the ASEAN were especially strong, more than doubling year-over-year in both volume (26,626 mt, up 138 percent) and value ($42.7 million, up 115 percent).

Variety meat demand bolsters November lamb exports

Driven by a sharp increase in variety meat shipments to Mexico, November exports of U.S. lamb were the largest of 2018 in both volume (1,387 mt, up 167 percent year-over-year) and value ($2.4 million, up 39 percent). Lamb muscle cut exports trended lower in November at 232 mt (down 18 percent) valued at $1.46 million (down 3 percent).

For January through November, lamb exports reached 11,758 mt valued at $21.4 million – up 77 percent and 21 percent, respectively, from a year ago. While most of this increase was due to strong variety meat demand in Mexico, muscle cut exports posted solid gains in the Caribbean, the United Arab Emirates, Taiwan and the Philippines.

With 90-Day Negotiation Period Waning, Soybean Growers Want Resolution

Talks are good, purchases are good, but lifting the tariff that China imposed last July on soybean imports from the United States is the only way for U.S. soybean farmers to regain commercial access to the significant Chinese market.

“It is heartening that the Administration is keeping soybeans in the conversation during the ongoing 90-day negotiation period with China, and again this week in the President’s State of the Union remarks,” said Davie Stephens, a grower from Clinton, Ky., and ASA president.

“Chinese Vice Premier Liu’s commitment to buy an additional five million tons of U.S. soybeans is encouraging, but it is not the answer. We need an agreement at the end of this 90-day period that specifically rescinds the tariff that China has imposed on U.S. soybean imports,” Stephens continued.

Members of the Administration, including U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, met with Chinese officials in D.C. last week. While the two countries have not shared any formal areas of agreement, Liu’s “good-faith” purchase commitment is a positive sign both countries are working towards the real progress that is needed for soy producers.

As of February 1, China’s purchases of the 2018 U.S. soybean crop totaled about 6.5 million tons, or just 20 percent of past annual levels of more than 30 million tons. These purchases do not come close to offsetting the damage done to the soybean industry since the tariffs were imposed—nor do they negate the likely long-term damage to a trading relationship that was decades in the making.

“We still do not know what the longstanding consequences will be to the industry,” said Stephens. “Until this tariff is lifted and we can go in and try to repair our relationship with this important China market, we will not know the lasting repercussions.”

ASA is joining other agriculture organizations this week in asking Members of Congress to help strengthen their message to the Administration that rescinding the tariffs imposed by the U.S. and China is vital to the health of the U.S. farm economy and American farm families.

NCBA Unveils Cost/Benefit Principles for Climate-Change Policy Proposals

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s Center for Public Policy today released new Cost/Benefit Principles that will help guide its decision-making process on various policy proposals regarding climate change.

“It seems like every week or so, another group releases another proposal or call to ‘Do Something’ about climate change – such as the so-called 'Green New Deal' that was released today,” said Colin Woodall, NCBA Senior Vice President, Government Affairs. “Unfortunately, many of these proposals are often lacking in specifics, which makes it very hard for us to develop substantive responses. Hopefully, our new Cost/Benefit Principles will help the producers we represent – as well as millions of other concerned American citizens – make better-informed decisions on important issues like climate change.

“In addition, reporters who cover these new proposals are welcome to use our Cost/Benefit Principles as a general roadmap as they dig for important policy details that will affect the lives of millions of Americans.”

Woodall pointed out that U.S. beef producers have already made a great deal of progress on environmental issues like climate change, such as producing the same amount of beef with 33 percent fewer cattle, compared to 1977. Woodall also pointed out that beef producers in the U.S. now have one of the lowest carbon footprints compared to many of their worldwide counterparts – now producing only 2 percent of all carbon emissions in the United States.

“Despite all the progress we’ve made on the environmental front in recent decades, some policymakers still seem to think targeting U.S. beef producers and consumers will make a huge impact on global emissions,” Woodall said. “That’s why we drafted our Principles – to give the folks who are proposing new public policies the opportunity to outline the specific costs and estimated benefits of their proposals.”

NCBA’s new six-point Cost/Benefit Principles for Climate Change Policy Proposals read as follows:
1)    Explain specifically what policy changes you are proposing.
2)    Estimate as specifically as possible how much each of these policy changes would cost taxpayers, consumers of specific energy sources (automobile drivers, residential electricity users, airline travelers, etc.,) food consumers, and specific targeted industries / business owners, etc. Again, please be as specific as possible, and please detail costs on a monthly and annual basis for each affected group mentioned above.
3)    Estimate how much CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced by a date certain (of your choosing) if your proposed policies outlined in Question 1 above were to be fully implemented.
4)    Estimate how much global temperatures would be changed by the same date certain you use in Question 3 if your policy recommendations in Question 1 were to be fully implemented.
5)    If any of your policy proposals are intended to reduce the consumption of beef, please detail specifically how much additional land must be converted to crop production in order to fill the protein-intake gap, i.e,, the difference between average protein intake via current beef consumption and what would have to be produced and consumed to keep protein-intake levels consistent under an all- or mostly vegetarian of vegan diet. Also, please identify specifically where this land is located, and how much additional GHGs would be released into the atmosphere by converting current pasture land into crop production.
6)    Please show all your math for your estimated costs, emissions, average global temperature, and land conversion data outlined in Questions 2, 3, 4, and 5.

 “These are very straightforward questions that any concerned citizen or reporter should be asking anyone who proposes new climate-change policy,” Woodall concluded. “What specifically are you proposing, how much will it cost, how much will it affect global temperatures down the road, and how did you arrive at those numbers? Seems like anyone who is proposing billions or trillions of dollars’ worth of policy changes should be happy to answer those questions. Yet for some reason, few currently are.”

Take Part in a National Survey on Agriculture-Related Stress

Women in agriculture are encouraged to take part in a national survey on agriculture-related stress. The survey is part of project called “Cultivating Resiliency for Women in Agriculture,” which is sponsored by American Agri-Women, District 11 Agri-Women, University of Minnesota Extension-Women in Ag Network and the Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center (UMASH).

The survey takes about 10 minutes and the findings will be used to help develop future programming. Go here to take the survey:

The “Cultivating Resiliency” Project also includes a free interactive series of online sessions to help women in agriculture cope with stress. Several webinars are already available for viewing at Upcoming sessions, which start at noon Central time, include:
    March 8 - Increasing Your Joy and Happiness While Living a Farm Life
    April 12 - Putting it All Together

American Agri-Women promotes the welfare of our national security through a safe and reliable food, fiber and energy supply. Since 1974, AAW members have worked together to educate consumers; advocate for agriculture; and offer networking and professional development opportunities. Go to the AAW web site for more information and to join,

 Syngenta: NK soybean growers can expect maximum value even as industry struggles with seed quality

 Despite industrywide concerns over soybean seed quality going into 2019, Syngenta anticipates growers of NK® soybeans will experience minimal to no effect.

The challenging growing season of 2018 left its mark on 2019 grain quality across the U.S. According to the University of Wisconsin Extension, diseases such as stem canker, pod and stem blight, and Phomopsis seed decay lowered soybean seed quality in many regions, while excessive fall rain resulted in a high percentage of pod infection and a delayed harvest that compounded issues.

“Because this is an industrywide challenge, farmers are understandably worried as they prepare for 2019,” said Scott Erickson, NK soybean product manager. “Although few seed companies were immune to nature’s curveballs last year, we’ve taken a number of steps to ensure NK soybean growers can remain confident they’ll still see the consistently strong yields they’ve come to expect.”

One of these is a rigorous seed quality program that grows, cleans and conditions all NK soybean seed to the highest quality standards. From the seed breeder to the final seed delivery, testing also plays a crucial role, with Syngenta operating three internal quality assurance labs and utilizing two third-party testing sites – all to ensure farmers will benefit from the seed’s full yield potential.

An additional benefit for growers of NK soybeans is clear tagging of germination rates, which can be impacted by grain quality. To provide clarity for farmers and help them be confident in their management plans, all NK varieties are tagged by minimum germination rates.

Less than 2 percent of NK seed volume saw germination rates lowered by 2018’s weather challenges. Even then, the yield impact is expected to be virtually non-existent, Erickson said, with no need to plant additional seed to compensate for losses.

“More than 400 research experiments published in scientific journals show that, on average, yield in the Midwest is maximized at a plant density of 104,000 plants per acre – far below what most farmers plant,” he said. “When you add to that our strong commitment to delivering high-quality seed, NK soybean growers should feel confident they’re set up for a strong 2019.”

Reduce Your Dairy’s Risk for Violative Residues

Matt Boyle, DVM, U.S. Dairy Technical Services, Zoetis

Responsible use of antibiotics plays a significant role in helping protect animal and human health. Proper training on use and administration of antibiotic products play a key role in ensuring all antibiotics are used responsibly and administered appropriately to avoid violative residues. Dairies have made significant improvements toward decreasing the number of residue violations in milk, specifically a 70% reduction in bulk tank milk residues in the U.S. food supply over the past 10 years.1,2 Despite this, dairy producers are also beef producers and still have work to do. Dairy cows accounted for 67% of residue violations from inspector-generated samples across all species of animals from October 2015 to September 2016.3 Dairy producers, under the guidance of their veterinarians, should continue to focus on steps that mitigate the risk of residues to protect food integrity.

There are four things you should focus on to minimize your risk of residue violations in meat from cull dairy cows.

-    Involve your veterinarian in all treatment decisions. Without veterinary involvement, your dairy’s risk for residue violations increases significantly. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 70percent70% of cases involving violative drug residues had no veterinary involvement in treatment or protocol development.4 Your veterinarian is the expert in choosing the correct products that prevent and treat disease, as well as how to prevent residues by complying with label directions for use. This means he or she should be engaging with you not only in setting treatment protocols but also in determining what animals are treated in the first place. Regular visits and communication with your veterinarian — an established partnership called a veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR) — allows your veterinarian to maintain a relationship with you and your key employees and have a good understanding of your animals and preventive care to provide thorough guidance and recommendations.

-    Set and follow protocols. Even if your dairy has set protocols, a study found an estimated 43% of employees administering treatments on well-managed dairies were not following protocols when observed.5 Compliance matters for treatment success and protecting the food supply. Talk with your veterinarian to make sure there aren’t any outdated or missing protocols and that they are easy to understand and follow. Regularly train employees who administer medications on accuracy of diagnosis and review proper protocol application. Also, effective protocols should include steps for how to give the medicine, including following label instructions, the proper route of administration and administering products for appropriate duration of therapy.

-    Keep accurate treatment records. Inaccurate or incomplete records can be big contributors to human errors at the farm level that can lead to residues, including misidentified animals, animals not receiving the appropriate amount of treatment at the proper time or even animals being moved from the hospital pen or sent to market before the withdrawal period has passed. After treating a cow, record all the information about the cow and treatment administered in your record-keeping system. This will help the veterinarian and herd manager know how well treatments are working and provide important information to help avoid mistakes and, therefore, avoid residues.

-    Respect the beef market. The beef market is an opportunity to place another quality food product into consumers’ hands, and it should be treated with the same respect we give the milk market. You can’t make healthy beef from unhealthy cows. Animals should be healthy, not simply past the residue withholding period, before being considered viable candidates for the beef market. The first step is to appropriately identify the disease process at hand and evaluate which animals should and shouldn’t be treated. Then, work with your veterinarian and herd manager to establish guidelines for identifying animals that leave the farm intended for human consumption.

Today, thanks to the hard work of dairy veterinarians and producers, there are fewer residues in dairy cull cows than ever before.3 The amount of milk dumped from positive tankers also continues to decline.1,2 However, a single violation can erode consumer confidence in milk and meat. That’s why it’s critical to work with your veterinarian to establish and train employees on protocols, ensure proper record keeping, and only send high-quality healthy cull cows to market that are suitable for human food. Remember: you are in the beef business, too.

ADM Reports Fourth Quarter Earnings of $0.55 per Share, $0.88 per Share on an Adjusted Basis

Archer Daniels Midland Company (NYSE: ADM) today reported financial results for the quarter ended December 31, 2018.

“Our team executed well, delivering strong year-over-year profit growth in the fourth quarter,” said Chairman and CEO Juan Luciano. “Looking back on the full year, the team did a great job focusing on the items we could control, as we continued innovating to serve customer needs and advancing our strategic priorities. Our effective management through complicated and rapidly changing trade, geopolitical and market conditions helped deliver an impressively strong 2018 that included solid profit growth, improved returns on invested capital and higher cash flows.

“We will continue working to deliver shareholder value in 2019 by vigorously executing our strategy, including aggressively working to improve execution in select businesses, accelerating our Readiness efforts to deliver increasing value, and harvesting the contributions from our acquisitions and organic growth investments. By continuing to pull the levers under our control, we are positioning ourselves to grow profits and returns in 2019 and beyond.”

Results of Operations

Origination results were down versus the fourth quarter of 2017.

-    Merchandising and Handling results were lower than the prior-year period, which included significant insurance settlements and other income. North American results benefited from wheat basis gains due to strong carries, as well as solid execution that drove improvements in export margins and comparable year-over-year export volumes, despite the extremely small volume of U.S. soybean exports to China. North American exports of corn, and soybeans to markets outside of China, were higher. Global Trade benefited from good execution in origination and destination marketing, as well as an intra-company insurance settlement, offset by timing losses in ocean freight hedges, which are expected to reverse.
-    Transportation results benefited from improved freight rates, offset by increased operating costs.

Oilseeds results were more than double the prior-year period.

-    Crushing and Origination results were up significantly year over year, as the business continued to leverage its global asset footprint to capitalize on solid demand for soybean meal and strong crush margins.
-    Refining, Packaging, Biodiesel and Other was up on strong biodiesel volumes and margins as well as higher year-over-year results from food oils, partially offset by challenging market conditions in nut processing.
-    Asia was higher on strong Wilmar results.

Carbohydrate Solutions results were lower than the year-ago quarter.

-    In Starches and Sweeteners, North American volumes remained solid. Results were driven by lower margins and sales in EMEA; higher costs in North American liquid sweeteners, in part due to lower production rates at the Decatur complex; and lower co-product income.
-    Bioproducts results were lower than the fourth quarter of 2017, when trading results were very strong. Ethanol margins and volumes were down in a continued weak industry pricing and margin environment.

Nutrition results were down versus the prior-year period.

-    WFSI results were higher year over year, with sales up 14 percent versus the prior-year quarter on a constant currency basis. Recent acquisitions in WILD and Health & Wellness, along with strong demand for lecithin, also contributed to higher results.
-    Animal Nutrition results were significantly lower, driven primarily by continued production issues that compressed margins in amino acids, including lysine.

Other results were negative, but improved versus the prior-year period, which included significant insurance settlements.

-    Current-quarter results were driven by an intra-company insurance settlement relating to sorghum shipments in early 2018, as well as other underwriting losses.
-    ADM Investor Services results were up year over year.

Wednesday February 6 Ag News

Private Applicators Need Certification
Larry Howard, NE Extension Educator, Cuming County

All farmers who use restricted use pesticide must have a current certification card according to the Nebraska Department of Agriculture.

Nebraska Extension is conducting the following training session which are approved for renewal or initial certification according to Nebraska Extension Educator Larry Howard of Cuming County.  Again this year, there will be a fee charged to support the cost of materials.  Producers are reminded to bring their old cards or the letter with the form at the bottom that they received from the Nebraska Department of Agriculture if they are recertifying.

Each session lasts approximately three hours and will be held in West Point at the Nielsen Community Center on Monday March 4 at 1:00 p.m. and again at 6:00 p.m.

For other local training dates, check the website at

For additional information, contact the Nebraska Extension office in Cuming County at 402/372-6006.


The Agricultural Land Management Quarterly webinar series debuts at 6 p.m. CST Feb. 18. The series will offer management advice and insight for Nebraska landowners, agricultural producers and others with an interest in agricultural land.

The first episode will examine recent trends in Nebraska cash rental rates and considerations for updating agricultural leases for 2019. Future episodes will address landlord-tenant communication, lease decision-making issues and seasonal lease considerations. Each webinar will conclude with an “Ask the Experts” session where participants can get answers to their land or lease questions. The webinars can be viewed at

Jim Jansen and Allan Vyhnalek of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Department of Agricultural Economics will lead the webinars. Jansen’s work focuses on agricultural finance and land economics. He directs the annual Nebraska Farm Real Estate Market Survey and Report. Vyhnalek is a farm succession and transition extension educator.

“Land is one of Nebraska’s most critical assets,” Jansen said. “This webinar series will help those with a vested interest in land to better understand the financial and human forces reshaping the rural agricultural landscape.”

Participants are encouraged to sign up in advance and submit questions at the website above.

The webinars are free and open to the public. Recorded webinars will be made available online.

Other webinar dates are May 20, Aug. 19 and Nov. 18.

For more information, contact Jansen at 402-261-7572 or

Property Taxes, Trade, Broadband, Among Nebraska Farm Bureau 2019 Policy Priorities

The Nebraska Farm Bureau Board of Directors have set the organization’s policy priorities for 2019. Reducing Nebraska’s overreliance on property taxes, expanding markets for agricultural products, and improving broadband access across the state, are among the topics identified as organizational priorities for the year.

“There are numerous issues that impact farms and ranches. It’s important our organization focuses our time and resources on those that directly affect the ability of our members to be successful,” said Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president. “Whether we’re working at the state or national level, we’re working to serve members.”

Nebraska Farm Bureau’s state policy priority list includes:
    Reducing Nebraska’s overreliance on property taxes.
    Seeking a more balanced system to fund education.
    Growing Nebraska’s livestock sector and value-added agriculture.
    Expanding farm and ranch access to high quality broadband service statewide.
    Proactive engagement on both state water quality and quantity issues.
    Making sure regulations are workable for Nebraska farms and ranches.

Nebraska Farm Bureau’s national policy priority list includes:
    Expanding markets for Nebraska agricultural products through international trade.
    Reducing unnecessary regulations and working for regulatory reform.
    Defending animal agriculture production and supporting policies to enhance profitability.
    Implementation of the 2018 Farm Bill.
    Ensuring farmers and ranchers are able to meet their labor/workforce needs.
    Expanding farm and ranch access to high quality broadband service statewide.
    Promotion and expansion of markets for renewable fuels, including E15.

“Working in these areas we can help create opportunities for our farms and ranches to prosper,” said Nelson.

Fischer Helps Introduce Bipartisan Bill on Tariffs

U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, today joined Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), and Todd Young (R-Ind.) to introduce the Trade Security Act. The legislation would reform Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 to better align the statute with its original intent as a trade remedy tool for the president and Congress to respond to genuine threats to national security. The bill makes common sense reforms that require the Department of Defense (DOD) to justify the national security basis for new tariffs under Section 232 and increase congressional oversight of this process. 

“While I support modernizing our trade agreements, agriculture producers in Nebraska and across the country continue to face uncertainty as a result of tariffs. Agriculture is the backbone of Nebraska’s economy, and we must make sure our producers and manufacturers have the market access they need to prosper. That’s why I’m pleased to join my colleagues on this bipartisan legislation that maintains the administration’s ability to use trade tools to protect national security while restoring Congress’s oversight role. This legislation would ensure that the Department of Defense justifies the national security need for any tariffs imposed under Section 232,” said Senator Fischer.

The Trade Security Act would increase the role of Congress in the Section 232 process by expanding the use of the disapproval resolution process. Currently, this remedy is only available when the Section 232 action covers oil and petroleum products. This bill would expand that process to include Section 232 actions on all products. The reformed process would only apply to future Section 232 actions.

The bill would also bifurcate the existing Section 232 process into: (1) an investigation phase, led by the Department of Defense (DOD), and (2) a remedy phase, led by the Department of Commerce. Specifically, DOD would be responsible for assessing the potential threat posed by imports of certain products and sending a report of findings to the president. If a threat is identified and the president wishes to take action, he would then direct the Secretary of Commerce, in consultation with Congress, the Secretary of Defense and the U.S. Trade Representative, to develop recommendations for how to respond to that threat. After receiving the recommendations of the Secretary of Commerce, the president would decide whether to proceed.


Nebraska’s number one industry is agriculture, and the premier event for high school students to learn about agriculture is the Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute (NAYI).

NAYI brings together high school juniors and seniors from around the state to network with agricultural leaders and professionals as well as other students interested in agriculture. During the Institute, delegates will learn more about Nebraska agriculture and agricultural careers available to them in the future.

Delegate applications for this year’s NAYI are now available on the Nebraska Department of Agriculture’s (NDA) website. Current high school juniors and seniors interested in attending this summer’s program have until April 15 to apply.

“NAYI is in its 48th year, making it the longest running agricultural youth program of its kind in the nation,” said NDA Director Steve Wellman. “With all the networking opportunities, career development sessions, and hands-on projects to improve leadership and communication skills, NAYI is a great experience for students interested in agriculture.”

The 2019 NAYI will be held at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s East Campus from July 8-12. This year’s the NAYI theme is “Taking Root” and will feature motivational speakers, discussions on agricultural issues and career options, a farm management game, a formal banquet and awards presentation, and a street dance.

NAYI is coordinated by the Nebraska Agricultural Youth Council (NAYC), which is comprised of 21 college-aged students selected by NDA for their passion and interest in the ag industry. The Council’s purpose is to provide young Nebraskans with a better understanding of agriculture, including agricultural opportunities available to today’s youth.

NDA selects students to attend NAYI based on their leadership skills, interests and involvement in agriculture. Applications are available online at All applications must be submitted electronically. Finished applications should be emailed to: by April 15, 2019, at 11:59 p.m.

“If you know high school juniors or seniors with an interest in agriculture, encourage them to apply to NAYI before the April 15th deadline,” Wellman said. “It’s a one-of-a-kind opportunity.”

Report is first step in making Nebraska more food secure

In Nebraska, more than $4.4 billion is spent annually on food, and 90 percent of that food comes from outside the state, according to a report released today by the Center for Rural Affairs and the Nebraska Food Council.

“Biting Into Food Access: A View of Nebraska’s Food System” provides background research describing the current food system in the state, taking a look at state-level and national-level data.

“When we spend food dollars outside of the state, that weakens our local economy and limits local access points,” said Sandra Renner, project associate with the Center for Rural Affairs and co-author of the report. “We rely on other areas of the country, the strength of their food systems and local economies, and the availability of their natural resources to provide us with food. The idea that we are ‘feeding the world’ ignores the unsustainability of our current food system.”

The report examines demographics, food production and land use, food consumption and access, and food waste.

The final section of the report zooms in on next steps for the newly-formed Nebraska Food Council. Members of the Nebraska Food Council reviewed the research in this assessment and created an initial list of research topics, policy work, and areas of focus they would like to pursue.

“We’re looking at how to better feed our population and how to shift toward creating opportunities for more food production aimed at human consumption,” Renner said. “By addressing key issues in food, farm, small business, and community-level and institutional policy, there is potential to identify strengths, changes needed, and gaps in the food system.”

Key findings of the report include:
-    Nebraska agriculture has become more concentrated over time.
-    Very little farmland in Nebraska is used for fruit and vegetable production so these items are imported. The state lacks readily accessible vegetable and fruit processing locations.
-    Nationally, the state is first in beef and veal exports. Local communities are not always able to access Nebraska beef in local stores.
-    During the 2017 to 2018 school year, Nebraska Farm to School reported $2.7 million in total local food purchases. Products included melons, various vegetables, chicken, and milk.
-    Currently, only about 10 percent of the $4.4 billion that Nebraskans spend on food annually is expended on products grown and processed in the state.
-    1,300 Nebraska farms sell directly to consumers with sales of $5.9 million, contributing 0.04 percent of the farm product sales in the state.

For more information and to view “Biting Into Food Access: A View of Nebraska’s Food System,” visit

Third Explosion in a Month at ADM Plant Injures Three

An explosion and fire on January 31 at the Archer Daniels Midland soybean processing plant in Lincoln, Nebraska, resulted in the hospitalisation of three workers with non-life threatening injuries, fire officials told local media. Earlier in the month a firefighter was killed in a blaze at an ADM grain facility in Clinton, Iowa, and there was a separate explosion at an ADM corn processing plant in Decatur, Illinois.

The cause of the latest explosion and blaze is under investigation. No estimates on damages to the Lincoln facility were available.

Apart from the fatality in the Clinton incident, a second person was seriously injured in the blast at this site. There were no casualties in the Decatur incident, which involved a blast and fire in a conveyor system.

In December, an explosion at the company's Calgary plant in Canada caused no casualties.

Short Course to Focus on Dairy Beef Bull Calves

The 2019 Dairy Beef Short Course, presented by the I-29 Moo University consortium, will focus on how dairy beef bull calves should be viewed as more than a by-product of the industry. The consortium is a collaboration of extension dairy specialists from Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.

As dairy and beef producers continue to experience economic struggles, increasing the value of bull calves can add value for dairymen, feeders and processors. The short course is scheduled for Tuesday, March 26 in at the Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. It is held in conjunction with the Central Plains Dairy Expo.

While parking and entry to the Dairy Expo is free, there is a $20 registration fee to attend the Dairy Beef Short Course. The fee includes educational materials, refreshments and lunch. The registration deadline is March 20; registration should be made online...

The course’s program agenda includes:
    Realizing Full Value in Holstein Steers – Daniel Schaefer, professor of animal science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
    Considerations for Choosing Beef Genetics To Use in Dairy Herds – Warren Rusche, extension beef feedlot management associate at South Dakota State University.
    Dairy Cattle Impact on Beef Supply and Marketing Opportunities – Brenda Boetel, professor of agricultural economics at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.
    Enhancing the Value of Your Dairy Beef Bull Calf to Meet Health Concerns – Russ Daly, DVM, and professor and extension veterinarian at South Dakota State University.

Additionally, a roundtable discussion will focus on Building a Carcass for the Future. The panel includes:
    Jerry Wulf, Wulf Cattle, Morris, Minnesota.
    Kent Pruismann, Rock River Feeders, Sioux Center, Iowa.
    Erik Loe, nutritional consultant for Midwest PMS, Sioux Center, Iowa.
    Duane Broek, Select Sires representative, Watertown, South Dakota.

The program will begin promptly at 10 a.m. and will conclude at 3:15 p.m. For more information, contact Fred M. Hall, dairy specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, at 712-737-4230 or

Agricultural Retailers Association Recognizes Legislators for Ag Retail Industry Support

This week the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) recognized Senators Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Roger Wicker, R-Miss., with its 2018 Legislator of the Year award.

“We are pleased to honor two very deserving Senators this year with our Legislator of the Year award,” said ARA President and CEO Daren Coppock. “We are grateful for their dedication and continued support of the agriculture industry.”

In the presentation of the award, Sen. Grassley was recognized for his leadership as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, securing a historic number of federal judicial confirmations during the 115th Congress, including two Supreme Court justices. A longtime supporter of agriculture and agriculture retail, this is the second time Sen. Grassley has been honored as ARA Legislator of the Year.

“Iowa is an agricultural powerhouse. As a leading producer of pork, corn, soybeans and eggs, agriculture anchors Iowa’s economy and helps put food on tables across America,” Sen. Grassley said. “Supporting workers and businesses that help Iowa’s farmers succeed has been a top priority during my time in the Senate. It’s an honor to receive this recognition.”

Senator Wicker was honored for his support on important industry issues, such as promoting precision agriculture and rural broadband deployment.

“With nearly 37,000 farms covering more than 10 million acres and generating more than $7 billion in economic activity, Mississippi is home to many hard-working men and women who provide critical support to our farmers and ranchers,” Sen. Wicker said. “I will continue to promote policies that help America’s agricultural producers thrive.”

ARA presents its Legislator of the Year award annually to a member, or members, of Congress who champion legislation important to the agricultural retail industry. The awards were presented during the ARA Board of Directors and Committee Meetings in Washington, D.C.

NCBA Announces Campaign for "Fake Meat Facts"

Today the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association launched a new campaign highlighting critical questions about the production of lab-grown fake meat. The Fake Meat Facts campaign will shine a spotlight on the many unknowns that the federal government must clarify before finalizing the regulatory framework for these emerging products. 

“The federal government is moving in the right direction on lab-grown fake meat oversight, but new information raises more questions than answers,” said NCBA President Jennifer Houston. “The lack of scientific consensus surrounding cell-cultured protein products became crystal clear to me when I participated in last year’s joint public meeting. NCBA will continue to push for increased transparency to ensure consumers know the facts about lab-grown fake meat production.” 

Last year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a framework for regulating lab-grown fake meat. USDA will have primary oversight of food production and labeling, while the FDA will have oversight of cell collection and cell growth. However, as NCBA noted at the time, many details still need to be worked out. Additional information about the production, composition, and safety of cell-cultured protein is needed to inform the development of a comprehensive framework that protects consumers.   

“It is critical that manufacturers make samples of their cell-cultured products available for independent, objective analysis,” added NCBA Senior Director of Government Affairs Danielle Beck. “Until then, stakeholders will be forced to base their assessments on the unverified claims of manufacturing companies and fake meat activists.”

CattleFax Cow-Calf Survey Released

CattleFax has introduced its annual Cow-Calf Survey. Information requested in the survey provides participants and the rest of the industry with valuable information regarding industry benchmarks and trends.

Survey participants will receive a results summary packet, with useful information that will allow managers and owners to evaluate their own operations. Items such as cow-calf profitability, tendencies of high and low return producers, regional data, and other valuable information are included.

By completing the survey and submitting a valid email address, participants will also be entered into a drawing to win a $700 CattleFax voucher. To be entered to win a voucher and receive the full results, a valid email address must be submitted. All individual results will be confidential and remain anonymous.

Three $700 vouchers will be given away. The credit can be used for any CattleFax memberships, registration fees for education seminars (Corporate College and Risk Management Seminar), and/or registration fees for the annual Outlook and Strategies session. To be considered in the drawing, participants must complete the entire survey and submit a valid email address. Winners will be selected by a random number generator and will be contacted via email after the survey closes.

The survey can be accessed by going to and selecting the About tab at the top of the page, then clicking on “2018 Cow-Calf Survey” on the sidebar. The deadline to complete the survey is Feb. 28, 2019.

Fertilizer Prices Move Slightly Higher

Retail fertilizer prices are once again higher, according to prices tracked by DTN for the last week of January, 2019. This marks the third-consecutive week all eight of the major fertilizers have been higher. While prices are higher compared to last month, none were up a significant amount, which DTN considers a price move of 5% or more.

DAP had an average price of $513/ton, up $5/ton; MAP $536/ton, up $3/ton; potash $384/ton, up $3/ton; urea $407/ton, up fractionally; 10-34-0 $468/ton, up $8/ton; anhydrous $585/ton, up $14/ton; UAN28 $271/ton, up $4/ton; and UAN32 $313/ton, up $9/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.44/lb.N, anhydrous $0.36/lb.N, UAN28 $0.48/lb.N and UAN32 $0.49/lb.N.

All eight of the major fertilizers are now higher compared to last year. MAP is 9% more expensive, both DAP and potash are 12% higher, 10-34-0 is 13% more expensive, urea is 15% higher, both anhydrous and UAN28 are 19% more expensive and UAN32 is now 20% higher compared to last year.

EPA and Army Announce Public Hearing on Proposed New “Waters of the United States” Definition

Following President Trump’s directive to provide certainty to American farmers and landowners so that the economy can continue to expand while waters are protected, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of the Army (Army) are moving to the next steps in proposing a new definition of the “Waters of the United States.” EPA and the Army will hold a public hearing on the proposed new “Waters of the United States” definition in Kansas City with sessions on February 27 and 28, 2019. All persons wanting to speak are encouraged to register in advance. EPA and the Army will also hold an informational webcast on February 14, 2019.

Public Hearing Logistics: The Wednesday session of the public hearing will convene at 4:00 pm (local time) and will conclude no later than 8:00 pm. The Thursday session will convene at 9:00 am and will conclude no later than 12:00 pm. 

The public hearing will be held in the Wyandotte Ballroom of the Reardon Convention Center, 520 Minnesota Avenue, Kansas City, Kansas 66101. Those interested in speaking at the hearing can register for a three-minute speaking slot. The last day to pre-register to speak at the hearing is February 21, 2019. On February 26, 2019, the agencies will post a general agenda for the hearing on the EPA website at It will list pre-registered speakers in approximate order. Registration for the public hearing is available through the EPA website. Additionally, requests to speak will be taken the day of the hearing at the hearing registration desk, pending availability, and a sign language interpreter will be available for the hearing.

Webinar Logistics: EPA and the Army will also hold a public webcast to explain the key elements of the proposed "Revised Definition of Waters of the United States" on February 14, 2019, at 3:30 pm EST. A copy of the entire webcast will be made available afterwards. Webinar registration is limited to 2,000 attendees so interested parties are encouraged to view with colleagues. Registration is available at

On December 11, 2018, EPA and the Army signed a proposed rule providing a clear, understandable, and implementable definition of “waters of the United States” that clarifies federal authority under the Clean Water Act while respecting the role of states and tribes in managing their own land and water resources. The agencies have submitted the proposed rule to the Office of the Federal Register for publication.

Oral statements and supporting information presented at the public hearing will be considered with the same weight as written statements and supporting information submitted during the public comment period. The agencies will take comments on the proposal for 60 days after publication of the proposed rule in the Federal Register. Comments can be submitted online at Please follow the instructions for submitting comments to Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2018-0149.

More information about the public hearing, informational webcast, and the proposed rulemaking, including the pre-publication version of the Federal Register notice, are available at:

Farm Bureau to USDA: New Regulations Must Protect Both Farmland and Wetland

As the Agriculture Department moves forward with Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation regulations, the department must ensure its new Interim Rule balances the benefits for both farmland and wetland, as Congress intended, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. As it was written, the Interim Rule makes program participation much more difficult and fails to give famers the opportunity they should have to participate in the process.

“Because conservation compliance programs operate fundamentally as regulatory programs they should operate with all the duties and rights that such a regulatory program entails. Equally important, all guidance, policy and interim rules must match up with the statute,” Farm Bureau wrote in comments submitted to USDA on Tuesday.

For too long USDA had been making regulatory determinations based primarily on guidance and policy that was not put through the required public process—an error that Farm Bureau said permeates the wetland identification and appeals processes. “USDA holds all the cards, leaving farmers without the necessary tools to protect their property and due process rights,” the group wrote.

In keeping with the statute, USDA must recognize that prior-converted cropland is not only not farmed wetland, it is no longer wetland and should never be treated as wetland under the Food Security Act or any rule implementing the Food Security Act.

Also at odds with the law is the department’s newly added discretion in determining that a decades-old map is of insufficient quality to uphold a certified determination.

“Determinations certified prior to USDA’s adoption of new mapping conventions should be exempt from invalidation due to changes that only new imaging technology can detect. To that end, USDA’s regulations should expressly recognize that pre-1990 certifications are valid unless the producer raises the issue that they were never provided with appeal rights after passage of the 1990 farm bill (and thus, were not able to appeal the determination to become certified),” Farm Bureau said.

In the Interim Rule USDA has added several terms and definitions that expand the farmland wetland category by making it easier for USDA to designate land as a farmed wetland. This substantively changes what land qualifies as prior-converted cropland or commenced-conversion wetlands under the statutory exemptions, which is harmful to farmers who have relied on prior interpretations.

The group also took issue with USDA’s failure to implement the minimal effect exemption provisions as lawmakers directed. “Congress exempted farmers from ineligibility if the impacts of the wetland conversion were minimal to the wetlands in the area,” the group noted.

The statute also provides that “the Secretary shall exempt a person and does not require that a landowner first request such a determination; rather, such determination must automatically accompany any determination regarding eligibility.” Lastly, the statute requires the Secretary to “identify by regulation categorical minimal effect exemptions on a regional basis.” Unfortunately, USDA has violated the statute by failing to implement this provision to the detriment of farmers and ranchers nationwide.

New Study: RFS2 Has Reduced GHG Emissions By 600 Million Metric Tons, Beating EPA Expectations

A new study released today finds that the expanded Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2) has been a tremendous success in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, with nearly 600 million metric tons of GHG reduction since 2007. Actual GHG reductions under the RFS2 have far surpassed the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) original expectations of 422 million metric tons, according to the study. The analysis was conducted by Life Cycle Associates, a California-based scientific consulting firm, and commissioned by the Renewable Fuels Foundation (RFF).

The findings, which come as two House committees hold climate change hearings this morning, highlight the important role that ethanol and other biofuels can play in efforts to fight climate change and reduce GHG emissions.

“The RFS2 has resulted in significant GHG reductions, with cumulative CO2 savings of 600 million metric tonnes over the period of implementation,” according to the study. “The GHG reductions are due to the greater than expected savings from ethanol and other biofuels. These emissions savings occur even though cellulosic biofuels have not met the RFS2 production targets. Biofuels have achieved and exceeded the GHG reductions estimated by EPA.”

As outlined in the report, the larger-than-expected GHG reductions are due to:
-    The adoption of technology improvements in the production of corn-based ethanol, resulting in far greater GHG reductions than originally estimated by EPA;
-    The GHG emissions of petroleum are higher than the baseline estimates originally projected by EPA; and
-    Advanced biofuels like biodiesel, renewable diesel, and renewable natural gas have contributed additional GHG reductions, even though actual cellulosic biofuel production has been lower than initially projected.

Using the latest available data and modeling tools, the study found that the conventional ethanol consumed in 2018 reduced GHG emissions by 43 percent compared to petroleum, even when hypothetical “land use change” are included. That compares to EPA’s initial projections that conventional ethanol would achieve only a 20 percent GHG reduction versus petroleum.

“As this study demonstrates, renewable fuels like ethanol are an incredibly effective tool for reducing GHG emissions,” said Geoff Cooper, President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA). “And with renewable fuels, we don’t need to cross our fingers and wait for the development and commercialization of a new technology. Ethanol is available here and now to help our nation decarbonize our transportation fuels in a cost effective manner. As the new Congress turns its focus to climate change and efforts to reduce GHG emissions, we encourage lawmakers to recognize and build upon the incredible success of the RFS.”

The 600 million metric tons of GHG reduction achieved under the RFS is equivalent to the GHG savings that would result from removing roughly half of the nation’s automobiles from the road for a full year or shutting down 154 coal-fired power plants for a year, according to EPA.

Life Cycle Associates Managing Director Stefan Unnasch will be presenting this report on Tuesday, Feb. 12 at RFA’s National Ethanol Conference in Orlando.

USDA Deputy Secretary to Address RFA's National Ethanol Conference

The Renewable Fuels Association is pleased to announce U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Stephen Censky will serve as a keynote speaker on the final day of the 24th annual National Ethanol Conference next week in Orlando.

Deputy Secretary Censky will round out an impressive line-up of speakers when he addresses attendees on Wednesday, Feb. 13 at 9:30am ET.

“We appreciate Deputy Secretary Censky joining us at the National Ethanol Conference,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “The industry meets at a critical time. Ethanol producers have been severely challenged by EPA’s abuse of small refiner exemptions under the Renewable Fuel Standard, while also facing growing protectionism abroad that has limited growth in export markets. Fortunately, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Deputy Secretary Censky in particular, has been an effective voice and determined advocate for farmers and renewable fuel producers. USDA and Deputy Secretary Censky played a key role in the Administration’s decision to allow the year-round use of E15 and promoting ethanol in countless countries around the globe. I look forward to thanking the Deputy Secretary for his steadfast support, and our attendees will no doubt enjoy hearing his thoughts on the opportunities that lie ahead, particularly in light of President Trump’s continued strong commitment to farmers and the renewable fuels industry," he added.

The NEC, scheduled from Feb. 11-13, is the most widely attended executive level conference for the ethanol industry. For more information or to register, visit:

Weekly Ethanol Production for 2/1/2019

 According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association, ethanol production fell to 967,000 barrels per day (b/d), or 40.6 million gallons per day, which was down 45,000 b/d (4.4%) from the previous week. This was the lowest weekly production level since October 2017. The four-week average ethanol production rate declined to 1.015 million b/d, the lowest since April 2018, equivalent to an annualized rate of 15.56 billion gallons. Weekly production was 8.5% lower than the level a year ago, while the four-week average was 3.8% lower.

Stocks of ethanol receded to 23.9 million barrels. Stocks were relatively steady in most regions but fell in the Gulf Coast, reversing an increase the previous week.

There were no imports for the twelfth week in a row. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of November 2018.)

Average weekly gasoline supplied to the market fell back to 9.073 million b/d (381.1 million gallons per day), equivalent to 139.09 billion gallons annualized, after surging the prior week. Still, the four-week average and year-to-date average remain more than 1% above year-ago levels. Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol increased 2.0% to 887,000 b/d—equivalent to 13.60 billion gallons annualized. Ethanol blending remains higher on a weekly (2.2%) and four-week-average (2.7%) basis than year-ago levels. Still, net inputs of ethanol have accounted for less than 10% of gasoline product supplied for four of the last five weeks.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production ticked up to 10.66%.

Strong Global Demand for U.S. Ethanol and DDGS Continues into November

Ann Lewis, Research Analyst, Renewable Fuels Association
U.S. ethanol exports through November 2018 reached 1.56 billion gallons, up 31% from the same period a year earlier and already a calendar-year record. Exports remained robust in November although volumes for the month decreased 16% to 147.9 million gallons (mg), according to government data released this morning and analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA). In a departure from recent trends, sales were heavily concentrated in just three countries accounting for nearly three-fourths of all U.S. ethanol shipments in November. Brazil imported 51.2 mg, representing 35% of total U.S. export sales. While this was 3.2 mg lower (-6%) than October volumes, it was enough to secure Brazil’s position as the top U.S. ethanol customer for a second straight month. Canada decreased its imports of American ethanol by 8% to 28.4 mg, the lowest volume in seven months but still 19% of total ethanol shipments in November. Volumes exported to India were a solid 28.1 mg (19% of U.S. ethanol exports), slipping just 3% from a record offtake in October. Mexico imported a record 4.8 mg, up 144% for the month.

The Netherlands (8.2 mg, down 21%), South Korea (6.2 mg, down 20%), and Spain (4.3 mg, up 156% to a 13-month high) were other top markets. Notably, after purchasing 6.2 mg in U.S. imports in October, the Peruvian market essentially disappeared with the implementation of countervailing duties on U.S. ethanol by their government in November.

November exports of undenatured fuel ethanol were 90.5 mg, an increase of 10.9 mg (14%). Brazil purchased 51.2 mg (up 10 mg or 23%), representing 57% of our undenatured export market while exports to India at 14.6 mg were down 10 mg (41%). Expanded volumes were shipped to the Netherlands (8.2 mg, up 7 mg), Mexico (4.8 mg), Spain (4.3 mg), and South Korea (2.8 mg) in November while the Philippines (2.4 mg) cut imports in half.

American producers shipped 41.0 mg of denatured fuel ethanol in November, down 55% from the October record (91.4 mg) and the smallest volume in ten months. Most of the global export market contraction can be attributed to quiet trading in six major markets (Brazil, the Netherlands, the United Arab Emirates, Peru, Oman, and the Philippines) that were responsible for cumulative imports of over 46 mg in October. Canada captured two-thirds of our denatured fuel export market with 25.7 mg of product, despite a 9% decrease from prior month sales. India’s November purchases were up 70% for a 13-month high of 7.5 mg, accounting for 18% of our denatured fuel ethanol market. Other top customers were Colombia (2.6 mg), South Korea (2.5 mg), and Jamaica (2.2 mg).

November sales of American denatured non-fuel ethanol skyrocketed to a record 12.3 mg, up from 2.5 mg in October. India re-entered the market to purchase 6.0 mg (48% of total sales), Nigeria also stepped back in with 3.6 mg (29% share) in sales, and 2.6 mg crossed into Canada (up 8%). November U.S. exports of undenatured non-fuel product more than doubled to 4.1 mg. The majority of product shipped to Saudi Arabia (1.7 mg), Japan (1.3 mg), and South Korea (0.9 mg).

The United States imported 9.9 mg of undenatured ethanol from Brazil in November. Total year-to-date U.S. ethanol imports stand at 66.9 mg—essentially all sourced from Brazil. This is 13% behind last year at this time.

November exports of U.S. dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS)—the main animal feed co-product generated by dry mill ethanol plants—were 1.017 million metric tons (million mt). While shipments tapered slightly (-0.2%), November was the sixth straight month that global demand breached 1 million mt. Mexico purchased 174,465 mt (up 9%) to capture 17% of the market. U.S. shippers sent 166,008 mt of DDGS to Vietnam, up 47% and the largest volume in nearly two years. Shipments of 97,600 (up 1%) entered Indonesia to set a new monthly record. U.S. DDGS export volumes to some key markets contracted, although demand remained robust: Thailand (79,603 mt, -14%), South Korea (71,699 mt, -12%), Canada (51,787 mt, -18%), and the United Kingdom (48,598 mt, -33%). Year-to-date U.S. DDGS exports are 10.99 million mt, implying an annualized total of 11.99 million mt. If realized, U.S. distillers grains exports would capture the second-largest annual volume on record.

Tuesday February 5 Ag News

Fischer Statement on President Trump’s State of the Union Address

 U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) released the following statement this evening after President Donald Trump delivered his State of the Union address:

“Tonight, President Trump laid out a hopeful vision for the future. I agree with a central focus of the president’s speech: we need to see more cooperation and consensus in Washington. We can and should work together to strengthen our national defense, invest in infrastructure, bring down the cost of health care, and open up new opportunities for agriculture producers. I remain committed to bridging the divide and delivering results to improve the lives of Nebraskans and all Americans.”

 Sasse Statement on the State of the Union Address

U.S. Senator Ben Sasse issued the following statement after the President’s State of the Union address.

“It was encouraging to hear the President condemn the kind of cruelty we’ve seen recently from New York’s extreme abortion laws. Pro-life Nebraskans should be encouraged to hear the President call on Congress to protect the dignity of every individual and build a culture that values life.”

Smith Statement on President Trump’s State of the Union Address

Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) released the following statement this evening in response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address.

“Tonight President Trump struck a tone of unity, positivity, and opportunity for Americans of all walks of life in his annual State of the Union address. With over 5 million jobs created and a rapidly expanding economy, President Trump has led the way on pro-growth initiatives such as tax reform and regulatory relief.

“I am encouraged by the president’s remarks and I look forward to much more success as he seeks to secure our nation’s borders, ensure greater market access for American producers, and connect more Americans with economic opportunity.”

Ricketts Praises President Trump’s State of the Union Address

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts issued a statement following President Donald J. Trump’s State of the Union Address to the U.S. Congress.

“From new trade deals to incredible job growth, the Trump economy is helping deliver more opportunity for American families.  The President’s continued focus in 2019 on protecting working Americans and strengthening national security sends the message that America is choosing greatness.  I urge Congress to work with President Trump to continue to build on the pro-growth policy successes that are strengthening our economy and helping more Americans achieve their dreams.”

Perdue Statement on President Trump’s State of the Union Address

 U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today issued the following statement regarding President Donald J. Trump’s State of the Union address:

“President Trump provided a unifying, hopeful vision for the nation tonight, highlighting Administration accomplishments and the booming economy, but also expressing optimism that even greater achievements lie ahead.  The President’s policies have been beneficial to American agriculture in the short term, but also have laid the foundation for long-term prosperity.  Our trade agreements with other nations are getting stronger, and the strategies the President has employed will lead to new and expanded markets for our products.  This was a patriotic speech, reminding Americans of the greatness of this country, with even brighter hopes for the future.”

NCBA Applauds President Trump's Call for Swift Congressional Approval of US-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Jennifer Houston today issued the following statement regarding President Trump's call in his State of the Union Address for swift Congressional approval of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement:

"We welcome President Trump's call for quick passage of the USMCA, and we hope that members of both parties in both chambers heed that call. With 96 percent of our potential customers living outside the United States, there's no policy issue more important to American cattle producers than access to foreign markets. The sooner we can secure our access to Mexico and Canada, the sooner we can focus our time, energy, and resources on improving our access to lucrative markets in Asia and Europe."

Tariffs Hurt the Heartland Statement on State of the Union Address

Tariffs Hurt the Heartland spokesman and former Congressman Charles Boustany released the following statement on tonight’s State of the Union Address. In the address, the President called for additional authority to impose tariffs, including passage of the Reciprocal Trade Act. The President also updated Congress on progress in negotiations with China. If the U.S. and China fail to reach an agreement by March 1st the Trump Administration has said it will increase tariffs on $200 billion in imports to 25%.

Call for Passage of the Reciprocal Trade Act

“The fact that this bill is dead on arrival in the House and Senate is a good sign that Congress has had enough. It is encouraging, but shouldn’t be surprising, that a bill abdicating Congress’s ability to oversee tariff increases has attracted so little support. A new report showed that the bill will cost American consumers $60 billion every year. With markets reeling, soybeans rotting, and small businesses paying record tariffs, the last thing we should do is give the administration unchecked power to plunge the country further into the depths of a global trade war.”

 Status of Negotiations with China

“We hope that the President is right that a deal is within reach, and we are encouraged by signs of progress. The stakes couldn’t be higher. If both sides fail to reach an agreement and the administration increases tariffs further on March 1, it won’t just be markets that will be in turmoil. It will also be American small businesses, farmers, retailers, and consumers.

“There is no patience left for this trade war. In just the past week, we have seen movement on two new bills in Congress that would curtail the President’s authority to impose tariffs. These bills are gaining steam because the pain from the trade war is mounting in American communities large and small. Tomorrow, our campaign will release a new report showing that tariffs, and the potential escalation of tariffs, mean job losses and reduced wages. It’s time for the President to reach a deal that takes tariff increases off the table for good, ends the threat of new tariffs and brings an end to the tariffs we are facing right now.”

NAWG CEO Responds to 2019 State of the Union Address

Tonight, President Donald Trump delivered his State of the Union Address. The theme of the speech was “Choosing Greatness” and focused on immigration, trade, infrastructure, healthcare, and national security.

NAWG CEO Chandler Goule provided the following statement in response:

“Wheat farmers are pleased to hear President Trump discuss the need to invest in America’s infrastructure. With any infrastructure legislation, we hope the President and Congress prioritize the critical needs of rural infrastructure. This includes making improvements to transportation infrastructure, expanding access to broadband, and updating rural agricultural research facilities.

“As we consider our place in the world stage, let's make sure that we preserve smart trade deals that keep American wheat producers in a strong position. This includes remaining in NAFTA until the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement is in place and moving forward with new bi-lateral deals.

“We appreciate the President continuing to talk about the need to enforce our trade deals and commend the Administration’s work to ensure countries like China are living up to its commitments. We recognize that China’s trade policies are unfair and create unnecessary distortions that hurt U.S. farmers and other industries, which is why NAWG supports the two World Trade Organization (WTO) cases the U.S. has taken against China instead of tariffs.

“NAWG looks forward to continuing to work with the Administration and Congress on the implementation of the 2018 farm bill. The bill gives growers access to programs that allow them to produce high-quality crops while using fewer resources. Programs within the bill further the rural economy by creating new jobs, spur investment, and provide farmers with the tools they need to continue producing a safe and abundant food supply.”

Farm Credit, Rural Groups Call on Congress to Focus on Rural Infrastructure

The Farm Credit Council today joined with the Rebuild Rural Coalition in sending a letter to Congressional leadership on behalf of rural communities, U.S. agricultural producers, rural businesses and rural families.

“As the President addresses Congress this evening and discusses the need for investment in infrastructure, we urge all in the room to consider and understand the unique needs of rural communities,” said Farm Credit Council CEO Todd Van Hoose. “The more than 240 organizations signing this letter have united on behalf of rural America. We hope the White House and Congress will do the same to ensure that our rural communities have access to clean and safe drinking water, secure and dependable surface transportation, reliable and affordable power, healthcare, housing and broadband and research institutions with state-of-the-art facilities in order to thrive and attract future generations.”

The coalition, comprised of more than 240 local, state and national organizations from across the country, strongly encouraged Majority Leader McConnell, Speaker Pelosi, Leader Schumer and Leader McCarthy to “move quickly to pass bipartisan legislation to strengthen our nation’s infrastructure, including specific provisions focused on the unique needs of rural communities and agriculture.”

Farm Bureau Applauds State of the Union Address

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall

“President Trump has outlined bold priorities in his State of the Union address, and we hope the administration and Congress can move forward in a bipartisan manner to make progress toward the goals that we all share. Farmers and ranchers across the country need reforms to our immigration system, and we echo President Trump’s call for Congress to ratify the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement to preserve and build on the export gains with our North American neighbors. At the same time, we support bipartisan efforts to rebuild and modernize our nation’s infrastructure, including broadband technology in rural areas.

“Farm Bureau also appreciates President Trump’s message of optimism and unity. The bipartisan passage of the farm bill last year shows that our elected leaders can come together and achieve great things for our country.”

Survey Shows Increasing Use and Interest in Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy Practices

Farmers in Iowa’s Missouri-Little Sioux watershed are increasing their use of and interest in key best management practices recommended by the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy, according to a new study conducted at Iowa State University.

The study is part of the ongoing Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy Farmer Survey, which aims to measure change in Iowa farmers’ knowledge and attitudes related to the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy and their use of best management practices. Farmers in the Missouri-Little Sioux watershed, which covers the northwest and west central areas of Iowa, were surveyed in 2015 and 2016.

cornfield with grassy buffer strip.Because one of the survey’s goals is to track progress toward the INRS, farmers were asked how long they had been using key practices. Most farmers reported having used many of the more established practices such as terraces and buffers along streams for more than three years. Among practices that have been promoted heavily by the INRS for their effectiveness, substantial percentages of farmers reported more recent adoption. Among cover crops users, 56 percent had started using them in the previous three years. Similarly, 27 percent of farmers who reported employing contour buffer strips and 20 percent of variable rate nitrogen users stated that they began using the practices in the previous three years.

Additionally, farmers expressed increased interest in potential future use of other best management practices. Between 2015 and 2016, the percentage of farmers who indicated that they might use side-dress fertilizer application in the future increased from 22 to 35 percent. The proportion who indicated they might use extended rotations increased from 14 to 21 percent, and those who considered using bioreactors increased from 10 to 17 percent.

“These results show that many farmers in the watershed have started using key practices such as cover crops since the Nutrient Reduction Strategy started, and those who aren’t using them are increasingly open to the possibility,” said J. Arbuckle, associate professor and extension rural sociologist at Iowa State and co-author of the report. “That represents progress, but there’s still a long way to go; for example, just 15 percent of farmers in the watershed reported using cover crops.”

Between 2015 and 2016, farmers reported no significant change in the knowledge of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy or in their attitudes related to water quality and the Strategy. However, the sources of information from which farmers learned about the Strategy experienced some change. In 2015, 48 percent of farmers learned about the Strategy from commodity or farm organizations; 54 percent learned from these sources in 2016, representing a statistically significant increase.

“Commodity groups have placed emphasis on communicating with members about the INRS and nutrient loss reduction, and these results indicate that those efforts have been effective,” said Laurie Nowatzke, measurement coordinator for the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy and co-author of the report. “Still, there is opportunity for various partners to more effectively conduct outreach with farmers in the Missouri-Little Sioux watershed. These findings are useful as we measure progress towards meeting the goals of the Strategy and identify areas that may require additional information, outreach and resources.”

Additional findings include the following:
-    31 percent of farmers in the Missouri-Little Sioux HUC6 watershed reported that they were knowledgeable or very knowledgeable about the INRS, and 28 percent reported slight or no knowledge.
-    The farm press, ISU Extension and Outreach and conservation agencies were the most common sources of information about the Strategy.
-    Pressure to make profit margins and lack of economic resources, including cost-share and lack of landlord willingness to invest in conservation, were increasingly cited as substantial barriers to conservation practice adoption.
-    The percentage of farmers citing lack of knowledge about best management practices as a barrier to adoption of those practices declined significantly, indicating that farmers are learning more about BMPs.

Full results of the survey can be found in ISU Extension and Outreach publication “Iowa Farmers and the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy: Survey Results from the Missouri-Little Sioux Watershed” (SOC 3087).

The Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy Farmer Survey is a five-year study that surveys a random sample of farmers in a new Iowa six-digit hydrologic unit code (HUC6) and a random sample of repeat respondent farmers from a previously surveyed HUC6 watershed each year. Future reports will highlight results from the following watersheds: the Upper Mississippi-Maquoketa-Plum, the Iowa, the Des Moines, the Missouri-Nishnabotna, and the Upper Mississippi-Skunk-Wapsipinicon.

The project is funded by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, with additional support from ISU Extension and Outreach; the Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; and the Iowa State Agriculture Experiment Station.

U.S. Soy Sets Export Record During Past Market Year

Farmer investments in international markets produced strong results in the 2017/2018 marketing year, despite trade dynamics developing as the export period closed. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. soybean farmers exported a record-breaking 2.6 billion bushels of U.S. soy and soy products, valued at more than $28 billion last market year. The U.S. also set a new record high in combined volume of the whole soybeans, soybean meal and soybean oil exported in 2017/2018, with soybean meal exports accounting for the greatest growth.

Derek Haigwood, a soybean farmer from Newport, Arkansas and chairman of U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) and director for United Soybean Board (USB), said he expects to see the impact of trade issues in the next, 2018/2019, marketing year. The official marketing year runs from October 1 to September 30. Exports during the 2017/2018 marketing year would not have been largely impacted by the tariffs introduced by China as shipments abroad normally take place after harvest (October-December).

USSEC recently initiated the “What it Takes” strategy to grow U.S. soybean demand worldwide and mitigate export losses to China. The program provides opportunities for industry experts and farmers to remind buyers about the intrinsic feed value of U.S. soy, mainly its exceptional amino acid content, the nation’s reliable transportation system and sustainable farming practices.

“Particularly at a time when global trade flows have dramatically changed, it is critical that we ensure access in all markets that want to purchase U.S. soybeans and soy products,” states Haigwood.

Keith Tapp, chair of USB and farmer from Sebree, Kentucky, says the dedication to opening new markets for soy has been and will remain a priority USB investment and support.

“Our work to build the preference for U.S. soy is more important than ever,” he says. “Soy production is growing worldwide, and we continue to work across borders, industries and disciplines to find and develop markets for U.S. soy products.”

In cooperation with USB and USSEC, the American Soybean Association (ASA) is a key partner in the collaboration to expand international markets for soy. ASA continues to advocate that President Donald Trump’s administration and Congress maintain current market access through passage of the USMCA as well as negotiate new free trade agreements to build additional market access for U.S. soybeans.

In 2017, the U.S. soy industry launched an effort to shift a sizable portion of its efforts to markets where there is significant future potential due to factors such as large populations, improving economic conditions, and currently low per capita protein and oil consumption. As a result of the coordinated work by these three soy organizations through programs such as WISHH and “What It Takes,” sizable export growth was seen in developing markets including Pakistan, Egypt and India. Globally, demand is forecasted to grow by about 15 million tons in 2019, according to economists at the USSEC.

NFU Announces Featured Speakers, Themes for 117th Anniversary Convention in Bellevue, WA

Family farmers and ranchers traveling to Bellevue, Washington, for the National Farmers Union (NFU) 117th Anniversary Convention will have the opportunity to hear from top speakers in American and international agriculture during the four-day conference.

Andrew Winston, a globally recognized expert on helping businesses thrive and create a more sustainable world, will headline the event’s general session speakers. The convention also features breakouts and sessions focused on the farm economy and farm stress, international trade, family farm sustainability, and grassroots organizing. Recognizing the challenges and opportunities facing American farm families, NFU will host leading authorities and innovative speakers to prepare its members for the effects of climate change, changes in the tax code, and extreme consolidation in the agriculture sector, among others.

The convention annually brings together members, industry professionals, policymakers, and reporters for a series of educational breakout sessions, award presentations, and, most importantly, the family farm organization’s unique, grassroots policy adoption process.

The most up-to-date convention information, including a tentative agenda and hotel information, can be found on the NFU website at

FFA Members Celebrate Agriculture and Leadership During National FFA Week

Agriculture is part of our daily lives—from the food we eat to the clothes we wear. Next week, nearly 670,000 FFA members across the country will share the story of agriculture as part of National FFA Week.

Whether it is through service projects or community gatherings, National FFA Week is a time for FFA members to raise awareness about the role the National FFA Organization plays in the development of agriculture's future leaders and the importance of agricultural education.

National FFA Week always runs Saturday to Saturday and encompasses Feb. 22, George Washington's birthday. This year, the week kicks off on Feb. 16 and culminates on Feb. 23.

The National FFA Board of Directors designated the weeklong tradition, which began in 1948, in recognition of Washington's legacy as an agriculturist and farmer. A group of young farmers founded FFA in 1928, and the organization has been influencing generations that agriculture is more than planting and harvesting — it involves science, business and more.

Today, FFA provides the next generation of leaders who will change the world. The top school-based youth leadership development in the nation, FFA continues to help young people rise up to meet new agricultural challenges by helping members develop their unique talents and explore their interests in a broad range of career pathways. FFA members are our future leaders, our future food-suppliers, our future innovators and so much more!

National FFA Week is a time for FFA members to share agriculture with their fellow students as well as their communities. Chapters also give back to their communities through service projects during FFA Week. For example, during FFA Week the Abernathy FFA in Texas will be partnering with the Hub City Outreach Center to make sidewalk chalk that will then be donated to the summer program that focuses on reaching out to at-risk youth at the center. In Ohio, the Ohio Valley CTC FFA chapter will be working with Adams County Soil and Water to create a program to educate students and community members on the proper disposal of used oil and fluids. In Iowa, the Roland-Story FFA chapter is partnering with Meals on Wheels in packaging and providing meals for the elderly who are in need. Peterson Academies Technology FFA is focusing on literacy during FFA Week, by teaching mothers to read to their babies at an early age. The chapter will provide pamphlets on the importance of early literacy and then will donate gently used books to the University of Florida Health to distribute at a local event.

During FFA Week, the six national officers will visit chapters across the country. Western Region Vice President Shea Booster will visit Arkansas; Adrian Schunk, eastern region vice president, will visit West Virginia; Ridge Hughbanks, central region vice president, will visit Iowa; Jordan Stowe, southern region vice president, will visit South Carolina; Layni LeBlanc, national secretary, will visit Washington; and National FFA president Luke O’Leary will visit Connecticut.

National FFA Week is also a time for alumni and sponsors to advocate for agricultural education and FFA. On Tuesday, Feb. 19, the National FFA Foundation will celebrate Give FFA Day, a 24-hour campaign encouraging the public to support various needs impacting FFA members. If interested in giving, one can visit On Wednesday, FFA Alumni and Supporters will celebrate Alumni Day. Friday, Feb. 22, all FFA members and supporters are encouraged to wear blue and show their FFA pride!

Commodity Classic Announces Renewing of AEM Partnership

The National Corn Growers Association, the American Soybean Association and the Association of Equipment Manufacturers announce that AEM will continue their participation in Commodity Classic, now as a partner and member of the event’s new management committee. This farmer-driven partnership will provide a strong basis for further growth while providing new, innovative ideas for Commodity Classic to provide an even better world-class experience and gathering place for all segments of agriculture.

The inaugural event under this new partnership will be held February 28-March 2, 2019, in Orlando, Fla.

Curt Blades, AEM senior vice president, said, “Over the past three years, we have been incredibly impressed as we grew our involvement in Commodity Classic, and our association takes great pride in the role that we play and experiences we bring to the table. Great things can happen in the industry when leaders work together, have a long-term vision and stay focused.”

“Commodity Classic has continued to grow over the years, and we look forward to even greater growth over the years to come,” said NCGA President Lynn Chrisp, a Nebraska corn grower. “We feel strongly that this relationship maintains the strength of our show, which continues to be produced by farmers and for farmers. At the same time, it will also leverage AEM’s many years of experience and expertise in producing top quality trade shows.”

“We all value the power of education and of top-quality interaction among attendees and exhibitors on the show floor,” said ASA President Davie Stephens, a soybean grower from Kentucky. “Commodity Classic’s farmer focus remains its greatest strength. Agriculture, as an industry, is truly interconnected. By working together, we increase our collective strength and grow our opportunities for success.”

The show will continue – and even elevate - its proud tradition of offering valuable education sessions, innovations exhibited on the show floor and unparalleled peer-to-peer networking.

Commodity Classic is the annual convention and trade show for the American Soybean Association, National Corn Growers Association, Association of Equipment Manufacturers, National Association of Wheat Growers, and National Sorghum Producers. Visit

AGCO Reports Fourth Quarter Results

AGCO, Your Agriculture Company (NYSE:AGCO), a worldwide manufacturer and distributor of agricultural equipment, reported net sales of approximately $2.6 billion for the fourth quarter of 2018, an increase of approximately 2.6% compared to net sales of approximately $2.5 billion for the fourth quarter of 2017. Reported net income was $1.26 per share and adjusted net income, which excludes restructuring expenses, costs associated with the early retirement of debt and a tax gain related to U.S. tax reform, was $1.31 per share for the fourth quarter of 2018. These results compare to reported net income of $0.55 per share and adjusted net income, which excludes restructuring expenses and a tax charge related to U.S. tax reform, of $1.10 per share for the fourth quarter of 2017. Excluding unfavorable currency translation impacts of approximately 4.7%, net sales in the fourth quarter of 2018 increased approximately 7.3% compared to the fourth quarter of 2017.

Net sales for the full year of 2018 were approximately $9.4 billion, an increase of approximately 12.6% compared to 2017. Excluding the favorable impact of currency translation of approximately 0.1%, net sales for the full year of 2018 increased approximately 12.5% compared to 2017. For the full year of 2018, reported net income was $3.58 per share and adjusted net income, which excludes restructuring expenses, costs associated with the early retirement of debt and a tax gain related to U. S. tax reform, was $3.89 per share. These results compare to reported net income of $2.32 per share and adjusted net income, which excludes restructuring expenses, a non-cash expense related to waived stock compensation and a tax charge related to U.S. tax reform, of $3.02 per share for the full year of 2017.

“AGCO delivered solid results in 2018 while making important investments to position us for future success,” stated Martin Richenhagen, AGCO’s Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. “Sales growth across all of our regions and solid operational execution allowed AGCO to meet its financial targets for 2018 and deliver improved results compared to 2017. We are growing our business by delivering the broadest product offering in the industry. We provide full-line smart farming solutions to our customers throughout the agricultural production cycle, starting with soil preparation and cutting-edge smart planting, through spraying and harvesting, and ending with grain storage and protein production equipment. AGCO will continue to invest in new products, new technology, improved distribution and enhanced digital capabilities in order to improve our margins and produce higher returns on our invested capital. Looking forward to 2019, we are forecasting further earnings improvement as industry conditions trend positively and we benefit from our cost reduction strategies targeted at purchasing actions and factory productivity, as well as new product development.”

Monday February 4 Ag News

Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               Looking for something to do while waiting for snow to melt and spring arrive?  Preseason maintenance of hay equipment now might save you time a couple months later.

               Hay equipment needs proper maintenance to perform well.  Preseason maintenance also can help prevent costly downtime when delays can be very costly.   Let's briefly review some important maintenance steps.

               First off, inspect, lubricate, and service all power driven areas such as belts, bearings, chains, and gears.  Set tension on belts and chains as well.  Also check, sharpen, or replace cutterbar sections or disc blades and adjust wear plates, hold-down clips, and guards.  Make sure your cutterbar has proper knife register.

               Conditioning rollers often are overlooked.  Check the spacing between the rolls and adjust roll timing for your crop.  Better conditioning will help your hay dry faster.

               On round balers, inspect belts, chains, and slats or rollers frequently for wear.  Trim frayed edges and repair belts as needed to maintain uniform tension.  When not in use, keep belts clean and release belt tension.

               Rectangular balers need plunger knife clearance and plunger alignment checked.  Also inspect the tying mechanism and adjust it as needed.  Pick-up teeth on balers and on rakes frequently are broken or bent.  Replace defective teeth and adjust height if necessary.

               Also, be sure you have replacement parts on hand of frequently broken or replaced items.  And most important of all, review your owners manual to identify recommended maintenance procedures and proper settings.

               Take a little time now and you will reduce down time later.

Farm Finance and Ag Law Clinics this February 

Openings are available for one-on-one, confidential farm finance and ag law consultations being conducted across the state each month. An experienced ag law attorney and ag financial counselor will be available to address farm and ranch issues related to financial planning, estate and transition planning, farm loan programs, debtor/creditor law, water rights, and other relevant matters. The clinics offer an opportunity to seek an experienced outside opinion on issues affecting your farm or ranch.

Clinic Sites and Dates
    Grand Island — Thursday, February 7
    North Platte — Thursday, February 14
    Fairbury — Thursday, February 21
    Valentine — Thursday, February 26
    Norfolk — Wednesday, February 27

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.

IPPA Announces 2018 Master Pork Producers, Pork Partners

At the 2019 Iowa Pork Congress, the Iowa Pork Producers Association introduced the 2018 class of Master Pork Producers and Master Pork Partners.

A Master Pork Producer award denotes an individual's or family's excellence in pork production, as measured by their pork production statistics, their commitment to We Care® principles, and their contribution to their community. There are six We Care principles that outline a pig farmer's responsibilities to uphold high standards for animal care, food production, the environment, people, and community involvement.

IPPA's 77th class of Master Pork Producers includes nine pig farmers. They are:
    Chet and Cassie Mogler, Alvord, Lyon County
    Bryian Lundell, Odebolt, Sac County
    Kathy Pratt, Aurelia, Cherokee County
    Fred and Donna Zenk, Akron, Plymouth County
    Dominic and Karen Hogan, Monticello, Jones County
    Gene Tinker, Manchester, Delaware County
    Ryan Kress, Winthrop, Buchanan County
    Terry and Janet Mann, Turin, Monona County
    Denis and Laurel Heithoff, Carroll, Carroll County

IPPA started the Master Pork Producer Award program in 1942 and has now named 1,484 Iowa pig farmers as Master Pork Producers.

IPPA created the Master Pork Partner Award in 2014 to recognize pork production company employees who have made positive impacts on pork production systems, even though they don't have active daily roles at a specific production site. , but have demonstrated positive impacts in their production systems and a commitment to the pork industry's We Care ethical principles.

The 2018 Master Pork Partners are:
    Dr. Cassandra Jass, DVM, Iowa Select Farms, Iowa Falls
    Dr. Josh Bowden, DVM; Winthrop Veterinary Clinic, Winthrop
    Chris Riesgaard, Audubon-Manning Veterinary Clinic (AMVC), Audubon

All award winners are nominated by their peers and neighbors, and represent the diversity of Iowa's pork production farms. This production diversity helps maintain the strength of the industry and enables Iowa producers to compete successfully in the domestic and international commodity and niche markets.

The Iowa Pork Producers Association and Iowa State University Extension co-sponsor the Master Pork Producer program to demonstrate the character and breadth of Iowa pork production. Nominations for the 2019 Master Pork Program awards will open in May.

Houston Takes Helm of National Cattlemen’s Beef Association

Jennifer Houston of Sweetwater, Tenn., was named president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association at the organization’s annual meeting in New Orleans, La., Feb. 2. Houston had served as 2018 president-elect.

              Houston and her husband, Mark, own and operate East Tennessee Auction Market in Sweetwater. She has been active in the beef industry for more than 30 years, first serving at the state level then being elected to positions in national posts. She has been an NCBA board member since 1996.

            Elected NCBA president-elect was Marty Smith (Florida). Jerry Bohn (Kansas) was elected vice president. Don Schiefelbein (Minnesota) was elected chair of the NCBA Policy Division and Todd Wilkinson (South Dakota) was elected vice chair. Laurie Munns (Utah) was elected chair of the NCBA Federation Division and Buck Wehrbein (Nebraska) was elected vice chair. Past president is Kevin Kester (California).

            Elected to serve on the Beef Promotion Operating Committee from the Federation of State Beef Councils, joining Munns, Wehrbein and ten members elected from the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board, were: Katie Brenny (Minnesota), Gary Deering (South Dakota), Bradley Hastings (Texas), Chris Jeffcoat (Pennsylvania), Clark Price (North Dakota), Jeff Rudolph (Nebraska), Don Terry (Tennessee) and VeaBea Thomas (South Dakota).

            NCBA policy priorities were also established at the meeting. These priorities included 2019 work in Fake Meat; Trade and Market Access; Dietary Guidelines; and Regulatory Reform and Implementation. In addition to the NCBA annual meeting, the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board, CattleFax, American National CattleWomen and National Cattlemen’s Foundation also conducted business meetings.
Capping a Huge Event

             The Board meeting followed a highly successful 2019 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show. A total of 8,774 people attended the event, one of the most well-attended cattle industry conventions ever.

Attendees of the event enjoyed a wide array of events that enlightened, educated and entertained Jan. 30 – Feb. 1. The proceedings began a day earlier, on Jan. 29, when more than 1,500 producers attended Cattlemen’s College, sponsored by Zoetis. Cattlemen’s College keynote speaker was Bill Cordingley, head of wholesale banking North America, RaboBank. Cordingley spoke on “Greater Expectations, Bigger Opportunities.” Eight Cattlemen’s College session tracks followed to educate attendees.

              Entertaining a full audience at the Opening General Session Jan. 30, sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim, was four-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Terry Bradshaw. Singing the National Anthem at the session was Kari Wheeler of Biggs, Calif., winner of NCBA’s fifth annual National Anthem contest, sponsored by Norbrook.

              CattleFax held its popular U.S. and Global Protein and Grain Outlook Seminar Thursday, Jan. 31. Sponsored by Purina Animal Nutrition, LLC and Zoetis, the session looked at the factors that drive the market, such as domestic and international supplies and demand. Dr. Art Douglas presented his outlook for 2019 U.S. and world weather at the session.

              The Closing General Session Friday, Feb. 1, sponsored by American National, featured an appearance by Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, who encouraged the audience to tell its story to today’s consumers. At the session Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter John Ondrasik, better known by his stage name Five for Fighting, asked his audience What If? Harnessing Inspiration and Creativity to Design the World that You Want, offering insights from someone who has lived the process.

              Entertainment was prevalent in New Orleans. For instance, a Mardi Gras Masquerade along the Mississippi River the evening of Jan. 31, allowed attendees to experience much of what makes New Orleans a popular tourist location. Sponsored by Central Life Sciences, the event featured dancing and fabulous food, as well as songs from country singer Paul Bogard.      
              Wrapping up the Convention on Friday night, Feb. 1, was the 2019 Cowboy Concert Series, sponsored by IMI Global, with popular headliners Big and Rich. After the concert the Louisiana Last Call After Party, also sponsored by IMI Global, with beef donated by BPI and Dos Rios, allowed the good times to continue to roll.

              Cattle industry members honored fellow producers throughout the Convention. Stewards of the nation’s natural resources, for instance, will again be recognized in the National Environmental Stewardship Award Program, while on Friday the Best of Beef Breakfast honored others with many different awards.

              Opportunities to engage and educate at Convention were endless – especially during the NCBA Trade Show. More than 350 exhibitors showcased their profit-enhancing products and services on more than seven acres.

            The NCBA Trade show is just one part of the most important national event for anyone in the cattle business. The 2019 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show was a great chance for cattle producers to charge up their personal and industry batteries for 2019; get re-acquainted with cattle industry friends from around the country; see the newest and most innovative products in the industry; be captivated by outstanding entertainment and presenters; and enjoy some of the flavor of Louisiana food and entertainment.

USDA Nov '18 Fats and Oils: Oilseed Crushings, Production, Consumption and Stocks

Soybeans crushed for crude oil was 5.34 million tons (178 million bushels) in November 2018, compared with 5.51 million tons (184 million bushels) in October 2018 and 5.20 million tons (173 million bushels) in November 2017. Crude oil produced was 2.06 billion pounds down 3 percent from October 2018 but up 4 percent from November 2017. Soybean once refined oil production at 1.46 billion pounds during November 2018 decreased 7 percent from October 2018 but increased slightly from November 2017.

USDA Nov '18 Grain Crushings and Co-Products Production

Total corn consumed for alcohol and other uses was 504 million bushels in November 2018. Total corn consumption was down 1 percent from October 2018 and down 4 percent from November 2017. November 2018 usage included 92.0 percent for alcohol and 8.0 percent for other purposes. Corn consumed for beverage alcohol totaled 2.94 million bushels, down 11 percent from October 2018 and down 15 percent from November 2017. Corn for fuel alcohol, at 455 million bushels, was down 1 percent from October 2018 and down 4 percent from November 2017. Corn consumed in November 2018 for dry milling fuel production and wet milling fuel production was 90.9 percent and 9.1 percent respectively.

Dry mill co-product production of distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) was 1.93 million tons during November 2018, down 2 percent from October 2018 and down 3 percent from November 2017. Distillers wet grains (DWG) 65 percent or more moisture was 1.31 million tons in November 2018, down 2 percent from October 2018 and down 4 percent from November 2017.

Wet mill corn gluten feed production was 285,362 tons during November 2018, up 1 percent from October 2018 but down 9 percent from November 2017. Wet corn gluten feed 40 to 60 percent moisture was 257,003 tons in November 2018, up 5 percent from October 2018 but down 15 percent from November 2017.

Annual Report Highlights NCGA’s Farmer-led, Farmer-driven Work in 2018

The National Corn Growers Association’s annual report for the 2018 fiscal year is now available online. Themed “Deeply Rooted,” the 2018 report spotlights efforts made by NCGA throughout the year to reach long-term, strategic goals to improve the future of the industry by creating opportunities through trade and ethanol as well as a strong support system through the farm bill. A printed copy of the report, which also features current financial information, will also be sent to all active members.

Click here to view the full report....

“Our mission, to create and increase opportunities for corn growers, and vision, to sustainably feed and fuel a growing world, are deeply rooted in all we do. You’ll find on the pages of this annual report the highlights of how National Corn Growers Association fulfilled its mission and vision over the past year,” said NCGA Chairman Kevin Skunes, a grower from North Dakota, in a joint letter to readers co-authored by NCGA CEO Jon Doggett.

“Yet if we dig a little deeper, you’ll discover we’re really deeply rooted in our members – their challenges, their successes, their goals and hope for the future of corn and agriculture. It’s our grassroots who set the agenda, and NCGA works every day to make it happen.”

The report also includes perspective from grower leaders, information about the activities of NCGA’s action teams and committees and updates on its major image programs. This document provides a comprehensive resource for anyone looking to delve further into what NCGA does on behalf of our nation’s farmers.

Two Million Servings Strong: Hams Across America Tackles Food Insecurity

More than half a million pounds of pork comprising nearly 2.2 million servings were distributed in 2018 through the Hams Across America program.

“As pig farmers, our We CareSM ethical principles are the core of who we are as farmers, and it is important for us to not only to talk about them, but to live them out every day,” said Steve Rommereim, president of the National Pork Board and a pig farmer from Alcester, South Dakota. “Hams Across America allows me and other farmers to live the We Care ethical principles and share our love of the product that we produce.”

The program that lasts from “Giving Tuesday,” Nov. 27, through the Christmas holiday is dedicated to helping overcome the challenge of food insecurity. In 2018 in the United States, Hams Across America was supported by a record number of participants, with more than 120 individuals and businesses contributing time, resources and pork to the nationwide effort organized and managed by the National Pork Board, the National Pork Producers Council, state pork associations, and U.S. pig farmers.

In addition to helping ease the nation’s food insecurity problem, Hams Across America highlights the diverse products produced by the pork industry at events across the nation. In 2018, this included donation events in Illinois, North Carolina, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Nebraska, Ohio and Minnesota. In Illinois, for example, nearly 90,000 pounds of pork were donated to the Greater Chicago Food Depository. In North Carolina, 42,000 pounds of pork went to the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina.

In its third year, the pork industry responded strongly to the Hams Across America call to action in 2018. Smithfield Foods and Prairie Fresh Pork participated as major contributors to the program, showcasing and exemplifying the We Care ethical principle of contributing to a better way of life in communities around the nation. The principles are an integral part of how today’s pig farmers work, and Hams Across America is a great way to showcase farmers’ service ethic while providing pork for their communities.

The 2018 Hams Across America program also saw a sharp upturn in the number of participants, that helped to bolster donations. Farmers and many others encouraged a pay-it-forward initiative by sharing their personal stories on social media using #RealPigFarming and #HamsAcrossAmerica, creating a presence on social media. In all, more than 400 public social media mentions featured #HamsAcrossAmerica or #WeCareGiveAHam.

Growth Energy Files Federal Lawsuit Against EPA on Small Refinery Exemptions

Today, Growth Energy filed a petition in the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) failure to address small refinery exemptions in its 2019 renewable volume obligation (RVO) rulemaking, which was issued late last year.

“EPA’s inaction on addressing lost gallons due to small refinery exemptions in this rulemaking is a clear violation of law,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “In doing nothing to remedy these and other deficiencies, EPA has again failed to meet its statutory obligation to ensure that annual RVOs are met each year. Today’s filing calls for greater accountability from EPA to ensure that every renewable fuel obligation is fulfilled as the law intended.”  

Each year by November 30, EPA is obligated to issue RVOs, which establish the total volume of renewable fuel that must be blended with transportation fuel for the upcoming calendar year. In 2018, it was revealed that in previous years EPA had been granting an unprecedented amount of small refinery exemptions to numerous refiners.

Under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), refineries producing transportation fuel must demonstrate each year that they have blended certain volumes of renewable fuel into gasoline or diesel fuel or acquired credits from others called renewable identification numbers, or “RINs”, representing all of part of those volume obligations.  

The RFS allows certain “small” refineries – those with a throughput of less than 75,000 barrels per day – to petition EPA for a temporary extension of an earlier exemption from the renewable fuel volume requirements. The exemption is supposed to exempt only those refiners who can show that compliance with the RFS would cause “disproportionate economic hardship.” 

In 2018, Growth Energy became aware of a stark increase in the number of small refinery exemptions being granted in recent years, with no apparent effort by EPA to publicly identify those who received the exemptions, explain the increase, or account for renewable fuel obligations lost to the exemptions. The exemptions added up to close to 2.25 billion gallons of lost renewable fuel demand. Many of the exemptions had also been granted after EPA established the RVOs for a given year, but EPA made no effort to reallocate billions of biofuel gallons that had been lost as a result.  

Despite repeated challenges by Growth and others in 2018, both in petitions and comments to the agency and before federal courts, EPA has steadfastly failed to make good its statutory obligation to ensure that RVOs established by the Agency are met each year. EPA explicitly refused to take up the issue of small refinery exemptions in its 2019 RVO rulemaking, stating that such exemptions were “beyond the scope” of the rulemaking.

Growth Energy filed extensive comments challenging EPA’s refusal to address the issue, in particular challenging EPA’s failure to reallocate renewable volume obligations of exempt refiners.

CWT Assists with 5.4 million Pounds of Dairy Product Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) member cooperatives accepted 10 offers of export assistance from CWT that helped them capture sales contracts for 1.116 million pounds (506 metric tons) of Cheddar, and Gouda cheese and 4.242 million pounds (1,924 metric tons) of whole milk powder. These products are going to customers in Asia, the Middle East, and South America. The product will be delivered during the period from March through July 2019.

CWT-assisted member cooperative 2019 export sales total 12.844 million pounds of American-type cheeses, 707,684 pounds of butter (82% milkfat) and 6.490 million pounds of whole milk powder to 18 countries in six regions. These sales are the equivalent of 181.9 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.

Assisting CWT members through the Export Assistance program positively affects all U.S. dairy farmers and all dairy cooperatives by strengthening and maintaining the value of dairy products that directly impact their milk price. It does this by helping member cooperatives gain and maintain world market share for U.S dairy products. As a result, the program has significantly expanded the total demand for U.S. dairy products and the demand for U.S. farm milk that produces those products.

USDA Dairy Products November 2018 Production Highlights

Total cheese output (excluding cottage cheese) was 1.08 billion pounds, 1.0 percent above November 2017 but 4.3 percent below October 2018. Italian type cheese production totaled 464 million pounds, 1.6 percent above November 2017 but 2.2 percent below October 2018. American type cheese production totaled 423 million pounds, 2.2 percent above November 2017 but 3.5 percent below October 2018. Butter production was 146 million pounds, 2.7 percent below November 2017 but1.5 percent above October 2018.

Dry milk products (comparisons in percentage with November 2017)
Nonfat dry milk, human - 130 million pounds, down 7.7 percent.
Skim milk powder - 30.4 million pounds, down 26.9 percent.

Whey products (comparisons in percentage with November 2017)
Dry whey, total - 74.7 million pounds, down 8.6 percent.
Lactose, human and animal - 97.9 million pounds, up 13.7 percent.
Whey protein concentrate, total - 39.4 million pounds, down 2.9 percent.

Frozen products (comparisons in percentage with November 2017)
Ice cream, regular (hard) - 51.9 million gallons, up 4.6 percent.
Ice cream, lowfat (total) - 26.9 million gallons, down 3.9 percent.
Sherbet (hard) - 2.37 million gallons, up 0.9 percent.
Frozen yogurt (total) - 3.89 million gallons, down 4.4 percent.

Friday February 1 Ag News

Nebraska Cattlemen Select Priority Bills for the 2019 Legislative Session

Nebraska Cattlemen (NC) Board of Directors met in Lincoln for their annual legislative meeting. NC’s six policy committees brought attention to bills and resolutions recently introduced in the Nebraska Legislature that are of interest to Nebraska beef producers.

Under close review and in accordance with NC Policy, the Board of Directors considered and took positions on nearly 90 pieces of legislation and choose three bills as priorities for this legislative session.

Once again, NC board members went into this legislative meeting acknowledging the immediate need for property tax relief and reform in the State. Nebraska Cattlemen chose to support and prioritize LB 497 by Senator Curt Friesen. The bill is the product of much work and discussion during the interim with senators and agricultural interest groups who have heard the outcry for property tax relief from constituents and members. LB 497 contains many provisions to address the inequity in school funding statewide and the over reliance on property tax dollars. NC policy aligns with provisions of the bill and the association looks forward to working with the Legislature to pass reform in 2019.

After much discussion about agricultural challenges across the country, NC took a position to support and prioritize LB 227, introduced by Senator Dan Hughes. The bill would strengthen existing nuisance protections for Nebraska agriculture operations under the Nebraska “Right to Farm Act”. Nebraska Cattlemen worked directly with Senator Hughes to add new terminology regarding changes to agricultural operations while still following all local zoning laws and regulatory permitting requirements. NC strongly believes this bill is important for livestock expansion and economic development in Nebraska and will continue to work with Senator Hughes on the bill’s progression.

Lastly, NC choose to support and prioritize LB 660 by Senator Tom Brewer. This bill will change the provisions relating to the executive director and chief investigator of the Nebraska Brand Committee. NC has worked with the Nebraska Brand Committee to clarify duties of staff in the best interest of the Nebraska cattle industry.

“We had a great discussion this year on numerous bills and issues that we face as an industry. As in years past, property tax relief is at the top of the list and something our organization continues to be passionate about. We will continue to work diligently with the Legislature and Governor Pete Ricketts to help fix this issue for all Nebraskans and encourage action to implementing a definitive plan” said Ken Herz, Chairman of NC Legislative Committee.

No-Till, Cover Crops, and Planned Grazing Systems Educational Workshop

Lifelong Learning Center – Norfolk, Nebraska
Wednesday, February 13, 2019
9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

9:00 – 9:30 a.m. - Registration (coffee and rolls provided by LENRD)

9:30 a.m. - Finding success with a holistic system approach
  - Dan Forgey: Agronomy Manager Cronin Farms Gettysburg, SD
  - Chris Proctor: UNL Weed Management Extension, Ag and Horticulture Department

Dan has been with Cronin Farms for 49 years and is the cropping foreman for the farm. During their 26 years of No-till, Dan acknowledges that mistakes have been made, but Cronin Farms is gaining and learning from them. Dan has lived through the 23 years of tillage with planting 75% of acres and leaving 25% as black fallow. He knows how to destroy the soil, but also how to make the soil come alive again. Cronin Farms planted 11 cash crops and 3 forage crops in 2018. Cronin Farms is now working cattle into their no till system with the use of cover crops. With no-till, diversified rotations and cover crops they are starting to see the real benefit of soil health. The attitude is that as long as you keep learning from your mistakes, No-till will work. He has been working covers into their rotations since 2006. Dan is a firm believer that you should take care of the land, and it will take care of you. He attributes much of the farm’s success to the teachings of Dwayne Beck. They are also a big user of precision agriculture with 85% of our acres VRA.

Chris is a Weed Management Extension Educator in the Agronomy and Horticulture Department. His primary role is communicating with Nebraskans about relevant weed management related topics. Much of the research-based information he provides is related to the ever increasing concern over herbicide resistant weeds and the impact on crop production in Nebraska. One of the ways he is addressing this concern is with several research project across the state focusing on the use of cover crops as an additional weed management tool.

Dan Forgey: Integrating cover crops and livestock to improve soil health

Lunch - 12:00 – 12:45 p.m. (Provided by LENRD)

Chris Proctor: Weed Management Strategies in 2019

Farmer Panel: Dan Stelling, Jeff Steffen, and Scott Heineman.
These progressive producers are growing cover crops after small grains in expanded rotations and are integrating livestock for grazing cover crop mixes to increase soil health. See the PowerPoint presentations of their operations and enjoy the sharing and learning opportunity for discussion in the Q & A sessions.

Please RSVP by February 4, 2019 for meal count to your local NRCS or call LENRD, 402-371-7313.  The event is sponsored by: Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District.

“Tools for the Future” at Missouri Valley Crop Fair

In the tradition of providing farmers the latest industry insights, the Iowa Corn District 4 Committee along with the Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) and the Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB) will host “Tools for the Future” crop fair in Missouri Valley, Iowa on Tuesday, February 12 from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.

“The crop fairs give Iowa corn farmers access to information they might not get elsewhere,” explained Larry Buss, an ICPB director and farmer from Logan who chairs the Iowa Corn Grassroots Network, Membership & Checkoff (GNMC) Committee. “Crop fairs are customized to include topics that fit each region of the state, with opportunities for farmer-to-farmer learning and a chance to interact with subject area experts on a variety of topics including legislative policy, water quality, market development and risk management.”

Registration will open at 8:30 a.m. and lunch will be provided at noon to attendees.

9 a.m.  Iowa DOT Rules and Regulations that Affect Your Farming - Sargent Kevin Killpack, Iowa Motor Vehicle Enforcement
10 a.m.   Policy, Farm Bill and Trade - Kevin Studer, Iowa Corn Federal Policy Advisor
11 a.m.  Effective Phosphorus, Potassium and Lime Management with Low Crop Prices - Antonio Mallarino, Professor, ISU Nutrient Management and Research Extension

RSVPs are appreciated by February 5 to Janelle Kracht by calling 515-229-9980 or email

“Through the power of your membership we are able to advocate at both the state and federal level for issues which directly impact your bottom-line. If you are not an ICGA member, I encourage you to join us today to have your seat at the table and get engaged on issues impacting your farm,” said GNMC committee Vice Chair Roger Wuthrich, an ICGA director and a farmer from Bloomfield. You may join at the crop fair or at

Crop fair sponsors include Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Corn District 4 Committee, Harrison/ Crawford Corn Growers, Midstates Bank, Missouri Valley Insurance, King Agri Sales, and Performance Ag Services.

Iowa Cattlemen's Association Affiliate Meetings

Cherokee - Banquet: February 2, Community Center in Marcus; 5:30 pm Social and 6:30 pm Meal
Shelby - Banquet: February 2, Defiance Parish Hall in Defiance; 6 pm Social with meal to follow
Cass - Banquet: February 2, Comm. Bldg at the Fairgrounds in Atlantic; 6 pm Social and 7 pm Meal
Crawford - Banquet: February 9, Boulder's Conf. Cntr in Denison; 5:30 pm Social and 6:30 pm Meal
Carroll - Banquet: February 23, Legion Hall in Arcadia; 5 pm Social, 5:30 pm Dinner, 7 pm Program

Through National Cattlemen’s Foundation, CME Invests in Future of Beef Industry

Ten $1,500 scholarships for the next school year have been awarded by the National Cattlemen’s Foundation to outstanding students pursuing careers in the beef industry. The scholarships are sponsored by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Group (CME).

Also receiving a trip to the 2019 Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show in New Orleans, La., Jan. 30 – Feb. 1 as the overall winner of the scholarship was Olivia Willrett of Illinois, who is a student at Colorado State University. Willrett wrote an essay for her scholarship entry titled “Tracing Beef from Farm to Fork.”

The other nine students, each earning $1,500 CME scholarships from NCF, were:
·       Sydni Lienemann, Nebraska, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
·       Lauren Mosher, Iowa, Iowa State University
·       Grady Woodard, Kansas, Kansas State University
·       Shaye Koester, North Dakota, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

·       Katie Gardner, Arkansas, University of Arkansas
·       Ryan Beany, Florida, University of Florida
·       Bailey Morrell, Colorado, Colorado State University
·       Shelby Souva, Michigan, Lansing Community College
·       Nolan Newman, Ohio, Ohio State University

Farm Bureau Releases Strategic Action Plan Goals for 2019

The American Farm Bureau Federation today released its top public policy goals for the year. The AFBF board approved its 2019 Strategic Action Plan following delegate action during the organization’s 100th annual convention in New Orleans.AFBF will use the goals as a guide for strategic planning and grassroots activity throughout 2019. The five top issues are:

The American Farm Bureau Federation today released its top public policy goals for the year. The AFBF board approved its 2019 Strategic Action Plan following delegate action during the organization’s 100th annual convention in New Orleans.

AFBF will use the goals as a guide for strategic planning and grassroots activity throughout 2019. The five top issues are:
-    116th Congress: Build relationships to educate and work with members of Congress, with support from Farm Bureau’s grassroots leaders and lobbying programs, to promote policies that benefit farmers, ranchers and rural communities.
-    Agricultural Labor: Enact legislation that helps farmers and ranchers meet their labor needs.
-    Infrastructure: Work for greater investment in rural and agricultural infrastructure, including broadband internet access; rural roads and bridges; inland waterway locks and dams; sea ports; and agricultural research.
-    Regulatory Reform: Work for reform of the rulemaking process to ensure that federal rules are supported by science and created in a transparent manner, while identifying specific regulations and regulatory opportunities that improve the ability of farmers and ranchers to remain productive and competitive.
-    Trade: Defend and expand trade opportunities for U.S. agriculture.

The AFBF board also approved a set of “watch-list” issues at the New Orleans meeting. AFBF will monitor these issues as part of its ongoing strategic planning process. These include:
-    Animal Agriculture: Increase efforts to defend animal agriculture production and promote meat consumption, as well as work for policies to enhance animal ag producers’ productivity and profitability, such as transportation issues unique to livestock and poultry production, aquaculture and apiculture.
-    Energy: Ensure policy that enhances the availability and affordability of energy for farmers and ranchers and encourages the growth of renewable energy production. Monitor climate legislation to ensure it does not unduly burden or restrict agriculture.
-    Farm Policy: Monitor implementation of the 2018 farm bill to ensure farmers’ and ranchers’ needs are met.
-    Labeling: Monitor rules and practices dealing with labeling of food and agricultural products, including milk and milk substitutes, cell-based food and food containing ingredients that are products of biotechnology.
-    Mental Health: Promote resources for farmers and their families who are struggling with substance addiction, depression and other mental health challenges.
-    Taxes: Continue working to eliminate the estate tax, promote other tax policies that benefit farmers and ranchers, and preserve the Unrelated Business Income Tax exemption that allows Farm Bureau to be a voice for farmers and ranchers.

The priorities and watch-list issues are only some of the topics the organization will address in 2019. AFBF continues to identify opportunities to take action consistent with the policies set forth by the organization’s farmer and rancher delegates from across the country.

USMEF Statement on Agricultural Trade Promotion Program Funding

On Jan. 31, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced details of a key component of the Trump administration's trade mitigation package designed to address the effects of retaliatory measures impacting exports of U.S. agricultural products. The Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP) provides additional funding to help U.S. exporters develop new markets and help mitigate the adverse effects of other countries’ tariff and non-tariff barriers.

The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) is one of 57 organizations that will receive ATP funding through the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS). USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom issued the following statement:

USMEF appreciates the Trump administration's recognition of the extremely competitive environment U.S. agricultural products face in the global marketplace, and how changes in trading partners' tariff rates can put these products at a significant disadvantage. As authorized by FAS, this funding will help USMEF and other organizations defend existing market share and develop new destinations for U.S. agricultural products, which is especially important at a time when trade disputes and preferential trade agreements have further intensified competition in many key markets.

Trade Mitigation Funds Will Benefit Export Market Development for U.S. Wheat Growers

U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) are pleased that U.S. wheat growers now have the opportunity to increase efforts to expand export market access with USDA’s Jan. 31 announcement awarding $200 million to 57 organizations through the Agriculture Trade Promotion Program (ATP). USW was awarded $8.25 million, which will be distributed over the next three years.

Administered by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), the ATP is one of three USDA programs within the Trump Administration’s trade mitigation package—created to ease the effects of recent trade retaliation against U.S. farmers and exporters. The funds will support export market development programs led by U.S. trade associations, cooperatives and other industry-affiliated organizations.

“U.S. wheat growers are facing tough times right now with the impact of retaliatory tariffs putting a strain on the export market and threatening many decades worth of market development,” said Chris Kolstad, USW Chairman and a wheat grower from Ledger, Mont. “We appreciate the recognition that farmers need help to manage this additional risk. This program is a positive step forward and our people are ready to get to work.”

“With the United States exporting half of the wheat crop it grows, programs like the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP) are crucial for our farmers to remain competitive in the global market,” stated NAWG President and Sentinel, OK wheat farmer Jimmie Musick. “We welcome today’s news that our sister organization U.S. Wheat Associates was awarded significant funding for trade mitigation activities. This funding will provide some relief to the adverse impact wheat has felt since U.S. placed tariffs on Chinese goods, opening the door for retaliation. We hope to see these affected markets opened again quickly.”

U.S. wheat growers have a long history of recognizing the value of export market development by supporting the successful public-private partnership between USW’s state wheat commission members and FAS. Each year, growers contribute a portion of their wheat sales which qualifies USW to apply for matching funds through FAS programs like the Market Access Program (MAP) and the Foreign Market Development (FMD) program.


The National Pork Producers Council this week released a new Meat of the Matter paper focused on the importance of participation in the USDA’s Trichinae Surveillance Program. NPPC worked to secure funding for this Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) program designed to comply with new standards within the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the Codex Alimentarius.

The new chapters and standards on Trichinae are science based and fair. They apply to all OIE and Codex members and will provide a key to unlock access to foreign markets that have previously used the guise of Trichinae risk to protect their domestic industry. The U.S. pork industry, however, must prove that its herd meets the standards for negligible risk. Otherwise, any other nation could restrict U.S. chilled exports simply by showing we are out of compliance with the new standards.

Canadian, Mexican Agriculture Leaders to Take Part in USDA’s 2019 Outlook Forum

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that the agriculture leaders of Canada and Mexico will speak at USDA’s 95th Agricultural Outlook Forum (PDF, 113 KB), held Feb. 21-22, 2019, at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel in Arlington, Va.

Minister Lawrence MacAulay of Canada and Secretary Victor Villalobos Arambula of Mexico will join U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue for the forum’s keynote address on February 21. The plenary session will mark the first time the three ministers have spoken jointly at a public forum since the signing of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) in November 2018.

“I’m delighted to have Minister MacAulay and Secretary Villalobos join me at the forum. This will be an opportunity to highlight the challenges and opportunities facing agriculture and rural communities in North America. Trade has been a powerful force for supporting farm income and rural communities in all three countries. This meeting gives us a chance to focus on how the USMCA will facilitate agricultural trade among our three countries,” Perdue said.

This year’s Agricultural Outlook Forum, themed “Growing Locally, Selling Globally,” highlights current issues and trends affecting agricultural production and global markets. It offers a platform for exchanging ideas, information and best practices among producers, processors, policymakers, government officials, and non-governmental organizations, both domestic and foreign. Concurrent sessions will explore topics such as global trade trends, innovations in agriculture, developments in animal and crop biotechnology, frontiers in conservation, and outlooks for food and commodity markets. An exhibit hall will showcase resources from USDA agencies and private organizations. Last year, nearly 1,600 stakeholders attended the forum.

USDA Announces Commodity Credit Corporation Lending Rates for February 2019

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Commodity Credit Corporation, today, announced interest rates for February 2019, which are effective February 1 – February 28, 2019. The Commodity Credit Corporation borrowing rate-based charge for February is 2.625 percent, the same as 2.625 percent in January.

The interest rate for crop year commodity loans less than one year disbursed during February is 3.625 percent, the same as 3.625 percent in January.

Interest rates for Farm Storage Facility Loans approved for February are as follows: 2.500 percent with three-year loan terms, down from 2.750 in January; 2.500 percent with five-year loan terms, down from 2.750 percent in January; 2.625 percent with seven-year loan terms, down from 2.875 percent in January; 2.750 percent with 10-year loan terms, down from 2.875 percent in January and; 2.750 percent with 12-year loan terms, down from 3.000 percent in January.

DowDuPont Reports Higher Sales, Triple Earnings

DowDuPont, the company that purchased Monsanto last year, recorded earnings (on a reported basis) from continuing operations of 21 cents per share for fourth-quarter 2018 compared with a loss of 52 cents per share it logged in the comparable quarter a year ago.

The company raked in net sales of $20 billion for the quarter, flat year over year. It also missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $21 billion. The company witnessed higher sales volumes and prices, offset by unfavorable currency impact. Currency reduced sales 2% in the quarter.

Net sales from the agriculture division rose 1% to $2.8 billion in the reported quarter on the back of sales of new crop protection products. Volumes rose 4% while pricing improved 5%.

Looking ahead, DowDuPont envisions global economic expansion to continue this year at a modestly slower pace on a year-over-year comparison basis. The company said that it will remain focused on actions including capturing cost synergy savings, capitalizing on its growth investments and delivering productivity.

Thursday January 31 Ag News


Twenty-nine Nebraska LEAD 37 fellows recently returned from an international study and travel seminar in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Poland.

“The seminar is designed to provide firsthand appreciation and understanding of our international community and the potential for people of all nations to work together,” said Terry Hejny, Nebraska LEAD program director and group leader.

During the Jan. 5-20 seminar, fellows participated in briefings with Wayne Bacon, European consultant for the U.S. Grains Council; Francois Guerin, senior policy adviser for Copa Gogeca (united voice for farmers and cooperatives in the European Union in Brussels); Marek Beran, directorate general for agriculture and rural development at the European Commission; Mark Cropper, senior expert, agriculture and rural development at the European Commission; Maury Salz, president of Claas Omaha while at the Claas Corporate Offices in Harsewinkel, Germany; and professors Kathrin Toppel, Dorothee Straka and Henning Windheim, during a visit to the University of Osnabruck (Germany) and the Department of Applied Agriculture.

The LEAD fellows also visited international businesses, entrepreneurs and several farms, including vegetable, fruit and row crop farms growing corn and wheat. There were also visits to the Port of Rotterdam (Netherlands); the European Parliament’s Visitors Center (Brussels); Bayer Monheim, Headquarters of the Crop Science Division (Germany); Bioenergie Park (near Osnabruck, Germany); Autostadt Wolfsburg, headquarters of Volkswagen; Checkpoint Charlie and the Berlin Wall Museum; the Wielkopolski National Park (near Poznan, Poland); the University of Warsaw Dairy Research Farm; and the POLIN Museum, where the fellows learned about the history of Polish Jews in Warsaw.   

“The people-to-people encounters provided the members of Nebraska LEAD Group 37 an opportunity to view characteristics, conditions and trends in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Poland and determine relationships to issues and situations in our country,” Hejny said. “Through this experience, participants develop techniques in identifying comparisons and contrasts of the countries we recently studied in areas such as agriculture, politics, economics, energy, religion, culture and history, as well as technology, trade, food, art and philosophy.”

Nebraska LEAD 37 Fellows who participated in the seminar, listed by hometown, are:
> Alliance: Miles Buskirk
> Aurora: Evan Janzen
> Benkelman: MerleAnn Raichart
> Broken Bow: Clay Govier
> Cairo: Scott Sorensen
> Cody: Chelsea Luthy
> Cozad: Jason Keiser
> David City: Cory Kudlacek
> Eagle: Ted Retzlaff
> Elgin: Luke Beckman
> Exeter: Jerry Boeck
> Farnam: Adam Grabenstein
> Gering: Kyle Ann Hopkins
> Gothenburg: Amber Burge, Scott Speck
> Hastings: Adam Pavelka
> Kearney: Jose Valles
> Lincoln: Thad Baum, Kristi Block, Megan Grimes, Jamison Jensen
> Merna: Ross Daake
> O’Neill: Aaron Troester
> St. Paul: Dan Vech
> Scottsbluff: Christopher Stillahn
> Seneca: Bree DeNaeyer
> Springfield: Kimberly Stuhr
> West Point: Sam Schmidt
> York: Aaron Kavan

The Nebraska LEAD Program includes men and women currently active in production agriculture and agribusiness. The two-year leadership development program is under the direction of the Nebraska Agricultural Leadership Council, in cooperation with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

For more information, or to request an application for Nebraska LEAD 39, contact the Nebraska LEAD Program, 104 Agricultural Communications Building, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE 68583-0940; call 402-472-6810 or email The application deadline is June 15.


Farm operators and agronomists from across the state are invited to attend a Nebraska On-Farm Research Network meeting at a location near them.

Producers can gain valuable crop production-related information from more than 70 research projects conducted on Nebraska farms by Nebraska farmers in partnership with University of Nebraska faculty. These research projects cover products, practices and new technologies that impact farm productivity and profitability.

Locations and times are: 
> Feb. 18 — Grand Island, Hall County Extension Office, College Park Campus, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m;
> Feb. 19 — Norfolk, Lifelong Learning Center, Northeast Community College, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.;
> Feb. 20 — Beatrice, Valentino’s restaurant, 701 E. Court St., 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.;
> Feb. 26 — North Platte, West Central Research and Extension Center, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.;
> Feb. 27 — Alliance, Knight Museum and Sandhills Center, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. MST.

Check-in begins 30 minutes prior to the start times listed. Lunch will be served at all locations.

The Nebraska On-Farm Research Network is a statewide program that addresses critical farmer production, profitability and natural resource questions. Growers take an active role in the project, which is sponsored by Nebraska Extension in partnership with the Nebraska Corn Growers Association, Nebraska Corn Board, Nebraska Soybean Checkoff and Nebraska Dry Bean Commission.

The programs will provide an opportunity to hear growers who conducted on-farm research share their results from the 2018 growing season. Field-length replicated treatment comparisons were completed in growers’ fields using their equipment.

Research projects to be discussed include: cover crops, variable-rate seeding, planting populations, starter fertilizer, fungicide applications, alternate-crop rotations, seed treatments and nitrogen-management technologies. Certified Crop Adviser credits have been applied for and are pending approval.

There is no fee to attend. Preregistration is requested for meal-planning purposes. Call 402-624-8030 or email to register for any of the five sites.

For more information on the Nebraska On-Farm Research Network and how to participate, visit

Foreign Animal Disease Workshops Available to Livestock Producers, Veterinarians

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig today announced a series of free, interactive Foreign Animal Disease prevention and response workshops for livestock producers and veterinarians. The workshops will be offered through the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the Iowa State University Center for Food Security and Public Health and will be offered multiple times throughout the state.

“Animal agriculture is critical to our state’s economy,” said Naig. “These workshops are a great example of how we’re working to bring the industry together to help prevent and prepare for potential disease threats.”

Workshop attendees will learn what to expect if Foot and Mouth Disease or African Swine Fever is found in the U.S. Experts will share their plans for animal movements and the requirements that would go into effect if a Foreign Animal Disease outbreak occurred. Attendees can also expect to hear how to protect their animals from diseases and suggested daily health monitoring strategies.

Workshops are scheduled at the following locations:
    Feb. 7 – Washington, Iowa (Washington Co. Ext. Office, 611 Highway 1 South)
    Feb. 12 – Ames, Iowa (Quality Inn & Suites Conference Center, 2601 E. 13th St.)
    Feb. 26 – Nashua, Iowa (Borlaug Learning Center, 3327 290th St.)
    March 5 – Sioux Center, Iowa (Terrace View Event Center, 230 St. Andrews Way)
    March 12 – Carroll, Iowa (Carrollton Inn, 1730 US-71)

Onsite registration opens at 8:30 a.m. the days of each session. However, online pre-registration is encouraged. Workshops start at 9 a.m., going until 3:30 p.m. Lunch will be provided free of charge. For more information, email

Iowa Farmers Market Association to Hold 21st Annual Winter Workshop

3The 21st Annual Iowa Farmers Market Workshop will be held on Saturday, Feb. 2 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Grace Lutheran Church at 3010 52nd Street in Des Moines.

Topics to be covered will include marketing strategies using social media, market cooking demonstrations, insurance options for markets and vendors, an in-depth look at the National Farmers Market Coalition, a market manager panel, and an “ask the expert” panel with staff from the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals Food & Consumer Safety Bureau, and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) Meat & Poultry Inspection Bureau, Weights & Measures Bureau and State Horticulturist.

Iowa Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Julie Kenney will provide the welcome at the opening of the workshop.

“Secretary Mike Naig appreciates the work managers and producers do in organizing these local markets,” said Kenney. “With over 150 farmers markets throughout the state, Iowans are able to access locally grown fresh produce, baked goods and other items.”

The Iowa Farm Bureau will be offering free consumer market bags and Iowa Farmers Market Nutrition Program training by IDALS staff will also be offered at the end of the workshop.

“Each workshop is unique and we cover so much during the day. These workshops are a great way for our statewide group to reconnect with one another.  It looks like a great agenda this year,” said Iowa Farmers Market Association President Donna Brahms.

More information including the full agenda and registration form can be found on the IFMA website:

Trump Calls Chinese Soybean Purchase a Sign of Faith

China, the world's largest buyer of soybeans, is expected to keep purchasing U.S. supplies as trade negotiations between the two countries continue, President Donald Trump said from the Oval Office on Thursday.

"They started on a smaller scale, and today they're starting very big, and I very much appreciate that," Trump said. "It's a fantastic sign of faith."

Bloomberg reports that China is expected to purchase 5 million tons of U.S. soybeans, Trump said. That would be on top of the estimated 5 million bought in the weeks after Trump met with his counterpart Xi Jinping in December in Argentina.

"That's a tremendous purchase, which will take place now and our farmers are going to be very happy," Trump said. "On behalf of our agricultural industry and on behalf of our farmers, frankly, we appreciate it very much. That's a very big order."

The U.S. and China have made important progress during talks that were candid, specific, and fruitful, according to a statement published by China's Xinhua News Agency on Friday. The nation has agreed to increase imports of U.S. agriculture and energy products, it said, reaffirming a pledge made last year, as well as purchases of industrial products and services. The countries also agreed to strengthen cooperation on intellectual property rights and technology transfer, Xinhua said.

China is usually a top buyer of U.S. soybeans, taking 30 million to 35 million tons a year. The countries have been holding talks in Washington, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will travel to Beijing to continue negotiations, reports Bloomberg.

China slapped retaliatory tariffs on American supplies in mid 2018. After that, U.S. exports to the Asian country plummeted while shipments from Brazil surged. Prices in the U.S. fell, while premiums in Brazil jumped. Prices in the Americas have since come closer to parity.

Markets Expected to Continue Strong; Leverage Shift on the Horizon

During the first half of 2019, the United States will see a shift away from El Niño conditions as equatorial ocean currents begin to cool into the summer, Art Douglas, Ph. D., professor emeritus at Creighton University, told the audience during the popular 2019 CattleFax Outlook Seminar today. The session, held as part of the 2019 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show in New Orleans, La., saw a capacity crowd as cattlemen and women gathered to hear expert market and weather analysis.

Douglas explained the developing trend will turn the eastern third of the United States drier, as the jet stream pushes moisture from the Gulf of Mexico across the southern tier of the nation. “After a cooler February, the United States will mostly enjoy a relatively mild spring with a reduced threat of delayed planting,” said Douglas. He pointed out that summer weather will be dependent on how quickly El Niño conditions fade.

“La Niña conditions are unlikely in the next eight months as the equatorial current shows only slow cooling,” said Douglas. “The residual warmth along the equator will lead to a wetter summer in the southern half of the U.S., while warm waters off the coast of Mexico will favor an active monsoon season in the Southwest.”

Turning to the market outlook, CattleFax analyst Kevin Good said he expects prices will remain strong, with demand and the economy expected to remain solid.

“We’ve been on one heck of a good run for a few years and I expect that to continue into 2019,” said Good. “However, we expect to see margins begin to compress and leverage to shift from the cow-calf and stocker sectors to the feeder as we expand the supply of cattle.”

He said price risk remains over the next few years in response to the last five years of expansion. The beef cowherd expansion cycle is believed to be within 1-2 years of being complete.

“Cattle producers, on average, will receive a smaller percentage of the retail beef dollar as larger cattle supplies increase price pressure across all segments of the industry,” said Good. “Retail beef prices will likely see some inflation in 2019, but larger beef, pork and poultry production will be price limiting.”

However, domestic demand remains robust and higher wages and job growth are supportive of prices. CattleFax projects the all-fresh retail beef price to average $5.73/lb., up $.06 from year ago levels, while the composite cutout will rise $4 to average $216/hundredweight (cwt.) during 2019.

Going forward into 2020, economists see the potential for an economic slowdown, Good noted. “This may slow the benefits of recently strong consumer incomes and spending,” he said.

Fed cattle prices are expected to be steady during 2019, averaging $117/cwt., with market resistance at the $130-level and downside risk to $100/cwt. at the low end of the trading range, according to Good. He said a larger supply of cattle outside of feedyards coupled with limited profitability in the feeding sector will hinder demand and pressure feeder cattle prices. CattleFax projects 750 lb. steer prices will range from $130-$160/cwt., with an average at $147/cwt. for the year ahead. 

“The relatively strong calf market we saw in 2018 will be under pressure this year,” said Good. “However, values in the spring should have the potential to reach the mid-$180s. On the other hand, a larger calf crop and softer demand have the potential to erode prices to the $140-level next fall, so there is certainly more price risk in feeder cattle and calves than in the fed cattle markets in 2019.”

Feed and grain prices are expected to remain stable during the year ahead, with corn acreage increasing an expected 2 million acres to total 91 million acres and soybeans declining 2.2 million acres to 87 million and wheat gaining 1 million acres to total 49 million.

“Corn is expected to trade in a range of $3.60 to $4.10 per bushel during the first half of the year,” said CattleFax analyst Mike Murphy, who also pointed out that hay acreage isn’t expected to change significantly from 2018, but better winter precipitation across much of the United States should help provide a strong start to the 2019 hay crop.

Good explained that cull cow prices will have additional downside risk during the year ahead. “Years of expansion and poor operating margins in the dairy sector are generating more cull cows, which weighs on the markets,” he told the audience. “The additional supply and the limited packing capacity for non-fed cattle will result in a market which averages approximately $55/cwt. during 2019, with a spring high near $60/cwt. and a fall low in the lower $40s.”

CattleFax analysts said the global trade outlook is currently supportive for the U.S. beef industry, with strong demand in many overseas markets. However, they note that trade disruptions could have significant impacts on the market outlook. Ratification of the pending U.S./Mexico/Canada (USMCA) agreement will be crucial to markets this spring. Likewise, the possibility of a bilateral trade agreement with Japan could create a positive upside to the market this year.

CattleFax CEO Randy Blach closed the session with a reminder about the importance of international markets to the beef industry.

“Long-term, the profitability of our industry is tied to trade,” he said. “We must have open markets and science-based trade standards for our products if we’re going to continue the run of profitability we’ve experienced in recent years.”

NCBA Announces 2019 Policy Priorities

Fake Meat, Trade, Dietary Guidelines, Regulatory Relief Top List

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) today released its official Policy Priorities for 2019. The release came as approximately 10,000 members of the cattle industry joined together for its annual convention and NCBA Trade Show, which is being held this week in New Orleans.

This year’s Policy Priorities include a mix of familiar and new issues for the industry, and while the group will engage on a wide variety of policy issues (click here to read NCBA’s full policy book) the organization in 2019 will focus on four main issue areas:

Fake Meat. NCBA was successful in 2018 in arguing for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to have primary jurisdiction over the inspection and marketing of lab-produced and plant-based fake meat. Now in 2019 the group will work to ensure that a regulatory framework is properly implemented - one that protects the health and wellbeing of consumers, prevents false and deceptive marketing, and ensures a level playing field for real beef products.

Trade and Market Access. A perennial issue for U.S. cattle producers, 2019’s priorities on trade will focus on promoting a bilateral trade agreement with Japan, securing swift passage of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), and expanding access for U.S. beed in key markets like China, the United Kingdom, and the European Union.

Dietary Guidelines. The federal government updates its official Dietary Guidelines every five years, and as that process ramps up in 2019, NCBA will work to protect the scientific credibility of Dietary Guidelines and promote accurate information about the nutritional advantages of beef as part of a balanced diet.

Regulatory Reform and Implementation. The past two years have brought about significant regulatory relief for beef producers, but much work remains to be done on additional relief and implementing recent reforms. This includes issues such as full implementation of the 2018 Farm Bill, enacting a permanent solution to overly restrictive Hours of Service rules for livestock haulers, finalizing a new water rule to replace the 2015 Waters of the U.S. rule, exempting livestock producers from EPCRA air emissions reporting requirements, modernizing and streamlining the Endangered Species Act, National Environmental Policy Act, and federal grazing regulations, and promoting antimicrobial stewardship by producers and preserving access to key veterinary technologies.

“Thanks to the dues-paying members of NCBA and our outstanding team in Washington, D.C., we’ve made a lot of good progress over the past couple of years,” said NCBA President Kevin Kester. “But this is no time to rest on our laurels. There are many policy challenges still facing our producers, and these Policy Priorities will act as our roadmap over the coming year. I’d encourage my fellow producers who are not yet members of NCBA to join us in the important battles ahead.”

Education Takes Center Stage During Cattlemen’s College at 2019 Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show in New Orleans

More than 1,500 cattlemen and women took advantage of educational opportunities at the 26th annual Cattlemen’s College in New Orleans, La., Jan. 29-30. The turnout was more than 50 percent greater than attendance at the 25th Cattlemen’s College in Phoenix, Ariz., in January 2018.

            Held in conjunction with the Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show, Cattlemen’s College serves as one of the cattle industry’s most in-depth and helpful educational events, helping cattle producers make their operations more efficient and successful. Since first established, Cattlemen’s College has been sponsored by Zoetis Animal Health since it was first established 26 years ago.

            Keynote speaker at the breakfast Jan. 30 was Bill Cordingley, head of wholesale banking North America, Rabobank. He spoke on "Greater Expectations, Bigger Opportunities," touching on the different forces that work together to yield a complex demand story for beef.

              U.S. cattle producers should expect “a more global and uncertain environment” in the demand for beef, Cordingley told the audience. Cattle producers are doing a good job, he said, and “consumers already love your product. The challenge is, will this be enough in the future, and what role will you play?”

              Cordingley pointed to technology and the pace of change as having an influence in the future of the cattle industry. “Technology has changed everything,” he said. Furthermore, detractors are not bashful about “painting the industry in the wrong way.” Producers should be engaged in helping tell a positive story, he says.

              Exports and trade will also be important in the future, he said, and a focus on these issues will serve the industry well. The good news, he said: “There are few significant competitors to high quality U.S. beef.” Today 12 percent of U.S. beef is exported; RaboBank expects that number could increase to 15 percent.

            More than two dozen sessions in eight Cattlemen’s College session tracks followed the breakfast, featuring presentations in business, cattle health, genetics, nutrition, reproduction, grazing management, consumer interest, and industry hot topics. Because many sessions were concurrent, attendees will be able to view videos of missed sessions online in the coming weeks.

            A highlight of the Cattlemen’s College event was a Jan. 29 afternoon session that featured Dr. Temple Grandin conducting a cattle handling and facility design presentation. A reception followed, with the full slate of concurrent educational sessions the following morning.

            For the second year, the college began with a special Producer’s Choice collection of sessions Jan. 29. An online vote conducted prior to the schedule finalization determined the three educational sessions that were offered for a “first look”: Programming Your Cow Herd for Success, Unraveling Secrets of the Rumen, and Practical Management to Reduce Disease Challenges.

             “The increasing attendance at our Cattlemen’s College sessions demonstrates how much value our producers put in education,” said Josh White, NCBA executive director of producer education. “They recognize that education and information is the heart blood of progress and success. Our knowledgeable presenters have been through many of the challenges facing those in their audiences. Together, they are paving the way to a better cattle industry future.”

              Video sessions from the Cattlemen’s College will be available online following the Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show. Those unable to attend any of the sessions in New Orleans will be able take advantage of this online option at

Stockmanship & Stewardship Program Announces Dates, Locations for 2019 Campaign

Five sessions of the Stockmanship & Stewardship program will be conducted in 2019 to help bring cattle producers together for further education on proper stockmanship techniques, including local stewardship that is appropriate for their regions. The sessions were announced during the 2019 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show in New Orleans, La., Jan. 30 – Feb 1., 2019.

The two-day California, Iowa, Colorado, Louisiana and Kansas events are made possible through sponsorship from Merck Animal Health and will be coordinated by the producer education team at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and local host organizations. Additional funding and support for the program is provided by the beef checkoff-funded Beef Quality Assurance program.

Tour dates for the 2019 Stockmanship & Stewardship tour are:
Tulare, Calif.                    March 20-21
Ames, Iowa                     June 28-29
Fort Collins, Colo.           TBD August
Manhattan, Kan.             September 20-21
West Monroe, La.           October 4-5

“For the third year, we’re thrilled to be able to hold these sessions that focus on proper cattle handling and stewardship,” said Chase DeCoite, director of BQA at NCBA. “Producers who have attended these events in the past have gone home with greater understanding of the best practices in working with cattle in their particular area of the country.”

Stockmanship & Stewardship events include live cattle demonstration and hands-on opportunities. They also include BQA training and classroom sessions highlighting issues that affect cattle producers in each region. In addition to cattle handling and effective stockmanship, possible elements of regional sessions include sustainability and environmental stewardship, animal health and regional issues and hot topics.

For more information on either the Stockmanship & Stewardship or BQA programs, contact DeCoite at

USDA Awards Agricultural Trade Promotion Program Funding

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded $200 million to 57 organizations through the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP) to help U.S. farmers and ranchers identify and access new export markets. The ATP is one of three USDA programs created to mitigate the effects of unjustified trade retaliation against U.S. farmers and exporters. USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) accepted ATP applications between September 4 and November 2 – totaling nearly $600 million – from U.S. trade associations, cooperatives, and other industry-affiliated organizations. USDA has released a list of the ATP funding recipients.

President Donald J. Trump authorized up to $12 billion in programs to provide assistance to U.S. agriculture through a trade mitigation package announced by Secretary Perdue on September 4, 2018. In addition to the $200 million allocated to the ATP, the package also included the Market Facilitation Program to provide payments to farmers harmed by retaliatory tariffs, and a food purchase and distribution program to assist producers of targeted commodities.

“At USDA, we are always looking to expand existing markets or open new ones, so we are proud to make good on the third leg of the President’s promise to America’s farmers,” said Secretary Perdue. “This infusion will help us develop other markets and move us away from being dependent on one large customer for our agricultural products. This is seed money, leveraged by hundreds of millions of dollars from the private sector, that will help to increase our agricultural exports.”

All sectors of U.S. agriculture, including fish and forest product producers, were eligible to apply for cost-share assistance under the ATP. FAS evaluated applications according to criteria that included the potential for export growth in the target market, direct injury from the imposed retaliatory tariffs, and the likelihood that the proposed project or activity will have a near-term impact on agricultural exports.

“We were pleased to see the large demand for participation in the program, and truly got some out-of-the-box ideas that we are hopeful will expand our global footprint,” Perdue said. “We examined all applications carefully, considered our ranking criteria, and awarded the funds in order to make the best use of taxpayer dollars in growing agricultural trade.”

Grower Leaders Hone Skills in Nation’s Capital

Corn farmers from across the country traveled to Washington this week to take part in the second phase of the annual leadership development programs co-sponsored by the National Corn Growers Association and Syngenta. While in town, the group visited numerous congressional leaders and got an inside look at parliamentary procedure and how lobbying works on Capitol Hill.

“For three decades, the Leadership At Its Best program has played an important role in helping corn growers become leaders at the state and national level,” said Kevin Ross, NCGA’s current first vice president and a LAIB graduate himself. “In Washington, our farmer leaders saw firsthand how decisions made in our nation’s capital impact us all back on our farms. Using the skills developed here, these farmer leaders effective, compelling voices will concretely benefit NCGA and all its farmer members through their current and future endeavors.”

The Leadership At Its Best class received briefings on the issues facing America’s farmers in the coming year followed by presentations from lobbyist and Hill staffer panels explaining how the lobbying process functions in Washington, D.C. to get the best result from interaction with members of Congress and their staff. They then had the opportunity to see the process in action during a series of visits with congressional leaders. Additionally, the group participated in parliamentary procedure training with NCGA Parliamentarian Chris Dickey.

This class of NCGA’s Advanced Leadership program, also co-sponsored by Syngenta, joined their counterparts in Washington for a second session as well. In addition to exploring important topical briefings from staff, the group underwent extensive, high-level media training and explored “A Day in the Life of a Lobbyist.” This program, which builds upon the skill set developed through Leadership At Its Best, has played an integral role in developing top-notch association leadership.

This year’s Leadership At Its Best Class includes: Stuart Sanderson (Ala.); Jeremy Fix (Colo.), Randall Wegner (Colo.); Jim Greif (Iowa); Martin Marr (Ill.); Jim Roesner (Ind.); Kaitlin Donovan (Kan.); Matthew Splitter (Kan.); Steve Rome (Kan.); Mark Roberts (Ky.); John Bruning Jr. (Md.); Brandon Fast (Minn.); Scott Winslow (Minn.); Brian Lehman (Mo.); Jason Hull (Mo.); Jean Henning (N.D.); Terry Wehlander (N.D.); Bert Ring (Texas); Mark Hoffmann (Wis.); Mike Berget (Wis.); and Sara Schoenborn (Wis.).

The current Advanced Leadership Program includes: Duane Aistrope (Iowa); Kevin Ross (Iowa); Dennis McNinch (Kan.); and Deb Gangwish (Neb.).

Phase One of Leadership At Its Best took place in August and included sessions on media training, public speaking, advocacy and meeting management.

ASA’s WISHH, USDA & Cambodian Government Launch CAST Strategic Partnership for Aquaculture

American Soybean Association (ASA) World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) leaders joined Cambodian and U.S. government officials and partners today in Phnom Penh to launch a strategic partnership that will grow trade and development of Cambodia’s important aquaculture sector. Cambodia’s Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon and Chargé d’affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Cambodia Michael Newbill officiated at the launch ceremony of ASA/WISHH’s U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)-funded Commercialization of Aquaculture for Sustainable Trade (CAST) – Cambodia project.

CAST will accelerate production of high-demand fish species for the Cambodian market and develop a lasting aquaculture industry. The five-year CAST project is a prime example of WISHH’s enterprise-driven development approach. A key aspect of the project strengthens local production of high-quality feed and fish. CAST makes it possible for Cambodia’s private sector and universities to work closely with U.S. soybean growers and businesses, as well as academic and non-governmental organizations.

His Excellency Veng Sakhon described how the project will strengthen value chain linkages from hatcheries to producers, buyers and distributors.

Newbill, who is the U.S. Embassy’s ranking representative in Cambodia, said, “The CAST project is unique because it uses an abundant resource—soy—and utilizes it as a feedstock for Cambodia’s growing aquaculture industry. This project means increased sales of U.S. soybeans to Cambodia. The result will be increased production of locally raised high-quality protein source that Cambodians will enjoy eating and greater ties between our two countries."

He added, "The CAST project’s goal of increasing aquaculture production is in line with the Ministry’s policies and will improve Cambodian livelihoods. Importantly, it will also reduce pressure on wild capture, which currently accounts for about 76 percent of total fishery production.”

WISHH’s CAST project benefits from the strategic expertise of key partners, including the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC), Kansas State University, Auburn University, World Vision, and local universities in Cambodia. Importantly, Cambodia’s local private-sector feed mills and hatcheries and the Cambodian Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries are all collaborating with WISHH to implement CAST.

“CAST is another exciting WISHH opportunity for U.S. soybean growers to work in Southeast Asia thanks to USDA funding,” said WISHH Chairman Daryl Cates, an Illinois soybean grower. “Cambodia’s small-and medium-sized entrepreneurs are well-positioned to drive commercial growth in the aquaculture sector – both to produce a consistent supply of quality fish and increase market demand for quality assured inputs, like fish feed, and related aquaculture support services.”

In addition to Chairman Cates, WISHH Program Committee Members at the event included: Craig Converse (SD), Scott Gaffner (Ill.), and Dawn Scheier (SD). Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council Board Members Kyle Durham, Tim Gottman, Bob Littleton, and Director of Business Development Tony Stafford. North Dakota Soybean Council Director Daniel Mock is also in Cambodia, along with WISHH Executive Director Liz Hare, Asia Division Director Alan Poock, and CAST Chief of Party Jim Hershey.

The WISHH delegation will tour Cambodia’s Center of Excellence on Sustainable Agricultural Intensification and Nutrition of Royal University of Agriculture, a fish hatchery, animal feed store and more. Cambodia’s GDP has increased by more than 7 percent per year since 2011, growing the demand for animal and aquaculture-sourced protein. CAST’s anticipated local economic impact exceeds $300 million over the life of the project, and Cambodia’s aquaculture industry demand for soybean protein is projected to reach 100,000 metric tons per year by 2030.

While in Southeast Asia, the WISHH trade team will also travel to Myanmar, where WISHH is leading USDA-funded activities to grow the soy food market, and USSEC is active in the animal feed and aquaculture sectors.

ASA/WISHH connects trade and development. As a trailblazer for trade, WISHH grows markets for U.S. soy farmers, and at the same time, improves lives and economic opportunities in developing countries. WISHH works with international companies and organizations that purchase U.S. soy. These buyers invest thousands of their own dollars to research and promote soy-based foods and feeds made with U.S. soy in emerging markets. Over the last five years, WISHH leveraged soybean farmer checkoff investments by a ratio of more than 6-1.

NMPF Applauds Freshman Lawmakers’ Support for Enforcing Dairy-Labeling Rules

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) strongly supports the newly elected members of Congress who wrote to U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb calling for stricter enforcement of the agency’s long-standing dairy standards of identity. Proliferating plant-based products falsely using “milk” and other dairy terms have created nutritional confusion in the marketplace to the detriment of public health.

“Modifying the word ‘milk’ with a plant product descriptor does not make the label accurate or appropriate, as these products simply do not contain milk or milk ingredients and the plant-based liquids are not permitted ingredients in milk,” wrote 10 first-term House members in a letter organized by Reps. Anthony Brindisi (D-NY) and John Joyce (R-PA). “The use of such a descriptor is a clear violation of milk’s standard of identity.”

“It’s simple: if it comes from a cow, it’s milk; if it doesn’t, it’s not. Why would we call a product something it’s not?” Brindisi said. “Dairy farmers in Upstate New York set high standards for the milk they produce. Copycat products shouldn’t be able to profit off of their hard work.”

“As a doctor, it is clear to me that the mislabeling of milk creates a public health issue,” Joyce said. “Consumers should be able to feel confident that they are getting the proper nutritional value from their dairy products and enforcing these Federal regulations is necessary for that to occur.”

“We welcome this new wave of support from incoming lawmakers of both parties” said NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern. “This letter adds to already broad support for uniform labeling regulations that will bring clarity for businesses and consumers.”

The freshmen letter builds upon a bipartisan call for FDA action last October that attracted 48 House member signatures. Surveys have repeatedly shown that Americans favor proper labeling of dairy alternatives. A January poll found that only 1-in-5 consumers think plant-based imitators should be called milk, while an earlier survey showed consumers, by nearly a 3-to-1 margin, called for FDA to end the mislabeling of fake milks.

Notice of Intent Filed to Sue Over Chronic Water Pollution From Colorado Slaughterhouses
(Press Release)

The Center for Biological Diversity and Food & Water Watch today filed a notice of intent to sue JBS USA and the Swift Beef Company for illegally dumping slaughterhouse pollution into Colorado waterways, putting people and wildlife in danger and violating the Clean Water Act.

The Lone Tree Wastewater Treatment Plant processes up to 4 million gallons of wastewater each year from two slaughterhouses located along the Front Range at the confluence of the South Platte and Cache la Poudre Rivers. For years it has been illegally discharging dangerous wastes, including ammonia nitrogen and suspended solids, into a tributary of the South Platte River, threatening Colorado citizens as well as the survival of an endangered fish called the pallid sturgeon.

“It’s disgusting that JBS has been allowed for years to treat Colorado’s waterways as a sewer for dangerous meatpacking waste,” said Hannah Connor, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The company needs to clean up its filthy act, both to protect public health and save endangered wildlife.”

Today’s notice follows chronic violations of Lone Tree’s Clean Water Act permit. The facility, maintained by JBS USA and the Swift Beef Company in the city of Greeley, processes animal fat, meat, pathogens, ammonia and excrement. Its violations include failing to meet toxicity testing standards for discharged waste, unpermitted discharges of total suspended solids and ammonia nitrogen and failing to report violations.

“JBS is among the biggest companies controlling the vast majority of meat consumed in the United States. The consolidated nature of the meat industry means fewer facilities creating more and more toxic waste,” said Tarah Heinzen, staff attorney at Food & Water Watch. “It’s up to this powerful and extremely profitable company — not Colorado residents — to clean up its own mess.”

The South Platte River is a vital freshwater resource that originates in the Rocky Mountains and flows through Denver and across northeastern Colorado before entering Nebraska and eventually joining the Missouri River.

The broad, shallow waters of the lower Platte River are downstream from the plant. As it meanders through eastern Colorado and into Nebraska, the river provides important habitat for endangered pallid sturgeon.

The river is also within the migratory path known as the North American Central Flyway. It provides essential habitat for birds, including the endangered whooping crane, northern Great Plains population of the piping plover and interior least term.

“As government agencies increasingly fail to step in and enforce the law, citizens and communities are mobilizing to hold polluters like JBS and Swift Beef accountable in the courts,” said Neil Levine, environmental enforcement project staff attorney at Public Justice and counsel for the plaintiffs. “From failing to comply with environmental permits to being the epicenter for massive beef recalls due to E. coli and salmonella contamination, these companies have imperiled their neighbors and their customers for far too long. When regulators refuse to act, the courts have a critical role to play in enforcing the law and protecting public health and safety.”

Corteva Agriscience Announces DuraCor Herbicide for Pastures and Rangeland

With the cattle industry’s largest gathering — the Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show — as a backdrop, Corteva Agriscience™, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont, unveiled DuraCor™ herbicide as its newest anticipated broadleaf weed control product for pastureDuraCor_600px.pngs and rangeland.

Following last fall’s submission of DuraCor to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), this announcement marks the next step in bringing ranchers and land managers the first new active ingredient for pastures and rangeland in nearly 15 years.

“Cattlemen are focused on managing costs, yet keep an eye on increasing productivity,” says Damon Palmer, Pasture and Land Management Leader at Corteva Agriscience. “Effective weed control on grazing land can help on both fronts.”

Pending EPA registration, DuraCor will provide cattle producers a broader-spectrum weed control product, compared with current market standards. Powered by Rinskor™ active, recipient of the 2018 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award, DuraCor is expected to control more than 140 broadleaf weed species and offer several anticipated features, including:
-    Low use rate.
-    Compatibility with dry and liquid fertilizer.
-    Low-odor formulation.
-    Safe to desirable forage grasses.
-    Season-long residual control.

“The ability to simplify pasture weed control saves time and expense,” Palmer says. “When you factor in a doubling — at minimum — of forage production you get by eliminating weeds, the return on investment is impressive. That’s critical to sustainable beef production.”

Multiple years of testing show improved control of important broadleaf species, including wild carrot, giant hogweed, wild parsnip, poison hemlock and common caraway, plus better late-season control of marshelder and tall ironweed.

“Broadleaf weeds reduce forage yield,” explains William W. Witt, Emeritus Professor, Plant and Soil Sciences at the University of Kentucky. “But in the case of certain species — tall ironweed, for example — cattle don’t like to graze near it, so you’re losing grazing area, too.”

Witt conducted multiple trials over several years with DuraCor. One year after treatment, tall ironweed control exceeded 90 percent. In his work, Witt also found this new pasture herbicide provided exceptional control of plantain.

“Plantain is a big issue in hayfields,” Witt said. “In our area, where producers often graze and hay pastures in the same season, eliminating plantain would improve hay quality.”

Pending EPA registration, Corteva Agriscience expects this to be the second of three products brought to the pasture market over three years.

“Corteva Agriscience is committed to giving cattle producers the reliable partner they need for improving range and pasture productivity,” Palmer says. “Our dedicated team of local range and pasture specialists allows us work with producers to help them meet individual goals for their land. We’re committed to researching and developing new, simple solutions for ranchers across the country.”

Corteva Agriscience anticipates making DuraCor available to cattle producers during 2020.

Wednesday January 30 Ag News

Platte Valley Cattlemen 2019 Banquet
Lucas Luckey, PVC President
It’s that time of year again and the Platte Valley Cattlemen are anxiously planning our 2019 Banquet which will be held Saturday, February 16th at Ramada Inn River’s Edge Convention Center. We are looking forward to an enjoyable night and another outstanding banquet.  Our entertainment this year will be provided by Gayle Becware.

Our annual Banquet is our major fund raiser for the. In the past, sponsors’ dollars have enabled us to promote “Beef Month” in May, ensure quality speakers for our monthly meetings, offer an educational tour, promote 4-H and FFA programs at the county fairs, and assist in awarding scholarships. In 2017, we were able to award two $1,000.00 college scholarships and with continued support, we hope to offer two (or more) again this year.

I look forward to seeing you on Saturday, February 16th!

National Biodiesel Foundation Elects New Directors

The National Biodiesel Foundation elected three new directors: Danielle Brannan, New Leaf Biofuels; Mike Devine, World Energy; and Chris Hill, American Soybean Association to the Board last week during the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo.

“I believe the Foundation is critical to educating the public about biodiesel and getting it into the marketplace," says Brannan. "Events and education forums, such as the New York City Congressional Tour coming this Spring, help move the industry forward.”

“In 2019, we look forward to continuing to support and fund partnerships working on research and sustainability projects showing the benefits and quality of biodiesel. With support from the industry, we plan to sponsor activities like land use change research, diesel technician training, and student education grants among other things,” added Executive Director Tom Verry.

In addition to the three new directors, biodiesel industry leaders currently serving on the Foundation’s Board include:
    Jeff Lynn, NBF President, Illinois Soybean Association
    Mark Caspers, NBF Vice President, Nebraska Soybean Board
    Lindsay Fitzgerald, NBF Secretary and Treasurer, Renewable Energy Group
    Matt Jaeger, Emergent Green Energy
    Rob Shaffer, American Soybean Association
    David Womack, Tennessee Soybean Promotion Board
    Dave Walton, Iowa Soybean Association

The Foundation’s mission is to accomplish outreach, education, research and demonstration activities for the advancement of biodiesel. The Foundation works closely with the National Biodiesel Board.

Biodiesel is a renewable, clean-burning diesel replacement that is reducing U.S. dependence on foreign petroleum, creating jobs and improving the environment. The Foundation works with industry supporting young scientists with grants to attend and participate in research and sustainability projects, showcasing biodiesel and bioheat use in urban communities, and partnering with Universities to conduct research and update modeling (such as the global economic database GTAP).

USDA Reschedules Reports Affected by Lapse in Federal Funding

The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service’s (NASS) Agricultural Statistics Board has begun rescheduling reports that were affected by the lapse in federal funding. During the lapse, NASS was not able to collect data nor issue reports. The following reports have been rescheduled and others will be announced as soon as they are determined:
    Broiler Hatchery (Jan. 30) is delayed
    Egg Products (Jan. 30) is delayed
    Agricultural Prices (Dec. 27) will be released Jan. 31 at 3 p.m. ET
    Poultry Slaughter (Dec. 26) will be released Feb. 1 at 3 p.m. ET*
    Peanut Stocks and Processing (Dec. 28) will be released Feb. 1 at 3 p.m. ET
    Cotton System (Jan. 2) will be released Feb. 4 at 3 p.m. ET
    Fats & Oils (Jan. 2) will be released Feb. 4 at 3 p.m. ET
    Grain Crushings (Jan. 2) will be released Feb. 4 at 3 p.m. ET
    Dairy Products (Jan. 3) will be released Feb. 4 at 3 p.m. ET
    Egg Products (Dec. 28) will be released Feb. 5 at 3 p.m. ET
    Field Crops Final Estimates (Dec. 28) will be released Feb. 6 at 3 p.m. ET*
    Rice Stocks Final Estimates (Dec. 28) will be released Feb. 6 at 3 p.m. ET*
    Stocks of Grain, Oilseed, and Hay Final Estimates (Dec. 28) will be released Feb. 6 at 3 p.m. ET*
    Crop Prod. (Jan. 11) – estimates will be included in Crop Prod. to be released Feb. 8 at Noon ET
    Crop Production Annual (Jan. 11) will be released Feb. 8 at Noon ET
    Grain Stocks (Jan. 11) will be released Feb. 8 at Noon ET
    Rice Stocks (Jan. 11) will be released Feb. 8 at Noon ET
    Winter Wheat and Canola Seedings (Jan. 11) will be released Feb. 8 at Noon ET
    Peanut Prices (Dec. 28*; Jan. 4*, 11, 18, 25; Feb. 1) combined report on Feb. 8 at 3 p.m. ET
    Broiler Hatchery (Feb. 6) will be released Feb. 8 at 3 p.m. ET
    Milk Production (Jan. 23) will be released Feb. 20 at 3 p.m. ET
    Agricultural Prices (Jan. 31) will be released Feb. 20 at 3 p.m. ET
    Vegetables Final Estimates (Dec. 28) will be released Feb. 21 at 3 p.m. ET*
    Cattle on Feed (Jan. 25) will be released Feb. 22 at 3 p.m. ET
    Cotton System (Feb. 1) will be released Feb. 22 at 3 p.m. ET
    Fats and Oils (Feb. 1) will be released Feb. 22 at 3 p.m. ET
    Grain Crushings (Feb. 1) will be released Feb. 22 at 3 p.m. ET
    Cattle (Jan. 31) will be released Feb. 28 at 3 p.m. ET
    Sheep and Goats (Jan. 31) will be released Feb. 28 at 3 p.m. ET
    Flour Milling (Feb. 1) will be released March 1 at 3 p.m. ET
    Peanut Stocks and Processing (Jan. 29) – estimates will be incl. in the report March 6 at 3 p.m. ET
    Peanut Stocks and Processing (Feb.27) will be released March 6 at 3 p.m. ET
    Cattle on Feed (Feb. 22) will be released March 8 at 3 p.m. ET
    Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes Final Estimates (Jan. 31) will be released March 12 at 3 p.m. ET*
    Milk Production (Feb. 21) will be released March 12 at 3 p.m. ET
    Citrus Final Estimates (Dec. 28) will be released March 12 at 3 p.m. ET*
    Noncitrus Fruits and Nuts Final Estimates (Dec. 28) will be released March 12 at 3 p.m. ET*
    State Stories (Jan. 3) will not be released.
    State Stories (Jan. 29) will not be released.
    Cotton Ginnings (Jan. 11) will not be released.
    Cotton Ginnings (Jan. 23) will not be released.
    2017 Census of Agriculture (Feb. 21) will be delayed. A new date has not yet been determined.

* QuickStats only.

All NASS reports will be available at

USGC, Growth Energy Submit Comments to Province of Ontario on E15 by 2025

This week, the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and Growth Energy jointly submitted comments to the Canadian Province of Ontario supporting the expansion of biofuels blending in the Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan. The comments applaud Ontario's commitment to implementing a 15 percent renewable content in gasoline by 2025 and highlight the retail success of 15 percent ethanol-blended fuel, or E15.

"For decades now, North American farmers and ethanol producers have continued to benefit from tariff-free borders," the comments noted. "With an existing North American supply chain, Ontario can rest assured that the increase in demand from a move to 15 percent ethanol will be met by this vibrant marketplace. Collectively, the North American industry is poised to assist Ontario attain its ambitious climate goals and to support this ambitious provincial move."

The comments also thanked Ontario's Ministry of the Environment for taking into consideration our previously submitted comments, from 2017 and 2018, on the environmental benefits of higher level ethanol blends, such as E15, in their plan. Doing so offers environmental and economic benefits to the people of Ontario and will help to achieve Canada's long-term climate goals.

"We appreciate the ministry taking our previous comments of March 2017 and January 2018 into account and strongly support the proposal to increase the ethanol content of gasoline to 15 percent by 2025. As we noted in our earlier comments, increasing ethanol concentrations in fuel presents tremendous benefits to the public in the form of lower GHG emissions, lower levels of other pollutants, improved fuel properties (cleaner and cooler burning), and economic benefits to Canada’s critical agricultural economy."

Weekly Ethanol Production for 1/25/2019

Here is the weekly ethanol supply-and-demand data for the week ended 1/25/2019.

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association, ethanol production decreased 1.8% (down 19,000 barrels per day, or b/d) to an average of 1.012 million b/d—or 42.50 million gallons daily. The four-week average for ethanol production remained at 1.023 million b/d for an annualized rate of 15.68 billion gallons. Weekly production was 2.7% lower than the level a year ago, while the four-week average was 1.6% lower.

Stocks of ethanol increased 2.1% to a 15-week high of 24.0 million barrels. The stocks build occurred primarily on the Gulf Coast.

There were zero imports recorded for the eleventh week in a row. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of October 2018.)

Average weekly gasoline supplied to the market vaulted 7.8% to a 20-week high of 9.564 million b/d (401.7 million gallons per day), equivalent to 146.62 billion gallons annualized. Refiner/blender input of ethanol slid 1.5% to 870,000 b/d—equivalent to 13.34 billion gallons annualized. Still, ethanol blending remains higher on a weekly (1.4%) and 4-week average (2.8%) basis than year ago levels.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production declined to 10.58%.

All Fertilizers Higher Last Full Week of January

Retail prices of all eight of the major fertilizers moved higher the last full week of January 2019, according to retailers surveyed by DTN. It was the second week in a row that prices for all fertilizers were higher.

While prices are higher compared to last month, none were up a significant amount, which DTN defines as a price move of 5% or more.

DAP had an average price of $512 per ton, up $5/ton; MAP $535/ton, up $2/ton; potash $383/ton, up $4/ton; urea $409/ton, up $2/ton; 10-34-0 $467/ton, up $10/ton; anhydrous $584/ton, up $16/ton; UAN28 $270/ton, up $4/ton; and UAN32 $313/ton, up $10/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.44/lb.N, anhydrous $0.36/lb.N, UAN28 $0.48/lb.N and UAN32 $0.49/lb.N.

All eight of the major fertilizers are now higher compared to last year. MAP is 9% more expensive, both DAP and potash are 12% higher, 10-34-0 is 13% more expensive, urea is 16% higher, anhydrous is 19% more expensive and both UAN28 and UAN32 are now 20% higher compared to last year.

Geaux Time: Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show Kicks Off in New Orleans

Nearly 8,000 cattlemen and cattlewomen were on-hand in New Orleans for the official start of the 2019 Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show. The event runs through February 2, 2019, bringing together producers from across the country.

“Every year the Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show hosts members from every segment of the beef industry,” said NCBA President Kevin Kester. “Not only is the event a great opportunity for attendees to network and learn about the newest technology and science to improve their operations, but it’s also when we set our policy priorities for the next year.”

Hall of Fame NFL quarterback Terry Bradshaw delivered the keynote address at the Opening General Session. In addition to his football and broadcasting career, Bradshaw is a gospel/country singer, best-selling author and breeder of championship quarter horses.

Attendees at the Convention will have the chance to visit the 6.5-acre trade show and attend a wide range of engaging events. This includes live cattle handling demonstrations and the popular Cattlemen’s College, a series of educational sessions that cover topics like herd management, cattle health, and improving profitability. Cattlemen’s College is famous for stimulating and thought-provoking sessions that can help generate high returns for producers’ operations.

Other highlights this week include the D.C. public policy issues update, NCBA policy committee meetings, the “Mardi Gras Masquerade” hosted at Mardi Gras World, and the Cowboy Concert Series featuring music stars Big and Rich. 

The Convention will wrap up Saturday morning with a meeting of the NCBA’s Board of Directors, where official public policy positions will be set for the coming year.

Holding their meetings at this event were the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, the American National CattleWomen, CattleFax and the National Cattlemen’s Foundation.

Export Skepticism Not Warranted as Global Market is Key for US Protein in 2019

Per capita animal protein consumption in the U.S. will climb to an all-time high in 2019, surpassing the previous record set in 2006, prior to the 2008 financial crisis and the run-up in feed costs. However, the animal protein sector is entering a period of transition as four consecutive years of significant domestic consumption growth is now beginning to pressure prices and producers’ bottom lines. Export growth will be key for U.S. beef, pork and chicken producers as growing meat supplies and processing capacity outstrip domestic demand, according to a new report from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange Division.

“The domestic consumption growth rate animal protein has experienced over the last five years is expected to plateau soon,” said Will Sawyer, animal protein economist with CoBank’s KED. “With the cow herd at multi-year highs and pork and poultry processors expanding capacity, exports will likely underpin further industry expansion for the U.S. in the years ahead.”

With U.S. consumers struggling to increase their appetite for meat and poultry going forward, and with significantly higher economic and consumption growth abroad, the U.S. animal protein sectors will need to increase their focus on international markets for growth.

In 2018, the U.S. exported 12 percent of beef production, 16 percent of chicken production and 23 percent of pork production. While these figures are far higher than where the industry was 20 years ago, further growth in exports will be needed if U.S. producers want to expand production in the coming years.

“While the need for increasing exports is clear, it’s frequently met with concern or skepticism among producers and all links throughout the supply chain,” said Sawyer. “Concerns lie primarily in the fear that the more exports play a role in supply and demand, the more exposure producers and industry participants have to increased market volatility and lower margins.”
Bigger Risk, Bigger Reward

Greater reliance on export markets has resulted in higher prices for the animal protein sectors in other exporting nations, including Australia, Brazil and Canada. However, analysis shows that greater profitability has offset that price volatility for beef, pork and poultry producers in each of those countries, despite declining domestic consumption in both Australia and Canada.

In the comparison of Brazilian poultry to U.S. poultry, Brazilian poultry price volatility over the last fifteen years has averaged approximately 15 percent per year, while in the U.S. it has been slightly less at around 12 percent. Conversely, over that same time period Brazil’s poultry producers have seen an average increase in prices of six percent, while prices for U.S. producers have increased just 2.6 percent.

“In other words, Brazilian producers experience just 2.5 percent of price volatility for every percent increase in prices while U.S. producers endure 4.5 percent of price volatility for the same degree of price change,” said Sawyer.

This superior risk-to-reward level is also true for Canadian pork and Australian beef relative to the U.S. In the case of Australia, fed cattle prices have been slightly less volatile than what U.S. producers have experienced over the last fifteen years, all while having a slightly higher rate of return. This is significant as Australia exported 71 percent of its production in 2018 while the U.S. exported just 12 percent, which were all-time high levels for both markets.

Growth opportunities involving exports can carry significant risks as demonstrated during recent trade disputes between the U.S. and some of the most important international customers for U.S. animal protein. However, those who accept these risks are often rewarded, according to Sawyer.

“Profitable growth has always been at the core of the industry, and has enabled producers and processors to recover from the historic volatility and costs from 2007 through 2012,” added Sawyer. “The groundwork has already been laid from the supply chain to industry representation to let trade drive the industry forward over the next decade. Long-term, exports will be the key driver for further expansion across the animal protein sector.”

With meat supplies back at all-time highs, opportunity for growth lies in international markets, Sawyer concludes. The increased market volatility that comes with greater exposure to export markets is offset by higher prices and improved profitability for producers.

Farmers, Ranchers Need USMCA

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall

“Farmers need the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, and the sooner the better. U.S. agriculture needs strong trade agreements to access customers around the world and grow our farm economy. We are grateful for the Administration’s work to move this agreement forward. We urge Congress to finish the job and  approve the USMCA quickly.

“USMCA’s predecessor, NAFTA, has boosted agricultural exports to Mexico and Canada dramatically – we’ve gone from $8.9 billion to $39 billion in the 25 years since NAFTA went into effect. That’s an obvious victory in boosting our industry’s strong trade surplus with the rest of the world.

“Steel and aluminum disputes with our North American neighbors and other trading partners will be a challenge for farmers and ranchers until those disagreements are resolved. We urge the Administration to resolve those outstanding issues as soon as possible. Farmers and ranchers need fair and open markets.”

NMPF, IDFA Support Legislation Allowing Whole Milk in School Meals

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) welcome the introduction of legislation sponsored by Reps. Glenn Thompson (R-PA) and Collin Peterson (D-MN), chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, allowing whole milk in school nutrition programs.

The Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act of 2019 (H.R. 832) has eight other co-sponsors, including Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX), ranking Republican on the House Agriculture Committee.

Adding whole milk to school menus reflects research showing that such products benefit children and gives school administrators one more tool with which to develop healthy eating habits.

“Whole milk provides yet another way for children to receive dairy’s nutritional benefits as part of a healthy eating pattern,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “This bill encourages the proper nutrition they need to lead healthy lives.”

“We thank Rep. Thompson for his leadership and Chairman Peterson for being an original co-sponsor on this bill to allow schools more flexibility to offer the same types of milk that children and teens enjoy at home. Providing expanded milk options will help ensure that students get the nutrients that milk uniquely provides, including calcium, vitamin D and potassium,” said Michael Dykes, D.V.M., president and CEO of IDFA.

Study Shows Trade Agreements by Competitors will Threaten U.S. Dairy Exports to Japan

A study released today by the U.S. Dairy Export Council projects that new trade agreements between Japan and other countries will put U.S. dairy exports at a competitive disadvantage, resulting in lost U.S. sales of $5.4 billion over 21 years.

The Japanese dairy market, the fourth-largest export destination for U.S. dairy exports, is expected to continue to grow in years to come. With a level playing field, the United States could roughly double its market share, according to the study, which was conducted by Tokyo-based Meros Consulting.

However, without swift and effective action by the United States to secure a strong trade treaty with Japan that exceeds Japan’s agreements with Australia, New Zealand and the European Union, the United States could see its market share drop in half over the next decade.

Australia and New Zealand have the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) in place with Japan already, and as of this Friday, Europe’s agreement with Japan will take effect, too. Without a strong U.S.-Japan trade treaty, competitors will seize a cumulative $1.3 billion in dairy sales over the next decade that would otherwise have been supplied from the United States, a toll that climbs to $5.4 billion once the CPTPP and Japan-EU agreements are fully implemented.

“These agreements will give our competition a significant economic advantage that will enable them to increase their market share in Japan, costing the U.S. dairy industry billions of dollars in lost sales,” said Tom Vilsack, USDEC president and CEO. “U.S. dairy farmers and processors strongly support the Administration’s launch of trade talks with Japan. We hope this report provides fresh ammunition to our negotiators about why a strong U.S.-Japan agreement is so important for American agriculture.”

“U.S. dairy farmers are facing economic hardships, and expanding opportunities overseas is the best way to counter that,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF). “A trade deal with Japan that significantly expands dairy access would make 2019 a brighter year.” 

Summit panel to explore how to engage influencers about animal agriculture

Early registration rates are available through Friday, February 1 for the Animal Agriculture Alliance’s 2019 Stakeholders Summit themed, A Seat At The Table. The event will be held May 8-9 at the InterContinental at the Plaza Hotel in Kansas City, Missouri. To view the agenda and register, visit

The Summit will feature a panel titled, “Conversations Around the Table: Engaging Influencers” with Hana Bieliauskas, digital practice lead at Inspire PR Group, Ruth Woiwode, PhD, manager of livestock audit services at Food Safety Net Services, Lauren Lane, owner and blogger at Lauren Lane Culinarian and Adriane Heins of Heins Family Farms. The panelists will explore how to effectively engage with influencers about animal agriculture and connect with consumers about modern food production. Andy Vance of Feedstuffs will moderate the panel.

“Engaging opinion leaders about animal agriculture can be tricky, but is one of the most effective ways to bridge the communication gap between farm and fork,” said Hannah Thompson-Weeman, Alliance vice president of communications. “Our panel of experts will be sharing personal experiences, tips and lessons learned from influencer farm tours and other tactics that can help attendees plan their own influencer engagement.”

Tuesday January 29 Ag News

NE USDA FSA: Information on Revised Deadlines Due to Impact of Government Shutdown
Bobbie Kriz-Wickham, Public Affairs/Outreach Coordinator

With the end of the partial government shutdown, Nebraska Farm Service Agency offices across the state are now fully open and able to provide service on all programs.

Due to the impact of the shutdown, FSA has extended deadlines for many of its programs. Below are those updated deadlines applicable in Nebraska:
-    Market Facilitation Program - Deadline to apply extended to Feb. 14, 2019
-    Marketing Assistance Loans - If loan matured in December 2018, settlement date extended to Feb. 14, 2019
-    Emergency Conservation Program - Performance reporting due Feb. 14, 2019
-    Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-raised Fish Program - Notice of loss due Feb. 14, 2019
-    Livestock Indemnity Program - Notice of loss due Feb. 14, 2019
-    Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program -
      * Notice of loss for 72-hour harvest and grazing (as applicable) due Feb. 14, 2019
      * Notice of loss for prevented planting and failed acres due Feb. 14, 2019
      * Applications for payment for 2018 covered losses due Feb. 14, 2019
-    Tree Assistance Program - Notice of loss due Feb. 14, 2019
-    Acreage Reporting - January reporting deadlines extended to Feb. 14, 2019; in Nebraska for the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP), this includes honey bees and grapes

For specific inquiries related to these programs or any not listed above, individuals are encouraged to contact their local USDA Service Center.

Nebraska Farm Bureau Tells House Ways and Means Committee “Necessity” Drove Development of New Association Health Plan

The Nebraska Farm Bureau’s new Association Health Plan (AHP) was driven by the need to serve Nebraska farm and ranch families struggling to find affordable health insurance in the wake of changes in the insurance industry resulting from passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) nearly a decade ago. In providing invited testimony before a full contingency of the House Ways and Means Committee, Nebraska Farm Bureau Chief Administrator Rob Robertson testified that the organization’s first-of-its-kind AHP was borne out of necessity to help those in need.

“Escalating health care and health insurance costs were among the top concerns registered by farmers and ranchers who attended a series of listening sessions held across our state in the summer of 2018. Whether it was reports of health care premiums becoming the first or second highest living expense, stories of spouses having to find off-farm work to secure employer provided health insurance, or families (young and old) dropping health care insurance all together, we heard directly from those struggling with how to deal with increasing health insurance costs,” said Robertson.

Robertson’s testimony was provided as part the Committee’s hearing on “Protecting Americans with Pre-Existing Conditions.” The Nebraska Farm Bureau AHP is both ACA compliant and covers pre-existing conditions.

“In creating our AHP, we believed it was imperative to cover pre-existing conditions. We wanted to offer great coverage to our farmers and ranchers that was reasonably priced. Allowing farmers and ranchers to pool together to form a large health insurance group through the AHP was the best way we could offer this product at a discounted rate from the high costs of premiums in the individual market. Without the ability to form a bona fide large employer group, farm and ranch members would be stuck with the high costs and limited options in the individual health insurance market, if they could afford them at all,” said Robertson.

In testimony, Robertson provided a real-life example of how the AHP is helping Nebraska Farm Bureau members.

“We had a husband and wife who farm together in Southeast Nebraska sign-up for our AHP. They are self-employed and had seen the cost of their health insurance premiums continue to rise, especially over the last two years. They were going to have to spend more than $26,000 for their health plan in 2019. By enrolling in our AHP and being part of a larger group health plan, they were able to get the same coverage and pay just under $19,000,” said Robertson.

Outside of simply saving money on premiums, Robertson pointed out numerous examples of enrollees who previously went without health insurance, who have now entered the health insurance marketplace because of the more affordable plans offered under the Nebraska Farm Bureau AHP.

“Our organization’s goal in developing the AHP was to help offer a more affordable health insurance option that provided quality coverage, including coverage for pre-existing conditions for our member families. With only one year under our belt and with just under 700 enrollees, we believe we have done that, and are looking forward to offering similar coverage again in future years,” Robertson told the Committee.

Gregg; Naig to participate in Trade Mission to Colombia, Panama

Iowa Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig will be participating in an international trade mission to South America, led by Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) officials, on Feb. 3-9, 2019. This will be Lt. Governor Gregg’s first trade mission since taking the oath of office on Jan. 18, 2019.

“Trade missions are an important part of strengthening Iowa’s economy.  They help us open and expand manufacturing and agricultural markets, while simultaneously building upon our international relationships,” said Lt. Gov Gregg. “In a new and fast changing economy, Iowans are connected to the global market.  I am honored to represent Iowa in Columbia and Panama on our state’s behalf.”

Iowa is the second largest ag exporting state in the country with more than $13.2 billion in agricultural exports annually. Last year, over $80 million in Iowa goods went to Colombia, with a 247% increase in trade just within the first six months of 2018. Colombia is a top 25 trading partner with the United States overall, and is America’s eleventh largest agricultural export market. Panama is a strategic partner for U.S. exports, serving as a crossroads of international trade located between two oceans and two continents.

“One of my top priorities is to focus on expanding markets for Iowa’s crop farmers, livestock producers, and agribusinesses,” said Secretary Naig. “I look forward to joining Lt. Gov. Gregg and Iowa farmers on this trade mission to market Iowa’s brand and quality agricultural products.

Others participating in the trade mission include: Iowa Pork Producers Association; Iowa Corn Growers; Iowa Soybean Association; Iowa Farm Bureau Federation; and Midwest Premier Foods.

USDA Expected to Release Delayed Reports on Feb. 8

Farmers and industry officials looking for agricultural data will have to wait until February 8 to get access to some of the delayed USDA reports. Chief Economist Dr. Robert Johansson said Monday that the agency will release the major reports delayed by the government shutdown on that date.

Some of the reports expected to be released include the February World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimate, January crop production reports, the annual crop production report, grain stocks, rice stocks, winter wheat and canola seedings and cotton ginnings.

Some of the other reports that do not USDA a lockup for analysis could be released prior to February 8.

NPPC Urges $3.5 Billion Chinese Pork Purchase

With Chinese officials in Washington to discuss trade relations, the National Pork Producers Council today urged the United States and China to quickly resolve their trade differences and asked the Asian nation to make a minimum $3.5 billion purchase of U.S. pork over the next five years.

China is the largest consumer of pork in the world, making it a top market for U.S. pork exports over the past several years. (The U.S. pork industry in 2017 shipped $1.1 billion of product there, making it the No. 3 export destination for U.S. pork.) Pork is said to represent about 15 percent of the Consumer Price Index in China and could single-handedly make a huge dent in the U.S.-China trade imbalance.

“China has been a tremendous market for U.S. pork and, absent numerous trade barriers, probably would be our No. 1 export market,” said NPPC President Jim Heimerl, a pork producer from Ohio. “But, never mind China’s preexisting barriers on U.S. pork, the 50 percent punitive tariffs on U.S. pork have slowed our exports to a trickle. We call on the Chinese to begin immediate purchases of U.S. pork of at least 350,000 tons each year from the United States for the next five years.”

U.S. pork producers now face tariffs of 62 percent on exports to China, which in early April 2018 imposed a 25 percent tariff in response to U.S. tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminum and in June added another 25 percent duty in retaliation for the U.S. tariffs levied on a host of Chinese goods because of China’s treatment of U.S. intellectual property and forced transfers of American technology. China already had a 12 percent tariff on U.S. pork, and the country has a 13 percent value-added tax on most agricultural imports. In addition, a collection of other non-tariff barriers has chronically suppressed U.S. pork exports to China over the years.

Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes calculates that because of the 50 percent punitive tariffs, U.S. pork producers have lost $8 per hog, or more than $1 billion on an annualized basis. (Producers have lost an additional $12 per hog, collectively $1.5 billion in the industry, because of Mexico’s punitive 20 percent tariffs in retaliation for U.S. metals tariffs.) Hayes says that if China purchases at least 350,000 tons of U.S. pork each year for five years, the total deal would be worth approximately $3.5 billion in sales. According to Hayes, that would put a significant dent in the U.S.-China trade imbalance and create 5,250 new jobs in the United States. He notes that the timing for the purchases is good since China needs to import more pork to mitigate the impact of African Swine Fever on the Chinese pig herd.

The news media has reported that in an effort to end the trade dispute, China has offered to buy $1 trillion of U.S. goods over the next six years.

Biodiesel Market in EU Opens for U.S. Soybeans

Conservation practices required for U.S. soybean production meet EU sustainability standards, and biodiesel produced from documented soybeans can now be used in the EU, the European Commission has formally announced.

The EU requires biofuels to meet a set of sustainability criteria outlined in its Renewable Energy Directive (RED). The U.S. soy industry has its own sustainability guideline, the Soybean Sustainability Assurance Protocol (SSAP) that, with this announcement, the EU acknowledges meets its rigorous RED requirements.

Davie Stephens, a soybean grower from Clinton, Ky., and American Soybean Association (ASA) president said, “U.S. farmers have long prided themselves on adopting newer and better methods for producing high-quality soybeans that are grown responsibly and sustainably. The SSAP sets a high standard that demonstrates that commitment, and we are pleased that the EU Commission has recognized our efforts by opening the door for SSAP-certified soybeans to be used in EU biodiesel.”

The United States is the lead supplier of soybeans to the EU, and while this announcement applies only to soybeans exported for biodiesel, ASA sees it as a positive step for enhancing its EU market and validating the quality of the SSAP sustainability initiative. The EU’s decision will remain in place through at least July 1, 2021.

ACE calls on Senators to secure tangible documentation of Wheeler’s intentions before confirmation vote

American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings sent a letter to U.S. Senators today encouraging they secure tangible documentation on two critically important ethanol issues from Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler before casting their confirmation vote: finalizing a legally-defensible Reid vapor pressure (RVP) rule to allow E15 use year-round before the summer driving season, and reallocating ethanol blending obligations waived for 2016 and 2017 through the Small Refinery Exemption (SRE) provision of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

“There is no better way to guarantee the RVP rule and reallocation of refinery waivers are addressed than by insisting Mr. Wheeler provide tangible evidence of his intentions on these issues prior to voting to confirm him,” the letter stated.

The government shutdown is not a credible excuse for a delay in the E15 rulemaking the letter explains, providing the example of how in eight days the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) put forward a new food stamp work requirement proposal as a time in recent history that proves the Trump Administration can expedite high priority rulemakings.

“It has been more than 100 days since the President directed EPA to initiate a rulemaking to allow E15 use year-round,” the letter stated. “What is taking EPA so long to act?”

The RVP rule is particularly time-sensitive. Under EPA’s existing regulations, E15 cannot be sold in most areas of the country from June 1 to September 15, leaving just four short months from today to complete the rulemaking process. Unfortunately, EPA needlessly plans to combine the RVP rule with reforms to the way Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) are handled under the RFS. The letter concludes by advising Senators that “Acting Administrator Wheeler should be encouraged to decouple RIN reforms from the RVP rule to ensure E15 can be offered for sale by June 1.”

Lindsay and Nutrien Ag Solutions Collaborate on Ag Water Use

Lindsay Corporation, Omaha, and Nutrien Ag Solutions, the retail division of Nutrien Ltd., the world's largest provider of crop inputs and services, Monday announced a partnership that will enable Nutrien Ag Solutions crop consultants (the company has over 3,500) to leverage Lindsay's remote irrigation management and scheduling platform to supplement Nutrien Ag Solutions' offerings. Through this partnership, Lindsay and Nutrien Ag Solutions will also automate the transfer of as-applied data from Lindsay's FieldNET Advisor to the Nutrien Ag Solutions digital platform to strengthen growers' ability to optimize water application amount and timing at every point throughout their fields.

Nutrien Ag Solutions provides crop input products and services that help growers make informed agronomic decisions. This collaboration means that Nutrien Ag Solutions can now add Lindsay's FieldNET Advisor to its digital and agronomic offerings, enabling growers to better streamline water usage as part of their overall field management plan. The Nutrien Ag Solutions digital platform leverages deep agronomic data science and leading-edge technology to solve real world problems for growers.

"Because growers depend on us to deliver solutions that optimize outcomes in the most sustainable way, we are committed to finding industry partners that share our mission of applying the best science and technology towards complex agricultural issues," said Sol Goldfarb, vice president, digital strategy, at Nutrien Ag Solutions. "Our partnership with Lindsay means growers can augment their knowledge and experience with real-time digital insights from FieldNET Advisor."

FieldNET Advisor, a solution available through Lindsay's FieldNET remote irrigation monitoring and control platform, is the world's first cloud-based irrigation scheduling tool that delivers automated, daily irrigation recommendations, helping growers decide precisely when, where and how much to irrigate.

"We are excited and honored to be partnering with Nutrien Ag Solutions," said Brian Magnusson, vice president of technology and innovation at Lindsay. "This collaboration will demonstrate the utility and effectiveness of FieldNET Advisor not only at the individual grower level, but also for the ag retail business. Due in large part to FieldNET Advisor's versatility, we expect to continue to see meaningful results across the precision ag value chain."

The data connection between the Nutrien Ag Solutions digital platform and Lindsay's FieldNET Advisor will save growers time by streamlining data collection and entry and will further improve the precision of the resulting crop zones, agronomic models and variable rate prescriptions. This data connection is expected to be available later in 2019.

Feed Survey estimates world feed production increased by 3 percent

The 2019 Alltech Global Feed Survey, released today, estimates that international feed tonnage has increased by a strong 3 percent to 1.103 billion metric tons of feed produced in 2018, exceeding 1 billion metric tons for the third consecutive year. The eighth edition of the annual survey includes data from 144 countries and nearly 30,000 feed mills. The feed industry has seen 14.6 percent growth over the past five years, equating to an average of 2.76 percent per annum. As the population grows, so does the middle class, which is well reflected in an increase in overall protein consumption.

The top eight countries are China, the U.S., Brazil, Russia, India, Mexico, Spain and Turkey. Together, they produce 55 percent of the world’s feed production and contain 59 percent of the world’s feed mills, and they can be viewed as an indicator of the trends in agriculture. Predominant growth came from the layer, broiler and dairy feed sectors.

“Alltech works together with feed mills, industry and government entities around the world to compile data and insights to provide an assessment of feed production each year,” said Dr. Mark Lyons, president and CEO of Alltech. “We are proud to present the eighth annual Alltech Global Feed Survey and share the results publicly to demonstrate the importance of the animal feed industry as we strive to provide for a planet of plenty.”

The Alltech Global Feed Survey assesses compound feed production and prices through information collected by Alltech’s global sales team and in partnership with local feed associations in the last quarter of 2018. It is an estimate and is intended to serve as an information resource for policymakers, decision-makers and industry stakeholders.

Regional results from the 2019 Alltech Global Feed Survey

·        North America: North America saw steady growth of 2 percent over last year due to an increase in the major species, with beef and broilers leading the growth at 3 percent each. The U.S. remained the second-largest feed-producing country globally, behind China. Feed prices in North America are the lowest globally across all species, and with the availability of land, water and other resources, the region is expected to remain a primary contributor to feed production.

·        Latin America: As a region, Latin America was relatively stagnant this year. Brazil remained the leader in feed production for the region and third overall globally. Brazil, Mexico and Argentina continue to produce the majority of feed in Latin America, with 76 percent of regional feed production. Brazil stayed flat, while Mexico and Argentina saw growth of 1 percent and 4 percent, respectively. Colombia’s feed production grew by approximately 8 percent, primarily due to an increase in pork and egg production. Several countries saw a decline in feed production, such as Venezuela (-27 percent), El Salvador (-16 percent) and Chile (-8 percent).

·        Europe: Europe saw an overall growth of about 4 percent over last year, making it the second-fastest-growing region in the survey, resulting from feed production increases in layer (7 percent), broiler (5 percent), aquaculture (5 percent), dairy (4 percent) and pig (3 percent). Beef was the only primary protein species to decline, though it was less than 1 percent.

Much of the region’s growth can be attributed to smaller countries, such as Turkmenistan, Macedonia, Azerbaijan, Montenegro, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, which all saw increases in overall production estimates of 20 percent or more. Additionally, larger-producing countries like Russia, Spain and Turkey saw strong increases in feed production estimates, which added to the overall production growth.

·        Asia-Pacific: The Asia-Pacific region is home to several of the top 10 feed-producing countries, including China, India and Japan, and accounted for more than 36 percent of the world’s feed tonnage. China maintained status as the top feed-producing country in the world with 187.89 million metric tons, with 10 million metric tons more than the U.S. Increased production for Asia-Pacific came from India with 13 percent due to growth in dairy, layer and broiler feeds. Other countries that demonstrated higher growth variance included Pakistan, Myanmar and Laos. Southeast Asia’s feed production represented over 20 percent of the Asia-Pacific region’s feed production, with Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand contributing to 93 percent of Southeast Asia’s feed production.

·        Africa: Africa continued strong growth with a 5 percent increase in overall feed production, and no country in the region saw a decline. Morocco demonstrated strong growth across dairy, beef, layers, broilers and turkeys. The areas that declined for feed production were equine (-4 percent) and pets (-14 percent). These two areas represent a very small proportion of Africa’s overall production, so the impact is very minimal. Most of the major animal production species in ruminant and poultry contributed to the overall growth of the region.

Notable species results from the 2019 Alltech Global Feed Survey

·        In the poultry industry, major growth areas for layer feed included Europe, Latin America and Asia-Pacific. In Europe, Poland and Uzbekistan each saw growth of around 200,000 metric tons. Latin America had increases in Colombia, Peru, Brazil and Mexico. In the Asia-Pacific region, South Korea, India and Indonesia all saw growth of several hundred metric tons. North America experienced overall growth of 2 percent, in which both the U.S. and Canada saw increased production. Africa saw a small decrease in layer production due to declines in both Egypt and Seychelles.

Globally, broiler production increased by approximately 3 percent in 2018. There was growth in all regions, except for Latin America, in which a very small decline was observed. Africa showed 9 percent growth, demonstrating an overall trend that as populations grow and become wealthier, interest in protein — particularly in palatable chicken — does as well.

·        Pig feed production saw an increase of nearly 1 percent in 2018. The primary producing region for pig feed is Asia-Pacific, but this was also the only region that saw a decline in pig feed production as Mongolia, Vietnam, China, New Zealand and Japan experienced decreases. From a tonnage standpoint, Europe saw the largest growth at approximately 2.2 million metric tons. Russia and Spain accounted for the majority, while Finland, Denmark, France and Poland also contributed. Latin America saw the greatest growth in pig feed as a percentage at 5 percent, with the largest growth seen in Mexico and Argentina.

·        Global dairy feed production saw growth in North American, Europe and Africa, while Latin America remained flat. Europe, a global leader in dairy production, grew on average by approximately 4 percent. The largest increase was in Turkey with 10 percent, while Ireland, Russia and the U.K. also contributed to the region’s growth. Africa’s growth was primarily due to a significant increase in both Morocco and Nigeria.  

·        North America has always led beef feed production and continues to do so with an increase of 3 percent in 2018. Europe saw a small decline at barely 1 percent and remained in second place. Latin America saw strong growth of approximately 8 percent, with Mexico and Argentina as the primary contributors. As a result, the Latin American region has taken third place in beef feed production, moving ahead of the Asia-Pacific region.  China and Australia both saw growth in the Asia-Pacific region but could not offset the overall decline in countries such as Bangladesh, Mongolia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Vietnam and Pakistan.

·        Overall, aquaculture feeds showed growth of 4 percent over last year. This was primarily attributed to strong increases in the Asia-Pacific and European regions. The traditional Asia-Pacific leaders in aquaculture, Vietnam, India and Indonesia, combined for an additional 1.58 million metric tons of feed in the region. China, the region’s leader, also saw an increase of 1 percent over last year. The primary European leaders either experienced strong growth or remained relatively flat. Those that did grow included Norway and Turkey, both at 7 percent, and Spain at a substantial 31 percent. The other regions remained relatively flat or saw only a 1 percent increase or decrease in feed production, demonstrating the continuity of the industry as a whole.

·        The pet food sector saw growth of approximately 1 percent, primarily attributed to an increase in the Asia-Pacific region, which was offset by a decrease in the Latin American and African regions. North America and the Middle East both remained relatively flat. In previous surveys, Europe had been the top-producing region for pet food production, but after a reassessment of 2017 numbers and despite growth of 2 percent, it ranks just behind North America. Europe is estimated in 2018 to have produced 8.6 million metric tons in total, approximately 200,000 behind North America. Africa saw a small decrease in production, but the actual tonnage is quite small compared to many of the other regions. The Latin American region experienced a decrease of about 5 percent, which was spread across several countries, including Chile, Venezuela, El Salvador, Colombia, Argentina and Ecuador.

To access more data and insights from the 2019 Alltech Global Feed Survey, including the results booklet, an interactive global map and a pre-recorded video presentation of the results by Dr. Mark Lyons, visit

NFU Board Urges Significant Strengthening of the Family Farm Safety Net

As the slump in farm commodity prices persists and trade disputes compound these market challenges, family farmers’ and ranchers’ economic security is at significant risk, according to the National Farmers Union (NFU) Board of Directors. The NFU Board passed a resolution calling on the administration and Congress to work together to strengthen the farm safety net to help farm families weather the coming years.

“Economic challenges have forced many farmers into significant financial strain, particularly beginning farmers and ranchers who have not had the ability to build up equity,” said the NFU Board. “Despite their best efforts, many farmers are struggling to stay afloat. We urge Congress and the Administration to work together to find solutions that will provide significant, long-term answers to strengthen the farm safety net.”

The NFU Board noted that net farm income in 2018 is estimated to be nearly 50 percent less than 2013 levels, and that median farm income is estimated to be negative $1,548, meaning a majority of farms—farms of all sizes—lost money last year. It said that ongoing disputes with China and other key trading partners caused further damage to U.S. agricultural markets.

“The short-term assistance provided through the United States Department of Agriculture’s Market Facilitation Program was appreciated but fails to provide long-term relief,” said the NFU Board. “Regardless of when and how existing trade disputes are resolved, it will take decades to overcome the self-inflicted damage to our markets.”

The NFU Board added that the recently passed farm bill provides meaningful but modest relief. “Changes to Price Loss Coverage and Agriculture Risk Coverage will improve each program’s effectiveness and will eventually strengthen the levels of support they provide. The Dairy Margin Coverage program is a significant improvement over its predecessor, the Margin Protection Program,” it said.

“However, in neither case do the changes reflect the severity of existing market challenges and the immediacy of the financial crisis facing family farmers and ranchers,” it added.

In addition to bolstering the safety net, the NFU Board urged Congress to examine options to meaningfully address chronic oversupply in the marketplace, which has been particularly damaging to U.S. dairy and grains sectors.

Monday January 28 Ag News


Research findings and industry updates will be the focus of the Nebraska Extension Beef Feedlot Roundtables Feb. 12-14.  Topics were selected to benefit feedlot managers, owners, employees, and those working in the allied industry.

One issue facing all producers is the ability to attract and retain employees. Because this is the biggest issue facing our feedyards, Dr. Scott MacGregor was invited to offer some options for feedyards to enhance employee retention and management succession.

Another topic facing the beef industry is lab-grown proteins. Danielle Beck with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association will offer the latest information on where that industry is and how it will be regulated. As is tradition, relevant research findings will be presented on issues such as congestive heart failure, nutrition, and management practices for the area, and there will be an update on activities from the Nebraska Beef Council.

Roundtables are scheduled for
Tuesday, February 12 ― Bridgeport, Prairie Winds Community Center
Wednesday, February 13 ― Lexington, Dawson County Extension Office
Thursday, February 14 ― West Point, Nielsen Community Center

Registration begins at 12:30 p.m., followed by presentations from 1 to 5 p.m. Following the program, Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) training and certification or recertification will be available each day.

The meeting is organized by Nebraska Extension and the Nebraska Beef Council.

Online registration is encouraged and available at Cost is $20 at the door if preregistered and $40 for walk-ins.

For more information or to request a printed registration form, contact Galen Erickson, Nebraska Extension beef feedlot nutrition specialist, at 402-472-6486 or

Legislation Addresses Inequity in K-12 Student Funding, Lowers Property Taxes

State lawmakers have introduced a proposal (LB 497) to ensure the state of Nebraska provides resources to cover basic education costs for all of Nebraska’s K-12 public school students. Today, only 69 of Nebraska’s 244 school districts receive state equalization aid. The limited assistance has led to significant disparities in how Nebraska funds education for some students compared to others across the state.

“Good schools and quality education are important to our kids, our families, and our businesses. Because of its importance, the state has an obligation to support our children’s education, regardless of where they live or the school they attend. However, we have situations today where the state is paying for 100 percent of basic education funding for students in one school district, while covering less than one percent of the basic education costs in another. That level of disparity shouldn’t exist,” said Sen. Curt Friesen of Henderson, the bill’s sponsor.

Nebraska’s current K-12 funding system has not only led to inequity in education funding among students, but also in sources used to fund schools. While all K-12 schools draw on property taxes for funding, schools receiving little or no state equalization rely much more heavily on local property taxes for funding. The proposal would broaden the sources used to fund Nebraska’s K-12 schools to alleviate pressure on local property taxes.

“The way we’ve been funding schools has put tremendous pressure on property taxes. Roughly 60 percent of all property taxes collected in the state go to K-12 school funding. As a result, Nebraskans now pay some of the highest property tax bills in the country,” said Friesen.

The bill contains several provisions to address both the inequity in school funding and overreliance on property taxes, including:
·         Guaranteeing every public school in Nebraska receives state support equal to 50 percent of basic education funding needs.
·         Adjusting the local resources component of the state aid formula to provide more state equalization aid to individual school districts to replace property taxes.
·         Modifying the aid formula so schools with large amounts of agricultural land would have a better chance of receiving equalization aid.
·         Ensuring additional state aid to schools are used to replace local property taxes.
·         Broadening the sources of state aid funding for use in replacing local property taxes, including elimination of some sales tax exemptions, capturing internet sales tax revenues, increases in cigarette and alcohol taxes, and elimination of the personal property tax exemption.

In addition to replacing property taxes with broadened revenues, the bill also contains a provision making a one-time allocation to help replenish the state’s cash reserve fund.

“This bill provides an overall framework from which we can replace parts of our school funding system that aren’t working for our students and taxpayers. To do that we’re broadening the sources we use to fund education and reducing our overreliance on property taxes. There is a better a way to fund K-12 public education than how we’re doing it today. This bill moves Nebraska in a better direction,” said Friesen.

Several senators have co-sponsored the bill.

"The disparity of basic education funding from the state has created an unfair system that hurts property taxpayers, especially in rural communities. LB 497's restructuring of the school funding equalization formula is an important step in reducing the property tax burden, while still ensuring we provide the best education possible for our children. I look forward to working with Senator Friesen and the Revenue Committee to ensure that we pass legislation that benefits all Nebraskans."
-          Sen. Joni Albrecht, Dist. 17

“Property tax relief is on the mind of nearly all of my constituents. It is my number one concern as a legislator, and it will continue to be until we have real relief. This mess was created over many years and there is no ‘easy fix’ for something this big. LB 497 provides a revenue stream that will help alleviate the immense burden placed upon our homeowners, business owners, and farmers and ranchers.”
-          Sen. Tom Brandt, Dist. 32

“As I campaigned across District 38, the message I consistently got from my constituents is that we need substantially lower property taxes and more fair funding for our schools. I promised that when elected I would do everything in my power to achieve that goal. Now that I am in the Legislature, I am getting the same message from many other senators, both rural and urban. LB 497 will go a long way toward solving the overreliance on property taxes in Nebraska while maintaining the high quality of education in our state.”
-          Sen. Dave Murman, Dist. 38

“Since the majority of property tax revenue is directed to school districts, the school finance formula needs to be part of any plan for property tax relief. LB 497 addresses both the state aid formula and provides property tax relief, giving the Legislature a credible plan to work with.”
-          Sen. Tim Gragert, Dist. 40

"The only responsible path moving forward to providing the meaningful and significant property tax relief we need is raising new revenue. I have always maintained that responsible government spending is a priority, but you cannot slash and burn your way out of trouble. In a state with an ag-based economy, providing our farmers and ranchers with meaningful and substantial property tax relief is truly one of the keys to economic growth for the state. I believe that Sen. Friesen's bill brings a number of thoughtful proposals to the discussion around property tax relief."
-          Sen. Tom Briese, Dist. 41

“I am proud to co-sponsor Sen. Friesen's bill, LB 497. Obviously, the devil is in the details and we will all have to work together to get something that will attract the votes we need to pass property tax relief. I am glad Sen. Friesen is leading on this issue. I think his contribution to this effort is crucial.”
-          Sen. Tom Brewer, Dist. 43

"LB 497 is the result of a great collaborative effort by my colleagues and other interests who want to better balance the way we fund schools and provide property tax relief. I'm very excited about the possibilities of significant property tax reduction becoming a reality for Nebraskans.”
-          Sen. Dan Hughes, Dist. 44

“The Nebraska State Constitution says, ‘The Legislature shall provide for the free instruction in the common schools of this state of all persons between the ages of five and twenty-one years.’ When some school districts get less than one percent of their funding from the state, it is safe to say that the Legislature has been negligent in their duty to provide for free instruction in the common schools.  Because only 69 of Nebraska’s 244 school districts receive state equalization aid, the time has come to restore a sense of equity and balance to the way we fund our schools. I co-signed LB 497 because the bill will restore this sense of fairness and balance to our public schools, and it will provide our farmers and ranchers with some much-needed property tax relief.”
-          Sen. Steve Erdman, Dist. 47

Other bill co-sponsors include Sen. Bruce Bostelman, Dist. 23, Sen. Mark Kolterman, Dist. 24, Sen. Myron Dorn, Dist. 30, and Sen. Steve Halloran, Dist. 33.

Nebraska Agriculture Leaders Back Sen. Friesen’s School Funding and Property Tax Relief Bill (LB 497)

The Nebraska Agriculture Leaders Working Group has announced its support for a bill introduced by Sen. Curt Friesen to fix major inequities in how Nebraska funds K-12 schools, while lowering property taxes for all Nebraskans. With numerous legislative proposals dealing with school funding and tax relief having been introduced, the agriculture leaders believe LB 497 is the best bill from which to start.

“We appreciate all of the different ideas that have been brought to the table. We understand that no bill dealing with these critical issues will look the same at the end of the session as it does at the start, but we think this bill is the most comprehensive in addressing the issues. I’m sure there will be things we will find to make it even better,” said Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president.

The bill’s guarantee that all Nebraska students receive at least 50 percent of their basic education funding from the state is key to the group’s support.

“Education is important for all of us in Nebraska. It’s important to our families, our businesses, and the overall well-being of our state. That’s why the state has a responsibility to help fund the basic education needs of our children, yet it’s failing to meet that obligation for all of Nebraska’s K-12 students,” said Darin Uhlir, Nebraska Pork Producers Association president.

Today, 150 of Nebraska’s 244 school districts receive less than 10 percent of basic education funding from the state. Fifty-five of those districts receive less than one percent.

“When it comes to providing basic education funding, the state shouldn’t look at a student in one school district and say, ‘I’ll cover 100 percent of the costs of your basic education’ and then look at a student in a different district and tell them ‘You’re on your own’. They’re both Nebraska kids. That’s not how our state should treat them, but that’s exactly what’s happening,” said Mike Drinnin, Nebraska Cattlemen president.

In addition to the minimum aid guarantee, the bill also adjusts the local resources component of the state aid formula ensuring all school districts would receive additional state dollars to help replace local property taxes.

“It’s no secret we rely far too heavily on property taxes to fund education. Nebraskans now pay the seventh highest property taxes in the nation. This bill would help fix that,” said Mark Spurgin Nebraska Wheat Growers Association president.

Roughly 60 percent of all property taxes collected in the state are used to fund schools. The bill would help lower property taxes by broadening the sources used to fund K-12 schools and replace property taxes with the new revenues.

“Broadening the sources of revenue used to fund schools so we can replace property taxes as a funding source is key to lowering property taxes for Nebraskans. It must be a part of the discussion. LB 497 reflects a thoughtful way to do that, while making sure that our state’s tax structure remains competitive with those of neighboring states,” said Robert Johnston, Nebraska Soybean Association president.

The bill also contains provisions that adjust the state aid to school formula so school districts that are largely agricultural land based would have a better chance to receive state equalization aid, as the vast majority of these districts receive little or no equalization aid to cover education costs. Today only 69 of the 244 Nebraska school districts receive state equalization aid. This bill would help boost the number of schools that receive assistance.

“LB 497 provides a great framework to begin fixing the inequity in how we fund schools and providing the meaningful and substantive property tax relief Nebraskans want. Our group looks forward to helping Sen. Friesen and others find a path forward to tackling these tough, but critical issues,” said Dan Nerud, Nebraska Corn Growers Association president.

The Agriculture Leaders Working Group includes member-elected leaders from the Nebraska Cattlemen, Nebraska Corn Growers Association, Nebraska Farm Bureau, Nebraska Pork Producers Association, Nebraska Soybean Association, Nebraska State Dairy Association, and Nebraska Wheat Growers.


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               Good cow nutrition is crucial following calving to get cows rebred.  Today let's review some guidelines to do the job right.

               Cows need good feed after calving.  Each cow experiences much stress after calving because she is producing milk for her calf and she is preparing her reproductive system to rebreed.  As a result, nutrient demands are high.  Energy requirements increase about 30 percent and protein needs nearly double after calving.  Underfeeding reduces the amount of milk she provides her calf, and it can delay or even prevent rebreeding.  And if it gets cold, wet, or icy again, nutrient demands can sky-rocket.

               Winter grass, corn stalks, and other crop residues are low quality right now because these feeds are weathered and have been pretty well picked over.  So it is critical that the hay or silage you feed will provide the extra nutrients your cows need.

               Not just any hay or silage will do.  Your cow needs 10 to 12 percent crude protein and 60 to 65 percent TDN in her total diet.  If she is grazing poor quality feeds or eating grass hay, your other forages and supplements must make up any deficiencies.

               Make sure your forage has adequate nutrients;  if you haven't done so, get it tested now for protein and energy content.  Compare this to the nutrient requirements of your cows.  Then feed your cows a ration that will meet their requirements.  Use supplements if needed.  But don't overfeed, either.  That is wasteful and expensive.

               In summary, avoid underfeeding after calving;  it can delay rebreeding and slow down calf growth.  Use your best quality forages with any needed supplements to provide adequate nutrition.  Your cows will milk well, rebreed on time, and produce healthy calves year after year.

Perdue Selects Three Senior Leaders at USDA

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today selected three highly-qualified individuals for senior leadership positions at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).  Perdue named Dr. Mindy Brashears as Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety, Naomi Earp as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, and Dr. Scott Hutchins as Deputy Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics.  These positions do not require Senate confirmation.

Dr. Scott Hutchins

Dr. Hutchins formerly served as the global leader of integrated field sciences for Corteva Agriscience and as an adjunct professor at the University of Nebraska.  Previously, he served as president of the Entomological Society of America.  Dr. Hutchins earned his B.S. in entomology from Auburn University, M.A. from Mississippi State University, and Ph.D. from Iowa State University.

Dr. Mindy Brashears

Dr. Brashears is a Professor of Food Safety and Public Health and the Director of the International Center for Food Industry Excellence at Texas Tech University. Dr. Brashears’ research program focuses on improving food safety standards to make an impact on public health. Her highly acclaimed work evaluates interventions in pre- and post-harvest environments and on the emergence of antimicrobial drug resistance in animal feeding systems. These efforts have resulted in commercialization of a pre-harvest feed additive that can reduce E. coli and Salmonella in cattle. She also leads international research teams to Mexico, Central and South America to improve food safety and security and to set up sustainable agriculture systems in impoverished areas. She is past-Chair of the National Alliance for Food Safety and Security and of the USDA multi-state research group.

Naomi Earp, J.D.

Earp is a retired career civil servant with more than 20 years of experience in federal equal opportunity policy, charge processing, complaint handling, and employment law. She entered federal services as a GS-9 career employee and worked her way to the Senior Executive Service level prior to appointments as Chair and Vice Chair of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission under President George W. Bush. Throughout her career, Earp has been a strong advocate for labor-management partnership and cooperative business models to raise awareness and address both disparate treatment complaints and allegations of systemic discrimination. Her federal equal opportunity, civil rights compliance, and public policy career includes positions with the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Agriculture and the National Institutes of Health. Born and raised in Newport News, Virginia, Earp received a BS in Social Work from Norfolk State University, an MA from Indiana University, and a Juris Doctorate from the Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law.

The three previously had been nominated by President Donald Trump for Senate-confirmed positions at USDA. While the Senate Agriculture Committee on a bipartisan basis favorably reported all three nominees, their nominations expired without receiving confirmation votes by the end of the 115th Congress in early January.  The President has resubmitted their nominations to the Senate in the 116th Congress.

“At USDA, we’ve been engaged in fulfilling our mission without all of our players on the field, so we want to get these strong, qualified leaders in the game,” Perdue said.  “I want to thank these three for their patience, as their professional lives have been placed on hold for months during their nomination process.  Now, they will get to work right away on behalf of the American people.  Nevertheless, I urge the Senate to act on their new nominations as quickly as possible, so we can have them in the positions for which they were intended in the first place.”

The three have been re-nominated for more senior roles than the ones Perdue today selected them to fill in their respective mission areas at USDA.  Dr. Brashears was nominated for Under Secretary for Food Safety; Earp was nominated for Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights; and Dr. Hutchins was nominated for Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics.

While in their deputy roles as selected by Perdue, they will not be serving in “acting” capacities for the positions for which they have been nominated.  As a result, they will not be able to exercise the functions or powers expressly delegated to the Senate-confirmed positions.  As Deputy Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics, Dr. Hutchins will oversee the Office of the Chief Scientist, with Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young continuing to serve as Acting Chief Scientist.

Brashears, Earp, and Hutchins will begin working at USDA on Tuesday, January 29, 2019.

NeABA Mid-Winter Conference on February 12th and 13th

            The Nebraska Agri-Business Association is proud to present the 2019 Mid-Winter Conference on February 12th & 13th, at the Holiday Inn Conference Center in Kearney, NE. This conference has been specifically designed for Certified Crop Advisers to give you the opportunity to earn 20 CEU hours, which is half of the required 40 hours in a two-year cycle! Leading experts from the industry and universities will be presenting the latest up-to-date information.

            The 2019 Mid-Winter Conference has been designed to address all four CCA performance objectives. CCAs who attend this workshop can earn credits in the following categories: Soil and Water Management (4 credits), Nutrient Management (4 Credits), Crop Management (6 Credits) and Pest Management (5 Credits). There will be an additional credit in either Crop Management or Nutrient Management.

            The cost of registration for the conference is $275.00 per person for NeABA Members and $375.00 for Non-Members. Registration includes breakfast buffet on Wednesday, lunch and breaks on both days, and all speaker handouts.  Details at

            Hotel Accommodations: A block of sleeping rooms (specify Nebraska Agri-Business Association) has been reserved at the Holiday Inn, Kearney at a room rate of $99.95. For room reservations, please contact the Holiday Inn at 308-237-5971 to assure room rate and availability.


Women producers looking to increase their business-management skills are encouraged to attend the 2019 Women in Agriculture Conference Feb. 21-22 in Kearney.

Organized by the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, the conference will be at the Holiday Inn Convention Center, 110 S. Second Ave.

Twenty scholarships will be awarded to producers to cover registration and hotel costs. Scholarship applications are available at

The Women in Agriculture Conference allows women to build relationships with each other, attend workshops and gain valuable knowledge that will help them support their own farms and ranches. The theme for this year’s conference is “Take Charge of Change.”

The conference features more than 30 concurrent workshops on production, market, financial, human and legal risk. In addition to workshops, participants will have the opportunity to hear from Marji Guyler-Alaniz, founder of FarmHer. Guyler-Alaniz will discuss the inspiration for and evolution of FarmHer and the image of women in agriculture. Other general session speakers include Tim Hammerich of Ag Grad; Joan Ruskamp, chair of the National Cattleman’s Beef Board; Jim Robb of the Livestock Marketing Information Center; and Gianella Alvarez of Beanitos.

Registration is available at The cost is $125 through Feb. 11 and $150 after that.  Fees include all workshop materials, registration, meals and breaks.

The conference is hosted by Nebraska Extension and the Department of Agricultural Economics at Nebraska. Producer scholarships are made possible by Beanitos and the Kelley Bean Company.

Ricketts Announces Schedule for 31st Annual Governor’s Ag Conference in Kearney

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts announced the agenda for the 31st Governor’s Ag Conference, which brings together ag producers, industry leaders and agri-business managers in Nebraska on an annual basis to talk about the future of agriculture.  The conference is scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, March 4-5, 2019, at the Younes Conference Center in Kearney.

“For 31 years, the Governor’s Ag Conference has been a premiere forum for Nebraska farmers, ranchers, and industry leaders to come together to discuss agriculture and how to keep growing our state’s number one industry,” said Governor Ricketts.  “We hope you can join us to talk about the future of agriculture in Nebraska.  It’s an opportunity you won’t want to miss.”

“We’ve asked industry experts at the local, state and federal level to lead discussions at this year’s Governor’s Ag Conference and share their knowledge and experience with producers and agribusiness leaders from around the state,” said Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) Director Steve Wellman.  “Conference speakers and attendees can use this opportunity to connect with colleagues and prepare for the future.”

The conference starts Monday, March 4, 2019, at 3:30 p.m. with a panel presentation featuring Nebraska entrepreneurs and recruiters.  The panel includes representatives from three innovative Nebraska companies and three organizations involved heavily in recruiting companies to Nebraska.

On the entrepreneur side, the panelists are Vishal Singh with Quantified Ag; Lukas Fricke with ChorChek; and Mitch Minarick with FARMAFIELD.  These speakers will discuss their companies, goals, visions and why they chose Nebraska communities to start their businesses.

The three people representing recruitment success are: Phil Kozera with Bio Nebraska; Dan Duncan with Innovation Campus; and Bryan Slone with the Nebraska State Chamber.  They will discuss their efforts in recruiting and how to find and attract startups as well as how to connect to established industries.

Governor Ricketts will moderate this panel presentation that will include questions and answers from the audience.

The annual “Celebrate Nebraska Agriculture” reception, at 6 p.m. on March 4th will feature an assortment of food and beverages from Nebraska.

The conference resumes on Tuesday, March 5, 2019, at 9 a.m. with a presentation from Jim Smith, executive director of Blueprint Nebraska, an organization that is spearheading a statewide, citizen-led economic development initiative.

Governor Ricketts, NDA Director Wellman and Nebraska Department of Economic Development Director Dave Rippe will update conference participants on legislative initiatives in agriculture and highlight the work being done between state agencies to grow Nebraska.  This panel presentation will be moderated by NDA Assistant Director Amelia Breinig.

Next on the agenda will be Jim Wiesemeyer, with Pro Farmer, giving participants an update on the national farm bill and how it will impact farmers and ranchers nationwide as well as here in Nebraska.  

The Governor's Ag Conference is coordinated by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture and is co-sponsored by Farm Credit Services of America.  A $125 registration fee covers participation at activities on both Monday and Tuesday.  Registration and additional information is available online at, or by calling NDA toll-free at (800) 831-0550.

Iowa Pork Schedules Regional Conferences in February

The Iowa Pork Producers Association is inviting the state's pig farmers to attend one of the five Iowa Pork Regional Conferences being held in February. The events are being held at different locations from Feb. 18 through 22.

In addition to the regional conference program that runs from 1-4:30 p.m. each day, a separate morning session from 9 a.m. to noon will provide Pork Quality Assurance (PQA) Plus training free to those who pre-register. The PQA Plus training is sponsored by IPPA and provided by Iowa State University Extension.

"The afternoon conferences include five speakers providing timely and relevant information," says Jamee Eggers, IPPA producer education director. "The farmer members of our producer education committee partnered with the Iowa Pork Information Center to select topics and identify exciting speakers."

The locations of the conferences are:
-    Mon, Feb. 18 - N.W. IA Comm College, Bldg A, Rm 116/119, 603 W Park St., Sheldon, IA 51201
-    Tuesday, Feb. 19 - Audubon Recreation Center, 703 Southside Ave., Audubon, IA 50025
-    Wednesday, Feb. 20 - Hansen Agriculture Learning Center, 2508 Mortensen Rd., Ames, IA 50011
-    Thursday, Feb. 21 - Washington County Extension Office, 2223 250th St., Washington, IA 52353
-    Friday, Feb. 22 - Borlaug Leaning Center, 3327 290th St., Nashua, IA 50658.

 Topics and speakers for the afternoon conferences are:

-    Being Prepared for Foreign Animal Disease; Dr. Andrew Hennenfent, the state's Emergency Management Coordinator, will outline how farmers will be impacted if there is a foreign animal disease outbreak. Find out the differences between stop movements, permitting movements and what other orders would mean to your farm.
-    What China Knows that You May Not about African Swine Fever; Dr. Chris Rademacher of the Iowa Pork Industry Center will provide an overview of ASF, a review of clinical signs of the disease, and a discussion of the feed biosecurity issue.
-    Trade and Tariffs Update; ISU Extension Livestock Economist Dr. Lee Schulz will talk about how current foreign tariffs are impacting the swine market.
-    Using Maintenance to Extend Building Longevity; Brian Blumhagen of New Modern Concepts will talk about proven approaches to slow-down natural degradation. And, if you have experiences that worked for you, you'll be asked to share.
-    A review of decision-making tools that Iowa State University Extension Swine Specialists can provide for you to solve production problems and other issues on your pig farm.

The regional conferences are free for those who pre-register two business days before the meeting at their regional location; otherwise the cost is $5 at the door. Check-in starts 30 minutes before the start of the conference. To pre-register for the conference and/or certification training, contact IPPA's Carla Vanderheiden at (800) 372-7675 or

Registration Now Open for the Pork Management Conference

The National Pork Board will host its annual Pork Management Conference, April 16-19, in Nashville, Tennessee. At the annual conference, a diverse set of experts from across the country will address business trends and challenges facing the U.S. pork industry. Through presentations, breakout sessions and networking, attendees will gain important insight on the pork industry and its challenges along with learning more about financial management practices to improve the performance and efficiency of pig farming.

“The Pork Management Conference continues to be an important event for pork producers,” said Emily Erickson, chair of the Pork Checkoff’s Producer and State Services Committee and a pig farmer from Jackson, Minnesota. “It is exciting to have a great line up of guest presenters and industry experts who will provide valuable knowledge and insight for our producers and other attendees.” 

In addition to the general sessions on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday mornings, two concurrent afternoon sessions are planned for Thursday. Topics will include benchmarking, disaster recovery, risk management, research and development, tax credits, finding and keeping talented workers, accounting, and tax updates.

Registration is $425 per person through March 22 and $475 after that. No refunds will be made after March 29. A registration form and a detailed list of events are available at

 ACE leadership to share Mexico ethanol market outlook from work with retailers in the country at IRFA Summit

American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) Senior Vice President and Market Development Director Ron Lamberty will share ethanol market opportunities and challenges from his travels to Mexico over the past year in a trade roundtable discussion at the 2019 Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit taking place tomorrow, January 29.

Lamberty traveled to Mexico six times last year to participate in ethanol technical workshops for Mexican petroleum equipment installers and retailers. The workshops were a joint effort of the U.S. Grains Council and the Mexican Association of Petroleum Equipment Suppliers (AMPES), to inform fuel marketers about opportunities in sourcing, blending, distributing, and retailing ethanol-blended gasoline, as Mexico’s transportation fuel sector continues to evolve.

“The workshops helped Mexican fuel marketers, equipment suppliers, and even some government officials understand offering gasoline with 10 percent ethanol is a safe and economically sensible way to have cleaner air and provide less expensive fuel for drivers in Mexico,” Lamberty said. “I appreciate IRFA for inviting me to join the panel and give an update on Mexico. E10 would open a new market for 1.2 billion gallons of ethanol. That’s not quite another California or Texas, but it’s more than Florida. And it’s 200 million more than nationwide E10 in Canada.”

“Current U.S. ethanol exports to Mexico are primarily for industrial uses like perfumes, solvents, and beverages, but we’re starting to see retailers in border cities buy pre-blended E10 at U.S. terminals for resale in their convenience stores or service stations,” Lamberty added. “While these volumes are tiny right now, just as we saw ethanol spread across the U.S., when retailers see other retailers successfully selling E10, they become more confident they could offer it too, and volumes increase.”

Lamberty’s 2018 travels to Mexico included visits to Mexico City in November, Xalapa in August, Chihuahua in July, and León in June. In the spring of last year, Lamberty spoke at two other workshops in Monterrey and Tijuana. ACE will continue to work with the USGC to provide information to retailers and others who want to sell more ethanol in 2019.

The IRFA trade panel includes Mike Dwyer of the U.S. Grains Council, Kelly Nieuwenhuis of the Iowa Corn Promotion Board, and Eamonn Byrne of Plymouth Energy as moderator. For more details on the program, visit Summit attendees can catch up with Lamberty about ACE’s market development work in Mexico and other timely ethanol topics with ACE staff at exhibit booth #26 at the IRFA Summit trade show.

RFA & NCGA Co-Title Sponsorship of 2019 Crappie Masters Tournament Trail Begins This Week

The 2019 season of the Crappie Masters Tournament Trail begins later this week, with the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) signed on as co-title sponsors for the third consecutive year. The first of 16 tournaments begins Friday, Feb. 1 in Deland, Fla., between Daytona and Orlando, at St. Johns River.

“Crappie Masters is pleased to again have the Renewable Fuels Association as a 2019 co-title sponsor of the Crappie Masters All American Tournament Trail,” said Crappie Masters President Mike Vallentine. “We have done significant education outreach to the boating community on the benefits of 10 percent ethanol blends (E10), and have helped push back on misinformation on higher blends like E15. Every Crappie Masters tournament winning team for the past four years has safely used E10 fuel with no reported engine issues. We plan to continue to help dispel the myths propagated by ethanol’s opponents, and support homegrown, environmentally friendly ethanol as the choice for the boating community,” he added.

“We are looking forward to another successful year on the Crappie Masters All American Tournament Trail,” said RFA Vice President of Industry Relations Robert White. “Thanks to our partnership with Crappie Masters, with each passing year, more boaters learn about the benefits of clean, lower priced, higher octane ethanol. The winners of the 2018 season highlighted the numerous environmental and performance-related benefits of using E10 in their boat. For nearly 30 years, E10 has been used in all types of marine engines and the fuel blend is approved for use by all major marine engine manufacturers, helping to clean the air and water,” he added.

“This season, we are excited about continuing to engage with boaters and anglers about the benefits of the renewable corn ethanol they fill up their boats with throughout the tournament trail,” said NCGA Ethanol Action Team Chair and Missouri farmer Jay Schutte. “America’s corn farmers produce an abundant and reliable crop that’s used to produce ethanol. Not only are there a number of environmental benefits to fuel blended with 10 percent ethanol, but as the world’s cleanest and most affordable octane source, ethanol helps maximize engine performance.”

Crappie Masters Television will also highlight each tournament. The weekly show can be found on the Pursuit Channel, which is on DIRECTV 604, Dish Network 393, Verizon, CenturyLink and Roku.

The next Crappie Masters Tournament Trail event is Feb. 8-9 at Lake Talquin in Gadsden County, Fla. The 2019 Crappie Masters Tournament Trail season runs through Sept. 28.

Secretary of Agriculture to Speak at 2019 Cattle Industry Convention

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue will speak at the 2019 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show in New Orleans, La., Feb. 1, 2019. Perdue will give his remarks at the Closing General Session of the event, being held Jan. 30 – Feb. 1, 2019 at the New Orleans Convention Center. He will address the farm bill, trade and other issues affecting the state of American agriculture.

The convention is the largest gathering of cattle industry professionals in the country, and the NCBA Trade Show will feature more than 350 exhibitors on 7+ acres. The annual meetings of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, American National CattleWomen, CattleFax and National Cattlemen’s Foundation will also be held at this event.

NCBA President and California cattleman Kevin Kester says the industry is honored to host Secretary Perdue at the Convention. “There are many issues facing those who make their livings in the cattle industry, so It’s great that Secretary Perdue will share his thoughts and his agency’s plans with us at the Convention,” Kester said. “We have more than 7,000 people already pre-registered for the event, and we should have a record turnout. Those in attendance at the Closing Session will benefit from hearing what we an industry can expect from government in the coming months and years.” 

Thune Leads Colleagues in Reintroducing Legislation to Permanently Repeal the Death Tax

U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), a member of the tax-writing Senate Finance Committee, joined Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and dozens of his Senate colleagues in reintroducing legislation to permanently repeal the federal estate tax, more commonly known as the death tax. Thune’s bill, the Death Tax Repeal Act of 2019, would finally end this purely punitive tax that has the potential to hit family-run farms, ranches, and businesses as the result of the owner’s death.

Thune led the Senate’s effort to repeal the estate tax while Congress considered the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) in 2017. Although the final version of the TCJA did not repeal the death tax, the law doubled the individual estate and gift tax exclusion to $10 million ($11.4 million in 2019 dollars) through 2025, which will prevent more families from being affected by this tax.

“Although we made great progress during the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act negotiations, the death tax still remains an onerous and unfair tax that punishes hard-working families,” said Thune. “Oftentimes, family-owned farms and ranches bear the brunt of this tax, which threatens families’ agricultural legacies and makes it difficult and costly to pass these businesses down to future generations. This way of life is integral to so many South Dakota families, which is why I remain committed to removing roadblocks for these family businesses, and we can start by repealing the death tax once and for all.”

“With Senator Thune’s leadership, I am proud to cosponsor this legislation to finally end the unfair death tax,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “It’s the government’s final insult to force grieving families to visit both the undertaker and the IRS on the same day. Our historic tax reform legislation provided major relief from this burden to many Kentuckians – especially those in farming and rural communities. Now is the time for our Democratic colleagues to join us to take the next step to repeal the death tax once and for all.”

“Congress ought to do everything possible to encourage family enterprises to get next generations involved and keep the doors open for business,” said Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley. “It’s getting harder all the time to keep a farm or small business in the family from one generation to the next. The estate tax doesn’t serve any purpose except forcing family farms and family-run businesses to waste precious capital on costly tax planning and in too many cases, paying taxes on income or property that have already been taxed once. Rather than sending even more taxes to Washington, D.C, it would be far better to allow family farms to keep this money so they can invest in the rural communities they are located in to create new opportunities.”

In addition to Thune, McConnell, and Grassley, the bill is cosponsored by U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Ted Cruz (R-Texas),  Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), John Kennedy (R-La.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), David Perdue (R-Ga.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Marco Rubio (R- Fla.), and Todd Young (R- Ind.).

Thune’s bill is supported by the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, NFIB, the Associated General Contractors of America, the Family Business Estate Tax Coalition, Policy and Taxation Group, the National Association of Manufacturers, and many others.

Farm Bureau-Backed Senate Bills Would Alleviate HIT Pain

Two recently introduced, Farm Bureau-supported bills would provide farmers and ranchers with relief from the Health Insurance Tax. The Jobs and Premium Protection Act (S. 80) would repeal the HIT, while the Health Insurance Tax Relief Act of 2019 (S. 172) would suspend the tax for 2020 and 2021.

Most farmers, ranchers and other small businesses do not have a large enough pool of employees to self-insure, so they purchase health insurance for themselves, their families and their employees on the fully insured market. The HIT, enacted as part of the Affordable Care Act, is levied on health insurance companies that operate in the fully insured marketplace and is directly passed on to individuals and small businesses that purchase their own insurance.

There is moratorium on the collection of the HIT during 2019 but in 2020 the HIT will collectively add an estimated $16 billion to the cost of coverage for individuals, small businesses, families and others.  This works out to an average $500 in added health insurance premiums per family.

The Senate bills address one of farmers and ranchers’ major concerns with the tax—its steep cost, American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall wrote in letters to Sens. John Barasso (R-Wyo.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), original cosponsors of both bills, and Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.), also original cosponsors of the measure that would suspend the HIT through 2021.

Duvall said the organization would work with the senators to secure passage of the bills.

CWT Assists with 5.6 million Pounds of Dairy Product Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) member cooperatives accepted 17 offers of export assistance from CWT that helped them capture sales contracts for 4.343 million pounds (1,970 metric tons) of Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese; 169,756 pounds (77 metric tons) of butter and 1.124 million pounds (510 metric tons) of whole milk powder. These products are going to customers in Asia, Central America, the Middle East, Oceania and South America. The product will be delivered during the period from February through July 2019.

CWT-assisted member cooperative 2019 export sales total 11.729 million pounds of American-type cheeses, 707,684 pounds of butter (82% milkfat) and 2.249 million pounds of whole milk powder to 16 countries in six regions. These sales are the equivalent of 140.6 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.

Assisting CWT members through the Export Assistance program positively affects all U.S. dairy farmers and all dairy cooperatives by strengthening and maintaining the value of dairy products that directly impact their milk price. It does this by helping member cooperatives gain and maintain world market share for U.S dairy products. As a result, the program has significantly expanded the total demand for U.S. dairy products and the demand for U.S. farm milk that produces those products.

Making a Difference One Student at a Time- Give FFA Day Helps Fund Future Student Leaders

In just a few weeks, the National FFA Organization will celebrate National FFA Week – a time to celebrate FFA members and share with others the exciting story of the organization that provides the next generation of leaders who will change the world.

National FFA Week is a time for FFA members to host a variety of activities to raise awareness about the role the National FFA Organization plays in the development of agriculture's future leaders and the importance of agricultural education.

As part of the weeklong celebration, the organization will encourage members, supporters and others to share reasons to give to the organization on Tuesday, Feb. 19 – Give FFA Day!

Give FFA Day is an annual 24-hour campaign encouraging the public to support various needs impacting FFA members. Last year, the National FFA Foundation raised more than $161,000 in one day! This year’s goal is to raise $200,000. Members and supporters are being urged to share why they support FFA on social media, by using #GiveFFADAy and set up their own fundraisers. More information can be found here.

So, just how does FFA influence FFA members? Bella Culotta is just one story of how the organization has a global impact.

As a senior in high school from Ithaca, N.Y., Bella joined the TST BOCES New Visions FFA Chapter and quickly developed a passion for international agriculture. Bella then received an all-expenses-paid trip to the three-day Global Youth Institute hosted by the World Food Prize Foundation. Furthermore, she was selected for an eight-week internship in Nepal where she worked on a solar-powered irrigation pump to improve the quality of life for those who lived in the region. Bella is now attending Cornell University and is considering a double major in applied economics and management with a career ambition of being an agriculture development consultant. Her goal is to educate others on the global food system.

“There are seemingly endless opportunities in FFA. You can do and see so much with the blue jacket, and that is not something to take for granted,” says Bella.

Bella’s story is just one example of how a year in FFA can change a young person’s life. National FFA is committed to offering programs to promote career preparation and leadership development, agricultural literacy, and teacher recruitment and retention.

The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to 669,989 student members who belong to one of 8,630 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The organization is also supported by 459,514 alumni members in 2,236 alumni chapters throughout the U.S.

 "Keep It In Your Plants" Campaign Highlights the Benefits of Nutrient Use Efficiency

Verdesian Life Sciences has launched a satirical marketing campaign aimed at educating growers on the importance of Nutrient Use Efficiency (NUE™). The campaign encourages farmers to "Keep It In Their Plants", and demonstrates how Verdesian's NUE solutions help them make better use of their fertilizer dollars by increasing plant nutrient uptake.

"Verdesian Life Sciences is dedicated to providing nutrient use efficiency solutions that allow farmers to make the most out of their fertilizer investment," said Paul Beck, Vice President of Global Marketing. "This campaign is an engaging way to help farmers learn more about how nutrient use efficiency can work to make their farms more profitable."

Nutrient loss is a common issue that negatively impacts farmers' profitability and the environment overall by leading to larger input costs and unnecessary use of fertilizer. By making use of NUE solutions, farmers can maximize nutrient uptake, lessen their input costs and minimize their impact on their soil.

The campaign introduces a farmer who is intent on getting the most from his field by trying the latest in "pop-culture" trends. While the methods he tries are satirical, the campaign takes an informative approach to provide insights to growers on how nutrient use efficiency can benefit their farms. Verdesian has also created a microsite containing a video to explain the concept of NUE, and encourages farmers to visit the site to learn more and share its content.  Farmers can share their NUE best practices on their preferred social media platform using the hashtag #keepitinyourplants.

"Verdesian Life Sciences believes that sustainability and profitability go hand in hand," added Beck. "It is our dedication to helping farmers get the most from their investment that makes us the 'nutrient use efficiency people'. Farmers can continue to rely on Verdesian to deliver products that help them keep nutrients in their crops, where they belong."

Farmers are encouraged to visit to learn more about the benefits that nutrient use efficiency can bring to their business.

ANVOL Nitrogen Stabilizer with DUROMIDE Technology is Now Available

Koch Agronomic Services (Koch) announced today that DUROMIDE™, its next-generation active ingredient, has received federal registration from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The Koch-developed and patented DUROMIDE technology is only found in ANVOL™ nitrogen stabilizer, which is now available for purchase in the U.S.

ANVOL stabilizer features dual active ingredients including DUROMIDE and NBPT. DUROMIDE was designed to extend the protection of nitrogen currently offered by NBPT. With optimal amounts of two active ingredients working in tandem, ANVOL gets to work faster and provides a longer duration of protection from nitrogen loss through volatilization. This helps growers maximize nitrogen availability in their fields providing a higher return on investment while minimizing environmental impact.

With its intelligent design, DUROMIDE has proven to deliver protection in a wide range of soil environments. The added longevity that only DUROMIDE provides increases the opportunity for nitrogen to be moved into the soil and not lost to the environment through volatilization.

“ANVOL offers the longest-available protection against volatilization losses. This extra window of time can make a tremendous difference to growers who don’t experience adequate rainfall or aren’t able to mechanically incorporate their fertilizer after application,” says Dr. Greg Schwab, director of agronomy for Koch. “We’re excited ANVOL will be available to help growers throughout the U.S. maintain their yield potential.”

Research Proves Efficacy of ANVOL

When the nitrogen contained in urea and UAN is left unprotected, it can escape the soil through ammonia volatilization. In a Louisiana State University trial, ANVOL reduced cumulative ammonia loss to 12 percent compared to losses of more than 30 percent with untreated urea.1 Additionally, in recent studies across eight site years3conducted between 2016 and 2018, urea treated with ANVOL increased corn yield by an average of 31 bu/acre compared to untreated urea.2

Along with the stability, consistent performance and longevity ANVOL provides, its high active ingredient concentration enables a low application rate. This results in more efficient coating operations, a drier blend and overall reduced labor demands.

Friday January 25 Ag News

Randy Pryor, Extension Educator, Saline County

I had an inquiry from a Saline County farmer who both he and his wife, within a couple of years, a kidney removed due to cancer.  Water tests for nitrates, heavy metals, arsenic and uranium were all negative.  He wanted to learn more if his pesticide use in his farming career could have been a factor.  He admitted he didn’t use personal protective equipment like I have preached at applicator trainings but now it was hitting home.  Kidney cancer is very low incidence in Nebraska, let alone both he and his spouse?

I looked at the National Agricultural Health study which is a highly regarded cohort study where more than 89,000 farmers and spouses in Iowa and North Carolina have been monitored concerning their health since 1993. More specifically, the study included 52,394 licensed private pesticide applicators (mostly farmers) from Iowa and North Carolina, as did 32,345 of their spouses. UNL Professor Emeritus Larry Schulze emphasized the high credibility that this ongoing study has.

As a cohort study, the Ag Health Study enrolled participants, collected their detailed medical history, and then monitored these individuals over the years for any health developments. Over time, participants are re-contacted to learn of changes in health, for updated information on farming practices, lifestyle, and health and they were asked to complete a dietary questionnaire and provide a sample of cheek cells as a source of DNA.  That is the beauty of a cohort study.

In contrast, a case health study contacts individuals that have known cases of health concerns and attempts to search backwards in time to determine the causes of illnesses, the sources of exposures to pathogens and/or chemical/environmental residues.  In case studies, information that is collected is fully dependent upon the memories of the participants. These data automatically can be incorrect. In many situations, information is collected from participants' survivors, which can be highly unreliable.

Schulze found only one report concerning kidney cancer since the study began 26 years ago and it was related to cigarette smoking.  No report has been published from the Ag Health Study that associated any pesticide (which includes herbicides) with kidney cancers, however, there are some disturbing trends.

A higher incidence of Parkinson’s disease was associated with some applicators using Paraquat, Permethrin or Trifluralin (Treflan).  It was not associated with those applicators who wore gloves and practiced good workplace hygiene.  Of note, a chemical called “MPTP” causes Parkinson’s like symptoms. MPTP is chemically similar to Paraquat herbicide.

The study indicated significant increases of the risk of aggressive prostate cancer associated with four older insecticides: Fonofos (organophosphate, no longer registered for use), Malathion (organophosphate), Terbufos (organophosphate), and Aldrin (organochlorine, no longer registered for use).

The study adds further evidence that high level pesticide exposure, such as physician-diagnosed pesticide poisoning, is associated with increased risk of depression with women.

Participants who used the old chlorinated insecticides (Lindane and DDT both now banned for use) were more likely to develop NHL or Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. Researchers state there needs to be further work on a possible link with Terbufos, Diazinon, and Permethrin with NHL.

There is a wide range of exposures in agriculture, including pesticides, solvents, engine exhaust emission, UV light, dust, as well as zoonotic viruses and bacteria. Exposures can vary considerably between occupations, and even between farms, therefore, future research must focus on specific exposures to identify and clarify which risk factors may contribute to the observed pattern of cancer incidence.  For more information on the Ag Health Study, go to:

LENRD Board moves forward with flow meter compliance notifications

All active wells which pump greater than 50 gallons per minute, within the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) boundaries, are required to have a flow meter installed.

The board decided at their January 24th meeting to move forward with sending out compliance notifications to the owners of irrigation wells impacted by the meter installation requirement who have yet to install a meter on their well.

LENRD General Manager, Mike Sousek, said, “We have been working diligently with well owners in our district to help them understand the installation requirements, and have provided financial assistance to many property owners to incentivize them to install water meters.  Irrigation well owners had a deadline of January 1, 2018, while all other high-capacity well owners had until January 1, 2019 to get their meters installed.”

Sousek said, “We are here to answer your questions and develop a plan.  We know there are cases where excavation may need to occur after the ground thaws, and we are working with those individuals.  If you still need to install your meter, and you haven’t developed an installation timeline and plan with our staff, you will be receiving correspondence that articulates the next steps.”

Those individuals who receive a compliance notification in the mail will have until April 1, 2019 to install their meters, if they wish to irrigate in 2019.  If meters are not installed by April 1, a notice of intent to issue a cease and desist order will follow.  The letter will also provide reference to the consequences that could occur, if a well owner elects to ignore the requirement.

Sousek continued, “Some individuals may still be asking, why meters?  The board has long supported the use of flow meters as another groundwater management tool by first adopting an installation requirement for any new high capacity well in July of 2007.  After the drought of 2012, it became very evident that we needed to be proactive in the management of our groundwater since numerous in-season shortages were reported across the district, from all types of groundwater users (irrigators, public water supply systems, livestock, and domestic) with a high number of impacts being felt in Madison, Pierce and Wayne Counties during the 2012 irrigation season.  Quantity management sub-areas were delineated within those counties which required the installation of flow meters on irrigation wells.  More recent changes to the District’s Rules and Regulations for Groundwater Management made flow meter installation mandatory on all other high capacity wells effective January 1, 2018 for irrigation wells and January 1, 2019 for other types of high capacity wells located within the District.  With meters installed across the district, we can be better equipped to handle a drought and share the water in a manageable way.  Meters not only protect the farmers, the domestic users, and the cities, but they also protect the resource.”

Sousek said, “The meters protect current water users and allow for the development of new water users.  They provide a fair and equitable measurement that will allow the LENRD to manage groundwater and provide policies that concentrate on sharing our most precious resource among all users.  Should allocations ever be needed, all stakeholders will be treated equally through the meter program.  Meters can also be a very effective learning tool in measuring how much water is needed to grow a crop.”

In other business, eight board members recently took the Oath of Office and settled into their four-year terms.  They are: Chad Korth, Meadow Grove; Scott Clausen, Norfolk; Scott McHenry, Norfolk; Bob Noonan, Humphrey; Kurt Janke, Wayne; Dennis Schultz, Wisner; Roger Gustafson, Emerson; and Joel Hansen, Wayne.

The board also elected officers for 2019.  The Executive Board is Joel Hansen, Wayne, Nebraska Association of Resources Districts (NARD) Alternate; Dennis Schultz, Wisner, Past-Chairman; Scott McHenry, Norfolk, NARD Delegate; David Kathol, Norfolk, Treasurer, Matt Steffen, West Point, Secretary; Gary Loftis, Craig, Chairman; and Kurt Janke, Wayne, Vice-Chairman.

The next LENRD board meeting will be Thursday, February 28th at 7:30 p.m. at the LENRD office at 1508 Square Turn Boulevard in Norfolk.  Stay connected with the LENRD by subscribing to their email list at

NeCGA Tours St. Louis Locks & Dam

Join Nebraska Corn for a complimentary tour of the Melvin Price Locks and Dam as well as the Bunge Shuttle Loading Facility along the Mississippi River. This trip is open to all corn growers, but space is limited. If you are interested in participating in this day tour, please call the NeCGA office at (402) 438-6459 or email Morgan Wrich, Director of Grower Services, at

The flight to St. Louis will leave from Omaha at 6:20 AM on Tuesday, March 26th. Hotel rooms are available in Omaha for those who would prefer to drive in the evening before.

RSVP's for this day tour are due February 8th!

Nebraska Ag College to Host Visit Day Feb. 13

The University of Nebraska--Lincoln's College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources is offering potential students a glimpse at what it means to be a member of the CASNR community. The college's annual Experience the Power of Red Visit Day will be from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Feb. 13.

With 30 diverse majors and a pre-professional program, the agricultural college creates an educational experience and positions students to have a lasting and impactful career that aligns with their passion. During the event, attendees will meet faculty, staff and current students to see what life in the college is like. Experience the Power of Red Visit Day will not only expose potential students to their academic future, but also the unique living-learning spaces on campus.

"CASNR is focused on fostering an inclusive environment that empowers students to be difference makers in the college, the state and the world," said Sue Ellen Pegg, college relations director. "We look forward to showing potential students what that means at Experience the Power of Red Visit Day."

The visit will begin with refreshments and a browsing session, where students will get a brief introduction to each department in the college. Following a welcome at 9:15 a.m., students and parents will attend academic sessions that offer more in-depth information about each academic program. The event concludes with lunch and a scholarship drawing at 11:45 a.m. Optional tours of City Campus and East Campus will begin at noon.

Advance registration is required by Feb. 6. To register and see the complete schedule, visit

For more information, visit or contact Pegg at 402-472-0615 or

Pork Producers name Youth Leadership Team at Iowa Pork Congress

Gracie Greiner, Washington; Carli Grau, Newell; and Isaac Wiley, Walker are the 2019 Iowa Pork Youth Leadership Team. They will spend the next 12 months representing Iowa pork producers and educating others about pig production and pork.

There were seven contestants who participated in the final portion of the contest that included two days of interviews, demonstrations of their outreach skills, and testing on their knowledge of pork and pig production. The top female contestant is crowned pork queen and the top remaining contestants, male or female, are named youth ambassadors.

Greiner, who is a senior at Washington High School, is the 2019 Iowa Pork Queen. Grau and Wiley are Pork Ambassadors. Each receives a $4000 scholarship and plaque noting their achievement. But according to their predecessors, the most valuable thing they will receive is many growth and leadership experiences. Over the next year, they will participate in public activities promoting pork and pig production from county activities around Iowa to the Iowa State Fair, World Pork Expo, and events in Washington, D.C.

Greiner, who is also the Washington County Pork Queen, is the daughter of Shaun and Heather Greiner of Washington. She plans to attend Iowa State University in the fall and major in animal science. Her hopes are to build on that experience and to become a large animal veterinarian serving southeast Iowa.

Grau is a former state FFA officer and is now a student at Des Moines Area Community College. The daughter of Shannon Grau-Quail and the late Gordon Grau of Newell also plans to attend Iowa State University in the fall and study agriculture and life science education. Her plan is to teach high school ag education.

Wiley, a senior at Vinton-Shellsburg High School, plans to study agriculture business this fall at Iowa State University. He plans to use that education to build a career in the pork industry. Wiley is the son of Todd and Denise Wiley of Walker, and has been active in sports, church and 4-H activities, and served as a District FFA officer, too.

The contestants were judged on their outreach skills, community involvement and experience, and knowledge about pork and pig production.

Iowa Corn Discusses 4R Plus at the Iowa Power Farming Show

Iowa Corn is hosting a panel discussion at the Iowa Power Farming Show January 29 and 30, 2019. Join Iowa farmers and Iowa Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, Julie Kenney, as they make their business cases for healthier soils. Utilizing the 4R Plus approach of precise nutrient management and conservation practices provides nutrients when the crop needs them and improves soil and water quality. This approach makes the most of your most valuable asset – the soil beneath your feet. Moderated by Successful Farming Executive Editor, Betsy Freese.

While there, visit Iowa Corn booth #852 at the east entrance to the Community Choice Convention Center. ICGA members who stop at the booth get a free Iowa Corn T-Shirt (while supplies last). If you are not a member, you are able to sign up at the booth and receive a tumbler and beef certificate.

WHAT: Iowa Power Farming Show
WHEN: January 29 and 30, 2019
WHERE: Iowa Events Center, 833 5th Ave, Des Moines, IA
January 29, 11:15AM Room 311
    Julie Kenney, Iowa Deputy Secretary of Agriculture and Story County farmer
    Denny Friest, Hardin County farmer
    Ralph Lents, Adair County farmer
January 30, 11:15AM Room 311
    Julie Kenney, Iowa Deputy Secretary of Agriculture and Story County farmer
    Doug Adams, Humboldt County farmer
    Stuart Swanson, Wright County farmer

IFBF, IDALS sponsor cover crop workshop

Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) is proud to sponsor a Cover Crop Workshop in Ankeny, where farmers can learn how cover crops can improve their yields and soil structure, while also being an important part of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.

Iowa Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Julie Kenney will provide an update for the Nutrient Reduction Strategy at the event, which takes place January 29 at the Mistress Brewing Company, 1802 North Ankeny Boulevard, in Ankeny.  The event begins at 5:00 p.m. with a ‘mix and mingle’, followed by dinner, the address by Deputy Kenney and a local farmer panel, where farmers are invited to ask questions and learn more from those who use many varieties of cover crops.

The Cover Crop Workshop is one of several events to be held in 2019 by the Iowa Seed Corn Cover Crops Initiative, which is a project developed by the Iowa Seed Association in conjunction with the Agribusiness Association of Iowa, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, and Iowa Corn Grower’s Association.  The project is funded by a grant from the Iowa Department of Agriculture under their Clean Water Initiative program, which got underway in 2016.  To RSVP for the Ankeny Cover Crop Workshop, email or call 641-861-2280.

Meetings Will Look at Iowa Cow Systems Project, Offer Tours

Iowa is home to 4.2 percent of the United States’ beef cattle inventory, the seventh-largest number of any state in the country. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach beef specialist Denise Schwab said a project conducted through the Iowa Beef Center worked with 28 producers to characterize three production management systems.

“The traditional or conventional system consists of pasture grazing during the growing season and winter feeding of harvested or purchased feed in either a lot or open area,” Schwab said. “The second is an extensive grazing system, which aims to have cows grazing most of the year with little supplemental feeds. The third system is a limited grazing system where most of the feed is harvested and cows are confined in a building or drylot for much of the time.”

Findings from this project form the basis of a new Iowa cow systems manual, “Sustainably Growing Iowa’s Beef Herds: Evaluating Systems That Provide Economic Opportunities While Protecting Soil and Water Resources." The manual includes data collected on production cost records, feed usage and management, forage quality, soil samples and soil loss based on land use and conservation practices. Case studies were developed to demonstrate successful practices in each production system, and example budgets and decision tools helped evaluate which system best fit their individual resources.

“Cow-calf enterprises can have a positive impact on the environment when well-managed,” Schwab said. “For example, incorporating rotational or permanent pastures into crop rotations can increase organic matter and reduce soil erosion.”

This message and the economic opportunities of each cow system will be delivered by Schwab and fellow extension beef specialists at meetings to be held in late February. In addition to the results of the project, three locations will offer tours of cooperator operations. Attendance is free, thanks to sponsorship of Iowa Farm Bureau, Farm Credit Services of America and the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture.

Meeting dates, times and locations

-    Feb. 20, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Guthrie Activity Center, 209 State St., Guthrie Center. Tour Curtis, Molly and Mike Clark’s farm, Linden.
-    Feb. 21, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Carpenter’s Hall, 1215 Court Ave., Chariton. Tour Duane and Jodi Steenhoek’s farm.
-    Feb. 26, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Jones County Extension & Expo Hall, 800 N. Maple St., Monticello. Tour Lubben’s White Oak Farms, Monticello.
-    Feb. 27, 1-3 p.m. – Hancock County Extension, 327 W 8th St., Garner. No tour.
-    Feb. 28, 6-9 p.m. – Meyers Seed, 5204 Highway 63, Montezuma. No tour.

This project was originally funded by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture and transitioned to the Iowa Nutrient Research Center. Staff time and expenses also were committed by the Iowa Beef Center and ISU Extension and Outreach.

Preregistrations for all locations are due Feb. 15. To preregister, call the Iowa Beef Center at 515-294-BEEF (2333) and leave your name, phone number and email address, along with the location you plan to attend. You also can email and provide the same information.

Tentative Deal Reopens Government for Three Weeks

President Trump and congressional leaders have reached a tentative deal to reopen the government for three weeks while negotiations over border security funding continue, according to congressional aides.

The deal -- would amount to at least a temporary concession by Trump to Democrats -- wouldn't provide immediate funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, administration officials said. The deal would fund the government through Feb. 15 and start negotiations between the House and Senate over a full-year bill funding the Homeland Security Department, which oversees the border, aides said.

For weeks, Democrats have urged the president to reopen the government while negotiations continue. Republican senators have been talking with increasing urgency in recent days about passing a stopgap spending bill.

The stopgap spending bill would include an extension of border security funding at current levels, which includes $1.3 billion for border security but not expressly for a wall.

Current law permits the Department of Homeland Security to build new fencing and levee walls but bars the administration from building a solid concrete border wall. Republicans consider such barriers a wall, while Democrats say this constitutes border security. The White House didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The accord also comes as the effects of the partial government shutdown started to interfere with the nation's air travel. A shortage of air-traffic controllers, who are not paid during the shutdown, prompted the Federal Aviation Administration to delay flights at major U.S. airport Friday, including New York's LaGuardia Airport.

Secretary Perdue Statement on Reopening the Federal Government

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today issued the following statement in response to President Donald J. Trump’s announcement of reopening the federal government:

“President Trump’s announcement of the reopening of the federal government is welcome news, as it will bring thousands of our employees back to work and return us to our mission of providing our customers with the services they rely upon.  I extend my sincere thanks to the thousands of USDA workers who stayed on the job during the shutdown to offer as many of our normal activities as we could.  The President has already signed legislation that guarantees backpay for all employees, and we will move forward on that as soon as possible.  Meanwhile, we will prepare for a smooth reestablishment of USDA functions.

“There will now be sufficient time for Congress to come to an agreement with the President on his pledge to protect our national security by securing our southern border with a reliable, effective barrier.”

AFBF Looks Forward to Government Reopening

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall

“We are encouraged that the federal government will be re-opened for three weeks while Congress and the administration work on a permanent budget solution. At our annual meeting last week, our delegate body from 50 states and Puerto Rico called on President Trump, Speaker Pelosi and all leadership to move quickly to put this shutdown behind us. Farmers have crops to plant, animals to raise and food to sell. We need the Agriculture Department and the rest of the federal government up and running to do the job the American people need us to do.

“We also want to express our great appreciation to the thousands of federal employees at USDA and other agencies who put in long hours without pay these last several weeks to ensure our country was protected and that the services farmers and ranchers depend on remained available.”

NMPF Calls for Fast Farm Bill Implementation as Government Reopens

With the federal government poised to reopen for three weeks after a 35-day partial shutdown that delayed implementation of the 2018 Farm Bill, the National Milk Producers Federation today sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue urging quick implementation of the law’s dairy provisions.

“Dairy farmers have just completed a fourth consecutive year of depressed milk prices and are facing an uncertain outlook for 2019,” wrote Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “We believe that the significant dairy policy reforms we worked successfully with Congress to enact in the new farm bill will be critically important to helping farmers better manage difficult periods of low margins.”

Implementation of the law, passed in December, has been slowed by the recent shutdown. Dairy programs should be fast-tracked because of the nature of farm bill reforms, NMPF said.

“Because the dairy provisions of the law simply modify the pre-existing margin program, it is clear from Congress’ direction that USDA can move forward to enact the new provisions without conducting a formal rulemaking process,” Mulhern wrote. “We encourage you to utilize this flexibility to help add momentum to the process, especially in light of the fact that the government shutdown has delayed the department’s ability to proceed.”

NMPF looks forward to working with USDA on a farmer-friendly sign-up process that gives producers time to understand their options, with quickly updated online tools to streamline the process. The new farm bill includes several critical provisions important to dairy. The new Dairy Margin Coverage program (DMC) offers much more affordable and higher coverage levels than previous initiatives, with all dairy producers able to insure margins up to $9.50/cwt. on their Tier I (first 5 million pounds) production history. The DMC also offers lower-cost $5.00 margin coverage, a higher level of affordable catastrophic protection for operations wishing to cover more than 5 million pounds of production.

U.S. Energy Outlook Report Underscores Need for Higher Ethanol Blends

Federal forecasts in the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) newly released Annual Energy Outlook 2019 (AEO2019) underscore the importance of delivering cleaner, lower cost options to the fuel pump, said Chris Bliley, vice president of regulatory affairs at Growth Energy.

“America’s thirst for clean, affordable fuel options is set to remain strong for decades to come,” said Bliley. “Consumers deserve cleaner, more affordable options, and that’s exactly what higher ethanol blends like E15 can deliver. Regulators at the EPA must act quickly on the president’s pledge and open the door to competition at the fuel pump all year long.”

The EIA report predicts that “motor gasoline and diesel fuel retail prices increase by 76 cents per gallon and 82 cents per gallon, respectively, from 2018 to 2050, largely because of increasing crude oil prices.” The report also finds that light-duty vehicle miles traveled will increase by 20 percent, “growing from 2.9 trillion miles in 2018 to 3.5 trillion miles in 2050 as a result of rising incomes and growing population.” In addition, the EIA reports that “consumption of transportation fuels grows considerably in the reference case between 2018 and 2050.”

McDonald's to Host 'Bacon Hour' on Tuesday

McDonald’s is really going all-in on this bacon thing. Following news of McDonald’s bringing its Cheesy Bacon Fries nationwide, the fast-food chain has announced that it will be hosting a “Bacon Hour” on Jan. 29 at participating restaurants across the country, during which diners will be able to add bacon to any menu item for free.

“When we said there’s no such thing as too much bacon, we weren’t kidding. January 29, we’ll be upping the bacon ante — the bac-ante, if you will — and celebrating this glorious food favorite like never before,” said Michael Haracz, McDonald’s chef and manager of culinary innovation, in a press release.

The promotion comes "in celebration" of McDonald's new, limited-time bacon-inclusive menu items, including the Big Mac Bacon burger, the Quarter Pounder bacon burger, and Cheesy Bacon Fries, to be available the following day on Jan. 30 at participating restaurants, per Nation’s Restaurant News.

According to McDonald’s, customers hoping to take advantage of Mickey D’s upcoming Bacon Hour on Jan. 29 will need to make a purchase between 4 and 5 p.m., at which point they will also receive two half-pieces of Applewood smoked bacon, to do with as they please.

Bacon-heads be warned: McDonald’s says its Bacon Hour promotion will be available at “most” U.S. restaurants, but not at locations in Hawaii, Alaska or U.S. territories.

Thursday January 24 Ag News

Young Farmers and Ranchers Gather in Columbus

Registration is open for the 2019 Young Farmers and Ranchers (YF&R) Conference, Feb. 8-9 at the Ramada Hotel and Conference Center in Columbus. The conference theme is “Growing for Tomorrow” and is presented by Nebraska Farm Bureau and Aurora Cooperative.

“More than 200 young farmers, ranchers, and agribusiness professionals will gain valuable insights into agriculture trends, career opportunities, and knowledge on leading issues facing farmers and ranchers in Nebraska,” said Audrey Schipporeit, director of generational engagement, Jan. 24. “This is a great way for young farmers and ranchers in Nebraska to network and share ideas. The conference offers local tours, innovative breakout sessions, a discussion meet contest, and entertainment.”

The conference begins Feb. 8 with tours of local agribusinesses, including stops at: Pillen Family Farms, Jindra Angus, Duo Lift®, and Behlen. Tour stops are subject to change.

This conference is the start of the YF&R Discussion Meet that qualifies a young farmer or rancher to represent Nebraska at the 2020 American Farm Bureau Federation Discussion Meet. The Discussion Meet is a 25-30 minute competition that simulates a committee meeting where discussion and active participation are expected from each participant. This competition is evaluated on an exchange of ideas and information on a pre-determined topic. Participants build basic discussion skills, develop a keen understanding of important agricultural issues, and explore how groups can pool knowledge to reach consensus and solve problems.

The keynote speaker is Matt Lohr. Lohr was raised on a century farm in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley and developed a passion for farming, working hard, and serving others at a very early age. Matt shares the story of his late wife, Andrea who passed away from breast cancer at the young age of 36. Throughout her journey, she lived in a way that inspired others, glorified God, and showed how life was meant to be embraced. Attendees will leave the session inspired to love others, embrace this precious time on earth, and leave an amazing legacy for all those who follow.

Breakout sessions on Sat., Feb. 9 will cover topics including soil health, family dynamics in farming, tips for successful careers, improving your cow heard, health, growing hops, GMO’s, equipment, and farm policy.

For more information and to register visit Registration includes a t-shirt, all meals, entertainment, tours, and breakout sessions. Registrants will be responsible for making their own hotel reservation and you do not have to be a Farm Bureau member to attend.

Trends in Nebraska Agricultural Land Ownership and Rental Patterns

Jim Jansen, Jay Parsons and Kate Brooks, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

In Nebraska, different types of rental arrangements are used on agricultural land. These arrangements commonly include crop share, cash lease, and cash lease with flexible provisions.

Crop Share: landowner receives a percentage of actual crop yield as payment for leasing the agricultural land to the tenant. The landowner may share input and production costs of raising the crop.

Cash Leases: landowner receives an agreed upon cash payment amount for leasing the agricultural land to the tenant.

Cash lease with Flexible Provisions: landowner and tenant set a base cash rental rate which can flex upon actual crop yields, prices, or a combination of the two. The final cash payment made to the landlord for leasing the agricultural land to the tenant may have premiums or discounts made to the base rate depending upon the agreements set up by the two parties.

Crop and livestock producers across the state of Nebraska were surveyed in July 2016 regarding their farm financial health. Producers were asked questions related to the agricultural land these operations either owned, cash rented, or share leased over the prior five years. A total of 965 surveys were completed representing 1.14 million acres of agricultural land in Nebraska.

Producers were asked to provide the average annual acreage in their operation over the past five years that was irrigated cropland and dryland cropland. Within each category, producers specified the number of acres that were owned, cash rented, or share leased.

Survey responses indicated that, typically, 50 percent of the cropland acres on an operation are owned. The other 50 percent may be rented in either the form of cash leased or crop shared. The Northwest District reported the highest proportion of owned versus rented cropland acreage at 64 percent, while the Central District indicated the lowest percentage at only 42 percent of the acres owned by the operator.

Percentage of Cropland Acres Owned Versus Rented by District in Nebraska

District               Owned       Rented
Northeast           45%              55%
East                    47%               53%
Nebraska            50%               50%

Of the cropland acres that are not owned, over 60 percent are cash rented and the remaining acres are in a share lease. The Northwest district reported the highest proportion of rented acres in share lease arrangements at 78 percent, while the North District reported the lowest with only 2 percent of rented cropland acres in a share lease and 98 percent in a cash lease arrangement. While there may be different variations to cash or flexible leases and crop shares, this survey only asked about general terms and did not go into specific details related to these arrangements.

Percentage of Cropland Acres Cash Leased Versus Crop Shared by District in Nebraska

District               Cash Lease       Crop Share
Northeast              86%                        14%
East                       56%                        44%

Of the total crop acres reported as owned or privately held by the operators, most were owned by operators over the age of 60. Survey participants between the ages of 41 to 60 years old owned about 32 percent of the operator-owned crop and grazing land acres reported in the survey. Operators between 21 and 40 years of age only owned 4 percent of the reported operator-owned acres.

Here are the percentages of rented cropland acres by age group. Survey participants between the ages of 41 and 60 represent the highest percentage of rented acres with 45 percent, followed by survey participants between 61 and 80 years old at 38 percent of the rented acres. The age group between 21 and 40 years old represent only 11 percent of the rented acres. However, this is almost three times higher than the percentage of acres owned by these operators. Not surprisingly, operators over 80 years old accounted for only 7 percent of the rented acres. Survey responses did not suggest any significant differences in the type of lease arrangement by age group.

Further research needs to be developed to determine the impacts these differences may make on a producer’s bottom line. While this article highlights only a few of the differences across the state in crop producers who own and rent cropland, understanding this heterogeneity among producers is important as future extension programs are built.

Farm Futures survey shows farmers mull more corn, fewer soybeans

The U.S. federal government shutdown that postponed key January USDA reports has grain markets on hold. But farmers penciling plans for spring planting are moving ahead with choices according to results of Farm Futures’ latest survey of their intentions for 2019.

Growers said they want to boost corn and cotton acreage, while cutting back on crops affected by China’s import tariffs on soybeans and sorghum. And while USDA previously expected farmers to sow more wheat, uncertain prices and winter wheat planting delays could force a reduction in most classes.

Farm Futures surveyed growers in December and early January, after trade tensions between the U.S. and China eased a little as negotiations resumed to end the dispute. Hopes for an end to tariffs likely convinced some farmers to plan more soybeans than many in the trade expected. The survey reported soybean planting intentions of 84.6 million acres, down 5.5% from 2018, but more than the 82.5 million projected in estimates USDA released in November as a part of its budgeting process. Farm Futures first survey of intentions last summer found acreage of 87.5 million, but that was just as the bite of China’s 25% tariff on U.S. imports was beginning to be felt.

Farm Futures’ initial report had farmers boosting corn acres to 90.8 million, but the latest estimate came in at 90.3 million. While that would be up 1.3% from 2018 it was below the 92 million USDA projected in in November. The agency doesn’t release its first survey of prospective plantings until March 29, though it will update the statistical guess at its annual outlook conference Feb. 21-22.

New crop soybean futures gained on corn over the fall, with the current ratio of 2.35 giving soybeans only a slight edge.

More acres could be in play this spring due to wet conditions and harvest delays that caused fall applications of fertilizer to be very slow. Those same conditions caused a drop in winter wheat seedings to 31.6 million, down 2.7% and 2 million less than Farm Futures summer survey found. But low wheat prices and good soil moisture on the northern Plains could also convince some farmers to plant corn, soybeans and other crops rather than spring wheat. The latest survey found spring wheat intentions of 12.5 million, down 5.3% from 2018. Only durum seedings could rise, moving to 2.5 million after a significant cutback in 2018.

That could take all-wheat acreage to 46.6 million, down 2.5% from 2018.

Cotton continues to draw attention from farmers in the South, following a good rally last summer. Acreage could be up 4.1% this spring to 14.6 million thanks to better prices and soil moisture across the growing region.

Farm Futures summer survey found growers pivoting back to sorghum, a feed grain found mainly on the southwest Plains. But the trade dispute dashed hopes of Chinese imports. The latest survey found farmers planning to cut “milo” seedings 12.1% to 5.1 million.

Farm Futures surveyed 626 farmers from Dec. 7 to Jan. 3. Growers were invited by email to complete an online questionnaire. The survey was released on the first day of the Farm Futures Business Summit in Iowa City, Iowa.

NRD Legislative Conference Brings Together Elected Leaders and Highlights Local Partnerships

Nebraska’s Natural Resources Districts (NRDs) are honored to announce Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts will kick off the Nebraska Association of Resources Districts 2019 Legislative Conference at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Lincoln, Nebraska on Tuesday, January 29th at 8:30 am.  The two-day conference provides an opportunity for NRD leaders, elected officials and many partners from both the public and private sectors to discuss natural resources management policy.   The conference will also provide the more than 400 attendees an opportunity to learn how Nebraska’s NRDs have worked with farmers and ranchers, state and federal agencies, and members of the public to protect Nebraska’s natural resources and the economy.  

Tuesday, January 29th will feature Governor Ricketts and discussion of proposed legislation of interest to Nebraska’s NRDs.   At the Tuesday evening Senators Reception, local NRD leaders are provided an opportunity to meet with their state senators.   Wednesday, January 30th will feature many training and breakout sessions for attendees.

A few important topics that affect all Nebraskans include:
    Lower Platte South Natural Resources District will highlight how their efforts to bring together state and federal agencies, as well as partners from the private sector, led to a historic delisting for E. coli on Lincoln’s Antelope Creek. They will showcase how collaboration led to unique projects being implemented by both public and private entities, ultimately leading to improved water quality. (Tues. Jan. 29, 2019, 9:00 am – 9:45 am, Room: Regents AB)

    Lower Loup NRD and JEO Consulting will highlight efforts by the Lower Loup NRD to utilize partnerships between several state and federal partners to make numerous improvements and expand recreational opportunities for the public at Davis Creek Recreation Area.  They will showcase how the hundreds of NRD projects designed and managed for protecting life and property from flooding, can also offer expanded opportunities for public recreational use, while still serving their primary purposes.  (Wed., Jan. 30, 2019, 9:20 am – 10:05 am, Room: Regents C)

    Nebraska’s NRDs work with teachers, FFA advisors and education partners statewide to provide programs that engage Nebraska’s youth in outdoor natural resources education.  Leaders of these NRD education programs will be on hand to demonstrate new programs that are being developed to expand interest and increase engagement of students across the state.    (Wed. Jan. 30, 2019, 9:20 am – 10:05 am, Room: Chancellor 2/3)

    Protecting soil health is a priority for Nebraska’s NRDs.  In partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), NRDs offer a variety of cost-share and demonstration programs to assist farmers and ranchers across the state.  NRCS will be on hand to highlight recent results collected from one of the soil health programs currently underway.  The presentation will showcase how EQIP funded Demonstration Farms are providing results that will assist producers in working to accomplish the goals of protecting soil health, improving water quality and  maximizing agricultural productivity.   (Wed. Jan 30, 2019, 10:20 am – 11:05 am, Room: Regents C)

Many Nebraska senators will be attending the conference, including the Reception. All events are being held at Embassy Suites-Lincoln at 1040 P St, Lincoln, NE. You can find parking in the parking garage at the corner of Q St. and 11th St in downtown Lincoln.

FFA Members Return from Educational, Cultural Experience in South Africa

During the past two weeks, 83 FFA members visited South Africa for a 12-day educational and cultural experience.

Members participated in the 2019 International Leadership Seminar for State Officers (ILSSO) as an annual, international opportunity through the National FFA Organization. The seminar allows FFA members to experience a foreign culture, learn about international agriculture and become more knowledgeable regarding the global marketplace.

Eighty-three past and present state FFA officers representing 26 states left the United States on Jan. 4. The group traveled throughout South Africa while surveying the agricultural landscape. FFA officers met with government and U.S. Embassy officials to learn about U.S. and South African trade relations; toured crop and livestock operations; met with business and industry leaders; and explored a private game reserve that is home to lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos, and buffalo.

“We hope that through a structured experience like ILSSO, students will not only see the importance of agriculture on an international level but understand it is essential to feeding the world,” says Eric Nelson, program manager with the National FFA Organization. “This seminar exposes students to culture and food production practices beyond what they are accustomed to in the United States,” Nelson says.

Prior to departing the United States, the students completed eight weeks of online coursework related to cross-cultural adaptability. The program was made possible by corporate sponsors Bunge North America and John Deere.

Those students who participated in the trip were: Maggie Edwards of Graham, Ala.; Summer Parker of Enterprise, Ala.; Zachary Andrews of Camden, Ark.; Brenna Cannon of Jonesboro, Ark.; Lauren Murtagh of Sharon, Conn.; Jake Fitzpatrick of Wimauma, Fla.; Artha Jonassaint of Okeechobee, Fla.; Justus Jones of Trenton, Fla.; Elanie Mason of Parrish, Fla.; Tylre Potter of Deltona, Fla.; Kendall Prescott of Lake Placid, Fla.; Hannah Wagner of Ocoee, Fla.; Dellon Barber of Donalsonville, Ga.; Alexis M. Berte of Algona, Iowa; Gweneth Black of Jefferson, Iowa; Laken Mullinix of Akron, Iowa; Harrison Jansen van Beek of Caldwell, Idaho; Caleb Johnston of New Plymouth, Idaho; Saydee Longhurst of Idaho Falls, Idaho; Melanie Searle of Burley, Idaho; Savanah Stroeble of Kuna, Idaho; Garrett, Craig of Wakefield, Kan.; Miranda Depenbusch of Udall, Kan.; Michael Dowd of Olathe, Kan.; Max Harman of Inman, Kan.; Krissy Isle of Independence, Kan.; Scuyler Zenger of Washington, Kan.; Mattie Mink of Elizabethtown, Ky.; Jack Sisson of Westport, Mass.; Adelia Chandan of Mount Airy, Md.; Jasmine Coates of Forest Hill, Md.; Sydnie Grossnickle of Unionbridge, Md.; Guilianna Kukor of Frederick, Md.; Sabrina Mann of Walkersville, Md.; Jesse Walls of Hancock, Md.; Kristin Klager of Saline, Mich.; Laura Church of Hastings, Minn.; Lauralee Marie Eaton of Pine Island, Minn.; James Mathiowetz of New Prague of Minn.; Grace Taylor of Randolph, Minn.; Kegan Zimmerman of Lamberton, Minn.; Colleen Ellzey of Ellisville, Miss.; AK Mynatt of Corinth, Miss.; Seth Rekdal of Shepherd, Mont.; Halie Andreasen of St. Edward, Neb.; Brooke Bell of David City, Neb.; Graden Marshall Johnson of Holdrege, Neb.; Marie Meis of Elgin, Neb.; Amanda Most of Ogallala, Neb.; Jordan Popp of Broken Bow, Neb.; Christine Albrecht of Belleplain, N.J.; Josh Loew of Newport, N.J.; Jake Newkirk of Bridgeton, N.J.; Jamie Specca of Bordentown, N.J.; Kait Tallamy of Phillipsburg, N.J.; Olivia Parkin of Warwick, N.Y.; Austin Becker of Plain City, Ohio; Gretchen Lee of Pettisville, Ohio; Andrew Gmirkin of Trail, Ore.; Mackenzie Price of Oakland, Ore.; Holly Silvey of Bend, Ore.; Sundee Speelmon of Nyssa, Ore.; Devin Thacker of Canby, Ore.; Dylan Westfall of Hermiston, Ore.; Cristina LaPaglia of South Kingstown, R.I.; April Hamilton of Hitchcock, S.D.; Anna Grace Brown of Humboldt, Tenn.; Chloe Ford of Jonesborough, Tenn.; Garrett Franklin of Celina, Tenn.; Tarrah Ivy of Decaturville, Tenn.; Luke Love of Murfreesboro, Tenn.; Makenzie Moorhead of Taft, Tenn.; Ruth Fitzgerald of Arrington, Va.; Newlin Humphrey of Palmyra, Va.; Ethan Jackson of Moneta, Va.; Kendall Knicely of Bridgewater, Va.; Nathan McDonald of Strasburg, Va.; Matthew Myers of Culpeper, Va.; Claire Siebel of Roanoke, Va.; Katherine Thompson of Cross Junction, Va.; Zach Schilter of Chehalis, Wash.; Elizabeth Ours of Maysville, W.Va.;

Students shared their experience throughout their trip on Twitter and Instagram. To see a recap of their adventures, visit:

The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to 669,989 student members who belong to one of 8,630 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The organization is also supported by 459,514 alumni members in 2,236 alumni chapters throughout the U.S.

Cost of Production Estimates Available in Ag Decision Maker

Accurately estimating cost of crop production will be vital for farmers in 2019. With a market outlook in 2019 similar to 2018, farmers will face another year of marketing challenges.

The first step toward knowing a profitable sales price is understanding input costs. The January issue of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach’s Ag Decision Maker provides information on costs through its annual “Estimated Costs of Crop Production in Iowa” report.

“Having a firm handle on one’s cost of production provides a key piece of information to any strong marketing plan,” said Alejandro Plastina, assistant professor and extension economist at Iowa State University. “Marketing strategies for farmers include forward pricing, setting a quantity-only marketing plan or using the spot market. The price consequences of these decisions are substantial.”

The report estimates the cost of production for continuous corn to be $3.93, $3.91 and $3.88 per bushel for expected yields of 164, 182 and 200 bushels per acre, respectively. The estimated costs of production per bushel for corn following soybeans are $3.39, $3.39 and $3.38 assuming 178, 198 and 218 bushels per acre, respectively.

Cost of production estimates, per bushel, for herbicide tolerant soybeans are $9.21, $9.04 and $8.86 assuming 50, 56 and 62 bushels per acre, respectively. The total cost per bushel of soybeans is projected at $9.13 for non-herbicide tolerant beans at 56 bushels per acre.

“The average price for corn is near $3.90 per bushel in recent projections for the 2019 marketing year, showing the potential for a slight profit for most yield levels,” Plastina said. “Projections for soybean prices give a more negative outlook at $8.75 per bushel.”

According to the most recent projections, a rented acre of corn following soybeans would need to produce 172 bushels of corn to break even, while a rented acre of genetically modified soybeans would need to produce 58 bushels to break even. However, a rented acre of corn following corn would need to produce 183 bushels of corn to break even.

The highest portion of the cost of production for corn following corn, corn following soybeans and herbicide tolerant soybeans is land, followed by machinery, seed and fertilizer. A full breakdown of estimated costs of production is available through Ag Decision Maker or by accessing ISU Extension and Outreach publication FM 1712 “Estimated Costs of Crop Production in Iowa.”

“Producers need to have a strong grasp of their own production costs,” Plastina said. “Costs of production are not seeing the rapid fluctuations that were seen in recent years, but current prices still create a lot of uncertainty when it comes to profitability on individual operations. Knowing costs is key.”

Iowa Pork Invests in Continued Water Quality Progress

The Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA) is once again partnering with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) to offer funding for pig farmers interested in implementing new nutrient loss reduction technologies.

IPPA has provided $25,000 to IDALS to help offset up to 50 percent of the costs for pig farmers to install saturated buffers or bioreactors on their farm land. Preference is given to sites that provide the greatest opportunity for nitrate reduction and will be geographically dispersed throughout the state to aid in education and demonstration opportunities.

“This additional $25,000 investment by the Iowa Pork Producers Association will help support our efforts to scale-up the adoption of these edge-of-field practices focused on improving water quality. Both bioreactors and saturated buffers are still fairly new practices. This investment will help us continue to place these practices throughout the state to show farmers how they might fit in their operation,” said Mike Naig, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture. “Thank you to the Iowa Pork Producers Association for continuing to invest in water quality efforts in our state.”

“IPPA is very pleased to continue this successful partnership with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. We know public/private partnerships such as this continue to drive momentum of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy,” said IPPA President Gregg Hora, a pig farmer from Fort Dodge. “This brings IPPA’s support of these efforts to $75,000.”

This is the third year of funding committed by IPPA. Past funding has assisted in completing 11 projects, with an additional 10 projects under development. These efforts help remove nitrogen from water before it reaches our creeks, streams and rivers. “This is how we keep moving the needle on improving Iowa’s water quality,” Hora said.

Bioreactors are excavated pits filled with woodchips, with tile drainage water flowing through the woodchips. As water from the tile line passes into the bioreactor, denitrifying bacteria converts nitrate into di-nitrogen gas.

Saturated buffers divert water flowing through underground tile lines into buffers along a river or stream, aiding nutrient removal before the water enters the waterway.

This new offering from IPPA builds on its continuing efforts in support of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy, including cover crop research, field day support and educational outreach. Producers who qualify and use these dollars from IPPA will be asked to share information and experiences with other farmers through IPPA and IDALS programs.

Hog farmers interested in participating can contact either Drew Mogler at IPPA at (800) 372-7675 or; or Matt Lechtenberg at IDALS at (515) 281-3857 or

“Through our funding of this effort, support of research on conservation practices at Iowa State University, and continued investments in the Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance and many other projects, Iowa pork producers remain committed to continuous improvement of their practices and the quality of Iowa water,” Hora said. “Pig farmers take environmental management and regulations designed to protect our natural resources very seriously. Pig manure is a valuable crop nutrient and we are dedicated to making sure its use does not impair Iowa’s water quality. It is our responsibility as farmers to make things better for the future.”

The Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy science assessment cites an average 4 percent reduction in Nitrate loss and up to 46 percent reduction in Phosphorous loss when using swine manure as a nutrient source compared to commercial fertilizer, while also having positive impacts on soil organic carbon, soil structure and runoff. Research from the University of Arkansas shows that efficiencies of modern pork production enabled pig farmers to reduce water use 41 percent land use 78 percent and carbon footprint 35 percent from 1959-2009.

FCSIC board of directors approves insurance premiums for 2019; Insurance Fund finishes 2018 above secure base amount

The Farm Credit System Insurance Corporation board of directors has voted to maintain the insurance premium assessment rate on the adjusted insured debt of Farm Credit System (System) banks at a rate of 9 basis points for 2019. FCSIC will continue to assess a 10-basis-point risk surcharge on nonaccrual loans and other-than-temporarily impaired investments.

“At year-end 2018, insured debt was $281.8 billion, up by approximately $16.5 billion from year-end 2017,” said Jeffery Hall, chairman of the FCSIC board of directors. “The board decided to maintain the premium rate on adjusted insured debt because debt growth in 2019 is expected to be similar to 2018,” said Chairman Hall. Growth in adjusted insured debt was 6.2 percent in 2018.

Because of the premium assessments and investment earnings, the Insurance Fund finished 2018 above the statutory 2 percent secure base amount (SBA). Based on preliminary results as of Dec 31, 2018, the Insurance Fund level was $66 million above the SBA (or 2.03 percent of adjusted insured debt outstanding).

After deducting its operating expenses, FCSIC is required to transfer funds in excess of the SBA to an allocated insurance reserves account established for each System bank. After all year-end results are finalized, including reports of System institutions on their condition and performance, the board will consider using its discretionary authority under the Farm Credit Act to make payments from the allocated insurance reserves accounts.

Twice a year, the FCSIC board reviews the insurance premium rate and makes adjustments, if necessary, to maintain the secure base amount, which is 2 percent of the adjusted insured debt outstanding at System banks. FCSIC will review premium rates again in June 2019. The board bases its premium review on the following:
-    An assessment of the current level of the Insurance Fund and the projected growth of insured obligations
-    The likelihood of any potential Insurance Fund losses
-    The financial condition of the System banks and associations
-    The outlook for the agricultural economy
-    Any risks in the financial environment

FCSIC is managed by a three-member board of directors. In addition to Chairman Hall, Dallas Tonsager and Glen Smith serve as members of the board.

Weekly Ethanol Production for 1/18/2019

 According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association, ethanol production contracted 1.9% (down 20,000 barrels per day, or b/d) to an average of 1.031 million b/d—or 43.30 million gallons daily. The four-week average for ethanol production declined to 1.023 million b/d for an annualized rate of 15.68 billion gallons.Weekly production was 2.9% lower than the level a year ago, while the four-week average was 1.4% lower.

Stocks of ethanol were 23.5 million barrels, up 0.4%. This reflects the fourth straight week of progressive increases of 0.1 million barrels/week.

There were zero imports recorded for the tenth week in a row. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of October 2018.)

Gasoline demand has at last lifted from the prevailing doldrums experienced during the holidays and Winter Storm Gia. Average weekly gasoline supplied to the market scaled up 3.5% to a four-week high of 8.868 million b/d (372.5 million gallons per day), equivalent to 135.95 billion gallons annualized. Refiner/blender input of ethanol followed 2.4% higher (up 21,000 b/d) at 883,000 b/d—equivalent to 13.54 billion gallons annualized. However, the ethanol content in gasoline supplied to the market averaged 9.96%, down from 10.06% the previous week.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production dropped to 11.63%.

Peterson Announces House Agriculture Subcommittee Chairs for the 116th Congress

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson of Minnesota announced the election of the Chairs of the six House Agriculture Subcommittees following the Committee’s Democratic Caucus organizational meeting today in Washington.
-    David Scott of Georgia will chair the Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy and Credit.
-    Jim Costa of California will chair the Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture.
-    Marcia Fudge of Ohio will chair the Subcommittee on Nutrition, Oversight and Department Operations.
-    Filemon Vela of Texas will chair the Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management.
-    Stacey Plaskett of the U.S. Virgin Islands will chair the Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture and Research.
-    Abigail Spanberger of Virginia will chair the Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry.

“I look forward to working with each of these talented Subcommittee Chairs,” said Peterson. “They bring a range of experiences and strengths to their work, and each is focused on how the work of their Subcommittee can further our efforts to bring practical solutions to the people we serve.”

Biodiesel Leaders Nationwide “Engage” to Fuel 2019

Hundreds of biodiesel leaders from across the country gathered in San Diego, California this week to ENGAGE in thought provoking discussions to help advance America’s advanced biofuel. During the conference, the National Biodiesel Board celebrated the many accomplishments and milestones of 2018, and got attendees excited about biodiesel’s future in 2019 and beyond.

To honor this year’s theme of ENGAGE, here are some of the major takeaways from the memorable conference:

E – Educate: One of the main goals of the conference is to educate attendees on all things biodiesel and biodiesel related. In order to do that, NBB put together a jam-packed schedule with engaging speakers to offer key information on the latest in the industry. One of the educational sessions was Biodiesel 101, which gave attendees all the basics they needed to know about the biodiesel industry. NBB also hosted sessions on educating the consumer, such as Riding for the Brand, a session designed to share how biodiesel companies can help America’s Advanced Biofuel stand out in a growing field of options for consumers.

N – Navigate: While there is still policy uncertainty, biodiesel experts from across the country shared essential insights to help attendees navigate expectations for the coming years. A focus for many of our biodiesel leaders is federal and state policy, and the impacts they are making in the industry. “It has always been NBB’s strategy to help establish state and regional policies to compliment the federal policies that shape our industry’s market,” says NBB CEO Donnell Rehagen.

During the conference, NBB made sure to cover all policy bases and shared updated information on what 2019 looks like for America’s Advanced Biofuel. The Renewable Fuel Standard, trade, tax incentive, low carbon fuel policies, and Minnesota’s B20 state standard were amongst topics covered.

“Showing our strength, getting down in the trenches and fighting, and securing the support of Congressional allies will continue to be the keys to success,” said Kurt Kovarik, NBB vice president of federal affairs.

G – Gather: This year, we had over 800 biodiesel producers, distributors, retailers, and other industry advocates gather in sunny San Diego for the conference. The National Biodiesel Conference & Expo has been a place for biodiesel enthusiasts to gather since 2004. In fact, NBB has hosted in California five times for the annual event. With each conference, attendees have the opportunity to network with other professionals and get business done.

A – Answer: NBB worked extensively to ensure this year’s conference was interactive and answered all attendee questions about the future of biodiesel. During the conference, professional speakers answered key questions about the biodiesel market, new regulations, critical policies, alternative fuels, biodiesel branding, and environmental impacts. Each mainstage session allowed audience members the ability to write in questions to be answered by the on-stage panel, providing key insights to attendees.

G – Next (G)eneration: Each year the Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel program offers scholarships to college students for an opportunity to participate alongside other industry experts at the conference. The program is intended to foster professional relationships between budding and established scientists, share accurate information, and increase collaboration with academia and the biodiesel industry. At this year’s conference, scholarship winners had the opportunity to share their extensive biodiesel research during a poster session and held a breakout session, One Small Step: The Next Generation of Biodiesel Scientists, to share their key findings and industry breakthroughs.

“The National Biodiesel Conference is a highlight because I get to meet industry experts, hear about key biodiesel issues, and gain a better understanding of the industry dynamics,” said Shyam Paudel, NGSB Co-Chair and student of Missouri University of Science and Technology. “I got the opportunity to present my research and validate my hypothesis by talking to chemists, plant managers, and other biodiesel leaders. Through conversation, I gained insights into the biodiesel supply chain and how policy like the biodiesel tax credit affects the market.”

E – Environment: The environment is always top of mind at the National Biodiesel Conference. Biodiesel’s goal is to promote and advance biodiesel use through sustainable initiatives and practices. Integral sessions discussed how biodiesel companies can commit to the reduction of Greenhouse Gas emissions and advance affordable, domestic renewable fuels to clean the environment.

To close out the conference, NBB went out with a bang in the final session, “To 2022 and Beyond: Renewable Fuels in the Next Decade.” Influential renewable fuel industry leaders discussed the Renewable Fuel Standard and what is on the horizon for 2020.

“Opponents of the RFS early on thought that sustainability might be a weakness to exploit. We knew that was wrong, that science was on our side – but we hadn’t galvanized biodiesel’s sustainability story with the data, research, and scientific thought leaders we needed to counter our opponents’ emotion-based attacks,” said NBB CEO Donnell Rehagen. “We knew the bombs hurled at biodiesel had little to do with actual facts, but we had to have more than that to defend our fuel.”

Wednesday January 23 Ag News


Nebraska farmers can learn how to give their soil a little love at the Nebraska Cover Crop and Soil Health Conference on Valentine’s Day.

While there are many benefits to using cover crops, such as improved soil heath and reduced erosion, it’s the details that can present challenges. The conference offers problem-solving information for growers, from those just getting started to those already integrating cover crops in their operation.

The conference, Feb. 14 at the University of Nebraska Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center near Mead, runs from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. with registration beginning at 8:30 a.m.

“At the conference this year, we have a few speakers who are considered rock stars when it comes to their knowledge and expertise as it relates to soil," said Nebraska Extension Educator Keith Glewen. "I’m very confident that those who attend will leave with a better understanding and appreciation of soil and management factors that impact soil quality.”

Topics and presenters include:
  - “Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life,” David R. Montgomery, professor of geomorphology, University of Washington;
  - “Rebuilding and Maintaining Life in the Soil,” Jay Fuhrer, soil health specialist, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Bismarck, North Dakota;
  - “How My Farm has Responded to Cover Crops and Crop Rotation,” Ray Ward, founder, Ward Laboratories;
  - “Northeast Nebraska Farmer's Perspective on Cover Crops,” Jeff Steffen, Crofton farmer;
  - “How I Graze My Cropland Without Owning Livestock,” Scott Heinemann, Winside farmer;
  - A farmer panel — Discussion with growers, landowners and consultants.

For more information on speakers, visit

There is no fee to attend, but individuals must pre-register by 5 p.m. Feb. 8 to ensure meals and resource materials are available. Seating is limited. To register, call 402-624-8030, email or use the form at

This year's conference is sponsored by Nebraska Extension, the Nebraska Soybean Board, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Services, the Lower Platte North Natural Resources District and USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education.

Registration Now Open for 2019 Emerging Issues Forum

There's only a few weeks left to get the early bird pricing for the Ethanol 2019: Emerging Issues Forum!

March 7-8, 2019
La Vista Conference Center
12520 Westport Pkwy
La Vista, NE 68128

Early Bird Registration: $200/person
Late Registration (After Feb. 15): $250/person

Agenda in progress, not finalized...
Select the link to register: REGISTRATION:

Help available on new crop insurance options

The Center for Rural Affairs has a new helpline available for farmers and ranchers.  Farmers and ranchers need to manage risk, whether from weather, markets, or other forces. Crop insurance can be used to manage some of their risk.

“There can be several reasons why many farmers and ranchers don’t buy crop insurance,” said Anna Johnson, policy manager with the Center for Rural Affairs. “Maybe they haven’t found an option that covers their operation. Maybe they don’t know how to find a crop insurance agent to work with, or don’t know what questions to ask when they meet with an agent.”

Staff on the helpline can address questions on available crop insurance options, how crop insurance works, and how to decide which option is right for an operation. Farmers and ranchers may call the Center for Rural Affairs’ crop insurance helpline at 402.687.2100 ext. 1027 or 1012.

In early January, the Center for Rural Affairs hosted a three-part webinar series, covering crop insurance for beginners, an introduction to Whole Farm Revenue Protection, and livestock insurance options. Questions on these topics are also welcome on the crop insurance helpline. Recordings of the webinars can be accessed at

This project is funded in partnership by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Risk Management Agency, under award number RM18RMEPP522C015.

NRCS Nebraska Seeking Proposals for 2019 Conservation Collaboration Grants

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is seeking Conservation Collaboration Grant proposals to help address natural resource concerns. Proposals are due Feb. 20.

According to NRCS, the purpose of these grant agreements is to leverage agency resources with partner organizations to improve soil health, improve water quality, provide wildlife habitat, improve agricultural land, and assist communities and groups with building local food projects that provide healthy food and economic opportunities.

Craig Derickson, NRCS state conservationist said, “The goal of these projects is to build collaboration between the already strong group of conservation partners here in Nebraska. Working together toward common goals like improving soil, water, wildlife and access to healthy food helps everyone’s resources go further and benefit more Nebraskans.”

An emphasis will be placed on projects that build capacity and collaboration between NRCS and partner organizations to implement Farm Bill conservation programs and help local partners develop and implement effective projects.

Nebraska NRCS anticipates up to $2.5 million will be available for projects lasting between 1 and 3 years. Individual projects are eligible to receive a minimum of $20,000 and no project will be awarded more than $1 million.

Complete application packages must be submitted to by Feb. 20 at 4 p.m. CST. The opportunity number USDA-NRCS-MULTI-STATE-CENTRAL-19-01 is posted on

For more information on how to apply, contact Julie Crew at (402) 437-4131 or, or visit

Conaway Announces House Ag Republicans for the 116th Congress

House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member K. Michael Conaway (TX-11) today announced the Steering Committee has made its recommendation of the Republican members to serve on the House Agriculture Committee for the 116th Congress.

“After successful completion of the 2018 Farm Bill, I’m pleased to have a great group of new and returning members on the Agriculture Committee who will continue the work of restoring prosperity to our nation’s farmers and ranchers and all of rural America. We have a great deal of work to do, including implementing and protecting the new farm bill, continuing to press for a roll back of harmful regulations that hurt our farmers and ranchers, and leveling the global playing field to create more market access for U.S. agriculture products. I’m confident in the team we have assembled, and I look forward to working alongside my new colleagues in championing rural America and our country’s farm and ranch families.”

The new House Agriculture Committee members are as follows:
Rep. Dusty Johnson (SD-AL)
Rep. Jim Baird (IN-4)
Rep. Jim Hagedorn (MN-1)

Below is the complete House Agriculture Committee Republican roster for the 116th Congress:
Ranking Member K. Michael Conaway (TX-11)
Rep. Glenn 'GT' Thompson (PA-15)
Rep. Austin Scott (GA-8)
Rep. Rick Crawford (AR-1)
Rep. Scott DesJarlais (TN-4)
Rep. Vicky Hartzler (MO-4)
Rep. Doug LaMalfa (CA-1)
Rep. Rodney Davis (IL-13)
Rep. Ted Yoho (FL-3)
Rep. Rick Allen (GA-12)
Rep. Mike Bost (IL-12)
Rep. David Rouzer (NC-7)
Rep. Ralph Abraham (LA-5)
Rep. Trent Kelly (MS-1)
Rep. James Comer (KY-1)
Rep. Roger Marshall (KS-1)
Rep. Don Bacon (NE-2)

Rep. Neal Dunn (FL-2)
Rep. Dusty Johnson (SD-AL)
Rep. Jim Baird (IN-4)
Rep. Jim Hagedorn (MN-1)

Groups Urge Administration To Lift Metals Tariffs

A diverse, ad hoc coalition of more than 45 groups representing many sectors of the U.S. economy joined the National Pork Producers Council in calling for an end to U.S. tariffs on Canadian and Mexican aluminum and steel imports so that America can take advantage of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

The Trump administration on June 1, 2018, imposed a 25 percent tariff on steel and a 10 percent duty on aluminum imports from Canada and Mexico. Both countries subsequently retaliated against a host of U.S. products.

In a letter sent today to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, the business and agricultural organizations urged the administration to lift the metals tariffs so that Canada and Mexico will rescind their duties on U.S. goods. The groups want the metals dispute resolved soon so they can turn their undivided attention to generating congressional support for the USMCA, negotiations on which were concluded last fall.

“For many producers,” said the groups in their letter, “the damage from the reciprocal trade actions in the steel and aluminum dispute far outweighs any benefit that may accrue to them from the USMCA. We urge the administration to work with the Canadians and Mexicans on a prompt resolution of the metals issue.”

Said NPPC President Jim Heimerl, a pork producer from Ohio, “The metals tariffs are undermining the ability of the private sector to lobby for passage of the USMCA deal. For many sectors, the duties are a hair-on-fire issue that is draining resources that otherwise would be focused on passage of the USMCA.”

Farmers and food companies have been particularly hard hit by the Canadian and Mexican retaliation. Mexico’s 20 percent punitive tariff on U.S. pork, for example, has inflicted severe financial harm on America’s pork producers. According to Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes, the Mexican tariff is costing producers $12 per animal, meaning industrywide losses of $1.5 billion annually.

The metals tariffs also are hurting U.S. manufacturers that depend on steel and aluminum imports, increasing costs for American industrial and consumer goods.

Prices of 8 Major Fertilizers Move Higher

Fertilizer prices have been trending higher for several months now, and that trend continued this week with prices of all eight major fertilizers moving higher, according to retail fertilizer prices tracked by DTN for the second week of Jan. 2019.

While all fertilizers were higher compared to last month, none of the fertilizers were up a notable amount, which DTN considers a price move of 5% or more. DAP had an average price of $512/ton, up $4; MAP $534/ton, up $2; potash $383/ton, up $6; urea $407/ton, up fractionally; 10-34-0 $462/ton, up $5; anhydrous $580/ton, up $15; UAN28 $270/ton, up $5; and UAN32 $305/ton, up $1.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.44/lb.N, anhydrous $0.35/lb.N, UAN28 $0.48/lb.N and UAN32 $0.48/lb.N.

All eight major fertilizers are now higher compared to last year. MAP is 9% higher, potash is 11% more expensive, DAP is 12% higher, 10-34-0 is 14% more expensive, urea is 15% higher, UAN32 is 18% more expensive and both anhydrous and UAN28 are 20% higher compared to last year.

“Inspected and Passed”? No, Despite What Labels Say

New data obtained by Food & Water Watch under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) reveals that hundreds of meat plants, including two involved in recent recalls announced by USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), had inadequate inspection staffing in 2018 to complete required inspection tasks. The vast majority of the 6,400 plants listed in the FSIS directory reported non-performed inspection tasks over the same period.

“Food inspections are suffering under the government shutdown. But even before the shutdown, we’ve found that facilities had significant staffing problems and incomplete inspections that may have directly led to contaminated meat being released into the food supply,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch.

On January 17, FSIS announced the recall of 68,244 pounds of chicken nuggets produced on October 25, 2018 by the Perdue Foods plant located in Perry, Ga. (establishment number 33944) because consumers reported there were pieces of wood in the product.

Based on the documents secured by Food & Water Watch, FSIS was not properly staffing that plant with adequate inspection personnel to complete routine inspection tasks. Inspectors assigned to that plant cited the following reasons why they could not complete their inspection tasks during FY 2018:

Perdue Foods:
-    Administrative duties (listed 2 times)
-    Assigned other duties (listed 81 times)
-    Double covered assignments (listed 11 times)
-    Higher priority task took precedent (listed 2 times)
-    Not enough time to complete the task (listed 7 times)
-    Short staffing (listed 2 times)
-    Triple covered assignments (listed 4 times)
-    Working the slaughter line (listed 5 times)

On January 18, 2019, FSIS announced the recall of 48,371 pounds of raw ground pork patties produced by Johnsonville, LLC located in Sheboygan Falls, WI (establishment number 34225) because consumers reported finding pieces of rubber in the product. The products were packaged on September 27, October 17, and October 18, 2018.

The inspection data for this particular plant reveals that inspectors could not complete their tasks for the following reasons:

Johnsonville LLC:
-    Double covered assignments (listed 16 times)
-    Higher priority task took precedent (listed 15 times)
-    Not enough time to complete the task (listed 24 times)
-    Short staffing (listed 11 times)
-    Too many plants to physically go to each plant (listed 2 times)
-    Triple covered assignments (listed 3 times)

“There needs to be an investigation into the management of the inspection staffing at FSIS,” said Tony Corbo, Senior Lobbyist for the food program at Food & Water Watch. “When FSIS inspectors cannot fully complete their inspection tasks, it means that critical checks are delayed or missed, such as taking samples for pathogen testing or thoroughly evaluating production processes.

“‘Drive-by’ inspections are not enough to ensure the safety of products put into commerce,” continued Corbo. “That these plants were permitted to use the USDA inspection legend ‘inspected and passed’ on their product packaging when there was inadequate inspection is tantamount to fraud.”

Food & Water Watch has filed an annual Freedom of Information Act request with FSIS for the monthly vacancy rates for field inspection personnel since 2005. The agency has responded every year to that request except for fiscal year 2018, for which it has thus far failed to produce the data.

Tuesday January 22 Ag News

USDA to Reopen FSA Offices for Additional Services During Government Shutdown

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced that all Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices nationwide will soon reopen to provide additional administrative services to farmers and ranchers during the lapse in federal funding.  Certain FSA offices have been providing limited services for existing loans and tax documents since January 17, and will continue to do so through January 23.  Beginning January 24, however, all FSA offices will open and offer a longer list of transactions they will accommodate.   

Additionally, Secretary Perdue announced that the deadline to apply for the Market Facilitation Program, which aids farmers harmed by unjustified retaliatory tariffs, has been extended to February 14.  The original deadline had been January 15.  Other program deadlines may be modified and will be announced as they are addressed.

“At President Trump’s direction, we have been working to alleviate the effects of the lapse in federal funding as best we can, and we are happy to announce the reopening of FSA offices for certain services,” Perdue said.  “The FSA provides vital support for farmers and ranchers and they count on those services being available.  We want to offer as much assistance as possible until the partial government shutdown is resolved.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has temporarily recalled all of the more than 9,700 FSA employees to keep offices open from 8 am to 4:30 pm weekdays beginning January 24.  President Trump has already signed legislation that guarantees employees will receive all backpay missed during the lapse in funding.

For the first two full weeks under this operating plan (January 28 through February 1 and February 4 through February 8), FSA offices will be open Mondays through Fridays.  In subsequent weeks, offices will be open three days a week, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, if needed to provide the additional administrative services.

Agricultural producers who have business with the agency can contact their FSA service center to make an appointment.

FSA can provide these administrative services, which are critical for farmers and ranchers, because failure to perform these services would harm funded programs.  FSA staff will work on the following transactions:
-    Market Facilitation Program.
-    Marketing Assistance Loans.
-    Release of collateral warehouse receipts.
-    Direct and Guaranteed Farm Operating Loans, and Emergency Loans.
-    Service existing Conservation Reserve Program contracts.
-    Sugar Price Support Loans.
-    Dairy Margin Protection Program.
-    Agricultural Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage.
-    Livestock Forage Disaster.
-    Emergency Assistance Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-raised Fish Program.
-    Livestock Indemnity Program.
-    Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program.
-    Tree Assistance Program.
-    Remaining Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program payments for applications already processed.

Transactions that will not be available include, but are not limited to:
-    New Conservation Reserve Program contracts.
-    New Direct and Guaranteed Farm Ownership Loans.
-    Farm Storage Facility Loan Program.
-    New or in-process Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program applications.
-    Emergency Conservation Program.
-    Emergency Forest Rehabilitation Program.
-    Biomass Crop Assistance Program.
-    Grassroots Source Water Protection Program.

With the Office of Management and Budget, USDA reviewed all of its funding accounts that are not impacted by the lapse in appropriation. We further refined this list to include programs where the suspension of the activity associated with these accounts would significantly damage or prevent the execution of the terms of the underling statutory provision. As a result of this review, USDA was able to except more employees. Those accounts that are not impacted by the lapse in appropriation include mandatory, multiyear and no year discretionary funding including FY 2018 Farm Bill activities.

Updates to available services and offices will be made during the lapse in federal funding on the FSA shutdown webpage (  Programs managed by FSA that were re-authorized by the 2018 farm bill will be available at a later date yet to be determined.

Nebraska’s Presence Guided National Issues at the American Farm Bureau Convention

Delegates at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) 100th annual meeting approved a number of resolutions that will provide the organization with authority from its grassroots members to push Congress toward the goal line on issues like trade policy, cell-based food products, and livestock antibiotic use, Nebraska Farm Bureau (NEFB) President Steve Nelson said Jan. 22.

“Securing victories on those issues is critical to our competitiveness as individual farmers and ranchers and considering resolutions on these topics originated from NEFB. Nebraska once again is looking to push for agricultural success both locally and abroad,” Nelson said.

AFBF delegates laid out a set of principles highlighting NEFB’s very clear support for the U.S. re-entry into the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) with the current 11 countries: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. They also added language supporting a multinational approach, including World Trade Organization (WTO), to pressure China to address unfair trade and business practices.

“CPTPP was projected to be a boon for Nebraska agriculture, increasing agriculture cash receipts by more than $378 million per year when fully implemented, with much of that gain attributed to increased trade with Japan,” Jordan Dux, NEFB director of national affairs said Jan. 22.

As far as putting pressure on China to speak to unfair practices, the delegates laid out three specific items that must be addressed. “We need to hold China accountable when and if they fail to meet WTO import quotas and obligations; if intellectual property theft takes place; and if there are forced technology transfers before doing business with Chinese companies,” Dux said.

On other issues, AFBF delegates adopted Nebraska’s resolution addressing livestock and poultry health, adding language to support, not require that veterinarians physically examine each animal before writing a prescription. Nebraska also proposed language related to Federal Drug Administration’s (FDA) announced plans to require veterinary prescriptions for all medically important injectable antibiotics.

“Our Nebraska delegates reiterated existing language to oppose any attempt to reclassify over-the-counter, non-prescription injectable antibiotics to prescription-only status. Nebraska’s resolution was passed stating if injectable antibiotics are reclassified FDA should not: require prescriptions on a per animal basis, require additional record keeping for producers outside of regular production records, or hinder use of telemedicine or digital prescriptions,” Nelson said.

AFBF delegates also approved significant language dealing with the controversial subject of lab-produced protein products. Language Nebraska submitted last year opposing the use of meat industry terms when labeling the new products remained the basis for how the organization views this new technology. Policy from Nebraska this year offered support for the new industry adhering to some level of antibiotic regulations, similar to livestock producers.

The AFBF delegates also supported Nebraska’s request to add language supporting continued research on virus survival in imported livestock feed ingredients.

“Given the growing concern about the spread of devastating livestock diseases, including African Swine Fever, our delegates supported a standard hold time being established for livestock amino acids, minerals, vitamins, and soybean meal produced in nonbiosecure or unknown conditions to prevent contamination,” Dux said.

“Overall, we were extremely pleased to see 100 percent of our Nebraska resolutions make it through the process to help guide our now 100 year old national organization,” Nelson said.

Nebraska Legislature relies on flawed data to allocate broadband funding

Under current reporting methods, faulty data from internet service providers may leave thousands of rural Nebraska households without access to broadband internet, according to the Center for Rural Affairs.

Twice per year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) collects broadband access data through Form 477 from internet service providers. A fact sheet released today highlights how reliance upon this data has led to an overestimation of broadband access in rural Nebraska.

“Connectivity is the defining aspect of our 21st century economy, and many rural Nebraskans are being left out because of inaccurate service information,” said Johnathan Hladik, policy director and author of the fact sheet. “State and local governments are distributing resources based on inaccurate data. Under this approach, thousands of households already lacking broadband access will continue to be left behind.”

Internet service providers report access by Census block. There are 11,078,297 Census blocks across the nation, 3,200 of which span areas larger than Washington, D.C.

“Collecting service information on a Census block scale is a problem for rural residents,” Hladik said. “If one household in an expansive Census block has access to broadband, the whole block is reported as served. This doesn’t help your children complete their school assignments or help you start and grow your small business.”

In addition, Form 477 allows internet service providers to report an entire Census block as served if the provider claims they could do so without “an extraordinary commitment of resources”—a phrase with no official definition, according to Hladik.

“Neighboring states have taken action to update data and bring broadband access to rural areas,” he said. “With LB 549, the Nebraska Legislature can invest in the state’s rural economies by improving broadband service mapping and ensuring access to all residents.”

To view the fact sheet, “Mapping prosperity: A flawed method of evaluating Nebraska’s broadband access,” visit Share your broadband story using #ConnectNebraska.

Healthy Farms Conference Planned for Grand Island

Plan now to attend the Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society’s Healthy Farms Conference, Feb. 8-9 at the Ramada Midtown Hotel in Grand Island. On-line registration is available at

The Healthy Farms Conference has been hosted by the Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society for over 40 years. The conference facilitates farmer-to-farmer training with sessions aimed at equipping farmers, aspiring farmers, foodies, and advocates with the skills and knowledge about sustainable agriculture.

Denise O'Brien, co-founder of the Women, Food and Agriculture Network, is a keynote speaker planned for the event. This Iowa-based organization's mission is to "...engage women in building an ecological and just food and agricultural system through individual and community power."

Joey Jones, founder of the Grassfed Network, will be the other keynote speaker at the Healthy Farms conference. Jones has been involved in the grass-fed beef market for over 17 years. He created - an online resource with ongoing monthly trainings for livestock producers, in which they learn how to improve the way they raise animals on grass.

Brent Lubbert, Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society president said, "We are grateful to welcome these individuals to speak at our Healthy Farms conference. They each provide years of expertise in sustainable agriculture and in educating fellow farmers and ranchers."

This year's conference theme is "Revitalize." The conference’s breakout sessions are divided into three tracks: Soil and Ecosystem Revitalization, Community Revitalization, and Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Farmer Forum.

Lubbert said, "We are honored to be partnering with SARE at this year's conference. The Farmers Forum is an annual event giving farmers, ranchers, and others the chance to share information about sustainable agriculture practices. We're very fortunate to have this be a part of our conference."

In addition to sessions, the conference has exhibits about local food, holistic health, sustainability, natural resources, and marketing. A locally-sourced dinner will also be served on Friday night featuring food grown by many of the conference attendees and supporters.

A full conference agenda and on-line registration is available on the Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society’s web site:

K2 Insurance Services Acquires Leading Specialty Farm and Agriculture General Agency

K2 Insurance Services, LLC (K2) has announced the completion of the acquisition of the assets and operations of Mid-America Risk Managers, Inc. (MARM).  MARM, based in Omaha, Nebraska, is a farm and agricultural focused specialty general agency that distributes specialty insurance products through independent agents and brokers. MARM is one of the largest program managers of coverage for Center Pivot Irrigation Sprinklers in the United States. MARM underwrites insurance products on behalf of members of Great American Insurance Group, The Travelers Indemnity Company and Century Insurance Group.

For over 20 years, MARM has been a family-owned business providing property and casualty insurance products for the agricultural community.  MARM leverages its product expertise and broad geographic spread to produce superior underwriting results in a historically volatile line of business.  MARM will continue to distribute its Center Pivot and Farm Owners Package products, as well as other complementary product offerings from K2 partner companies, to its network of over 400 sub-producers.  In addition, MARM will focus on partnering with carriers who seek to mitigate their exposure to the volatility these risks present.  Paul Friskopp, Founder and President of MARM, will continue as President of MARM going forward.  Kerry Besnia, formerly of Great American Insurance Group, has joined MARM to help facilitate future growth of this program. This acquisition complements other K2 target acquisitions in the agricultural industry.

Unraveling 58-year-old Corn Gene Mystery May Impact Breeding

In discovering a mutant gene that "turns on" another gene responsible for the red pigments sometimes seen in corn, researchers solved an almost six-decades-old mystery with a finding that may have implications for plant breeding in the future.

The culmination of more than 20 years of work, the effort started when, in 1997, Surinder Chopra, professor of maize genetics at Penn State, received seeds from a mutant line of corn. At the time, Chopra was a postdoctoral scholar at Iowa State University, and he brought the research with him when he joined the Penn State faculty in 2000.

The mystery involved a spontaneous gene mutation that causes red pigments to show up in various corn plant tissues, such as kernels, cobs, tassels, silk and even stalks, for a few generations and then disappear in subsequent progeny. It might seem like a minor concern to the uninitiated, but because corn genetics have long been studied as a model system, the question has significant implications for plant biology.

"In corn, genes involved in pigment biosynthesis have been used in genetic studies for more than a century -- pigmentation in corn is a relatively simple trait, which makes it ideal for use as a marker for genetic research," Chopra said. "The mutant corn plants were identified in 1960 by Dr. Charles Burnham (University of Minnesota), and that seed was given to one of his students, Derek Styles. We received the seed from Styles in 1997, and we were entrusted to continue the research."

Chopra led efforts to introgress the genes from the mutant corn, dubbed Ufo1 -- Unstable factor for orange1 -- into various inbred corn lines to be studied. Since he came to Penn State, Chopra's research group in the College of Agricultural Sciences has grown and backcrossed lines of corn plants at both the Penn State Agronomy Farm and in greenhouses on campus. In the last three years, the researchers, who recently published their findings in The Plant Cell, have grown more than 4,000 of the backcrossed plants to map where the cause of Ufo1 is located in the genome.

Using tissues from those hybrid plants, and employing RNA-sequencing techniques and gene-cloning tools along with next-generation sequencing, genetic mapping, and data-analysis capabilities not available to plant geneticists until relatively recently, researchers unmasked the culprit in the on-again, off-again, red-pigment-in corn mystery. They found Ufo1, which is only present in corn, sorghum, rice and foxtail millet.

But the Ufo1 mutant gene does not actually cause the red pigments to appear in corn -- that is caused by a gene called the pericarp color1, or p1. Researchers found that the Ufo1 gene is actually controlled by a transposon -- "jumping gene" -- that sits close to the Ufo1 gene. Transposons are sequences of DNA that move from one location in the genome to another, and can influence the expression of nearby essential genes.

When this transposon is switched on, the Ufo1 gene is also turned on, which triggers the p1 gene to signal the plant to produce the red pigments. But when the transposon is off, the Ufo1 gene goes silent and so does the p1-controlled pigment pathway. That is the main reason the Ufo1 gene went unidentified for so long and the mystery persisted, according to Chopra.

"We were able to narrow it down to a single gene out of several thousand genes that are aberrantly expressed in the Ufo1 mutant versus the wild-type plant," he said. "It is an incremental discovery, and yet it is a leap in basic science because it is likely to be valuable to plant breeders."

It is still not entirely clear how Ufo1 interacts with the p1 gene. The discovery's future significance likely will be less associated with red pigments than what the Ufo1 mutant gene controls in corn plants. Chopra believes it may be a "master regulator" that, when overexpressed, signals the plant that it is under stress, even in the absence of stress. Interestingly, Chopra pointed out, in Ufo1 plants, sugars over-accumulate in leaves, and the content of maysin, a natural insecticide made by corn plants, sharply increases in the silk.

"Learning about what controls the regulation of the normal or the non-mutant Ufo1gene will bring us much closer to a realistic breeding process in which we can tinker with gene expression to get higher maysin content or increased sugar content, which would be important in crop protection from pests and biofuel production, respectively," Chopra said.

"And, because it has a pronounced effect on the workings of the cellular machinery, we can now understand further the basic molecular pathway that normally happens during a stress to a plant," he said. "Understanding plant stress resulting from extremes of heat, cold and water is important because of climate change."

The major co-authors of The Plant Cell paper are Penn State graduate students Kameron Wittmeyer and Jin Cui. Other significant contributors to this research from the Chopra research group include Debamalya Chatterjee, Qixian Tan, Weiya Xue, Po-Hao Wang and Iffa Gaffoor in the Department of Plant Science and plant biology program; Tzuu-fen Lee and Blake Meyers, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, St. Louis; and Yinping Jiao and Doreen Ware, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.

The National Science Foundation supported this research.

Ghost Cattle on Feed

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

This Friday should have been the publication of USDA's January Cattle on Feed report. (Maybe read the title in the voice of Johnny Cash singing Ghost Riders in the Sky). The report will not be released due to the government shutdown. Like other market analysts I am doing my pre-report estimates this month. The importance of doing pre-report estimates is not necessarily in the comparison to the actual report, but in using them to develop production and price projections. With that in mind, the following are my estimates for the "ghost" report.

I have December feedlot marketings at 99.6 percent of a year ago. That is slightly larger than the sum of daily slaughter, which was 99.3 percent of a year ago. Slaughter estimates are using estimated daily slaughter because daily actual slaughter data is not available. December 2018 had the same number of work days as 2017 meaning that daily average slaugher should be only slightly less than the year before, so no evidence of backed up cattle.

I have estimated December placements to be 102 percent of the year before. December saw an increase in cattle imports from Mexico and larger calf and feeder sales. Placements in December are typically much lower than in November, as much as 500,000 fewer in some years. As usual, there will likely be a relatively large range of placements in the pre-report estimates.

The combination marketings and placements results in an estimate of cattle on feed at 102.3 percent of a year ago. That represents a relatively large number of cattle on feed, as have the last several reports. It also continues to represent a narrowing of the growth in on-feed numbers compared to months earlier in the year.

Hopefully, the shutdown will end allowing for publication of the February Cattle on Feed report. While we may do pre-report estimates it will get increasingly difficult without the January report as a base. Estimating near term ready supplies of cattle will get trickier also, as winter storms effect market ready cattle, animal performance, placements, and population center demands.

Beef Demand Up But Cattle Prices Down

Bill Bullard, CEO, R-CALF USA

A recent news release posted on a website bearing the Beef Checkoff Logo and titled, “Beef Demand . . . It’s Been A Very Good Year” states that “2018 retail beef demand is 15% higher than in January 2012.”

This is touted by the beef industry as great news for the cattle industry. If that is true, then cattle prices should have increased over the same period. After all, according to the beef industry, increasing beef demand means good prices for retail beef, which will, like water, trickle down to reward every sector of the beef supply chain, including the live cattle producer.

But that did not happen. Instead, fed cattle price fell nearly 5 percent during the same period that beef demand increased 15 percent. This is an inverse relationship – exactly opposite of what a competitive market would dictate. This indicates something is terribly wrong with the structure of the cattle industry’s markets. The 2012 average 5-area fed cattle price of $122.96 per cwt should have increased in 2018 rather than decrease to a $117 per cwt price (through November). 

While beef demand is not a measure of actual beef consumption, it does measure consumers’ willingness to purchase the available supply of beef at various prices. So, as retail beef prices increase while beef supplies increase, the beef demand measure also increases.

The fact that retail beef prices have increased is widely known. Retail beef prices increased dramatically, during that period by about a dollar per pound. All fresh retail beef prices increased from about $4.69 per pound in 2012 to about $5.69 per pound in 2018 (through November).

What is less known is that while domestic beef production declined by more than 2.2 billion pounds from 2012 through 2015, fueling the historic cattle price rally of 2013 through 2014, the beef industry tried to stop that rally by dramatically increasing imports of beef and cattle in 2014 and 2015. And stop it they did. When these near record imports were added to domestic production, the decline in domestic beef production was substantially offset by the dramatic increase in imports, which by the beginning of 2015 had effectively eliminated the competitive forces that were driving cattle prices upward.

Expectedly, cattle prices collapsed under the weight of near-record imports and in the ensuing years (2016-2018), a combination of increased domestic production and continued high import levels caused total beef supplies to eventually exceed 2012 levels. So, yes, beef supplies did increase while consumers continued paying higher prices for beef, causing beef demand to increase by an impressive 15 percent.

Cattle prices, however, continue to suffer from the ongoing pressure of undifferentiated imports, which are direct substitutes for domestic supplies. These imports effectively increase the total beef supply in the U.S.; but even so, retail beef prices remain strong.

In fact, the spread between the price cattle producers receive for their cattle and what consumers are willing to pay for beef is now the widest in history. In 2012, that spread was $2.39 per pound.  In 2018, it was $5.91 per pound (through November).

This informs us that someone along the beef supply chain is now receiving a substantial share of the revenues from beef sales that used to flow to cattle producers. In other words, there is now a dam somewhere across the cattle or beef supply chains that is preventing revenues from trickling down to cattle producers, as would be the case in a competitive market.  

The important point for cattle producers reading this piece is that the someone who has captured more than their competitive share from the value of beef - Is Not You!

For several years now the beef packers have been capturing unprecedented margins. This is because cattle prices remained unresponsive to increasing beef demand. In fact, retail beef prices have remained at or near the same levels they were four years ago, when fed cattle prices were around $160 per cwt and lighter feeder cattle prices were well over $200 per cwt.
Why cattle producers and their conventional trade associations would remain complacent, indeed silent, while this inexplicable circumstance exists is mindboggling.

But, then, perhaps the entire beef industry, along with the beef industry’s favorite media outlets, have thoroughly conditioned America’s cattle producers to follow their lead by exclusively focusing on increasing beef demand.

It is time for some serious, critical thinking about the structure of the cattle market by cattle producers . . . before it is too late.

Bill Bullard is the CEO of R-CALF USA, the nation’s largest non-profit trade association exclusively representing the U.S. cattle industry.

Only 1-in-5 Consumers Think Plant-Based Imitators Should be Called Milk

With only six days to go before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) comment period on fake milks ends, new consumer research shows Americans widely disapprove of dairy terms being appropriated by fake-milk producers, as well as confusion on the nutritional content of milk versus plant-based imitators, offering further evidence that FDA must enforce long-existing standards of identity on dairy imposters.

The national survey conducted by IPSOS, a global market research and consulting firm, found:
-    Only 20 percent of all consumers said plant-based beverages should be labeled milk, as U.S. dietary guidelines do not recommend imitators as a substitute for dairy milk; even when limited to buyers of plant-based drinks, support for mislabeling rose to only 41 percent.
-    About 50 percent of consumers mistakenly perceive that the main ingredient of a plant-based beverage is the plant itself; such drinks are mostly flavored water.
-    More than one-third of consumers erroneously believe plant-based beverages have the same or more protein than dairy milk. Milk has up to eight times more protein than its imitators.

“This new data is more proof that the plant-based food and beverage industry is exploiting consumer confusion to boost their bottom line, and consumers don’t like it,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF). “Plant-based beverage brands that sell nutritionally inferior products under the health halo of milk mislead consumers. FDA must enforce its existing regulations.”

The new data builds on previous surveys, including one from August showing that 53 percent of all consumers said they believed that plant-based food manufacturers labeled their products “milk” because their nutritional value is similar, even though products widely vary in content. An October poll found one-quarter of consumers either thought almond drinks contained cow’s milk or weren’t sure. Meanwhile, a January survey found consumers, by nearly a 3-to-1 margin, calling for FDA to end the mislabeling of fake milks.

The online IPSOS poll – commissioned by Dairy Management Inc. – was conducted Oct. 30-31, 2018, and surveyed 2,006 adults nationwide.

CWT Assists with 3 million Pounds of Dairy Product Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) member cooperatives accepted 15 offers of export assistance from CWT that helped them capture sales contracts for 2.932 million pounds (2,020 metric tons) of Cheddar, Monterey Jack and Gouda cheese, and 83,776 pounds (38 metric tons) of butter to customers in Asia, Central America, the Middle East, and Oceania. The product will be delivered during the period from January through July 2019.

CWT-assisted member cooperative export sales for the first two weeks of 2019 total 7.385 million pounds of American-type cheeses, 537,928 pounds of butter (82% milkfat) and 1.124 million pounds of whole milk powder to 13 countries in six regions. These sales are the equivalent of 88.5 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.

Assisting CWT members through the Export Assistance program positively affects all U.S. dairy farmers and all dairy cooperatives by strengthening and maintaining the value of dairy products that directly impact their milk price. It does this by helping member cooperatives gain and maintain world market share for U.S dairy products. As a result, the program has significantly expanded the total demand for U.S. dairy products and the demand for U.S. farm milk that produces those products.

The National Biodiesel Conference & Expo Lifts Off in San Diego

The biodiesel industry comes together this week to engage, innovate, and grow during the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo. The national event of the year lifted off Tuesday in San Diego with inspirational remarks from industry leadership.

Acknowledging 2019 as the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11’s moon landing, Donnell Rehagen, CEO of the National Biodiesel Board, applauded the remarkable resolve of NASA scientists who were on a mission to ensure America reached the surface first.

Rehagen drew comparisons between the tenacity of the space program and U.S. biodiesel producers’ own efforts to get the first commercially available advanced biofuel industry off the ground. He pointed to Coachella-based Imperial Western Products and manager Curtis Wright as one of the many pioneers of the industry, explaining they had to overcome many obstacles in launching their new biodiesel product line at the turn of the century.

“There were times they wanted to give up,” Rehagen said. “There were days when it seemed like nothing at the plant worked correctly.” Today, the plant produces 10.5 million gallons of biodiesel annually and provides a significant amount of the diversified company’s profits, he said.

Early biodiesel explorers faced their own challenges in creating an entirely new fuel, from sustainable resources, to power heavy-duty vehicles, cars, boats and heat American homes, he said.

“Just like with the race to the moon, I am sure there were times throughout the research and development phase, where it would have been perfectly understandable for the leaders to say, ‘this can’t be done,’ ‘this is not happening as fast as we want,’ ‘this is costing us too much,’” Rehagen said.  “The patience our founders demonstrated in sticking to the mission is what I am grateful for every day.”

The biodiesel industry, like the explorers of America’s space program, benefited from clear direction from our political leaders that is necessary in fostering new endeavors.

Federal policies such as the Renewable Fuel Standard, which requires minimum volumes of biodiesel and other renewable fuels be blended into the national fuel supply, and California’s own Low Carbon Fuel Standard have proven to be effective stimulators of U.S. markets. Today, the industry produces nearly three billion gallons annually and supports more than 60,000 jobs across the country. The LCFS is expected to make California alone a billion-gallon market for biodiesel in the coming years.

However, Rehagen said that there is more Congress and the White House can do to encourage investment and growth in the still young biodiesel industry. Adding to years of an on-again-off-again federal biodiesel tax incentive, in 2018 Congress retroactively extended the tax incentive only for 2017, yet let it expire for 2018 and beyond.

Rehagen said by engaging in serious dialogue with organizations like the National Renderers Association, National Association of Truck Stop Operators, Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America, American Soybean Association and Petroleum Marketers of America, the biodiesel industry forged a powerful advocacy network that has been instrumental in increasing support on Capitol Hill for the biodiesel tax incentive.

“Just like NASA had to partner with the private sector in their research, development and testing,” Rehagen said, the biodiesel industry “has increased its intelligence and reach by increasing regular dialogue with our industry partners. Although we may not agree on 100 percent of everything, we know we are stronger together and can accomplish more by cooperating and listening to other ideas”

Conference organizers said this is the fifth time the conference has been hosted in the Golden State, noting the significance of the California renewable fuels market. While San Diego has been the site of the most California visits, the inaugural National Biodiesel Conference was launched in Palm Springs in 2004. Put on again with the generous support of industry sponsors, this year’s three-day conference is being held at the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina.

Bunge Warns of 2018 Profit Shortfall on Brazil Woes

Bunge Ltd. on Tuesday said its 2018 profits will fall short of expectations due to issues in Brazil that impacted its agribusiness and sugar and bioenergy segments.  The White Plains, N.Y., company said its 2018 total segment adjusted earnings before interest and taxes will fall below the $1.045 billion low end of its previous guidance.

Bunge said it expects an adjusted EBIT shortfall of $90 million to $100 million in its agribusiness segment due to a reduction in the value of its Brazilian soybean ownership, as factors related to China trade and demand caused Brazilian prices to converge with U.S. prices.

The company said its sugar and bioenergy segment will see a shortfall of $60 million to $70 million due to lower Brazilian ethanol prices and a weather-related reduction in yields.

Bunge said it reduced its net debt during the quarter by about $2 billion. The company said it ended 2018 with net debt of about $5 billion, down from about $7 billion at the end of the third quarter.

Soil Health Institute Selects Seven Scientists, Begins Sampling Phase of North American Project to Evaluate Soil Health Measurements

The Soil Health Institute (SHI), the nonprofit organization charged with safeguarding and enhancing soil health, has selected six project scientists and a statistician/database manager to oversee evaluation of soil health indicators at more than 120 long-term agricultural experiment sites across Canada, the United States, and Mexico. The diverse team of scientists will help conduct and manage SHI’s initiative to identify and develop widely acceptable soil health measurements and standards, as well as launch a comprehensive evaluation program that relates soil health to quantified productivity, economic, and environmental outcomes.

“These scientists will work as a geographically-dispersed team to collect soil samples and evaluate the utility of soil health indicators. They will compare soil properties that have been changed by management, climate, production system, and other parameters across North America,” said Paul Tracy, Project Manager, Soil Science/Agronomy.

The scientists will be in charge of regional engagement and project coordination with long-term agricultural site leaders. They will evaluate soil health measurements and their relation to productivity, economic and environmental outcomes; developing critical analysis and review of measurements, soil health evaluation indices and programs at the regional (individual) and North American (team) level, partnering with site leaders and selected scientific laboratories.

G. Mac Bean, Ph.D., will serve as SHI’s project scientist for Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, and West Virginia. He also will lead the team for soil pedology and genesis.  Most recently, Bean focused on improving nitrogen fertilizer management as a graduate student at the University of Missouri.

Bean is a member of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science Society of America, and the International Society of Precision Agriculture. He received his B.S. in Agricultural Science, Systems, and Technology from Brigham Young University-Idaho, his M.S. in Plant Science and his Ph.D. in Soil Science from the University of Missouri.

Shannon Cappellazzi, Ph.D., will serve as project scientist for the western United States.  She also will coordinate the soil health team’s pastures and rangeland research. Cappellazzi most recently served as Manager at the Oregon State University Central Analytical Laboratory. Earlier in her career, she was the Equestrian Manager for Wheelbarrow Creek Ranch and an agricultural commodities trader for Wilbur-Ellis Company.

Capellazzi is a member of the Soil Science Society of America and serves as a board member of the Oregon Society of Soil Scientists. She received her B.S. in Animal Science and her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Soil Science from Oregon State University.

Kelsey Hoegenauer, Ph.D., will serve as project scientist for the southern United States. Most recently, Hoegenauer was a graduate research assistant at the University of Arkansas conducting research on recycling nutrients using cover crops in row crop systems. She also has served as a graduate research assistant at Auburn University conducting research on the long- and short-term effects of cover cropping on physical and chemical soil properties in a peanut-cotton rotation. As a Lloyd Noble Scholar in Agriculture (The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation), she conducted research on blackberry management in rangelands.

Hoegenauer is a member of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science Society of America, and Soil and Water Conservation Society. She received her B.S. in Agronomy from Texas A&M University, M.S. in Plant Science from Auburn University, and Ph.D. in Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences (Soil Fertility emphasis) from the University of Arkansas.

Daniel Liptzin, Ph.D., will serve as project scientist for the High Plains Region, providing team leadership on soil enzymes and carbon cycling. Liptzin recently served as a Senior Instructor at the University of Colorado, Denver, where he taught courses in biogeochemistry, environmental science, and climate. His research interests include exploring human effects on the nitrogen cycle, interactions among elemental cycles, redox-sensitive biogeochemistry, and ecosystem processes in seasonally snow-covered ecosystems.

Liptzin is a member of the American Geophysical Union and an investigator at the Niwot Ridge Long Term Ecological Research Site in Colorado. He received his B.S. from Yale University, MES from the University of Pennsylvania, and Ph.D. from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Charlotte Norris, Ph.D., P.Ag., will serve as project scientist for Canada. Norris has collaborated on research determining best management practices for intensive vegetable production, assessing the effects of agricultural crops on soil health, and evaluating the effects of forest harvesting practices on soil health. This has included investigating indicators of soil health in reclaimed forest ecosystems.

Norris holds a B.Sc. in Chemistry from the University of Victoria and received her M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Soil Science from the University of Alberta. She is a registered Professional Agrologist.

Elizabeth (Liz) Rieke, Ph.D., will serve as project scientist for the northern Midwest and northeastern United States. She will also lead SHI’s assessment of microbial population dynamics using genomic tools as soil health indicators. Most recently, Rieke served as a postdoctoral research associate, Iowa State University Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering.

Rieke is a member of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. She received her B.S. in Biological Systems Engineering at Virginia Tech, her M.S. in Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering and her Ph.D. in Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering from Iowa State University.

Michael Cope, Ph.D., will serve as the team’s statistician and database manager. Most recently, Cope served as a statistical and research analyst at Clemson University. His expertise includes analysis of large and assorted data. He is skilled in Python Programming, Soil Science, Geographic Information Systems, Ecological Modeling, and Cloud Computing.

Natural Soil Amendment, Water Conservation Agent H2OExcel Recommended as Spring Seed Treatment

Utilizing Brookside Agra’s natural water conservation agent and soil amendment H2OExcel™ as a seed treatment in spring can boost overall crop emergence, quality and growth rate, according to soil microbiologist Ben Elliott of Insight Bio Ag, LLC.

Elliott has worked in the chemical formulating and research fields for the past 10 years, providing consultation services both nationally and internationally. He specializes in intensive management for growers adopting new practices based on biological aspects of decision making, data management and systems integration.

“Using H2OExcel as a seed treatment, the point at which you can get the earliest activity of the chemistry, can help crops emerge more quickly and evenly,” said Elliott. “In early applications, at emergence, H2OExcel has been proven to support the early development of plants at a critical stage where photosynthesis has not yet fully started within the plants.”

According to Elliott, using H2OExcel as a seed treatment sets the stage for native microbes in the soil to begin coming out of dormancy earlier than normal. Even though the plants have yet to begin photosynthesis, using H2OExcel as a seed treatment can help build up the amount of total available nutrients within the root zone so a plant can load up quickly when those processes begin. The recommended use rate for all crops is 4 ounces of H2OExcel per 100 weight of seed.

H2OExcel is a proprietary blend of desert plant extracts and high-quality, humic acid-containing biologicals and other natural, non-plant derived nutrient enhancers. Research-proven H2OExcel enables soils to absorb water faster and deeper. Once it infiltrates the ground, it reduces soil and water tension, allowing soils to absorb and retain water and nutrients 3-5 times faster. It also relieves capillary pressure in the soil to allow soil respiration to occur. This puts more water at the root zone and increases nutrient uptake to the plants, all while utilizing less water and inputs.

H2OExcel is safe for use on all crops, turf and vegetation in all geographical areas and will not harm plants, animals or humans. When mixed with water, H2OExcel can be applied as a spray or soil-drench and can be safely blended with fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides.

Monday January 21 Ag News

Senator’s Property Tax Relief Plan Has Strong Support from Ag & Education Coalition

A broad-based coalition of Nebraska ag and education groups is supporting legislation that would provide more than $700 million in property tax relief while protecting essential public services such as education, services for the elderly, health care, highways and roads. Organizations in the coalition are each calling on their own members as well as all Nebraskans to show their support for real property tax relief by contacting state lawmakers in support of LB314.

LB314 is the result of two years of work by the Nebraskans United for Property Tax Reform and Education coalition and Albion Sen. Tom Briese to develop a responsible route to property tax relief.

LB314 would reduce the current over-reliance on property taxes and support K-12 education in Nebraska. It also adds $468 million to the Property Tax Credit Fund – which would bring that direct property tax relief fund total to $692 million. The bill also calls for a much-needed study to review the current system of funding K-12 education in Nebraska. LB314 would close several sales tax exemptions, add a surcharge to income over $250,000, increase the state sales tax by half a cent, and increase the tax on cigarettes and alcohol.

Nebraskans United Coalition members comments regarding LB314:

“We appreciate Senator Briese introducing legislation that reduces the state’s overreliance on property taxes and balances the tax system to fund education and other services.” – Robert Johnston President, Nebraska Soybean Association.

“This is the only bill that provides real property tax relief, adequately and fairly funds education, and creates a more fair and balanced state tax system. We will be asking our members and we ask all Nebraskans to show their support for real property tax relief by participating in hearings, making phone calls, sending emails, and writing letters to their State Senators.  The voice of citizens wanting real change must be heard.” –  John K. Hansen, president of the Nebraska Farmers Union.

"Any property tax solution which doesn't ensure the replacement of revenue for public schools is fiscally irresponsible. Senator Briese's LB 314 offers immediate solutions to address an unfair burden currently placed upon property owners.” – Michael S. Dulaney, J.D., Ph.D., Executive Director of the Nebraska Council of School Administrators.

“LB 314 is long overdue legislation to correct the tax shift of funding education by property owners. As a locally elected school board member, there hasn't been one decision made by our board that didn't try to balance the needs of our students while being fiscally responsible to our taxpayers. LB 314 reflects this balance of fiscal responsibility by modernizing our tax code and generating the revenues needed to meet the state's obligation to support public education.” – Dave Welsch, farmer and ag land owner, 20-year member of the Milford School Board, and member of the Center for Rural Affairs.

“This proposal will deliver property tax relief while still providing the children of Nebraska the high-quality education which will allow them to become the leaders of tomorrow. LB314 is the result of two years of hard work and study by a broad-based, bipartisan coalition and Sen. Briese. It will move Nebraska away from its over-reliance on property taxes and toward adequately funding education in the state.” – Jenni Benson, president of the Nebraska State Education Association.

“LB314 will provide sorely needed relief for property owners, especially those in the ag sector. It provides for not only the reduction of property taxes, but also a method to pay for the recommended distribution of revenues. Almost all the revenue generated in the bill would come based on taxpayer use or on elimination of exemptions that have hampered the state's ability to generate revenues in the past several years.  It pulls some of the focus away from property taxes which are fairly regressive. And it would ensure that more state funding reaches ALL school districts in the state regardless of size or location.” – Jack D. Moles, Executive Director, Nebraska Rural Community Schools Association

“This bill recognizes and honors the importance of both agriculture and education to Nebraska’s economy. We support LB314 and its guiding principal that we need adequate and sustainable funding for high quality K-12 education because it is imperative for the future of Nebraska.  It also provides a much-needed reduction in our over-reliance on local property taxes to ensure the tax system is fair to all Nebraska taxpayers.” –  Dr. Aaron Plas, Superintendent at Lakeview Community Schools on behalf of Schools Taking Action for Nebraska Children’s Education (STANCE).

“LB 314 will also protect public safety and help reduce economic costs resulting from excessive drinking. Raising alcohol taxes for the first time since 2003 will lead to fewer alcohol-attributable deaths in our state from drunk driving, alcohol-related crimes and certain cancers. The bill will also help to reduce the $1.2 billion in economic costs our state experiences each year.” – Chris Wagner, Executive Director, Project Extra Mile

"The Nebraska State Grange commends Senator Briese and the Nebraskans United coalition for their dedication to finding a compromise solution to resolving the long-standing impasse surrounding REAL and long-lasting property tax relief. Politicians have perennially promised solutions but have always fallen far-short on delivery. LB 314 may not have all the answers, but it provides the Legislature with a very real opportunity to achieve permanent and substantial property tax relief without pulling the rug out from under our local schools and government subdivisions. We support LB 314.” – Kevin Cooksley, Nebraska State Grange

“Sen. Briese understands how special education funding benefits all schools across the state and we appreciate his hard work and support.” – Stephanie Summers, Nebraska Association of School Boards Legislation Committee member, David City Public Schools Board of Education

Nebraska Farm Bureau
Nebraska Council of School Administrators
Nebraska Corn Growers Association
Nebraska State Education Association
Nebraska Rural Community Schools Association
Nebraska Farmers Union
Nebraska Women Involved in Farm Economics
Nebraska Soybean Association
Gage County Property Tax Group
Nebraska Pork Producers
Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska
Greater Nebraska Schools Association
Center for Rural Affairs
Project Extra Mile
Milford School Board
Holdrege Public Schools
Nebraska Wheat Growers
Nebraska Association of School Boards
Nebraska State Grange
Boyd County Schools
Stand for Schools
Schools Taking Action for Nebraska Children’s Education

POSTPONED:  Women landowners invited to workshop

EDITORS NOTE:  This workshop was scheduled to be held on Tues Jan 22.  Due to weather concerns, the workshop has been postponed to a later date.  Watch the website for further information.

Women who own or co-own more than 40 acres, may have inherited farmland, or are experiencing transition with farmland they own are invited to a workshop on Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019, from 1 to 5 p.m. at Milady Coffeehouse, 105 E. Sixth St. in Fremont. 

This “Empowering women through risk management,” workshop is designed for women non-operator landowners, and offers an opportunity for women to learn about areas of the operation that may be at risk, and how to address them.

“Women non-operator landowners face a variety of decisions and often rely on the advice of others,” said Sandra Renner, project associate at Center for Rural Affairs.

She said women who are feeling overwhelmed with all the decisions of farmland management will find this workshop especially helpful.

“Well-intended advice is not always in the best interest of managing the land or the landowner, so we’ve created this workshop for women to find answers and connect with resources while connecting with other women,” said Renner.

There is no cost to attend. Interested women are asked to register by Friday, Jan. 18. Attendees are encouraged to bring their questions or come to listen.

To register, contact Vicky at or 402.687.2100 ext. 1038. Visit for more information.

This event is hosted by the Center for Rural Affairs and made possible by funding from a USDA Risk Management Education grant.

Dicamba Training to be Offered Feb 5th in O'Neill

The three restricted use dicamba formulations (Xtendimax® with Vapor Grip®
Technology, Fexapan® with Vapor Grip® Technology and Engenia®) received approval from EPA for continued use in 2019.  To use these products, users must have either a private, commercial or noncommercial pesticide applicators license to purchase and apply these products.  However, there is an additional certification required by all applicators, mixers and transports of these products.  With the partnership between the Nebraska Department of Agricultural, the University of Nebraska Pesticide Safety Education Program and Nebraska Extension a training will be offered on Feb 5th, 2019 at the Holt County Courthouse Annex starting at 1:30 PM.  Questions regarding this training please contact the Holt County Extension office at 402-336-2760.

Other dicamba training opportunities in the area include:
  - Feb 7, 9:30am - Nielsen Community Center, West Point - Pre-register: - Questions: Corby Jensen 314-609-8204
  - Feb 14, 9:30am - Nebraska Innovation Campus, Lincoln - Pre-register: - Questions: Corby Jensen 314-609-8204
  - Feb 19, 9:30am - Ramada Inn, Columbus - Pre-register: - Questions: Corby Jensen 314-609-8204
  - Feb 19, 9:30am - The Beaumont Event Center, Wayne - Pre-register: - Questions: Corby Jensen 314-609-8204
  - Feb 25, 1pm - ENREC near Mead - Call Keith Glewen 402-624-8030 or email

Continued Growth and Big Supplies for Pork, Beef, Poultry

An Iowa State University livestock economist expects record U.S. production for beef, pork and poultry in his forecast for 2019.

Demand for U.S. poultry and livestock remains strong at the start of 2019, but trade tensions could spark uncertainty for producers in the coming months, said Lee Schulz, associate professor of economics and livestock markets specialist. Consumers should expect grocery prices to stay roughly where they were at the end of 2018, but strong competition and large supplies could lead to good deals for consumers who know how to spot them, Schulz said.

He said both U.S. pork and poultry producers appear to be poised for record production in 2019. If so, that would be the seventh consecutive record year for poultry and the fifth consecutive year for pork.

"Beef producers have expanded aggressively the last several years," he said. "This year should beat the record beef production set in 2002."

Schulz qualified his 2019 predictions by noting ongoing trade disputes could send waves of volatility through the market during the year. Trade uncertainty with China and Mexico contributed to sharp price drops for hogs in August and September of 2018. The possibility of continued trade disruptions exists this year as well, he said.

"Going forward as we look at 2019, pork exports are expected up 8 percent. That could be much higher or much lower, really, depending on sales to China and Mexico," he said.

Expanded exports to other markets, such as South Korea, helped to drive the continued livestock expansion in 2018. But that expansion has led to large supplies, and Schulz said "there's going to be a lot of competition for the consumer's dollar."

Even so, he said grocery shoppers probably shouldn't expect significant price drops for red meat this year.

"As we get into 2019, I think we're likely to see prices similar to 2018 at the consumer level because demand remains so strong," he said.

Instead, he expects retail features and food service offerings to be bolstered by the plentiful supplies available. So smart shoppers should stay on the lookout for good prices when dining out or 2-for-1 sales and similar opportunities at grocery stores to fill up their freezers.

Farm Credit Services Invests in CSIF

Farm Credit Services of America (FCSAmerica), a cooperative dedicated to serving the agricultural credit and financial needs of farmers and ranchers, reaffirmed its support of Iowa agriculture through an investment in the non-profit Coalition to Support Iowa's Farmers (CSIF).

The financial commitment made by FCSAmerica will assist CSIF in its ongoing efforts to provide direct assistance to livestock farmers as they strive to grow their farms successfully and responsibly.

"We're extremely grateful for FCSAmerica's contribution to the Coalition and deeply appreciative of their continued support of Iowa agriculture," says Brian Waddingham, executive director of CSIF. "With the increasingly complex and ever-changing regulations covering animal agriculture, farmers can use some assistance and the Coalition provides it directly to the families that need it most. FCSAmerica's investment underscores the value of our efforts."

A portion of the FCSAmerica investment will be used to support the Coalition's popular Green Farmstead Partner program; it offers timely and cost-effective assistance to Iowa farmers wanting to plant trees and shrubs around new and existing livestock and poultry barns.

Bovine TB Identified in North Dakota Beef Herd

North Dakota State veterinarians are investigating a beef herd in Sargent County after bovine tuberculosis (TB) was identified.

"In late 2018, we were notified that two adult beef cows originating from the herd tested positive for Mycobacterium bovis at out-of-state slaughter plants," State Veterinarian Dr. Susan Keller said. "The National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, confirmed the TB diagnosis in the cows."

The herd was subsequently tested by state and federal veterinarians and five additional cows have been confirmed affected. Additional testing is ongoing.

This strain of TB has not been previously identified in the United States and is most similar to cases that have been identified in Mexican cattle.

Tuberculosis is a zoonotic disease and can be transmitted from animals to humans and from humans to animals.

"An epidemiologic investigation is now underway, and further testing will be done to determine the source of the disease and to prevent its spread," Keller said. "The herd owners are fully cooperating in the investigation."

There are no other cattle herds which have direct contact with this herd. Animals which test negative for the disease may move direct to slaughter, but other movements are not allowed. Meat from animals that pass inspection is safe for consumption.

Keller said that the bovine tuberculosis eradication program is a state-federal cooperative program and that the North Dakota Department of Agriculture and State Board of Animal Health typically work with USDA-APHIS Veterinary Services on disease responses. Due to the federal government shutdown, federal funding and field staff are currently limited in their ability to assist.

Friday January 18 Ag News

Young Leaders in Agriculture Forum

Tuesday, February 5, 2019
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
The Barn, 2412 Rd 8, Clarkson, NE 68629

Recent Project Tour
Dean Settje, President, Settje AgriServices and Engineering

Growing the Family Farm with Pork Production
John Csukker, Environmental Senior Services/Business Development Manager, The Maschhoffs

Marketing Reporting Service Update
Jeff Stolle, Vice President of Marketing, Nebraska Cattlemen

Opportunities for Agriculture Careers in Poultry
Jessica Kolterman, Director of Corporate and External Affairs, Lincoln Premium Poultry

Utilizing Manure for Soil Health in Northeast Nebraska
Sarah Sellin & Bob Noonan, Ag Instructors, Northeast Community College

Nexus: The Future of Agriculture
Dr. Tracy Kruse, Assoc. V.P. of Development and External Affairs, Northeast Community College

For meal count, please RSVP your name and names of others attending by Thursday, January 31 to Susan Risinger Green.  Email: - Phone: (402) 844-7657.

Sen. Hughes Introduces Bill to Help Protect Farmers, Property Rights

Nebraska state Senator Dan Hughes of Venango has introduced LB227 to boost private property rights protection for Nebraska farmers and ranchers so they can continue to have the flexibility to adopt new technologies and modify and improve their farm and ranch operations. The bill would help prevent nuisance lawsuits like those brought against pork producers in North Carolina which have gained national attention.

LB227 as introduced would not allow a nuisance lawsuit if the farm has been in operation for over one year and was not a nuisance at the time it began operations.  The bill would also prevent the nuisance claim if the farm changes type, ownership, size, adoption of technology, or participation (if any) in any government program.  Finally, LB227 precludes a nuisance lawsuit if the farming operation has initiated reasonable techniques designed to keep dust, noise, insects, and odors at a minimum, and if the farm is in compliance with applicable laws and regulations, including any zoning of a local government body. 

LB227 was referred to the Agriculture Committee.  You can read the bill here....


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               Can you feed your pregnant cows so their steer calves gain more weight and more heifer calves get pregnant?  Recent research suggests that proper supplementation pays off.

               As winter forage quality declines and cow nutrient demands increase, wise operators feed protein supplements to assure healthy calves plus cows that will rebreed rapidly.  But protein supplements are expensive, so we usually feed only what the cow needs to stay healthy.

               New research, though, suggests that this strategy of minimizing input costs may overlook the impact supplements have on the future performance of the unborn calf.

               Recent research has shown that properly supplementing the cow can increase profitability of the calf she’s carrying.  In one study, steers born from cows that received protein supplement while grazing winter range produced an extra 60 pounds of carcass weight per animal compared to steers from non-supplemented cows.

               In other studies, the pregnancy rate of heifers calved from cows that received protein supplements while grazing corn residue or winter range was higher than heifers from non-supplemented cows.  And steers from these supplemented cows graded choice more often.

               This outcome, where supplementing protein to the cow improves the performance of her calves later in life is called fetal programming. It is thought to occur partly because cow nutrition affects development of fetal organs and muscles, which is highest during the last third of gestation.  Since most winter feeding and grazing programs use forages that are low in protein, adequate supplementing can pay big dividends.

               As your cows approach calving time, don’t overfeed but also don’t scrimp on the protein.  Feed what is needed, both for the cow and her calf.  You’ll be money ahead.

As Rates Tick Up, Growth in Operating Loans Boosts Farm Lending

Nathan Kauffman, KC Fed Vice President and Omaha Branch Executive
Ty Kreitman, Assistant Economist

The volume of non-real estate farm debt continued to increase in the fourth quarter of 2018. The increase was driven by growth in operating loans, which reached a historically large average size. Rounding out a year characterized by lower farm incomes, uncertainties about agricultural trade and the growth of lending volumes, interest rates on agricultural loans trended higher. The mounting combination of higher leverage and rising rates could put additional pressure on some farm operations.

Section A: Fourth Quarter Survey of Terms of Lending to Farmers

Non-real estate lending continued to increase in the fourth quarter, according to the National Survey of Terms of Lending to Farmers. Total non-real estate farm loans were up nearly 8 percent from a year ago. This was the seventh consecutive quarter of annual growth in loan volumes, with an average growth rate in 2018 of about 12 percent. As lending needs increase, the size of farm loan portfolios at commercial banks also grow, and both have contributed to a shift in loan volumes based on the size of the farm loan portfolio. Non-real estate loan volumes at the largest agricultural banks, or those with farm loan portfolios larger than $25 million, were up about 16 percent from the fourth quarter of 2017. In contrast, the volume of lending at banks with farm loan portfolios less than $25 million was down 15 percent.

The increase in farm financing also continued to be driven by lending to fund current operating expenses. The volume of operating loans reached a historical high for the fourth quarter, increasing more than $10 billion, or 22 percent year over year. Loans in this category account for the largest share of non-real estate farm loans and have increased in the last eight quarters by an average of 12 percent. While representing a much smaller portion of total lending, loans to finance farm machinery and equipment nearly doubled from the fourth quarter of 2017. The volume of loans for all other purposes declined over that same period.

Alongside an expansion in the overall volume of non-real estate farm lending, the size of individual loans also continued to grow. Since declining modestly in late 2016, the average size of all non-real estate loans has increased year over year for almost two years and at an average pace of 10 percent. Adjusting for inflation, the average size of all non-real estate loans reached the highest fourth quarter level since 2014, and the average size of loans to fund current operating expenses grew to the largest on record.

As the volume of farm loans continued to increase in the fourth quarter, interest rates also increased. The distribution of rates has shifted significantly in recent years, and in the fourth quarter 40 percent of all non-real estate farm loans were charged a rate more than 6 percent. At this time in 2017, a quarter of all loans were charged an interest rate less than 4 percent. Moreover, in the fourth quarter of 2015, nearly half of all loans carried a rate less than 4 percent while only a fraction had a rate more than 6 percent.

The combination of increased lending needs and higher interest rates has continued to raise the cost of financing at a modest pace. For a mid-sized Midwest farm operation that has not increased its financing needs in recent years, annual interest expenses have increased just about $3 an acre. However, for operations that have required a moderate amount (10 percent per year) of additional financing, annual interest expenses have increased about $10 an acre. In the current price environment, this increase in annual interest expense would equate to about three bushels of corn an acre, a modest but nontrivial amount of production.

Section B: Third Quarter Call Report Data

Third quarter Call Report data also showed that total farm debt at commercial banks continued to increase. Loans extended to farmers from commercial banks have increased at an above-trend rate for nearly four consecutive years and have not declined year over year in any quarter since 2011. Driven by modest increases in lending for both real estate and non-real estate, total farm debt increased more than 3 percent, with real estate loans up more than 4 percent and non-real estate loans up about 2 percent.

As farm debt has increased, delinquency rates on loans for both production and farm real estate have continued to edge higher. Despite remaining near historical lows, the share of delinquent loans in the third quarter for both categories increased roughly 25 basis points from a year ago. While the increase in delinquency rates on non-real estate loans primarily was driven by loans past due less than 90 days, the increase in delinquency rates on real estate loans was driven by nonaccruing loans.

In addition to higher rates of delinquency on farm loans, financial pressures in the agricultural sector also have led to an upward trend in farm bankruptcy filings. Since reaching a 10-year low in 2014, the number of filings has steadily increased; filings, however, remained well below highs reached in 2010. Despite the increases in borrowers’ financial stress, however, returns at agricultural banks remained relatively strong.

In contrast to the strength of earnings performance, liquidity at agricultural banks continued to tighten. With the weight of increasing loan volumes, the average loan-to-deposit ratio at all agricultural banks trended higher in the third quarter. The level of liquidity was lowest at banks with headquarters in the San Francisco and Minneapolis Federal Reserve Districts and noticeably higher among banks in the Dallas District. Dallas also was the only District that exhibited an increase in liquidity compared with a year ago.

Section C: Third-Quarter Regional Agricultural Data

An important factor for liquidity at agricultural banks, demand for non-real estate farm loans remained strong in the third quarter. According to regional Federal Reserve surveys of agricultural credit conditions, bankers in all participating districts reported a modest increase in loan demand with the exception of Dallas. Growth in the need for farm financing continued to place downward pressure on the availability of funding at agricultural banks. Respondents in the Chicago District reported a more significant decline in available funding while bankers in all other districts except Dallas reported modest declines.

Alongside growing demand for farm lending, loan repayment rates continued to trend lower. Responses from bankers in all participating Federal Reserve Districts indicated a decline in the rate of loan repayment compared with a year ago; the fastest pace of decline was reported in the Chicago and Minneapolis Districts. Similarly, the increase in collateral requirements was most significant in those two districts. Stricter lending requirements are a likely response by agricultural bankers to the combination of rising finance needs and a slower pace of repayment.

Consistent with national data, interest rates also continued to rise across each Federal Reserve District. In the third quarter, rates charged on operating loans remained slightly higher in the Dallas District while respondents in the Chicago and Minneapolis Districts reported the largest increases from a year ago. The comparison of rates on longer-term real estate loans across regions was similar, with bankers in the Dallas District continuing to report slightly higher rates and those in the Chicago and Minneapolis Districts indicating a slightly faster pace of increase.

Despite tightening credit conditions and higher interest rates, farm real estate values generally remained stable. In fact, the value of nonirrigated farmland increased in many states in the third quarter. The increase averaged 5 percent for states with positive changes from a year ago. North Dakota, Texas and Oklahoma exhibited the largest gains while declines were modest in Nebraska and Kansas; there were only slight changes across most other states.


Lending in the farm sector continued to grow in the fourth quarter of 2018 alongside a similar increase in interest rates on agricultural loans. As a result of strong demand for farm loans, liquidity at agricultural banks trended lower and collateral requirements continued to tighten in the third quarter. Delinquency rates on farm loans inched up, but remained low from a historical perspective, and financial performance at agricultural banks remained relatively strong. Despite mounting pressure on the farm sector and limited profit opportunities, the value of farm real estate has continued to provide ongoing support and remains a key area to monitor in the coming months if leverage continues to increase.

Hearings on 5th Batch of Iowa Stream Use Designations Set

The Iowa DNR is holding public hearings across the state to gather input on proposed designated use changes for a fifth batch of select rivers and streams. The changes in this proposed rule will help protect aquatic life and recreational uses.

For a list of stream designations being revised in the water quality standards, please refer to the list posted at: The DNR will host three public hearings throughout Iowa to hear comments on this rule proposal. Any interested person is welcome to attend. Meetings will be held as follows, listed by town:
  - Urbandale: Feb. 12, 4 p.m., Urbandale Public Library, Meeting Room B, 3520 86th St.
  - Washington: Feb. 13, 4 p.m., Washington Public Library, 115 W. Washington St.
  - Harlan: Feb. 14, 4 p.m., Harlan Community Library, 718 Court St.

People may make oral or written comments at any of the public hearings. Written comments will also be accepted through Feb. 22. Send written comments to: Matthew Dvorak, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, 502 E. Ninth St., Des Moines, IA 50319-0034; or by e-mail to

Meat Inspectors, Price Reporting Staff Still On The Job

In response to erroneous reports in the news and (mostly) on social media, the National Pork Producers Council is reminding pork producers and consumers that federal meat inspectors are working in meat packing plants despite the government shutdown.

NPPC – and other livestock groups – a year ago urged Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to deem as essential USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) inspectors. Without inspections, pointed out NPPC in a Jan. 19, 2018, letter to the secretary, “meat and poultry processing plants are prohibited by law from operating.”

“NPPC and U.S. livestock and poultry farmers are very grateful for the dedication and professionalism shown by FSIS inspectors during what we know are difficult times with this government shutdown,” said NPPC President Jim Heimerl, a pork producer from Ohio. “These inspectors are performing a job that ensures for American consumers the safety of our food supply.”

Had inspectors not been deemed essential – and been furloughed – U.S. packing plants and the 500,000 workers they employee would have been idled, causing significant disruptions throughout the meat supply chain, from livestock producers unable to market their animals to grocery stores unable to stock the meat case.

Also continuing to operate during the shutdown are USDA Market News Service staff who produce the twice-daily livestock mandatory price reports, which are the sole source of market information on sales to packers of cattle, hogs and lambs and on the subsequent sale of meat products. As he did for FSIS inspectors, Perdue made Market News Service employees essential.

“The mandatory price report is a critical tool used by livestock producers, packers and others when making marketing decisions,” Heimerl said. “It plays a central role in ensuring competition in the meat industry and in keeping the livestock industry vibrant.”

EU Won’t Include Agriculture In Trade Talks With U.S.

The National Pork Producers Council said it cannot support a trade agreement between the United States and the European Union that does not include agriculture, after the European Commission today issued draft negotiating mandates to EU member states that doesn’t include talks on agriculture.

“We are infuriated,” said NPPC President Jim Heimerl, a pork producer from Johnstown, Ohio. “The EU is one of the most protected markets in the world for a lot of agricultural products, including pork. We are pleased that the Trump administration has been resolute in its demand that agriculture be included in the talks.”

Agriculture has been included in all U.S. free trade agreements (FTAs), but agriculture often is wholly or partially excluded from EU FTAs. Indeed, many trade lawyers believe that the EU’s trade deals do not comply with World Trade Organization rules because they do not cover “substantially all trade.”

NPPC has been the leading voice among U.S. agricultural organizations on insisting that a trade deal between the United States and the EU include agriculture and that it address the EU’s restrictive tariff and non-tariff barriers to U.S. farm products. The organization and 52 other food and farm groups in mid-December sent a letter to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, urging the Trump administration “to continue stressing to [the EU] that only a truly comprehensive agreement will be acceptable to the Administration and, ultimately, to the U.S. Congress.”

EU tariff and non-tariff barriers on pork limited U.S. pork exports to the second largest pork-consuming market in the world to less than 4,000 metric tons in 2017. The United States sends more pork to countries such as Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Singapore than it does to the EU. According to Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes, opening the EU market to U.S. pork would result in billions of dollars in new exports to Europe.

Because of the EU’s barriers, the United States had a trade deficit in food and agricultural goods of nearly $11 billion last year. That deficit was just $1.8 billion in 2000.

“If the EU wants to conclude a trade deal that will be approved by the U.S. Congress, it needs to negotiate on agriculture,” Heimerl said.

Call To Eat Less Meat Dubious, Irresponsible

The EAT-Lancet report issued today calling for drastic cuts in meat, dairy and egg consumption to promote a healthier diet and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) is based on dubious science and is irresponsible, said the National Pork Producers Council. While two of the report’s concerns are sustainability and undernutrition, its radical recommendations would be counterproductive to both.

There is ample scientific evidence supporting the nutritive value of meat, including pork, which has critical vitamins and minerals, such as B12, Heme iron, zinc and potassium. These often are lacking in many diets, particularly in developing countries.

As for sustainability, the U.S. animal agriculture sector is among the most environmentally friendly in the world. A 2018 study from the University of Arkansas found that over the past 55-plus years, U.S. pork producers have cut their land use by nearly 76 percent, water use by more than 25 percent and energy use by 7 percent; their carbon footprint today is almost 8 percent less than it was in 1960. The environmental improvements were achieved while the production of pork more than doubled, increasing to 25 billion pounds in 2017 from about 11 billion in 1960.

In fact, in its November 2006 environmental report Livestock’s Long Shadow, the U.N.’s Food and Agricultural Organization (starting on Page 278) pointed to the U.S. livestock sector as a model of sustainability. While the same report found livestock agriculture worldwide responsible for 18 percent of GHGs – later revised to 14 percent – U.S. agriculture accounts for less than 4 percent, with pork production being about one-third of 1 percent, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Additionally, about half of all livestock GHG emissions resulted from worldwide deforestation, an activity that doesn’t take place in the United States.

“Modern U.S. livestock agriculture is a tremendous example of how the world can produce the nutritious, safe food people need while contributing less GHGs per calorie of food,” said NPPC President Jim Heimerl, a pork producer from Ohio. “The U.N. has said there are ‘limitations to emissions reductions in the agriculture sector particularly because of … providing food for a global population that is expected to continue to grow’ and that ‘it would be reasonable to expect emissions reductions in terms of improvements in efficiency rather than absolute reductions in GHG emissions.’

“To address sustainability and undernourishment,” Heimerl added, “maybe the report’s authors should call on the European Union to drop its Draconian ‘precautionary principle’ that all-but prevents the use of new technologies and modern production practices. It’s those kinds of restrictions that are forcing farmers around the world to forego using scientifically proved technologies that produce more food and in a more environmentally friendly way.”

Collaboration Needed to Achieve Sustainable Food Systems

Solutions from the Land (SfL) has reviewed the EAT-Lancet report released earlier this week in Oslo. The report calls for a "radical transformation of the global food system," including an overhaul of food production systems.

In issuing the report, the EAT-Lancet Commission on Food, Planet, Health attempts to offer a path forward for consumer diets and the food-production system. However, wholesale, fundamental changes to agriculture as it exists today cannot be undertaken without fearlessly confronting the challenges and opportunities uniquely understood by farmers and livestock producers.

For over a decade, SfL has championed the call for transformational change to build a more resilient food system. However, SfL questions EAT-Lancet's conclusions, which underscore the report's key shortcoming: a failure to engage farmers or others who work the land in putting together this assessment.

With the global population jumping nearly 30 percent - up to nearly 9 billion people - by mid-century, maintaining and expanding the capacity of agriculture to help meet sustainable development goals is critical. These results cannot be achieved by shutting down agricultural systems or prescribing food choices, as the EAT-Lancet report advocates. The transformational change demanded by the current food system is one which elevates farmers as stewards and searches for tools, incentives, and markets to enable the solutions which the land can provide.

While we recognize the need for improvement, the report fails to acknowledge the massive technological advances and land management practices, made under historic pressures, that agriculture has been adopting for decades. These practices have enabled greater productivity to meet sharply growing demand for nutritious foods, while using fewer resources, including land, water and inputs.

We should not confuse the capacity to create abundance with poor choices. The question is "What is needed to enable even greater efficiency, nutrition and environmental outcomes?" SfL understands that answers and solutions will be provided by centering on the voices of those who produce our food, feed, fiber and energy.

The evolution and improvement of agriculture through "climate smart" systems and precision management should be promoted to reduce hunger and malnutrition during exponential population growth; improve soil, water and air quality; enhance biodiversity and ensure ecosystem health, all while delivering the high-priority carbon sequestration, mitigation and adaptation solutions for a changing climate.

SfL acknowledges that there are many diverging perspectives on what best benefits people and the planet. Our view is that a system-wide approach is needed, informed by a broader group of food systems stakeholders, that considers factors beyond what is addressed in this report.

SfL stands ready to participate and contribute to the dialogue on pathways to improve nutrition, public health and the planet through integrated management solutions that farmers, ranchers and foresters can deliver from the land.

NMPF Applauds Legislative Step Toward Immigration Solution

National Milk Producers Federation President and CEO Jim Mulhern issued the following statement supporting congressional action to resolve critical immigration issues facing the U.S. dairy industry:

“We applaud Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) for their efforts to begin advancing the process in this Congress on immigration legislation. Rep. Lofgren and Sen. Feinstein have long been leaders in the immigration policy debate, and we look forward to working with them this Congress.

“The Agricultural Worker Program Act, introduced this week in both chambers of Congress, works to address agriculture’s needs by providing farmers with access to a legal workforce, a key element in the solution to the dairy industry’s workforce challenges.

“NMPF is eager to work with Rep. Lofgren and Ranking Member Feinstein on this issue, as well as on solutions to establish a program for future agricultural workers, which is another critically important component of the debate.

“As we have with previous legislative efforts, NMPF looks forward to working with Congress to enact a solution to our industry’s critical workforce challenges. This bill enables that conversation to start and we commend its introduction.”

Farm Bureau Ready to Work With Lofgren On Immigration

The American Farm Bureau Federation today commended Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), the new chair of the House Immigration Subcommittee, for setting a high priority on solving the agricultural labor crisis.

 “The labor shortage is a major constraint to farm production and growth across the country, and solving this problem is a priority for Farm Bureau,” AFBF President Zippy Duvall said.  “Rep. Lofgren’s bill addresses one key aspect of the problem, the legal status of so many of our workers. We are pleased that, at the start of the 116th Congress, Chairwoman Lofgren has underscored the importance of this critical issue.  We are ready to work with Rep. Lofgren and members on both sides of the aisle to provide a path to legalization for our workers and develop a guest worker program that meets the needs of growers in all sectors of agriculture, now and in the future.”

Commodity Classic Advance Registration Discount Ends January 28

Monday, January 28 is the last day to take advantage of the advance registration discount for Commodity Classic — America’s largest farmer-led, farmer-focused agricultural and educational experience.

The 2019 Commodity Classic will be held Thursday, February 28 through Saturday, March 2 in Orlando, Fla. To register, reserve hotel rooms and sign up for email updates, visit  A complete schedule of events is also available on the website.

Established in 1996, Commodity Classic is unlike any other agriculture event, featuring a robust schedule of educational sessions, a huge trade show featuring the latest technology, equipment and innovation, top-notch entertainment, inspiring speakers and the opportunity to network with thousands of farmers from across the nation.

Commodity Classic is presented annually by the American Soybean Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Sorghum Producers and the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. 

RFA Asks EPA to Separate Year-Round E15 Provisions from RIN Reform Measures in Upcoming Proposal

With the government shutdown threatening to further delay approval of year-round sales of E15 (gasoline containing 15% ethanol), the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) is urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to focus strictly on year-round E15 provisions in its forthcoming proposed rule and address RIN reform measures in a separate action.

President Trump announced last October that he was directing the EPA to complete a rulemaking to eliminate the “unnecessary and ridiculous” summertime ban on E15 before May 31. However, EPA was also planning to include “RIN reform” measures in the upcoming proposed rule. But with just 133 days remaining before the summertime prohibition on E15 sales begins, EPA is running out of time to propose, seek comment on, and finalize a rule allowing year-round E15 sales. In a letter submitted Thursday to EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler, RFA noted that “bifurcating” the proposal into two separate actions would greatly enhance EPA’s chances of meeting its May 31 deadline.

“Finalizing the year-round E15 rulemaking no later than May 31 will take a Herculean effort,” wrote RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “Therefore, we respectfully request that EPA bifurcate the rulemaking into two separate actions, moving forward immediately on the year-round E15 provisions and considering RIN reform in a subsequent and secondary action.”

The letter notes that, unlike the year-round E15 provisions, there is no deadline by which RIN reform measures must be finalized in order to allow fair and efficient operation of the market. “While we support efforts to bring more transparency to the RIN market, there is no urgency to move forward quickly with RIN reform provisions,” according to the letter. “This is particularly true as the previous uproar from refiners about ‘high RIN costs’ has been reduced to a murmur as RIN prices have collapsed to historic lows.”

Just this week, both President Trump and Administrator Wheeler pledged again to complete the rulemaking actions necessary to allow E15 to be sold this summer in conventional gasoline markets. Also this week, RFA launched an awareness campaign on E15, which includes advertising, an educational website, and a countdown clock to the summer driving season.

NFU Board Calls for Immediate End to Government Shutdown

The partial government shutdown—soon to enter its fifth week—is causing harm and exacerbating issues already facing American family farmers and ranchers as they look to sell their crops, acquire financing and prepare for the coming year. As such, the National Farmers Union (NFU) Board of Directors today adopted a resolution calling for an immediate reopening of the federal government.

“Our nation's family farmers and ranchers are facing a financial crisis,” said the NFU Board. “Net farm income declined nearly 50 percent since 2013, and a majority of farms—farms of all sizes—have been operating in the red over the past several years. President Donald Trump initiated and escalated trade wars with China and much of the rest of the world, further depressing commodity prices and damaging America's reputation as a reliable trading partner. The government shutdown is making these matters worse.”

The NFU Board highlighted a host of issues facing Farmers Union members because of the shuttering of federal agency doors, particularly those in their communities.

“The Market Facilitation Program (MFP), designed to aid farmers through the administration’s trade wars, is frozen due to FSA office closures,” said the NFU Board. “This stems needed cash flow for farmers gearing up for the coming year. These closures also limit farmers’ and ranchers’ ability to access federally backed operating loans and microloans, and process payments that are tied to FSA loans.”

“Additionally, information, data, and reporting services provided by USDA have been discontinued, making it more difficult for producers to make informed planting and selling decisions,” it continued. “Important agricultural research efforts are being delayed or halted, and some have been lost.”

The NFU Board noted that the shutdown is also significantly delaying implementation of both the 2018 Farm Bill and summertime sales of E15.

“Farm bill programs and updates, signed into law just a day before the shutdown, are very important to family farmers and ranchers of all sizes and operation types,” said the NFU Board. “The E15 waiver is desperately needed this summer to cut into significant oversupply of corn. Its implementation will have important gains for the entire farm economy.”

“American family farmers and ranchers rely on these operations to support their livelihoods and ensure food security for the country. It is imperative that the President and Congress fund the federal government immediately,” it concluded.

Thursday January 17 Ag News

Rural Mainstreet Index Falls for January: More Than Forty Percent See Loan Defaults Biggest 2019 Challenge

The Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index for January fell, but remained above growth neutral, according to the monthly survey of bank CEOs in rural areas of a 10-state region dependent on agriculture and/or energy.    

The overall index sank to 51.5 from December’s 54.2. This was the 11th time in the past 12 months the index has remained above growth neutral. The index ranges between 0 and 100 with 50.0 representing growth neutral.

“Our surveys over the last several months indicate the Rural Mainstreet economy is expanding outside of agriculture. However, the negative impacts of tariffs and low agriculture commodity prices continue to weaken the farm sector,” said Ernie Goss, PhD, Jack A. MacAllister Chair in Regional Economics at Creighton University’s Heider College of Business. 

Farming and ranching:
The farmland and ranchland-price index for January increased to 37.9 from 35.7 in December. This is the 62nd straight month the index has fallen below growth neutral 50.0. 

The January farm equipment-sales index climbed to 40.9 from December’s 37.1. This marks the 65th consecutive month that the reading has remained below growth neutral 50.0.

Below are the state reports:

Nebraska: The Nebraska RMI for January sank to 50.9 from December’s 53.7. The state’s farmland-price index rose to 47.8 from last month’s 35.7. Nebraska’s new-hiring index fell to 53.4 from December’s 54.9. Over the past 12 months, Nebraska’s Rural Mainstreet economy added jobs at a 0.2 percent pace, while urban areas in the state increased jobs by 1.8 percent.  

Iowa: The January RMI for Iowa rose to 54.2 from December’s 53.7. Iowa’s farmland-price index increased to 37.8 from December’s 35.6. Iowa’s new-hiring index for January sank to 53.4 from 54.8 in January.  Over the past 12 months, Iowa’s Rural Mainstreet economy added jobs at a 0.5 percent pace, while urban areas in the state increased jobs by 1.6 percent. 

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

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

Nebraska Dairy Princess Candidates Sought

Midwest Dairy - Nebraska Division is seeking candidates to participate in the State Dairy Princess contest scheduled Feb. 26, 2019, at the Ramada Inn in Columbus, NE. The event is held in conjunction with the Nebraska State Dairy Convention.

The Nebraska Dairy Princess reigns for one year as the official goodwill ambassador for the state’s dairy industry, making a variety of public appearances to help consumers understand dairy products and the responsible practices used by dairy producers.

The entry deadline is February 6, 2019.

Candidates must be 17 to 24 years old, at least a high school junior this year, unmarried and have parents or guardians who are actively engaged in the production of milk for sale to a licensed plant. A candidate also qualifies if she, her parents or guardian is employed on a dairy farm or a young lady sincerely interested and passionate about the dairy community. Candidates are judged on their communication skills, personality, general knowledge of the dairy industry and enthusiasm for dairy promotion.

The 2019 Nebraska Dairy Princess will receive a $1,000 scholarship from Midwest Dairy. A $500 scholarship will be awarded to the first runner-up.

For complete rules and an application form, visit or contact Jodi Pulfer, Midwest Dairy – Dairy Princess Consultant, 402-375-2285,

Agronomy and Horticulture seminars begin Jan. 18

Nebraska’s Sam Wortman will kick off the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture’s spring seminar series at 3:30 p.m. Jan. 18 in Keim Hall, Room 150. Wortman, assistant professor of agronomy and horticulture, will discuss “Leveraging Nebraska’s Bioresources for Weed Control in Specialty Crops.”

The talk will explore how Nebraska’s bioresources can be used in specialty cropping systems to provide valuable agronomic functions. Wortman will highlight current research on bio-based mulches, seed meals, and sprayable films to manage weeds and increase profitability of vegetable production.

Dates and topics for the series are as follows:
Jan. 25 — Nevin Lawrence, assistant professor of agronomy and horticulture, integrated weed management specialist, “Integrated Weed Management in the Panhandle of Nebraska.”

Feb. 1 — Sabrina Ruis, postdoctoral research associate in agronomy and horticulture, “Cover Crops and Soil Ecosystem Services in the Great Plains.”

Feb. 8 — Justin McMechan, assistant professor, crop protection and cropping systems specialist, Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center, “Cover Crop Management and Insect Interactions.”

Feb. 22 — Leah Sandall, distance education coordinator in agronomy and horticulture; McKinzie Sutter, distance education specialist in agronomy and horticulture; Grace Troupe, online instructor in agronomy and horticulture, “Online Teaching: You Can Do It Too!”

March 1 — Sally Clayshulte, Bayer Crop Science, adjunct associate professor of agronomy and horticulture.

March 8 — Marilyne Stains, associate professor of chemistry, “How is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics taught in North American Universities?”

March 15 — Marty Williams, ecologist in the USDA-ARS, adjunct professor, University of Illinois, “From Transcripts to the Tri-State: Exploiting Plant Density Tolerance to Improve an American Delicacy.”

March 29 — Daran Rudnick, assistant professor of biological systems engineering, irrigation management specialist, West Central Research and Extension Center, “Input Use Efficiency and Farm Profitability as Influenced by Management Practices.”

April 5 — Michael Grusak, center director of the USDA-ARS Edward T. Schafer Agricultural Research Center, “Impacting People’s Lives — Strategies to Provide Nutrient-Enriched Staple Food Crops.”

April 12 — Michelle Graham, research geneticist in the USDA-ARS, Iowa State University.

April 19 — Tonya Haigh, project manager rural sociologist of natural resources, National Drought Mitigation Center, “Decision-Making during Drought: What Spurs a Range Manager to Take Action?”

Each talk is in Keim Hall, Room 150, and can also be watched online. All seminars are free and open to the public and refreshments will be served at 3 p.m.


Managing weed challenges, integrating cover crops, and identifying and controlling new pest threats are among the featured topics at the Nebraska Crop Management Conference Jan. 28-29 in Kearney.

Geared to farmers and agribusiness professionals, the conference offers research-based, in-depth presentations on a variety of timely topics specific to Nebraska crop production, said Chris Proctor, conference coordinator and extension weed science educator. There will be 24 presentations, with many offered more than once so that attendees can be sure to catch priority sessions. Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts will address the audience on the afternoon of Jan. 29.

Online registration for the conference, to be held at the Younes Conference Center, is available at Registration is $150 for both days or $80 for one day through Jan. 20, $165 for both days or $95 for one day after that.

“The conference offers unique opportunities to learn about recent research and new recommendations to address the current and developing challenges that crop managers face in Nebraska,” Proctor said. “It also offers opportunities for attendees to talk with researchers and crop and agribusiness experts from across the state.”

Speakers are from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and universities in neighboring states.

Laura Lindsey, Ohio State University soybean and small grain extension specialist, will address variable rate seeding and options for lowering soybean seeding rates while still achieving projected yields.

Rhae Drijber, professor of agronomy and horticulture at Nebraska, will explore how intensifying or diversifying corn cropping systems affects the structure and function of the bacterial communities, with possible impacts on crop productivity.

Other topics include:
> “How Much Cover Crop Growth is Needed for Weed Control: A Review of Cover Crop Research in the Corn Belt”
> “Corn Growth and Development: Updating an Old Paradigm of Dry Matter and Nutrient Accumulation and Partitioning”
> “Using Cover Crops as a Tool for Managing Herbicide-Resistant Weeds”
> “Trends in Technology for Irrigation Scheduling”
> “How to Implement Sensor-Based In-Season N Management via Manure, Fertigation or Sidedress”
> “Critical Time for Weed Removal in Corn and Soybean as influenced by PRE Herbicides”

To view the full agenda for the conference, visit

The conference also provides commercial and private pesticide license recertification, up to 12 Certified Crop Adviser credits for both days, and dicamba training.

For more information, visit


The University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources is offering potential students a glimpse at what it means to be a member of the CASNR community. The college’s annual Experience the Power of Red Visit Day will be from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Feb. 13.

With 30 diverse majors and a pre-professional program, the agricultural college creates an educational experience and positions students to have a lasting and impactful career that aligns with their passion. During the event, attendees will meet faculty, staff and current students to see what life in the college is like. Experience the Power of Red Visit Day will not only expose potential students to their academic future, but also the unique living-learning spaces on campus.

“CASNR is focused on fostering an inclusive environment that empowers students to be difference makers in the college, the state and the world,” said Sue Ellen Pegg, college relations director. “We look forward to showing potential students what that means at Experience the Power of Red Visit Day.”

The visit will begin with refreshments and a browsing session, where students will get a brief introduction to each department in the college. Following a welcome at 9:15 a.m., students and parents will attend academic sessions that offer more in-depth information about each academic program. The event concludes with lunch and a scholarship drawing at 11:45 a.m. Optional tours of City Campus and East Campus will begin at noon.

Advance registration is required by Feb. 6. To register and see the complete schedule, visit

For more information, visit or contact Pegg at 402-472-0615 or

Landlord-Tenant Farmland Rent Workshop – February 25

Current and future landowners and tenants should make plans to attend a free land management workshop sponsored by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension. “Managing Agricultural Land for the 21st Century” will cover current trends in cash rental rates, lease provisions, and crop and grazing land considerations.

This meeting is being held in David City at Butler County Events Center, Butler County Fairgrounds, on February 25, 2019.  Registration is at 9:15 a.m., program starting at 9:30 a.m., and ending by 3:00 p.m.  The meeting is free, participants will be released for lunch on their own, but please register by calling 402-367-7410 by February 21st.

Nebraska Extension Educators Allan Vyhnalek, Aaron Nygren, and Jim Jansen conduct research and outreach in land management, agronomy and beef production. They will address common agricultural landlord and tenant questions. What does an equitable rental rate look like for my land? How do I manage a farmland lease? What should I expect for communications between the landlord and tenant? What does a soil test tell me? I hear about organic or natural production; how does that vary from what my farmer is currently doing? If corn or soybeans are not making money, should something else be raised on my land? What are key pasture leasing considerations including stocking rates? Who is responsible for cedar tree removal from grazing land?

“Landlords and tenants often struggle with land management questions.” said Allan Vyhnalek, Extension Educator and workshop presenter. “Both are concerned with fair treatment but it can be difficult to keep up with the current trends. Our workshop will provide participants with up-to-date information so they can be confident about their lease arrangements.”

This program is free and open to the public with funding provided by the North Central Extension Risk Management Education Center and USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture under award number 2015-49200-24226. 

For more information or assistance, please contact Melissa Bartels, 402-367-7410 or email at Butler County Extension; Allan Vyhnalek, Extension Educator, Farm Succession, at 402-472-1771 or e-mail; or contact Jim Jansen, Extension Economist for eastern Nebraska at 402-261-7572 or e-mail   

Summit to tackle climate in Nebraska for Nebraskans

Nebraska State Climate Office and Nebraska Extension are bringing the Fourth National Climate Assessment to Nebraskans with a summit planned for March 21 at Nebraska Innovation Campus, 2021 Transformation Drive, Lincoln.

“Climate change is affecting us now, and ultimately, it is a local issue,” said Martha Shulski, director of the state climate office based at the School of Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. “Our role as climate professionals is to translate the regional- and national-scale reports to a relevant scale for determining meaningful actions.”

Shulski, Tyler Williams, Extension climatologist, and partners across the university and state will lead the one-day information session on climate and climate change. Topics will include:
-    Highlights of climate projections and impacts from the NCA4 (includes a panel discussion);
-    The future of climate and expected affects for Nebraskans;
-    Weather and climate monitoring;
-    Climate scenario planning by Nebraska Extension;
-    Climate and agriculture;
-    Climate and health; and
-    Climate and municipalities.

Across the state, Nebraskans already have noted an increase in high-rain events, as well as warmer temperatures. Agriculture producers have seen longer growing seasons and warmer summers, requiring increased water resources; and wetter springs, preventing efficient planting schedules. Both urban and rural dwellers have seen more extreme rain events, resulting in increased runoff and soil erosion.

These changes are expected to multiply — potentially affecting the health of people, crops, livestock, ecosystems and energy — as temperatures continue to increase into the future.

But they don’t have to.

“The NCA4 is a jumping off point,” Shulski said. Now, it’s up to climatologists with the NSCO, High Plains Regional Climate Center, National Drought Mitigation Center and Nebraska Extension “to start a dialogue — or continue one — with stakeholders as we dive deeper to address these issues.”

“This summit is the next step forward,” she said, so “Nebraskans can tackle climate changes issues facing the state together.”

The event runs from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., with a break from noon to 1 p.m. for lunch. 

Conservation efforts recognized at Lower Elkhorn NRD Awards Banquet

The Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) board of directors honored outstanding conservationists at their annual awards banquet on Friday, January 11th.  The event was held at the Stables Event Center in Norfolk.

Outstanding Tree Planter Award

The Outstanding Tree Planter Award is presented to individuals within the district who have shown a strong commitment to the planting and care of trees.  The Rodney Wiese family of Oakland were honored as the recipients of the 2018 Outstanding Tree Planter Award.  Rodney, and his wife, Joan, accepted the award, along with their son, Andrew.

The Wiese family was nominated by LENRD Forester, Pam Bergstrom.  Bergstrom said, “The Wiese family has planted so many varieties of evergreens, hardwood trees, and shrubs it is almost like an arboretum at their acreage.  Varieties of trees or shrubs that they couldn’t get from the Lower Elkhorn NRD came from various nurseries around Nebraska.”

Several years ago, the Wiese family purchased the acreage they now live on between Craig and Oakland, and knew they wanted to put in new trees, specifically to enhance and renovate the old windbreaks that blocked the wind from the north and the west in the winter.  In the past 7 years they have planted over 1,200 trees and shrubs and renovated a 2 ½ acre windbreak system all by hand.

When the family renovated the windbreak, they completed a ½ acre at a time by cutting down the old trees with chainsaws and then saving the wood for their fire pit that they utilize for themselves and for the Scouts of America Troops that visit their acreage.  Bergstrom said, “When I even mentioned bringing in a bulldozer, they cringed, not at the price, but at the damage it would do to the understory trees.  In a world where machinery has made it easy to wipe the slate clean and do a complete demolition with a bulldozer; the Wiese family wanted to save the younger trees and incorporate them into the refurbished windbreak.”

Besides trees, the family also put in solar panels to provide electricity to their home and out buildings. Since putting in the solar panels, the family has noticed a decrease in their monthly electric bill and feel good about producing green energy on their acreage.  They also have a large garden on which they do their own version of no-till.  Bergstrom said, “They are very contentious about wildlife and planted a variety of shrubs in rows and thickets that allow for habitat and food sources throughout the year.”

Bergstrom added, “They are very deserving of this award.  We congratulate the Wiese family as the recipients of the 2018 Outstanding Tree Planter Award!”

Outstanding Partnership Award

The LENRD works with various agencies and partners each year as we strive to improve the quality of life for the citizens across Northeast Nebraska.  The Outstanding Partnership Award recognizes excellence in community outreach efforts that highlight our mission of protecting our natural resources for future generations.

At the banquet, the LENRD recognized the Norfolk Area Visitors Bureau for their outstanding partnership, and for their efforts in promoting the LENRD’s projects and programs across the Norfolk Area.

The Norfolk Area Visitors Bureau has been actively pursuing different ways to get people to stop, look, and learn in Northeast Nebraska.  It was about a year ago when Executive Director, Traci Jeffrey, contacted the district about the possibility of partnering to develop a Moon Walk program in our area.  LENRD Board Chairman, Dennis Schultz, said, “We formed a committee with the Bureau and other agencies, and before long we had three Adult Education events scheduled.  The “Stars, Strolls, and S’mores” events were a big hit with over 250 people attending the learning sessions last summer.  The committee has already met with plans for three more events in 2019.”

The Norfolk Area Visitors Bureau has also been a big promoter of our Recreation Areas.  Schultz continued, “When people are looking for things to see and do, the Bureau has always recommended the Willow Creek State Recreation Area near Pierce as well as the Maskenthine Lake Recreation Area near Stanton.  We appreciate their support of our area projects.”

As Norfolk continues to grow, and we look for more recreational opportunities closer to home, the Norfolk Riverfront Project has taken center stage.  The Bureau was very instrumental in gathering support for the project and working with the Lower Elkhorn NRD to secure funding for this endeavor.  Schultz said, “This is an exciting project, not only for Norfolk, but for the citizens across our district, and we are proud to be a partner!”

Executive Director, Traci Jeffrey, and Marketing Coordinator, Stacie Wilken, accepted the award on behalf of the Bureau.  Schultz added, “We want to thank you for your continued partnership and we look forward to working with you well into the future as we strive to improve the quality of life for the residents of our district.  Congratulations!”

Service Awards:

Jill Barr, of Norfolk, was honored for her years of service to the district.  Barr was on the board of directors since 2016.

Chairman Schultz added, “Congratulations to all of our winners tonight.  We thank you for your hard work and continued efforts in protecting our natural resources.”


The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship today announced it has issued a Special Local Need registration for XtendiMax with VaporGrip Technology Herbicide, FeXapan Herbicide plus VaporGrip Technology, and Engenia Herbicide. The registration outlines topics that must be covered during the auxin-specific (dicamba) training required as part of the EPA product registration.

“We worked closely with Iowa State University to develop these updated training topics. This additional training requirement is specifically for farmers and applicators who will be using dicamba products during the upcoming growing season. This training is separate and distinct from the pesticide applicator continuing instruction courses that are already in place for applicators,” said Mike Naig, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture. “It is important that applicators closely follow all aspects of the product label when using dicamba products.

The Department is working with the Agribusiness Association of Iowa to provide a listing of approved training on the website

The following program topics will be included in all approved 2019 auxin-specific (dicamba) training in Iowa:
-    The use of buffers to reduce pesticide exposure to nontarget species.
-    Websites listed on the pesticide label including nozzles, tank mix partners, EPA Bulletins Live, and sensitive crop registry.
-    Weather conditions and timing of application to include wind speed, temperature, humidity, and time of day.
-    Sprayer system cleanout and approved tank mixes.
-    Recordkeeping requirements to include crop planting date, buffer requirement, sensitive crop awareness, product label, and time of day.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s Pesticide Bureau is responsible for responding to complaints and investigating potential misuse of pesticides.  In addition, education and testing on the safe use of pesticides is administered to all licensed pesticide applicators by the Department in conjunction with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

It is important that all applicators read and follow the label directions on any pesticide when using. Product labels give applicators information about safe handling, application rates, personal protective equipment needed, appropriate crops to be treated, tank mixes, avoiding drift and more.  It is a violation of state and federal law to use a pesticide in a manner inconsistent with label directions.

The Department will also continue to maintain FieldWatch, the free online registry for apiaries and commercially grown crops sensitive to pesticides. Applicators are encouraged to check FieldWatch before applying pesticides. Iowans with qualifying crops or beehives should register their locations at

If there is concern about a specific pesticide misuse incident, Iowans can file an “Incident Report” with the Department’s Pesticide Bureau by phoning 515‐281‐8591 or by emailing the information to This report must be filed within 60 days after the alleged date that damages occurred.

More information about activities of the Department’s Pesticide Bureau can be found at

2019 legislative priorities for Iowa Farm Bureau

Members of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF), Iowa’s largest grassroots farm organization, will focus their 2019 legislative lobbying strength on issues most important to members, including enhancing the Beginning Farmer Tax Credit program, water quality and soil conservation, and taxpayer protection.

“The long-term sustainability of Iowa’s family farms is critical to Iowa and our communities,” says IFBF President Craig Hill.  “To maximize opportunities for the next generation of Iowa farmers, IFBF will work to enhance the Beginning Farmer Tax Credit program that helps pave the way for young and beginning farmers.” 

As a long-time advocate for taxpayers, IFBF will again work to protect property taxpayers whose tax burden has doubled in the last two decades to $5.75 billion in fiscal year 2019.  The organization is dedicated to working with legislators to maintain current levels for the Homestead Property Tax Credit and the Ag Land/Family Farm Tax Credit, and to continue to extend other key provisions beneficial to property taxpayers.

Another focus for IFBF during the 2019 legislative session will be working to ensure the state concentrates on maintaining and investing in Iowa’s existing parks and conservation areas, as opposed to alternative approaches that focus merely on acquiring more land.  “Iowans take great pride in our state parks and recreation areas, and Farm Bureau members overwhelmingly support the notion that taxpayer dollars are best used for improving, staffing, and maintaining our current state parks,” says Hill.

“Iowa farmers have eagerly stepped up to take on the challenge of improving Iowa’s water quality, and IFBF will work to protect the increased funding levels that were passed last year for the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy, as well as maintaining current funding levels for other successful conservation programs, including conservation cost share programs to achieve our goals set out by the Nutrient Reduction Strategy,” says Hill.

“One of the many strengths of the Iowa Farm Bureau is the year-round grassroots policy development process led by our members in all 100 county Farm Bureaus,” says Hill. “Our members are excited to work with their legislators during the 2019 legislative session to advocate for the issues important to our members and all Iowans.”

China, U.S. Swine Industries Gather To Address African Swine Fever

Members of the Chinese and U.S. swine industries gathered in Beijing to seek possible solutions for rising occurrences of African swine fever.

Despite ongoing trade challenges between their two countries, members of the swine industries in the United States and China gathered in mid-January to seek possible solutions for the growing number of African swine fever outbreaks in China.

The 7th U.S.-China Swine Industry Symposium, held on Jan. 10 in Beijing, was co-organized by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC), the China Animal Agriculture Association, the China Meat Association, as well as the China Chamber of Commerce for the Import/Export of Native Produce and Agricultural Products.

With a theme of "Animal Disease Prevention and Mitigation in a Global Pork Industry," the event attracted about 200 professionals from swine industry associations, academies and enterprises in China, the United States and Europe.

“The swine industries in China and the United States - the world’s two largest - are closely connected through trade in meat and feed products, and issues that affect the two industries have significant implications for global markets,” said USGC China Director Bryan Lohmar, who spoke at the event. “Deepening cooperation between the two industries will benefit both countries as well as consumers all over the world.”

The symposium had three sessions, focused on strategies to control and eradicate disease outbreaks, global and national efforts to control such diseases, and the impact of animal diseases on trade patterns and the swine industry.

At each, industry speakers shared their disease control practices as a means for further discussion about handling animal disease outbreaks. The symposium highlighted various perspectives on African swine fever from Chinese and U.S. veterinarians, U.S. swine industry reaction and insights on how the disease is influencing China’s grain, trade and demand structure.

"Fortunately, a large share of China's pork production comes from modern operations with strict biosecurity protocols, and that will help spare much of China's production," Lohmar said. "Learning more about how the disease spreads and expanding biosecurity protocols will be critical to containing the outbreak over the next few years."

Launched in 2012, the symposium has become an important platform for industry experts to share their knowledge and highlight business cooperation between the two nations and the world.

Scientists Finding Solution to SCN Resistance in Soybeans

In some soybean-growing areas, soybean cyst nematode (SCN) is overcoming the main source of genetic resistance (PI 88788) used in 95 percent of commercially available SCN-resistant soybean varieties - and negatively impacting yields. So research scientists funded by the soybean checkoff (United Soybean Board and the North Central Soybean Research Program) have been developing new sources of genetic resistance and new SCN resistance management strategies.

This effort includes expanding the use of the Peking source of resistance which is currently used only in about 5 percent of commercial soybean varieties, identifying entirely new sources of SCN resistance and stacking multiple sources of resistance in the same variety. The ultimate goal is to identify alternative resistance genes and gene combinations that, when used in rotation, will reduce SCN population densities and slow selection pressure on SCN to adapt.

"It's clear that SCN populations are shifting," says Melissa Mitchum, nematologist in the Division of Plant Sciences and Bond Life Sciences Center at the University of Missouri. "Every 10 years we conduct a statewide survey. Over the past 30 years we've seen a shift to populations that are able to reproduce on PI 88788."

A resistant variety should allow less than 10 percent reproduction of SCN populations. In other words, a resistant variety should stop 90 percent of the SCN in a field from reproducing.

"In the most recent survey, 100 percent of the SCN populations we tested in Missouri had elevated reproduction on PI 88788," she adds. "In fact, a majority of Missouri SCN populations are capable of reproducing at 50 percent or more on PI 88788."

Mitchum explains that researchers are working to solve two problems. "We have growers in some areas - like Missouri, Iowa and Illinois - with high SCN population densities and high aggressiveness on SCN-resistant (PI 88788) varieties. We need to help those growers drive their SCN populations down. We also have growers who haven't been using SCN-resistant varieties, and they need an SCN management strategy so they don't wind up with the first problem."

The good news is: University researchers are discovering, stacking and testing new resistance genes.

New Bill Would Require USDA to Buy American First

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) announced today she will file legislation to stop the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from lining the pockets of global corporations at the expense of U.S. taxpayers and family farmers. Known as the Buy American Agriculture Act, the bill would require that whenever possible, purchases of agricultural commodities made by the secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) must be from domestically owned enterprises. It would also require the secretary to publish the rationale for awarding the purchasing contracts and whether those enterprises are domestically owned.

Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) extends its gratitude to Representative DeLauro and urges swift passage of the bill, especially as USDA currently plans to award $22 million in U.S. taxpayer funds to one of the largest meatpacking corporations in the world, Brazilian-owned JBS, under the bailout program meant to help American farmers hurt by the trade war. In November 2018, Chinese-owned Smithfield Foods rescinded its bid for bailout money after a backlash on Capitol Hill over the award.

A petition circulated by OCM calling on USDA and Congress to halt payments to the Brazilian behemoth garnered over 1,000 signatures in less than a week. OCM now urges its members and supporters to contact their two U.S. senators and representative and encourage them to co-sponsor the Buy American Agriculture Act.

“We are encouraged that there are some in Washington, D.C. who are listening to U.S. farmers and ranchers, unlike USDA Secretary Perdue who’s lying in the lap of global corporations and putting their interests before those of American farmers and ranchers who are paying a heavy price for this trade war," said Mike Callicrate, Kansas cattleman, co-founder and board member of the Organization for Competitive Markets. "Foreign-owned, transnational corporations should not be the beneficiary of U.S. tax dollar bailouts, nor any government purchasing program, for that matter. It’s time to stop the forced taxpayer subsidization of the world's largest, most abusive corporations.”

New Democrats Added to House Ag Committee

After Iowa Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, was stripped of his committee assignments earlier this week, Iowa agriculture groups lamented in a Des Moines Register article that Iowa had maintained a member of the House Agriculture Committee going back 120 years.

The lack of Iowans on the Ag Committee lasted roughly a day as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi recommended members for Agriculture, Financial Services, Foreign Affairs, Transportation and Infrastructure, and Veterans' Affairs Committees for the new Congress.

Among the new members is Rep. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, who was elected to represent Southwest Iowa.

Agriculture Committee
    Congresswoman Cindy Axne of Iowa
    Congressman Anthony Brindisi of New York
    Congresswoman Cheri Bustos of Illinois
    Congressman Salud Carbajal of California
    Congressman TJ Cox of California
    Congresswoman Angie Craig of Minnesota
    Congressman Antonio Delgado of New York
    Congressman Josh Harder of California
    Congresswoman Jahana Hayes of Connecticut
    Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick of Arizona
    Congressman Al Lawson of Florida
    Congressman Tom O’Halleran of Arizona
    Congressman Jimmy Panetta of California
    Congresswoman Chellie Pingree of Maine
    Congresswoman Kim Schrier of Washington
    Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger of Virginia
    Congressman Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey

One list not released yet would be new Democrats added to the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The significance there is E&C oversees biofuel policies.

NWF Officially Opens 2019 National Wheat Yield Contest

The National Wheat Foundation (NWF) is pleased to announce that it is accepting grower enrollment for the 2019 National Wheat Yield Contest! The Contest is divided into two primary competition categories: winter wheat and spring wheat, and two subcategories: dryland and irrigated. The Foundation is accepting entries for Winter and Spring Wheat. The deadline for Winter Wheat entries is May 15th with an early registration deadline of April 1st. The Spring wheat entry deadline is August 1st, with an early registration deadline of June 15th.

“America’s wheat farmers produce the highest quality wheat in the world which should be taken into account when determining criteria for this national contest,” stated NWF Board President and Idaho wheat grower Wayne Hurst. “2019 will be the first year that we truly see how a quality component will impact the rankings of growers and influence results.”

In order to be considered for a national or state award in the contest, growers must follow up each initial contest entry with a grain sample, which will be analyzed by an independent lab. To qualify, samples must meet a quality Grade of 1 or 2.

 “The National Wheat Foundation would like to thank our sponsors for helping to make the Contest available to all wheat growers across the United States,” continued Hurst. “As we incorporate the new quality component into Contest, we will need help from our partners to educate wheat farmers on this standard.”

The 2019 National Wheat Yield Contest sponsors include AgriMaxx, Ardent Mills, BASF, Corteva Agriscience, Indigo Ag, Grain Craft, John Deere, LimaGrain Cereals, Syngenta, and WestBred.

ZOLERA® FX Fungicide Receives EPA Registration for Use in Wheat

Wheat farmers now have a new systemic, broad-spectrum fungicide for stronger plant health and higher yields. Arysta LifeScience recently announced that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved ZOLERA® FX Fungicide for use in wheat production.

“ZOLERA FX has earned a reputation as a trusted ally for effective disease control in corn and soybean production,” says Royce Schulte, BioSolutions and Innovative Nutrition Business Manager, Arysta LifeScience. “Arysta LifeScience is pleased to report that ZOLERA FX is now available in wheat, providing growers an effective new tool to protect their crop investment and build healthier wheat plants that yield stronger.”

The fungicide combines fluoxastrobin, a fast-acting, highly systemic strobilurin, with tetraconazole, a highly systemic triazole. In both early season and flag leaf applications, it’s effective against Stripe rust, Leaf rust, Tan spot, Spot blotch, Septoria leaf and glume blotch and other diseases.

Featuring the best plant uptake and mobility within the plant for maximum plant coverage, ZOLERA FX brings multiple modes of action in a single application for stronger plant health plus preventative and curative disease control. In 18 replicated herbicide trials at herbicide timing (Feekes 2–5), ZOLERA FX provided a 4 bu/A yield increase over nontreated fields. In similar studies at flag leaf timing, ZOLERA FX provided a strong 9 bu/A yield increase over untreated fields.

“Our studies are showing that a smart investment in disease control and plant health will pay off for wheat growers,” Schulte says. “An application of ZOLERA FX at herbicide or flag leaf timing can lead to higher yields and a greater profit potential.”

Wednesday January 16 Ag News

USDA to Reopen FSA Offices for Limited Services During Government Shutdown

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced that many Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices will reopen temporarily in the coming days to perform certain limited services for farmers and ranchers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has recalled about 2,500 FSA employees to open offices on Thursday, January 17 and Friday, January 18, in addition to Tuesday, January 22, during normal business hours. The offices will be closed for the federal Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday on Monday, January 21.

In almost half of FSA locations, FSA staff will be available to assist agricultural producers with existing farm loans and to ensure the agency provides 1099 tax documents to borrowers by the Internal Revenue Service’s deadline.

Twenty-One offices in Nebraska will be open these three days, including:
·       Bloomfield Service Center: 111 No. Washington St, Bloomfield, NE 68718 | (402) 373-4914
·       Columbus Service Center: 3276 53rd Ave, Columbus, NE 68601 | (402) 564-0506
·       David City Service Center: 317 E. Street, David City, NE 68632 | (402) 367-3074
·       Fremont Service Center: 2450 Business Park Dr., Fremont, NE 68025 | (402) 721-8455
·       Hartington Service Center: 102 E. Elm, Hartington, NE 68739 | (402) 254-6855
·       O’Neill Service Center: 107 E. Hwy 20, Suite C, O’Neill, NE 68763 | (402) 336-3796
·       Syracuse Service Center: 988 11th Street, Ste A, Syracuse, NE 68446 | (402) 269-2361
·       Wayne County Service Center: 709 Providence Road, Wayne, NE 68787 | (402) 375-2453

Thirty-seven Iowa offices will be open during these 3 days, include:
  - Cass County Service Center, 503 W 7th St, Atlantic, IA 50022 - (712) 243-1377
  - Crawford Co. Service Center, 3707 Timberline Dr, Suite 2, Denison, IA 51442 - (712) 263-5018
  - Monona County Service Center, 211 Iowa Avenue, Onawa, IA 51040 - (712) 423-1311

“Until Congress sends President Trump an appropriations bill in the form that he will sign, we are doing our best to minimize the impact of the partial federal funding lapse on America’s agricultural producers,” Perdue said.  “We are bringing back part of our FSA team to help producers with existing farm loans.  Meanwhile, we continue to examine our legal authorities to ensure we are providing services to our customers to the greatest extent possible during the shutdown.”

Staff members will be available at certain FSA offices to help producers with specific services, including:
-    Processing payments made on or before December 31, 2018.
-    Continuing expiring financing statements.
-    Opening mail to identify priority items.

Additionally, as an intermittent incidental duty, staff may release proceeds from the sale of loan security by signing checks jointly payable to FSA that are brought to the county office by producers.

Information on the locations of FSA offices to be open during this three-day window will be posted:
-    On the USDA website.
-    On Twitter at @SecretarySonny and @USDA.
-    On USDA’s Facebook.

While staff are available in person during this three-day window, most available services can be handled over the phone. Producers can begin contacting staff on January 17 here.  

Additionally, farmers who have loan deadlines during the lapse in funding do not need to make payments until the government shutdown ends.

Other FSA Programs and Services
Reopened FSA offices will only be able to provide the specifically identified services while open during this limited time. Services that will not be available include, but are not limited to:
-    New direct or facility loans.
-    New Farm loan guarantees.
-    New marketing assistance loans.
-    New applications for Market Facilitation Program (MFP).
-    Certification of 2018 production for MFP payments.
-    Dairy Margin Protection Program.
-    Disaster assistance programs, such as:
      +  Livestock Indemnity Program.
      +  Emergency Conservation Program.
      +  Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program.
      +  Livestock Forage Disaster Program.
      +  Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish.

While January 15, 2019 had been the original deadline for producers to apply for MFP, farmers have been unable to apply since December 28, 2018, when FSA offices closed because of the lapse in federal funding.  Secretary Perdue has extended the MFP application deadline for a period of time equal to the number of business days FSA offices end up being closed, once the government shutdown ends. These announced days of limited staff availability during the shutdown will not constitute days open in calculating the extension. Producers who already applied for MFP and certified their 2018 production by December 28, 2018 should have already received their payments.

More information on MFP is available at

NePPA Accepting Applications for Pork Leadership Program

The Nebraska Pork Producers Association wants you to be a part of the Nebraska Pork Leadership Program in 2019! If you are connected to agriculture and believe in the future of the pork industry, you are encouraged to apply. Applications are available online at, under the youth tab. Applications are due January 25, 2019.

The Nebraska Pork Producers Association believes in, and is committed to helping develop agricultural leaders. The Pork Leadership Program serves as a resource for talented people who want to contribute to the future of Nebraska’s pork industry. The Pork Leadership Program will build awareness, interest, and involvement in the pork industry at the state level.

The year-long program runs from February to February. During that time Pork Leadership Program participants will participate in six seminars and activities where they will learn about and experience various aspects of the pork and agriculture industries. Program members will not be responsible for any expenses to participate in the program.

The Nebraska Pork Leadership Program is directed under Kyla Habrock, of the Nebraska Pork Producers Association. Habrock states, “The program was created out of necessity --- as a way to build awareness, interest, and involvement in the pork industry at the state level. Participants will develop their skills as leaders through these shared experiences and will naturally emerge as the next wave of active and engaged members of committees and board members.”

National Pork Industry Forum to Be Held March 6-8, 2019

Producer delegates from across the United States will gather in Orlando, March 6-8, for the annual National Pork Industry Forum. The 15 producers who serve as members of the National Pork Board and Pork Checkoff staff leadership will hear directly from Pork Act delegates appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.

The theme for the annual meeting of the Pork Act delegate body is Moving at the Speed of Business. The U.S. pork industry is on a path to reshape itself as a problem solver to meet and exceed the challenges it faces in a dynamic food production environment. Toward that end, the entire industry must be nimble and flexible, as well as to be able to quickly adapt to change.

Each year the delegates confer, vote on resolutions and advisements and provide valuable direction on the important issues facing pork producers and the industry. Delegates will learn about the work underway to grow consumer demand for pork domestically and worldwide, as well as the plans to share pork producers’ story of sustainability through adhering to the We Care® ethical principles.

“In today’s production environment, we must have a shared focus on sustainability and innovation,” said Steve Rommereim, president of the National Pork Board and a pig farmer from Alcester, South Dakota. “We are committed to the We Care® ethical principles. Those values – put on paper more than a decade ago – continue to drive the work of pork producers every day on their farms as well as our work at Pork Forum.”

At the meeting, Pork Act delegates will rank 10 candidates for the National Pork Board and submit the list to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture for approval. The candidates, in alphabetical order, are:
    Bill Luckey – Nebraska
    Gene Noem – Iowa
    Dave Struthers – Iowa
    Larry Liepold – Minnesota
    Bill Kessler – Missouri
    Pat Albright – Michigan
    Russ Nugent – Arkansas
    Alicia Pedemonti – New Hampshire
    Michael Skahill – Virginia
    Stephen Williamson – North Carolina

Prior to the annual meeting, members of the National Pork Board also will convene their March board of directors meeting. The agenda will include updates on 2019 plans to enhance pork demand, increase market opportunities, improve pork production practices and invest in research priorities.

Included on the 2019 Pork Forum agenda will be opportunities for pork producers to become certified in the pork industry’s Pork Quality Assurance® Plus program, as well as learn more about other pork industry programs. The full agenda is available at

Second Annual Soil Health Summit Awards Honor Best in Soil Health

Five dedicated leaders in soil health received “Seeds of Change” awards at the 2019 Soil Health Partnership Summit, Jan. 15-16 in St. Louis. These awards highlight those participants in the Soil Health Partnership who go above and beyond to promote soil health throughout the year.

“The Soil Health Partnership’s strength has its roots in our committed and supportive partners—especially the farmers and agronomists who play an important role in our ability to support research-based practices,” said Dr. Shefali Mehta, executive director of the Soil Health Partnership. “These five individuals exemplify the very best of our dedicated partners, and we thank them for their great work.”

The five award recipients are:
    Super Sprout: Brian Ryberg, Buffalo Lake, Minnesota. As a first-year member of the partnership, Ryberg has jumped right into active involvement with activities that included holding a field day. Ryberg values collaboration, according to SHP staff, and has worked with other SHP growers to gain and share knowledge. He is an advocate of cover crops and continues to seek out practices that are best for his farm.
    Champion Communicator: Deb Gangwish, Springview, Nebraska. Gangwish recognizes that her story can make an impact, and in 2018, it did! Deb participated in a story (“Grassroots Movement for Health Soil Spreads Among Farmers”) with National Public Radio that helped propel the Soil Health Partnership into the national spotlight. This story played a pivotal role in SHP achieving 1 billion media impressions in Fiscal Year 2018. Gangwish has also placed articles in her local Nebraska newspaper, served as the first farmer-guest of the SHP’s new podcast series, and continues to make herself available for media interviews. She believes passionately that farmers must tell their story to show how they are feeding the world sustainably and thoughtfully caring for the land.
    Ace Agronomist: Bryce Kujawa, Mount Vernon, Illinois. Approachable and knowledgeable agronomists are a critical link between the Soil Health Partnership and farmers when it comes to implementing and collecting data on new farming techniques. Kujawa connected SHP with a pilot Associate Program site in southern Illinois and continues to support and share information about SHP’s efforts. An educator at heart, he takes the time to teach others and ask thought-provoking questions about soil health and cover crops.

    Data Dominator: Brian Martin, Centralia, Missouri. Good research contains powerful information, and Martin loves to dig into the data. He is diligent about following every protocol to collect robust data from his site, and he uses precision agriculture equipment, including drones and aerial imagery, to learn as much as he can from his fields. Understanding that soil health is a long-term process and commitment, Martin is quick to share ideas and learn from other growers in the partnership.
    Exceptional Educators: John and Joan Maxwell, Donahue, Iowa. The Maxwells take the initiative to tell the story of what’s happening on their farm to anyone and everyone, from local kindergarten students to visitors from Brazil. They love to share how a successful dairy and crop farm can sustainability feed the growing population while caring for the land. John is a strong advocate for the Soil Health Partnership and has been featured in print and television news.

An initiative of the National Corn Growers Association, the Soil Health Partnership is a data-driven program working to quantify the benefits of practices that support soil health from an economic as well as environmental standpoint.

Hatting Joins Iowa State as Extension Farm Management Specialist

Patrick Hatting has joined Iowa State University Extension and Outreach as a farm management specialist, working with farmers in southwest Iowa.

An experienced financial adviser, manager and insurance agent, Hatting will be housed at the Iowa State University Armstrong Research Farm near Lewis and will work with producers in Pottawattamie, Cass, Adair, Mills, Montgomery, Adams, Union, Clarke, Fremont, Page, Taylor, Ringgold and Decatur counties.

“I am excited to be a part of the farm management team with ISU Extension and Outreach,” Hatting said. “I am looking forward to helping the hardworking farmers in the state of Iowa in my new career.”

The ISU Extension and Outreach farm management team provides Iowa farm owners and operators the latest in research-based information. The team educates Iowans on farm financial and risk management, instructs on government programs such as the farm bill and crop insurance, provides guidance on strategic and business planning, examines environmental management policies and informs on agricultural marketing tools and supply chains.

“Patrick is a great addition to the ISU Extension and Outreach farm management team,” said Chad Hart, associate professor and extension economist at Iowa State. “He has a wealth of experience in financial management, especially in risk management, insurance and thinking about how to transition effectively toward retirement. We talk a lot about helping farmers transition their farm from one generation to the next, and Patrick will be a great asset to farmers making that change.”

Hatting joins ISU Extension and Outreach after working for Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company as a financial adviser, advising prospective and existing clients on insurance and financial solutions. He also has served as an adjunct instructor at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, teaching courses for insurance agent and certified financial planner continuing education credit.

Hatting also spent over 30 years as a member of the U.S. Air Force, Michigan and Iowa Air National Guard, retiring with the rank of lieutenant colonel.

He has a degree in economics from the University of Iowa and finance from McMurry University. Hatting earned an MBA in management from Trident University.

Fertilizer Prices Continue to Rise as Nitrogen Price Spikes Taper Off

Average retail fertilizer prices continued to move higher the second week of January 2019, although none saw significant price jumps, according to fertilizer retailers surveyed by DTN. That brings a four-week price spike for three nitrogen fertilizers to an end.

As has been the case the last three consecutive weeks, prices for seven of the eight major fertilizers are higher, though none by a considerable amount, which DTN considers a price move of 5% or more.

DAP had an average price of $508 per ton, up $3; MAP $533/ton, up fractionally; potash $381/ton, up $6; 10-34-0 $461/ton, up $6; anhydrous $573/ton, up $21; UAN28 $267/ton, up $6; and UAN $304/ton, up $2.

The average urea price was fractionally lower than last month at $407 per ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.44/lb.N, anhydrous $0.35/lb.N, UAN28 $0.48/lb.N and UAN32 $0.47/lb.N.

All eight of the major fertilizers are now higher compared to last year with prices shifting higher. MAP is 9% more expensive, potash is 10% higher, DAP is 11% more expensive, 10-34-0 is 13% higher, urea is 17% more expensive, UAN32 is 18% higher, anhydrous is 20% more expensive and UAN28 is now 22% higher compared to last year.

Weekly Ethanol Production

Here is the weekly ethanol supply-and-demand data for the week ended 1/11/2019.

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association, ethanol production pressed 5.1% higher to the largest volume in 6 weeks at an average of 1.051 million barrels per day (b/d)—or 44.14 million gallons daily. The four-week average for ethanol production rose fractionally at 1.026 million b/d for an annualized rate of 15.73 billion gallons but was still 1.8% lower than the level a year ago.

Stocks have edged 0.1 million barrels higher for three straight weeks, settling most recently at 23.4 million barrels.

There were zero imports recorded for the ninth week in a row. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of October 2018.)

Average weekly gasoline supplied to the market pulled back 1.9% at 8.565 million b/d (359.7 million gallons per day), equivalent to 131.30 billion gallons annualized and the lowest level since February 2017. Refiner/blender input of ethanol rebounded 5.8% (up 47,000 b/d) at 862,000 b/d—equivalent to 13.21 billion gallons annualized.

Given the lackluster volume of gasoline supplied to the market, daily ethanol production increased to a 58-week high of 12.27% of daily gasoline supplied.

ACE commends Senators for confronting Acting EPA Administrator on ethanol during confirmation hearing

Today, the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works (EPW) held a hearing on the nomination of Acting Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler to lead the Agency. American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings commended a handful of bipartisan Senators for demanding answers during the hearing to the biofuel industry’s priority issues with the following statement:

“ACE extends our gratitude to Senators Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) for confronting Acting EPA Administrator Wheeler about the ethanol demand destruction created by an unprecedented number of Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) small refinery exemptions (SREs) and how EPA intends to reallocate the waived gallons, as well as the need to issue a final rule to allow E15 use year-round in time for the 2019 summer driving season, regardless of the prolonged partial federal government shutdown.

“We appreciate that Acting Administrator Wheeler assured the senators that EPA is ‘still on schedule’ for issuing a final rule allowing year-round E15 sales in time for this summer’s driving season, but his caveat of if the government is back up and running in a “reasonable length of time’ is no excuse for a delay. It’s been more than three months since President Trump directed EPA to lift Reid vapor pressure (RVP) restrictions on E15, so why didn’t EPA set rulemaking wheels in motion in November, December, or January? Earlier this week, the president said that ‘we’re ensuring ethanol remains a vital part of America’s energy future with E15,’ it’s important EPA makes good on the president’s promise.

“It’s also critical EPA reallocate the SREs. It's insulting to farmers and ethanol producers suffering real economic harm that refiners enjoy record profits and are allowed to keep RINs through the waivers. With collapsed RIN and commodity markets, we need reallocation sooner rather than later.

“We encourage all U.S. Senators to help ensure former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s abuse of the law and broken promises are not repeated by Mr. Wheeler by insisting he provide them tangible evidence EPA will reallocate the blending obligations waived for small refiners and have a legally-defensible RVP relief rule for E15 finished by the 2019 summer driving season before voting to confirm him.”

RFA Statement on Senate Hearing to Consider Nomination of Andrew Wheeler to Head EPA

Today, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held a hearing on the nomination of Andrew Wheeler to be the next administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) President and CEO Geoff Cooper offered the following statement:

“We were encouraged to hear Acting EPA Administrator Wheeler commit to completing the year-round E15 regulatory fix before the summer driving season begins, but we are disappointed that there was no commitment to repair the significant damage to the ethanol industry caused by his predecessor's issuance of RFS compliance bailouts to highly profitable oil refiners. America's ethanol producers and farmers continue to suffer as a consequence of former Administrator Pruitt's actions, and we remain hopeful that Mr. Wheeler will use far more restraint and judiciousness as he evaluates the 22 petitions for 2018 small refiner exemptions now before the agency.

"And despite Mr. Wheeler's assurance on the timing of the E15 rule, we remain concerned that the partial shutdown is compressing a timeline that was already very tight. We believe EPA would greatly improve its chances of getting the regulatory fix done before summer if it separated the year-round E15 provisions from so-called 'RIN reform' provisions that are also being considered as part of this rulemaking package."

Just yesterday, RFA launched an awareness campaign on E15, which includes advertising, an educational web site, and countdown clock to the summer driving season—which, as of today, is just 135 days away.

Did the USDA Just Deceive America?

Bill Bullard, CEO, R-CALF USA

On January 9, 2019, The Washington Post article titled “Trump farm bailout money will go to Brazilian-owned meatpacking firm, USDA says” reveals that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is deceiving the American public.

The Washington Post article stated that one of the biggest meatpacking firms in the world, Brazilian-owned JBS, will receive about $5 million of the $12 billion assistance program the USDA had earlier announced would go to help American farmers whose prices were depressed by retaliatory trade action by China and other countries.

The Washington Post went on to quote the USDA’s defense for using millions of taxpayer dollars to subsidize the Brazilian behemoth rather than directly helping America’s farmers.

According to The Washington Post, the USDA stated that the products the USDA will buy are ‘100 [percent] American produced’ and that the ‘USDA only buys American commodities, produced on American farms by American farmers.’

To be polite, this is absolutely untrue.

Under the current North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and now memorialized in the Trump Administration’s proposed NAFTA replacement, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement or USMCA, all the beef and pork derived from imported live cattle and hogs from Canada and Mexico that are slaughtered in the United States is deemed to be a product of the United States. This means the beef and pork from cattle and hogs that spent their entire lives in Canada and Mexico and then trucked into the Unites States for immediate slaughter is yet considered by the USDA as a product produced by the American farmer.

We’re talking about a very large volume of pork produced from imported Canadian hogs that meatpacking giants like JBS can falsely claim as American made. In 2017, for example, the U.S. imported 5.6 million Canadian hogs and in previous years over 10 million have been imported.

In fact, all of the 1.8 million pounds of pork that JBS now plans to sell for about $5 million to the USDA under the trade-related assistance program could well be derived solely from hogs imported from Canada.

The past Bush Administration corrected this fraudulent practice in 2002 by passing the Mandatory Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) law that reserved the product of USA label only for pork and beef that was exclusively born, raised and slaughtered in the United States. However, the Obama Administration repealed the COOL law for beef and pork in 2015.

Since COOL’s repeal, neither the USDA nor the public have a clue as to which meat was produced by American farmers versus which meat was produced by foreign farmers and then slaughtered in the United States by foreign meatpacking firms.

Consumer groups like Food & Water Watch and cattle groups like the Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF USA) continue to urge the Trump Administration to reinstate COOL for beef and pork to end the fraudulent practice of passing imported meat off to unsuspecting consumers as if it were produced under U.S. food safety laws by America’s farmers.

Unfortunately, the meatpacking lobby, particularly the North American Meat Institute (NAMI) and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), which represent the interests of monolithic international meatpackers, has clearly courted favors from President Trump to keep consumers in the dark and the corporate subsidies flowing.

Vytelle Licenses Use of Reverse-Sort Technology from Sexing Technologies

Vytelle announced today a partnership with global livestock reproductive services innovator Sexing Technologies® (ST) for the use of ST’s proprietary reverse semen sorting technology. This partnership will allow beef and dairy producers to access gender-specific IVF embryos from Vytelle and its licensees.

Under the agreement, Vytelle will use the technology to sex sort bovine semen prior to the fertilization of eggs in the IVF embryo development process. This additional offering from Vytelle allows customers greater flexibility in next generation herd development.

“This is a great opportunity for Vytelle, our licensees and our customers to have access to the latest advancements in reproductive technology,” said Bruno Sanches, chief operating officer of Vytelle. “This new partnership further demonstrates our ongoing commitment to advancing genetics, life and business for commercial beef and dairy producers.”

The reverse-sort technology is available immediately from Vytelle’s licensee Hoofstock Genetics in Ranger, Texas. To learn more about Vytelle and redefining IVF, visit

FMC Launches Lucento fungicide for 2019 Season to Manage Foliar Diseases and Fungicide Resistance

FMC Corporation (NYSE:FMC) introduces Lucento™ fungicide, a new tool that provides long-lasting preventive and curative activity for a wide range of foliar diseases and reduces dependence on strobilurns, for the 2019 growing season. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has granted registration for Lucento fungicide in corn, soybeans, peanuts, sugarbeets and wheat.

     Lucento fungicide encompasses two separate modes of action (flutriafol, FRAC Group 3, and bixafen, FRAC Group 7) to deliver broad-spectrum disease efficacy, fungicide resistance management, plant mobility and long-lasting residual control. Lucento fungicide is the only proven tank-mix of SDHI bixafen and FMC-patented flutriafol active ingredients (AI), offering novel disease control not previously available to U.S. row crop growers.

     “Lucento fungicide provides superior control especially under heavy disease pressure, which can be attributed to its good mobility in the plant. A highly systemic fungicide, it harnesses both acropetal and translaminar movement providing uniform leaf distribution and disease protection,” stated Nick Hustedde, technical sales representative for FMC. “Ultimately, this pairing of bixafen and flutriafol delivers excellent prevention in the newer plant growth where the disease could spread.” 

     Additionally, Lucento fungicide is very active on diseases that have developed resistance to strobilurins, like late leaf spot in peanuts and frogeye leaf spot in soybeans.

     “With Lucento fungicide, growers are able to rely less on strobilurins and stem future resistance risk. We’re seeing dual mode of action fungicides consisting of a strobilurin and another AI failing to control disease because the only effective piece in the product is the non-strobilurin component,” said Brent Jacobson, product development manager, fungicides for FMC. “Strobilurin resistance is growing, both in relevance and geography, and growers need new tools to counter this challenge and protect yield potential during the critical grain and pod fill stages.”

     Lucento fungicide controls a wide spectrum of diseases in corn, soybeans, peanuts, sugarbeets and wheat, including: gray leaf spot, white mold, leaf spot, frogeye leaf spot, Southern corn rust, septoria brown spot, common corn rust, cercospora leaf blight, Northern corn leaf blight, Southern corn leaf blight and others.

Tuesday January 15 Ag News


When finances are tight, one key to keeping the farm is managing income with an effective grain marketing plan, one that accounts for a farmer’s cost of production, balance sheet and cash flow.

The two-day, in-depth, hands-on workshop “Grain Marketing: Dollar and Cents” will help row-crop farmers create effective grain marketing plans specific to their operation and financial condition. The cost to participate is $100 per person.

“Grain Marketing: Dollar and Cents” is designed to strengthen participants’ ability to understand financial benchmarking, improve their basic marketing knowledge, develop accurate production cost estimates and write a grain marketing plan. The workshop will take participants through a case-study farm, making them evaluate different financial situations: one with a strong financial standing and cash on hand, the other a tighter scenario where they would need to rely on grain sales to make payments on operating loans.

Using a game called Marketing in a New Era, participants will compare the potential effects of different grain marketing strategies on the case-study farm.

Those who complete the workshops should gain the skills to do the financial analysis of their own farms, and develop a grain marketing plan for their particular operation.

Dates and locations:
> Mead, Jan. 30-31: Eastern Nebraska Research and Development Center, 1071 County Road G. To register, call 402-624-8030.
> Scottsbluff, Feb. 5-6: Panhandle Research and Extension Center, 4502 Ave I. To register, call 308-632-1230.
> North Platte, Feb. 12-13: West Central Research and Extension Center, 402 West State Farm Road. To register, call 308-696-6734.

Jessica Groskopf, associate extension educator, said the workshops recognize the uniqueness of each farm.

“We know that there’s a lot of variation in the financial well-being of farms. We need to consider how that affects an individual’s grain marketing strategy. If I have a different financial portfolio than my neighbor, I’m probably going take a different approach to grain marketing,” she said. “If I have a really strong financial standing, I have more flexibility with the sales that I can make. If I’m in a tighter financial position, I need to really plan out my grain sales so that I’m meeting my cash flow obligations.”

Workshop organizers hope graduates can evaluate the financial standing of their farms and develop a grain marketing strategy that compliments their current financial situation.

“The hope is that we will give participants the skills to do the financial analysis so they can go home and look at their balance sheet and their cash flow statement and really utilize them to develop a grain marketing plan,” Groskopf said.

Grain Marketing and Financial Management in Uncertain Times

A free grain marketing workshop will be held at the Northeast Community College Extended Campus in O’Neill, NE located at 505 Hwy 20, O'Neill, NE, on Jan. 28 from 9AM-2PM. This workshop will assist farmers in maximizing financial market gains during periods of low crop prices. Nebraska Extension Educators will present strategies on using marketing tools, such as futures and option contracts, to protect farm incomes against adverse market movements. This workshops feature the Marketing in a New Era crop-pricing simulator, and the Grain Marketing Plan smartphone application. Attendees are encouraged to bring a laptop to participate; loaner computers will be available on-site.

The workshop is limited to the first 26 participants.

Complimentary lunch is sponsored by Corteva Agriscience and Pioneer Hybrids

Register by calling UNL Holt Co. Extension at (402) 336-2760. Space is limited and demand is high, register now!


The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) recently initiated an easier, more convenient way for livestock health certificates to be completed. NDA's Animal Disease Traceability program recently launched a new application designed for Nebraska veterinarians to issue livestock health certificates electronically as an alternative to paper health certificates. Nebraska veterinarians issue thousands of livestock health certificates a year.

“NDA processed more than 84,000 health certificates for 2018, a number that represents millions of head of cattle and other livestock required by law to have official identification,” said NDA Director Steve Wellman. “This new app will help veterinarians issue livestock health certificates anytime and anywhere with their computers, smartphones and tablets.”

The application and service are free, and the technology encourages veterinarians to use electronic health certificates as opposed to paper ones that cost more to process.

“When veterinarians use paper health certificates, NDA staff have to individually enter that information into a database, which is time consuming, costly and has a potential for error,” Wellman said. “Receiving information electronically, has proven to be easier and quicker to compile.”

Health certificates are required by law when producers move cattle and other livestock out of Nebraska. This gives officials the ability to trace an animal’s location and origin should a disease outbreak occur and makes the disease traceability process faster and more accurate.

Veterinarians can download the electronic health certificate application by visiting NDA’s website at: The link, under “hot topics,” is called “Free Smartphone CVI with Instructions for Nebraska Veterinarians.” The new application supports the following devices and platforms: iPad, iPhone, Android and Windows 10.

ICA Honors Outstanding Cattlemen

Each year, the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association honors outstanding cattlemen and women through several different awards. In December, awards were presented to cattle producers from Garner, Centerville and DeWitt at the Iowa Cattle Industry Leadership Summit.

Outstanding Commercial Producer

The 2018 Outstanding Commercial Producer for the state of Iowa, Curtis Claeys, is a first-generation farmer. The Claeys farm is a pasture-to-plate operation that raises high-quality black Angus cattle for Iowa Premium Beef and Aurora.  The operation near DeWitt includes row-crops, custom cropping, approximately 250 cows and a 650 head finishing operation.

The Claeys farm has hosted an open house with the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers and recently launched a locker beef program to sell beef directly to consumers. The multi-generational farm has transitioned over the years from swine production to dairy steer calves, then dairy heifer replacements before beginning beef production.

On the farm, the environment is a top priority. Cows graze stalks on all highly erodible crop ground, allowing no-till and cover crop plantings. Claeys added a slatted confinement barn in 2014, and rotational grazing is also utilized in the pastures.

The operation keeps detailed performance records, and uses those records to make decisions regarding culling and sire selection. In six years, the Claeys farm has achieved a 95 pound increase in yearling weight, while decreasing instances of calving difficulty to zero. Most of the bulls used in the operation come from the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association bull test.

Curt Claeys has a strong record of leadership as a member of his county’s fair board, and continues that record on the Iowa State Fair Board. His son, Kendall, is a graduate of the Young Cattlemen’s Leadership Program and a board member for his county cattlemen’s association. The addition of another generation working on the farm full time has been a vital component in the beef enterprise.

Environmental Stewardship Award

The 2018 Iowa Cattlemen’s Association Environmental Stewardship Award Program winner has always valued the land and the animals – both livestock and wildlife – who depend on it. Randy Eddy has been on the forefront of conservation measures his whole life.

Randy and Denise continue to operate the Appanoose County farm Randy’s parents established 60 years ago, in 1958. The majority of the farm is used as hay or pasture ground for Randy’s cow/calf operation.

Row-crop production is the principal use of land in Iowa, and Appanoose County is no exception. Approximately 21% of Iowa’s pastureland was converted to cropland from 2007 to 2012. During that same time frame, Randy converted between 250 and 300 acres of former row-crop land into pasture, which decreases nitrogen loss by approximately 85% and phosphorus loss by 59%.

Fields susceptible to erosion were initially seeded down with alfalfa and slowly transitioned to pasture when the alfalfa stand thinned and Randy added other varieties of grasses and legumes.

The Eddys’ land once contained sand strip mines, which left a wasteland in their wake. Randy and his father rehabilitated the former mines in the 2000s.

With the hillsides stabilized, the Eddys used their cows to help improve the soil over the years. Rolling out hay bales strategically on the fragile land helped deposit cattle manure where needed, improving soil health while minimizing outside inputs. Over time, the Eddys were able to filling in the pits left by the mines and convert the landscape to pasture.

Randy and his father also began planting switchgrass to diversify their pasture, provide wildlife habitat and improve soil health. As an active bow hunter, Randy was able to maximize the habitat and food available to native wildlife. The standing switchgrass and food plots on the farm bring pheasant, quail, deer, river otter, and wild turkey. Bald eagles can frequently be seen flying overhead. Milkweed flourishes in Randy’s switchgrass stands, providing valuable pollinator habitat. Randy also has three large, natural bee-hives on his property.

In addition to haying and grazing the switchgrass, Randy and his father also harvested the seed and sold the stover to the state of Iowa to use in mulching roadside plantings. The decision to plant and utilize switchgrass would prove to have broader impacts far beyond Randy’s farm, however.

In the mid-1990s, Randy took part in an innovative research project to lay the groundwork for commercial biomass energy production. The switchgrass on his land was used as a replacement for coal in a local electricity plant.

After several years of research and shorter test burns, a three month test burn of switchgrass was completed in 2006 at the Ottumwa Generating Station in Chillicothe, Iowa. The test burn generated nearly 20 million kilowatt-hours of electricity from the renewable switchgrass fuel, a world record. The electricity generated would power nearly 2,000 average Iowa homes for an entire year. The experiment also reduced emissions of the primary greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, by more than 50,000 tons.

It is this dedication to the land, livestock and wildlife that led the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association Environmental Stewardship Award committee to select Randy and Denise Eddy as the 2018 winner.

The Eddys’s niece, Lyndsay Harshman, an assistant professor and doctor at the University of Iowa hospitals, summed up the impact Randy and others like him have on not just Iowa’s cattle industry, but the well-being of the entire state.

“My generation is indebted to the ‘Uncle Randy’s’ of America – those men [and women] who not only farm this country but in doing so have sought ways to make their land better for future generations and improve the yield on their animal product in the short term as well. Randy has shown our community again and again that when we put our land as a priority, the quality of one’s cattle also rise to the top.”

Iowa Cattlemen’s Association Hall of Fame

The 2018 Hall of Fame inductee, Ed Greiman, has a long list of accomplishments. From operating a cow/calf and feedlot operation with his family to leading national conversations on important cattle industry topics, Greiman has helped to shape the cattle industry. Throughout his career he has worked in various sectors of the industry, and held positions in some of the most influential organizations and companies in Iowa’s beef industry. His reputation for knowledge and leadership is recognized nationally.

Greiman’s work over the years has an incredible impact on the cattle industry. From 1998 to 2002, he worked for the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association. While on staff, Greiman filled a variety of roles including Membership Field Director for Northeast Iowa, Beef Quality Assurance Director, and Membership Services Director. As Beef Quality Assurance Director for the State, he provided resources and oversight for Source and Age Verifying cattle and feedlots for value based market with all packers. He also developed an electronic ID and source-verified program with Cargill, in order to educate producers on the value of their cattle and allow them access to carcass data.

After leaving ICA staff, Greiman served as the vice-president of Iowa Quality Beef Co-Op Packing Plant until 2005. As vice-president of the packing plant, he represented the interests of approximately 900 cattlemen who owned the Iowa Quality Beef packing plant and helped integrate fed cattle from Iowa into the McDonalds source verified program.

At NCBA, Greiman has served as chairman of the Cattle Marketing and International Trade police committee, chairman of the working group on Price Discovery and chairman of the CME Cattle Futures Volatility and Contract Design Working Group. He has consistently advocated on behalf of Iowa’s independent feedlot operators in all of these roles.

Greiman’s involvement in the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association is commendable. He has served as the Northwest Iowa Regional Vice-President for ICA, as well as president-elect and president. During his time in ICA leadership, he chaired the Iowa State Beef Checkoff Exploratory Group, which ultimately led to the successful referendum vote to reinstate the state checkoff in 2016. He also worked with a variety of partners to help develop the Iowa DNR Workplan Agreement for feedlots.

Greiman continues to take part in ICA’s feedlot council, NCBA working groups, and serves on Iowa State University’s Animal Science Department Advisory Board. He is also the manager of Upper Iowa Beef.


Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig announced that Casey's General Stores and Quick Oil Company are the 2019 winners of the Secretary’s Ethanol and Biodiesel Marketing Awards.  The awards were created by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship to recognize fuel marketers that have gone above and beyond in their efforts to promote and sell renewable fuels.

“Casey's and Quick Oil Company have shown great leadership and commitment to marketing our homegrown renewable fuels. I am very proud to recognize the investment they have made to not only our renewable fuels industry, but the environment and Iowa economy as well,” Naig said.

The Secretary’s Ethanol and Biodiesel Marketing Awards recognize businesses that market the renewable fuels they have available through creative efforts including hosting special events highlighting renewable fuels, development of creative signage, initiation of new advertisements or marketing efforts, and dramatically increasing renewable fuel availability.

The winners will be recognized during the Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Stores of Iowa Annual Meeting in Des Moines on Jan. 15.  The Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Stores of Iowa (PMCI) is a non-profit state trade association serving the needs of independent petroleum marketers and convenience store owners throughout the state.

“Fuel marketers allow consumers to access ethanol and biodiesel blends produced right here in Iowa. Our state is a national leader in renewable fuels production, and we are very fortunate that many retailers are making significant investments to provide their customers with increased access to renewable fuels,” Naig said.


Casey’s General Stores is the winner of the 2019 Secretary’s Ethanol Marketing Award.  Casey’s has committed to offering E15 (Unleaded 88) to more than 500 of its locations over the next four years.

Casey’s is rapidly adding E15 and E85 locations in Iowa and promoting its availability to customers.  From 2017 to 2018, Casey’s went from two E15 and E85 stations in Iowa to 13.

For the past two years, Casey’s has participated in the Pink at the Pump® campaign, co-sponsored by the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association and the Iowa Corn Promotion Board.  Pink at the Pump® is a breast cancer awareness campaign where E15 retailers across Iowa contribute 3 cents to breast cancer research for every gallon of E15 sold during Breast Cancer Awareness month in October.

Casey’s also hosted three radio remotes with the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association and Iowa Corn to educate motorists about the benefits of E15, not only for their health but their vehicles.   For the radio remotes, Casey’s discounted E15 by 25 cents per gallon. During the two-hour remotes, E15 sales equaled the total amount of E15 gallons sold on a daily basis. 

Casey’s has spent time educating motorists on the use of E85 for flex fuel vehicles (FFVs). In the run-up to the Iowa Corn 300, Casey’s hosted E85 promotion events with discounted fuel, a remote radio broadcast, and free rides in a two-seat Indy car to show consumers the power and performance of E85.

Casey's General Stores Director of Fuels Nathaniel Doddridge was nominated for the award by the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association and the Iowa Corn Promotion Board.


Quick Oil Company in Perry is the winner of the 2019 Secretary's Biodiesel Marketing Award.

Rod Gittins has owned and operated Quick Oil Company for more than thirty years. Prior to purchasing Quick Oil Company, Mr. Gittins worked with his father on the farm land owned by family. Farming remains in his blood and his business allows him to provide products to his farm customers that are essential to their success.

Quick Oil Company has 11 employees and operates two tank wagons and three bulk fueling plants. They serve a primary customer base of farmers, contractors, and various other end-use customers. Rod has partnered with industry experts to host biodiesel educational sessions for his customers to address any questions they have about the product and to share the benefits of biodiesel. The results speak for themselves.

Rod Gittins and Quick Oil Company was nominated for the award by the Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Stores of Iowa.

Renewable Fuels Industry Overview

Iowa leads the nation in the production of ethanol and biodiesel.  Iowa has 44 ethanol refineries capable of producing more than 4.35 billion gallons annually. In addition, Iowa has 12 biodiesel facilities with the capacity to produce nearly 365 million gallons annually.

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program offers cost-share grants for the installation of E85 dispensers, blender pumps, biodiesel dispensers and biodiesel storage facilities.  The grant program is managed by Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. Additional information can be found on the Department’s website at

New National Swine Disease Council Will Help Combat Foreign Animal Disease

In 2013, when pork producers faced an outbreak of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, or PEDV, the U.S. pork industry put a renewed emphasis on farm biosecurity. Today, the U.S. pork industry has aligned its efforts to reduce the risks from foreign animal disease (FAD) by creating the National Swine Disease Council (NSDC).

The council is comprised of key industry leaders from six distinct areas of swine science expertise. NSDC leadership includes representatives from the National Pork Board, the National Pork Producers Council, the North American Meat Institute, the Swine Health Information Center, the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as well as state animal health officials.

“The biggest risk we face is any foreign animal disease entering the U.S.,” said Paul Sundberg, executive director, Swine Health Information Center. “As an industry, we have decades of response experience and are well prepared for any number of swine-specific diseases, however a new or emerging disease can threaten animal health and welfare, as well as public health. While it is virtually impossible to prevent every disease from entering the U.S., the formation of this council will allow us to respond even more quickly thereby mitigating risk to herd health through fast action and response.”

A newly emerging disease can also disrupt U.S. pork exports and commerce, negatively impacting pork producers and their businesses. The combined expertise of the participating organizations will center on rapid response to diseases that threaten the U.S. pork industry.

“The National Pork Board is well positioned to respond having invested producer dollars over the past 30 years to establish research priorities and response protocols,” said Dave Pyburn, Pork Checkoff senior vice president of science and technology. “In the end, it comes down to producer awareness and education, which is our area of expertise. We have outstanding programs in place and pig farmers are committed to on-farm biosecurity procedures.” Additionally, 90 percent of farms have a Premises Identification Number, according to a November 2018 producer survey.

Starting with the formation of the council and identification of member participants, the producers and their organizations will turn their focus toward providing recommendations in collaboration with state and federal animal health officials, and other industry stakeholders, to respond to emerging swine diseases. Any disease could potentially threaten herd health and negatively affect the U.S. pork industry. This focus specifically includes:
-    Recommending policies for emerging and foreign animal diseases and collaborating with animal health officials, regulatory agencies, and stakeholders to increase understanding of disease and quick response; and, most importantly,
-    Promoting acceptance of recommended actions throughout the U.S. pork industry.

The council will rely on subject matter experts to advise and inform on every aspect of disease management. That may include forming short- and long-term project teams to make, review, and implement appropriate recommendations.

“There has already been a significant amount of work done to identify and assess foreign and emerging disease outbreaks and non-regulatory disease outbreaks in the U.S.,” said Harry Snelson, American Association of Swine Veterinarians. “But we can always improve coordination in assessing and responding. The NSDC will facilitate that strategy.”

Rapid and effective response to disease outbreaks is the council’s top priority. Understanding what diseases exist in the world and keeping them out of the country continues to be the most important task in terms of risk management as those diseases pose a significant threat to U.S. pork production.

“Each of the six organizations has deep experience working together, and we each look forward to even more collaboration in the years ahead,” said Liz Wagstrom, National Pork Producers Council. “The end game for each of us is to improve disease detection, assessment, containment and eradication. Only then can we rest knowing that the nation’s pork supply is secure, the animal agriculture and food production industry is stable, and public health is protected.”

RFA Launches E15 Awareness Campaign

With less than five months before the start of the summer driving season, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) has launched an awareness campaign to educate consumers and policymakers about the benefits of E15 (a gasoline blend containing 15% ethanol) in anticipation of the blend being available year-round. The campaign kicked off this week with digital ads on The Washington Post and the launch of a new consumer-facing web site.

It is a race against the clock for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to finalize approval for year-round E15 in advance of the summer driving season on June 1. Last October in Iowa, President Trump directed EPA to eliminate the regulatory barriers that currently prevent the year-round sale of E15. And speaking to the American Farm Bureau Federation just yesterday, the President confirmed that his Administration is “…ensuring that ethanol remains a vital part of America’s energy future with E15. We’re making it available year-round, all 12 months, that’s a big difference for the farmers.”

Even with the partial government shutdown dragging on, EPA has promised this regulatory barrier will be removed in time for consumers to be able to enjoy the benefits of E15 this summer and the rest of the year.

The ads, with the tagline “E15. Clean. Affordable. Domestic. Fuel,” outline the numerous benefits of using E15, a fuel that can be used in more than 90 percent of the vehicles on the road today. Currently, E15 cannot be sold during the summer months in most of the country, the result of a burdensome, decades-old regulation with no environmental or economic benefit.

“E15 burns cleaner and cooler than gasoline, lowers gas prices, and reduces oil imports. Unfortunately, old regulations that protected the oil industry from competition have prevented E15 from being sold in the summer months,” RFA explains on its new site, which can be viewed here along with the digital ads. “But President Trump promised to make E15 available all year and directed the Environmental Protection Agency to take action. EPA says it will complete action and honor President Trump’s commitment before June 1, 2019. We hope they’re right, and we’re counting down the days left for EPA to take action on the President’s pledge to eliminate the summertime ban on E15.” The site also features a countdown clock to the start of the summer driving season on June 1, 2019, which—as of today—is just 136 days away.

“For far too long, consumers have been denied access to E15 during the busy summer driving season, meaning they’ve missed out on using a cleaner, lower-cost, higher-octane fuel,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “But that’s all about to change, as President Trump and EPA have promised to eliminate this barrier before summer. Even with a tight timeline and the partial government shutdown, EPA has made it clear that the regulatory fix allowing year-round E15 will be done by June 1. We look forward to consumers finally having access to E15 all year long, and this new campaign is meant to arm drivers and policymakers with the facts as E15 continues to spread across the country.”

To view the full ad campaign, visit

Farm Bureau Adopts Policies on Government Shutdown, Trade, Opioids, Cell-Based Food and

Farmer and rancher delegates to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 100th Annual Convention today adopted policies to guide the organization’s work during its centennial year on key topics such as farm bill implementation, cell-cultured food products, trade, rural broadband access and rural mental health programs.

“As our organization has done for the last 100 years, grassroots delegates from across the nation came together to express a unified voice on issues vital to the success of our farms, ranches and rural communities,” American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said. “It was fitting to have President Trump and numerous members of Congress among our attendees as we kicked off our centennial celebration. We continue to face a challenging farm economy and we stand ready to work with Congress and the Trump administration to address the issues important to our farm and ranch families.”

Government Shutdown
Delegates urged the administration and Congress to work together to end the government shutdown as soon as possible. The current shutdown means farmers and ranchers are being delayed in securing loans and crop insurance as well as disaster and trade assistance. The impasse has also delayed implementation of important provisions of the farm bill.

Delegates voted to favor negotiations to resolve trade disputes, rather than the use of tariffs or withdrawal from agreements. They also voted to support the United States’ entry into the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Cell-based Food
Delegates adopted a comprehensive policy to support innovation in cell-based food products while ensuring a level playing field for traditional protein. Delegates affirmed that the Agriculture Department is best equipped to be the primary regulator of new cell-based products as it encouraged USDA to utilize the Food and Drug Administration’s expertise in food safety. The policy also calls for complete and accurate product labels to ensure that consumers have all the pertinent information they need.

Rural Broadband
Delegates supported improved broadband coverage maps through better data and third-party provider verification. AFBF will work with the Federal Communications Commission to address map inaccuracies.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health
Delegates supported increased funding for programs and facilities for the treatment of substance abuse and mental health issues. Delegates also voted to support funding for the Farm and Ranch Assistance Network, which was included in the 2018 farm bill. AFBF will urge appropriations committees to fund this program, which is critical to address the mental health issues faced by many farmers, ranchers and other rural Americans.

New Grassroots Leaders Take the Helm at Farm Bureau

Delegates at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 100th Annual Convention elected members to serve as board and committee leaders for the organization.

Stefanie Smallhouse, president of Arizona Farm Bureau, and Todd Fornstrom, president of Wyoming Farm Bureau, were elected to two-year terms on the AFBF board of directors representing the Western Region.

Fourteen other state Farm Bureau presidents were re-elected to two-year terms to represent their regions on the board:

Western Region: Hans McPherson, Montana

Northeast Region: Chuck Fry, Maryland and Don Tuller, Connecticut

Southern Region: Jeff Aiken, Tennessee; Ronnie Anderson, Louisiana; Russell Boening, Texas; Gerald Long, Georgia; Mike McCormick, Mississippi; Rodd Moesel, Oklahoma; and Larry Wooten, North Carolina

Midwest Region: Richard Felts, Kansas; Richard Guebert, Jr., Illinois; Craig Hill, Iowa and Kevin Paap, Minnesota

Re-elected to two-year terms on the AFB Women’s Leadership Committee were Sherry Saylor of Arizona (chair), Isabella Chism of Indiana (vice chair), Marieta Hauser of Kansas, Debbi Tanner of Connecticut, Lorenda Overman of North Carolina and Carol Guthrie of Idaho.

Paul Molesky of New York was elected as the new chair of the AFBF Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee for a one-year term, which makes him a member of the AFBF board of directors.

Valent U.S.A. receives U.S. EPA approval for liquid formulation Fierce® MTZ Herbicide

Valent U.S.A. LLC today announced the launch of Fierce® MTZ Herbicide - a stand-alone liquid formulation that combines the company's leading herbicide, Fierce Herbicide, with the added benefit of metribuzin.  The company has received U.S. EPA approval, and first sales are expected in the 2019 growing season.

Fierce MTZ contains three effective modes of action that provide long lasting residual control of tough and resistant broadleaf weeds and annual grasses, including Palmer amaranth, common waterhemp, common and giant ragweed, and kochia.

Fierce MTZ protects fields for up to eight weeks and provides flexibility for crop rotation with limited carryover and rotational restrictions.  In addition, the liquid formulation provides easy mixing and loading.

"With weed control being a key hurdle year after year, we continue to recommend using multiple effective modes of action in weed management systems," said Dr. John Pawlak, Valent product development manager.  "Fierce MTZ provides the longest control over the largest spectrum of troublesome weeds than any other comparable product on the market."

HELM Agro US Launches Zone Elite Herbicide for Soybeans

HELM Agro US, Inc. has added Zone Elite to the company’s ‘ZONE’ herbicide family for U.S. soybean growers.

Zone Elite is a pre-emergence herbicide for broad-spectrum weed control with an application window from 30+ days preplant up to three days after planting. Controlling the toughest grasses and small-seeded broadleaves, Zone Elite delivers outstanding efficacy on more than 45 different weed species.

“For growers battling resistance, Zone Elite is an ideal weed control solution,” says Jan Stechmann, President of HELM Agro US. “With two modes of action plus 45 to 60 days of residual activity, Zone Elite keeps early season soybean fields clean for longer periods – allowing more flexibility for post-emergent applications.”

A proven weed control tool for waterhemp, foxtail and Amaranthus pressure regions, Stechmann says Zone Elite will be available in 2019 for soybean growers in the Midwest, Northeast and Mid-South, as well as North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota.
Top quality performer

With a best-in-class oil dispersion formulation, Zone Elite contains Group 14 and 15 herbicides consisting of 0.7 pounds of sulfentrazone and 6.3 pounds of metolachlor per gallon of active ingredients.

Labeled for ‘pre’ application in all soybeans, traited and conventional, Zone Elite is also approved for use in dry shelled peas. Zone Elite is tank mix compatible with fertilizers, insecticides, herbicides and adjuvants, and packaged in 2 x 2.5-gallon cases.

Zone Elite application rates for soybeans are determined according to soil texture and percentage of organic matter on a per field basis, ranging from 19.0 to 38.7 ounces per acre.
ZONE brand of herbicides

Zone Elite is the latest product under the ‘ZONE’ brand of herbicides, now available from HELM.

Included in the lineup with Zone Elite are: Zone Assist herbicide, a premix formulation of sulfentrazone and imazethapyr; and Zone herbicide, a premix formulation of sulfentrazone and chlorimuron.

All three products offer equivalent performance at a cost competitive price to leading marketplace brands, and are highly recommended for 2019 herbicide resistance weed management programs. 

Monday January 14 Ag News

Industry wary of alternatives tries to protect a word: meat

(AP) — More than four months after Missouri became the first U.S. state to regulate the term “meat” on product labels, Nebraska’s powerful farm groups are pushing for similar protection from veggie burgers, tofu dogs and other items that look and taste like real meat.

Nebraska lawmakers will consider a bill this year defining meat as “any edible portion of any livestock or poultry, carcass, or part thereof” and excluding “lab-grown or insect or plant-based food products.” It would make it a crime to advertise or sell something “as meat that is not derived from poultry or livestock.”

Similar measures aimed at meat alternatives are pending in Tennessee, Virginia and Wyoming. They come amid a debate over what to call products that are being developed using the emerging science of meat grown by culturing cells in a lab. Supporters of the science are embracing the term “clean meat” — language the conventional meat industry strongly opposes.

The issue strikes a particularly strong chord in Nebraska, one of the nation’s top states for livestock production, where cars roll down the interstate with “Beef State” license plates and the governor each year proclaims May as “Beef Month.”

Farm groups have found an unusual ally in state Sen. Carol Blood, a city-dwelling vegetarian from the Omaha suburb of Bellevue. Blood, who grew up on a farm, said she introduced the measure because agriculture is Nebraska’s largest industry and needs to be protected for the good of the whole state.

“I’m not bringing this bill to tell people what they can and can’t eat,” she said. “All I’m asking for is truth in advertising. It’s clear that meat comes from livestock, and livestock is our livelihood in Nebraska.”

Nebraska led the nation in commercial red meat production in 2017 and had the most feed cows as of last year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Livestock and livestock product sales generated an estimated $12.1 billion for the state’s economy in 2016, according to the USDA’s most recent available data.

The measure is certain to face resistance from food producers that sell plant-based alternatives, as well as those working to bring lab-grown meat to market. Critics say the bill infringes on the free-speech rights of companies that produce vegetarian alternatives to real meat.

The Good Food Institute, the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri, the Animal Legal Defense Fund and plant-based food company Tofurkey have filed a federal lawsuit challenging the Missouri law . They argue the law unfairly stifles competition.

The Nebraska bill “would censor food labels and create consumer confusion where there is none,” said Jessica Almy, director of policy for the Washington-based Good Food Institute. “You can’t censor speech just to promote one industry’s financial success.”

Supporters of the Nebraska measure say they want to ensure people aren’t misled about what they’re eating.

Blood said she proposed the measure after seeing two women in a grocery store who couldn’t tell whether a product contained meat or a substitute. She said her proposal wouldn’t require inspections of product labels, as Missouri’s law does.

“I don’t want to be the meat police,” she said.

Under the Nebraska bill, violations would bring a misdemeanor charge punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

“Consumers have a right to know what they’re buying,” said John Hansen, president of the Nebraska Farmers Union. “That’s the case whether it’s a vegetarian product or not. There ought to be clear, honest and accurate labeling, and then let the marketplace make the choices.”

Hansen said his group’s livestock producers are particularly concerned about whether consumers will be able to differentiate between meat grown in the lab and farm-grown beef, pork and chicken.

Pete McClymont, executive vice president for the group Nebraska Cattlemen, said his organization’s concern rises partly from the growth of products labeled as almond and soy milk, which have become an increasingly popular alternative to cow’s milk. McClymont said his group still needs to review specific details of the Nebraska proposal, but will push for any law that protects the state’s livestock producers.

“When I go out and speak to our membership, this is right near the top of what people are passionate about,” he said.

Platte Valley Cattlemen Meeting

Lucas Luckey, President, Platte Valley Cattlemen

Our next meeting is scheduled for Monday, January 21st, at The American Legion in Columbus. The social hour will begin at 6:00 p.m. with the meal to follow at 7:00 p.m. Thank you to Agri-City Insurance, Chad Settje and Lindsay Coop for sponsoring our meal this year and thank you to Columbus Sales Pavilion and Travis Bock for sponsoring the social hour.

January could be one of our most important meetings of the year; our new membership meeting is something that keeps this organization alive and vibrant. No matter what age you are, the Platte Valley Cattlemen are always open to new members who are passionate about the Beef Industry! Mike Drinnin, President of Nebraska Cattlemen and Pete McClymont will be joining us as well to update us on the events taking place in the Unicameral. Also, Jim Pillen will update us on the University of Nebraska Board of Regents.

Looking ahead – our annual banquet is scheduled for Saturday, February 16th, 2019, at the Ramada Hotel and River’s Edge Convention Center. Gayl Becwar will be the entertainment. Tickets will be available for purchase at the meeting.

We look forward to seeing everyone on the 21st. Again,  please note the change in location of our meeting to the American Legion, 2263 3rd Ave. Columbus, just across the street from Wunderlich’s.

Heifer Development and Long-term Profitability

Travis Mulliniks, UNL Beef Cattle Nutritionist, Range Production Systems

Developing a heifer to replace a cull cow is one of the most expensive management decisions for cow-calf producers, leading to major implications on long-term herd profitability.

When the decision to develop heifers has been made, the question then becomes “what is the proper strategy to develop replacements for the cowherd?” Traditional recommendations suggest heifers should be managed to reach 65% of their mature body weight at breeding to maximize pregnancy rate. In the last several years, multiple studies across differing environmental conditions have proved heifers can be developed to as low as 48 to 50% of mature body weight with no negative impact on pregnancy rates.   Heifers in these systems are developed at a restricted gain (less than 0.75 lb/d of gain) while utilizing a compensatory gain or increased gain period at the time of breeding.

For cow/calf operations, maximizing outputs does not necessarily result in maximizing profit. Sometimes the “proper” way to develop heifers disregards her net present value and ability to pay her investment cost off.   Just like any capital investment, retained or purchased heifers are only worth the sum of all the income over their lifetime, including salvage value minus production costs of that occurred during development.

A recent study, Profitability of Developing Beef Heifers on Stockpiled Winter Forages, published in the Journal of Applied Farm Economics compared developing heifers on a low-input, forage-based system to a high-input, drylot system and the impact on profitability of the system over an 11-year lifespan.

Heifer replacement rate and cow costs were held constant across the heifer development systems. The net present value of heifers developed on a low-input, forage-based system ranged from $264 to $468/head.   Heifers developed in a drylot system had a net present value of a negative $876/head and were developed to reach 65% of their mature body weight.

Breakeven period to pay off heifer development costs was estimated in years of age, and heifers in forage-based systems became profitable at 3 to 4 years of age, whereas heifers developed in a drylot were 9 to 10 years of age before their investment cost was covered.

Altogether, developing heifers in a high-input system increased production risks and decreased long-term profitability.   Since cow costs and replacement rates were the same in the mentioned study above, the only thing that differed was investment or development costs.   Low-input heifer development decreased costs and increased opportunity, which extensive research has indicated will not sacrifice reproductive performance. 

With that in mind, when we think about heifer development, we may want to consider more than just maximizing pregnancy rates, but increasing the net present value or general value of that heifer.   Low-input, cost-effective heifer systems allow for increased flexibility of marketing.

In a production system, heifer programs are essentially a stocker operation with multiple end marketing or target options.   Pregnant heifers can be kept as replacements or sold, while the non-pregnant heifers are young enough to be fed for the choice beef market or kept as yearlings.    

Another advantage to low-cost heifer development systems is increased longevity within the cowherd. Profitability and longevity in the cowherd are directly tied to each other. Research from New Mexico and Montana indicate that 30 to 60% of heifers remain in the herd after 5 years of age.

In addition, high-input development systems tend to decrease longevity in rangeland production settings. In most cowherds, this is largely due to the highest non-pregnant rate occurring in young, 2- and 3-year-old females that are asked to get pregnant, while lactating for the first or second time, and still growing themselves. Cost-effective, low-input heifer development systems helps identify sub-fertile heifers early that need additional nutrient resources to make it as a cow and lack the ability to sustain reproductive function under limited nutritional environments. 

At the end of the day, heifer development should be focused on increasing long-term profitability of the cowherd and creating value of the heifer rather than focusing on high yearling pregnancy rates or achieving certain percentage of body weight.


The Iowa Power Farming Show, presented by Farm Credit Services of America and AgDirect, features the broadest mix of ag-related products and services found in the Midwest. Spread across nearly 8 acres, the third largest indoor U.S. farm show will be held January 29-31 in Des Moines, Iowa.

“The Iowa Power Farming Show is an agricultural megastore,” said Tom Junge, show director. “With 740 companies on hand representing 58 product and service categories, farmers and ranchers will find everything they need to increase profits, lower input costs and improve productivity.”

More than half of the Iowa Power Farming Show exhibitors don’t participate in the nearest bi-annual outdoor show. “This may be your only chance to see them in Iowa,” said Junge. Nearly 75 companies are also NEW to the Iowa Power Farming Show.

Show highlights include:
  - BACK this year – see an Ag Innovation Pitch Competition on Wednesday at 2:30 pm in Hy-Vee Hall inside the east entrance doors. Watch six ag tech start-ups pitch their latest ideas to help producers manage their operations more effectively. A $20,000 Grand Prize and $5,000 People’s Choice will be awarded!
  - NEW to the Midwest - Be one of the first to see Yamaha’s RMAX – an unmanned copter sprayer – in the lower level of Hy-Vee Hall.
  - FarmHer is at the show! Filming its third season on RFD-TV, FarmHer has become the second-highest rated RFD-TV rural lifestyle show and earned a 2017 Cynopsis Award for best family-focused reality series. Find her on the lower level of Hy-Vee Hall, Booth #6200.
  - 78 NEW exhibitors, including 40 on the lower level of Hy-Vee Hall!

Show hours are 9 am to 4 pm Tuesday and Wednesday, and 9 am to 3 pm Thursday. Parking and shuttle are FREE at Iowa Cubs-Principal Park. Farmers may register online at to save $5 off the $8 admission.

The Iowa Power Farming Show is produced by the Iowa-Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association in conjunction with local Iowa and Nebraska farm equipment dealerships. The show is sponsored by: Diamond Sponsor – Farm Credit Services of America and AgDirect; Gold Sponsors – Mitas, Stine Seed Company and Sukup Manufacturing; Silver Sponsor – Stewart-Peterson.

Soil Fertility and Nutrient Management Short Course Begins Feb. 19

Making sound soil fertility management decisions is an important part of successful crop production, on both an economic and environmental level. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will be offering a two-day short course focusing on principles of soils, soil fertility and nutrient management to help crop production professionals make better decisions. Highlights include sampling and testing, pH and liming, essential plant nutrients, secondary and micronutrients, nitrogen dynamics and manure management. The small class size allows for increased discussion and interaction with extension specialists.

The Soil Fertility and Nutrient Management Short Course will be held Feb. 19-20 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Ames. Registration opens at 8:30 a.m. with classwork beginning at 9 a.m. on Feb. 19 and ending at 4 p.m. on Feb 20. Registration is limited to 40 participants and pre-registration is required. The cost is $275 and includes course reference notebook, lunches and breaks. Registration and fees must be received by midnight, Feb. 11.

Additional course information and online registration with credit card is available at For more information, please call ANR Program Services at 515-294-6429 or email


Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig today announced several employees who will serve in leadership positions at the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. The announcement comes as Naig takes the oath of office as the 15th Iowa Secretary of Agriculture this week.

“I am confident in the team that I have begun to assemble at the Department,” said Naig. “These individuals will put their passion and expertise to work to help move Iowa agriculture forward. Our team is focused on advancing the mission of the Department and ensuring that serving Iowans' is at the forefront of our work every day.”

Below is a list of Department leaders:

  - Julie Kenney, Deputy Secretary. Kenney joined the Department in March 2018 and oversees budget, policy and personnel. Prior to joining the Department, Kenney had been active in the agribusiness industry. She and her family farm in Story County.
  - Steve Moline, Division Director, Consumer Protection and Industry Services; Food Safety and Animal Health. Moline joined the Department in 2011. Prior to that, he was an Assistant Attorney General in the Environmental and Agriculture Law Division of the Iowa Attorney General’s office.
  - Bernardo Granwehr, Division Director, Administration. Granwehr joined the Department in January 2019. He provides legal counsel, manages information technology, and oversees facilities and the administrative rule making process. Prior to joining the Department, Granwehr served for 14 years as Chief of Staff and Legal Counsel to State Auditors David Vaut and Mary Mosiman.
  - Susan Kozak, Acting Division Director, Soil Conservation and Water Quality. Kozak also serves as Mines and Minerals Bureau Chief.
  - Communications Director – to be announced
  - Maison Bleam, Federal Liaison and Policy Advisor
  - Jake Swanson, Legislative Liaison
  - Lexi Marek, Executive Assistant to Secretary Naig
  - Dr. Jeff Kaisand, Acting State Veterinarian. Dr. Kaisand also serves as Assistant State Veterinarian.
  - Dr. Justin Glisan, State Climatologist
  - Robin Pruisner, State Entomologist
  - Paul Ovrom, State Horticulturist


Mike Naig will be sworn in as Iowa Secretary of Agriculture in a ceremony at the Iowa State Capitol on Friday, Jan. 18 at 2:00 p.m.  Chief Justice Mark Cady will administer the oath of office to Naig, who will be the fifteenth individual to hold the position. The ceremony will be in conjunction with Governor’s inaugural open house of the Iowa State Capitol.

New Producer Outreach Director Named for IPPA

The Iowa Pork Producers Association has hired Emma Lasco of Roland, Iowa, as its Producer Outreach Director. She will direct IPPA efforts to enhance relationships with county pork organizations and pork producers. Lasco will also coordinate the organization's membership marketing efforts.

Additionally, she will coordinate the Iowa Pork Leadership Academy (IPLA) and serve as IPPA's liaison to the Iowa Purebred Swine Council.

"Emma's previous experience as a hog production territory manager for Smithfield put her in daily contact with producers. She joins the staff with a broad understanding of issues facing pork producers. We are excited to have her bring that experience as she reaches out to work with county organizations, members and perspective members for the Iowa Pork Producers Association," says Pat McGonegle, IPPA chief executive officer.

Lasco, a Grayslake, Ill. native, graduated from Iowa State University with an animal science degree in 2016. She joined Smithfield upon graduation, and worked with contract producers in wean-to-finish operations in north central Iowa. She was in barns daily ensuring the health and proper care of pigs.

"This position of producer outreach director aligns with my passion for the swine industry," Lasco says. "Through networking and learning from producers and allied industry members, we can work together on the continuous improvement that is a common thread for pig farmers. I am looking forward to this new endeavor and excited to serve Iowa's producers."

Before joining the IPPA staff, Lasco served on the IPPA Youth Committee, the Story County Pork Producers board of directors, and participated in IPLA.

Lasco replaces Drew Mogler, who became the IPPA Public Policy Director in December.

Nominations Open for 2019 America’s Pig Farmer of the Year Award

The National Pork Board is accepting nominations for its 2019 America’s Pig Farmer of the YearSM award through Sunday, March 10, at The award recognizes a U.S. pork producer who demonstrates excellence in raising pigs using the We CareSM ethical principles and by sharing his or her story with the public.

“Like most pig farmers, I’m most comfortable in the barn,” said Patrick Bane, a pig farmer from Illinois and America’s Pig Farmer of the Year. “However, my passion for pig farming is why I decided to be involved in this program. It allows me to help more people understand the story of modern agriculture.”

Bane has participated in several events since being named America’s Pig Farmer of the Year in October. This has included attending the fall meeting of the Pork Checkoff’s Retail Advisory Council, networking with Chicago-based food influencers and speaking at the Humane Table congressional briefing in Washington, D.C. The latter event was hosted by American Humane, one of the oldest animal welfare organizations in the country.

A panel of third-party judges will help determine the final award recipient, with the winner announced during national pork month this October. The public also can play a role in selecting the 2019 winner by viewing short clips of the finalists on their farms at, and voting for their favorite through the Pork Checkoff’s social media outlets.

Anyone can nominate a U.S. pork producer or themselves at Candidates must be at least 30 years old as of Jan. 1, 2019. Complete rules of the award program are on the site as well, along with answers to frequently asked questions.

BQA Online Certification Option Reaches Major Milestone

More than 50,000 cattle producers have been certified through the Beef Quality Assurance program’s new online learning system since it was first offered in February 2017. Throughout the country hundreds of thousands have now become BQA-certified through in-person and online training, with an estimated 80 percent of the U.S. fed beef supply now touched by BQA-certified operations.

The beef checkoff-funded BQA program is a nationally coordinated, state implemented program that provides systematic information to U.S. beef producers and beef consumers of how commonsense husbandry techniques can be coupled with accepted scientific knowledge to raise cattle under optimum management and environmental conditions. BQA guidelines are designed to make certain all beef consumers can take pride in what they purchase – and can trust and have confidence in the entire beef industry.

Online BQA training provides 24/7 access to the program through a series of videos and animation. While in-person training is still available through numerous sessions conducted by in-state BQA coordinators throughout the country, online certification provides a chance for certification at any time. Three courses are available (cow/calf, stocker/backgrounder and feedyard) to deliver a program that most closely aligns with the individual’s operation. The certifications are also available in Spanish.

“Beef producers recognize that quality is everyone’s responsibility, but many don’t have the opportunity to attend in-person training,” according to Bob Smith, DVM, chair of the BQA Advisory Board. “These producers still want to assure that practices on their operations are conducted under BQA-qualified standards. While in-person training provides important knowledge and useful cattle handling and husbandry skills, the online BQA program is a valuable option that can deliver critical information and training anytime and anywhere.”

State Farm Bureaus Recognized for Outstanding Member Programs and Achievement

The American Farm Bureau Federation presented awards to state Farm Bureaus at the organization’s 100th Annual Convention. The awards recognized excellence in implementation of outstanding member programs and membership achievement in 2018.

The Pinnacle Award, the highest honor a state can be awarded for program and membership achievement, was given to Iowa, Massachusetts, Montana, North Carolina, Virginia and Wisconsin.

New Horizon Awards, honoring states with the most innovative new programs, were presented to Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, New York and Wisconsin.

The Awards of Excellence winners by state and category include:

    Nebraska (Advocacy; Engagement and Outreach; Membership Value)
    Iowa (Advocacy; Engagement and Outreach; Leadership and Business Development; Membership Value)
    Kansas (Advocacy; Engagement and Outreach; Leadership and Business Development; Membership Value)

The Awards of Excellence are awarded to state Farm Bureaus that demonstrate outstanding achievements in four program areas: Advocacy; Engagement and Outreach; Leadership and Business Development; and Membership Value.

Farm Bureau Gives Agricultural Trade Outlook for 2019

American Farm Bureau Federation policy experts gave an overview of the issues expected to affect farmers and ranchers in 2019 in a workshop at the organization’s 100th Annual Convention.

David Salmonsen, senior director of congressional relations for AFBF, said the diverse impacts of tariffs, the outcomes of free trade agreement negotiations and the future of relations with China are all critical for the future of ag exports and the growth of American agriculture

Salmonsen discussed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement and outlined the process for ratification. “It could be quick or it could be slow, but there is a timeline that has to be followed,” Salmonsen said.

If USMCA is implemented, it will increase quota access for U.S. dairy products into Canada and end Canada’s Class 7 pricing. It will also keep agricultural tariffs between the U.S. and Mexico at zero.

Salmonsen said that the U.S. has also begun trade negotiations with Japan, the European Union and the United Kingdom, although the start of U.K. negotiations depends on when the U.K. completes the process of leaving the EU. He added that in any agreement, there is political bargaining that will go on over several months.

With an update on China, Salmonsen said a U.S. delegation went to China to negotiate last week, United States Department of Agriculture Under Secretary for Trade Ted McKinney and United States Trade Representative Chief Agricultural Negotiator Greg Doud. There have been no formal announcements yet from the administration, and talks are continuing.

“All of these negotiations are with major trading partners,” Salmonsen said. “These are substantive and important negotiations that we will be following very closely throughout the coming year.”

Salmonsen was joined by AFBF director of congressional relations Veronica Nigh, who discussed the economic impacts of the trade issues and tariffs, noting that exports will continue to be important to U.S. agriculture.

“Ninety-five percent of the world population is outside the U.S., so export markets will always be our opportunity for growth.” Overall, 20 percent of U.S. agricultural production is exported.

Discussing the potential impact of USMCA, Nigh said that while it is positive that the U.S. will be exporting more dairy to Canada, it isn’t going to be a major mover of the market as Canada’s total population is 36 million people and the country has a strong domestic dairy industry. But it is a positive sign for U.S. agriculture.

Nigh noted that if the U.S. were to withdraw from North American Free Trade Agreement, there would be great cause for concern as old tariffs we have not seen in 20 years could return.

Citing the impact of Chinese tariffs, Nigh said that ag exports to China were down by $2 billion in 2018, and USDA forecasts exports to decline by an additional $7 billion in 2019. China was ranked as our second-largest trading partner for several years but is projected to be fifth in 2019. Currently 99 percent of all U.S. ag products exported to China are subject to tariffs.

Summing up the impact of the China trade disputes, Nigh said that the biggest concern is that many countries grow soy and corn, and now there’s room in China’s markets for these commodities. “We could lose the market even if the tariffs eventually go away, and it would take time to restore these markets.”

Plenty of Agriculture Trade Opportunities for U.S. and Europe

There continues to be abundant opportunities for farm trade between the United States and the European Union despite the omission of agriculture in the European list of negotiating areas on a potential free trade agreement, European agricultural leaders said during a workshop at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 100th Annual Convention.

U.S. farmers and farm state lawmakers have pushed hard to include agriculture in trade talks. But European officials excluded farm goods to streamline the negotiations and to concentrate on vehicles and industrial products, said Jesus Zorrilla, counselor on Agriculture for the European Union.

Zorrilla was joined by Lorenzo Terzi, counselor on food safety for the European Union, and Sylvain Maestracci, counselor on agriculture for the French Embassy, to provide a European perspective on trade and agriculture.

Key issues, such as geographic indicators for dairy products and the approval of genetically modified crops, still separate the United States and the EU. But the European leaders said there continues to be opportunities for U.S. products in Europe, including soybeans, biofuels and other products even without agriculture in the free trade negotiations.

“The perception that the European market is closed is misleading,” Terzi said. “We are a huge market of 500 million people that is a big importer of food.”

Terzi noted that the United States and Europe have recently worked through several key food safety issues on products such as almonds and Florida oranges.

European farmers share many of the same concerns as their American counterparts, such as low commodity prices, changing demand from consumers and an aging farm population, Maestracci said. In addition, he said. European farmers face a continued barrage of environmental demands from European consumers.

Like their American counterparts, European farmers have seen a reduction in farm subsidy payments and a more market-oriented farm program. But European farmers do not have a robust crop insurance system like the one which provides the backbone of the farm safety net in the United States, Maestracci said.

The need for crop insurance showed up in 2018 when drought gripped much of Europe and drastically reduced harvests.

“The drought has definitely affected farmers and hurt our ability to export barley and other crops,” Maestracci said.

ASA Appreciates USTR’s Inclusion of Ag in EU Trade Talks

As the U.S. begins prepping for trade negotiations with the European Union (EU), the Trump Administration is demanding agriculture be on the table. U.S. law requires the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to publish objectives 30 days prior to negotiations. Yesterday, the Administration included in its negotiating objectives a set of ag-related demands, which has been in question due to the European Union’s reluctance to discuss agriculture.

American Soybean Association (ASA) President Davie Stephens, a soybean grower from Clinton, Ky., said the soy industry appreciates the Administration’s strong move Friday afternoon.

Stephens commented, “ASA appreciates USTR and the Administration’s commitment to keeping agriculture in these negotiations at a time when soybean growers are looking for long-term solutions to bounce back from a prolonged period of instability.”

Animal Agriculture Alliance debuts Sustainability Impact Report

Today, the Animal Agriculture Alliance released its “Sustainability Impact Report” focusing on animal agriculture in the United States. The report highlights how the animal agriculture industry shares the same values as today’s consumer with its never-ending commitment to animal care, environmental stewardship, responsible antibiotic use, food safety and nutrition. To access the report, go to

The 33-page report covers nine industries: dairy, beef, veal, pork, chicken, turkey, egg, sheep and aquaculture. “Animal agriculture has made great strides in environmental stewardship, animal welfare and overall sustainability over the years,” said Kay Johnson Smith, Alliance president and CEO. “As new technology and research become available, the industry will continue to innovate and improve.”

Environmental stewardship highlights:
-    According to the Environmental Protection Agency, agriculture accounts for a total of 9 percent of U.S. GHG emissions while livestock production is only 3.9 percent.
-    Dairy farmers decreased their carbon footprint by 63 percent from 1944 to 2007.
-    Since 1977, cattle ranchers have reduced their carbon footprint by 16 percent.
-    Pig farmers decreased their carbon footprint by 7.7 percent and their water use by 25.1 percent from 1960 to 2015.
-    The egg industry reduced its carbon footprint by 71 percent and its water use by 32 percent since 1960.

Animal welfare highlights:
-    Hens under the United Egg Producers Certified program account for 95 percent of all the nation’s laying hens.
-    The National Chicken Council (NCC) developed the NCC Animal Welfare Guidelines and Audit Checklist, which have been widely adopted within the chicken industry. These guidelines were updated in 2018.
-    As of January 2019, more than 72,000 pig farmers and farm employees were Pork Quality Assurance Plus certified.
-    By 2016, 98 percent of the U.S. milk supply came from dairy farms and cooperatives enrolled in the Farmers Assuring Responsible Management program.

Nutrition highlights:
-    Milk provides nine essential nutrients and is also the number one food source of calcium, vitamin D and potassium for all Americans ages 2 years and older.
-    Today’s pork is 16 percent leaner and 27 percent lower in saturated fat compared to 20 years ago.
-    Lamb is an excellent source of vitamin B12, selenium, zinc and niacin.
-    One 3-ounce serving of lean beef provides about 50 percent of the recommended daily value of protein.
-    One large egg has varying amounts of 13 essential vitamins and minerals, six grams of protein and only 70 calories.

CWT Assists with 6 million Pounds of Dairy Product Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) member cooperatives accepted 28 offers of export assistance from CWT that helped them capture sales contracts for 4.453 million pounds (2,020 metric tons) of Cheddar, Monterey Jack and Gouda cheeses; 454,152 pounds (206 metric tons) of butter and 1.124 million pounds (510 metric tons) of whole milk powder. The product will be delivered during the period from January through June 2019 and is the equivalent of 59.531 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.

Assisting CWT members through the Export Assistance program positively affects all U.S. dairy farmers and all dairy cooperatives by strengthening and maintaining the value of dairy products that directly impact their milk price. It does this by helping member cooperatives gain and maintain world market share for U.S dairy products. As a result, the program has significantly expanded the total demand for U.S. dairy products and the demand for U.S. farm milk that produces those products.

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

The National Biodiesel Conference & Expo Returns to San Diego this Month

America’s largest celebration of all things biodiesel returns in January to California for a record fifth visit. Local residents are invited to join in the festivities at no cost during the National Biodiesel Conference and Expo kick off at the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina on Tuesday, January 22.

“Public Day” offers San Diegans the opportunity to join biodiesel enthusiasts from across the nation to learn more about America’s first commercially available advanced biofuel and check out some of the latest advancements in technology and offerings from automobile manufacturers.

In addition to the events on Public Day, the National Biodiesel Conference (January 22 – 24) will offer a diesel-vehicle ride-and-drive opportunity and dozens of demonstrations and presentations on the latest in public policy under the Trump Administration and a new Congress; the environmental and commercial benefits of biodiesel use; and more focus on California and Western carbon markets.

“It’s always exciting when we have the opportunity to return to California, particularly San Diego which has hosted more of our conferences than any other city in the country,” said Donnell Rehagen, Chief Executive Officer of the National Biodiesel Board.

It’s no accident that the National Biodiesel Conference has made so many visits to the Golden State. California is the largest market for renewable fuels, driven by the state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS).

“Biodiesel and renewable diesel have been the real stars of the LFCS,” Rehagen said. “Since 2011, biodiesel and renewable diesel use in California has grown from 14 million gallons to more than 500 million gallons today. That represents a compounded annual growth rate of 89 percent and was nearly 20 percent of the national market for biodiesel last year.”

And the future looks even brighter. According to targets set by the state, biodiesel and renewable diesel use could reach one billion gallons by 2021 and as much as two billion gallons by 2030.

Nationally, U.S. biodiesel entrepreneurs already produce nearly three billion gallons annually. Made from an increasingly diverse mix of resources such as recycled cooking oil, soybean oil and animal fats, biodiesel is a renewable, clean-burning diesel replacement that can be used in existing diesel engines without modification. It is the nation’s first domestically produced, commercially available advanced biofuel. NBB is the U.S. trade association representing the entire biodiesel value chain, including producers, feedstock suppliers, and fuel distributors, as well as the U.S. renewable diesel industry.

Residents who would like to attend Public Day at the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo should visit the conference registration desk with a valid San Diego driver’s license or military ID.