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Chad Moyer | KTIC Radio

Chad Moyer

Welcome to the KTIC Agriculture Information blog!!! Check back here for the latest in ag news and information, from local events to international happenings and government reports that affect your operation. Please email with suggestions! -Chad Moyer, Farm Director, KTIC Radio
Tuesday October 16 Ag News

Cutting Red Tape for Farm Families
Governor Pete Ricketts

With new technology and innovative farming techniques, modern day agriculture is more critical than ever to growing opportunities in Nebraska.  Whether you work in a biotech lab, operate a combine in a field, or refinance loans at a bank, agriculture reaches into nearly every aspect of our economy, accounting for about a quarter of the jobs in Nebraska.  Right now, Forbes ranks Nebraska the fourth best state for business and fourth best state for regulatory climate.  Building on this strength is key to continuing the momentum we have experienced in growing Nebraska.  To this end, I have been working to make state government more customer friendly for our farm and ranch families and to cut red tape at the federal level.

This week, the Nebraska State Patrol, Nebraska Department of Agriculture, ag leaders, and I unveiled new livestock hauling guidelines.  These guidelines were created to help give greater predictability to livestock haulers who are complying with the rules of the road.  It also provides for a system to rapidly address situations in which a livestock hauler is taken off the road for being out of compliance with weigh limits or a variety of other reasons.  This will help ensure that drivers on the road remain safe, and that livestock are off loaded and receive proper care if they are taken off the road.

In recent years, my administration worked with leaders in agriculture to create a new vehicle designation to allow Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers to move certain farm equipment around their farm or ranch operation without obtaining a commercial vehicle driver’s license (CDL).  This designation exempts some vehicles utilized in or on a farm operation from certain laws and regulations, which previously required drivers to obtain a CDL.  Vehicles that may meet these requirements include trucks, hay grinders, manure spreaders, and numerous other pieces of equipment utilized in farm operations across Nebraska.  This makes it easier for family farms to operate the way that they have over the years – with everyone lending a helping hand.

Since President Donald Trump took office, we have been working with the federal administration to roll back job-killing regulations put in place under President Barack Obama.  For example, President Trump has ordered the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to repeal the Waters of the U.S. rule.  The version implemented by the Obama Administration had sought to exert federal control over bodies of water as small as ditches and large puddles.  For our farm families, regulating small bodies of water could have triggered onerous regulatory reviews and crippled their ability to smoothly run their operation.

Over the last few years, Nebraska had also been fighting to repeal President Obama’s so-called “Clean Power Plan” (CPP).  Under the CPP, Nebraska would have been required to show a 40 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in less than 10 years.  This would not only be nearly logistically impossible, but also expensive for Nebraskans who enjoy low utility rates thanks to our unique public power system.  It takes longer to plan new power transmission lines and new sources of power than the Obama Administration was willing to give states for compliance.  Furthermore, Nebraska would not have received credit for unique clean power projects we are already undertaking.  I applaud President Trump’s move to repeal this rule, which would have been a burden on the entire Nebraska economy – from farming to manufacturing to homeowners.

Last week, President Trump took another step to loosen regulation around the sale of higher blends of ethanol.  The President announced that he had directed the EPA to modify regulations to allow the sale of E15 all year long.  As the second largest ethanol producing state in the nation, this is a big win.  Right now, E15 can be marketed September 16th through April 30th, limiting our ability to sell more ethanol during the critically important summer driving months.  Year-round sale of E15 is especially important for Nebraska and our farm families as we continue to work to meet the challenge presented by low corn and soybean prices.  The EPA also recently approved a request I have been making to do a pilot program to study the use of E30 in conventional state vehicles.  This will allow us to study whether higher blends can be marketed more broadly down the road.

These are just a few examples of the many ways we are working to get government out of the way so our farm and ranch families can grow Nebraska and feed the world.  If you have ideas on how we can continue to cut red tape and make government more effective and efficient, I hope you will write me at or call 402-471-2244.


It’s been 13 years and the Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska (ICON) is going strong.  ICON will be hosting their Thirteenth Annual Meeting in North Platte, NE, on Saturday, November 3, 2018, at Holiday Express Inn.

The day starts at 9:30 a.m. with registration. At 10 a.m., the ICON Board of Directors will conduct a business meeting followed by a presentation on livestock and grass by Del Ficke of Ficke Cattle Company and Graze Master Genetics of Pleasant Dale. A noon luncheon will be served at the Holiday Express and guest speaker will be Bob Krist, democratic candidate for Governor.

Afternoon activities will begin with a presentation by ICON’s member affiliate, R-CALF USA, discussing current livestock issues at 1 pm. At 2 pm, ICON member Don Cain will talk about his eight-year-fight with county officials in Custer County and his Nebraska Supreme Court case. A short break at 2:45 pm will be followed with a Legislative Panel moderated by ICON lobbyist Jim Pappas, beginning at 3 pm, aimed at discussing what’s happening in the legislature. Joining ICON members this year on the panel will be Senator Mike Groene of District 42. This last event for the day will lead up to the auction for ICON’s scholarship program.

An auction for the Jim Hanna Memorial Scholarship will round off the day at 5:30 pm.

Registration for the 2018 ICON Annual Meeting is $50 and includes the noon luncheon. Guests accompanying a paid registration can register for $20. There won’t be an evening Banquet or entertainment this year.

ICON membership dues for 2018 are $100 and if members have not paid, there will be a $10 discount at the convention.

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

Rooms are available by calling the Holiday In Express in North Platte at (308) 532-9500.

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

Fischer Comments on Trade Negotiations with Japan, European Union, United Kingdom

U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, released the following statement today after the administration notified Congress of its intention to negotiate trade agreements with Japan, the European Union, and the United Kingdom:

“Opening up new markets for Nebraska producers is the best way to ensure they can prosper and feed the world. I welcome the start of trade negotiations between our country and Japan, the European Union, and the United Kingdom. I’m optimistic President Trump and the administration will make good deals for our ag producers and manufacturers.”

Key Facts:

Japan is the third largest market for Nebraska ag products. It represents Nebraska’s largest export market for beef, pork, and eggs; the second largest export market for corn and wheat; and the third largest export market for soybeans.

The European Union is Nebraska’s fifth largest agricultural export market.

The United Kingdom is an important market for Nebraska manufactured agricultural and construction machinery, as well as oilseeds and other grains.

Trade News Has Pork Producers Feeling Optimistic

News on the trade front is getting better for U.S. pork producers as the Trump administration today announced it wants to negotiate trade agreements with the European Union, Japan and the United Kingdom. The National Pork Producers Council commended the administration for its ambitious trade agenda.

The administration recently updated agreements with Canada and Mexico and with South Korea that maintained the U.S. pork industry’s zero-tariff access to those important markets, three of the top five destinations for U.S. pork exports.

“We’ve got the momentum on trade headed in the right direction now,” said NPPC President Jim Heimerl, a pork producer from Johnstown, Ohio. “Producers are hurting because of retaliatory tariffs on pork, which were prompted by the administration’s efforts to realign U.S. trade policy. But producers have been patient, and now that patience is starting to pay off, particularly if we get a trade deal with Japan.”

Since Trump took office in January 2017, NPPC has been urging the White House to begin trade talks with countries in the fast-growing Asia-Pacific region, beginning with Japan, the U.S. pork industry’s No. 1 export market. It also has called for deals with the Philippines and Vietnam.

NPPC also has been supportive of trade negotiations with the United Kingdom, provided that the U.K. is willing to eliminate all non-tariff barriers and embrace U.N. food-safety standards and other international standards.

“NPPC will not support a deal with the U.K. unless it agrees to equivalence, meaning that all USDA-approved pork and pork products must be eligible for export to the U.K. without additional requirements,” Heimerl said.

And while the organization is open to trade negotiations with the U.K., it is skeptical about EU intentions.

“The EU has played the United States like a drum in the past,” said Heimerl. “This must stop. We expect the Trump administration to require the EU to eliminate all tariff and non-tariff barriers to U.S. pork so we can export with no additional requirements.”

While the trade news is good for U.S. pork producers, NPPC is continuing to press the Trump administration to resolve trade disputes with China and Mexico, including dropping tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from the latter. Both countries imposed retaliatory tariffs on U.S. pork in response to the U.S. metals duties.

Milk Specialties Global has been named 2018 Exporter of the Year!

Milk Specialties Global is honored to have been named the 2018 Tom Camerlo Exporter of the Year. The Exporter of the Year award is given annually to a U.S. dairy supplier that exemplifies leadership in advancing U.S. dairy exports, demonstrates a commitment to export market development, and makes exports an integral part of its overall growth strategy. Milk Specialties Global’s customer-centric approach has fueled dairy protein exports to 40 countries making them an industry-leading innovator in the dairy protein market for animal and human nutrition.

David Lenzmeier, CEO, accepted the award on behalf of Milk Specialties Global on October 16th at the USDEC Board of Directors and Annual Membership Meeting in Chicago. “We believe in dairy excellence. We’re proud to be a part of the dairy community, and we stand firmly behind our purpose to provide nutritional solutions to the world,” stated Lenzmeier. “It didn’t happen overnight. It all starts with people and continues with an ongoing high level of engagement. That’s what I’m happiest about. You can’t win this award without an entire team effort.”

“The company is firmly committed to U.S. dairy farmers and processors, recognizing the benefits dairy brings to American communities,” said Tom Benson, Executive Vice President, “It’s such a rewarding industry to be a part of, especially as dairy companies continue to work together and invest in dairy markets and exports.”

Several reasons were cited for the decision to choose Milk Specialties Global, including:
-    Milk Specialties Global prides itself on a stated purpose of “providing nutritional solutions to the world”.
-    Overseas employees are frequent participants in export activities, not only promoting their products, but also doing the same for U.S. dairy ingredients.
-    Milk Specialties Global is the largest manufacturer of whey protein isolate in the world. And more than 70 percent of its carbohydrates business (permeate and lactose) is exported.
-    The company exports to markets and regions that boast growing functional food and sports nutrition sectors, including Latin America, China, Southeast Asia, Europe, Mexico and Canada.
-    Milk Specialties Global has exhibited at Food Ingredients Asia, Food Ingredients South America, IFT, Gulfood and other trade shows that put the company in touch with international customers.
-    The company participates in U.S. Dairy Export Council activities, including a Milk Protein Mission several years ago to China and Japan, where the company introduced Milk Specialties Global products and promoted the U.S. dairy industry as a whole.

 “Milk Specialties Global continues to invest in an international growth platform, helping to bring the benefits of U.S. dairy to consumers in other markets,” explains Jing Hagert, Director of Business Development.

“International exports are driven by consumer demand, and in Europe dairy powders continue to fuel the performance and active nutrition industry,” adds Jonathan Fox, Director of Business Development - EU and UK. “We are proud to be a part of such a dynamic marketplace.”

The Exporter of the Year award recognizes Milk Specialties Global’s business leadership that was made possible by dedicated teamwork throughout the organization. “We are dedicated to providing outstanding quality and service, and we will continue to act with speed, execution and passion to provide nutritional solutions to our customers,” adds Paul Lombard, Executive Vice President.

The award is named after the late Tom Camerlo, who served multiple terms as chairman of the USDEC board of directors. This year marks the 13th year for the Exporter of the Year awards program. Previous recipients include Sartori Co., Swiss Valley Farms, Agri-Mark and other dairy export standouts. The Exporter of the Year award is sponsored by USDEC and presented by Dairy Foods magazine.

Milk Specialties Global is changing the dairy export ingredients game by understanding its customers with a constant eye on what’s next. 


Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig today highlighted $2 million in funding available over the next year from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) that will support eight Iowa Water Quality Initiative (WQI) projects. The funding is through the USDA’s Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watershed Initiative (MRBI) and will support practices that help improve water quality.

“USDA has been a key conservation partner for decades and we appreciate this additional funding focused on water quality. These are established state-funded, Water Quality Initiative projects that have a history of working directly with farmers and landowners. This additional funding will allow these projects to get even more proven practices on the ground,” Naig said.

Watershed projects selected for this funding include:
    Boone River WQI (Kossuth, Humboldt, Wright, Hancock Counties)
    Cedar Creek Partnership WQI (Wapello, Jefferson, Keokuk Counties)
    Clayton County WQI (Clayton County)
    Deep Creek WQI (Plymouth, Cherokee, O’Brien, Sioux Counties)
    Lower Skunk WQI (Jefferson, Henry, Van Buren, Lee Counties)
    Walnut Creek WQI (Pottawattamie, Montgomery, Page, Fremont Counties)
    West Branch Floyd River WQI (Sioux County)
    West Fork Crooked Creek WQI (Washington, Keokuk Counties)

In addition, Slocum Creek Watershed in Pottawattamie County is an existing MRBI project that will be funded again this year. 

The funding will support conservation practices that reduce nutrient loss and improve wildlife habitat while maintaining agricultural productivity. Eligible practices include cover crops, bioreactors, grassed waterways, terraces and prescribed grazing. Each watershed project will have specific practices that are eligible.

Farmers interested in participating should contact their local USDA office by March 15, 2019.

More Than 65,000 Expected in Indianapolis Oct. 24-27 for 2018 National FFA Convention & Expo

Next week, the city of Indianapolis will transform into a sea of blue jackets when the National FFA Convention & Expo kicks off for the ninety-first time. This time-honored tradition, where innovators and leaders of tomorrow come together, will be held in the Circle City Oct. 24-27, 2018.

More than 65,000 FFA members and guests from across the U.S., representing all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, are expected to attend the event.

Convention and expo events will take place at several venues in downtown Indianapolis and other surrounding areas. FFA members and advisors will meet in Bankers Life Fieldhouse, where eight of the nine general sessions will be held. At the Indiana Convention Center, members can explore the expo or expand their minds by attending a variety of workshops or participating in educational and career success tours.

This year, the theme of the convention and expo is Just One, and the national officer team is excited to share this with all of those in attendance.

"FFA members know that every life moment, milestone and journey starts with just one – just one step, just one conversation, just one action. Together, we can make an impact on our chapters, our communities, our future," 2017-18 National FFA President Breanna Holbert, a student at California State University, Chico, said. "The convention and expo is an opportunity for members to come together and learn from one another."

It's estimated that the national convention and expo will have a $40 million impact on the city. Attendees will stay in 115 hotels throughout the Indianapolis area.

The convention and expo will kick off with the FFA band leading a grand march down Georgia Street in downtown Indianapolis on Wed., Oct. 24. The march will end at Bankers Life Fieldhouse and usher in the start of the opening session. That evening, Garth Brooks, the reigning Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year, will take the stage for a private show for convention attendees. John Deere will also commemorate 75 years of partnership at the convention as well. On the morning of Saturday, Oct. 27, the eighth general session will be held in Lucas Oil Stadium where American FFA Degrees, the highest degree for an FFA member, will be bestowed upon more than 4,000 FFA members.

Throughout the week, convention and expo attendees will also be able to experience the inaugural Blue Room, a 17,000-square-foot interactive area that showcases the cutting-edge technology, research, and innovation taking place in agriculture. Through experiential learning and a specific focus on the most critical challenges facing our communities—from respecting the planet to feeding the world—The Blue Room will inspire and equip students to activate their potential. AgriNovus Indiana and Microsoft are the title sponsors of this experience.

In addition to attending various events, FFA members will also be lending a helping hand to the greater Indianapolis area as part of the National Days of Service. Places where students will be giving back to the community include Gleaners Food Bank, Maplelawn Farmstead, the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, Indianapolis City Market, St. Vincent DePaul Food Pantry and more.

The National FFA Convention & Expo is scheduled to be held in Indianapolis through 2024.

Two Ships With U.S. Soybeans Head to China

Two more vessels loaded with U.S. soybeans have departed for China, signaling that buyers may be getting more desperate for supplies amid the prolonged trade war between the nations.

According to Bloomberg, Star Laura and Golden Empress were loaded during the week ended Oct. 11. Star, which left the Gulf of Mexico, is destined to arrive at China’s Qingdao port at the end of the month, and Golden Empress, which left from the Pacific Northwest, is expected to arrive in December, according to vessel data compiled by Bloomberg. Government data shows 65,431 metric tons of U.S. soybeans were inspected or weighed for export through the Gulf of Mexico that week, and 69,298 tons through Puget Sound.

This is the time of year when China usually turns to buying supplies from the U.S., where the harvest is well underway. After slapping retaliatory tariffs on American soybeans in July, the Asian nation has mostly been buying from Brazil in recent months. Since the marketing year began on Sept. 1, the U.S. only exported about 66,955 tons to China as of Oct. 4, according to last week’s export sales report.

South American supplies from the 2018 harvest are now starting to dwindle, and farmers won’t begin collecting the next crop until early next year. That could force some Chinese buying of U.S. shipments.

Growth Energy Announces New Prime the Pump Partnership with Cumberland Farms to Sell E15

Today, Growth Energy and Prime the Pump announced Cumberland Farms as the newest E15 retail partner to join the Prime the Pump program. Massachusetts-based Cumberland Farms will begin offering E15 at more than 120 of its stores in the Northeast United States. The sites will be spread across Reformulated Gasoline (RFG) markets, which will allow Cumberland Farms to sell E15 year-round.

“At Cumberland Farms we strive to be the clear choice for our customers’ everyday needs and that means being on the frontlines of innovation,” said Cumberland Farms David Masuret, Senior Vice President Petroleum Supply and Operations. “As E15’s growth continued to accelerate it became an obvious choice for us to make it available to our customers. We’re proud to partner with Prime the Pump to expand our fuel offering and give our customers more choice – whether in-store or at the pump.”

“We are ecstatic to be expanding our E15 family with Cumberland Farms,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “Cumberland Farms will spread E15 access to new territory and will be giving more American drivers a cleaner-burning, engine-smart choice at the pump which will be available uninterrupted year-round.”

Cumberland Farms joins the ranks of Casey’s, Kwik Trip, Sheetz, Kum & Go, Minnoco, RaceTrac, Thorntons, Protec Fuel, QuikTrip, Family Express, Holiday, Murphy USA, Rutter’s, and Cenex in offering E15 – a fuel made with 15 percent ethanol and approved for cars 2001 and newer – to their customers. American drivers have responded to the growing availability of E15 and have already logged more than 5 billion miles on the fuel.

House Lawmakers Fight for Clean Air, Biofuels

Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor thanked 19 members of Congress who sent a letter demanding regulators uphold biofuel targets under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The lawmakers, led by Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) and Danny K. Davis (D-IL), called on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) halt refinery waivers that contribute to “higher gas prices and elevated levels of harmful emissions, especially in communities of color.”

"Families all across the nation are breathing cleaner air and saving money at the pump thanks to homegrown biofuels," said Skor. "The EPA’s refinery exemptions threaten to undermine that progress, destroying demand for billions of gallons of cleaner, more affordable fuel. We are grateful to our congressional leaders for their efforts to preserve the integrity of the RFS and safeguard the health and well-being of American families."

World Food Day: Farmers Committed to Decreasing Global Hunger

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall

“Farm Bureau joins the world in commemorating 2018 World Food Day. America’s farmers and ranchers are committed to doing everything in their power to decrease global hunger and malnutrition. Advances in modern agricultural technology, from seed science to precision agriculture tools, are empowering us to grow more food on fewer acres.

“Sharing the bounty that comes from our farms in a way that makes the biggest difference for hungry people around the world is a continuing challenge, and we stand ready to work with public and private organizations in that collaborative response. We also know that our response to hunger must go beyond our own fields, to sharing technology and supporting initiatives focused on global agricultural development. Together, we can increase global food security. That’s important because a better-fed world is a more secure world.”

Kansas Takes the Lead in Secure Food Supply Plans

The Kansas Department of Agriculture Division of Animal Health (KDA–DAH) is pleased to share that Kansas now has more than one million head of cattle covered by Secure Beef Supply Plans, a significant step toward supporting the economic viability of the Kansas cattle industry in the event of a foreign animal disease outbreak.

KDA-DAH has been working with Kansas beef, milk and pork producers to develop Secure Food Supply Plans in conjunction with the national plans developed by the Center for Food Security and Public Health. Kansas was the first state in the nation to work with feedlots to implement individual biosecurity plans, and to date more than 1.24 million head of beef cattle are covered under a Secure Beef Supply Plan. In addition, 118,000 head of dairy cows and 1.49 million head of pigs are covered under Secure Dairy Supply and Secure Pork Supply Plans, respectively.

The Secure Food Supply Plans are voluntary tools which help maintain business continuity for producers, transporters and food processors within the animal agriculture industry while protecting animal health during an animal disease event. The Secure Food Supply Plans involve development of protocols including biosecurity plans, self-assessment, training, and other elements that will demonstrate the ability of the business to prevent the potential spread of disease.

The impact of a foreign animal disease outbreak on the Kansas economy would be immense, and the Secure Food Supply Plans Project is just one of the ways the Kansas Department of Agriculture works to prevent, mitigate and respond to potential incidents. These plans provide guidance for increased biosecurity measures at feedyards, dairies and hog operations across the state, which supplement the state’s foreign animal disease response plan. KDA annually conducts an emergency preparedness exercise involving hundreds of individuals in a multiday effort to test the state’s ability to respond to a foreign animal disease. This year’s exercise will take place Dec. 17–20, 2018.

October 15 Crop Progress & Harvest Report - NE - IA - US


For the week ending October 14, 2018, there were 1.3 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 1 percent very short, 5 short, 70 adequate, and 24 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 1 percent very short, 9 short, 76 adequate, and 14 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn condition rated 2 percent very poor, 5 poor, 13 fair, 48 good, and 32 excellent. Corn mature was 95 percent, near 91 both last year and for the five-year average. Harvested was 25 percent, ahead of 16 last year, and equal to average.

Soybean condition rated 2 percent very poor, 5 poor, 13 fair, 55 good, and 25 excellent. Soybeans harvested was 38 percent, ahead of 32 last year, but behind 54 average.

Winter wheat condition rated 5 percent very poor, 9 poor, 21 fair, 45 good, and 20 excellent. Winter wheat planted was 89 percent, near 85 last year and 92 average. Emerged was 75 percent, ahead of 65 last year, and near 74 average.

Sorghum condition rated 1 percent very poor, 1 poor, 15 fair, 47 good, and 36 excellent. Sorghum mature was 95 percent, ahead of 90 last year, and near 91 average. Harvested was 32 percent, ahead of 22 last year and 27 average.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 2 percent very poor, 4 poor, 18 fair, 64 good, and 12 excellent.


 Rain and early snow showers limited Iowa farmers to just 0.8 day suitable for fieldwork during the week ending October 14, 2018, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Activities for the week included moving grain, monitoring field conditions and harvesting corn when weather permitted.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 0 percent very short, 0 percent short, 40 percent adequate and 60 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 1 percent very short, 2 percent short, 49 percent adequate and 48 percent surplus.

Ninety-seven percent of the corn crop was mature, 5 days ahead of the five-year average. Seventeen percent of the State’s corn for grain crop has been harvested, 4 days ahead of last year but 4 days behind average. Across the State farmers were only able to harvest 2 percent of their corn for grain crop during the week. Farmers in southeast Iowa continue to lead the way with 41 percent of their corn for grain harvested. Moisture content of field corn being harvested was at 20 percent. Corn condition rated 69 percent good to excellent.

Ninety-seven percent of the soybean crop was dropping leaves, 5 days ahead of average. Nineteen percent of the soybean crop has been harvested, 11 days behind the average. This is the smallest percentage of the soybean crop harvested by October 14 since records began. Soybean condition rated 65 percent good to excellent.

Pasture conditions rated 55 percent good to excellent. Livestock conditions remain challenging after another week with significant precipitation left feedlots extremely muddy.

USDA:  Soy Harvest Falls Further Behind Average Pace; Conditions Worsen in Key States

Rain and snow last week pushed the nation's soybean harvest further behind the average pace and also slowed the corn harvest, USDA's National Ag Statistics Service said in its weekly Crop Progress report on Monday.

As of Sunday, Oct. 14, 38% of the soybean crop was harvested, up just 6 percentage points from the previous week and 15 points behind the five-year average of 53%. That's further behind normal than the previous week when harvest lagged the average pace by just 4 percentage points.  The national average good-to-excellent condition rating for soybeans dropped by only 2 percentage points from 68% the previous week to 66% last week.

The wet conditions last week also slowed the corn harvest. Nationwide, 39% of corn was harvested as of Sunday, still 4 percentage points ahead of the five-year average of 35% but nearer to the average pace than the previous week when harvest was 8 percentage points ahead of normal.  Corn condition held steady nationwide last week at 68% good to excellent.

Winter wheat planting was 65% finished as of Sunday, ahead of 58% last year at the same time but slightly behind the five-year average of 67%. Winter wheat emerged, at 44%, was ahead of last year's 35% and also ahead of the average pace of 41%.

Forty-two percent of the sorghum crop was harvested as of Sunday, behind the average pace of 48%.

Monday October 15 Ag News

New Guidance for Livestock Hauling

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts, the Nebraska State Patrol (NSP), the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA), and agriculture producers throughout the state of Nebraska are working together to keep Nebraska roads safe and keep livestock moving.  The collaboration includes several key points that will assist livestock haulers in complying with the rules of the road.  It also provides for a system to rapidly address situations in which a livestock hauler is put out of service for various reasons.

“Thank you to the Nebraska State Patrol and the leaders in agriculture who helped collaborate on these livestock hauling resources for law enforcement who work with truckers in our farm and ranch industries,” said Governor Ricketts.  “This is a great example of the public-private partnerships we see all over our state.  This effort provides much-needed input from different perspectives related to both public safety and agriculture, Nebraska’s number-one industry.”

The commercial trucking industry is regulated to ensure that of Nebraska roadways are safe, but the Nebraska State Patrol understands that an enforcement action that places a truck out of service can have a direct impact on livestock haulers, including the health and safety of the livestock being transported.

“One goal in this partnership would be to help haulers stay up-to-date with the latest safety concerns before they take to the road,” said Captain Gerry Krolikowski, Commander of NSP Carrier Enforcement.  “This conversation has been important for all stakeholders to consider the priorities and challenges we all face in our day-to-day operation.”

Among the pieces of the partnership, NSP has developed a list of the most common violations found during inspections.  This list will assist livestock haulers in ensuring their truck and trailer are in safe, working order.

“Nebraska Cattlemen is very appreciative of this collaboration,” said Galen Frenzen, President of Nebraska Cattlemen.  “These proactive steps will help haulers comply with the law while also mitigating animal welfare concerns that arise when livestock trailers are put out of service.”

In the event that a truck and/or trailer has be placed out of service, the partnership also sets up a system of best practices for how to rapidly unload and move livestock to a safe location.

“I’d like to commend the farmers, ranchers, and livestock transporters that are safely transporting livestock through Nebraska each and every day,” said NDA Director Steve Wellman.  “This collaborative effort will allow those that transport livestock to be better prepared and equipped to deal with emergency situations that could potentially arise.”

The partnership includes numerous organizations including the Nebraska State Patrol, Nebraska Department of Agriculture, University of Nebraska, Nebraska Farm Bureau, We Support Agriculture, Nebraska Cattlemen, Nebraska Pork Producers, Nebraska Poultry Industries, and Midwest Dairy.

USDA Announces United Soybean Board Appointments

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today announced the appointment of 16 members to serve on the United Soybean Board.  Producers newly appointed to serve three-year terms are:
    Nebraska – Tony Johanson, Oakland, Neb.
    Iowa – April Hemmes, Hampton, Iowa

    Arkansas – Jim Carroll III, Brinkley, Ark.
    Georgia – Walter L. Godwin, Pelham, Ga.
    Illinois – Lynn Rohrscheib, Fairmount, Ill.
    Indiana – Mark Alan Seib, Poseyville, Ind.
    Kentucky – Brent Gatton, Bremen, Ky.
    Louisiana – Garrett Marsh, Tallulah, La.
    Minnesota – Rochelle Krusemark, Sherburn, Minn.
    Missouri – Patrick Hobbs, Dudley, Mo.
    North Carolina – Benjamin Derek Potter, Grantsboro, N.C.
    North Dakota – Jay Myers, Colfax, N.D.
    Ohio – Jeff Magyar, Orwell, Ohio
    Pennsylvania – Andrew J. Fabin, Homer City, Pa.
    South Dakota – David Iverson, Astoria, S.D.
    Virginia – Robert W. White Jr., Virginia Beach, Va.

“I truly appreciate the time and expertise these individuals have agreed to give guiding the United Soybean Board,” said Perdue. “Their work is especially important as we work to improve international opportunities for American farmers and ranchers. Together we will help them thrive by increasing domestic and international demand for the nearly 90 million acres of soybeans produced by U.S. farmers.”

The board is authorized by the Soybean Promotion, Research and Information Act and is composed of 73 members representing 29 states and Eastern and Western regions. Members must be soybean producers nominated by a qualified state soybean board.

More information about the board and a list of board members is available on AMS’ Soybean Research and Promotion Program webpage and the board’s website,

The Lower Elkhorn NRD will host an Open House at their new location Oct. 26th

The Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) moved to their new location this summer and will host an Open House on Friday, October 26th.  The public is invited to visit their new offices from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The LENRD board members voted last December to purchase the former Sterling Computer building at 1508 Square Turn Boulevard in Norfolk.  The LENRD moved out of the Lifelong Learning Center (LLC) on the campus of Northeast Community College on May 25th, where they had been since the center was constructed 20 years ago.

LENRD General Manager, Mike Sousek, said, “Our new location offers several advantages that were important to our board members.  They saw the need to provide a more efficient layout and smoother work flow, while allowing for a future increase of staff to effectively manage the ever-increasing workload.  The new space has ample storage as well as a building for vehicles and equipment on-site.”

Sousek added, “The LLC was a great location for us to grow and expand our programs, and we hope our move provides new opportunities for the college in creating available space at the learning center for other potential partners.”

Sousek said the staff made a smooth transition to the new facility and are providing the same high-level of public service to the citizens of the district at their new location.  He added, “If you haven’t made it over to see the new place yet, stop by and see us on October 26th.”

Crop Residue Exchange Continues to Link Growers and Grazers 

Daren Redfearn - NE Extension Forage Crop Residue Specialist

In Nebraska, it is common to see cattle grazing corn residue. In addition to providing a winter feed resource, this practice can be used as a management option to increase the amount and rate of corn residue breakdown.

Some crop producers, however, have been concerned about possible negative effects to the next crop after grazing. In our research when corn residue was grazed at proper stocking rates (15% residue removal), crop production after grazing was not reduced. In fact, small, positive impacts of grazing corn residue on subsequent soybean yield occurred.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln recommendations for establishing corn residue stocking rates are based on 50% utilization of leaves and husks (8 pounds per bushel or 20% of the total corn residue). Some additional corn residue disappears through trampling and wind loss, but we have not found increased erosion when only 40% to 50% of the corn residue is removed through grazing. Other factors such as fencing and water availability can be issues with corn residue grazing. Lack of access to cattle is another common reason that corn residue is not grazed.

The Crop Residue Exchange was designed to increase the convenience and accessibility of grazing crop residues. This online exchange assists corn and other crop producers to market crop residue to cattle producers.

A new feature is the “Other” category where producers can list forage cover crops for grazing. This interactive, online tool helps farmers and cattle producers connect and develop mutually beneficial agreements to use crop residue and forage cover crops for grazing.

After establishing a log-in account, farmers can list cropland available for grazing by drawing out the plot of land available using an interactive map. They can then enter basic information about the type of residue, fencing situation, water availability, and dates available and provide their preferred contact information. Livestock producers can log in and search the database for cropland available for grazing within radius of a given location of interest.

Grazing rates listed have ranged from $0.75 to $1 per head per day for fields that were fenced or partially fenced and included water and animal care. In one case the rate was set at $18 per acre.

Development of the Crop Residue Exchange was made possible with funding support from the Nebraska Extension Innovation Grants Program.

2019 Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation Retail Value Steer Challenge

The Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation (NCF) is seeking donations of steers for its Annual Retail Value Steer Challenge (RVSC) feeding competition. This is the primary fund raiser for the Foundation and by participating in the RVSC you join other Nebraska cattle producers to support NCF projects. Funds from this event support:
-    Youth and Adult Leadership Programs
-     NCF Education Programs - Scholarships
-    NCF Research Programs and Infrastructure Projects
-    History Preservation
-    Judging Teams at UNL Lincoln, NECC Norfolk, and NCTA Curtis

Your involvement ensures these programs succeed. You also receive complete carcass data on your steer or steers and the chance to win prize money. And, you are helping the state's leading industry sponsor programs that benefit our industry. Contributors should contact their tax professional as to the tax deductible status of this contribution. NCF is a 501 (3) C entity.

NCF welcomes steer donations by individuals, businesses, groups of individuals or businesses and NC affiliates. Participants can donate their own steer or purchase a steer from the Foundation for $1,100.   Steers need to be delivered to Darr Feedlot at Cozad prior to November 1.

Winners will be announced at the Nebraska Cattlemen Midyear Conference in June, 2019.

For more information or to enter a steer contact Lee Weide at 402.475.2333,  or Jana Jensen, NC Foundation Fundraising Coordinator, at 308.588.6299,

Republican Farmers and Rancher for Krist Formed

Republican Farmers and Ranchers for Krist is a new Political Action Committee (PAC) formed due to the complete lack of attention to the property tax crisis by Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts.

This rural PAC represents a departure from norms across rural parts of Nebraska which are dependably Republican in nature and demonstrates just how strongly rural Republicans feel about the extreme inequality of the property tax burden.

The PAC will utilize radio and newspaper advertising across rural Nebraska to send the message change is needed in the governor's office. The PAC will focus fundraising efforts on farm and ranch families, who are angered over the refusal of Governor Ricketts to implement significant tax reforms.

"Those with Nebraskan ag interests pay the highest property taxes, per capita, in the nation,” said David Wright, Republican Farmers and Ranchers for Krist treasurer. “By comparison, Nebraska farmers and ranchers pay more than $22,000 per capita, which is $9,000 more than their counterparts in California and $13,000 more than the average Iowa farmer," said Wright. “Calculating additional input costs for fertilizer and irrigation, Iowa farmers turn profits at a much lower price per bushel than Nebraskans.”

Nebraska homeowners are also expressing frustration as having to pay the seventh highest property tax rate in the country. Wright ranches in Holt County, Nebraska, lives in Neligh and serves on the Neligh-Oakdale Public School Board of Education. He is acutely aware of the lack of state resources provided to most rural schools by the state, forcing boards of education to rely on property taxes for the bulk of school funding.

"Nebraska provides a meager amount of state aid per capita," Wright said. "We rank 49th of 50 states for state aid, with 175 of the 245 districts in the state receiving no equalization aid, and the remaining 70 districts receiving nearly $1 billion.” And even Nebraska homeowners are distressed, paying the 7th highest property tax in the country."

According to Wright, some Nebraska farmers pay in excess of $110 per acre in property taxes while cow-calf producers are required to kick in more than $100 per each calf raised.

In 2013, the Nebraska Legislature conducted a tour of the state with a plan to modernize the state's tax structure. The leading recommendation from that study was to address the issue of outlying property taxes. Since that time, the problem has only escalated. Although Ricketts has introduced some legislation, featuring property tax relief, his primary focus has been on reducing individual and corporate state income tax.

Wright and the eight members who formed Farmers and Ranchers for Krist, claim Ricketts is uninterested in rural Nebraska and a reform of the state tax structure is long overdue.

Two truckloads of Prairie Fresh pork produced by Seaboard Triumph Foods headed to Florida

Two truckloads of Prairie Fresh pork will head out Tuesday from the Seaboard Triumph Foods Sioux City pork processing plant to Panama City, Fla., to support Operation BBQ Relief (OBR) in providing hot barbecue meals to those affected by Hurricane Michael.

OBR mobilizes barbecue cook teams into natural disaster areas to provide hot barbecue meals to those impacted and the many people who come to help. OBR expects to serve nearly 40,000 meals a day this week at its two deployment sites located in Panama City and Tallahassee, Fla. Prairie Fresh Pork is the official pork supplier to OBR. In addition to these two truckloads — about 220,000 hot barbecue meals when cooked, STF and its parent companies Seaboard Foods and Triumph Foods shipped additional Prairie Fresh products to Florida this weekend and prior to the deployment, which began serving hot meals on Oct. 12.

OBR completed a 16-day deployment on Oct. 1 in Wilmington, N.C., following Hurricane Florence with more than 300,000 meals served. During that deployment, OBR served a milestone 2 millionth meal since it was founded in 2011. With back-to-back major deployments, OBR volunteers’ spirits and commitment to provide hope, compassion and friendship one hot barbecue meal at a time remains strong. However, the organization is in need of monetary donations and more volunteers. To donate or volunteer, go to .

“We continued to be amazed by the commitment and dedication of OBR and its volunteers, especially after just completing a record-breaking long deployment in North Carolina,” says David Eaheart, Prairie Fresh sr. director of communications and brand marketing. “With a hot barbecue meal comes comfort that not only nourishes the body but the soul, especially during the tough times people are facing following Hurricane Michael. OBR is truly living its mission to bring hope, compassion and friendship one hot barbecue meal at a time.”

From soybean crop to pork chop, pig farming sustains demand for oilseed

With Iowa’s soybean harvest expected to total nearly 600 million bushels, the partnership between soy and pork takes on added importance as production booms and trade disputes linger.

“Iowa soybean farmers depend on domestic and global demand for pork,” says Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) President Lindsay Greiner. “That’s always been true, but never more evident than right now.”

Iowa’s status as the nation’s leading pork producer depends on soybean farmers. About seventy-five percent of Iowa soybean crop is converted into soybean meal. The average pig consumes nearly 120 pounds of it — or the equivalent of 2.5 bushels of soybeans according to the Iowa Pork Producers Association.

“That appetite for soy is critical to the competitiveness and success of soybean farmers,” says Greiner, who grows soybeans and raises hogs near Keota, “Considering there are nearly 20 million pigs on feed at any given time in Iowa, the result is a strong demand for Iowa soybeans.”

Dave Struthers, a soybean farmer who raises hogs near Collins, says both industries play off each other and add to Iowa’s agricultural productivity and economic success.

“I always say hakuna matata, it’s the circle of life. The beans are used as feed for the hogs, then the hogs produce the fertilizer to put back on the field,” says Struthers.

Why are soybeans and swine so BIG in Iowa?
-    Feed to fertilizer: One 4,800-head pig farm will generate enough plant food for 600 acres of a corn/soybean rotation.
-    Farming legacy: Iowa has more than 6,000 pig farms and 40,000 soybean farmers, and 94 percent of Iowa’s farms are family-owned.
-    Jobs, jobs, jobs: The two industries combined contribute $12.3 billion to Iowa’s economy and support more than 230,000 Iowa jobs.
-    Exports: Iowa is the top state for pork exports, totaling more than $1.1 billion in 2017, according to the National Pork Producers Council.

Join the Iowa Soybean Association and the Iowa Pork Producers Association in celebrating October Pork Month by using #Porktober18 on social media. Celebrate an entire month dedicated to celebrating the most popular meat in the world, according to the USDA Foreign Agriculture Service.

“If you’re wondering how to best celebrate pork month and support Iowa farmers,” Struthers advises, “the answer is to eat more pork!”

Livestock Groups Petition Department of Transportation for Hours of Service Flexibility

Today organizations representing livestock, bee, and fish haulers across the country submitted a petition to the Department of Transportation (DOT) requesting additional flexibility on Hours of Service (HOS) requirements. The petition asks for a five-year exemption from certain HOS requirements for livestock haulers and encourages DOT to work with the livestock industry to implement additional fatigue-management practices.

Current rules limit drive time to 11 hours and limit on-duty hours to 14. Instead, the organizations request that livestock haulers be granted approval to drive up to 15 hours with a 16-hour on-duty period, following a 10-hour consecutive rest period. Any livestock hauler wishing to operate under the extended drive time would be required to complete pre-trip planning and increased fatigue-management training.

“We are concerned that the 11- and 14-hour rules were not drafted with livestock haulers in mind and thus do not accommodate the unique character of their loads and nature of their trips,” the organizations wrote. The current requirements “place the well-being of livestock at risk during transport and impose significant burdens on livestock haulers, particularly in rural communities across the country.”

The strong safety record of livestock haulers demonstrates their ability to ensure the well-being of both live animals and other drivers on the road. A 2014 analysis by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration found that livestock haulers were underrepresented in truck-involved fatal crashes. Data cited in the petition also shows that, between 2013 and 2015, livestock haulers accounted for 6.6 percent of all commercial drivers but less than one percent of crashes involving large trucks.

Australia already implements rules for livestock haulers that focus on safety outcomes, not prescriptive limits. The petition encourages DOT to work with industry to develop and implement similar measures.

The petition was signed by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Livestock Marketing Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Beekeeping Federation, American Honey Producers Association, and the National Aquaculture Association.

U.S. Pork Industry Seeks 2019 Pig Farmers of Tomorrow

The National Pork Board is searching for the next Pig Farmers of Tomorrow, with applications now open through Nov. 12 at The award recognizes, inspires and connects with the next generation of American pig farmers.

“It is important for the Pork Board to connect with future pork industry leaders,” said National Pork Board President Steve Rommereim, a pig farmer from Alcester, South Dakota. “We want to encourage young pig farmers to share their farm stories with the public to help put a face on farming.”

Up to three award recipients will be selected, with winners invited to speak at National Pork Board events, including the March 2019 National Pork Industry Forum in Orlando. The winners also will provide content for the pork industry’s social media program, #RealPigFarming.

Future farm leaders who intend to make pig farming their life’s work and who are committed to the U.S. pork industry and to raising pigs using the pork industry’s We CareSM ethical principles, are encouraged to apply. Applicants must be actively involved in raising pigs in the United States on a full- or part-time basis and be between the ages of 18 and 29 as of Jan. 1, 2019. Students currently enrolled in a college program also are invited to apply.

If applicants haven’t completed a Common Swine Industry Audit, they must be willing to have one conducted and paid for by the Pork Board. Applicants must submit up to five photos that represent them as a Pig Farmer of Tomorrow. The Pork Board selection committee will name up to eight semi-finalists to be interviewed by a panel of judges, The judges will select the finalists, with the winners chosen based on a combination of all application materials.

CWT Assists with 1.4 Million Pounds of Cheese Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) member cooperatives accepted eight offers of export assistance from CWT that helped them capture contracts to sell 1.448 million pounds (657 metric tons) of Cheddar cheese, contracted for delivery in Asia, the Middle East and North Africa for the period from November 2018 through March 2019.

CWT-assisted member cooperative 2018 export sales total 49.719 million pounds of American-type cheeses, 12.962 million pounds of butter (82% milkfat) and 52.188 million pounds of whole milk powder to 36 countries on five continents. These sales are the equivalent of 1.132 billion pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.

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

Feed Grain Buyers, Suppliers Head to Minneapolis Next Week for Export Exchange 2018

A cadre of international buyers and end-users of coarse grains and co-products from more than 35 countries are scheduled to arrive in Minneapolis next week for Export Exchange 2018, ready to meet with U.S. suppliers and service providers across the value chain.

Export Exchange is an educational and trade forum for U.S. feed grains that will host approximately 200 participants organized into 21 USGC trade teams. The biennial conference, scheduled for Oct. 22 to 24, is sponsored by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and Growth Energy.

“At a time when we have just agreed to a new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, highlighting the importance of international trade can be no better illustrated than by Export Exchange and the trade team visits before and after the event,” said Tom Sleight, USGC president and chief executive officer.

“It is essential for us to strengthen the bonds between suppliers and partner countries, and the connections made at this critical event will not only help propel our industry this year, but for years to come.”

The Export Exchange conference is the conduit between buyer teams from countries interested in purchasing U.S. feed grains and U.S. suppliers. The meeting brings these groups together to help each broaden their networks and forge new relationships by facilitating trade of U.S. corn, distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS), sorghum and other commodities.

“Next week’s event allows producers to promote the many benefits of ethanol and its coproducts like DDGS to key foreign markets like Mexico, Turkey, Thailand, South Korea and many others,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “We’re excited for the opportunity to tell the story of how they are produced and how they can support agriculture at home and abroad.”

During the conference, speakers – including Roger Watchorn, Group Leader at Cargill, Dr. Robert Johansson, Chief Economist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Kelly Davis, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs at the Renewable Fuels Association will speak about the state of the agricultural supply chain, the 10-year PS&D outlook for feed grains and food safety regulations for DDGS manufacturers, respectively, among other topics including transportation options for U.S. feed grains.

“Trade is incredibly important to our industry, as nearly one out of every three tons of animal feed produced by the U.S. ethanol industry is exported,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “The Export Exchange provides an excellent opportunity for U.S. producers to strengthen relationships with current customers in the international market, as well as to cultivate new partnerships. We’re looking forward to another exciting and productive event.”

Before and after the conference, trade teams from countries around the globe will travel to various grain-producing states where they will engage in specialized farm visits, tour the 2018 corn harvest, as well as explore ethanol plants and get a better understanding of transloading facilities so they have a clear picture of the U.S. value chain for these commodities.

Women in Agriculture Say Barriers to Equality Persist, Removal Could Take Decades, 17-Country Study Reveals

Women in agriculture around the world, whether in developing or developed countries, say widespread gender discrimination persists and poses obstacles to their ability to help feed the world, according to a new study from Corteva AgriscienceTM, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont.

The study was released to coincide with today’s celebration of the International Day of Rural Women. Corteva Agriscience commissioned the 17-country study to underscore the importance of women in agriculture and to identify barriers to their full and successful participation. The study included 4,160 respondents living in both the developed and developing world on five different continents.

“We conducted this study to further understand the current status of women farmers around the world - from the largest farms in the most advanced economies to the smallest subsistence farms in the developing world - and to create a baseline from which we can measure progress going forward,” said Krysta Harden, Vice President External Affairs and Chief Sustainability Officer of Corteva Agriscience.


The survey’s findings reveal that although women are overwhelmingly proud to be in agriculture, they perceive gender discrimination as widespread, ranging from 78 percent in India to 52 percent in the United States. Only half say they are equally successful as their male counterparts; 42 percent say they have the same opportunities as their male counterparts, and only 38 percent say they are empowered to make decisions about how income is used in farming and agriculture.

Almost 40 percent of the respondents reported lower income than men and less access to financing. High on the list of concerns were financial stability, the welfare of their families and achieving a work/life balance.

Many said they need more training to take advantage of the agricultural technology that has become essential for financial success and environmental stewardship. This desire for training emerged as the most commonly cited need among the respondents for removing gender inequality obstacles. The numbers significantly exceeded 50 percent for all 17 countries, with Brazil, Nigeria, Kenya, Mexico and South Africa leading the way.


The majority of women reported progress toward gender equality, but 72 percent said it would take one to three decades or more to achieve full equality. Five key actions, according to the respondents, were identified to remove obstacles to equality:
-    More training in technology (cited by 80 percent)
-    More academic education (cited by 79 percent)
-    More support – legal and otherwise – to help women in agriculture who experience gender discrimination (cited by 76 percent)
-    Raise the public’s awareness of the success women are achieving in agriculture (cited by 75 percent)
-    Raise the public’s awareness of gender discrimination in agriculture (cited by 74 percent)

“While we know women make up almost half of the world’s farmers, this study validates challenges continue to persist, holding back not only the women in agriculture but also the people who depend on them: their families, their communities, and the societies. Identifying the existence of these challenges is the first step in removing obstacles for rural women farmers to achieve their full potential,” said Harden.

College Scientists: Earn Scholarship to National Biodiesel Conference & Expo

University-level science majors interested in learning about all aspects of the biodiesel industry can apply for a travel scholarship to attend the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo, Jan. 21 - 24 in San Diego. The application process is open to members of the Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel for travel scholarships. Some students will be selected to present on their research or outreach activities.

Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel is a National Biodiesel Board program intended to foster professional relationships between budding and established scientists, share accurate information and increase collaboration with academia and the biodiesel industry.

Student opportunities include a poster session and breakout session to present their research, a preconference biodiesel educational overview and a private mentoring mixer with prominent biodiesel scientists.

Last year, more than 20 students attended the event from schools including Yale University and the University of Idaho. Many of the students, who came from a wide range of disciplines, noted the impact the event made on them.

“As an environmental science student, the sustainability aspects and greenhouse gas reductions of biodiesel were most significant to me,” said Tami Alexander, who received a travel scholarship while pursuing her master’s degree at Wichita State University. “I previously saw biofuels as merely a stepping point on the path to a greener, more sustainable society. Now, after learning more about the production and use of biodiesel, I am convinced that it is a long-term solution.”

Alexander works part-time for the Metropolitan Energy Center in Wichita while finishing her degree.

The National Biodiesel Board, the United Soybean Board and the National Biodiesel Foundation sponsor the scholarships, which amount to a $600 travel reimbursement and complimentary registration (a $1,200 value). Apply by Nov. 19 at

EXTENDED: Submit Nominations for Annual Soy Recognition Awards Through Friday, Oct. 26

The American Soybean Association (ASA) wants to recognize exceptional soy volunteers and leaders—and we need your help. During ASA’s annual awards banquet, individuals will be recognized and honored for state association volunteerism, distinguished leadership achievements and long-term, significant contributions to the soybean industry. The nomination period is extended through Friday, Oct. 26, 2018. The Recognition Awards categories are:
-    ASA Outstanding State Volunteer Award–Recognizes the dedication and contributions of individuals who have given at least three-years of volunteer service in any area of the state soybean association operation.
-    ASA Distinguished Leadership Award–Distinguished and visionary leadership of ASA or a state soybean association is recognized with this award to either a soybean grower-leader or association staff leader with at least five-years of leadership service.
-    ASA Pinnacle Award–An industry-wide recognition of those individuals who have demonstrated the highest level of contribution and lifetime leadership within the soybean family and industry.

Please consider and submit a nomination for one or more of the award categories. All nominations must be received online, no later than Friday, Oct. 26, 2018. No nominations by telephone, email or fax will be accepted. A judging committee will be assigned to make the final selections.

Recipients will receive their awards at the ASA Awards Banquet on Friday, March 1, 2019, in Orlando, Fla. at Commodity Classic.

Friday October 12 Ag News

Nebraska Beef Industry Scholars Summit

The senior class of the Nebraska Beef Industry Scholars and Nebraska Cattlemen are excited to release details about the line-up of topics and speakers for the 2018 Beef Summit. It will be held on November 15th at the Animal Science Complex on UNL’s East Campus in Lincoln, NE. The seminar will begin with registration at 8:30 a.m. and conclude at 4:00 p.m. A variety of topics will be discussed at this year’s event.

John Hinners from the United States Meat Export Federation will discuss national trade. Hinners leads trade groups traveling in international markets, promoting U.S. red meat exports.

Brandon Nuttlemen, Merck Animal Health, will present his session, Progressive Technology to Improve Animal Health. Nuttleman specializes in beef cattle technical services.He earned a PhD in Ruminant Nutrition at UNL.

For the first time in Summit history, a breakout session will be offered! The class is excited to offer differing, yet relevant sessions to meet the interests of attendees. One option in the breakout session is Succession Planning and Startup in a Family Operation, presented by Matt Gunderson. Gunderson is the assistant vice president of Client Relations with Farmers National Company. He is passionate about helping producers prepare for the future of their operation through succession planning. Another option is Livestock Traceability Impacts on Producers, presented by IMI Global, who specializes in verification and certification programs for the livestock industry. Their goal is to enable producers, feeders, growers, packers, and processors to meet the ever-changing needs of both domestic and international markets.

A knowledgeable pair of speakers is collaborating on a session titled, Genomically Based Decision Making. Kenny Stauffer is the director of beef genomics at Neogen, which is one of two commercial genetic testing companies in the United States. Shane Bedwell, Director of Breed Improvement for the American Hereford Association, is the other half of the duo. Bedwell’s duties at AHA include heading the performance department, and brings visual evaluation experience as well.

As market volatility is always on the front line, Randy Blach from CattleFax will share his thoughts in a session of Managing Risk in Volatile Markets. Blach is actively involved in a cow/calf, stocker, and finishing program in Colorado, and has been the CEO of CattleFax since 2001. His technical knowledge and experience as a keynote speaker combine for a worthwhile session.

Lab cultured meat will be the topic of the panel discussion to conclude the Summit. Since this topic has been making waves in the last year, the class decided to bring forces together from different aspects of the beef industry. Representatives from NCBA, a UNL meat scientist, and Memphis Meats.

Space is limited, so please submit your registration form by November 8th to secure your place.  The cost of this program is $50 and will cover lunch, speaker costs and other expenses for the event. After receiving your completed registration, we will send you additional event information. Parking permits are needed for lots on campus and will be provided at registration. They look forward to seeing you on November 15th.

NE Dairy Extension Resources Available

Did you know Nebraska Dairy Extension has a number of online publications for a number of topics you can use on your farm? Below are just a few of the online publications with links to the publications they offer....
    Water Quality and Requirements for Dairy Cattle
    Annual Cool-Season Forages for Late-Fall or Early-Spring Double-Crop
    English to Spanish: A guide for communications to livestock operations
    Feeding to Maximize Milk Protein and Fat Yields
    Milk Urea Nitrogen Testing
    Inbreeding: Effect on Milk Production Reduction
    Sampling Feed for Analyses
    How to Interpret the DHIA-520 Somatic Cell Count Profile
    Developing Dairy Heifer Rearing Expenses
    How to Body Condition Score Dairy Animals
    Impact of feeding distillers grains on nutrient management planning on dairy farms
    Newborn Calves and Colostrum (Spanish resource)
    Sampling Feed for Analyses (Spanish resource)

Additional resources can be found on our website:  If there is a resource you would like and cannot find, please contact Kim Clark at or 402-472-6065.

$55,000 Awarded through Nebraska FFA Foundation Local Chapter Grant Program

Eleven Nebraska FFA chapters were awarded funds through the Nebraska FFA Foundation local chapter grant program.

This program, in its second year, supports Nebraska agricultural education classrooms, FFA programs and individual student entrepreneurship Supervised Agricultural Experiences. Funds are provided by the Nebraska FFA Foundation and its general fund donors. Around 30 applications were submitted requesting over $150,000.

The 11 grant recipients are the following:
-    Valentine agricultural education program received $10,000 for a torchmate plasma table.
-    Rock County FFA received $3,850 for their school-based enterprise called “On-the-go Gelato.”
-    Ogallala FFA received $3,500 for their school-based enterprise for a bee cooperative.
-    Wauneta-Palisade agricultural education program received $9,363 for updating their shop equipment.
-    Amherst agricultural education program received $8,000 for a new greenhouse.
-    McCook agricultural education program received $5,000 for tower gardens.
-    Lakeview FFA received $4,500 for updating and fixing their greenhouse.
-    McPherson County agricultural education program received $4,139 for a CNC router.
-    Tri-County agricultural education program received $2,500 for updating their greenhouse equipment.
-    Norfolk agricultural education program received $500 for their “Grow, Show, Know” fish project.
-    High Plains agricultural education program received $3,750 for an animal learning lab shelter.

“Our board worked many years to develop sustainable funding to provide this program. We all know that there were many programs in need of more financial support to develop career-ready students in agriculture. Awarding $55,000 will give students in these schools some of the resources necessary to reach their full potential,” said Stacey Agnew, Nebraska FFA Foundation Executive Director.

Applications for the 2019 Local Chapter Grant Program will open in April. Learn more at

Agricultural Education Teachers Receive Awards

The Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation works to keep agricultural educators in Nebraska classrooms by awarding 13 Nebraska agricultural education teachers $14,000.

“All 13 teachers make a difference in their classrooms and their communities,” said Megahn Schafer, executive director of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation. “We’re proud to support the future of agriculture and the growth of agricultural education and FFA in Nebraska, and we congratulate this year’s winners,” she continued.

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

The 13 recipients of the scholarships are Victoria Armstrong, Maywood Public Schools; Jesse Bower, Friend Public School; Aubrie Brown, Elba Public Schools; Evey Choat, Laurel-Concord-Coleridge Public School; Hannah Horak, Shelton High School; Brian Johnson, Litchfield Public Schools; Rebekah Kraeger, Cozad Community Schools; Reed Kraeger, Elwood Public Schools; Justin Nolette, Cody-Kilgore Unified Schools; Lacey Peterson, Riverside Public Schools; Tyler Schindler, Omaha Bryan High School; Morgan Schwartz, Stanton Community Schools; Nicole Sorensen, Minatare High School.

Iowa farmers continue to efficiently raise livestock and grain despite market challenges

For the second time in Iowa history, corn yields broke 200 bushels per acre, yet the money it costs Iowa farmers to grow those crops, exceeds the revenue they get from selling them.  These facts and more are detailed in the 2018 Iowa Agricultural Statistics, a 112-page comprehensive analysis compiled by the Iowa office of the National Agricultural Statistics Services (NASS) and released by the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF).

According to the 2018 Iowa Ag Statistics book, the 2016-17 marketing year average price for corn was $3.30 per bushel, down 6 percent from the previous year. However, it costs farmers $3.48 per bushel to grow that corn. Although soybean prices were up 5 percent to $9.34 per bushel, it is still below the production price of $9.46 per bushel. Because the gap between the cash price of grain and the futures price has been wide, Iowa farms saw a record in 2017 of on-farm storage capacity. IFBF Director of Research and Commodity Services Dave Miller says many farmers are opting to store their grain on farm instead of at their local cooperative to cut storage costs until price margins are more certain. They are also trying to tackle grain farming’s biggest expenses—land and seed prices.

With more than half of Iowa’s farmland being cash rented, many farmers are trying to work out fair prices with their landlords. Average cash rent prices in Iowa dropped from $230 an acre to $219 from 2017 to 2018. Miller also says farmers are cutting costs by selecting seed varieties with less traits. For example, farmers may forgo purchasing seed with an added trait like the insecticide Bt. In 2009, 14 percent of farmers purchased Bt corn. In 2018, only 3 percent did.

The Iowa Ag Statistics book also shows that Iowa continues to be a national leader in pig farming with 22.8 million hogs in the state. “Pig numbers continue to increase every year by 3 to 5 percent which is being supported by enlarged cold storage capacity and expanded employee shifts at Iowa packing plants,” says Miller. From 2016 to 2017, Iowa’s plants produced an additional 174 million pounds of red meat which includes beef, mutton and pork. Iowa also continues to be the number one egg producer in the nation. Bouncing back from the Avian Influenza outbreak, 2017 saw an increase of 2.35 million eggs from 2016.

“While we continue to see uncertainty in the agricultural markets and continued negotiations on trade agreements, Iowa’s farmers continue to forge on ahead,” says Miller. “Despite challenges, our Farm Bureau members are finding ways to improve their land through conservation efforts and add value to their farms with livestock.”  

The stats book can be ordered, for a cost of $12, from the Marketing and Communications Division, Iowa Farm Bureau, 5400 University Avenue, West Des Moines, Iowa 50266.

Apply by Nov. 1 to Serve on the National Pork Checkoff Board of Directors

The Pork Checkoff’s board of directors is accepting applications through Nov. 1 to fill five three-year terms. State pork producer associations, farm organizations or anyone who pays into the Pork Checkoff, which includes pig farmers and pork importers, may submit an application.

“Serving on the National Pork Board is a great opportunity for producers to support the pork industry while helping to plan for a successful future,” said Friend, Nebraska, producer Terry O’Neel, who is the past Pork Board president and chair of the Nominating Committee. “Not only have I been able to serve producers, I also have learned from the many different producers that we have in this industry.”

Pork Act Delegates must rank a minimum of 10 candidates to send to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue for approval. The board consists of 15 members, each serving a maximum of two three-year terms. The Pork Act requires that no fewer than 12 states be represented.

 The 15 positions on the Checkoff board are held by pork producers or importers who volunteer their time.  Any pork producer or importer who has paid all Checkoff assessments due or is a representative of a producer or company that produces hogs and/or pigs is eligible to serve.

The application deadline is Nov. 1, with interviews for each candidate to be held in Des Moines Dec. 5 to 6. Please direct application requests and questions to Denise Yaske at

USDA Issues Farm Safety Net and Conservation Payments

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today announced that the United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) continues to invest in rural America with more than $4.8 billion in payments being made, starting this month, to agricultural producers through the Farm Service Agency’s Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC), Price Loss Coverage (PLC) and Conservation Reserve (CRP) programs. Approximately $3 billion in payments will be made under the ARC and PLC programs for the 2017 crop year, and approximately $1.8 billion in annual rental payments under CRP for 2018.

“Despite a temporary lapse of Farm Bill authorities, farmers and ranchers can rest assured that USDA continues to work within the letter of the law to deliver much needed farm safety net, conservation, disaster recovery, and trade assistance program payments,” said Perdue.

The ARC and PLC programs were authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill and make up a portion of the agricultural safety net to producers when they experience a substantial drop in revenue or prices for their covered commodities.

“These program payments are mandated by Congress, but the Department has taken measures to ensure we meet our deadlines and get capital in the hands of those folks that need it most. Unfortunately, 2018 has proven to be another tough year for producers across the Nation, making the timeliness even more critical. Our resilient farmers, ranchers, and producers are battling more hurricanes, wildfires, droughts, floods, and even lava flows,” said Perdue.

PLC payments have triggered for 2017 barley, canola, corn, grain sorghum, wheat and other crops. In the next few months payments will be triggered for rice, chickpeas, sunflower seeds, flaxseed, mustard seed, rapeseed, safflower, crambe, and sesame seed. Producers with bases enrolled in ARC for 2017 crops can visit for updated crop yields, prices, revenue and payment rates. The estimated payments are before application of sequestration and other reductions and limits, including adjusted gross income limits and payment limitations.

Also, this week, USDA will begin issuing 2018 CRP payments to over 362,000 landowners to support voluntary conservation efforts on private lands. “CRP has long been a useful tool for the Department to encourage farmers to take that environmentally-sensitive, more unproductive land, out of production and build-up their natural resource base. These CRP payments are meant to help encourage land stewardship and help support an operation’s bottom line,” said Perdue.


In comments submitted to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) this week, the National Pork Producers Council supported revisions to existing federal trucking regulations that allow livestock haulers to comply with the rules while maintaining the pork industry’s high standards for animal welfare.  Specifically, NPPC asked DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to change the Hours of Service (HOS) rules, which limit commercial truckers to 11 hours of driving time and 14 consecutive hours of on-duty time in any 24-hour period. Once drivers reach either limit, they must wait 10 hours before driving again. NPPC supports:
-    Expanding the driving-time limit for livestock haulers from 11 hours to 14 hours.
-    Adding an exemption from the driving-time limit for “adverse driving conditions,” which should be defined to include not only incidences of rain, snow, ice and traffic disruptions but also excessive temperatures that would stress animals and prevent trucks from stopping.
-    Allowing livestock haulers in trucks with sleeper berths to break up the required 10-hour rest period into three separate periods provided that at least one is a minimum of six hours.

NPPC also asked the transportation agency to streamline the process for restoring “satisfactory” safety ratings for livestock haulers who are otherwise in compliance with the HOS rules’ safety and paperwork requirements. Often as a result of caring for animals rather than strictly adhering to the HOS regulations, some drivers have had their safety ratings downgraded from “satisfactory” to “conditional.” That has reduced the pool of available drivers and significantly increased barriers for livestock haulers to remain in business

Green Plains Enters into Agreement to Sell Three Ethanol Plants to Valero Renewable Fuels

Green Plains Inc. (NASDAQ:GPRE) announced today that it has entered into an asset purchase agreement with Valero Renewable Fuels Company LLC to sell three of its ethanol plants located in Lakota, Iowa, Bluffton, Ind., and Riga, Mich. for $300 million in cash, plus approximately $28 million of working capital also paid in cash. The transaction involves 280 million gallons of nameplate capacity, or approximately 20% of the Company’s reported ethanol production capacity.

“The sale of these three ethanol plants demonstrates our commitment to strengthening our balance sheet and unlocking value for our shareholders,” said Todd Becker, president and chief executive officer of Green Plains. “As we stated in May, when we outlined our Portfolio Optimization Program, we would divest assets that enable us to execute our long-term strategic objectives. This sale is the first step towards our strategic objectives to prove the value of our assets and to significantly reduce or eliminate term debt by the end of 2018. We will continue with our optimization plan and anticipate communicating additional transactions in the near future.”

The deal creates a shift among the nation's top five producers, as Valero now moves up the list, past Green Plains and virtually tied with Archer Daniels Midland at No. 2. Poet is the nation's top producer at about 2 billion gallons.  Valero will have a production capacity of between 1.6 billion and 1.7 billion gallons at 14 plants. Green Plains' capacity falls to just below 1.2 billion gallons at 11 plants.

Green Plains Inc. also entered into an asset purchase agreement with Green Plains Partners LP (“Partnership”) to acquire the storage and transportation assets and the assignment of railcar leases associated with the Lakota, Bluffton and Riga ethanol plants. Green Plains Inc. will exchange approximately 8.9 million units it owns of the Partnership, valued at $120.9 million, to the Partnership for the storage and transportation assets and railcar leases. In addition, Green Plains Inc. and the Partnership agreed to extend the storage and throughput services agreement an additional three years to June 30, 2028.

“Exchanging a portion of Green Plains Inc.’s ownership in the Partnership to acquire the three ethanol facilities’ storage assets from Green Plains Partners is highly beneficial to both parties. For Green Plains Inc., it maximizes the cash proceeds from the sale of the three ethanol facilities and reduces the associated minimum volume commitment throughput of ethanol production. For Green Plains Partners, it lowers the distributable cash flow needs, enabling us to maintain the current annual distribution, making for an accretive transaction for the Partnership unitholders,” Becker stated.

The quarterly minimum volume commitment associated with the storage and throughput services agreement will be 235.7 million gallons or, approximately 80% of the new Green Plains Inc. annual production capacity of 1.183 billion gallons.

Both transactions are anticipated to close during the fourth quarter of 2018. These purchase agreements are subject to customary closing conditions, regulatory approvals and contain normal and customary representations, warranties, and indemnification obligations.

CoBank: Rising Output Compressing Agricultural Margins

Strong growth in both the U.S. and global economies will support increased demand in domestic and export markets through the end of the year. However, U.S. competitiveness is currently constrained by trade uncertainties and the elevated value of the U.S. dollar, further placing pressure on the agricultural economy as output in most industries rises.

The latest Quarterly Rural Economic Review from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange Division indicates that any significant farm price improvements over last year’s prices will be limited, particularly with record U.S. yields for many of the major crop commodities adding to available supply levels. Meanwhile, the animal protein and dairy sectors continue to benefit from strong domestic demand and the promise of better access to Mexico and Canada, but will need more export market growth to absorb their current pace of output and expansion.

“Agricultural markets are being squeezed as prices remain weak,” said Dan Kowalski, vice president of CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange Division. “While recently negotiated trade deals show some upside for agriculture, global demand for output from the U.S. agriculture sector is being outpaced by current U.S. production.”

CoBank quarterly economic reviews provide updates and market outlooks covering several topics and industries, including: Global and U.S. Economic Environment; U.S. Agricultural Markets; Grains, Biofuels and Farm Supply; Animal Protein; Dairy; Other Crops; Specialty Crops; and Rural Infrastructure Industries.

Key Factors and Findings

The CoBank report reveals that the escalating trade war with China is the leading risk for U.S. agriculture and that retaliatory actions taken by China and other trading partners have raised concerns of long lasting effects on agricultural supply chains. However, U.S. Department of Agriculture assistance to farmers and ranchers suffering hardship may have a modest impact on farm financial conditions.

Other key findings include:

-    Sustained growth in emerging markets will support increasing demand for higher value products such as animal protein, dairy and specialty crops.
-    With the trade environment in flux, the U.S. economy remains on strong footing with tax reform and increased government spending providing significant fiscal stimulus.
-    In specific commodities, 2019 could see record yields for U.S. corn, soybeans and cotton, which is boosting supplies and limiting price improvement. For wheat, concerns about production shortfalls in the EU and FSU regions have pushed prices higher.
-    The animal protein sector has benefited from low commodity prices and excess supply, but trade concerns continue to weigh on beef, poultry and pork markets. However, domestic consumer demand remains stout for animal protein, although pork is experiencing the biggest jolt caused by trade disputes and oversupply.
-    Although the dairy markets have been weak, they continue to show modest signs of improvement through the third quarter of 2018, though producer distress remains, forcing some to exit the business.
-    The Federal Communications Commission announced the results of the CAF II auction in August, which awarded $1.488 billion in funding over the next 10 years to expand rural broadband access in unserved areas across 45 states.

Thursday October 11 Ag News


Based on October 1 conditions, Nebraska's 2018 corn production is forecast at 1.80 billion bushels, up 7 percent from last year's production, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Area to be harvested for grain, at 9.25 million acres, is down 1 percent from a year ago. Yield is forecast at 195 bushels per acre, up 14 bushels from last year. Both yield and production are new record highs if realized.

Sorghum for grain is forecast at 15.8 million bushels, up 32 percent from last year. Area for harvest, at 155,000 acres, is up 15 percent from 2017. Yield is a record forecast at 102 bushels per acre, up 13 bushels from last year.

Soybean production is forecast at 350 million bushels, up 7 percent from last year. Area for harvest, at 5.65 million acres, is slightly below 2017. Yield is forecast at 62 bushels per acre, up 4.5 bushels from last year. Both yield and production are new record highs if realized.

Dry edible bean production is forecast at 3.25 million hundredweight, down 17 percent from 2017. Area for harvest, at 128,000 acres, is down 17 percent from last year. Yield is a record forecast at 2,540 pounds per acre, up 20.0 pounds per acre from last year.

Sugarbeet production is forecast at 1.48 million tons, up 3 percent from 2017. Area for harvest, at 44,200 acres, is down 2 percent from last year. Yield is a record forecast at 33.4 tons per acre, up 1.6 tons per acre from a year ago.

All sunflower production is forecast at 51.2 million pounds, down 26 percent from last year. Acreage for harvest, at 33,000 acres, is down 10,500 acres from 2017. Harvested acreage is a new record low. Yield is forecast at 1,550 pounds per acre, down 38 pounds per acre from a year ago. Of the acres for harvest, non-oil sunflowers account for 10,000 acres and oil sunflowers account for 23,000 acres.

Alfalfa hay production, at 3.61 million tons, is up 10 percent from last year. Area for harvest, at 880,000 acres, is up 6 percent from a year ago. Yield of 4.10 tons per acre is up 0.15 ton from 2017. All other hay production, at 3.70 million tons, is up 28 percent from last year. Area for harvest, at 1.85 million acres, is up 3 percent from a year ago. Yield of 2.00 tons per acre is up 0.40 ton from 2017. Both yield and production are new record highs if realized.


Iowa corn production is forecast at 2.60 billion bushels according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Crop Production report. Based on conditions as of October 1, yields are expected to average 204 bushels per acre, down 2 bushels per acre from the September 1 forecast, but up 2 bushels per acre from last year. If realized, this will be highest yield on record, 1 bushel per acre above the record set in 2016. Corn planted acreage is estimated at 13.2 million acres. An estimated 12.8 million of the acres planted will be harvested for grain.

Soybean production is forecast at 606 million bushels. If realized, this will be the highest production on record with 39.8 million bushels more than the previous record of 567 million bushels set in 2017. The yield is forecast at 61.0 bushels per acre, up 1 bushel per acre from the September forecast, and 4 bushels per acre higher than 2017. If realized, this will be the highest yield on record surpassing the 60.0 bushels per acre in 2016. Soybean planted acreage is estimated at 10.0 million acres with 9.94 million acres to be harvested.

Production of alfalfa and alfalfa mixtures for hay is forecast at 3.15 million tons, an increase of 25 percent from the previous year. Yield is expected to average 3.80 tons per acre, up 0.30 ton from last year. Production of other hay is forecast at 888,000 tons, up 7 percent from last year. Yield for other hay is expected to average 2.40 tons per acre, up 0.10 ton from last year.

The forecasts in this report are based on October 1 conditions and do not reflect weather effects since that time. The next corn and soybean production forecasts, based on conditions as of November 1, will be released on November 8.

U.S. Corn Production Down Slightly from September Forecast

Soybean Production Down Slightly

Corn production is forecast at 14.8 billion bushels, down slightly from the September forecast but up 1 percent from last year. Based on conditions as of October 1, yields are expected to average 180.7 bushels per acre, down 0.6 bushel from the September forecast but up 4.1 bushels from 2017. If realized, this will be the highest yield and second highest production on record for the United States. Area harvested for grain is forecast at 81.8 million acres, down slightly from the previous estimate and down 1 percent from 2017. Acreage updates were made in several States based on a thorough review of all available data.

Soybean production is forecast at a record 4.69 billion bushels, down slightly from September but up 6 percent from last year. Based on October 1 conditions, yields are expected to average a record 53.1 bushels per acre, up 0.3 bushel from last month and up 3.8 bushels from last year. Area for harvest in the United States is forecast at 88.3 million acres, down 1 percent from September and down 1 percent from 2017. Acreage updates were made in several States based on a thorough review of all available data.


Growers, crop consultants and educators are encouraged to attend Nebraska Extension’s Weed Science School from 8.30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 31 at the Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center near Mead.

The school will include several morning presentations, including an overview of weed control and herbicide-resistant weeds in Nebraska, a Nebraska Department of Agriculture procedure to investigate dicamba off-target injury, forensic analysis of dicamba injury, and much more.

The afternoon session will include onsite weed identification, information on cover crops and weed suppression, effect of ultra-micro rates of dicamba on soybean yield, and managing herbicide drift.

“Dr. Kevin Bradley, professor of weed science at the University of Missouri is an invited speaker to present his 15 years of research experience for management of herbicide-resistant waterhemp,” said extension weed management specialist Amit Jhala.

Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) Continuing Education Units are available.

There is no cost to attend the field day, but participants are asked to register at


Current and future landowners and tenants should make plans to attend free upcoming land management workshops sponsored by Nebraska Extension. The workshops will be held at nine sites across Nebraska this fall.

“Managing Agricultural Land for the 21st Century” will cover current trends in cash rental rates, lease provisions, and crop and grazing land considerations.

Nebraska Extension Educators Allan Vyhnalek, Aaron Nygren, Erin Laborie, Ben Beckman and Jim Jansen conduct research and outreach in land management, agronomy and beef production. They will address common agricultural landlord and tenant questions such as, 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 Vyhnalek. “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.”

To ensure enough handouts please register at or call the phone number listed for each location. Lunch arrangements will be handled by each host location.

For more information or assistance, please contact Allan Vyhnalek at 402-472-1771 or, or Jim Jansen, at 402-261-7572 or

Registration at each location will start at 9:15 a.m., program starting at 9:30 a.m., and ending by 3:00 p.m.

Workshop dates and locations:
    SOUTH SIOUX CITY: Nov. 19 at the Northeast Community College Extended Campus, 1001 College Way, 402-254-6821, lunch will be sponsored
    COLUMBUS: Nov. 20 at the Platte County Extension Office, 2715 13th St., 402-563-4901, attendees will be dismissed to have lunch off site
    BROKEN BOW: Nov. 26 at the 4-H Building at the Custer County Fairgrounds, 44100 Memorial Drive 308-872-6831, attendees will be dismissed to have lunch off site
    NORFOLK: Dec. 3 at the Divots Convention Center, 4200 W Norfolk Ave. 402-370-4040, lunch will be sponsored
    ALMA: Dec. 12 at the Harlan County Extension Office, 519 S Main St., 308-928-2119, lunch will be sponsored
    OGALLALA: Dec. 13 at Mid-Plains Community College, 512 E B St. S, 308-284-6051, lunch will be sponsored
    LEXINGTON: Dec. 14 at the Dawson County Extension Office, 1002 Plum Creek Pkwy, 308-324-5501, lunch will be sponsored
    BEATRICE: Dec. 19 at the Gage County Extension Office, 1115 W Scot St., 402-233-1384, lunch will be sponsored
    HASTINGS: Dec. 20 at the Adams County Fairgrounds, 947 S Baltimore Ave, 402-461-7209, lunch will be sponsored

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.

2019 Dairy Ambassador application process open

Midwest Dairy and Nebraska Dairy Extension are again partnering to offer a Dairy Ambassador program in 2019. This program is a year-long leadership program where students have the opportunity to learn about the dairy community and share their love for dairy with students, future leaders and consumers while learning and advancing their leadership skills.  Ambassadors will participate in a number of events throughout the year such as Ag Literacy Festivals, Moo at the Zoo, the Nebraska State Fair, dairy farm tours, agribusiness tours and other leadership programs.  At the end of the program, Ambassadors will receive a $1,000 scholarship from Midwest Dairy.  In addition to the scholarship, Ambassadors will receive a $75 per diem for each day they participate in events.

Applicant eligibility includes
    1) Applicant must be enrolled full-time in a Nebraska post-secondary school for the duration of the appointment.
    2) Applicant must provide their own transportation. Reimbursement for travel expenses (mileage and hotel) will be provided for all approved events.
    3) Applicant must communicate effectively through email, text messaging and in-person. 4) Applicant must have a passion for dairy.

 Applications are to be completed online at this link:  Applications are due December 1 and notices sent by January 1, 2019.


The Nebraska Leafy Spurge Working Task Force will hold their quarterly meeting on Tuesday, October 23 at 1:00 p.m. at the Holt County Weed Control office in O’Neill.  Topics for discussion will include but not be limited to:  Update on the 2018 annual tour and conference; planning for the 2019 annual tour and conference; general discussion on chemical use to control noxious and invasive plants; open discussion on topics of interest to those present.

This informational session is open to the public and landowners are invited and encouraged to attend.

Ibach, Andriessen to Receive USMEF Awards

The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) has announced the recipients of its Michael J. Mansfield Award and Distinguished Service Award. Both awards will be presented Nov. 7 at the USMEF Strategic Planning Conference in Long Beach, California.

Greg Ibach, USDA’s under secretary for marketing and regulatory programs, will receive the Mansfield Award, which is presented in honor of former U.S. Senate Majority Leader and U.S. Ambassador to Japan Michael J. Mansfield, who helped form the foundation for U.S. trade relations throughout the world.

Prior to his appointment at USDA, Ibach served as director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture from 2005 to 2017, where he was a tireless advocate for international promotion of U.S. red meat products. He first became involved with USMEF as a member of the Nebraska Beef Council and through his service on the Beef Promotion Operating Committee.

“I’m truly honored and humbled to receive the Mansfield Award. My working relationship with USMEF goes back more than 25 years, and I’ve been fortunate to have an active role in promoting U.S. red meat globally for a very long time,” Ibach said. “While the benefits to individual beef and pork producers are fairly obvious, I have seen firsthand how investing in promotions for these value-added exports delivers significant returns for corn and soybean farmers, truckers, processors and many others throughout the U.S. agricultural economy.”

The USMEF Distinguished Service Award is presented to individuals who have demonstrated outstanding leadership in the pursuit of USMEF’s export goals. This year’s honoree is Roel Andriessen, who served as USMEF chair in 2015-2016 and is a former chair of the USMEF Exporter Committee. Andriessen was actively involved in the organization for much of his career in the meat industry, which spanned nearly 40 years prior to his retirement from Tyson Fresh Meats, where he headed the international sales group. Andriessen started in his family’s international meat and poultry business in the Netherlands and later continued the business in Kansas. In 1978, he moved to IBP which was subsequently acquired by Tyson Foods.

“The USMEF Distinguished Service Award is a tremendous honor, but it’s one that I accept on behalf of many people I have worked with throughout my career,” Andriessen said. “Building and serving an international customer base is truly a team effort. For example, at the plant level, those working in production, quality control, food safety, and material handling must take additional steps to successfully export red meat. This may include different specifications, packaging, multilingual labeling, customer plant tours and plant audits with foreign government officials. The international sales teams, both U.S. and foreign-based, are the ones who forge the relationships and ultimately sell the product. But this can’t be completed without corporate support teams such as livestock procurement, production scheduling, export logistics and others. As one can readily see, it takes an incredible team effort and I truly salute all who have been involved.”

NA-BA 2018 UNL Research Symposium 

Please join us for this year's annual Research Symposium, co-sponsored by the Institute of Agriculture & Natural Resources and the Nebraska Agri-Business Association! There will be eight speakers presenting cutting edge research being performed in the agronomy and agriculture fields. Many of you will find this meeting to be very beneficial in your career.

Research Symposium is on Wednesday, November 15, 2018 at the Holthus Convention Center in York, NE. Registration will begin at 7:30 am, with speakers starting at 8:00 am.

The speakers and topics are:
Al Dutcher, Associate Professor Geoscientist UNL
       Wrap up of the Growing Season, Current Conditions
Joe Luck, Associate Professor Biological Systems Engineering UNL
       Crop Management TBA
Amit Jhala, Associate Professor Agronomy and Horticulture
       Weed Control and Crop Safety in Balance Bean/Liberty Link Soybean
Cody Creech, Assistant Professor Agronomy and Horticulture UNL
        Dryland Crop Production
Charles Wortmann, Professor Agronomy and Horticulture UN
        Phosphorous Use Research for Corn and the Revision of UNL Recommendations                     
Tom Clemente, Professor Agronomy and Horticulture UNL
        Innovations in Agriculture
Tim Mundorf, Nutrient Management Lead Central Valley Ag
        Interpreting the Soil Test
Justin McMechan, Assistant Professor Department of Entomology
        Emerging Pests of Corn and Soybeans

The cost of registration covers rolls & coffee, lunch, and all speaker handouts. A registration form is included for you to register for Research Symposium or you can register online at....

Please contact Sarah Skirry at or (402) 476-1528 if you have any questions. We hope to see you in York at this year's Research Symposium!

Asia Trade Mission Offers Valuable Market Insights

A recent trade mission to Asia by the National Pork Board International Marketing Committee built lasting relationships with international customers and elevated U.S. pork as the global protein of choice. The Pork Checkoff team toured Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Macau, meeting with pork processors, distributors and retailers, importers and traders, as well as in-country staff responsible for promoting U.S. pork in the region.

“Pork is the No. 1 most-consumed protein in the world, and that was obvious on this mission,” said Bill Luckey, a pork producer from Columbus, Nebraska, and chair of the Pork Checkoff’s International Marketing Committee. “As the committee allocates Pork Checkoff dollars to international marketing, it is important to see how these dollars are working today and how we might better target producer resources in emerging markets in the future.”

With U.S. pork production again breaking records in 2018, the Pork Checkoff is committed to growing pork demand both domestically and in international markets. Singapore and Vietnam are developing markets for U.S. pork and present huge opportunities for U.S. pork export growth in the coming years. In 2017, U.S. pork exports to Singapore increased almost 20 percent from 2016, reaching $17 million. Last year, the United States also exported over $11 million of fresh/chilled/frozen bone-in hams and shoulders to Vietnam.

“Consumers in Vietnam and Singapore are rapidly increasing pork in their diets, with pork consumption on trend to overtake seafood consumption in both markets as the No. 1 protein,” said Craig Morris, the Pork Checkoff’s vice president of international marketing. “This provides a great opportunity to capture a rapidly increasing market share, but we must first understand the changing consumer and retail landscapes in these countries to meet consumer needs and expectations.”

While in Singapore, the committee learned that U.S. pork often is positioned as a premium product, with high-end U.S. pork selling for three to five times more than the price of competitors’ products. Also, pre-prepared and processed foods are becoming popular as consumers seek convenience to meet their increasingly busy, urban lifestyles.

“U.S. pork can succeed in Singapore by delivering a high-quality product packaged in small portions and in convenient, ready-to-cook formats,” Morris said.

In Vietnam, committee members learned that popular wet markets, where fresh pork is sold on the streets, are declining as consumers seek the modern conveniences of full-service grocery stores. U.S. pork is viewed as a superior product in terms of taste and quality, and it is being marketed as such by U.S. import partners and buyers, Morris noted. U.S. pork is heavily featured in restaurants throughout Vietnam, especially by those with newer, more modern menu offerings.

“It’s surprising, but Vietnam is a booming market for American barbecue,” Luckey said. “Many restaurants feature U.S. pork’s reputation for superior quality, which they promote on menus to grow their business.” 

Hong Kong also remains a strategic partner for U.S. pork. According to Morris, a significant amount of U.S. pork is sold in Hong Kong then shipped to mainland China, Macau, Vietnam and other Asian markets. As a conduit to other regions, Hong Kong is a critical market, with 38 percent of all of the food the U.S. ships there, in turn, re-exported, according to Morris.

“In this challenging trade environment, it is critical that we meet with our colleagues in Hong Kong and express gratitude for their continued partnership. Building face-to-face relationships is especially important in this region,” Morris said. “We met with 40 of the largest importers who play a key role In deciding what will be sold in retail stores, featured on restaurant menus and traded with other countries in Southeast Asia.”

The last stop on the international mission was Macau, which is home to some of the world’s largest casinos. As a large tourist destination, the country offers many opportunities for U.S. pork to be showcased to consumers from all around the world.

Luckey called the Asian trade mission a great success.

“Not only were we able to see the many different ways that pork is being promoted in these countries, but we came back with insights into how to grow our market share,” Luckey said. “The committee members are excited to share these ideas with our partners here in the U.S. and to follow up with customers we met to bring U.S. pork to their shelves and menus.”

Casey’s Unveils Groundbreaking Partnership with Prime the Pump

Casey’s General Store today unveiled a partnership with Prime the Pump, a Growth Energy partner and nonprofit organization dedicated to helping to give more Americans the choice of E15 at the pump. Casey’s will expand its offering of E15 – a fuel with 15 percent ethanol –  to potentially more than 500 of its locations over the next few years. E15 is approved for 9 out of 10 cars on the road today and American drivers have surpassed 5 billion miles on it.

“Since first rolling out E15, we’ve seen the benefit the biofuel blend offers in terms of value for our customers and a competitive advantage for our business,” said Casey’s Director of Fuels Nathaniel Doddridge. “We’re excited to partner with Prime the Pump and Growth Energy to build on the success and accelerate our offering of E15 to even more of our customers.”

“We are thrilled Prime the Pump is entering into partnership with Casey’s and taking it to record-breaking heights to give more American drivers a cleaner burning, engine-smart option at the pump,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “Casey’s has seen the value E15 brings to their business and to their customers, and will soon be the nation’s largest E15 retailer. This announcement underscores the critical need for lawmakers to approve year-round use of E15.”

In March of 2017, Casey’s announced they would be offering E15 fuel at select stores in the Midwest . Today, Casey’s is among the nation’s leading independent retailers including Kwik Trip, Sheetz, Kum & Go, Minnoco, RaceTrac, Thorntons, Protec Fuels, QuikTrip, Family Express, Holiday, Murphy USA, Holiday, Rutter’s, and Cenex offering E15 at more than 1,600 stations across 30 states.

Iowa Soybean Association Seeking Nominations for Agricultural Leadership Awards

The Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) seeks to recognize outstanding leadership from farmers and industry professionals actively advancing Iowa agriculture and the Iowa soybean industry.

Nominations for ISA’s annual awards are due Tuesday, Oct. 30. Winners will be recognized at ISA’s annual conference in December.

“Improving the competitiveness of Iowa’s soybeans would not be possible without the outstanding commitment of farmers and industry professionals,” says Lindsay Greiner, ISA president and 2012 New Leader award recipient. “Nobody does what they do for the recognition. That’s why it’s up to us to find those who go above and beyond and make sure they know they are appreciated.”

Nominations are sought for:
-    RISING STAR: A high school senior or college student who takes an active role promoting Iowa agriculture and has plans to remain involved in agriculture through personal or professional activities.
-    LEGACY OF LEADERSHIP: An ISA member with an established history of taking an active role in advancing the goals of ISA and continuously demonstrating a passion and commitment for growing the soybean industry.
-    NEW LEADER: An ISA member who has actively grown in their involvement in ISA programming and has shown outstanding involvement in their community and/or state.
-    ENVIRONMENTAL LEADER: An ISA member who is improving on-farm environmental performance and leadership by using precision agriculture tools and technology in collaboration with ISA Environmental Programs and Services or the On-Farm Network®.
-    INNOVATOR IN PRODUCTION RESEARCH: An individual, organization or company that has shown outstanding leadership in the use of precision agriculture and has worked to validate and effectively manage practices to improve profitability.
-    FRIEND OF THE IOWA SOYBEAN FARMER: An elected leader or ISA partner who has shown a deep understanding of issues facing Iowa soybean farmers and has supported them through their activities and efforts.
-    ADVOCATE FOR IOWA AGRICULTURE:  New this year, this award will be presented to an ISA member, individual, organization or company that effectively and accurately tells the story of modern agriculture and actively builds bridges between Iowa farmers and consumers.

To nominate a deserving leader, explain why the nominee deserves recognition in fewer than 150 words. Include the nominee’s name, hometown, phone number and e-mail. Submit nominations to Lauren Houska, ISA communications specialist (

Recipients will be recognized Thursday, Dec. 13 during ISA’s annual conference in Ankeny. For more information about the awards, visit

US Ethanol Stocks Build Again

Domestic ethanol stocks increased for a second straight week during the first week of October as production jumped 2.5% and blending demand eased, Energy Information Administration data released Thursday, Oct. 11, shows.

Total domestic ethanol inventories rose 576,000 bbl in the week ended Oct. 5 to 24.021 million bbl, 2.5 million bbl or nearly 12% higher than the corresponding week in 2017.

Plant production increased for the first time in three weeks, rising 25,000 bpd to 1.040 million bpd during the week ended Oct. 5, 7.5% above the corresponding week in 2017. Four-week averaged production was 1.036 million bpd versus 1.001 million bpd during the corresponding four week period in 2017.

Net refiner and blender inputs, a measure for ethanol demand, declined 4,000 bpd to 913,000 bpd during the week-ended Oct. 5, 2.6% lower than a year ago. For the four weeks ended Oct. 5, blending demand averaged 915,000 bpd, 6,000 bpd below the same period in 2017.

Retail Fertilizer Trends - Price Gap Widens Between Urea and Anhydrous

Retail fertilizer prices tracked by DTN for the first week of October continue to show the slow and steady price increases, a pattern that's been in place for several months. For the fourth week in a row, all eight major fertilizer prices are higher compared to a month earlier.

As has also been the case the last four weeks, one fertilizer had a substantial move higher. Urea prices are 6% higher compared to the first week of September. The nitrogen fertilizer had an average price of $389/ton.

At $501/ton, it's the first time since DAP prices have crossed the $500/ton mark since the third week of December in 2015. At that time the price was at $519/ton.

The remaining six fertilizers were all higher in price than last month, but the price moves were less noteworthy. MAP had an average price $523/ton, potash $364/ton, 10-34-0 $451/ton, anhydrous $488/ton, UAN28 $237/ton and UAN32 $279/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.42/lb.N, anhydrous $0.30/lb.N, UAN28 $0.42/lb.N and UAN32 $0.44/lb.N.

All eight of the major fertilizers are now higher compared to last year. Potash is 5% higher, 10-34-0 is 9% more expensive, UAN28 is 14% higher, UAN32 is now 15% more expensive, MAP is 16% higher, DAP is 18% more expensive, urea is 20% higher and anhydrous is now 22% more expensive compared to last year.

Brazil Forecasts 2018-2019 Soybean Crop of 117M Tons-119.4M Tons

Brazil's farmers could produce another record harvest of soybeans in the 2018-2019 growing season as demand remains strong enough to spur growers to increase the area planted with the crop, according to Brazilian crop agency Conab.

The country will grow from 117 million metric tons to 119.4 million metric tons of soybeans in the current growing season, in which planting has already begun, Conab said Thursday. In the 2017-2018 season, Brazil's farmers produced a record 119.3 million tons of soybeans.

"Even with expectations of a big crop in North America, prices are still at levels considered profitable by producers," Conab said in its monthly grains bulletin.

Brazil is the world's second-largest soybean producer, after the U.S., and has produced several consecutive record crops in recent years as demand for the oilseed from China has remained strong. The trade dispute between China and the U.S. has increased demand for Brazilian soybeans, but Brazilian farmers have said that they aren't planting more of the crop in response to the dispute and instead are increasing production in line with the rise in demand in recent years.

The country's mild winters permit its farmers to plant to crops in most areas, and they frequently alternate between soybeans and corn. Brazil will produce from 89.7 million metric tons of corn to 91.1 million tons in 2018-2019, Conab said. In 2017-2018, the country grew 80.8 million tons, according to the agency.

U.S. Exports Of Feed Grains In All Forms Set Another New Record In 2017/2018

The final 2017/2018 marketing year’s numbers are out - and for the second year in a row, the United States has set a new record for exports of feed grains and co-products, led by higher corn and ethanol shipments.

Overall, the United States exported nearly 120 million metric tons of feed grains in all forms (GIAF), translating into roughly 4.75 billion bushels or a third of U.S. production. The marketing year’s exports increased six percent or 6.5 million tons (256 million bushels) above last year’s record-setting levels.

“For U.S. grain producers, our 2017/2018 export performance was outstanding and above recently revised expectations due to particularly strong shipments in the second half of the marketing year,” said Mike Dwyer, U.S. Grains Council (USGC) chief economist. “U.S. agricultural producers saw international demand for their products - in one form or another - continue to rise. This export growth is vital to our feed grain producers who continue to see their yields and overall production rise amidst challenging trade policy conditions."

Southern neighbor and trade agreement partner Mexico topped all other markets in GIAF imports, with total marketing year shipments growing 6.3 percent year-over-year to a new record of 25.2 million tons (almost 1 billion bushels in corn equivalent). By category, Mexico ranked as the largest buyer of U.S. corn, barley and dried distiller’s grains with solubles (DDGS), with sales in each category increasing from the prior year.

Japan was the second largest overall GIAF market overseas in 2017/2018 with shipments roughly unchanged from last year at 16.9 million tons (665 million bushels). Japan ranked as the second largest buyer of U.S. corn and U.S. sorghum, the third largest buyer of U.S. barley and the ninth largest market for U.S. DDGS.

South Korea rounded out the top three overall importers, increasing purchases of U.S. feed grains and co-products by 11.8 percent to 9.33 million tons (367 million bushels) - a new record. Notably, South Korea ranked as second largest buyer of U.S. DDGS, the third largest buyer of U.S. corn and sixth largest buyer of U.S. ethanol in addition to significant sales of U.S. sorghum.

The Council utilizes the feed grains in all forms calculation to help capture how important overseas markets are for U.S. feed grain producers by including both exports of corn, barley and sorghum and products made with them as inputs including the corn equivalent of co-products like ethanol, DDGS and corn gluten feed/meal as well as beef, pork and poultry meat exports.

By category, U.S. corn exports increased six percent to 61.8 million tons (2.43 billion bushels). Corn exports to Mexico reached a record high of 15.7 million tons (618 million bushels), up nearly 13 percent over last marketing year.

This year’s sales continue strong export growth seen over the last five marketing years despite uncertainty surrounding the negotiation of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), thanks in large part to the market access provided by the existing North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the resulting well-developed North American supply chains and robust market development work by the Council and its members.

U.S. ethanol exports surged 19 percent to a record 1.62 billion gallons (equivalent to 547 million bushels of corn), thanks to greatly expanded worldwide market development work by the Council and ethanol industry partners including Growth Energy, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and generous support from state corn organizations. Recent successes are also aided by a competitively-priced product compared to those of other ethanol exporting countries as well as fossil fuel alternatives like MTBE (methyl tertiary butyl ether) and aromatics (benzene, toluene and xylene).

Notably, this year’s export total surpasses the previous record of 1.37 billion gallons (equivalent to 490 million bushels of grain) exported in the 2016/2017 marketing year. The Council started promoting ethanol in the 2013/2014 marketing year and has quickly expanded the intensity and geographic scope of its market development efforts.

“U.S. ethanol exports are up 60 percent over the last two marketing years, with back-to-back years of record exports as the Council has ramped up its worldwide demand-building and market access activities,” Dwyer said. “We are the world’s low-cost ethanol producer, which has helped the United States capture more than 65 percent of global ethanol exports in the 2017/2018 marketing year.”

U.S. DDGS exports also grew year-over-year, albeit at a slower pace of 5.7 percent, with increased purchasing by four of the five top buyers for the year. Each of the top four buyers - Mexico, South Korea, Turkey and Vietnam - purchased more than a million tons of U.S. DDGS in the 2017/2018 marketing year, indicating continued strong global interest in the feed ingredient despite a steady decline in Chinese purchasing since 2013/2014.

Despite continued trade policy challenges, China remained the top buyer of U.S. sorghum with 4.2 million tons (165 million bushels) in sales in 2017/2018, largely sold before tariffs were enacted that continue to inhibit purchasing. Overall, sorghum exports were down nearly 14 percent year-over-year at 5.16 million tons (203 million bushels), but several smaller markets did increase purchases, including Japan, Sudan, the European Union (led by Spain), Somalia and South Korea.

U.S. barley exports remained roughly unchanged over the last three marketing years with nearly 550,000 tons (25.3 million bushels) sold in 2017/2018. Mexico continued to dominate purchasing at 394,000 tons (18.1 million bushels), further evidence of the importance of this top market.

The 2017/2018 marketing year remained a pleasant surprise across most categories - considering the year was characterized by trade policy concerns and market uncertainty. The results demonstrate the work by the Council and partner organizations to develop markets, enable trade and improve lives through capitalizing on short-term opportunities and building long-lasting and loyal trading relationships.'

Wednesday October 10 Ag News

Darin Uhlir, President, Nebraska Pork Producers Association

October may be the  month  of candy, costumes, and trick-or-treating, but it is also the  month  of  pork. October became known as Pork Month because it marked the time of year when hogs were traditionally marketed. Today, it serves as a celebration to thank pork producers and share their stories with consumers.

If you eat, you have a connection to a farmer every day.  October Pork Month is an opportunity to refresh the connection consumers have with farmers. Our mission is to produce safe, nutritious food in a responsible manner for families across the United States and around the world.

The Nebraska pork industry represents a significant value-added activity in the agricultural economy and a major contributor to the overall Nebraska economy. The percentage of growth in the total hog numbers in Nebraska, is exceeding the national average. Over 14,000 Nebraska jobs are involved in various aspects of the industry. Based on available numbers, an estimated $772 million of personal income and $1.14 billion of gross state product above and beyond the farm level are supported by the hog industry.

Nebraska’s pork producers understand the important role their businesses play in the lives of employees, customers and the communities in which we live and work. Being a good neighbor and a good businessperson requires us to do what is right—maintain standards, nurture sustainability, help others and, of course, acknowledge community concerns and address them in an honest and sincere manner. 

Nebraska’s well-managed operations, plentiful feed resources, good water supply and central location for product distribution, promises a bright outlook for current and future pig farmers.

Harvest Considerations to Reduce Weed Seed Movement
Amy Timmerman –  NE Extension Educator

Harvest is upon us  and now is a good time to consider options to reduce movement of weed seed between fields with harvest equipment.  While we may not think of it during harvest time, combines are extremely effective at transporting seed from field to field.  A few precautions leading up to harvest and during harvest can help manage any escaped problem weeds.

Prior to harvest, scout fields for escaped weeds since weeds are easier to see after crops have matured.  This is important to identify problem fields or areas for next year.  Your notes about weed problems are critical to choosing effective management tactics for next year, so make this a priority prior to harvest.  In some situations scattered weeds could be removed from the fields prior to harvest.  It is much easier to manage weed issues before they drop mature seed or before that mature seed goes through a combine.

Waterhemp is an example of a potentially herbicide-resistant species that may need to be contained, especially when it is out of control in only a few fields on the farm. Palmer amaranth and burcucumber are examples of two species that may be either new or in few enough fields that it is valuable to prevent them from spreading further.  These species are especially difficult to manage and preplanning harvest can help reduce problems in future years.

If weeds cannot be rogued prior to harvest, decide whether planned harvest order needs to change to avoid spread of certain species to other, uninfested fields.   Another precaution when harvesting fields, especially given all the drowned out spots from this spring’s rains, would be to harvest around those areas in the field.  These steps are especially important if fields are suspected to have herbicide resistant weeds that are not present elsewhere on the farm or if the fields have a new or unusual species that should be kept from spreading to other fields. 

Finally, steps should be taken to minimize movement of weed seed between fields on harvest equipment.  In the future, new technology like the Harrington Seed Destructor (HSD) will make weed management at harvest simpler, but until then, relying on good clean-out practices is necessary in some situations.  Combines can retain more than 150 pounds of biomaterial including crop seed, plant material, and weed seed after it has been run empty.  A few short steps to perform a self-cleaning of the combine and about 20-30 minutes of time before moving on to another field can help further reduce movement of new weed problems to another field. 


The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will survey producers in 42 states, including Nebraska, for its County Agricultural Production Survey (CAPS).

“County-level yields have a direct impact on farmers around the State. USDA’s Farm Service Agency uses the data in administering producer programs such as the Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) included in the 2014 Farm Bill, and in determining disaster assistance program calculations,” said Dean Groskurth, director of the NASS Northern Plains Field Office. “NASS cannot publish a county yield unless it receives enough reports from producers in that county to make a statistically defensible estimate. So, it is very important that producers respond to this survey. In 2017, NASS was unable to publish several large producing counties due to an insufficient number of responses.”

“As required by Federal law, all responses are completely confidential,” Groskurth continued. “We safeguard the privacy of all respondents, ensuring that no individual operation or producer can be identified. Individual responses are also exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.”

Many producers respond by mail or on-line via NASS’s secure reporting website. NASS will also contact producers by phone or in person, particularly in low-response counties, to ensure producers their opportunity to represent Nebraska agriculture. County-level data for corn, sorghum, soybeans, and sunflowers will be available in February 2019, and hay and dry edible beans in April 2019.

Nebraska Census of Agriculture response rates and data release details

United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) concluded data collection for the 2017 Census of Agriculture in July. The Census was mailed to more than 59,000 known and potential farms and ranches across Nebraska. Nebraska finished with a 66.2 percent response rate.

“We thank each and every producer who took the time to respond to the Census,” said NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer. “The Census of Agriculture is an important part of U.S. history that remains as relevant today as it was in 1840 when it was first conducted. The Census gives voice and opportunity to all farmers and ranchers in America to tell the changing story of agriculture over the years and identify emerging trends and needs.” Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue also offered his thanks to producers for taking part in the Census, via a video message that can be viewed at

Nebraska’s 66.2 percent response rate for this Census is below the 72.9 percent response in 2012. “We modernized elements of our data collection for this Census to make it easier for those filling out questionnaires,” said Hamer. “However, it is unrealistic to think that everyone will respond to any survey, regardless of improvements and benefits. To account for certain levels of non-response, we use accepted statistical methods and practices in our data analyses.”

Data from the 2017 Census of Agriculture is scheduled to be released starting on February 21, 2019 and continue on a staggered schedule through the spring of 2019. The results of the Census will be available in aggregate form, ensuring that no individual operation or producer can be identified, as required by Federal law. All Census data products will be available on NASS’ recently merged NASS/Ag Census website at

The Census of Agriculture provides the only source of comprehensive agricultural data for every State and county in the nation. As such, the data are widely-used by local and national decision makers to help shape agricultural research and education programs, inform farm programs, boost rural infrastructure, determine disaster relief needs, and more.

Agronomy in the Field Meetings Will Continue across Iowa This Fall and Winter

Women landowners, farmers and ag retailers will have the opportunity to meet again this fall and winter to learn more about agronomy and related agricultural topics through distance-learning sessions of Agronomy in the Field.

Agronomy in the Field for women is in its fourth year and has been offered at several locations across the state. The goals of Agronomy in the Field are to strengthen agronomic skills for women that allow for better decision-making, provide a better understanding of inputs for crop production, see and understand different conservation practices and increase confidence in communication with their spouse, farming partner, ag retailer or tenant. 

Programs are hosted by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach field agronomists Angie Rieck-Hinz, Meaghan Anderson and Rebecca Vittetoe.

Distance-learning classroom sessions of Agronomy in the Field will be offered monthly from October through March. Sessions will start at 6 p.m. and will typically last until 7:30 p.m. These sessions will be provided through a web-conferencing program, so women can join online from the comfort of their own home or office. 

“It can be hard to travel in the fall and winter months with the harvest season and weather challenges, so hopefully utilizing web-conferencing technology will allow women across the state to still be a part of the program, even if they are unable to physically be in the same location,” said Rieck-Hinz. 

All sessions will be recorded so women can access them at a time convenient for them if they can’t join the live sessions.

The sessions that will be offered this fall and winter are as follows:
-    Oct. 30; Seed and trait selection.
-    Nov. 20; Progress on the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy and Edge-of-Field Practices.
-    Jan. 29; Recognizing and Managing Farm Family Stress.
-    Feb. 12; Energy and Perennial Crops in Iowa.
-    March 26; The Nitrogen Cycle, Nitrogen Sources, Application Methods and Timing.

Any interested women landowners, farmers and service providers who would like to participate in upcoming sessions should contact Rieck-Hinz, at 515-231-2830 or; Anderson, at 319-331-0058 or; or Vittetoe, at 319-653-4811 or, so access can be provided for web-conferencing and resource materials.

Free ISU Extension and Outreach Webinar to Discuss Farm Marketing

The Iowa State University Extension and Outreach local foods program will host a webinar Oct. 25 discussing farm marketing and building your enterprise’s brand.

Lucie Amundsen, writer, marketer and co-owner of Locally Laid Egg Company, will present in the webinar. Locally Laid Egg Company is a farm that provides pasture-raised eggs and is located in northern Minnesota.

During the webinar Amundsen will discuss:
-    How to fortify a brand.
-    Creating likable content.
-    How to get your farm or other business a little ink in the press.

The free webinar will run from 3-4:30 p.m. on Oct. 25. Register online for the webinar...

The webinar is part of the local foods program’s regular series of peer-to-peer presentations and is sponsored by the Iowa Regional Food Systems Working Group. An archive of prior webinars is available online.

NCBA Calls for Flexibility on Hours of Service Rules

At a public listening session hosted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) today called for additional flexibility on Hours of Service rules for livestock haulers. NCBA President Kevin Kester and Executive Director of Government Affairs Allison Rivera delivered the group’s message at the U.S. Department of Transportation’s headquarters in Washington.

The comments emphasized the need for a regulatory framework that encourages drivers to rest when they are tired. Under the status quo, drivers are incentivized to “push through” fatigue due to overly-restrictive Hours of Service rules.

“The current Hours of Service framework is incompatible with the realities of livestock hauling,” said Kester. “Drivers of our livestock need to be alert and safe, while also cognizant of the welfare of the animals they are hauling. We want them to rest as needed, instead of racing against the clock.”

Current rules require a livestock hauler to rest for 10 consecutive hours once they reach their maximum on-duty drive time of 11 hours. When a driver “runs out of time” while hauling live animals, they are given the grim prospects of unloading the livestock or leaving them on the trailer for a 10-hour stretch. Both options present serious logistical and animal welfare challenges.

NCBA comments encouraged FMCSA to provide livestock haulers with the flexibility of a split sleeper berth program that would allow for shorter rest periods of two or three hours during a trip, until the 10 hours of total rest has been reached. While stopping for a 10-hour period with a load of livestock is rarely feasible, allowing multiple rest periods of two or three hours would enable livestock haulers to get the rest they need while maintaining the health and well-being of animals in their care.

“In the livestock hauling world, common sense flexibility is everything,” said Rivera. “This need for flexibility comes from the fact that livestock haulers not only have to be concerned with the safety of themselves and other drivers on the road, but also the welfare of the live animals they are transporting.”

Soybean Barge Tonnages Lower Than Last Year

Year-to-date soybean shipments on the locking portions of the Mississippi, Ohio and Arkansas rivers were 9.2 million tons, 13 percent lower than last year.

According to USDA figures, corn barge tonnages were 18.4 million tons at this time last year.

During September, the three-year average (2015-17) of grain and oilseed movements by barge are 49 percent corn, 40 percent soybeans, and 11 percent other grains.

The share of barged grain is 65 percent corn, 32 percent soybeans, and 3 percent other grains.

With China's 25 percent tariff on U.S. soybeans, industry sources say more corn and less other grains is being sold at harvest to make room for more soybean storage.

This reversal of typical harvest shipping and storing practices may continue in upcoming weeks with changes to the normal ratio of corn and soybeans moved by barge.

October 9 Crop Progress & Condition Report


For the week ending October 7, 2018, there were 3.2 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 1 percent very short, 8 short, 76 adequate, and 15 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 2 percent very short, 11 short, 78 adequate, and 9 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn condition rated 2 percent very poor, 5 poor, 14 fair, 48 good, and 31 excellent. Corn mature was 92 percent, ahead of 81 last year and 82 for the five-year average. Harvested was 23 percent, ahead of 13 last year and 17 average.

Soybean condition rated 2 percent very poor, 4 poor, 12 fair, 55 good, and 27 excellent. Soybeans dropping leaves was 96 percent, equal to last year, and near 93 average. Harvested was 36 percent, ahead of 22 last year, and near 33 average.

Winter wheat planted was 87 percent, ahead of 76 last year, and near 85 average. Emerged was 60 percent, ahead of 55 last year, and equal to average.

Sorghum condition rated 1 percent very poor, 2 poor, 16 fair, 48 good, and 33 excellent. Sorghum mature was 91 percent, ahead of 78 last year and 79 average. Harvested was 23 percent, near 19 last year, and ahead of 16 average.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 2 percent very poor, 5 poor, 21 fair, 62 good, and 10 excellent.


Continued wet weather conditions allowed Iowa farmers just 1.6 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending October 7, 2018, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Activities for the week included harvesting corn and soybeans when weather permitted.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 0 percent very short, 0 percent short, 41 percent adequate and 59 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 1 percent very short, 2 percent short, 50 percent adequate and 47 percent surplus. Recent rains have boosted topsoil moisture supplies in south central and southeast Iowa to 99 percent adequate to surplus.

Ninety-five percent of the corn crop was mature, 9 days ahead of average. Fifteen percent of the State’s corn for grain has been harvested, 10 days ahead of last year. Farmers in southeast Iowa continue to lead the way with 39 percent of their corn for grain harvested. Moisture content of field corn being harvested was at 20 percent. Corn condition rated 70 percent good to excellent.

Nearly all of the soybean crop was coloring with 94 percent dropping leaves, 8 days ahead of average. Eighteen percent of the soybean crop has been harvested, 5 days behind the average. Soybean condition rated 70 percent good to excellent.

The third cutting of alfalfa hay was nearly complete at 98 percent. Pasture condition improved slightly to 55 percent good to excellent. Muddy feedlot conditions have been a challenge for cattle producers.

In Spite of Rain, Corn Harvest Pushes to 34% Complete

In spite of rain, the U.S. corn harvest has pushed forward, USDA's National Ag Statistics Service said in its weekly Crop Progress report on Tuesday, which was delayed a day due to Columbus Day.

As of Sunday, Oct. 7, 34% of corn was harvested nationwide, 8 percentage points ahead of the average pace of 26%. That was further ahead of normal than the previous week when harvest was even with the of average.

The soybean harvest, on the other hand, is slowing down. As of Sunday, 32% of the crop was harvested, which is 4 percentage points below the five-year average of 36%. That compares to the previous week when harvest was slightly ahead of the average.

Meanwhile, both crops continued to reach maturity ahead of the normal pace. Ninety-three percent of corn was mature, 10 percent ahead of the average of 83%. Soybeans were 91% dropping leaves, 6 percentage points ahead of the average of 85%.

Winter wheat planting was 57% finished last week, ahead of 46% at the same time last year and also slightly ahead of the five-year average of 54%. Winter wheat emerged, at 30%, was ahead of last year's 23% and ahead of the average pace of 28%.

Thirty-nine percent of the sorghum crop was harvested as of Sunday, behind the average pace of 42%.  Seventy-nine percent of rice was harvested as of Sunday, behind last year's 84% but equal to the five-year average. Seventy-eight percent of cotton had bolls opening, ahead of the average of 74%. Twenty-five percent of cotton was harvested, slightly ahead of last year's 24% and also ahead of the average pace of 18%.

Tuesday October 9 Ag News

Administration Implements Smith Proposal to Expand Availability of E15 Year-Round

Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) praised President Trump’s decision to allow the year-round sale of E15 in accordance with legislation introduced by Smith. In a White House announcement today, the president directed the EPA to begin rulemaking to allow E15 to be sold during the summer months.

“The year-round availability of higher ethanol blends such as E15 is a simple, common sense measure which I have long championed for its benefits to producers, refiners, and consumers across America. In addition to introducing legislation requiring the EPA to allow the sale of E15 throughout the year, I have sent multiple letters and consulted administration officials on numerous occasions to this end. President Trump has long stated his support for renewable fuels, and I appreciate him following through on this commitment.”

Fischer Joins President Trump at the White House for Announcement Year-Round Sale of E-15

U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and the Senate Agriculture Committee, today joined President Donald Trump at the White House to announce that he has directed the EPA to initiate a rulemaking allowing for E-15 to be sold year-round. Fischer released the following statement after today’s announcement:

“The sale of E-15 year round is a big deal for Nebraska farmers, renewable fuel producers, and rural communities. This announcement combined with the USMCA, the South Korea trade agreement, and the start of trade talks with Japan are all signs that we are moving in the right direction. I thank President Trump for his efforts on behalf of our producers.”

Senator Fischer has long advocated for the sale of E-15 year-round. In 2017, she joined Senators Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) in introducing the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act. The bill would have extended the Reid vapor pressure (RVP) waiver to ethanol blends above 10 percent. This would increase market access opportunities for higher blends of ethanol and allow retailers across the country to sell E-15 and other higher ethanol-gasoline fuel blends year-round.

Nebraska ranks second in the nation in biofuel production. The states has 25 operating ethanol plants, which produce more than 2 billion gallons of renewable fuel annually and have created more than 1,300 good paying jobs in Nebraska’s rural communities.

Also, Nebraska ranks first in the nation for a number of cattle on feed, a direct result of the ethanol byproduct, distillers grains.

Renewable Fuels Nebraska on the White House Announcement on E15

Troy Bredenkamp, RFN Executive Director

“Nebraska’s ethanol industry is pleased that the President has engaged personally and taken a lead on this issue by directing the EPA to initiate rulemaking to allow for the year-around sales of E15.”

“E15 is higher octane, better for the environment, cost less than conventional fuel and is made with Nebraska-grown ethanol. Removing this EPA regulatory hurdle and allowing year-around E15 sales sends the correct market signals to retailers to invest in E15 infrastructure, while bolstering the economic condition of the ethanol industry and the American corn farmer at just the right time.”

From Ted Free, RFN President and General Manager at Bridgeport Ethanol
“Today’s announcement is a win, win, win. It’s a win for Nebraska’s ethanol producers, a win for Nebraska’s farmers and a win for the Nebraska consumers, for now they will have the choice to use E15 year-around and that is a great thing.”

“In addition to President Trump’s leadership, it is important to point out other ethanol champions like Governor Ricketts, along with Senator Fischer and Representative Smith in particular. Without their leadership and stalwart support of Nebraska’s ethanol industry on this issue, today’s announcement might not have taken place.”

Nebraska Ethanol Board hopeful for E15 rule change

Today, President Donald Trump voiced support again for E15 by directing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to begin the rulemaking process to allow the fuel to be sold nationwide year round. E15 is approved for use in 2001 and newer light-duty vehicles.

Due to an antiquated regulation from 1990, the federal government holds E15, a blend of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline, to tougher standards than other fuels during the summer. Between June 1 and Sept. 15, E15 is limited for use in flex fuel vehicles only due to federal Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) requirements.

“We are grateful to the President for taking this crucial step toward year-round E15 sales,” said Nebraska Ethanol Board Administrator Sarah Caswell. “We are hopeful this long overdue federal waiver will be finalized and effective before the summer driving season.”

According to Growth Energy, a national ethanol trade association, allowing year-round sales of E15 by granting the RVP waiver could boost domestic ethanol demand by 1.3 billion gallons within five years.

“We should see an increase in fuel retailers across the state and nation offering E15 when the red tape and regulatory barriers are removed,” said Randy Gard, Nebraska Ethanol Board petroleum representative and chief operations officer for Bosselman Enterprises. “The waiver takes the perceived risk out of the market for fuel retailers, which will stimulate ethanol markets. E15 gives consumers another renewable, low-cost option at the pump.”

The E15 change will not be immediate, as it requires a formal rule-making process with the EPA. The EPA is expected to publish a proposed rule in the coming weeks, followed by a public comment period.

“Allowing E15 and higher blends of ethanol year round provides a boost for industry stakeholders including farmers, ethanol producers, fuel retailers, consumers and local communities,” said Caswell. “We look forward to working with all our ethanol champions in government to make this a reality.”

Caswell noted that Nebraska state fleet vehicles have been running on E15 for more than two years, saving the state money while using a homegrown product. Nebraska continues that forward thinking by recently seeking and receiving EPA approval to evaluate the use of E30 in conventional vehicles owned by the state.

“The focus remains on bringing high-octane, low-carbon fuels to the market to meet vehicle standards,” said Caswell. “We’ll continue our work with automakers and policymakers on retail infrastructure, removing market barriers, reducing cost and ensuring availability.”

Statement by Steve Nelson, President, NE Farm Bureau, Regarding Year-Round Sale of E15 Ethanol

“We appreciate President Trump’s actions today to direct the Environmental Protection Agency to implement the year-round sale of E15 Ethanol. Nebraska is not only a major corn producing state, but a major ethanol producer. Nebraska Farm Bureau continues to support all opportunities that expand markets for our Nebraska grown grains, in both the domestic and international marketplace. Expanded sale of E15 ethanol will not only benefit Nebraska farmers, but our state’s economy, and consumers looking for greater access to cleaner burning, homegrown biofuels.”

NCGA Welcomes Year-Round E15

National Corn Growers Association President Lynn Chrisp today praised an announcement from President Trump, setting the necessary regulatory steps in motion to allow for year-round sales of E15.

“Corn farmers across the country have been advocating for year-round sales of higher ethanol blends like E15 to help grow demand, provide consumers with more options at the pump and improve economic conditions across rural America,” said Chrisp. “We thank President Trump for following through on his commitment to America’s farmers.”

Outdated regulations currently require retailers in many areas of the country to stop selling E15, a blend of gasoline and 15 percent ethanol approved for all vehicles 2001 and newer, during the summer months. Updating this regulation will give consumers year-round access to a fuel choice that can save them between three and 10 cents per gallon.

“Earlier this year, the President correctly described this barrier as ‘unnecessary’ and ‘ridiculous’,” said Chrisp. “The President also faced pressure to fix this regulatory problem through a bad deal that would have been harmful to farmers. He made the right decision to move this common-sense regulatory relief on its own, and farmers are very grateful.”

Updating this regulation, which was issued before the EPA approved E15 in 2011, will also further environmental policy goals because E15 and other higher blends produce lower evaporative and tailpipe emissions.

“With nine out of ten vehicles on the road today approved to use E15, consumers should have this lower-cost option year-round,” said Chrisp. “NCGA will be taking an active role in the regulatory process, urging EPA to move forward with making the President’s commitment a reality by next summer.”

Chrisp also thanked USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue and Iowa Senators Grassley and Ernst for their steadfast support of ethanol and corn farmers.

Secretary Perdue Statement on President Trump’s Ethanol Announcement

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today hailed President Trump’s directive to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to begin a rulemaking process to expand the sale of corn ethanol, to include E15 year-round.  Perdue issued the following statement:

“This is another case of ‘Promises Made, Promises Kept’ for President Trump.  Expanding the sale of E15 year-round is sound policy for a variety of reasons.  Consumers will have more choices when they fill up at the pump, including environmentally friendly fuel with decreased emissions.  It is also an excellent way to use our high corn productivity and improved yields.  Year-round sale of E15 will increase demand for corn, which is obviously good for growers. This has been a years-long fight and is another victory for our farm and rural economies.  Along with E15 expansion, we also welcome much-needed reforms to the RIN market, which will also increase transparency.

“President Trump has again made it abundantly clear that he is unleashing the full potential of American energy production as we retake our rightful place as the world’s leader.  I thank President Trump for his steadfast support of E15 expansion, while also acknowledging the close working relationship we’ve developed with Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler.  I look forward to working with the EPA to see rulemaking and year-round E15 completed by the driving season of 2019.”

ACE applauds President Trump's E15 year-round announcement

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings released the following statement in response to President Donald Trump’s decision to extend Reid vapor pressure (RVP) relief to E15 by instructing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to initiate a rulemaking process:

“We are sincerely grateful the President is making good on his promise to require EPA to issue a rule allowing E15 access to the market year-round. We also enormously appreciate the leadership of Iowa Senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley for their unwavering support of the farmers, retailers, and biofuel producers who have pushed for this common-sense change for many years. Once a final rule is in place and retailers can sell E15 year-round, it will help create additional demand for farmers who are suffering from oversupplies and low crop prices.

“E15 is a low-cost, high-octane fuel EPA-approved as safe to use in 90 percent of all vehicles on the road today, so the beneficiaries of this positive step go beyond farmers and retailers to consumers who would have the opportunity to save money every time they fill up at the pump.

“The President’s decision will not prevent Big Oil from stonewalling year-round E15, so we encourage Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler to expeditiously publish a legally-defensible approach for extending RVP relief to E15 in the Federal Register for public comment and to finalize the rule before the 2019 low-RVP season kicks-in.

“We also look forward to working with EPA as they continue to explore ways to make the Renewable Identification Number (RIN) market more transparent and effective.”

Growth Energy Welcomes President Trump’s Announcement on E15

Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor today applauded President Trump’s announcement of plans to lift restrictions on E15, a fuel blend with 15 percent ethanol approved for 9 out of 10 cars on the road. Currently, retailers throughout most of the country are prohibited from offering E15 to drivers during the summer months, costing consumers an opportunity to save up to 10 cents per gallon. In addition, fuel retailers must pay to retool and relabel their product offerings each year, creating confusion among drivers and holding back other retailers from embracing new options at the pump.

“We thank President Trump for delivering on his promise to rural America by lifting the summer restriction on E15 sales,” said Skor. “He answered the call from American farmers by removing the single most important barrier to growth in higher biofuel blends. This announcement is great news for farmers, biofuel workers, retailers and consumers everywhere who want to enjoy cleaner, more affordable options at the fuel pump. This is a critical step toward giving American motorists higher-octane options at a lower cost all year long.

“We sincerely appreciate President Trump’s steadfast commitment to rural America. Nationwide E15 sales promise to drive demand for two billion bushels of American corn and help restore growth in rural communities hit hardest by the downturn in farm income. America’s farmers and rural workers are eager to see the President’s agenda for rural growth succeed, and today was a critical part of completing that mission.

“Over the last few months alone, we’ve heard from countless farmers who rallied behind Growth Energy’s E15 Now campaign because they cannot afford to be locked out of this key market for another season. We’re deeply grateful to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue, our rural champions in Congress, and governors across the Midwest for working with the president and pressing the EPA to tear down outdated regulatory barriers against competition. It’s vital that EPA regulators work quickly to implement the president’s plan, and we look forward to lending our expertise to that process immediately.”

White House Announces E15 Waiver, RIN Transparency

President Donald Trump today announced the administration’s intentions to allow the use of E15 gasoline in summer months and bring greater transparency to the trading of biofuel credits, known as Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs). The announcement is an attempt to mitigate a bitter battle between U.S. biofuel and oil industries over the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), the nation’s premier biofuel policy.

National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson said family farmers are encouraged by the move that will allow for increased use of higher blends of ethanol, but that the compromise is a “net loss” in demand for farm products at a time when family farmers are going out of business because of low farm prices.

Johnson released the following statement in response to the President’s announcement:

“Allowing use of E15 gasoline year-round is an important step toward realizing a renewable energy future for transportation fuel sector, and we’re appreciative of the administration’s support for higher level blends of ethanol.

“At the same time, this ‘compromise’ does nothing to address the billions of gallons of ethanol demand that were lost as a result of the EPA’s RFS waiver handouts to oil refiners. Family farmers are in significant financial distress right now, and the administration’s surreptitious biofuel demand destruction has made matters worse. The bottom line here is that if the President wants to do right by his promises to support family farmers and American grown biofuels, his administration must support net increases in biofuel use. Even with an E15 waiver, family farmers are at a net loss in biofuel demand over the past two years.”

Seaboard Triumph Foods recognized with Growing Sioux City Award

A Growing Sioux City Award was presented to Seaboard Triumph Foods (“STF”) today at their sprawling 942,000 SF facility in Bridgeport Industrial Park. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds provided remarks and Mayor Bob Scott presented the award that recognizes the company’s growth and investment in Sioux City. The Growing Sioux City Award was accepted by Seaboard Triumph Foods COO Mark Porter. Company officials received Sioux City wind breakers and a new tree was planted on the property signifying the company’s commitment to growing Sioux City.

The event also celebrated the one-year anniversary of the start of production at STF’s new Sioux City facility. The initial $260 million construction of the plant was completed in September 2017, with a second phase coming on line earlier this year bringing the total capital investment in the STF campus to over $330 million. The joint venture between Seaboard Foods and Triumph Foods created the most advanced and second largest pork facility in the world.

Already operational with its first shift, and currently hiring staff for its second shift, STF currently employs more than 1,800, and will eventually employ an estimated 2,400 people (including management and management support).  With the first shift the facility now processes upwards of 10,500 hogs per day, (more than 3 million annually), and that number will double upon total deployment of the second shift’s personnel.

One of the largest projects in Sioux City history, STF has boosted the overall economy of the region with a significant increase in regional job growth and overall earnings and industry sales in other sectors, such as transportation and warehousing, manufacturing, and shipping, as well as healthcare and retail. Many area businesses, including suppliers, cold storage facilities and trucking firms have already begun expansion projects.

Holding Time for Feedstuffs May Reduce Swine Disease Risk

The ongoing outbreaks of African swine fever (ASF) in China, Belgium and elsewhere, have crystallized the U.S. pork industry’s focus and collaboration on finding new ways to help protect the domestic herd from costly foreign animal diseases (FADs). One new practice designed to reduce disease transmission risk involves knowing exactly how long certain feed ingredients have been securely stored before allowing their use on pig farms.

As modelling in peer-reviewed research1 has made clear, it’s possible for swine disease viruses to survive in shipments of certain feed ingredients during transoceanic shipping to U.S. ports and even to inland points of feed manufacture. Based on this current research, a holding time of 78 days after the date of manufacture and bagging or sealing to prevent additional contamination (“born on date”) for amino acids, minerals or vitamins will degrade 99.99% of viral contamination. The holding time extends to 286 days for soybean meal to allow for similar viral degradation, once shipped to prevent additional contamination.

“Working with your feed supplier to get this type of information is yet another way to help protect your pigs from potential infection from a foreign animal disease,” said Dave Pyburn, DVM, senior vice president of science and technology for the National Pork Board. “It’s just one more tool in our arsenal against African swine fever and other diseases that we hope will offer U.S. producers more protection against this growing global threat.”

The feedstuffs studied that have shown the potential to support virus survival include: conventional soybean meal, DDGS, lysine hydrochloride, choline chloride, vitamin D, pork sausage casings, dry and moist dog food, organic soybean meal, soy oil cake, moist cat food, and porcine-based ingredients. There may be other feedstuffs that were not tested that could support survival of pathogenic viruses. Scientific study and proof-of-concept work in this area continues. To date, without an organized surveillance program, pathogenic swine viruses are not being identified in imported feedstuffs.

“It’s clear from the research that certain feed ingredients can support viral survival during conditions modeled after either trans-Atlantic or trans-Pacific shipping to U.S. ports,” said Paul Sundberg, DVM, director of the Swine Health Information Center. “Based on these findings, we think it’s prudent that the entire U.S. pork industry look at this research and consider taking action to help us prevent a FAD from entering this country through this route.”

In a related area of disease prevention, the National Pork Board, the National Pork Producers Council, the American Association of Swine Veterinarians and the Swine Health Information Center recommend that producers talk to their feed suppliers to get information about seven key areas.
-    Describe the facility’s biosecurity program to minimize the spread of pathogens from people, vehicles and ingredients.
-    Describe the facility’s employee training on feed safety.
-    Describe the facility’s pest control program.
-    Describe the facility’s traceability program.
-    Describe the facility’s supplier approval program.
-    Is the facility certified by a third-party certification body for food safety? Third-party certification programs may include the Feed Additives Manufacturers (FAMI-QS), the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the Safe Quality Food (SQF), Safe Feed/Safe Food, etc.
-    Does the facility utilize ingredients that were manufactured or packaged outside of the United States?

To get a better handle on your particular farm’s risk of FAD transport via a feed ingredient, Sundberg advises producers to use the newly developed virus transport in feed ingredients decision tree matrix. “It was developed to help producers work with their feed suppliers to minimize risk from feed ingredients,” he said.

Aside from the specific feed-related ways reduce disease risk, Tom Burkgren, DVM, executive director for the AASV, advises producers to review their current on-farm biosecurity plan with their veterinarian. “While this is always a good thing to do periodically, it’s critically important now to find any potential weaknesses in your production practices so that you can take immediate steps to fix them to help protect your animals.”

The four swine groups continue to collectively reach out to USDA officials, including Chief Veterinary Officer Jack Shere, to see what can be done to enhance the protection of the domestic swine herd from ASF and all FADs.

“U.S. agriculture must bolster its defenses against the spread of animal disease as we face heightened risk,” said Liz Wagstrom, chief veterinarian for the National Pork Producers Council. “These measures should include private-sector efforts like those that have informed this feed directive as well as publicly funded programs to guard against disease outbreaks that would immediately close export markets and threaten prosperity in rural America.”

CWT Assists with 842,000 Pounds of Cheese and Whole Milk Powder Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) member cooperatives accepted nine offers of export assistance from CWT that helped them capture contracts to sell 709,889 pounds (322 metric tons) of Cheddar cheese and 132,277 pounds (60 metric tons) of whole milk powder. The product has been contracted for delivery in Asia and the Middle East for the period from October 2018 through January 2019.

CWT-assisted member cooperative 2018 export sales total 48.270 million pounds of American-type cheeses, 12.962 million pounds of butter (82% milkfat) and 52.188 million pounds of whole milk powder to 36 countries on five continents. These sales are the equivalent of 1.118 billion pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.

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

Antelliq’s Allflex partners with Nestlé farms to monitor dairy cows’ wellbeing

Allflex Livestock Intelligence, an Antelliq company, is pleased to announce another major collaboration with Nestlé, the world’s largest food and beverage company. As part of Nestlé’s commitment on animal welfare, it is piloting Allflex’s SenseHub solution to monitor the overall wellbeing of cows, on dairy farms in several geographic regions.

This collaboration aims to provide Nestlé with full visibility into the wellbeing of individual cows and the herd according to a set of key performance indicators (KPIs). The SenseHub solution will in turn deliver actionable information on the reproductive, health, nutritional and wellbeing status of individual cows and groups. The system has the potential to drive continuous improvement on animal welfare, more efficient farm management and more productive dairy farm operations.

The SenseHub monitoring solution is already in operation on several Nestlé vendors’ farms.

A long-standing partnership, committed to improved dairy farming
This project builds on Allflex’s long-standing relationship with Nestlé, founded in 2014 when Allflex, was chosen to lead the cow monitoring and welfare aspects of the Dairy Farming Institute (DFI) in China.

“We are very pleased to expand our cooperation with Nestlé, a company that shares our belief in the importance of cow wellbeing as an element in responsible production of milk-based food products,” commented Dr. Stefan Weiskopf, CEO, Antelliq. “SenseHub enables multiple aspects of cow wellbeing to be measured, and we are excited to be sharing these abilities with Nestlé, to help consumers be better informed and confident in the food they feed their families.”

Monday October 8 Ag News

Ricketts, Nebraska Ethanol Board Praise President Trump’s Approval of E15

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts, the Nebraska Ethanol Board, and commodity groups praised news that President Donald J. Trump had directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to approve the use of E15 year around.

“Thank you to President Trump for directing the EPA to commence the rulemaking process to approve the year-round sale of E15,” said Governor Pete Ricketts.  “Year-round sale of E15 is great news for Nebraska and our farm families as we continue to work to meet the challenge presented by low corn and soybean prices.  More consumption of E15 will increase demand for our commodities and expand the use of cleaner-burning fuel by American consumers.”  

This decision by the administration is in response to requests the State of Nebraska has been making, and delivers on a promise made by President Trump earlier this year.

“With this announcement, President Trump is showing his commitment to value-added agriculture, which strengthens local, state and national economies,” said Sarah Caswell, Administrator of the Nebraska Ethanol Board.  “Once E15 is approved for sale year-round, across the country, Nebraska ethanol stakeholders will have more opportunities to produce, buy and sell this proven, cheaper and cleaner fuel.”

“As a corn farmer and dedicated ethanol customer, I applaud the President’s support in increasing the availability of increased ethanol blends,” said Dan Wesely, President of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association and farmer from Morse Bluff.  “By allowing for year-round sales of E15, consumers will soon experience the benefits of fueling with a locally-produced product, such as cleaner air, higher octane ratings and more money in their wallets.”

“E15 is the most tested fuel ever,” said David Bruntz, Chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board and farmer from Friend.  “Today’s announcement by President Trump is a win for corn farmers, the rural economy, motorists and anybody that likes to breathe clean air.  I want to thank President Trump, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue, and our Nebraska congressional delegation who have been unwavering in their support to rural Nebraska and our corn and ethanol industries.”

Currently, E15 can be marketed September 16th through April 30th.  A final rule from the EPA would allow E15 to be sold all year long.


The Nebraska Sheep and Goat Producers Annual conference is scheduled for Oct. 27 at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Animal Science Building in Lincoln. The event is open to both members and nonmembers.

The conference will cover a variety of topics including stress research, genetics, live animal evaluation, carcass evaluation and cool season grazing. Registrants will also tour the Nebraska Veterinary Diagnostic Center. An industry tour on Oct. 28th in the Lincoln area will follow the conference.

The Nebraska Sheep & Goat Producers Association represents and supports the interest of sheep and goat producers for the entire state of Nebraska.

Registration to attend the conference is $25 for members and $35 for non-members. Additional family members may attend for $10. A special $10 registration fee is available for 4-H or FFA members. Attendees are encouraged to pre-register. After Oct. 19, registration will increase $10. To register, contact Nebraska Extension Educator Randy Saner at 308-532-2683, or

For more information, visit or


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               I often discourage cutting alfalfa while it is winterizing to avoid potential winter injury.  Now, though, things are different.

               By mid-October the growing season is pretty much complete.  Many folks received some late season rain and some areas have had light frosts that left alfalfa plants mostly unaffected.  So, you might have a substantial, high quality alfalfa crop remaining in your field.

               Alfalfa that has had at least six weeks of regrowth in mid-October since the previous cutting will have developed adequate winter-hardiness for all but the most severe winters.  It also has begun to go dormant naturally because of shorter days and cooler temperatures so harvest is not likely to jeopardize stand persistence.  Not only that, October hay often has exceptionally high quality.  With high prices paid for dairy and horse quality hay, another cutting is very tempting.

               Hay harvest can be difficult, though, because alfalfa dries and cures very slowly in October.  If you do cut hay, be extra alert to weather reports, use a conditioner to speed dry-down, spread windrows wide for extra exposure to sunlight, and consider using a preservative to protect hay that's baled at higher than normal moisture levels.

               When possible, it’s better to harvest alfalfa as haylage in October.  Less drying is needed, and since drying is slower, haylage can be made at a more uniform moisture content than in summer.  October alfalfa also tends to preserve well as haylage.

               Grazing is another option now, but be very cautious about bloat.  Also avoid grazing on wet soils, or stand damage could occur.

               Good alfalfa in mid-October doesn't have to be sacrificed to maintain winter survival.  Just be sure you had adequate time to develop winter-hardiness, and then select a good harvest method.

31 percent of rural households lack access to broadband internet, according to white paper

Of the more than 25 million households that lack access to broadband internet, 19 million of them are in rural areas according to a white paper from the Center for Rural Affairs. Released today, “Map to Prosperity” analyzes current accessibility and barriers to expanding broadband access in rural America.

Broadband is defined by the Federal Communications Commission as internet connections capable of 25 Megabits per second (Mbps) for download and 3 Mbps for upload speeds.

“We are now experiencing a digital revolution, however millions of rural Americans are being left behind,” said Johnathan Hladik, policy director at the Center for Rural Affairs and author of the report. “A closer look at adoption and accessibility in rural communities shows that the problem isn’t always money – it often comes back to policy.”

According to the analysis, access to broadband for rural households depends heavily on geography. Nationwide, 31 percent of rural households and 35 percent of Americans on Tribal lands lack access. In Wyoming, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Nevada, Montana, Missouri, Mississippi, California, Arizona, and Alaska, more than 60 percent of rural areas lack access to broadband.

In Nebraska, internet speeds that qualify as broadband are available to 5 percent or fewer residents in 18 of the state’s 93 counties. Of these 18 counties, 10 do not have a single household with broadband access.

The inability of states to map existing service areas is highlighted in the white paper.

“A majority of state governments are now relying on erroneous data that grossly overestimates the number of households with broadband access,” Hladik said. “Improved mapping is an easy, cost-effective solution states can adopt to increase broadband access in rural areas.”

Currently, if a carrier reports providing a service to any one household within a Census block, the entire block is counted as “served.” For example, if one household out of eight in a one square mile section has broadband access, all eight are considered served. This is true even if the other seven have no ability to gain access.

On-farm access and usage, technological literacy, and small business entrepreneurship are also discussed in the publication. Additionally, examples of policy solutions are provided in the analysis.

To view the white paper, visit

August Beef Exports Soar to New Heights; Pork Export Value Still under Pressure

U.S. beef exports set new records in August with export value topping $750 million for the first time, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). August pork exports were fairly steady with last year’s volume, but retaliatory duties in key markets continued to pressure pork export value.

August beef exports totaled 119,850 metric tons (mt), up 7 percent from a year ago, valued at $751.7 million – up 11 percent year-over-year and easily exceeding the previous record of $722.1 million reached in May 2018. For January through August, beef exports totaled 899,300 mt, up 9 percent from a year ago, while value climbed 18 percent to $5.51 billion.

For the third consecutive month, beef muscle cut exports set a new volume record in August at 95,181 mt (up 9 percent from a year ago), valued at $679.6 million (up 13 percent). Through August, muscle cut exports were 14 percent ahead of last year’s pace in volume (692,234 mt) and 21 percent higher in value ($4.93 billion).

August exports accounted for 13.2 percent of total beef production, up from 12.5 percent a year ago. For beef muscle cuts only, the percentage exported was 11.2 percent, up from 10.4 percent last year. For January through August, exports accounted for 13.5 percent of total beef production and 11.1 percent for muscle cuts – up from 12.8 percent and 10.1 percent, respectively, last year. Beef export value averaged $320.92 per head of fed slaughter in August, up 11 percent from a year ago. The January-August average was $318.66 per head, up 16 percent.

“U.S. beef exports continue to achieve tremendous growth, not only in our mainstay Asian markets but in the Western Hemisphere as well,” said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. “USMEF is excited about the recent market access developments achieved by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and USDA, with favorable terms being preserved in Mexico, Canada and South Korea and trade talks getting underway with Japan. A trade agreement with Japan would bring opportunities for even greater expansion as U.S. beef becomes more affordable for Japanese consumers and is back on a level playing field with Australian beef.”

August pork export volume was down 1 percent from last year at 182,372 mt, while export value fell 3 percent to $494.1 million. Pork muscle cuts fared better in August, increasing 5 percent to 148,736 mt, but value still declined 1 percent to $414.7 million. Pork variety meat exports declined sharply in August in both volume (33,636 mt, down 20 percent) and value ($79.4 million, down 15 percent).

For January through August, combined pork and pork variety meat exports remained 1 percent ahead of last year’s record pace at 1.63 million mt, while value increased 3 percent to $4.32 billion. For pork muscle cuts only, exports increased 6 percent from a year ago in volume (1.31 million mt) and 4 percent in value ($3.58 billion).

August exports accounted for 21.9 percent of total pork production, down from 23.1 percent a year ago, while the percentage of muscle cuts exported held steady at 19.2 percent. For January through August, exports equaled 26.3 percent of total pork production (down from 26.9 percent a year ago), while the percentage of muscle cuts exported was 22.8 percent (up from 22.4 percent). Pork export value averaged $44.29 per head slaughtered in August, down 8 percent from a year ago, while the January-August per-head average dropped 1 percent to $53.28.

U.S. pork currently faces retaliatory duties in two markets: China and Mexico. China’s duty rate on pork muscle cuts and variety meat increased from 12 to 37 percent in April and from 37 to 62 percent in July. Mexico’s duty rate on pork muscle cuts increased from zero to 10 percent in June and jumped to 20 percent in July (pork variety meats continue to enter Mexico duty-free). Beginning in June, Mexico also imposed a 15 percent duty on sausages and a 20 percent duty on some prepared or preserved hams and shoulders.

“Pork exports have posted an impressive performance in 2018, but the retaliatory duties are a clearly a significant obstacle,” Halstrom explained. “The fact that U.S. trade officials were able to secure duty-free access for U.S. red meat in the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement is critically important, and we are hopeful that duty-free access for U.S. pork entering Mexico will be restored soon. Tariff relief in China may not come as quickly, but USMEF continues to work with industry partners to keep as much product as possible moving to China while also working aggressively to expand exports in other key markets, including Korea, Central and South America, the ASEAN region and Australia.”

U.S. beef also currently faces retaliatory duties in two markets: China and Canada. China’s duty rate increased from 12 to 37 percent in July, with the higher rate applying to all eligible products. Canada’s 10 percent duty, which also took effect in July, applies to cooked/prepared beef products. All other U.S. beef still enters Canada duty-free.

Beef exports to Korea already near last year’s value record

August beef exports to South Korea were up 42 percent from a year ago in volume (24,482 mt) and set another new value record at $176.4 million (up 60 percent). This pushed January-August exports to 161,379 mt, up 39 percent from a year ago, while export value reached $1.15 billion – up 54 percent and just short of the 2017 full-year record of $1.22 billion. These results included a 30 percent increase in chilled beef exports to 35,683 mt, valued at $343.7 million (up 41 percent). Through August, U.S. beef accounted for 58 percent of Korea’s chilled imports. Under the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) that took effect in 2012, Korea’s duty rate on imports of U.S. beef has declined from 40 to 21.3 percent and will be eliminated by 2026. These terms are preserved in the revised KORUS agreement signed Sept. 24.

Beef exports to leading market Japan climbed 8 percent from a year ago in August to 33,548 mt, including a post-BSE record for muscle cuts (28,863 mt). August export value was $209.3 million, up 5 percent from a year ago and the highest since 1996. For January through August, exports to Japan were up 7 percent from a year ago in volume at 224,785 mt, while value increased 11 percent to $1.42 billion. This included a slight increase in chilled beef to 100,952 mt, valued at $807.2 million (up 9 percent). U.S. beef accounted for nearly 50 percent of Japan’s chilled imports through August.

For January through August, other highlights for U.S. beef exports include:

-    Exports to Mexico were up 1 percent from a year ago in volume (158,496 mt) and were 8 percent higher in value ($693.9 million). Mexico is the leading destination for U.S. beef variety meat exports, which have trended lower in recent months to fall 8 percent below last year’s pace at 64,642 mt. Variety meat value to Mexico remained steady with last year at $148.7 million.
-    While beef shipments to China/Hong Kong slowed in the summer months, January-August exports remained 6 percent higher than a year ago in volume (79,584 mt) and 30 percent higher in value ($638.8 million). Exports to China, which reopened to U.S. beef in June of last year, were 4,580 mt valued at $39.8 million.
-    Beef exports to Taiwan soared 36 percent above last year’s pace in volume (38,923 mt) and 40 percent higher in value ($359.9 million). Chilled exports to Taiwan were up 32 percent in volume (15,676 mt) and 41 percent in value ($197.1 million), as the United States captured 74 percent of Taiwan’s chilled beef market – the highest share of any Asian destination.
-    Strong growth in the Philippines pushed beef exports to the ASEAN region 11 percent ahead of last year’s pace in volume (29,261 mt) and 23 percent higher in value ($160.7 million).
-    Led by sharply higher exports to Costa Rica, Guatemala, Panama and El Salvador, export volume to Central America increased 26 percent from a year ago to 9,519 mt, while value climbed 22 percent to $51.6 million.

Japan, Korea and Latin America bolster August pork exports

August pork exports to leading value market Japan increased 10 percent from a year ago to 34,935 mt, valued at $146.8 million (up 5 percent and the highest of 2018). For January through August, exports were up 2 percent from a year ago in both volume (265,250 mt) and value ($1.1 billion).

Pork exports to Korea continued to surge in August, increasing 39 percent in volume to 11,303 mt and 40 percent in value to $31.3 million. This pushed January-August exports to 159,536 mt (up 43 percent) valued at $455.6 million (up 49 percent). Exports of pork variety meat, including bungs and feet, have contributed significantly to this growth. Through August, pork variety meat exports to Korea increased 84 percent from a year ago in volume (10,358 mt) and more than doubled in value to $32.4 million (up 111 percent). Most U.S. pork products enter Korea duty-free, and this will continue under the revised KORUS agreement.

August pork exports to leading volume market Mexico fell 4 percent from a year ago to 62,319 mt, while value dropped 21 percent to $103 million. Through August, exports to Mexico remained 2 percent ahead of last year’s record pace at 532,034 mt, but value declined 6 percent to $921.1 million.

August exports to the China/Hong Kong region fell 43 percent from a year ago to 19,732 mt, with value dropping 32 percent to $52.9 million. For January through August, exports were down 24 percent in volume (257,939 mt) and fell 13 percent in value to $615.9 million.

January-August highlights for U.S. pork exports include:

-    Led by strong growth in Colombia and Peru, exports to South America increased 29 percent from a year ago in volume (82,153 mt) and 24 percent in value ($204.4 million). A slow start to the year kept exports to Chile below last year’s record volume pace, but shipments regained momentum in July and August.
-    Following a record performance in 2017, pork exports to Central America surged 20 percent higher in volume (52,528 mt) and increased 17 percent in value ($123.8 million). Pork exports to all seven Central American nations have achieved double-digit growth in 2018.
-    Exports to the Dominican Republic continue to gain momentum, increasing 30 percent in volume (29,480 mt) and 25 percent in value ($64.5 million).
-    Led by strong growth in the Philippines and Vietnam, exports to the ASEAN region increased 29 percent in volume (39,021 mt) and 28 percent in value ($100.1 million). The ASEAN is an especially important destination for pork variety meat, with these exports nearly doubling from a year ago in both volume (14,273 mt, up 99 percent) and value ($24.2 million, up 94 percent).
-    Exports to Australia were 9 percent ahead of last year’s record pace in both volume (51,070 mt) and value ($147.5 million). Australia is the third-largest destination for U.S. hams exported for further processing, trailing only Mexico and China/Hong Kong.

Lamb variety meat exports surge in August, but muscle cuts trend lower

August exports of U.S. lamb reached the largest monthly volume this year (1,353 mt, up 105 percent from a year ago), due primarily to large shipments of lamb variety meat to Mexico. August export value was just under $2 million, up 16 percent year-over-year. Lamb muscle cut exports took a step back in August, totaling just 142 mt – down 32 percent from a year ago and the lowest since January.

Through August, lamb exports were 60 percent ahead of last year’s pace in volume (8,033 mt) and 20 percent higher in value ($15.4 million). This growth was fueled mainly by stronger variety meat demand in Mexico, but muscle cut exports increased significantly to the Caribbean, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore and the Philippines.

Scientists, Biosecurity Research Institute study African swine fever to prevent outbreak in US

African swine fever virus threatens to devastate the swine industry and is positioned to spread throughout Asia. The virus has spread throughout the Caucuses region of Eastern Europe and was reported in China in August. It recently was detected in wild boar in Belgium.

Kansas State University researchers and the Biosecurity Research Institute have several projects focused on African swine fever. Their research topics vary, but they share the same goal of stopping the spread of African swine fever and preventing it from reaching the U.S.

If African swine fever enters the U.S., it could cause billions in economic losses to swine and other industries, animal disease experts say. It would devastate trade and international markets.

There is no vaccine or cure for the disease, which causes hemorrhagic fever and high mortality in pigs. It does not infect humans.

"African swine fever's introduction into China, poses an increased threat to the U.S.," said Stephen Higgs, director of the Biosecurity Research Institute. "Introduction of African swine fever virus into the U.S. would have an enormous impact on our agricultural industry. Research, education and training at the Biosecurity Research Institute help to improve our understanding and preparedness for this threat."

In 2013, the Biosecurity Research Institute became the first non-federal facility to be approved for work with African swine fever virus, Higgs said. The university projects at the Biosecurity Research Institute are part of research that can transition to the National Bio and Agro-defense Facility, or NBAF, once it is fully functional. African swine fever is one of the diseases slated to be researched at NBAF, which is under construction adjacent to Kansas State University's Manhattan campus.

The African swine fever projects at Kansas State University are funded in part by the $35 million State of Kansas National Bio and Agro-defense Facility Fund and also have received support from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the pork industry.

 Rain and Hail Sign Multi-Year Agreement with Bushel

Rain and Hail, a division of Chubb's agriculture business, the leading crop insurance franchise in the United States, signed a multi-year agreement with Bushel™, the grain industry's first software platform that allows grain elevators, cooperatives and ethanol plants to connect with their growers digitally, providing them with an efficient way to automate the sharing of scale tickets from participating elevators, grain buyers and ethanol facilities with their crop insurance agent.

The Multiple Peril Crop Insurance (MPCI) program, which is insurance coverage designed to help protect growers from a variety of potential losses, requires growers to report the quantity of crops they harvest to their crop insurance agent each year, which can be a time consuming process.

"Chubb is committed to the agriculture business and is continually looking for ways to simplify the crop insurance program for growers," said Scott Arnold, President of Rain and Hail. "The addition of Bushel™ to our platform provides growers and agents a quick and efficient way to report critical production information that can help save them time during their busy harvest seasons."

The automated sharing service will be available through a pilot program to growers in the North Central United States in 2018 and will be expanded to the entire country in 2019. For additional information about Chubb's new feature, please visit

Honey Bee Colonies Stabilizing Despite Elevated Loss Rates

In 2006, large and mysterious losses of honey bee colonies led entomologists to classify a set of diagnostic symptoms as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) and spurred major efforts to measure, quantify, and understand pollinator loss.

New data show that, between 2007 and 2013, winter colony loss rates in the United States averaged 30 percent, which is approximately double the loss rate of 15 percent previously thought to be normal.

Elevated winter colony losses, however, have not resulted in enduring declines in colony numbers. Instead, the number of U.S. honey bee colonies is either stable or growing depending on the dataset being considered.

At the state level, loss rates are uncorrelated with year-to-year changes in the number of colonies, suggesting that beekeepers are able to replace lost colonies within the course of a calendar year. In other terms, the data indicate that beekeepers are adding colonies at similar or higher rates than they are losing them to CCD or other causes.

USMCA Breaks New Ground with Better Geographical Indications Policy as Defending Common Food Names Becomes a U.S. Priority

Companies in North America that produce foods that bear generic names are praising the U.S. government for the seminal language included in the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) regarding geographical indications (GI) policy and the protection of common food names.

"USMCA marks a sea change in GI policy, recognizing the equal importance of the protection of distinctive products through GIs, and the defense of generic terms long used in the marketplace," said Jaime Castaneda, Executive Director of the Consortium for Common Food Names (CCFN). "The U.S. Administration demonstrated great leadership in pushing forward many key concepts for effective GI policy, which are of benefit to consumers and producers throughout North America, and which CCFN has long promoted and worked on with government leaders. These include commitments on transparency and the ability for stakeholders to object to pending GIs that may infringe on their rights to use generic terms."

The USMCA marks the first time the United States has specifically included reference to the rights of generic name users within a trade agreement - a goal CCFN has been working toward for many years. The deal establishes a non-exhaustive list of commonly used cheese names that may not be restricted by Mexico moving forward, including "mozzarella", "cheddar", "provolone" and others. In addition, Canada and Mexico will be adopting GI parameters that make it more difficult for any nation to register new GIs that are common food names, and common name users will be able to oppose GI applications that would monopolize use of generic terms.

"These explicit considerations safeguarding generic terms are essential," said CCFN Chairman Errico Auricchio, president of BelGioioso Cheese, "because the EU continues to move the lines on which names of cheeses, meats, wines and other products are fair game when it comes to abusing GI policies and monopolizing common names and terms."

While praising U.S. government leadership in safeguarding generic terms, CCFN remains disappointed in the Mexican government for succumbing to pressures by the EU to give up a number of highly used common names within the Mexico-EU free trade agreement, demonstrating that CCFN's work in the region is not yet done.

"The confiscation of these generic terms is disruptive to commerce and to pre-existing trade relationships, and in the end does not benefit Mexican retailers, producers or consumers," Castaneda said. "We continue to work with the U.S. government and others to ensure that current trade to Mexico is minimally affected."

 CHS Foundation awards cooperative education grants

The CHS Foundation, funded by charitable gifts from CHS Inc. (NASDAQ: CHSCP), announced today it has awarded more than $440,000 in cooperative education grants to projects that will help students learn about the cooperative business model and what makes cooperatives unique.

"October is co-op month to raise awareness about cooperatives; what better time to celebrate how the CHS Foundation has supported the development of cooperative education projects for more than 20 years?" says Nanci Lilja, president, CHS Foundation.

In 2018, more than 20 grants were awarded to 15 organizations supporting next-generation-focused projects. There was a new emphasis on projects that reach the next generation of cooperative leaders using fresh, innovative concepts and incorporate new technology. As a result, the CHS Foundation partnered with the National Association of Agriculture Educators on a new initiative My Local Cooperative. The initiative puts agriculture teachers in the driver's seat, helping teach students about cooperatives through a series of testimonials, videos and virtual fieldtrips.

"Cooperatives were founded on the principles of education and training," Lilja said. "We are proud to demonstrate our commitment to the cooperative system by supporting projects that engage youth."

Productive, proven methods are also an essential piece of the education puzzle. The CHS Foundation supported cooperative camps in conjunction with National Farmers Union and seven state farmers unions. Additional cooperative education projects were supported with long-term partners such as the Association of Cooperative Educators, Cooperative Development Foundation, Cooperative Network and the Ralph K. Morris Foundation.

"Most kids haven't grown up as close to cooperatives as their dads or grandads," says Lilja. "The cooperative system has a rich history and a unique story to tell. The CHS Foundation will continue to support projects that demonstrate that value."

For more information about how the CHS Foundation develops a new generation of ag leaders for life long success, visit

The CHS Foundation, funded by charitable gifts from CHS Inc., is focused on developing a new generation of agriculture leaders for life-long success. Together, with our partners, we are igniting innovation and driving excellence in agriculture education, cultivating high-impact programs for rural youth and accelerating potential for careers in agriculture. Learn more at

Corporate Leaders and National FFA Announce Transformational Initiative Addressing Emergent Agricultural Challenges

Top technology and agriculture companies have announced a partnership with the National FFA Organization to empower and educate nearly 670,000 FFA student members. Amazon Web Services, BASF, Blue River Technology (a John Deere company), Cargill, Corteva, Elanco, FMC, Merck Animal Health and Sealed Air are joining forces at the 91st National FFA Convention & Expo on Oct. 24-27 in Indianapolis. This comprehensive partnership focuses on introducing the most cutting-edge technology and innovative approaches available and necessary to confront and inspire solutions to the world’s current and future food, nutrition and production challenges.

More than 65,000 FFA student members and guests are anticipated to attend this year’s national FFA convention and expo, the nation’s largest student convention. Students will experience an unmatched corporate synergy at the unveiling of The Blue Room, a 17,000-square-foot interactive experience centered on evolving sustainability, innovative efficiency and providing sustainable nutrition to a growing and changing global population.

This partnership includes top sponsors Microsoft and AgriNovus Indiana, as well as some of agriculture’s most influential and innovative companies. The 3-day event is specifically focused on bringing transformational innovation to three primary challenges: respecting the planet, feeding the world and improving lives.

    Amazon Web Services is rapidly growing and innovation is driving this expansion. Recognizing the need to develop future industry innovations that will feed and nourish the growing population, they offer solutions that add value for agricultural companies globally.

    BASF is one of the world’s leading chemical companies providing innovative crop inputs, biological solutions and seed solutions and treatments.
    Blue River Technology, a John Deere company, focuses on machine learning, systems software, autonomous vehicles and precision agriculture, with an overarching goal to improve farm production and protect the environment.

    Cargill works relentlessly to achieve their purpose of nourishing the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way. They connect farmers with markets, customers with ingredients, and people and animals with the food they need to thrive.
    Corteva understands that the future of farming depends on innovation. They provide tools to help farmers meet the demands of our food system while conserving resources and sustaining the land.
    Elanco provides comprehensive products and knowledge services to improve animal health and food-animal production in more than 90 countries. They are committed to raising awareness about global food security and celebrating and supporting the human-animal bond.
    FMC is focused on opportunities for growers to cover more ground in less time—saving water, fuel, labor and time. They understand that farmers need to produce more food using less resources, especially in areas with water shortages.
    Merck Animal Health offers an innovative portfolio of products, services and technologies to prevent, treat and control disease across major livestock and companion animal species. They work to build strong partnerships in an effort to improve the health of animals around the world. 

    Sealed Air is a leading global manufacturer of materials and systems for protective, presentation and fresh-food packaging and performance solutions in the industrial food and consumer markets.

“The Blue Room allows our FFA members to experience 21st-century technology and innovation in agriculture that can be life-changing for our students,” says Mark Poeschl, chief executive officer of the National FFA Organization. “These partners will showcase cutting-edge ideas and concepts that will provide FFA members an opportunity to envision the impact they can have on the future of the agriculture industry.”

Lawsuit Claims Chipotle Has Deceived Customers Over GMO Claims

Chipotle announced last spring that it would no longer serve food made with genetically modified ingredients. But last week, a law firm filed a class-action lawsuit in federal court claiming that the Mexican-style, fast-casual chain’s marketing is misleading and deceptive because it still sells lots of foods made with GMOs.

According to the complaint, Chipotle’s meat, cheese, and sour cream is made from animals fed with GMO soy and corn, and the soft drinks it serves are made with corn syrup made from GMO corn. The lawsuit was filed in the Northern District of California on behalf of California consumers who have purchased food from Chipotle since April 27, the day the company announced that it was “G-M-Over it.” Kaplan, Fox, and Kilsheimer filed the lawsuit.

Fortune Magazine reports that the law firm issued a statement attributed to attorney Laurence D. King that read in part: “Chipotle’s advertising in its stores should have accurately informed customers about the source and quality of its ingredients and should not mislead consumers that they are serving food without GMOs when in fact they are.”

When reached for comment, King wrote in an email that beyond the complaint, “we have no comment at this time; rather we will let the complaint’s allegations speak for themselves.”

Friday October 5 Ag News

IANR Researchers Showcase Their Grit

The Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources (IANR) at the University of Nebraska--Lincoln continues to see success in securing external funds for research efforts despite an increasingly competitive funding environment. In the past five fiscal years, IANR has received 45 separate awards of more than $1 million to support new and continuing projects.

"Our faculty and staff continue to lead world-class research that integrates plant, animal, human and natural resource sciences to take systems approaches to address tremendous challenges," said Archie Clutter, dean of IANR's Agricultural Research Division.

Since fiscal year 2009, IANR has increased funds awarded for sponsored research by 35 percent, reaching $58 million in fiscal year 2018, which ended June 30.

According to Clutter, in many cases, Nebraskans directly benefit from the ongoing research projects at IANR. For instance, the state's producers will be interested in the results from a research project aiming to improve land use efficiency. A Husker research team, led by James MacDonald, associate professor of animal science and ruminant nutrition, is investigating how to improve land use efficiency through the integration of livestock and crop production systems. The project is funded by a $1 million grant from the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research.

Other teams at IANR are involved in projects ranging from plant immunity and nighttime heat stress on crops to climate literacy and the metabolism of older men and women.

"What's unique about IANR is that we're able to engage in critical research efforts across a wide range of disciplines," Clutter said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is supporting a project led by Surin Kim, a Nebraska Extension entrepreneurship specialist. The project, partnering high school students with rural business owners, creates an innovative educational intervention that engages youth in learning science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics -- or STEAM -- and entrepreneurial skills to help solve real local issues.

"Youth become problem solvers for local businesses, and local businesses become clients," Kim said.

Kim is one of over 250 faculty members listed on sponsored, federal or industry awards in fiscal year 2018, representing nearly half of all IANR faculty.

2019 Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation Retail Value Steer Challenge

The Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation (NCF) is seeking donations of steers for its Annual Retail Value Steer Challenge (RVSC) feeding competition. This is the primary fund raiser for the Foundation and by participating in the RVSC you join other Nebraska cattle producers to support NCF projects. Funds from this event support:
  • Youth and Adult Leadership Programs
  • NCF Education Programs – Scholarships
  • NCF Research Programs and Infrastructure Projects
  • History Preservation
  • Judging Teams at University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Northeast Community College, Norfolk and Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture, Curtis

Your involvement ensures these programs succeed. You also receive complete carcass data on your steer or steers and the chance to win prize money. And, you are helping the state’s leading industry sponsor programs that benefit our industry. Contributors should contact their tax professional as to the tax deductible status of this contribution. NCF is a 501(3)C entity.

NCF welcomes steer donations by individuals, businesses, groups of individuals or businesses and NC affiliates. Participants can donate their own steer or purchase a steer from the Foundation for $1,100. Steers need to be delivered to Darr Feedlot at Cozad prior to November 1.

Winners will be announced at the Nebraska Cattlemen Midyear Conference in June, 2019.

For more information or to enter a steer contact Lee Weide at 402.475.2333, or Jana Jensen, NC Foundation Fundraising Coordinator, at 308.588.6299,

Why One County Farm Bureau Refused to Endorse Steve King

Anna Balvance, Buffalo Center, IA

Iowa Farm Bureau granted Steve King their endorsement. Here’s why my county, the Winnebago Farm Bureau, did not.

Ethanol is under attack. The EPA gave out “hardship waivers” to “small” refineries. This undermined the RFS without doing so legislatively. Ethanol margins have reached disastrous levels with two plants in King’s district dialing back or temporarily shutting down. King has a curious track record when it comes to ethanol for a guy who has so many ethanol plants in his district. When the EPA was attacking ethanol, their champion was Ted Cruz. King hosted Ted Cruz in Iowa for a pheasant hunt, and endorsed him in the 2016 Iowa Caucus. There’s a wolf at the Iowa Farmer’s door…and King invited it in.

Trade Wars initiated by President Trump have hit district 4.  Farm incomes have declined four years in a row, and as I write soybean prices are $0.94 lower than they were this time last year. Local basis has been destroyed from lack of demand from traditional customers, like China.  Ethanol and Ethanol biproducts export numbers have dropped, worsening margins. President Trump campaigned on a trade war and King has supported him.

Iowa Senators have made headlines working to fix RFS waivers, mandate E15 year round, and fighting for the Iowa Farmer.  Steve King is often in the news, for the wrong reasons. Recently, retweeting a white supremacist for the second time.  Does this polarizing behavior benefit the IA04 farmer?

Has King campaigned for, endorsed, and supported candidates that are supporting farmers, free trade, and the ethanol industry?  No. And that’s why Winnebago County Farm Bureau did not endorse him as a friend of agriculture. J.D. Scholten will be a true “Friend of Agriculture” by advocating for free trade, protecting ethanol, and serving the office with the dignity it deserves.

Author Note:  Anna Balvance is a director on the Winnebago County Farm Bureau’s board, a farmer, and a grain buyer that lives in Buffalo Center, IA.

Iowa Concern Hotline Provides Resources for Iowa Farmers

This has been a stressful year for Iowa farmers. Stagnant crop prices, trade disputes and a lukewarm forecast for the next several years have left many farmers worried about what the future will bring.

“Farmers are concerned with how long low prices will last,” said Alejandro Plastina, assistant professor and extension economist with Iowa State University. “Is there something on the horizon with upward potential for farm income? Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case.”

Net farm income for medium-sized farms increased in 2017 compared to the last two years and cash income has increased back to 2013 levels, according to Plastina. However, profitability is relatively low as the average operating profit margin is 4.4 percent.

Uncertainty regarding trade agreements has also created problems within the farm economy.

“The new government programs available to compensate farmers for losses due to increased tariffs will help, but the bigger problem is uncertainty in the medium term,” Plastina said. “Is this phase going to last for 10 years and how will land values react?”

As farmers confront these conditions head-on, there are resources available through Iowa State University Extension and Outreach to navigate both questions they have about the profitability of their farm and about the well-being of themselves and their families.

The Iowa Concern Hotline is a 24-hour a day, 7-day a week free, confidential resource for anyone with concerns or questions about farm finances, crisis and disaster response and personal health issues. Access to an attorney is also available to help provide legal education.

When someone calls the Iowa Concern Hotline’s toll-free number (800-447-1985), trained specialists provide immediate support to either answer questions directly or get the caller in touch with experts who can provide additional information or support.

“If someone calls who is dealing with stress and its effects, the first thing we do is to work with the person on that issue and provide immediate stress counseling,” said Tammy Jacobs, Iowa Concern Hotline coordinator. “We try to provide access to the assistance each individual needs.”

Iowa Concern Hotline staffers work to provide contact information for ISU Extension and Outreach specialists who can help address specific questions or direct callers to other partners near where they live to help navigate through their current situation.

“Whether they need to speak to an ISU Extension and Outreach farm management specialist, an attorney, someone with Iowa Mediation Service or a mental health specialist, we try to connect callers with the resources that will be most helpful to them,” Jacobs said.


The National Pork Producers Council today submitted comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) addressing how it calculates and captures emissions from agricultural facilities under the Clean Air Act. The EPA’s current position is that “adjacent” facilities should focus solely on geographical proximity when making emission source determinations under the Clean Air Act permit programs.

In its comments, NPPC agreed with the current EPA definition of adjacent and said that “functional interrelatedness” should not be a factor in determining single sources of emissions under the act. NPPC said that defining “adjacent” facilities based on geographic proximity is the only way to consistently and clearly implement the rule. 

USDA Implements Market Facilitation Program

This week the USDA stated $55 million has been paid to farmers and ranchers affected by the foreign regulatory tariffs imposed on U.S. agricultural exports in Canada, China, the European Union, Mexico and Turkey. The Market Facilitation Program will provide direct payments to farmers of certain commodities, the Food Purchase and Distribution Program will purchase commodities affected by unjust regulation measures and distribute those through USDA nutrition programs, and a Trade Promotion Program will help develop foreign markets for U.S. agricultural products.

MFP will distribute about $4.7 billion in the first round of direct payments.  USDA plans to reassess the trade damages in December and decide whether to implement another wave of payments.

Perdue Favors Removal of Section 232 Tariffs on Canada, Mexico

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says he favors removing the Section 232 tariffs on Canadian and Mexican steel and aluminum which has led those countries to impose tariffs on U.S. farm products. Perdue acknowledged that the tariffs have “a dampening effect” on the benefits of the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Perdue said: “I would be an advocate for relaxing those,” in a speech to a joint meeting of the North American Meat Institute, the Canadian Meat Council and a Mexican meat industry group.

The section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs are separate from the USMCA that will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement. Perdue says the White House and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer discussed the tariffs during a recent meeting, but no conclusion was reached.

Purdue: GMO Labeling Law Still Expected This Year

The GMO Labeling law mandated by Congress will be established by the end of this year, according to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. Perdue says despite delays, USDA will finalize the law yet this year.

Congress passed a bill in 2016 that mandated the Department of Agriculture to create and implement the regulation by July 29, 2018. However, USDA missed that deadline, largely due to review delays in the rulemaking process, according to Perdue.

The Center for Food Safety filed a lawsuit against USDA in August for failing to meet the deadlines. At the time, the organization said: "Trump, Perdue, and their corporate lobbyists may want indefinite delay and keeping Americans in the dark, but the law doesn't permit it."

Court to Hear OTA Suit Against USDA Organic Livestock Rule Withdraw

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia last week agreed to hear a challenge by the Organic Trade Association against the Department of Agriculture. OTA is challenging the agencies decision and process to withdraw organic livestock standards.

USDA in March withdrew the final Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices regulation, which was to go into effect in May. The agency contends that the Organic Food and Production Act does not give the National Organic Program the authority to regulate animal welfare.

The Organic Trade Association is arguing that the claim is a radically different view from any administration since the adoption of the National Organic Program, and one that cannot be legally supported. The Organic Trade Association filed its original lawsuit against USDA in September of 2017 over the agency’s continued delay of the final organic welfare standard.

Baseball Teams Knock It Out of the Park with Biodiesel

Sports fans nationwide are celebrating sustainable practices this weekend as October 6th marks Green Sports Day. The annual event recognizes the efforts that athletes, supporters, and organizations make to reduce their environmental footprint. Baseball fans are already seeing a difference with cleaner air thanks to biodiesel.

Ballparks throughout the country are recycling used cooking oil into clean burning biodiesel. This advanced biofuel reduces carbon emissions by 80 percent, helping the crowds breathe easier.

“When I order food at a ballpark I can see all the grease in the concession stand,” said National Biodiesel Board Sustainability Director Don Scott. “It’s awesome to know that this nasty garbage is being made into a clean fuel.”

The Kansas City Royals, Milwaukee Brewers, and the San Diego Padres are only a handful of the stadiums participating in this green endeavor. During the Royal’s recent championship season, the stadium totaled more than 61 tons of food waste, recycling more than 4,500 gallons of oil. The Brewers home stadium, Miller Park, recycled 6,347 gallons of cooking oil last year alone.

Embracing sustainable practices, these stadiums are focusing on the fans by creating a clean fuel that helps their vehicles as well as their health. Choosing biodiesel really is a home run for baseball teams.

Thursday October 4 Ag News

Cattlemen’s Ball raises nearly $1.75 million
Amount raised is second highest in 21-year history

The results are in, and the 2018 Cattlemen’s Ball of Nebraska brought in nearly $1.75 million – the second most money ever raised in the 21-year history of the event and the sixth time the event has topped the $1 million mark. Since its inception, the event has raised more than $15.57 million.

The event was hosted by Randy and Becky Hergott of Hebron, Neb., with Rob and Natalie Marsh serving as co-hosts.

Of the $1.75 million, more than $1.55 million went to the Fred & Pamela Buffett Center for cancer research with the remaining 10 percent ($174,000) staying in the home county for a variety of programs. The Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center is located at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and its clinical partner, Nebraska Medicine.

A total of 56 groups in this area received proceeds, including four hospitals, 31 fire departments, three sheriff departments, nine Future Farmers of America (FFA) programs, seven community organizations and other health and wellness groups.

At the check presentation last month to Ken Cowan, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center, Rob Marsh praised the support of the state.

“The greatest asset to Nebraska are its people,” he said, “and I think the greatest asset to the Cattlemen's Ball are the great people in Nebraska.

He said the ball met its three goals – to promote beef and a healthy diet; to showcase rural Nebraska; and to raise money for cancer research.

“When we started this, we took two buses filled with over 110 people to tour the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center in Omaha,” Marsh said. “With this trip, it generated excitement that you could just feel.”

In accepting the check, Dr. Cowan said, “We are truly here for the people of Nebraska. Every ball is a lot of fun and unique. This ball was truly unique from the history of the area, to the pride of everyone that was a volunteer, to the attendees. We would love for Hebron to host the ball again.

“I will say this over and over again. Every single dollar that was given goes to research. Thank you to your community.”

The most money ever raised by a Cattlemen’s Ball was in 2013 when the Paxton/Sutherland communities hosted the event and raised more than $2.12 million.

The 2019 Cattlemen’s Ball will be held June 7-8 in rural Wauneta, a small village of 577 people located in southwest Nebraska. It is about 40 miles west of McCook and 60 miles south of Ogallala.

The ball will be hosted on the ranch of Wayne and Chris Krausnick near Enders Dam on the Frenchman River. The Krausnicks and Derek and Allison Sandman will serve as co-hosts of the event.

Cattlemen’s Ball by the numbers:

50 committees to plan and organize
200-250 people each committee
40+ communities representing the committees
1,100 volunteers from approximately 100 zip codes
1,512 tables
4,500 chairs
3 semi loads of wood chips
More than $13,000 sold in table decorations (goal was $5,000)
$13,000 made on golf tourney ($1,900 just in mulligans)
$27,430 made on the same five bottles of wine
$77,700 made on 26 guns
$80,000 made on beverages
$663,000 on four auctions with 285 items for the silent auction
$260,000 Calf for a Cure
$1,747,961 total amount made on the ball (steering committee’s goal was $1.5 million)
$1,550,961 to the Fred and Pamela Buffett Center
10 percent stays in the home county – $174,000 to 56 groups in this area, including four hospitals, 31 fire departments, three sheriff departments, nine Future Farmers of America (FFA) programs, seven community organizations and other health and wellness groups.

A history of success

The past 21 Cattlemen's Balls by year, site and amount raised:
·                     1998: Ainsworth, $95,000;
·                     1999: Lexington, $140,000;
·                     2000: Ogallala, $104,000;
·                     2001: Valentine, $133,000;
·                     2002: Valparaiso, $207,000;
·                     2003: Ashland, $33,000;
·                     2004: Brady, $174,000;
·                     2005: Wisner, $595,000;
·                     2006: Milford, $563,250;
·                     2007: Lodgepole, $480,000;
·                     2008: Albion, $798,000;
·                     2009: Doniphan, $488,694;
·                     2010: Kearney, $1,003,300;
·                     2011: West Point, $1,490,000;
·                     2012: McCool Junction, $1,410,300;
·                     2013: Paxton/Sutherland, $2,120,477;
·                     2014: Harrisburg/Banner County, $1,300,000;
·                     2015: Lynch, $985,000;
·                     2016: Princeton, $919,783  $805,000
·                     2017: Anselmo, $1,014,300 $904,000
·                     2018: Hebron, $1,747,961
Total: $15.8 million

Iowa auctioneer wins World Livestock Auctioneer Championship qualifier

Russele Sleep, Bedford, Iowa, was named Champion at the 2019 World Livestock Auctioneer Championship (WLAC) Midwestern Regional Qualifying Event on October 1. Holdenville Livestock Market in Holdenville, Oklahoma hosted the first of three WLAC qualifying events on Monday, October 1. A total of 32 contestants competed for a top 10 placing, granting them a spot in the 2019 WLAC at Tulare Sales Yard in Tulare, California.

Sleep says it was a great honor to be named the champion amongst 31 other top-notch auctioneers at the Midwest Qualifier. Having competed in WLAC qualifying events since 2009, Sleep is no rookie to the contest. He’s qualified for the WLAC seven consecutive years, and notes his goal is to take home the WLAC title in 2019.

“As champion I’d enjoy the opportunity to tour different markets across the country and make ranchers more aware of the benefits of true price discovery by selling their product through competitive bidding.”

In 2004, Sleep attended auctioneer school at Missouri Auction School and following, took his first auctioneering job selling weigh cows and bulls at the Maryville, Mo., location for United Producers, Inc. His career has progressed from there, and Sleep now sells five weekly livestock auctions.

Sleep was sponsored by Clarinda Livestock Auction Inc., Clarinda, Iowa; Fort Scott Livestock Market, Inc., Fort Scott, Kan.; SEK Stockyards, LLC, Gas, Kan.; Russell Livestock Market and Green City Livestock Marketing.

Also making a great showing were Reserve Champion Dean Edge, Rimbey, Alberta, Runner-Up Vernon Yoder, Dundee, Ohio and Top Rookie Josh Garcia, Goliad, Texas. The remaining contestants who earned a top ten finish are Jim Hertzog, Butler, Mo., Will Epperly, Dunlap, Iowa, Dustin Smith, Jay, Okla., Neil Bouray, Webber, Kan., Chuck Bradley, Rockford, Ala., Curis Wetovick, Fulerton, Neb., Dakota Davis, Caldwell, Kan.

A live cattle sale took place with actual bidders in the seats. Contestants were judged on the clarity and quality of their auction chant; auctioneer presentation; ability to catch bids and conduct the sale; and how likely the judge would be to hire the auctioneer. Judges for each qualifying event are livestock market owners and managers from across the United States.

Other contestants who competed are Bill Nance, Sheldon, MO., Sterlyn Paiz, Portalies, N.M., Lander Nicodemus, Cheyenne, Wyo., Marshal Tingle, Nicholasville, Ky., Jeremy Miller, Fairland, Okla., Wade Leist, Boyne City, Mich., Zach Ballard, Grant City, MO., Joshua Garcia, Goliad, Texas., Trey Narramore, Grants, N.M., Kirby Hill, Paris, Texas, Jim Settle, Arroyo Grande, Calif., Jase Hubert, Emporia, Kan., Andrew Finlay, Carbondale, Kan., Andy Baumeister, Mullin, Texas, Troy Bradshaw, Lipan, Texas, Tanner Jessup, Hillsboro, Kan., Chas Tillman, Swink, Okla., Kade Rogge, Rupert, Idaho, Mark Oberholtzer, Loyal, Wis., Terry Moe, Watford City, N.D., Jake Hopwood, Valentine, Neb., Ethan Schuette, Washington, Kan.

American Butter Institute Urges FDA to Address Mislabeled “Butter” Products

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should take prompt enforcement action against seven “butter” substitutes that flagrantly violate the agency’s food labeling requirements and thus are misbranded, the American Butter Institute (ABI) said today at its Board of Directors Meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

ABI is the Arlington, Virginia-based trade association for manufacturers, processors, marketers and distributors of butter and butter products. The majority of butter consumed throughout the United States is made and marketed by ABI member companies and cooperatives.

As the only dairy food standard established by federal statute, butter is defined as “made exclusively from milk or cream, or both, with or without common salt, and with or without additional coloring matter, and containing not less than 80 per centum by weight of milk fat, all tolerances having been allowed for.” Concurrently, FDA dictates that certain foods should be deemed imitations if that food resembles another but is nutritionally inferior or fails to meet established characterizing ingredient requirements.

“The way in which these brands use the term ‘butter’ is false and misleading,” said Tom Balmer, executive director of ABI. “These imposter products don’t contain actual dairy ingredients, and cannot match real butter’s positive attributes – from its unmatched flavor and creamy, rich texture and unique performance in cooking and baking, to its significant level of Vitamin A. We’re bringing this deception to FDA so that it can rectify the issue and ensure truth and fairness in the marketplace.”

In comments sent recently to the FDA, ABI listed seven plant-based so-called “butter” brands that blatantly contradict the federal definition for butter, including Miyoko’s Kitchen “Vegan Butter” and Fora Foods’ “FabaButter.” Based on a labeling review of the seven brands, ABI underscored how each vegetable based-product contains no actual dairy ingredients, and called out some for lacking the positive nutritional profile associated with real butter.

“We thought this issue was settled decades ago, when the common term for vegetable spreads was ‘oleomargarine.’ But the misuse of the term ‘butter’ on non-dairy products has become ever more egregious in recent years, and FDA needs to remind makers of these products that they are violating long-standing regulations,” Balmer said.

“Section 102.5 (of Code of Federal Regulations Title 21) in no way permits the standardized term, ‘butter,’ to be used to name a non-standardized plant-based butter substitute that is characterized by its plant-based ingredients and the complete absence of milk, cream and other milk constituents that comprise standardized butter unless such products constitute and are labeled as ‘imitation butter,’” ABI said in its comments.

FDA prohibits a food from being sold under the name of a different food, as well as imitations of another food unless it bears the label “imitation.” While some of the products could possibly be re-labeled as “margarine” or “oleomargarine,” FDA regulations say that those considered nutritionally inferior to butter must bear the word “imitation” so as not to be false or misleading.

ABI argued that Congress established a definition for butter specifically to protect consumers from being deceived by simulated versions of the traditional product such as those identified in the complaint.

Illinois Farmer Named America's Pig Farmer of the Year

Patrick Bane, a pig farmer from Arrowsmith, Illinois, has been named the 2018 America’s Pig Farmer of the YearSM by achieving the highest combined score from a third-party judging panel and online voting. The award recognizes a pig farmer who excels at raising pigs using the We CareSM ethical principles and who connects with today’s consumers about how pork is produced.

“We are pleased to have Patrick represent America’s pig farmers. He embodies the very best in pig farming,” said Steve Rommereim, National Pork Board president and a pig farmer from Alcester, South Dakota. “It’s important that we tell today’s consumers how we raise their food in an ethical and transparent way. Patrick’s interest in sharing his farm’s story, as well as putting a face on today’s pig farming, will help us reach this goal.”

Raising pigs has been a life-long passion for Bane, whose family has been raising pigs for three generations. Bane raises 74,000 pigs on his farm in central Illinois, where he focuses on protecting public health, hiring the best people and maintaining herd health.

“It’s our responsibility to show the public that we are doing the right things to care for our animals and keep them healthy,” Bane said. “We need to foster an increased understanding about how food is raised using today’s modern technology. It’s not only good for us as farmers, but it’s good for consumers. You can’t drive that point home enough. We have a lot of good, positive stories to share.”

Bane was named America’s Pig Farmer of the Year following a third-party audit of his on-farm practices and after taking part in a series of written and oral interviews by subject-matter experts. He has achieved excellence in all aspects of pig farming, including animal care, environmental stewardship, employee work environment and outstanding community service.

The panel of expert judges, who met in late August with the four finalists, were Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane; Sarah Hendren, RDN, nutrition and quality assurance manager at Culver’s; Kari Underly, a third-generation butcher, author and principal of Range®, Inc., a meat marketing and education firm; J. Scott Vernon, professor, College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences, Cal Poly; and Leon Sheets, 2017 America’s Pig Farmer of the Year from Ionia, Iowa.

To learn more about Bane and the America’s Pig Farmer of the Year Award, visit

Dairy Products August 2018 Production Highlights

Total cheese output (excluding cottage cheese) was 1.08 billion pounds, 2.8 percent above August 2017 but 0.7 percent below July 2018.  Italian type cheese production totaled 454 million pounds, 3.9 percent above August 2017 but 2.1 percent below July 2018.  American type cheese production totaled 425 million pounds, 2.7 percent above August 2017 but 3.5 percent below July 2018.  Butter production was 134 million pounds, 2.1 percent above August 2017 but 0.5 percent below July 2018.

Dry milk products (comparisons in percentage with August 2017)
Nonfat dry milk, human - 123 million pounds, down 10.1 percent.
Skim milk powder - 47.6 million pounds, up 6.3 percent.

Whey products (comparisons in percentage with August 2017)
Dry whey, total - 79.7 million pounds, down 15.4 percent.
Lactose, human and animal - 94.7 million pounds, down 2.0 percent.
Whey protein concentrate, total - 41.2 million pounds, up 7.4 percent.

Frozen products (comparisons in percentage with August 2017)
Ice cream, regular (hard) - 71.5 million gallons, down 2.8 percent.
Ice cream, lowfat (total) - 42.7 million gallons, down 1.6 percent.
Sherbet (hard) - 3.52 million gallons, down 4.9 percent.
Frozen yogurt (total) - 5.32 million gallons, down 5.9 percent.

Growth Energy Asks Congress to "Support Making E15 Year-Round a Reality" in New Ad

Today, Growth Energy released a new television ad stressing the vital role ethanol plays in rural America's economy and asking Congress to support making E15 year-round a reality. The latest ad campaign begins this week and will appear on televisions in Washington, D.C. and select markets across the heartland.

"The drive to give consumers cleaner, more affordable options at the pump gains momentum every day,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “We’re making sure that President Trump and rural champions in Congress have the support they need to get this over the finish line. Farm families are hurting and there’s no time to delay a fix that could deliver two billion bushels of additional demand for U.S. corn while holding down prices at the pump.”

This ad is the latest in Growth Energy's ongoing  push to secure E15, a renewable fuel blend made from 15 percent ethanol, sales year-round.

Learn more at

CARB Action on LCFS Underscores Need for Ethanol-Supported HOLC Fuels

Asserting that they are taking the state's climate fight up a notch, members of the California Air Resources Board (CARB) last week adopted amendments to the state's low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS) that could enhance the role of E85 and the use of ethanol in high-octane, low-carbon (HOLC) transportation fuels.

Among the principle aims of the amendments is the requirement of a 20 percent cut in the carbon intensity (CI) of gasoline and diesel by 2030, a goal that can be attained with the help of more efficient, high-octane fuels achieved through biofuel blending that can reduce emissions.

CI is the amount of carbon by weight emitted per unit of energy consumed, usually a British thermal unit (Btu).

CARB says the amended LCFS is "designed to make the program a more versatile, comprehensive tool in the fight against climate change," while bringing the standard in compliance with California's recently adopted GHG emissions-reduction target goal of 40 percent below 1990 levels for both power and transportation fuels combined by 2030.

Nearer-term requirements of the LCFS have been eased slightly, moving the state from what was a 10-percent reduction of emissions from gasoline and diesel below-2010 levels by 2020, down to 7.5 percent; a move deemed necessary after legal action from the ethanol industry forced CARB to suspend compliance in order to make administrative changes ordered by the court.

The required reductions then increase annually, moving to an 8.75-percent drop by 2021; 10 percent by 2022; 11.25 percent by 2023; 12.5 percent by 2024; 13.75 percent by 2025; 15 percent by 2026; 16.25 percent by 2027; 17.5 percent by 2028; 18.75 percent by 2029; and 20 percent by 2030.

The move to push the state's transportation sector toward a reduced emission future underscores the need for EPA, which is currently mulling new national fuel economy standards, to provide a viable pathway to a high-octane, low-carbon, lower-cost fuel for next-generation cars and light trucks. Once given final approval, the rule will acknowledge what EPA has known for years: increasing the octane level in the nation's market fuel will enable use of more efficient, lower polluting engines.

That octane can be supplied, starting now, by increasing use of available ethanol. The U.S. fuel distribution infrastructure is capable of keeping up with demand for the new fuel. To make the change, EPA must fairly assess the ability of ethanol to enable increased octane in market fuel, at least cost, to the advantage of environmental and economic considerations.

While the LCFS revisions seem to boost cleaner biofuels, Gov. Jerry Brown passed on another, more immediate opportunity to reduce state GHG emissions when he vetoed legislation that would have required CARB to recommend non-fiscal policies to maximize the use of E85 by the 1.5 million flex-fuel vehicles driven in the state. In his veto message to the legislature, he said state agencies must focus on emerging markets for the cleanest vehicles and fuels possible, including electric vehicles (EVs) and hydrogen-powered cars and trucks, if the state is going to meet his office's goal of achieving complete carbon neutrality in California by 2045. The veto message would suggest the governor has lost sight of the fact that cars and trucks will continue to run on internal combustion engines for decades to come, and that the bill he vetoed would provide a more immediate and effective means of reducing carbon emissions from those fuel-burning vehicles.

A distraction emerging in the ongoing debate over the role transportation fuels can play in a new reduced emissions scheme is the resurfacing of a researcher with the University of Michigan's Energy Institute, who for at least the third time since 2015, is claiming that the emissions generated by biofuels, when calculating those emanating from the production of ethanol's corn feedstock, are more than the carbon emissions spewed out by gasoline.

The premise from long-time ethanol and Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) critic John DeCicco, whose work, the Renewable Fuel Association says, is paid for in part by the American Petroleum Institute, was readily dismissed by ethanol advocates when it was first unveiled three years ago. DeCicco brought up the dubious claim again before a 2016 congressional hearing, only to be rebuffed again by biofuel advocates, who pointed out that his findings are not, nor have they ever been, supported by EPA, DOE, USDA and CARB.

And while we are looking at the opportunities and challenges coming out the debate in California over proceeding with the more efficient, cleaner biofuels, it should be noted that the fuel-economy rule under consideration by the Trump administration would also eliminate a waiver granted under the Clean Air Act that gives California the ability to set its own vehicle emission standards. Any effort by the White House to strong arm oversight authority away from California will face a severe legal challenge from not only officials in Sacramento, but also from the leaders of a dozen other states and Washington, D.C., which all follow California's lead enforcing their own, respective standards.

Solutions from the Land calls on its clean energy stakeholders to urge policy makers to stay focused on the efficiency and air quality benefits that can come from mid- and high-level ethanol blends. Don't allow the discussion to be diverted by bogus sideshows like that proffered by DeCicco, and remind policy leaders that appropriate fuel-economy standards, working in tandem with programs like the RFS, can serve our transportation sector well in meeting increasingly vigorous environment and efficiency targets.

Land O'Lakes, Inc. Board Chair Pete Kappelman named 2018 Dairyman of the Year

Land O'Lakes, Inc. board chairman Pete Kappelman was named Dairyman of the Year by the World Dairy Expo this week in Madison, Wis. Kappelman, of Two Rivers, Wisconsin, owns and operates Meadow Brook Dairy and will celebrate 23 years of service on the Land O'Lakes board in early 2019.

"There is no recipient more deserving of this honor," said Beth Ford, president and chief executive officer of Land O'Lakes, Inc. "Pete not only works tirelessly on behalf of Land O'Lakes but is an unrelenting champion for both dairy farming and the agriculture industry more broadly. His voice, leadership and innovation has led us through the ups-and-downs of a constantly evolving ag landscape and has created a strong and dependable foundation for our future success."

A fourth-generation farmer, Kappelman and his wife, Shellie, along with their children, Beth, Mitch, Erin and son-in-law, A.J. Kenneke, oversee a herd of 470 Brown Swiss and Holstein cows along with 1,100 acres of alfalfa, corn, wheat, oats and rye. In addition to his work with Land O'Lakes, Kappelman also serves on the National Milk Producers Federation's board of directors and has held positions on the U.S. Dairy Export Council, and as an ag policy advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and the U.S. Trade Representative.

Since 1969, the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin has recognized a Dairyman and Dairy Woman of the Year for their outstanding work and dedication to the dairy industry. Award recipients are nominated and selected by their peers. In 2017, Land O'Lakes member owner Marilyn Hershey was honored as Dairy Woman of the Year.

National Farmers Says USMCA Won’t Solve America’s Milk Price Crisis

National Farmers Organization says the new tri-lateral trade agreement known as USMCA may be viewed as a positive step by some, but won’t change the low milk price forecast for U.S. producers.

In the past four years, American dairy producers have experienced a milk price drop of nearly 50 percent.

“We appreciate that opening up export markets to more U.S. milk products is important when we have an over-supply of production here at home,” said National Farmers President Paul Olson. But, when you consider there are more dairy cows in Wisconsin than all of Canada, the positive impact is significantly offset.

The new trade deal allows the U.S. to regain access to the Canadian market for milk powder and milk proteins, or Class 7 products. The U.S. will now be able to export $560 million worth of dairy products, or about 3.5 percent of Canada’s dairy industry, up from 3.2 percent.

Olson says it could give a short-term psychological boost to markets here at home, but that it won’t be a salvation for America’s dairy farmers. “What our dairy producers need is a new milk production and pricing system based upon balancing supply and demand factors; that is just reality,” he said. “Supply management and structure management changes need serious review by U.S. co-ops and all milk marketing organizations, along with dairy farmers themselves. Then, we will need implementation in a meaningful way.”

Olson also said National Farmers Organization believes it is the wrong approach to attempt to erode Canada’s milk pricing system, but should instead address the severe problems the U.S. milk pricing system has created—responsible for thousands of U.S. producers exiting the business in the past four years.

Canada’s dairy industry changed in the mid-1970s, after decades of dairy farmer losses. The country moved to a supply management system, which stabilized milk markets and farm operations there. Their farm gate price enables producers to cover production costs and provide a return on labor and capital.

The National Farmers Organization points out that exports are particularly important because of milk over-supply domestically, but the small Canadian gains will be dramatically offset by China’s new tariffs on lactose, infant formula, caseins and others. “When you look at China’s new tariff schedule, every single U.S. dairy product will now face additional fees to enter the country,” Olson said. Bob Yonkers, dairy economist and analyst with the Daily Dairy Report says during the past five years, China imported nearly 10 percent of the total value of America’s dairy product exports, coming in third after Mexico and Canada.

National Farmers also pointed out that Country-of-Origin Labeling was not addressed in the tri-lateral trade deal, which the organization favors. Further, the U.S. Congress, and Canada’s House of Commons, must ratify the agreement, along with Mexico. The organization is concerned current tariffs may remain in place until 2020.

Topcon Agriculture establishes research campus at Kansas State University

Topcon Agriculture and Kansas State University announced Thursday, Oct. 4, a comprehensive partnership.

The Topcon Agriculture Research Campus in the K-State Office Park, 1880 Kimball Ave., Manhattan, will promote collaboration and engagement with students and faculty, boost the company's research capacity as it develops new products, and solidify connections with producers through K-State Research and Extension.

"Topcon Agriculture and K-State have been working together for two years on various projects, and both entities sought a deeper, multifaceted partnership that would differentiate the typical vendor and university relationship," said Fabio Isaia, CEO of Topcon Agriculture. "This strategic partnership will boost our R&D technology advancement to accelerate the commercialization of farmer-driven innovation."

Topcon Agriculture recently signed a master research agreement with Kansas State University to develop tools and systems to advance precision agriculture, but the company saw larger possibilities in an expanded collaboration facilitated by the Kansas State University Institute for Commercialization. The new Topcon Agriculture Research Campus will create a precision agriculture classroom space with state-of-the-art equipment to train faculty, students and customers to incorporate technology into farming and agricultural practices. The company is also donating technology infrastructure improvements and equipment for the university's Agronomy North Farm and will streamline access to future upgrades.

"Kansas is a unique state as it has striking variations in environmental conditions," said Brian Sorbe, Topcon Agriculture vice president of sales and marketing, North America. "The highly variable soil and rainfall patterns across the state allow it to emulate multiple types of growing environments. This makes Kansas ideal for conducting precision agriculture research to develop products for the entire country."

Working with K-State Research and Extension, Topcon Agriculture will have a streamlined pathway from concept, creation to on-farm use and education.

Richard Myers, Kansas State University president, said the partnership demonstrates the commitment of both the company and the university to supporting Kansas agriculture through innovation.

"The Topcon Agriculture Research Campus will help us ensure that we are preparing our students and providing producers with cutting-edge equipment and knowledge," Myers said. "We know the Kansas economy depends on the success of agriculture, and we are proud to unveil a partnership that will help our institution support the industry."

"Topcon Agriculture valuesKansas State University's comprehensive, research and land-grant mission to provide practical information to help change the lives of its students, the people of Kansas, the nation and the world," said Michael Gomes, Topcon Agriculture vice president of business development, IoT. "Part of Topcon's overarching mission is to enrich human life by solving societal challenges in agriculture."

"When dynamic companies like Topcon choose to locate adjacent to K-State's campus, partnerships develop among leading researchers and industry to drive innovation, which benefits the university, the companies, the community and Kansas," said Greg Lohrentz, senior vice president of operations and finance at the KSU Foundation.

"The K-State Office Park is an essential element in providing world-class facilities for corporate leaders who want to collaborate with the best-in-field K-State researchers and students, and meet the needs of the global community to advance industry," he said.

Co-location with the university helps Topcon Agriculture recruit students and graduates to work for the company in the U.S. or abroad. It also demonstrates the success of area efforts to bring knowledge-based jobs and growth to the local economy.

"Topcon Agriculture is a global company that sees value in what we have here in Manhattan," said Lyle Butler, president of the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce. "Our shared university-community economic development vision has helped us provide incredible facilities and promote Manhattan as an optimal location for a growing business."

Beyond Manhattan, partnership with Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus and K-State Research and Extension will help Topcon Agriculture conduct on-farm research around the state. As a leader in both fundamental and applied agricultural research, the university and K-State Research and Extension offer facilities and access to producers and collaboration at all phases of the product development process — from the drawing board to in-field deployment of precision agriculture technologies.

Wednesday October 3 Ag News

Ricketts appoints Groskopf, Schrock to the Nebraska Corn Board

Gov. Pete Ricketts recently appointed two corn farmers to the Nebraska Corn Board. Ted Schrock, from Elm Creek, assumed the director position from the District 6 region and Andy Groskopf, from Scottsbluff, was named District 8 director. Schrock replaced Dennis Gengenbach in District 6, and Groskopf succeeded Jon Holzfaster in District 8. Both Gengenbach and Holzfaster were at the end of their terms and chose not to seek reelection. Additionally, David Merrell, from St. Edward, was reappointed to serve as the District 7 director.

Schrock farms and ranches in Phelps County and is active both on and off the farm. He served on the Phelps/Gosper County Farm Bureau, the Phelps County Planning and Zoning Commission and is currently a member of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association. His family farm has been in the family for over 100 years, and in 2008, Schrock Farms received AKSARBEN’s Pioneer Farm Award. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s College of Agricultural Science and Natural Resources in 1992.

“As a corn farmer, I’ve always been passionate about the betterment of the agricultural industry,” said Schrock. “I look forward to serving on the Nebraska Corn Board to help carry out the mission of our corn checkoff program by promoting the value of corn by creating opportunities.”

Groskopf attended Western Nebraska Community College and farms with his father and uncle in Scotts Bluff County. Groskopf is a 2010 graduate of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Leadership Academy, the acting president of the Scotts Bluff County Farm Bureau and a member of the Scottsbluff FFA alumni chapter.

“I am ready to hit the ground running with my new responsibilities on the Nebraska Corn Board,” said Groskopf. “I look forward to representing the western portion of the state on key issues such as overall corn production, ag literacy, trade and ethanol expansion.”

Nebraska Corn Board directors serve three-year terms with opportunities to be reelected. In addition to the new director appointments, the Nebraska Corn Board held officer elections at their August board meeting.

David Bruntz, District 1 director, was elected as the chairman of the board. Bruntz has been farming for more than 30 years near Friend, Nebraska. He grows irrigated and non-irrigated corn and soybeans, and he also feeds cattle. Bruntz received his education from UNL’s Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture. He has been with the Board since 2013. Bruntz replaced David Merrell, District 7 director, who now serves as past chairman.

Brandon Hunnicutt, District 3 director, was elected as the vice chair of the Nebraska Corn Board. Hunnicutt farms near Giltner with his father and brother. Hunnicutt is a fourth-generation farmer and the operation has been within the family for over 100 years. On his farm, Hunnicutt grows corn, popcorn, seed corn and soybeans. He earned his bachelor’s degree from UNL and has served on the Nebraska Corn Board since 2014.

Debbie Borg, District 4 director, was reelected secretary/treasurer of the Board. Borg lives near Allen and is a partner in TD Borg Farms, a fifth-generation farm. On their farm, they raise corn, soybeans, alfalfa, feed cattle and are proactively engaged in establishing the sixth generation in the business. Borg earned a bachelor’s degree from Colorado State University. She has served on the Nebraska Corn Board since 2013.

“It’s so encouraging to have a dynamic and passionate corn board that works hard to enhance our state’s corn industry,” said Kelly Brunkhorst, executive director of the Nebraska Corn Board. “Jon and Dennis have contributed a lot to our state’s corn checkoff, so it’s difficult to see them move on. However, we look forward to the new perspectives Ted and Andy bring to the group.”

Each of the officer positions are effective immediately and will last one year. The Nebraska Corn Board is made up of nine farmer directors. Eight members represent specific Nebraska districts and are appointed by the Governor of Nebraska. The Board elects a ninth at-large member.

Empowering women landowners through risk management 

Designed for women non-operator landowners who may be new to land management or experiencing a transition in their farm land.

Who: Women non-operator owners who own more than 40 acres, may have inherited farmland, or are feeling overwhelmed with all of the decisions of farmland management.

Women non-operator landowners face a variety of decisions and often rely on the advice of others to meet their goals for their land ownership or co-ownership. This workshop offers women landowners an opportunity to learn about areas of the operation that may be at risk, how to address them, and what resources are available for you and your operator. If you are new to land management, recently inherited land, or experiencing a transition in your farmland, this workshop is for you!

We'll start off with a discussion and demonstration on soil health with USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service. Then Dave Goeller, retired deputy director of the North Central Risk Management Education Center at UNL will lead the workshop.

When: Friday, Oct. 5, 2018, 2 to 5 p.m.

Where: Community Health Endowment of Lincoln, 250 N. 21st. St. Suite 2, Lincoln, NE

If you're available, join us next door at 12:30 p.m. for lunch before the workshop at the Hub Cafe.

Cost: free

RSVP: By Oct. 3 so we can prepare materials. To register, contact Sandra Renner at or 402.687.2100 ext. 1009. Let Sandra know whether you're joining for lunch or the workshop only.

This event is brought to you by the Center for Rural Affairs and made possible by funding from USDA Risk Management Education and USDA Conservation Innovation grants.

State of Beef Conference to be Held in North Platte November 7-8

Karla H. Jenkins, UNL Cow/Calf Systems and Stocker Management

The State of Beef Conference will be held November 7-8, 2018 at the Sandhills Convention Center in North Platte.  The theme this year is “Increasing Production Efficiency”.  There will be two producer panel discussions this year. One is on production efficiency and one is on alternative profit centers for the ranch.  There will be a presentation on the market outlook as well as genetics, reproduction, and nutrition. Other topics include herd health, alternative forage systems, cow size and efficiency, and internal and external parasites. This will also be an opportunity to visit with industry personnel about products available for the ranching operation.

For more information, please see the brochure and click here to register as a participant or as a vendor using online registration.

Whole Raw Soybeans as a Cost Competitive Protein Supplement for Cows and Calves

Aaron Berger, Nebraska Extension Beef Educator

Current market conditions for raw, whole soybeans are making them price competitive in parts of Nebraska with other protein sources such as distillers grains and alfalfa hay to be used as a protein supplement for cows as well as weaned calves.

The following are some principles to remember when feeding raw, whole soybeans to cattle.
-    Soybeans are approximately 40% crude protein and 20% fat.
-    Soybeans should be introduced gradually into the diet.
-    High fat levels in cattle diets can negatively impact fiber digestion.  Soybeans should not be feed a level higher than needed to meet protein requirements in the diet.  In growing calves, limit soybeans to 7% of the diet or less and 5% or less in finishing diets.
-    Raw soybeans contain a trypsin inhibiting enzyme that is important to protein digestion in non-ruminants and monogastrics.  Nursing calves and calves less than 300 pounds should not be fed raw whole soybeans.
-    The protein in soybeans is approximately 70% rumen degradable and 30% rumen undegradable.   Growing calves being fed corn silage and other feeds that are low in rumen undegradable protein show improved average daily gain performance when protein sources such as distillers grains that are high in rumen undegradeable protein are utilized to meet protein needs.  Feeding raw whole soybeans in the place of distiller’s grains to meet protein needs in a diet that is predominantly corn silage would likely result in decreased animal performance.
-    Raw whole soybeans have a total digestible nutrient value of 91%.  While they are a price competitive protein source at current commodity prices, there are other sources of energy that are more economical. Therefore they should be used primarily to meet protein requirements.
-    For mature cows on forage based diets, soybeans should not be fed at more than 10% of the diet on a dry matter basis.  This would be approximately 2-3 pounds on a daily basis.  Cows needing 0.4 of a pound of supplemental crude protein per head per day could be fed two pounds every other day and meet their protein requirement.

Raw whole soybeans can be an excellent protein source when utilized as a supplement.  Producers looking for an economical protein source for cows to complement low quality forage should consider the potential of using raw whole soybeans this fall and winter.

D.C. Deb Fischer’s Farm Bill Failure Hurts Nebraska’s Farming Families

This week, D.C. Deb Fischer and Washington politicians failed to keep a fundamental promise to Nebraskan farming families when they allowed the 2014 Farm Bill to expire on Sunday, September 30th without passing a new Farm Bill to give farmers stability in these very tumultuous times.

“To allow our farmers to be caught in a game of political chicken without a farm bill or even an extension is complete malpractice by every elected official who campaigned on standing up for our farmers, including my opponent,” said Jane Raybould. “Since when do we leave our farmers out in the cold in order to score political points, win favors, or worse -- attract campaign contributions? There are powerful lobbyists for enormous cotton and peanut mega-farms trying to tip the scales in their favor, and Nebraska’s corn and bean family farms have no one to champion their cause. I’ll be their senator -- not someone who kowtows to lobbyists or special interests.”

It was under Senator Fischer’s watch that Nebraska was left without a voice on the all-important Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, breaking a nearly fifty-year streak of Nebraskans having a say in national agriculture policy. It wasn’t until this year, an election year, that Fischer joined the Agriculture Committee, but instead of fighting for Nebraskan farmers and ranchers, she’s been in lockstep with her party bosses who’ve allowed the Farm Bill to expire.

The Farm Bill’s expiration leaves several agricultural programs critical to Nebraska’s ag economy unfunded including aid for veteran farmers, trade promotion, rural business development, and conservation. Congress has indicated there will not be an extension of the 2014 Farm Bill, putting significant programs like crop insurance and dairy margin protection at risk if a new bill isn’t passed before the end of the year. 

Farmers and Ranchers College Starts November 27

All are welcome to attend. Details will be forthcoming at Mark down the following dates if topics are of interest to you.

2018 -2019 Farmers & Ranchers College

  - November 27, 2018 –Agricultural Update & the Road Ahead. Featuring Dr. David Kohl, Professor Emeritus, Dept. of AAEC, Virginia Tech. 1:00 p.m. -4:00 p.m. at the Opera House in Bruning, NE.

  - January 21, 2019 – Partners In Progress – Beef Seminar at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center near Clay Center from 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., registration at 9:30 a.m.

  - February 12, 2019 – Managing Ag Land in the 21st Century at the Fillmore County Fairgrounds in Geneva from 9:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. with registration at 9:15 a.m.

  - March 14, 2019 – Connecting Gate to Plate. Featuring Michele Payn, Cause Matters corp. at Lazy Horse Vineyard near Ohiowa, NE at 6:00 p.m.

FB Health Benefit Plan available to Iowa Farm Bureau members

Iowans who don’t have access to employer-sponsored health coverage and must purchase their own will soon have a new option. Farm Bureau Health Plan will start taking applications for coverage on November 1, 2018.

During the 2018 legislative session, the Iowa legislature passed a law, signed by Governor Reynolds, which enabled the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) to provide an underwritten health benefit plan to its members. Farm Bureau Health Benefit Plan, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, will provide these plans.

Farm Bureau Health Plan will appeal to Iowans who don’t qualify for tax credits (also known as subsidies) under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). For those individuals, rates for the plans will generally be much lower than comparable ACA plans. It is worth noting that a significant majority of current ACA members receive tax credits which significantly reduces their cost and makes those ACA plans a more cost-effective option.

Farm Bureau Health Plan will offer three different plan designs, including two traditional plans with copays, coinsurance, and deductibles. The third plan is a high deductible health plan that offers members the opportunity to fund a Health Savings Account (HSA).

All three plans will provide comprehensive coverage including maternity, mental health and substance abuse, prescription drugs, and no-cost preventive benefits to members. To be eligible, applicants must be an Iowa Farm Bureau member living in the state, and not eligible for Medicare, Medicaid, or an employer group health plan.

The plan designs will look similar to current ACA compliant plans in the market, with three primary exceptions. First, applicants must pass underwriting to qualify for enrollment. Second, because they are underwritten, plans will be available for purchase throughout the year rather than only during specific enrollment periods. Lastly, the plans will have a $3 million lifetime benefit maximum per covered individual.

“According to our membership survey, healthcare coverage is the number one concern facing our members,” says Craig Hill, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation President. “Although this may not be a solution for all, the Farm Bureau Health Plan may be an option for thousands who need an affordable plan that provides them comprehensive, renewable health coverage.”

Farm Bureau Health Plan will be administered by Wellmark Administrators, Inc., which includes 100 percent of hospitals and 97 percent of the physicians in Iowa. The Iowa Farm Bureau, a century-strong organization with offices and membership in every county in Iowa, has a long-standing partnership with Wellmark dating back to 1969.

Anyone interested in applying, should visit to learn more.

Webinar Examines Nitrogen Losses from Hydric Soil Landscapes

Iowa Learning Farms will host a webinar that aims to improve the understanding and management of nitrogen losses from hydric soil landscapes on Wednesday, Oct. 17 at 12 p.m.

The leaching of nitrate and emissions of nitrous oxide, a potent greenhouse gas, are key environmental impacts of Corn Belt agricultural systems. Steven Hall, Iowa State University assistant professor of ecology, evolution and organismal biology, is leading a research group that studies the biological and geochemical processes that control the cycling of organic matter and nutrients across the plant-soil-water-atmosphere continuum. One focus area is the interactions across that continuum in former prairie potholes. These occasionally flooded hydric soils in topographic depressions can contribute disproportionately to nitrogen losses at the landscape scale, suggesting the promise of management interventions that specifically target these features.

“Efficient crop nitrogen use, farm profitability and environmental impacts of nitrogen loss are intimately connected,” said Hall. “Innovative management of cropped hydric soils could yield disproportionate environmental and economic benefits.”

The Iowa Learning Farms webinar series takes place on the third Wednesday of the month. To watch, go to and click the link to join the webinar shortly before 12 p.m. on Oct. 17 to download the Zoom software and log in option. The webinar will be recorded and archived on the ILF website for watching at any time.

Fertilizer Prices Continue to Move Higher

Retail fertilizer prices continue to be higher across the board, according to prices tracked by DTN for the fourth week of September 2018. For the third week in a row, all eight major fertilizers were higher compared to a month earlier.

Urea once again posted a significant move higher, gaining 6% compared to the fourth week of August. The nitrogen fertilizer had an average price of $385 per ton.

The remaining seven fertilizers were all higher in price, but none were up a remarkable amount. DAP had an average price of $494/ton, MAP $520/ton, potash $361/ton, 10-34-0 $449/ton, anhydrous $493/ton, UAN28 $236/ton and UAN32 $278/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.42/lb.N, anhydrous $0.30/lb.N, UAN28 $0.42/lb.N and UAN32 $0.44/lb.N.

All eight of the major fertilizers are now higher compared to last year with prices shifting higher in recent months. Potash is 4% higher, 10-34-0 is 9% more expensive, both DAP and UAN28 are 14% higher, both MAP and UAN32 are now 15% more expensive, urea is 20% higher and anhydrous is now 24% more expensive compared to last year.

NCF Accepting Applications for CME Beef Industry Scholarships

The National Cattlemen’s Foundation is now accepting applications for 2019-2020 beef industry scholarships sponsored by CME Group. Ten scholarships of $1,500 each will be awarded to outstanding students pursuing careers in the beef industry.

“The CME Beef Industry Scholarship is an investment in the next generation of cattle producers. CME Group is pleased to support the brightest talent of cattlemen and women, while promoting future participation in an industry that is critical to feeding the world,” said Tim Andriesen, CME Group Agricultural Products Managing Director. “Our partnership with the National Cattlemen’s Foundation and NCBA has spanned nearly three decades, and during that time, we’ve underscored the importance of risk management to the beef industry while contributing to the education of tomorrow’s industry leaders.”

The CME Beef Industry Scholarship was first introduced in 1989. Today, the scholarship recognizes and encourages talented students who will each play an important role in the future of food production in America. Students studying education, communication, production, research or other areas related to the beef industry should consider applying for the scholarship.

Applicants for the 2019-2020 scholarship must submit a one-page letter expressing their career goals related to the beef industry. Students must also write a 750-word essay describing an issue in the beef industry and offering solutions to this problem. Applicants must be a graduating high school senior or full-time undergraduate student enrolled at a two- or four-year college.

Online applications should be submitted by Nov. 9, 2018 at midnight Central Time. To apply, or learn more about the scholarship, click here. Scholarship winners will be announced during the 2019 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show in New Orleans, La on February 1.

For more information visit

Verdesian Expands Research Pipeline for Nutrient Use Efficiency Technologies

Verdesian Life Sciences has expanded its research pipeline by opening a greenhouse facility at Duke University to develop early technology validation screening for agricultural nutrient use efficiency (NUE) technologies.

“Our greenhouse at Duke University supports our R&D as a science-backed company,” said Kenny Avery, CEO for Verdesian. “The greenhouse provides the necessary environment to support vetting and evaluating new technologies that meet grower needs.”

The new Verdesian greenhouse is part of Verdesian’s Early Technology Validation (ETV) screening to facilitate the Verdesian Technology Advancement (VTA) pipeline. Improved pipeline efficiency through early testing of new concepts under small-scale, controlled conditions will allow Verdesian to better understand capabilities at an early stage, helping to define opportunities while mitigating risks and optimizing time and resources on viable candidates. The 1,000 square feet of greenhouse space at Duke University adds to Verdesian’s existing growth chambers in Research Triangle Park (RTP).

Tuesday October 2 Ag News

Nebraska Soybean Board Representatives Visit Japan on Trade Mission

Four Nebraska producers made a mission critical trip to Japan to promote beef and pork exports. Japan is currently the United States’ third largest beef export and the number one value market for U.S. pork. The objective of the visit was to engage with Japanese consumers, showcase the quality of the United States’ pork and beef products and to enhance trade relations.

“Building a good working and trustworthy trade relationship based on history of quality, safe products for consumption and reliability are vitally important to Japan consumers.” Said Gwen Beckman a Nebraska pork producer. “To me it was evident how hard our commodity check-off dollars and organizations like U.S.M.E.F. work to ensure U.S. goods are valued in other markets.”

Meeting with social influencers was an eye-opening experience for both the consumer and U.S.M.E.F members. Understanding the story behind their food is a growing trend in Japanese culture. From origin to production to finished product motivates purchases in the country. Yoshio Okusaka attended the meeting and was excited to meet the producers. Knowing where food comes from affects Okusaka’s purchasing decisions and he shared he is willing to pay more if he knows the background of his foods.

“The experience opened my eyes to how much the Japanese love American Agriculture. Japan is a growing market and the visit showcased the market potential for American producers which paints an opportunistic future.” Said Beckman.

Cuming County Board of Supervisors Seeking Extension Board Nominations

Larry Howard, Extension Educator, Cuming County

The Cuming County Board of Supervisors, are seeking nominations for individuals interested in serving a three-year term on the Cuming County Extension Board.  Due to changes in the laws, Extension Board Members are appointed by the Board of Supervisors rather than being elected.

One position on the Cuming County Extension Board is up for appointment. The district lines are defined according to the Cuming County Board of Supervisors districts.  Nominees are needed for the districts served by Supervisors Judy Mutzenberger, District III Potential candidates are encouraged to contact the Extension Office or the Cuming County Clerk, Bonnie Vogltance, if you have questions on which supervisor district you reside in.

A nominating committee is seeking nominations or calls from interested individuals.  This nominating committee will be responsible for preparing a slate of potential candidates that will be submitted to the Board of Supervisors for their consideration.  If you are interested in being a candidate, please feel free to contact the Cuming County Extension office 402/372-6006. You may also contact nominating committee members Chris Kreikemeier or Terry Jahnke.

According to Extension Educator Larry Howard the operation of Nebraska Extension should be given serious consideration by all county residents.  It operates the tax funds under the guidance of the Cuming county Extension Board. Extension programs focus on priority needs and issues facing people of the county.


Chuck Hagel and Bob Kerrey, former U.S. senators for Nebraska, will discuss civil discourse and its impacts on the state’s future during the first Heuermann Lecture of the season Oct. 22.

The free lecture, sponsored by the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, will be at 3:30 p.m. at the Nebraska Innovation Campus Conference Center, 2021 Transformation Drive.

Hagel was the 24th secretary of defense, serving from February 2013 to February 2015. He is the only Vietnam veteran and the first enlisted combat veteran to be secretary of defense. He also served two terms in the U.S. Senate from 1997-2009. He was a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations; Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; and Intelligence committees. Prior to being elected senator, Hagel was president of McCarthy and Company, an investment banking firm based in Omaha, and chairman of the board of American Information Systems.

Kerrey is managing director at investment banking firm Allen and Company, based in New York. He is also the executive chairman of the Minerva Institute. Kerrey served two terms in the U.S. Senate from 1989-2001. He was on the Senate's Agriculture and Forestry Committee and was a leader in drafting farm legislation, soil and water conservation statutes, and regulations to promote equity in rural health, communication and transportation. Prior to serving in the Senate, Kerrey was Nebraska's governor for four years. He also served three years in the U.S. Navy in the Vietnam War and received a Congressional Medal of Honor for his service as a Navy SEAL.

Heuermann Lectures are 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.

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

Registration Now Open for 2019 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show Jan. 30 – Feb. 1

Registration and housing for the 2019 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade show is now open. The annual convention will be held in New Orleans, La., Jan. 30 – Feb. 1, 2019. Advanced registration is now open, and its recommended attendees register early, as convenient housing will fill quickly. Annual meetings of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, American National CattleWomen, CattleFax and National Cattlemen’s Foundation will be held at this event.

Convention participants will gather insights on industry trends at a CattleFax Outlook Seminar, enjoy an evening of entertainment from country music entertainers Big & Rich, hear from NFL Hall of Famer and Super Bowl champion Terry Bradshaw at the Opening General Session, be part of the country’s largest cattle industry trade show (with more than 300 exhibitors on more than 6 ½ acres), work with other industry leaders on both beef checkoff and NCBA policy efforts, and appreciate fellowship with thousands of other cattle producers from around the country. And that just scratches the surface of the event.

The convention will again be preceded by 26th annual Cattlemen’s College, which is famous for stimulating and thought-provoking sessions that can help generate high returns for cattle operations. The event will begin on Jan. 29 with an afternoon session featuring Temple Grandin, be followed by an evening reception and be continued the next morning with a morning full of educational sessions.

In addition, the National Environmental Stewardship Award winner will be named, and some of the industry’s most cutting-edge individuals will be recognized at the Best of Beef Breakfast.

NCBA President and California cattleman Kevin Kester says the convention is the highlight of the year for many of the people who attend. “Combining the education, information, entertainment, engagement and important decision-making opportunities, the convention is what many producers look forward to every year,” says Kester. “This year’s event in New Orleans presents a welcome new and entertaining opportunity to explore a different part of the country, while retaining traditional elements of the convention we have come to expect and appreciate.”

To register and secure housing for the 2019 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show, visit

Growth Energy Launches New Website Introducing Unleaded 88 to Consumers, Retailers

Today, Growth Energy announced the launch of a new consumer-facing website for Unleaded 88 fuel: Unleaded 88 is the unified brand identify for E15 - a fuel blended with 15 percent ethanol - and is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency for cars model year 2001 and newer – about 9 out of 10 cars on the road today. is an easy to navigate hub for consumers looking for more information on Unleaded 88 and its’ benefits. The website showcases the value Unleaded 88 provides – whether consumers are looking for a fuel that’s good for their engines, their wallets, or the environment – in a simple and straightforward way. Born out of a request from convenience store retailers for a unified brand identity for E15, Unleaded 88 has made its debut across the country and will be the consistent labeling at more than 80 percent of today’s E15 stations.

“We are thrilled for to help boost the already successful reputation of E15 and give American drivers more confidence in their fuel choice,” said Growth Energy Vice President of Market Development Mike O’Brien. “The website is designed to highlight the benefits of this biofuel blend in a clear, concise way to better communicate Unleaded 88’s engine smart and earth kind attributes. Unifying the identity of E15 under Unleaded 88 provides a consistent and recognizable fuel brand and by the end of the 2018, consumers will be able to find Unleaded 88 labeled pumps at supporting retail locations across the nation, whether they’re filling up at a station in Minnesota or Pennsylvania.”

ASA’s WISHH to Launch Aqua Feed Program in Cambodia

The American Soybean Association’s (ASA) WISHH Program is building on its successful track record in aquaculture development by launching the Commercialization of Aquaculture for Sustainable Trade (CAST) – Cambodia. CAST will connect trade and development by accelerating production of high-demand fish species for the Cambodian market and developing a lasting aquaculture industry that recognizes the value of soy protein in feed.

As a result of an extensive competitive proposal process, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has selected WISHH to implement CAST under the USDA Food for Progress Program. WISHH’s previous FEEDing Pakistan project, also funded by USDA, played a groundbreaking role in introducing tilapia and U.S. soybean meal to Pakistan’s aquaculture industry. Now the fifth most populous country in the world, Pakistan continues to be an important U.S. soy customer. In West Africa, WISHH is currently implementing the AMPLIFIES Ghana project that improves Ghana’s poultry feed production capacity and increases efficiency in poultry value chains.

“CAST is an exciting affirmation of WISHH’s ability to connect trade and development,” said WISHH Chairman Daryl Cates, an Illinois soybean grower. “WISHH is a trailblazer for trade through CAST, which will improve agricultural productivity and expand trade of agricultural products through commercial aquaculture sector growth in Cambodia.”

The Southeast Asian country’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.

WISHH committee members have traveled to Cambodia and are eye witnesses to the potential for U.S. soy in the country. “I had the opportunity to represent Missouri soybean farmers on a trade mission to Cambodia last year,” said soybean grower David Lueck of Alma, Mo., who also serves on the WISHH Program Committee.” The Cambodian feed sector is growing rapidly, and they are increasing their consumption of U.S. soy.”

North Dakota soybean grower Matt Gast also serves on the WISHH Committee and joined WISHH staff in a variety of meetings in the region. “Aquaculture is really taking off in Cambodia, and soy protein demand will grow with it,” Gast said. “An importer of U.S. beans is building a brand new fish feed plant in Phnom Penh!”

The CAST project will benefit from the expertise of key partners, including Kansas State University, Auburn University 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.

FARM Program Launches Fourth Silo: FARM Workforce Development

The National Dairy FARM Program announced today the launch of its fourth program area, FARM Workforce Development. The initiative provides U.S. dairy farm owners and managers with educational tools that offer best management practices around human resources – including hiring, training, and supervision – and worker health and safety.

FARM Workforce Development was created by stakeholders from the entire dairy value chain to provide educational materials on one of the most pressing concerns for the dairy sector. The human resources part of the program focuses on how to best attract, invest in, and retain a professional, high-quality, engaged workforce.

The safety portion outlines how farms can further cultivate and demonstrate continuous commitment to on-farm safety. For the safety portion of the initiative, FARM is collaborating with the Idaho Dairymen’s Association (IDA) to develop a best-in-class safety resource for dairy farm owners and managers. IDA’s Dairy Workforce Training & Safety Program Oversight Board includes representation from dairy farm employees to provide the worker perspective into the development of the safety manual.

According to FARM Program management, these new educational resources will help farmers who want to broaden their understanding and implementation of human resources tools and safety practices for their employees.

“By making these tools available, we will further demonstrate the dairy industry’s existing commitment to continuous improvement in human resources and worker safety,” said Emily Yeiser Stepp, senior director of the FARM Program. “This new component of the FARM Program offers educational materials tailored to the needs of U.S. dairy farms of all sizes.”

The National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Program began developing its newest component last year, gathering expert and stakeholder input through its Workforce Development Task Force. Farmers, cooperative staff, academics, and other subject matter experts – divided into working groups – have reviewed, recommended and provided counsel on the program area’s resources. This reliance on stakeholder input ensures the Workforce Development materials are technically robust and relevant to today’s dairy industry.

The educational resources will provide farm owners with resources that can assist in increasing worker engagement, reducing employee turnover and enhancing the safety of dairy farming. Some of those resources will include:
-    State-by-state and federal legal fact sheets that summarize state laws and regulations on a variety of human resource issues for dairy farms, including wages, benefits, payroll, youth employment and more.
-    The FARM Human Resources Reference Manual that contains a self-assessment and templates, including a sample employee handbook.
-    The FARM Safety Reference Manual that provides dairy owners and managers with an overview of safety management best practices, legal considerations and more.

"Dairy farm employees are dedicated to high-quality animal care and producing nutritious milk. Farm owners and managers share that dedication and strive to create work environments that attract and retain employees. Until now, they didn't always have access to the proper resources to advance their farm's HR and safety management goals," said Nicole Ayache, NMPF’s Director of Sustainability Initiatives and FARM Workforce Development team leader. "It only made sense to bring those goals into the FARM Program's spirit of continuous improvement to enhance the safe, secure, and thriving work environments on our dairy farms."

USDA Announces Ag Census Response Rate, Release Details

The USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service concluded data collection for the 2017 Census of Agriculture with a 71.5 percent national response rate. The Census, conducted once every five years, was mailed to more than 3 million known and potential farms and ranches across the United States late last year. Data collection ended this July. Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories will receive their Census of Agriculture questionnaires in January 2019.

The 71.5 percent response rate for 2017 came in below the 74.5 percent response rate for the 2012 Census of Agriculture.

Data from the 2017 Census of Agriculture is scheduled to be released starting on February 21, 2019, in conjunction with the 2019 Agricultural Outlook Forum and continue on a staggered schedule through the spring of 2019. The results of the Census will be available in aggregate form, ensuring that no individual operation or producer can be identified, as required by Federal law. All Census data products will be available on NASS' recently merged NASS/Ag Census website at Watch for additional news about the Ag Census on USDA-NASS social media.

Two Census special studies will also be conducted this winter: the 2018 Census of Aquaculture and the 2018 Irrigation and Water Management Survey. These questionnaires will be mailed in December and January, respectively, to the farms that reported these activities in the 2017 Census of Agriculture. For more information about these upcoming special studies, visit

The Census of Agriculture provides the only source of comprehensive agricultural data for every State and county in the nation. As such, the data are widely-used by local and national decision-makers to help shape agricultural research and education programs, inform farm programs, boost rural infrastructure, determine disaster relief needs, and more.

Pork Prospects Improve, But Losses Loom

Chris Hurt, Purdue University

The pork outlook looked bleak in August. Fear of large pork supplies and Mexican and Chinese tariffs on U.S. pork exports appeared disastrous to hog prices. At that time, my forecast was for losses of $40 or more per head in the fall and winter, the worst since 1998. The outlook is still suggesting losses this fall and winter but much less than in August.

In the recent USDA inventory report, pork producers said they were continuing to expand the breeding herd by 3.5 percent above year-previous levels. The breeding herd has been expanding steadily since 2014 when the PED virus caused large baby pig losses resulting in skyrocketing hog prices and profits. The second driver since 2014 has been lower feed costs.

Producers reported the market herd was up three percent and represents the supply of hogs to come to market over the next five months. Farrowing intentions for this fall and winter were up two percent and with increased pigs per litter means that the number of market hogs in the spring and summer of 2019 are expected to be up about three percent.

Pork production will reach record levels in 2018 near 26.5 billion pounds. That record is expected to be broken in 2019 when production may reach 27.3 billion pounds-another three percent increase.

Why did lean hog futures collapse in the summer? We know that futures markets anticipate supply and demand conditions into the future, and sometimes the anticipation of bad news is not as severe as originally thought.

This seems to be the situation this year, especially related to the late-summer anticipation of the negative impacts of Mexican and Chinese tariffs on U.S. pork exports. Pork exports represent 22 percent of production and thus have become very important to the price of hogs. In addition, the tariff situation was a new event with little historic precedent for the market to draw on.

The magnitude of the price drop was huge. December lean hog futures as an example fell from about $60 in June to $44 by early August. The good news is that prices have recovered most of the decline, rising back to $58 by September 28.

So what are export prospects and what do we know so far about the influence of the tariffs? First, we can relate that USDA analysts expect pork exports to rise by a strong 6.3 percent this year. Official Census trade data through July show that exports had been up 6.5 percent which is encouraging

July was the first month of the full Chinese tariffs on U.S. pork. Our July pork exports to China and Hong Kong were down 17 percent. However exports to Mexico-our largest export customer were only down one percent. More importantly, total pork exports were up nearly nine percent with notable increases to Japan and South Korea, our second and fourth largest export buyers.

Weekly USDA Export Sales Reports extend through the week ending September 20 and have total commitments (already exported plus unshipped sales for this year) up 5.3 percent. On this more extensive data, China (plus Hong Kong) commitments for the year are down 32 percent; Mexico is unchanged; Canada is up 11 percent; and South Korea is up 37 percent. Together this information helps support the idea of stronger exports.

Mexican purchases seem to not be affected much by the tariffs and they are our largest customer purchasing 32% of all pork export volume in 2017. Exports to China and Hong Kong have been negatively impact, but they are much smaller-representing just nine percent of exports in 2017. In addition other buyers have more than compensated for the lost volume to China.

The second factor providing more optimism to lean hog futures has been the concern over potential hog death losses in China from African Swine Fever (ASF). ASF is difficult to control and animals must be destroyed in order to control the disease. China's pork production is 4.5 times that of the U.S. In addition, they raise 97 percent of their consumption domestically and import only three percent. So, a one percent loss of their production means they will need to increase imports by about one-third.

If ASF does result in increased Chinese imports, the U.S. may not get that business, but rather Canada and the EU will. The advantage for the U.S. is that we will get added exports to some of the destinations that Canada and the EU were shipping to.

Live weight prices for 51-52 percent lean carcasses are expected to average in the low $40s in the final quarter this year. An improvement to the mid-$40s is expected for the first quarter of 2019, and then low $50s in the spring and summer quarters. Price forecasts for the fall of 2019 drop back to the low-to-mid $40s.

Cost of production estimates are $49 to $51 per live hundredweight. My outlook is for losses of $10 to $20 per head this fall and winter and then for profits of $5 to $10 a head next spring and summer, before returning to losses late in 2019.

Needless to say, the pork outlook has improved with considerable uncertainties. Trade issues with Mexico have improved with a bilateral agreement. However it remains unclear if Congress will accept this potential agreement with Mexico without a trilateral agreement with Canada. The trade disagreements with China continue to escalate and it remains unknown if African Swine Fever will result in China increasing pork imports.

What does seem assured is that pork supplies will be at record levels. The recent rate of U.S. pork expansion probably cannot be sustained. The industry will simply reach a point where supplies are too large to sell at profitable prices.

Ocober 1 Crop Progress & Harvest Report - NE - IA - US


For the week ending September 30, 2018, there were 5.1 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 2 percent very short, 12 short, 83 adequate, and 3 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 1 percent very short, 13 short, 83 adequate, and 3 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn condition rated 2 percent very poor, 4 poor, 11 fair, 52 good, and 31 excellent. Corn mature was 84 percent, ahead of 68 last year and 71 for the five-year average. Harvested was 17 percent, ahead of 11 both last year and average.

Soybean condition rated 2 percent very poor, 3 poor, 10 fair, 57 good, and 28 excellent. Soybeans dropping leaves was 92 percent, near 91 last year, and ahead of 85 average. Harvested was 27 percent, ahead of 18 last year and 17 average.

Winter wheat planted was 72 percent, ahead of 67 last year, but near 74 average. Emerged was 31 percent, behind 38 last year and 41 average.

Sorghum condition rated 1 percent very poor, 2 poor, 15 fair, 53 good, and 29 excellent. Sorghum mature was 71 percent, ahead of 60 last year and 65 average. Harvested was 17 percent, near 16 last year, and ahead of 9 average.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 2 percent very poor, 6 poor, 19 fair, 60 good, and 13 excellent.


Soggy conditions persisted for yet another week leaving Iowa farmers just 3.1 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending September 30, 2018, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Activities for the week included seeding cover crops and harvesting corn, soybeans and hay when weather permitted.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 1 percent very short, 3 percent short, 69 percent adequate and 27 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 3 percent very short, 5 percent short, 67 percent adequate and 25 percent surplus. While topsoil moisture supplies in south central Iowa have improved to above 70 percent rated adequate to surplus, subsoil moisture levels still rated 59 percent short to very short.

Eighty-eight percent of the corn crop was mature, just over a week ahead of average. Eleven percent of the State’s corn for grain crop has been harvested, 5 days ahead of average. Farmers in southeast Iowa continue to lead the way with 29 percent of their corn for grain harvested. Moisture content of field corn being harvested was at 21 percent. Corn condition rated 75 percent good to excellent.

Nearly all of the soybean crop was coloring with 88 percent dropping leaves, 9 days ahead of average. Fifteen percent of the soybean crop has been harvested, 1 day ahead of average. Soybean condition rated 74 percent good to excellent.

The third cutting of alfalfa hay was nearly complete at 98 percent.

Pasture conditions improved slightly to 53 percent good to excellent. Pastures have responded well to recent rains and cooler temperatures. Muddy conditions made feedlots challenging.

Soybean Harvest Slows While Corn Harvest Speeds Along

The U.S. soybean harvest slowed last week while the corn harvest continued to speed along, USDA's National Ag Statistics Service said in its weekly Crop Progress report on Monday.

As of Sunday, Sept. 30, 26% of corn was harvested nationwide, 9 percentage points ahead of the average pace of 17%. That was further ahead of normal than the previous week when harvest was 5 percentage points ahead of average.

The soybean harvest, on the other hand, slowed last week. As of Sunday, 23% of the crop was harvested, just 3 percentage points ahead of the five-year average of 20%. That compares to the previous week when harvest was 6 percentage points ahead of average.

Meanwhile, both crops continued to reach maturity ahead of the normal pace. Eighty-six percent of corn was mature, 15 percentage pointsahead of the average of 71%. Soybeans were 83% dropping leaves, 8 percentage points ahead of the average of 75%.

Nationwide, condition ratings for both corn and soybeans were unchanged from the previous week with corn rated 69% good to excellent and soybeans rated 68% good to excellent.

Winter wheat planting jumped again from 28% the previous week to 43% finished last week. That's ahead of 34% at the same time last year and also slightly ahead of the five-year average of 40%. Winter wheat emerged, at 14%, was ahead of last year's 10% but equal to the average pace.

Sorghum coloring was 97%, ahead of the five-year average of 95%. Sorghum mature was estimated at 62%, slightly ahead of 59% at the same time last year but near the five-year average of 63%. Thirty-four percent of the sorghum crop was harvested as of Sunday, behind the average pace of 36%.

Seventy percent of rice was harvested as of Sunday, behind last year's 76% but equal to the five-year average. Sixty-seven percent of cotton had bolls opening, equal to the average. Nineteen percent of cotton was harvested, ahead of last year's 17% and also ahead of the average pace of 13%.

Monday October 1 Ag News

LENRD Board adopts voluntary Integrated Management Plan

Being proactive in the conjunctive management of  groundwater and surface water is what led the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) Board of Directors to implement a voluntary Integrated Management Plan (IMP) for the protection of the resources.  The citizens of the LENRD depend on abundant water resources for domestic, agricultural, and industrial uses, all of which contribute to the economy of the district.  Water resources are also important for wildlife habitat and recreational uses such as fishing, hunting, boating, and swimming.

In early 2012, the LENRD board took action to initiate development of a joint voluntary IMP with the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources (NDNR), to provide a needed framework for wise, long-term management of finite water resources.

In 2013, the NDNR and the seven NRDs that make up the Lower Platte River Basin, formed the Lower Platte River Basin Coalition.  The Coalition’s mission is to coordinate efforts to protect the long-term balance of the Basin’s water uses and water supplies.  A primary action of the Coalition was to voluntarily develop a Lower Platte Basin Water Management Plan, which was adopted by all parties as of January 10, 2018.

The LENRD continued to move forward with their individual plan, and developed a Stakeholder Advisory Committee consisting of representatives from: Agriculture, Industry, Public Water Supply, Domestic well owners, Environmental, as well as County and City officials. This Committee met in 2014 and 2015 to help prioritize goals and action items of the IMP.  The district continued to work with the NDNR to develop a working draft over the next several years.

The NDNR and the LENRD jointly held a public meeting to discuss and answer public questions on the IMP on August 9, 2018.  A public hearing was then held on August 23, 2018, where public testimony on the final version of the plan was recorded.  After reviewing the testimony, the LENRD board voted to approve the IMP at their September 27th board meeting.

LENRD Assistant Manager, Brian Bruckner, said, “The purpose of this voluntary IMP is to achieve and sustain a long-term balance between water uses and water supplies.  Protection of existing users is also a major factor since there is still available water in the Basin, and the District is continuing to add new users on an annual basis. This will be achieved through coordinated management of hydrologically connected groundwater and surface water resources.  The voluntary IMP is considered a proactive approach to protecting available water supplies to better ensure that the resource will be available for future generations and also makes the District eligible to apply for grant funding through the NDNR Water Sustainability Fund.”

In other action, the board authorized LENRD General Manager, Mike Sousek, to sign the contract with JEO Consulting Group to update the District’s Hazard Mitigation Plan.

The board also authorized the signing of an interlocal agreement for obtaining seedling trees and shrubs with the Nebraska Association of Resources Districts for the LENRD’s Conservation Tree Program.

In other business, staff was authorized to solicit bids for flow meter maintenance on mechanical meters in Madison and Antelope Counties for 776 meters and will sign a contract with the lowest responsible bidder.

The next committee meeting will be held on Thursday, October 11th at 7:00 p.m..  The next board meeting is scheduled for Thursday, October 25th at 7:30 p.m. at the LENRD office in Norfolk.

Ricketts Receives “High Octane Champion” Award from Nebraska’s Ethanol Industry

At a ceremony at the site of KAAPA Ethanol Holding’s future headquarters in Kearney, Governor Pete Ricketts has been recognized as a 2018 High Octane Champion by Renewable Fuels Nebraska, the trade association for Nebraska’s ethanol industry. The award was developed by the RFN membership as a way to recognize public policy leaders that strongly support Nebraska’s $5 billion ethanol industry.

“As Nebraska’s ethanol industry, we are pleased to recognize Governor Ricketts as a national leader among his peers on ethanol and biofuels advocacy. In short, he gets it” said RFN Executive Director Troy Bredenkamp. “Whether it is meetings at the White House or frank conversations with the EPA administrator, Governor Ricketts has taken many opportunities to advocate for ethanol and express the benefits of biofuels to the Nebraska and US farm economy. This award is a small token of our appreciation and a way to recognize him for all that he does for us on a regular basis.”

Ricketts took the lead on offering up the state of Nebraska to conduct a comprehensive and scientific study to test the use of E30 blended gasoline in conventional, non-flex fuel state vehicles. After over a year of consideration and constant pressure by Ricketts, the EPA announced just last week that the application for the E30 pilot study was approved and can begin. The study will be administered by the state of Nebraska in conjunction with the University of Nebraska and will be completed in 18 months. Much attention will be on Nebraska and this study, with ethanol proponents such as RFN excited at what the data may show and how higher, mid-grade ethanol blends could be used in the future.

“We fully expect this study to show what we already know; that is that conventional, non-FFV vehicles can utilize mid-grade blends of ethanol fuels without any adverse impact to the vehicles, and huge potential benefits to the environment and the US farm economy.” said Bredenkamp. “We would not be where we are at without Governor Ricketts leadership on this and many other ethanol issues, and Nebraska’s ethanol producers wants him to know we appreciate everything he has done, and continues to do, on behalf of Nebraska and America’s ethanol industry.”


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

How much did the spring and summer's weather affect the feed value of your hay?  You don’t know?  Then forage test.

The nutrient concentration of nearly every bushel of corn is similar, but with hay it varies considerably.  Why does this happen?  Well, there are many causes.  For example, leafiness of the hay, or maturity of the plant when your hay was cut, or even how you handled the hay during raking and baling all can affect its feed value.

This year, weather conditions have made things more complicated.  This spring's cool, dry weather in many areas caused many folks to delay first cutting.  Then summer rains damaged hay while leaf diseases, mature plants, and other factors made much alfalfa lower in quality.  Also during summer we had periods of hot and very humid weather that often caused plants to burn off their easily digested nutrients at night, leaving us with hay that looks really good but is high in fiber and low in energy.

Grass hay might be even more difficult to predict.  Some fields had fewer seedheads than normal.  This might give higher quality hay, but if harvest was delayed in hopes of increasing yield or if summer heat affected grass quality like it affects alfalfa, grass hay quality might actually be lower.  And when late growth was stimulated by extra rain, plants used many nutrients for increased tonnage instead of quality.

So you see, this year, just like always, forage testing is important.  It is the only way that you can find out for sure ahead of time what the feed value is of your hay.

So gather samples now for testing, before feeding your animals and before it's too late. 

Nebraska Beef Council Conference Call October 2, 2018

The Nebraska Beef Council Board of Director's will have a conference call on Tuesday, October 2, 2018 beginning at 1:00 p.m. CDT at the Nebraska Beef Council office at 1319 Central Ave., Kearney, NE. The NBC Board of Directors will discuss the year-end Federation investment. For more information, please contact Pam Esslinger at 

Congress allows farm bill to expire; strands programs without funding

Congress allowed the 2014 farm bill to expire yesterday, Sept. 30, and took no action to renew or extend it. In response, Anna Johnson, policy manager with the Center for Rural Affairs, said the organization is disappointed that today, Oct. 1, 2018, has come without the passage of a new farm bill or an extension of the previous farm bill.

“When funding for farm bill programs is tight, every available program dollar delivers value to rural America,” Johnson said. “Congress is irresponsible to leave more than a billion dollars for demonstrably effective programs on the table without passing a farm bill extension, as they continue to debate a final bill.”

Programs stranded with funding but no authority to operate include the Conservation Stewardship Program, the Conservation Reserve Program, the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, and the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program. In addition, other programs that invest in rural economies have lost their funding, including the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program, the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, the National Organic Certification Cost-Share Program, and several others.

“Congress is allowing programs that serve our beginning farmers and rural communities to fall by the wayside in a reckless manner,” Johnson said. “Allowing a farm bill to expire and stranding this many programs is a careless action and leaves many farmers and ranchers behind.”

She said Congress failed rural America when they chose not to pass a farm bill or farm bill extension. Johnson and the Center for Rural Affairs urge Congress to pass a farm bill extension quickly to fund these programs.

“Put politics aside, come to the negotiating table, and pass legislation that serves rural America,” she said.

Ricketts Praises the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts issued a statement following news from the White House on a new trade agreement with Canada and Mexico named the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

“President Trump has delivered on his promise to finalize a new trade deal with Canada and Mexico,” said Governor Ricketts.  “The importance of this new deal to Nebraska cannot be overstated.  These two countries are top customers for Nebraska, and are critical markets for growing trade opportunities.  This new deal makes progress in the three areas Nebraska’s leaders outlined for trade negotiations with these countries over a year ago.  Most importantly, it helps give Nebraska’s farmers and businesses much-needed certainty, and will help us grow these important trade relationships for years to come.”

Mexico is Nebraska’s second largest export market and Canada is the state’s third largest market.  Combined, the countries purchased over $2.4 billion worth of Nebraska’s exports in 2016.  Canada and Mexico are also substantial direct international investors in Nebraska, employing about 6,400 people in the state.  Mexico is the state’s largest export market for corn, dairy products, and sugar/sweeteners.  Canada is Nebraska’s largest export market for ethanol and dog and cat food.

Here is a breakdown of Nebraska’s top six agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico (combined):
·         Corn: $315 million
·         Beef: $246.6 million
·         Soybeans and Soybean Products: $217.6 million
·         Sugars and Sweeteners: $124.2 million
·         Ethanol: $88.5 million
·         Pork: $78.3 million

Statement by Steve Nelson, President, Regarding U.S., Canada, Mexico Trade Agreement (USCMA)

“The announcement that the U.S., Canada, and Mexico have come to terms on a new and improved free-trade agreement is a major ‘win’ for Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers and an important step forward in helping eliminate trade related uncertainty in agricultural markets.”

“Mexico and Canada are Nebraska’s two largest customers for agricultural goods. This new deal not only maintains the positive market access system for our major commodities in Nebraska, but also sweetens the pot by addressing many concerns for our dairy producers, including improved market access.”

“Exports of Nebraska agricultural goods to these two countries exceeded $2.9 billion in 2016 and accounted for 45 percent of Nebraska’s total agricultural exports that year. Mexico and Canada are major customers for Nebraska beef and Mexico has been a top customer for Nebraska corn, and the second-largest customer for Nebraska soybeans and wheat. These countries are also major importers of ethanol and distillers dried grains from Nebraska.”

“Any way you slice it, Mexico and Canada are critically important customers for Nebraska agriculture. We applaud the President for his work to get the U.S., Canada, Mexico Trade Agreement (USCMA) done. This is more positive news following the signing of an updated free trade deal with South Korea (KORUS), and news that the U.S. is in negotiations on a new bilateral deal with Japan, and in talks with the European Union. While there is still much work to be done with China, these actions have us on the right path to providing access for Nebraska agriculture commodities to global customers who are critical to Nebraska farm and ranch families. We look forward to continuing to work with this administration to grow market access for our products around the globe and with Congress to assure passage of the USCMA.”

Fischer Statement on U.S.-Canada-Mexico Agreement

U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, released the following statement today after the administration announced the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA):

“Mexico and Canada are Nebraska’s two largest trading partners. I’m grateful to President Trump for following through on his commitment to negotiate a better trade deal between our three countries. I’m optimistic this agreement will bring good opportunities to Nebraska producers and our state.”

Smith Statement on NAFTA Agreement

Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) released the below statement following the Trump administration’s announcement of a trade agreement between the United States, Mexico, and Canada.

“I’m very pleased to hear the administration has come to an agreement with Mexico and Canada to update NAFTA with a new US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) which builds on its successes. I have long supported a three-country agreement because it is vital to Nebraska’s agricultural producers and to our rural economy. I look forward to considering USMCA as Congress studies the details and I commend President Trump’s team for their success in reaching this point.”

Smith is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee which has jurisdiction over trade.

Updated North American trade agreement reached

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig issued the following statement regarding the announcement that the U.S., Canada and Mexico have reached an updated North American trade agreement.

“This is the welcome news our farmers need as they bring in this year’s harvest and plan for 2019. Canada and Mexico are our first and second largest trading partners. This agreement brings much needed certainty to our producers and ensures access to these critical markets going forward. This brings positive momentum as the Administration works to conclude other trade agreements. As I have done since becoming Secretary, I will continue to push for opening additional export markets and greater market access for Iowa agriculture products like higher blends of renewable fuels and the approval of E15 year round.”



While we look forward to the opportunity to fully evaluate the details of this agreement made in principle with Mexico and Canada, we applaud the Trump Administration for finding a path forward with these two important trade partners as it has the potential to deliver market access for Iowa farmers and rural America ne­ ed.

Trade policy has a significant impact on Iowa’s corn farmers. The success of our rural economies depends on expanding markets for corn in all forms. For Iowa agriculture to thrive, we need trade agreements that recognize how important it is that the U.S. meat and grain industries including beef, pork, corn, soybeans, and biofuels, have market access at a competitive level in North America and across the globe.  ICGA is committed to banding with other farm organizations in working with President Trump’s Administration on ways to both preserve and expand upon agriculture sector gains achieved in the North American market.

Since its passage more than two decades ago, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has profoundly changed North American agriculture. NAFTA eliminated nearly all tariff and quota restrictions in agriculture resulting in an integrated system between Canada, Mexico and the United States. This has propelled these countries to the top of the U.S. list in importance for agricultural trade. For the past 20 years, U.S. agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico tripled and quintupled, respectively. One in every 10 acres on American farms is planted to feed our neighbors to the north and south.

Mexico is the number one market for U.S. corn and the number two market for U.S. distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS). Canada ranks as our ninth largest customer for U.S. corn, DDGS, and ethanol.  The U.S. meat industry has also benefited from duty-free access to Mexico and Canada. These are both top five markets for beef and pork, with Mexico being the leading volume market for pork and second largest market for beef.

Iowa farmers want to continue to serve this important international customer base and further expand our export opportunities. We look forward to working the Trump Administration and Congress to preserve and expand our competitive edge in agriculture with this vital agreement.

Iowa cattlemen eager to see details of USMCA

For more than a year, Iowa’s cattle producers have waited with bated breath, hoping that the North American Free Trade Agreement would be renegotiated without harming the beef industry. On Oct. 1, a last minute agreement between the U.S., Canada and Mexico, dubbed USMCA, was announced. USMCA is intended to replace the 24-year-old NAFTA trade deal.

Citing unfair provisions for the manufacturing industry, President Trump has made multiple threats to withdraw the U.S. from the agreement completely, however, NAFTA has been one of the greatest success stories in the history of the American beef industry. The agreement removed tariffs on U.S. beef exports to Canada and Mexico, developing roughly $2 billion in annual sales. Since NAFTA was implemented in 1993, U.S. beef exports to Mexico have increased more than 750%.

Renegotiations have been ongoing since August of 2017, causing uncertainty for two of the U.S. beef industry’s top export markets. In 2017, Mexico was the third most valuable export market for U.S. beef and Canada was fourth. The two countries account for nearly $70 per head of value.

“Our desire has always been to protect the market access and scientific standards that NAFTA has provided for the US beef industry for nearly 25 years. We are eager to hear more details about USMCA and hope that it will continue the successful trade relationship we’ve had with Canada and Mexico,” said JanLee Rowlett, Iowa Cattlemen’s Association government relations manager.

Each of the three countries involved must renew USCMA every six years. If it is not renewed, the agreement will expire after 16 years.

The new trade agreement does not affect any of the tariffs the U.S. imposed on steel and aluminum from Canada, and a 10% tariff on prepared beef products sent to Canada remains in place. The Canadian tariff was put in effect in July in retaliation for U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs.

Congress must approve the new trade agreement, in a vote expected to take place next year.

The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association will continue to encourage trade agreements that are favorable for the beef industry, including a bilateral agreement with Japan and increased trade with China.

Secretary Perdue Statement on United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today issued the following statement regarding the announcement of a United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA):

“The great news of a new USMCA deal is important for our economy as a whole, including the agricultural sector, which counts Canada and Mexico in our top three trading partners. I have long said that I believe our country is located in the best neighborhood on Earth – North America – with valuable allies to our north and south.  We have secured greater access to these vital markets and will maintain and improve the highly productive integrated agricultural relationship we have as nations. Notably, as one of the President’s top goals, this deal eliminates Canada’s unfair ‘Class 7’ milk pricing scheme, cracks open additional access to U.S. dairy into Canada, and imposes new disciplines on Canada’s supply management system. The agreement also preserves and expands critical access for U.S. poultry and egg producers and addresses Canada’s discriminatory wheat grading process to help U.S. wheat growers along the border become more competitive.

“As we celebrate this breakthrough, it is worth noting that there were many detractors who said it couldn’t be done.  But this is further proof that President Trump’s trade negotiation strategy is working. A renewed USMCA, a new KORUS agreement, and the continued progress with Japan, can lead to further deals with other trading partners like the European Union and China. The dominoes are falling and it is good news for U.S. farmers. I thank President Trump and our U.S. Trade Representative, Ambassador Lighthizer for their perseverance, leadership, and hard work.”

NPPC Hails U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement; Designates Congressional Ratification As ‘Key Vote’

The National Pork Producers Council praised the Trump administration for establishing a free trade agreement that preserves zero-tariff access for U.S. pork to Mexico and Canada. The agreement, which was sent by the administration to Capitol Hill for ratification today, will be designated by NPPC as a “key vote” to ensure that its members are informed about “yes” and “no” votes on the pact.

“We thank the administration for its diligent work to complete recent agreements that maintain zero-tariff access to three of U.S. pork’s top five markets,” said Jim Heimerl, NPPC president and a pork producer for Johnstown, Ohio. “The three-way pact with Mexico and Canada, our largest and fourth largest export markets, respectively, and the recently signed agreement with Korea represent welcome momentum during what has been a challenging year.”

Last week, the administration formally signed a modernized free trade agreement with South Korea that retained the zero-tariff access to U.S. pork’s fifth largest export market.

Heimerl added, “We urge Congress to quickly ratify the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, and we’ll closely monitor this as a key vote for our members, who have demonstrated incredible perseverance as the administration realigns U.S. global trade policy.”

U.S. pork is currently on three trade retaliation lists that have placed 40 percent of total exports under punitive tariffs. NPPC continues to urge the administration to remove tariffs on Mexican steel and aluminum imports so that country will lift its 20 percent retaliatory tariff on U.S. pork.

U.S. Grains Council Statement On Trade Agreement With Mexico And Canada

USGC Chairman Jim Stitzlein:

“The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) is very pleased to see the United States, Mexico and Canada have reached a new agreement.

"No trade agreement has had more impact on our sector than NAFTA which prompted explosive growth in our export sales to both countries as well as the development of a fully-integrated grains and livestock supply chain within North America. Over the past two decades, this agreement has proven beneficial for the producers, agricultural sectors and economies of all three countries.

"We appreciate the dedicated, hard work of our negotiating team to achieve this outcome with our neighbors and customers and look forward to fully examining the new text as the process of approving the new agreement begins a new phase."

New 'NAFTA' Announced: Soybean Growers Pleased Administration has Reached Deal with Canada and Mexico

The Administration’s announcement that it has reached an agreement with Canada, bringing to fruition a trilateral trade agreement including Mexico, is welcome news for soy growers. Once approved by Congress, a finalized U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement will bring stability back to the North American markets.

Under NAFTA, U.S. soy exports to Canada and Mexico were almost $3 billion in 2017, and U.S. soy exports to Mexico have grown four-fold under the agreement. Mexico is now the second largest export market for U.S. soybeans and meal. Additionally, roughly $43 billion of agriculture products are exported to Canada and Mexico every year.

ASA President and soybean grower from Keota, Iowa, John Heisdorffer said, “Our soybean harvest this year is large, and we are facing great uncertainty in China, so a modernized NAFTA is timely and beneficial for our farmers and rural communities.”

The new deal, dubbed USMCA, will help stabilize the U.S.’s two neighboring export markets for growers, something that the American Soybean Association (ASA) has been requesting of the Administration. And, this news follows last week’s announcement that the U.S. had signed a new free trade agreement with Korea and that negotiations are in progress with Japan.

“With USMCA, KORUS, and other agreements in sight, we are hopeful that a negotiated solution to the China tariffs could be in sight,” commented Heisdorffer.

Corn Farmers Praise New US-Mexico-Canada Agreement

The National Corn Growers Association President Lynn Chrisp today released the following statement after an announcement that the United States, Canada, and Mexico reached an agreement in principle on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), renamed the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

“Farmers across the country have been closely following NAFTA negotiations and reminding the administration of its promise to ‘do no harm’ to agriculture.”

“NAFTA has been an unequivocal success story for American agriculture, opening markets that since enactment have become vitally important to U.S. corn farmers, and providing certainty to farmers and the rural economy. We applaud USTR for reaching a new agreement and look forward to thoroughly evaluating it to determine if it continues to benefit American agriculture.”

Last year the United States exported $3.2 billion of corn and corn products to Mexico and Canada, supporting 25,000 rural jobs. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that trade with Canada and Mexico supports 14 million U.S. jobs across many sectors. 

New US-Mexico-Canada Agreement "Great News" for Cattle Producers

Kevin Kester, a fifth-generation California rancher and President of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, today released the following statement in response to news that negotiators have reached agreement on a new U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement:

“This new agreement is great news for American cattle producers, and another sign that President Trump’s overall trade strategy is working. Over the past quarter century, free and open trade between the United States, Mexico, and Canada has been tremendously successful for our producers, and we’re pleased that we’ll be able to maintain our existing market access while seeing other U.S. producers get a better deal than they’ve gotten in the past. Hopefully Congress will approve this new deal early next year and provide American producers with the certainty we need to continue selling our products to our partners to the north and south.”

Farm Bureau Applauds Trade Progress with Canada

President Zippy Duvall

“Today’s announcement regarding the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement is welcome news. This was a hard-fought win and we commend the administration for all the efforts to solidify the trading relationships we have with our North American neighbors.

“Farm Bureau will review the details of the new treaty as they become available, but the elimination of Canada’s Class 7 dairy pricing program is a clear victory for our farmers. We also now have access to an additional 3.6 percent of Canada’s dairy market, which is even better than what we would have achieved under TPP.

“Trade is critical to agriculture, especially trade with our two closest neighbors. The USMCA builds on the success our farmers and ranchers have seen from NAFTA.

“Mexico, meanwhile, is still an $18 billion market for U.S. ag products. The USMCA includes new provisions to provide science-based trading standards, timely review of products produced through biotechnology and gene editing and new provisions on geographic indications.

 “We are grateful for the progress with Mexico and Canada, and we look forward to working with the Administration to strengthen new and existing opportunities for agricultural trade across the globe.”

NGFA, NAEGA commend Trump administration for achieving trilateral trade agreement with Mexico, Canada

The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) and North American Export Grain Association (NAEGA) today commended the Trump administration and its counterparts in Mexico and Canada for reaching a trilateral trade agreement.

"Given the integrated nature of the North American economy, including within the food and agricultural sector, it was extremely important to reach a trade agreement that included all three countries," said NGFA President and Chief Executive Officer Randy Gordon and NAEGA President and Chief Executive Officer Gary Martin. "The announcement of a new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) represents a significant, positive step in modernizing and further enhancing North American food and agricultural commerce that has and will continue to benefit economic growth and consumers in this hemisphere, and further enhance investment and food security."

NGFA and NAEGA said they looked forward to working with all three governments as part of the review and ensuing implementation of the agreement.

"Our industry is encouraged about reports that the final agreement takes steps to modify some existing impediments to agricultural trade, including dairy, and will preserve some form of the trilateral Chapter 19 tariff dispute-settlement mechanism contained in the North American Free Trade Agreement," Gordon and Martin said.

The NGFA and NAEGA also said they were particularly pleased by what they understand to be several efforts to preserve and enhance current trade terms in North America that were agreed to initially between the United States and Mexico. These include: the retention of zero tariffs on agricultural products traded between the United States and Mexico; the addition of 21st century language to enhance information exchange and cooperation on agricultural biotechnology trade-related matters; an agreement to strengthen disciplines for science-based sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures to facilitate trade; and an agreement that grading standards and services on agricultural products, including grains and oilseeds, will operate independently from domestic registration systems for grain and oilseed varieties. Concerning SPS measures, the NGFA and NAEGA said they particularly were pleased by the inclusion of a provision - advocated by both groups - that would commit the three countries to provide notification of any adverse SPS import issues within five days, versus the seven days that had been agreed to under the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement from which the United States withdrew.

The NGFA and NAEGA expressed appreciation to the White House, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and the team of negotiators within the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, as well as to negotiators from Mexico and Canada, for their persistence and determination to reach an agreement that is in the best interests of all three countries.

The NGFA and NAEGA said they looked forward to providing further analysis and input once the full details of the agreement are examined, and to participating fully in the process as the next phase of forwarding the new agreement to the legislative bodies in each country begins. The Associations also look forward to building on the successful USMCA to support U.S. trade initiatives with Japan, China, the European Union and other markets.

U.S. Dairy Organizations Thank Trump Administration for Concluding New Trade Agreement with Canada, Mexico

The trade agreement reached last night between the United States and Canada includes the elimination of Canada’s Class 7 pricing system and creation of some additional market access, two important objectives of the U.S. dairy sector.

The National Milk Producers Federation, (NMPF), the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) thanked Trump Administration negotiators for fighting hard against Canada’s trade-distorting practices. The groups look forward to reviewing the text of the U.S. -Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), in particular the dairy provisions, to better understand the benefits to U.S. agriculture and dairy.

Canada has strictly controlled imports for decades to limit the supply of milk in the country. Recently, as milk production in Canada has grown, it created the Class 7 pricing system to dump surplus milk proteins onto global markets, in direct competition with exports from the United States and other nations.

From a strategic standpoint, the agreement announced Sunday night will benefit America’s dairy sector because it preserves the overall structure of the 24-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

“The outlines of the NAFTA pact remain intact, which will allow the U.S. agricultural sector to continue developing new international markets for our farmers,” said Tom Vilsack, president and CEO of USDEC. “We also need to pursue new free trade agreements with other nations and resolve our trade conflicts with China. It is imperative that the United States remains an integral player in driving the global trade agenda.”

While Canada will remain a largely self-contained, protected milk market, “this agreement, when implemented, should give us additional marketing opportunities that will allow us to provide high-quality American dairy products to Canada, which means we’ve made incremental progress,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “We appreciate that the Trump Administration continually raised the profile of our issues at the negotiating table.”

“Maintaining dairy market access in Mexico and improving market access into Canada were IDFA’s top priorities during the talks to modernize NAFTA,” said Michael Dykes, D.V.M., president and CEO of IDFA. “We’re also pleased that the Administration was successful in getting Canada to eliminate Class 7 pricing. This new agreement will preserve our vital partnership with both countries and allow the U.S. dairy industry to seek more export opportunities.”

The dairy groups said that the ultimate benefit of the new USMCA will depend on how it is implemented. Now that a tentative trilateral agreement has been reached, the dairy organizations urged the governments of the three nations to remove their tariffs on agricultural exports – as well as steel and aluminum – that have been sticking points in relations between the United States, Mexico and Canada.

The three organizations also thanked the many members of Congress who insisted than an increase in dairy market access be an essential outcome to the negotiations.

U.S., Canada, Mexico Reach Deal on New Trade Pact

In a break to what has been more than a year of feuding and tense negotiations, the U.S. has reached an agreement with Canada and Mexico on a new trade pact, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

While announcement is a bit of welcome news to family farmers and ranchers who are bearing the brunt of retaliatory tariffs and trade disruptions, the agreement should do more to institute a fair trade agreement framework that benefits family farmers and rural communities, according to National Farmers Union (NFU).

NFU President Roger Johnson released the following statement in response to the new trade pact:

“After more than a year of escalating trade tensions, the prospects of progress on trade with our two closest trading partners is encouraging. Farmers have seen their income plummet over the past five years, only to have farm prices further depressed by trade disruptions. While this agreement is certainly no cure-all, it is hopefully a start to repairing our trade relationships around the world, to restoring our reputation as a reliable trading partner, and to resolving longstanding issues with discrimination against U.S. wheat.

“Farmers Union supports the President’s goals to balance trade and restore sovereignty that has been lost as a result of past trade agreements. We have long been at the forefront of the fight for fair trade that puts family farmers and ranchers on an even playing field with corporations and the rest of the world. Yet a couple areas in this agreement appear to fall short of these goals. Progress was made on the dispute settlement mechanisms—provisions that place tremendous power in the hands of multinational corporations—but the ISDS framework remains. And country-of-origin labeling, which is supported by 90 percent of Americans, was unfortunately left out of the agreement.”

Wheat Grower Organizations React to New Trade Deal with Canada and Mexico

The National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) and U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) welcome the Administration’s decision to move ahead with an updated trade deal with Canada and Mexico and look forward to learning more about the details.

We are pleased that the Administration recognizes the need for policy certainty with some of our top customers. While NAWG and USW must review the language of the new deal, we hope to see provisions that are positive for wheat farmers.

The current North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is critically important for wheat farmers who depend on the enormous Mexican market that NAFTA built, but it did have room for improvements, particularly on grain trade with Canada. NAWG and USW called for a fix to the Canadian grain grading system which automatically designates U.S. wheat as the lowest grade simply because it is foreign. This means U.S. farmers producing the highest quality wheat arbitrarily get less value for their crop.

Farmers need to understand that nothing has changed yet, but we are pleased to see that USTR has made progress in resolving this issue, with Canada agreeing to grade imported wheat with the same requirements as Canadian wheat. We will follow the implementation of this commitment closely to ensure U.S. farmers can finally have reciprocal access to the Canadian market.

Statement of NCFC President Chuck Conner on USMCA Announcement

“Today’s announcement that an agreement has been reached on a new United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement is welcome news for America’s farmers and their co-ops. Ensuring continued trade with two of our most important partners is especially important as agricultural producers continue to face low prices across a broad swath of commodities. We look forward to reviewing the details of the new agreement over the course of the next few days.”

Corn Farmers Deserve $.50-$1.00 Per Bushel Compensation From MFP

“The Trump Administration should be paying corn farmers at least $.50 per bushel if not $1.00 per bushel in compensation for the low prices resulting from an estimated 800 million bushels of lost domestic corn demand resulting from the ethanol waivers EPA and the Administration has provided big oil companies since 2017,” said Gale Lush, American Corn Growers Foundation (ACGF) Chairman, a corn, soybeans and wheat farmer from Wilcox, NE. “It’s one thing to kill export markets for corn with this tariff war. It’s even worse to kill homegrown domestic ethanol-driven corn demand right here in our own American market. Congress also needs to prove they have learned the farm policy lessons of the past 40 years, including the fact that U.S. corn exports in 2018 are only back to the level of 1980. Fortunately, ethanol had stepped in and was saving us temporarily with stronger corn prices. Without the ethanol Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) farmers and rural America would have had an economic meltdown waiting for the ‘export-oriented, free trade’ farm and trade policy to deliver as promised. Congress needs to get on the ball and take whatever measures are necessary to protect and strengthen the RFS because Trump’s tariff trade war is hurting corn exports and the EPA’s big oil company RFS waivers are destroying domestic corn demand. This all adds to U.S. corn inventory and lower prices. Farmer-owned grain reserves in the new farm bill could manage supply without stimulating competing foreign grain production from higher prices. USDA should pay farmers commercial storage rates for storing corn and soybeans in on-farm storage because Trump’s tariffs and ethanol waivers will cause us to store grain for years.”

Dan McGuire, ACGF Policy Director said, “RFS ethanol waivers for big oil companies have reduced domestic corn demand by about 800 million bushels by some estimates, adding that 800 million bushels to corn ending stocks. USDA’s September 12th WASDE report projects 2018/19 corn ending stocks at 1.774 billion bushels and corn prices at $3.50. Had ethanol waivers not cut that 800 million bushels of corn demand corn ending stocks would be 974 million bushels. That’s important because the higher ending stocks in USDA’s latest report translate to an 11.7% ending stocks-to-use ratio. That ratio would be 6.4% had that 800 million bushels been utilized for domestic ethanol and corn prices would be higher. In 2011/12 when corn ending stocks were 989 million bushels corn prices averaged $6.22 per bushel. That is strong historical evidence. Congress should immediately add at least $.50 per bushel, and a strong case can be made for adding $1.00 per bushel for corn in the new farm bill as compensation to corn farmers for the lower corn prices caused by tariffs and weakened domestic ethanol demand from the ethanol RFS waivers that the EPA keeps giving oil companies. $.50 per bushel on a 14.8 billion bushel corn crop equals $7.4 billion. $1.00 per bushel equals $14.8 billion. The Administration is responsible for this negative trade, ethanol demand and low corn price situation. They need to compensate farmers.”

McGuire added, “Regarding exports, USDA’s own historical export facts and database tell the story. Congress irresponsibly bought into the ‘export-oriented’ farm policy mantra from big multinational grain trading companies and their industry lobbyists. That shaped the 1985 farm bill and began dismantling supply management tools. Then the 1996 Farm Bill eliminated the remaining farmer-oriented supply management programs.  Large grain buyers (processors, exporters and large livestock feeders) got their way in farm policy. They projected that U.S. grain exports would grow dramatically. They were wrong. Thirty-nine years later, in the 2018-2019 marketing year, USDA projects corn exports at only 2.4 billion bushels, right back to the export level of 1980. U.S. corn exports occasionally exceed 2 billion bushels when foreign droughts bump up demand as is the case. The 39-year U.S. corn export average is only 1.8 billion bushels. Congress needs to recognize these facts.  Exports are very important to help reduce excessive corn inventory. But, exports need strong ethanol demand every year to keep corn ending stocks managed to strengthen corn prices. The current tariff trade war is causing long term damage to U.S. export markets. It facilitates additional foreign crop competition for years. Congressional leaders must pressure Administration officials, including EPA, to cease granting RFS ethanol waivers to big oil companies. Congress needs to get a grip on policy by strengthening corn demand through a stronger ethanol RFS.”

Taiwan Soybean Purchase Heralded by Iowa Farmers

Iowa Soybean Association President-elect Tim Bardole

Today’s announcement by our Taiwanese trading partners to increase purchases of U.S. soybeans is welcomed news. As an Iowa soybean farmer, I can say firsthand that we need some good news. Soybean harvest is underway in Iowa and across the nation. This year is expected to be a record yield. We’re good at growing soybeans. Iowa and U.S. farmers are also committed to ensuring that we’re a reliable supplier and that our soybeans are of the highest quality. Taiwan knows this, evident by their intention to increase imports of U.S. soybeans by 37 percent compared to last year. Agricultural trade is a great uniter. As an industry, we celebrate and recognize the importance of events like this and welcome the opportunity to do business with Taiwan and other key trading allies moving forward.

Positive developments in trade continue today with the announcement of a potential new free trade agreement as it relates to Canada. The Iowa Soybean Association looks forward to hearing more details on this agreement as they become available. Broadening agricultural markets and expanding trade is positive for Iowa’s economy and soybean farmers. 

USDA Announces Commodity Credit Corporation Lending Rates for October 2018

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Commodity Credit Corporation, today, announced interest rates for October 2018. The Commodity Credit Corporation borrowing rate-based charge for October is 2.500 percent, up from 2.375 percent in September.

The interest rate for crop year commodity loans less than one year disbursed during October is 3.500 percent, up from 3.375 percent in September.

Interest rates for Farm Storage Facility Loans approved for October are as follows: 2.750 percent with three-year loan terms, the same as 2.750 in September; 2.750 percent with five-year loan terms, the same as 2.750 percent in September; 2.875 percent with seven-year loan terms, the same as 2.875 percent in September; 2.875 percent with 10-year loan terms, the same as 2.875 percent in September and; 3.000 percent with 12-year loan terms, the same as 3.000 percent in September.

Fats and Oils: Oilseed Crushings, Production, Consumption and Stocks

Soybeans crushed for crude oil was 5.09 million tons (170 million bushels) in August 2018, compared with 5.37 million tons (179 million bushels) in July 2018 and 4.55 million tons (152 million bushels) in August 2017. Crude oil produced was 1.94 billion pounds down 5 percent from July 2018 but up 10 percent from August 2017. Soybean once refined oil production at 1.45 billion pounds during August 2018 increased 1 percent from July 2018 but decreased 4 percent from August 2017.

Canola seeds crushed for crude oil was 170,472 tons in August 2018, compared with 165,007 tons in July 2018 and 151,958 tons in August 2017. Canola crude oil produced was 139 million pounds down 7 percent from July 2018 but up 10 percent from August 2017. Canola once refined oil production at 111 million pounds during August 2018 was down 19 percent from July 2018 and down 19 percent from August 2017. Cottonseed once refined oil production at 45.6 million pounds during August 2018 was up 8 percent from July 2018 but down 9 percent from August 2017.

Edible tallow production was 91.4 million pounds during August 2018, up 20 percent from July 2018 and up 12 percent from August 2017. Inedible tallow production was 333 million pounds during August 2018, up 12 percent from July 2018 and up 6 percent from August 2017. Technical tallow production was 120 million pounds during August 2018, up 55 percent from July 2018 and up 23 percent from August 2017. Choice white grease production at 113 million pounds during August 2018 increased 26 percent from July 2018 and increased 2 percent from August 2017.

Grain Crushings and Co-Products Production

Total corn consumed for alcohol and other uses was 535 million bushels in August 2018. Total corn consumption was down slightly from July 2018 but up slightly from August 2017. August 2018 usage included 91.6 percent for alcohol and 8.4 percent for other purposes. Corn consumed for beverage alcohol totaled 3.56 million bushels, up 8 percent from July 2018 and up slightly from August 2017. Corn for fuel alcohol, at 479 million bushels, was down slightly from July 2018 and down slightly from August 2017. Corn consumed in August 2018 for dry milling fuel production and wet milling fuel production was 91.2 percent and 8.8 percent respectively.

Dry mill co-product production of distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) was 2.16 million tons during August 2018, up 2 percent from July 2018 and up 5 percent from August 2017. Distillers wet grains (DWG) 65 percent or more moisture was 1.31 million tons in August 2018, down 1 percent from July 2018 and down 3 percent from August 2017.

Wet mill corn gluten feed production was 325,547 tons during August 2018, up 1 percent from July 2018 but down 6 percent from August 2017. Wet corn gluten feed 40 to 60 percent moisture was 256,268 tons in August 2018, down 3 percent from July 2018 and down 18 percent from August 2017.

CWT Assists with 613,000 Pounds of Cheese Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) member cooperatives accepted three offers of export assistance from CWT that helped them capture contracts to sell 612,885 pounds (278 metric tons) of Cheddar cheese. The product has been contracted for delivery in Asia, North Africa and Central America for the period from October 2018 through January 2019.

CWT-assisted member cooperative 2018 export sales total 47.560 million pounds of American-type cheeses, 12.962 million pounds of butter (82% milkfat) and 52.056 million pounds of whole milk powder to 35 countries on five continents. These sales are the equivalent of 1.111 billion pounds of milk on a milkfat basis. Totals have been adjusted to reflect bid cancellations.

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

NFU Hails Cooperatives and the Empowerment They Bring to Family Farmers, Rural America

National Farmers Union (NFU) today joined the cooperative community in kicking off National Cooperative Month. NFU President Roger Johnson hailed the nation’s many and varied cooperatives, highlighting the political and economic might that they have brought to family farmers, ranchers and rural America for more than a century.

“Since the founding of our organization 116 years ago, Farmers Union members have demonstrated that they not only believe in and belong to cooperatives, but also that the cooperative concept is at the very heart of who we are and how we think as an organization,” said Johnson.

This year’s theme is “Co-ops See the Future,” and it highlights the sustainable and inclusive tomorrow that is envisioned by the more than 40,000 cooperatives in the U.S. Johnson noted that Farmers Union shares this vision, and the organization is working to ensure that family farmers and the general public understand the important democratic decision-making process that is employed by cooperatives.

“Co-ops are not just an effective business model,” said Johnson. “They empower individuals, and they connect those that otherwise would not have significant buying or selling power in a marketplace. Co-ops are more important than ever in rural America, given the fact that agriculture is increasingly highly concentrated on both the supply and demand sides of the equation.”

Farmers Union’s roots in cooperatives go all the way back to the organization’s founding in Point, Texas, in 1902, when farmers began to see an increase in both political strength and visibility through cooperative businesses. “Our organization’s founders responded to sundry business practices that not only placed farmers and ranchers at a disadvantage, but actually pitted us against one another,” said Johnson.

After that realization, Farmers Union members went on to organize cooperatives that focused on storage warehouses, supply and marketing, purchasing, rural electric and even credit unions. Today, they’ve expanded even further, and have even teamed up with public schools to provide local, nutritious food for school lunches in the “Farm to School” program. 

Johnson noted that the NFU Foundation (NFUF) provides cooperative education in all of its programs. In 2012, NFUF published curriculum on cooperatives, “Cooperatives: The Business of Teamwork.” This year, the Foundation published a 6-part blog series on the power of cooperatives, and it will provide free cooperative education to more than 1000 beginning farmers and ranchers during its annual online conference, “Growing for the Future.”

“Cooperatives to this day remain a vital cornerstone of rural American communities, forming the nexus of the rural economy and putting their money and efforts back into their communities,” said Johnson. “As an organization, we are committed to ensure that this smart business and empowerment model continues to help bring increased strength and prosperity to rural America, and we’re delighted that the cooperative spirit is reaching further than ever into new areas and ideas,” he said.

Learn more about NFU’s current involvement in cooperative development and education, as well as other cooperative associations at

New Fontanelle Hybrids® Products Offer Combination of Enhanced Agronomics and Disease Tolerance

With harvest 2018 in full swing, Western Corn Belt farmers are turning their focus to 2019 preparations. They’ll have a new option to consider as they think ahead to planting: Fontanelle Hybrids FortiField corn products, featuring enhanced agronomic characteristics plus improved disease protection.

Using superior genetics through enhanced breeding technologies, Fontanelle Hybrids FortiField products have been carefully developed and locally tested to provide high-performing agronomic advantages throughout the growing season from emergence through harvest. This includes early-season emergence and seedling vigor; midseason root and stalk strength and late-season health (staygreen); and harvest intactness. In addition, Fontanelle Hybrids FortiField products defend against local diseases including Gray Leaf Spot, Goss’s Wilt, Northern Corn Leaf Blight and Anthracnose Stalk Rot.

“The Fontanelle Hybrids FortiField package of unique agronomic characteristics and comprehensive protection from common and costly diseases are designed to give Western Corn Belt farmers peace of mind, from emergence through harvest,” says Andy Ackley, corn product manager. “These new products have been hand-selected by your local technical agronomists and are designed to perform in the Western Corn Belt.”

The Fontanelle Hybrids FortiField corn offerings include two products in the 108 relative maturity range. They are 08A988 Brand Blend and 08D988 Brand Blend.

These products are available for purchase for the upcoming 2019 planting season.

Friday September 28 Ag News


Nebraska corn stocks in all positions on September 1, 2018 totaled 210 million bushels, down 19 percent from 2017, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Of the total, 61.0 million bushels are stored on farms, down 33 percent from a year ago. Off-farm stocks, at 149 million bushels, are down 11 percent from last year.

Soybeans stored in all positions totaled 40.9 million bushels, up 77 percent from last year. Onfarm stocks of 5.50 million bushels are up 10 percent from a year ago, and off-farm stocks, at 35.4 million bushels, are up 96 percent from 2017.

Wheat stored in all positions totaled 72.0 million bushels, down 22 percent from a year ago. Onfarm stocks of 5.80 million bushels are down 28 percent from 2017 and off-farm stocks of 66.2 million bushels are down 22 percent from last year.

Sorghum stored in all positions totaled 1.76 million bushels, up 21 percent from 2017. On-farm stocks of 145,000 bushels are up 142 percent from a year ago, and off-farm holdings, at 1.61 million bushels, are up 16 percent from last year.

On-farm oat stocks totaled 600,000 bushels, down 54 percent from 2017.


Corn stored in all positions in Iowa on September 1, 2018, totaled 475 million bushels, down 6 percent from September 1, 2017, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Grain Stocks report. Of the total stocks, 29 percent were stored on-farm. The June - August 2018 indicated disappearance totaled 623 million bushels, 3 percent below the 642 million bushels from the same period last year.

Soybeans stored in all positions in Iowa on September 1, 2018, totaled 87.9 million bushels, 66 percent above the 53.1 million bushels on hand September 1, 2017. This is the highest September 1 total stocks since 2007, but well below the record 158 million bushels set in 1986. Of the total stocks, 24 percent were stored on-farm. Indicated disappearance for June - August 2018 is 132 million bushels, 6 percent above the 124 million bushels from the same quarter last year.

Oats stored on-farm in Iowa on September 1, 2018, totaled 2.10 million bushels, down 7 percent from September 1, 2017.

USDA: Corn Stocks Down 7 Percent from September 2017

Soybean Stocks Up 45 Percent
All Wheat Stocks Up 5 Percent

Old crop corn stocks in all positions on September 1, 2018 totaled 2.14 billion bushels, down 7 percent from September 1, 2017. Of the total stocks, 620 million bushels are stored on farms, down 21 percent from a year earlier. Off-farm stocks, at 1.52 billion bushels, are up 1 percent from a year ago. The June - August 2018 indicated disappearance is 3.16 billion bushels, compared with 2.94 billion bushels during the same period last year.

Old crop soybeans stored in all positions on September 1, 2018 totaled 438 million bushels, up 45 percent from September 1, 2017. Soybean stocks stored on farms totaled 101 million bushels, up 15 percent from a year ago. Off-farm stocks, at 337 million bushels, are up 58 percent from last September. Indicated disappearance for June - August 2018 totaled 781 million bushels, up 18 percent from the same period a year earlier.

Based on an analysis of end-of-marketing year stock estimates, disappearance data for exports and crushings, and farm program administrative data, the 2017 soybean production is revised up 19.1 million bushels from the previous estimate. Planted area is unchanged at 90.1 million acres, and harvested area is unchanged at 89.5 million acres. The 2017 yield, at 49.3 bushels per acre, is up 0.2 bushel from the previous estimate.

All wheat stored in all positions on September 1, 2018 totaled 2.38 billion bushels, up 5 percent from a year ago. On-farm stocks are estimated at 631 million bushels, up 28 percent from last September. Off-farm stocks, at 1.75 billion bushels, are down 1 percent from a year ago. The June - August 2018 indicated disappearance is 605 million bushels, down 8 percent from the same period a year earlier.

Durum wheat stocks in all positions on September 1, 2018 totaled 90.6 million bushels, up 37 percent from a year ago. On-farm stocks, at 51.8 million bushels, are up 55 percent from September 1, 2017. Off-farm stocks totaled 38.8 million bushels, up 18 percent from a year ago. The June - August 2018 indicated disappearance of 21.6 million bushels is down 13 percent from the same period a year earlier.

Barley stocks in all positions on September 1, 2018 totaled 175 million bushels, down 3 percent from September 1, 2017. On-farm stocks are estimated at 91.4 million bushels, 1 percent above a year ago. Off-farm stocks, at 83.2 million bushels, are 7 percent below September 2017. The June - August 2018 indicated disappearance is 73.1 million bushels, 6 percent above the same period a year earlier.

Oats stored in all positions on September 1, 2018 totaled 74.9 million bushels, 4 percent above the stocks on September 1, 2017. Of the total stocks on hand, 39.2 million bushels are stored on farms, 15 percent higher than a year ago. Off-farm stocks totaled 35.7 million bushels, 6 percent below the previous year. Indicated disappearance during June - August 2018 totaled 22.3 million bushels, compared with 27.7 million bushels during the same period a year ago.

Old crop grain sorghum stored in all positions on September 1, 2018 totaled 34.9 million bushels, up 4 percent from a year ago. On-farm stocks, at 3.36 million bushels, are down 22 percent from last year. Off-farm stocks, at 31.5 million bushels, are up 8 percent from September 1, 2017. The June - August 2018 indicated disappearance from all positions is 30.5 million bushels, down 41 percent from the same period a year ago.

Old crop sunflower stocks in all positions on September 1, 2018 totaled 386 million pounds, down 35 percent from a year ago. All stocks stored on farms totaled 90.6 million pounds and off-farm stocks totaled 295 million pounds. Stocks of oil type sunflower seed are 279 million pounds; of this total, 81.6 million pounds are on-farm stocks and 197 million pounds are off-farm stocks. Non-oil sunflower stocks totaled 107 million pounds, with 9.00 million pounds stored on the farm and 98.1 million pounds stored off the farm.

12th Annual Nebraska Beef Industry Scholars Summit!

A variety of topics will be discussed at this year's event.
    National Trade
    Progressive Technology to Improve Animal Health
    Breakout Session:
        Succession Planning/Startup in a Family Operation
        Livestock Traceability Impacts on Producers
    Genomically Based Decision Making
    Managing Risk in Volatile Markets
    Panel Discussion: Lab Cultured Meat

The Summit will be held Thursday, November 15th in the Animal Science Complex on East campus at UNL.  The seminar will begin with registration at 8:30 a.m. and conclude at 4:30 p.m.  More details soon! 

Importance of Yield Monitor Calibrations for Accurate Yield Data Collection

Joe Luck - NE Extension Precision Agriculture Engineer

Accurate yield monitor data collection is critical, especially when assessing test plots conducted during on-farm research trials or making other management decisions in the future. A critical element of yield monitor operation that should be considered to improve data collection practices is calibration of the mass flow (impact plate) sensor or optical sensor in the clean grain elevator.

Mass Flow Sensor Calibration

The mass flow sensor is the most critical component of the yield monitoring system. The calibration procedure for the mass flow sensor is time-consuming, but absolutely vital for accurate yield measurements. Since mass flow sensor readings may be affected by crop type, moisture content, and test weight, operators should consider performing separate calibrations under these differing circumstances. A separate calibration procedure should always be performed (and stored in the in-cab display) for different crops (such as corn, soybeans, or wheat).

The mass flow sensor calibration process usually involves harvesting two to six small loads of grain (around 3,000 to 5,000 lbs depending on manufacturer specifications) and measuring the scale weight of each load. The reason for this number of loads is to compensate for varying yields expected across a field during harvest. Each load should be harvested such that the flow through the clean grain elevator is as consistent as possible. Remember that the mass flow sensor is measuring grain flow (lbs/sec) through the clean grain elevator; multi-point calibrations (more than two loads) allow the system to provide more accurate estimates over a range, from low to high flow, through the combine. During the yield monitor calibration process, each load weight is entered into the in-cab display automatically or by the operator. The in-cab display then creates an equation to estimate a physical value (in pounds) of grain flow based on mass flow sensor output.

Typically there are two methods for varying the flow rates for proper mass flow sensor calibration:
-    constant speed with varying cut width or
-    varying speed with constant cut width. Both options can achieve the same result of varying flow through the clean grain elevator.

Always check throughout the growing season to make sure that debris and material are not building up on or around the mass flow sensor; it should be free to deflect normally during operation.

Newer systems from Deere®, Precision Planting®, and Ag Leader® may allow for automatic calibration load generation, or reduced calibration loads required. Always check manuals for the latest technique.

Optical yield monitor systems are a newer technology that can provide accurate yield data during harvest. These systems are calibrated in much the same way as mass flow sensors. Calibration loads are harvested and weighed and values are entered into the in-cab display for generating yield estimates. One important difference for optical sensors is that grain test weight must be accurately estimated for these to provide good yield estimates. Typically, a test weight measurement scale is included with the system. Pay particular attention to filling the scale properly.


While many factors can affect yield monitor estimates, mass flow or optical sensor calibration affects each data point collected within the field and should be performed properly. Remember to check manufacturer guides to determine how to best collect calibration loads for your yield monitoring system.

Applications Available NOW for the 2019 Corn & Soy Ambassador Program!

The Nebraska Corn Growers Association and the Nebraska Soybean Association are pleased to announce that applications are now open for the 2019 Corn and Soy Ambassador Program. The Corn and Soy Ambassador Program is a year long program for college students who are interested in learning more about the industry and becoming better advocates for agriculture. Each year up to 10 students are selected to participate in the program.

Throughout the year, students will take part in three seminars and a summer tour. The first meeting covers state and federal policies affecting the corn and soybean industries. The second meeting will focus on the role of checkoff programs in promoting corn and soybeans. The final meeting gives the students a glimpse of advocacy and leadership opportunities after they graduate. Meetings will take place in the Lincoln, NE area. The summer agribusiness industry tour will include different areas of the 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 also 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 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 provided by the Nebraska Corn Board and Nebraska Soybean Board.

“The Corn and Soy Ambassador Program is a great way for college students to get an introduction to the industry. Many of our past program participants have gone on to internships and jobs from connections made during this program. We are looking forward to another excellent class,” said Kelly Brunkhorst, Executive Director of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association (NeCGA).

Applications for the Corn and Soy Ambassador Program can be found on the Nebraska Corn Growers Association website, For more information about the program, contact Morgan Wrich, Nebraska Corn Growers Association at 402-438-6459 ( or Lori Luebbe, Nebraska Soybean Association at 402-441-3239 (

Nebraska Corn Internships - Applications Available Now!

Nebraska Corn is exited to announce that applications for 2019-2020 internship program are now available! Over the last several years, Nebraska Corn has provided real-world experiences and opportunities for college interns. These students work directly with our partners with the U.S. Grains Council, the U.S. Meat Export Federation and the National Corn Growers Association and in our offices in Lincoln.

There are seven different opportunities to choose from, so students are bound to find one that fits their interests. Five of those seven are summer internships located outside of the state. The other two experiences are year-long internships located in the offices of the Nebraska Corn Board and the Nebraska Corn Growers Association.

For more information on individual internships or for application details, see the program descriptions below.

Communications and Market Development Internship
Host: Nebraska Corn Board
Location: Lincoln, Nebraska
Duration: May 2019 – May 2020

Marketing and Communications Internship
Host: National Corn Growers Association
Location: St. Louis, Missouri
Duration: Summer 2019

Public Policy Internship
Host: National Corn Growers Association
Location: Washington, D.C.
Duration: Summer 2019

Promotion and International Relations Internship
Host: U.S. Meat Export Federation
Location: Denver, Colorado
Duration: Summer 2019

International Relations Internship
Host: U.S. Grains Council
Location: Washington, D.C.
Duration: Summer 2019

International Agricultural Relations Internship
Host: U.S. Grains Council
Location: Panama City, Panama
Duration: Summer 2019

Communications and Policy Internship
Host: Nebraska Corn Growers Association
Location: Lincoln, Nebraska
Duration: May 2019 – May 2020

Applications for all of these internships are due by Friday, November 2nd by 5 PM CT.

Winning Weaning Woes

Steve Niemeyer – NE Extension Educator

Weaning time is here which can be a stressful event for calves, cows and families alike. While preconditioning prepares the immune system to better handle the stress of weaning, there are some other areas of the ranch that can be modified to aid calf adjustment to life without mom.

Practice makes perfect. If cows and calves are comfortable being separated, both will better adjust on weaning day. Taking time a few days prior to weaning to bring in pairs and keep them separated for a few hours while both have access to feed and water can be a starting point. Trying this in a pasture setting is done by bringing pairs to a fence and allows cows to pass through and calves to follow parallel down the fence line.

Pen Preparation
Traditional weaning processes involve removing calves from cows at one time and starting them on feed in a pen setting. If using dry-lot pens, making water available at all times is critical. This can be done by adding an extra water along a fence line that calves will will walk into and also allowing water tanks to over flow so calves can find them easier. Clean water tanks also enhance calf performance and promote adequate water intake as bawling calves are prone to respiratory disease.

Pen size can be adjusted to reduce space available for calves to walk. Smaller pens increase the opportunities for calves to find feed and water and reduce the potential for dust problems. This can be done by setting up temporary panels and cutting the pen in half. After a few days, remove panels and the calves can spread out.

Calves also need to become accustomed to people. Walking calves up to the bunk right after feeding encourages feeding behaviors and acclimates them to handling at the same time. It is much easier to find and treat sick calves without additional stress if they are used to being handled. Calves that are afraid of people are surprisingly good at hiding signs of illness, at least until they become very sick. Investing time and effort to improve cattle handling skills pays dividends, especially considering the challenges in finding employees with livestock experience.

Feed Bunks vs. Grass
Calves learn grazing behavior from their dams. While cow/calf pairs spend most of their time grazing pastures in the summer, weaning time may be the first time calves will eat from a bunk. Providing long stem hay in the bunk helps attract calves to feed and promotes saliva production and healthy rumen function. Combining roughage with higher concentrate feeds helps calves achieve a positive energy balance more quickly.

Steers vs. Heifers
Separating weaned calves into groups based on gender is helpful is making sure everyone gets off on the right foot. Steers and heifers are usually fed very similar diets during the starting phase, but that often changes later in the feeding period. Depending on marketing objectives and whether or not the heifers are destined to be replacements, steers and heifers may be fed different diets with different implant strategies. Sorting the calves into their eventual groups at the outset reduces the amount of stress caused a second sort and the re-establishment of social groups.

If these seem like unnecessary steps to take, look at it from another angle. When we arrive at a hotel, we enjoy a nice clean room with hot water and even continental breakfast most of the time. Why would calves expect anything less at weaning time?

Trading with Japan

Rep. Adrian Smith

The United States and Japan are the world’s largest and third largest economies, totaling around 30 percent of the world’s economic output. Japan is the fifth largest consumer of U.S. exports, our fourth largest source of imports, and a top-three consumer of Nebraska’s beef, corn, pork, soybean, egg, and wheat exports worldwide. This is why news of a potential trade agreement to be negotiated between the United States and Japan should be greeted warmly.

Modern trade agreements aren’t just negotiated to address tariffs – they also typically address other issues such as intellectual property protection and accounting standards. In just one example, Japan currently levies a tax of 38.5%, which can escalate as high as 50%, on American exports of beef. Countries which have successfully negotiated trade agreements with Japan, such as Australia, currently have an advantage over the US in the Japanese market because they face dramatically lower rates of tariffs.

Because such an agreement would hold enormous benefits for Nebraska ranchers and farmers, I introduced legislation last year expressing support in Congress for a bilateral trade agreement to be negotiated between our two countries. I have further expressed this sentiment to President Trump and senior administration officials on many occasions. I made the case directly to Ambassador Robert Lighthizer, the U.S. Trade Representative, during the last week of September.

International trade does not have to be a zero-sum game. In the case of Japan, they have negotiated bilateral trade agreements with Australia, the European Union, and Mexico, among others, which means their producers enjoy preferential access to Japanese markets relative to American producers. We need to even the playing field and give Nebraska producers the ability to compete fairly.

President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe recently met at the United Nations General Assembly in New York to discuss our trade relationship. After the meeting they issued a joint statement recognizing the importance of reciprocal trade and the need for a trade agreement between our countries. Given China’s growing influence in the Asia-Pacific region, which threatens Japan, and also our current trade disputes with China, increasing trade and security ties between the U.S. and allies like Japan could help to ensure that China behaves appropriately going forward.

I support trade agreements because reducing regulations, decreasing taxes, and facilitating productive trade policy are among the best ways the federal government can stimulate sustainable, long-term economic growth. So far, President Trump has delivered on his promises to cut burdensome regulations and sign tax reform into law. Negotiating a trade agreement with Japan would add to our list of accomplishments during his first two years in office.

Ag Retailers Reaffirm commitment to Environmental Stewardship

Agriculture’s Clean Water Alliance (ACWA) members have reaffirmed their agreement to protect Iowa’s soil and water resources.

The group of 11 ag retailers have agreed to the Environmental Code of Practice for 2018. In the Code of Practice, ACWA members agree to delay fall anhydrous applications without a nitrification inhibitor until soil temperatures are 50 degrees Fahrenheit and trending lower. Members use the county soil temperature and forecast maps compiled by Iowa State University as a decision-tool for beginning fall fertilizer applications.

 “For over 15 years, we have focused on proper nutrient management and environmental stewardship and now is no exception,” said Dan Dix, NEW Cooperative general manager and ACWA president. “The Code of Practice is a fundamental aspect of ACWA membership, and we are glad to be a 4R Plus partner. The 4R Plus principles are globally accepted standards of best practices for cropping systems and we are proud to enhance our focus and offerings through them.”

4R Plus focuses on fertilizer application with the consideration of the right source, right rate, right time and right place. The Plus adds conservation practices to enhance soil health and improve water quality.

Led by the Nature Conservancy, 4R Plus is guided by a coalition of agricultural and conservation organizations to support farmers’ efforts to implement precise nutrient management and conservation practices.

“Our Code of Practice aligns with the 4Rs and there is synergy in the guidelines,” said Harry Ahrenholtz, ACWA chairman. “Members of ACWA hold each other accountable to abide by these standards, and each retailer notifies the group when fall fertilizer applications begin.”

ACWA supports adoption of nutrient management technologies to maximize nutrient use efficiency and help protect water quality. These technologies include nitrogen stabilizers, slow release fertilizers, incorporation or injection, soil nitrate testing and other tools that minimize loss of nitrogen to water sources.

Furthermore, ACWA encourages farmers to implement additional conservation and edge-of-field practices to reduce nitrate flow from tile systems including bioreactors, constructed wetlands, conservation stream buffers and cover crops.

“Members are dedicated to helping farmers manage nutrients to enhance both environmental quality and crop production,” said Roger Wolf, ACWA executive director. “The agriculture community remains committed to implementing practices that have a positive impact on environmental and water quality as well as improving crop production.” 

Farm Bill Talks Delayed Until After Mid-Term Elections

With less than four days for Congress to pass a new farm bill before the current law expires after Sunday, top ag lawmakers now readily admit they'll likely have to finish their work after the Nov. 6 midterm elections.

POLITICO reports that the timing isn't surprising, as there has been more sniping among House and Senate negotiators than there's been signs of progress over the last month. But failure to meet the Sept. 30 deadline would still be a defeat for ag leaders who said they were determined to finish a new farm bill on time and provide some needed certainty to farmers and ranchers.

Hoping for better luck in November: Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) said he hopes negotiators will make enough progress to vote on a final farm bill, H.R. 2 (115), the first week after the election.

Waiting until the lame duck is a gamble - political leverage would shift significantly if Republicans lose the House or Senate. Some farm bill conferees are warning that waiting until November will add a whole new level of complexity to the negotiations.

NAWG Disappointed in Farm Bill Expiration; Calls on Congress to Provide Certainty to Farmers

The National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) is disappointed that Congress has not acted to reauthorize the farm bill before the September 30th deadline. Expiration of the current farm bill will leave farmers with uncertainty moving forward at a time when net farm income is expected to be down 13 percent this year compared to last year. NAWG calls on conferees to finish negotiations as quickly as possible on a farm bill that provides a strong safety net for growers.

“Farmers are facing historically low prices and a struggling rural economy. The farm bill provides growers access to crucial programs that support their operations,” said NAWG CEO Chandler Goule. “Winter wheat farmers across the country have already begun seeding next year’s crop, and they are having to do so without knowing whether a safety net will be in place or what sort of conservation programs that may be available.’’

With the farm bill expiration, there are a number of immediate implications which could be resolved upon Congressional action to reauthorize the farm bill. Specifically, USDA will be unable to undertake new sign-ups in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and provide other assistance for growers to adopt conservation practices. Additionally, the availability of farm safety net programs like ARC and PLC for the 2019 crop year is uncertain until Congress acts, and permanent farm law in the form of parity price supports from the 1930s could be implemented if Congress doesn’t act on a new farm bill.  There are also several mandatory programs that do not have baseline and will lose funding beginning next Monday.

“NAWG also supports statements about the foreign market development programs made by U.S. Wheat Associates during this time of limbo,” continued Goule. “Inaction on the farm bill continues to create more uncertainty for farmers who are already stressed from the current economic conditions. On behalf of wheat farmers across the country, NAWG calls on Congress to finish the reauthorization process as quickly as possible.”

Farm Bill Delay Creates More Uncertainty for Wheat Growers

U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) is disappointed that, once again, a new national Farm Bill could not be passed and implemented on time. This all too common outcome is more concerning for wheat growers and our entire agricultural industry this time because the future of a highly successful export market development program hangs in the balance.

In the current Farm Bill, 39 programs that received mandatory funding at $50 million per year or less do not have a baseline budget beyond FY-2018 that ends on Sept. 30. If this Congress can’t agree on a new Farm Bill, an extension of the current Farm Bill would have to include additional funding, or these programs would disappear. The Foreign Market Development (FMD) program, administered by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, has a budget of $34.5 million per year, making it one of these “orphan” programs.

“The FMD program is fundamental to our work promoting U.S. wheat around the world,” said Vince Peterson, President of U.S. Wheat Associates, which is one of 23 organizations awarded FMD funding in FY-2018. “We use FMD funding to cover the salaries of more than 40 non-American employees and expenses for 14 overseas offices. With no FMD allocation, we will have to cover costs incurred after October 1 by shifting funds away from our activities or by using reserves from producer funds. That is a short-term bridge that we have used in the past. But it is not sustainable for more than several months; beyond that, we would have to start cutting activities and eventually closing offices.

“This comes at a particularly bad time as wheat export markets have been hard hit by the effects of the tariff retaliation that has come from both China and Mexico this year,” Peterson added. “USDA calculated tariff losses to the wheat industry at close to $250 million and that meter is running. Without our cornerstone market development funding program, our ability to limit those losses, prevent further erosion in our reputation and get our exports back on track is severely handicapped.”

U.S. Wheat Associates is encouraged that the legislation in conference now includes a long-term fix for the FMD budget issue. And, when budget fights or late Farm Bill passage held up FMD and Market Access Program allocations in the past, retroactive funding was made available. However, USW must now bridge the gap caused by another delay without undermining its work for farmers in the competitive world wheat market — and hope that it is not building a bridge to nowhere.

NCGA Action Teams and Committees Announced for FY 2019

The National Corn Growers Association announced the slate of new and returning farmer leaders who will serve as members of the organization’s action teams and committees for the next fiscal year, which begins Monday, October 1. As representatives of their 300,000 fellow American family corn farmers, these volunteers will guide NCGA programs to meet the organization’s short-term strategic goals in order to ultimately fulfill NCGA’s noble vision for U.S. corn: to sustainably feed and fuel a growing world.

 “While the year ahead will offer many challenges and opportunities, I am certain that the teams and committees of family corn farmers we have assembled will be both capable and wise in their leadership,” said NCGA FY 2019 President Lynn Chrisp, a corn farmer from Nebraska. “The men and women who volunteer to lead will provide excellent insight that will guide us into a bright future for corn farmers and all of humankind. NCGA received applications from over 150 highly-qualified candidates, with a wide spectrum of talents and life experiences, and we strongly urge all aspiring farmer leaders to continue serving their local and state organizations and seek to build additional leadership skills to better serve their fellow corn farmers nationwide in the future, as NCGA action team and committee members.”

Leadership for NCGA’s nine major teams in FY 2019 are:
-    Consumer Engagement Action Team: Ted Mottaz, chair; Debbie Borg, vice chair; Bruce Rohwer, board liaison.
-    Corn Productivity & Quality Action Team: Charles Ring, chair; Randy DeSutter, vice chair; Jeff Sandborn, board liaison.
-    Engaging Members Committee: Brandon Hunnicutt, chair; and Denny Maple, vice chair
-    Ethanol Action Team: Jay Schutte, chair; Mark Recker, vice chair; Tom Haag, board liaison.
-    Feed, Food & Industrial Action Team: Dan Wesely, chair; Chad Willis, vice chair; Chris Edgington, board liaison.
-    Freedom to Operate Action Team: Bob Hemesath, chair; Brent Hostetler, vice chair; Deb Gangwish, board liaison.
-    Market Access Action Team: Mike Lefever, chair; Larry Mussack, vice chair; John Linder, board liaison.
-    Risk Management Action Team: Randy Melvin, chair; Doug Noem, vice chair; Don Glenn, board liaison.
-    Stewardship Action Team: Roger Zylstra, chair; Carl Sousek, vice chair; Ken Hartman, board liaison.

Leadership for NCGA’s standing committees in FY 2019 are:
-    Corn PAC: President to be determined at first meeting; Harold Wolle, board liaison.
-    Finance Committee: John Linder, chair.
-    Governance Committee: Tom Haag, chair.

Lynn Chrisp will serve as president and also as NCGA’s delegate to the U.S. Grains Council. Kevin Ross of Iowa will serve as first vice president and, in this capacity, will chair the Resolutions Committee. Kevin Skunes of North Dakota will serve as chair and, in this capacity, will also chair the Nominating Committee.

On October 1, FY 2018 chairman Wesley Spurlock of Texas will retire from the Corn Board but will continue his service to his fellow corn farmers as the co-chair of the Commodity Classic Joint Venture Committee for 2019. Keith Alverson of South Dakota and Anthony Bush of Ohio will also retire from the board at that time.

The FY 2019 action teams and committees will have their first set of meetings in St. Louis in mid-December.

Thursday September 27 Hogs & Pigs Report + Ag News


Nebraska inventory of all hogs and pigs on September 1, 2018, was 3.45 million head, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. This was unchanged from September 1, 2017, but down 1 percent from June 1, 2018.

Breeding hog inventory, at 430,000 head, was up 5 percent from September 1, 2017, but unchanged from last quarter. Market hog inventory, at 3.02 million head, was down 1 percent from last year, and down 2 percent from last quarter.

The June - August 2018 Nebraska pig crop, at 2.09 million head, was down 6 percent from 2017. Sows farrowed during the period totaled 185,000 head, down 3 percent from last year. The average pigs saved per litter was 11.30 for the June - August period, compared to 11.65 last year.

Nebraska hog producers intend to farrow 190,000 sows during the September - November 2018 quarter, down 3 percent from the actual farrowings during the same period a year ago. Intended farrowings for December 2018 - February 2019 are 190,000 sows, up 6 percent from the actual farrowings during the same period a year ago.


On September 1, 2018, there were 23.6 million hogs and pigs on Iowa farms, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Hogs and Pigs report. This is the highest inventory on record, up 4 percent from the previous year.

The June-August 2018 quarterly pig crop was 6.38 million head, up 57,000 head from the previous quarter and 10 percent above last year. A total of 570,000 sows farrowed during this quarter. The average pigs saved per litter was a record high of 11.20 for the June-August quarter, unchanged from last year.

As of September 1, producers planned to farrow 560,000 sows and gilts in the September-November quarter and 540,000 head during the December 2018-February 2019 quarter.

United States Hog Inventory Up 3 Percent

United States inventory of all hogs and pigs on September 1, 2018 was 75.5 million head. This was up 3 percent from September 1, 2017, and up 3 percent from June 1, 2018. 

Breeding inventory, at 6.33 million head, was up 3 percent from last year, and up slightly from the previous quarter.

Market hog inventory, at 69.2 million head, was up 3 percent from last year, and up 4 percent from last quarter.

The June-August 2018 pig crop, at 34.2 million head, was up 3 percent from 2017. Sows farrowing during this period totaled 3.19 million head, up 3 percent from 2017. The sows farrowed during this quarter represented 50 percent of the breeding herd. The average pigs saved per litter was a record high of 10.72 for the June-August period, compared to  10.65 last year.

United States hog producers intend to have 3.16 million sows farrow during the September-November 2018 quarter, up 2 percent from the actual farrowings during the same period in 2017, and up 4 percent from 2016. Intended farrowings for December-February 2019, at 3.12 million sows, are up 2 percent from 2018, and up 4 percent from 2017.

The total number of hogs under contract owned by operations with over 5,000 head, but raised by contractees, accounted for 48 percent of the total United States hog inventory, up from 47 percent the previous year.


John Pollak, former director of the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, has been named coordination lead for the Nebraska Integrated Beef Systems Initiative at the University of Nebraska.

The Nebraska Integrated Beef Systems Initiative was launched in 2016 in the university’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. It is designed to leverage the many systems-based efforts underway at Nebraska to advance science-driven innovation in development of resilient systems for food animal production, health and well-being, and to train the diverse workforce required. With broad capacity across research, teaching and outreach, this initiative will take advantage of the state and university’s potential to lead the development of resilient, integrated systems for the production and delivery of nutritious, high-quality beef.

“Dr. Pollak is uniquely qualified for this role given his 30 plus years of experience as an esteemed expert in disciplines related to beef production, and his long history of service for beef producers,” said Archie Clutter, dean of IANR’s Agricultural Research Division. “With John’s leadership we’re confident that this initiative will result in far-reaching value for future beef production systems.”

Pollak served as USMARC director from 2010 to 2017. He began his career as an assistant professor of animal science at the University of California, Davis. Before coming to USMARC,  Pollak served as a professor of animal science at Cornell University for 29 years where he and his colleagues developed methods for genetic evaluation that have become the standard for global beef cattle breeding. He holds a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Cornell University. Pollak earned his master’s and doctoral degrees in animal breeding from Iowa State University.

 “When I first arrived at USMARC I attended a meeting of the Nebraska Cattlemen where I first heard of the Cattlemen’s goal for Nebraska to become the epicenter of beef production. I thought that reaching that objective would require a significant effort in R&D that addressed issues both within and across the multiple segments of the industry,” Pollak said. "Much has been accomplished in the past eight years both at UNL and USMARC towards providing that support. The opportunity to work with faculty at UNL and contribute to the further development of a beef systems initiative is very exciting, and as the program matures I look forward to expanding my interactions to involve industry partners.” 

IANR funding for the Nebraska Integrated Beef Systems Initiative has been used to support a range of transdisciplinary studies related to beef production, including a project that leveraged the institutional funding to secure an additional $1 million from the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research. The project, led by James C. MacDonald, associate professor of animal science and ruminant nutrition, is investigating how to improve land use efficiency through the integration of livestock and crop production systems. To learn more about this project, visit

IANR reappoints Hibberd to extension leadership post

The Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln announced today, the reappointment of Chuck Hibberd to the role of dean and director of Nebraska Extension for a five-year term.

The action comes following a planned five-year review of the leader.

Hibberd has served as dean of Nebraska Extension since October 2012. Under his leadership, Extension has adopted a new strategic team structure to address issues facing Nebraskans. The 18 issues, identified by clientele, range from economic viability for agricultural producers, to engaging underserved youth. The issue team model has allowed Extension to be a more demand-driven and interdisciplinary resource for the state.

Nebraska Extension also administers the Nebraska 4-H Youth Development program. In Nebraska, 4-H reaches 1 in 3 age-eligible youth and families in all 93 counties, with the support of over 12,000 volunteers.

“The needs of the state are very unique and rapidly changing. I’m proud of the way that Dean Hibberd has guided Nebraska Extension in its efforts to address these needs in more ways than ever before,” said IANR Harlan Vice Chancellor Mike Boehm. “With Chuck’s foresight and leadership, I am confident in Extension’s ability to serve Nebraskans moving forward.”

Fuel the Cure in Nebraska throughout October

Throughout October, drivers can fuel cancer research by choosing American Ethanol blends at select retail stations participating in Fuel the Cure throughout Nebraska.

Fuel the Cure is a Nebraska awareness promotion designed to bring attention to the benefits of cleaner-burning American Ethanol blends available throughout the state. For every gallon of ethanol-blended fuel – E15 to flex fuel E85 – purchased between Oct. 1-31, the participating fuel station will donate 3 cents per gallon with proceeds to benefit the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center.

“Motorists have a choice of biofuels that significantly reduce pollutants,” said Sarah Caswell, Nebraska Ethanol Board administrator. “Gasoline contains as many as 300 different chemicals. Many of these chemicals are used to increase octane — but some are known and suspected to cause cancer. Higher blends of biofuel dilute the level of toxic additives in our fuel, which helps reduce pollution and the threat to public health.”

Participating retailers will have pink handles on fuel pumps and signs for Fuel the Cure. Drivers will want to stay tuned throughout October as some retailers may offer discounts or special giveaways at their location.

E15 (15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline) is approved for use in all passenger vehicles 2001 and newer. Ethanol blends higher than 15 percent are approved for use in flex fuel vehicles. One in seven Nebraskans are driving a flex fuel vehicle, which can run on any blend of American Ethanol up to E85 (85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline). Drivers can check their owner’s manual to see if they’re driving a flex fuel vehicle. The vehicle might also have a flex fuel badge on the trunk or tailgate — or a yellow gas cap.

“Using higher blends of ethanol is a good decision for all Nebraskans,” said David Bruntz, Nebraska Corn Board chairman and farmer from Friend, Neb. “It helps the state’s economy, consumers’ wallets, vehicle engines and the environment. Ethanol’s impact across the country and the globe continues to grow, but it starts right here at home.”

The Nebraska Corn and Ethanol Boards, along with Renewable Fuels Nebraska, sponsor Fuel the Cure in conjunction with retail stations. For more information visit,

NRDs Raise Nearly $24,000 for Youth Natural Resources Education and Honor Award Winners

The 2018 Nebraska Association of Resources Districts (NARD) Annual Conference was held at the Younes Conference Center in Kearney, September 24th – 25th and focused on protecting lives, property and the future of Nebraska’s natural resources.  This year more than 400 natural resources districts (NRD) managers, staff, board members, conservation partners and the public received new information on many natural resources and agriculture developments and projects going on now.

Participants had a variety of educational break-out sessions to choose from.  Sessions focused on water scarcity, overall water management, soil health, groundwater plans and water quality successes in Nebraska. Other events included recognition of Hall of Fame inductees, conservation award winners, master conservationist awards and a speech by Lieutenant Governor Mike Foley.

The Nebraska Association of Resources Districts Foundation which provides financial assistance to youth programs in natural resources and agriculture, raised nearly $24,000 this year during its live and silent auctions, golf and shootout fundraisers. These funds will assist in supporting more than 11 different educational programs in Nebraska to encourage children and young adults to learn more about our natural resources and consider a career in natural resources.

During the Hall of Fame ceremony, three individuals were inducted into the Natural Resources Hall of Fame. They include Keith Rexroth from Sidney, Nebraska. Ron Milner from Imperial, Nebraska, and Don McCabe who grew up near Newcastle and currently resides in Lincoln, Nebraska. This is the NRDs’ 46th Anniversary.

Hall of Fame inductee categories include: Natural Resources District Board Member, Natural Resources District Employee and NRD Supporter which includes individuals outside the NRD system.

Hall of Fame inductee Keith Rexroth from Sidney, Nebraska, was nominated for the Hall of Fame Natural Resources Districts Board member award by the South Platte Natural Resources District. Rexroth spent 24 years as a member of the South Platte Natural Resources District (SPNRD) Board of Directors, 16 of those as Chairman. One of his major achievements during those years was his commitment and input into developing an Integrated Management Plan (IMP) which will help protect water resources into the future. He’s received numerous awards including the 1983 Outstanding Young Farmer Nebraska award, 2005 NRD Director of the Year award and 2013 University of Nebraska-Lincoln Panhandle Research and Extension Center Outstanding Service to Panhandle Agriculture award. Rexroth received an appointment by the governor as an advisor for the Three-State Cooperative Agreement on the Platte River, has been a member of the High Plains Ag Lab Advisory board since 1973, was a board member for the USDA Agricultural Research Service station in Akron, Colorado and has spent countless hours volunteering his time to youth education as well.

Hall of Fame inductee, Ron Milner posthumously was nominated for the Hall of Fame NRD Staff category by the Upper Republican Natural Resources District. His wife resides in Imperial, Nebraska. Milner served as the first general manager of the Upper Republican Natural Resources District (URNRD) from 1972 to 1997. He helped pass the Groundwater Management Act in 1976 and with Milner’s guidance, the URNRD board adopted an order that required metering and reporting of groundwater use, making the NRD the first in the state to do so in 1978. Metering was done so that Milner and the NRD would be able to see how much water was being used and to make sure that irrigators were not going over their newly allotted allocation. There was great opposition to the metering, but Milner knew it was the right decision to make and it would be beneficial to the conservation of groundwater. He created the first Groundwater Management Area in the state and enacted well spacing rules as well.

Hall of Fame inductee, Don McCabe, was nominated by the Central Platte Natural Resources District to be inducted into the Hall of Fame as a Natural Resources Districts Supporter.  McCabe grew up on a farm near Newcastle, Nebraska. He currently resides in Lincoln. He worked for the Nebraska Farmer magazine for 37 years and was instrumental in helping farmers in Nebraska learn about how to implement conservation practices to protect Nebraska’s soil and water. He earned a journalism degree from the University of Nebraska and served in the U.S. Navy for four years. McCabe covered natural resources issues that needed to be addressed through Groundwater Management Plans, to new techniques and technologies available to help farmers address production and natural resources issues. He’s key in helping lower nitrate levels in the Central Platte Natural Resources District due to his articles focusing on conservation efforts to achieve such a goal.

Nebraska Association of Resources Districts Conservation award winners include:

Director of the Year – Don Kavan of Morse Bluff, NE - Nominated by Lower Platte North NRD
Educator of the Year – Philip Simpson with Burwell Junior/Senior High School - Nominated by Lower Loup NRD
Tree Planter of the Year Award - Jerry Fullerton of Cody, NE - Nominated by Middle Niobrara NRD
Outstanding Grassland Conservation Award - The Mathewson Family of Potter, NE - Nominated by South Platte NRD
Outstanding Soil Stewardship Conservation Award - Scott and Barbara Gonnerman of Waco, NE - Nominated by Upper Big Blue NRD
Outstanding Community Conservation Award - Dan Kathol of Hartington, NE - Nominated by Lewis and Clark NRD
Omaha World-Herald and IANR Master Conservationist Award Winners include:
    Agriculture – Scott and Barbara Gonnerman of Waco, NE - Nominated by Upper Big Blue NRD
    Education – Shell Creek Watershed Monitoring Program in Newman Grove High School - Nominated by Lower Platte North NRD

NEBFARMPAC Endorses Bob Krist for Governor

Nebraska Farmers Union’s Political Action Committee, NEBFARMPAC, announced its unanimous and enthusiastic endorsement of Bob Krist for Governor in in the 2018 general election.

Vern Jantzen of Plymouth, NEBFARMPAC President said, "For Nebraskans who want a Governor that is willing to step up and tackle Nebraska’s overuse of property taxes to pay for K-12 schools, Bob Krist is the clear, hands down choice for Governor. Nebraska agriculture is facing the worst financial crisis since the mid-1980’s. Our net farm income is half of what it was five years ago.  Nebraska’s property tax intensive state tax system must be addressed, and Bob Krist is willing to listen and lead on that critical issue.”

John Hansen, NEBFARMPAC Secretary said, “Our organization helped create our state’s unique one house, non-partisan, unicameral legislature. Our state has been well served because it has mostly avoided the blinding dysfunction of partisan politics that paralysis our Congress. We are extremely alarmed by Governor Ricketts heavy handed unprecedented meddling in Legislative elections. He uses his family fortune to buy control of the Legislature. He recruits candidates to run against incumbent state senators, and fund their campaigns. His meddling in legislative elections undermines the relationship between state senators and their Governor, their working relationship with each other, and their relationship with their own voters back home in their district. A state senator should not be put in a position where that pick between representing the will of the voters back home, or incurring the wrath of the Governor who will recruit a candidate to run against them if they cross him. ”

“By contrast, Bob Krist’s 10 years of service in the Legislature is a shining example of the independent, non-partisan citizen servant state senator. He is a good listener, good at bringing people together to solve problems, good at asking questions and gathering information, and willing to tackle tough issues. We believe he has a deep abiding respect for our state’s unicameral system of government, its traditions, and its non-partisan independence. He is the kind of state senator George Norris would be proud of,” Hansen said. “Bob Krist is a good leader and he will make a great Governor.”

Gragert Named “Friend of Agriculture” by Nebraska Farm Bureau PAC

Tim Gragert of Creighton has been designated a “Friend of Agriculture” by Nebraska Farm Bureau – PAC (NEFB-PAC), Nebraska Farm Bureau’s political action committee. Gragert is seeking to represent District 40 in the Nebraska Legislature.

“Tim Gragert has a proven track record of service to his community. Whether through his 40 years of military service, 25 years as a member of the Creighton Volunteer Fire Department, or 12 years serving on the Creighton Public School Board, he has a long history of public service,” said Mark McHargue of Central City, chairman of NEFB-PAC and first vice president of Nebraska Farm Bureau. “We are happy to lend him our support as he seeks to represent and provide a voice for the people of District 40 in the Nebraska Legislature.”

According to McHargue, Gragert earned the “Friend of Agriculture” designation for his understanding of the importance of agriculture and his desire to be a voice for agriculture in Lincoln.

“As a life-long resident of District 40, Tim understands how important agriculture is to his District and to our state. He’s made it clear that he will fight to lower property taxes which have been a major issue, not just for farmers and ranchers, but for all property owners across our state. We are pleased to count Tim Gragert among those who have received our “Friend of Agriculture” designation,” said McHargue.

Nebraska Farm Bureau’s “Friend of Agriculture” designation is given to selected candidates for public office based on their commitment to and positions on agricultural issues, qualifications, previous experience, communication abilities, and their ability to represent their district. 

Siouxland Ag Lenders Seminar Provides Dairy Management Information

Helping ag lenders and consultants manage client portfolios will be the focus of the second Siouxland Ag Lenders Seminar, Nov. 1 in Orange City, Iowa. The program will feature presentations by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach specialists and other leading industry experts.

Lenders who serve agricultural clients – especially those who work with dairy operators – in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota are encouraged to attend, as the seminar will focus on agricultural market outlooks, the farm bill, financial recordkeeping and accounting, insurance and farm safety procedures.

“Ag lenders know that risk management continues to be a major variable for profitability in most ag enterprises,” said Fred M. Hall, dairy specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach. “For that reason, understanding the current market trends and risks is a necessary part of farm management assistance. Lenders working with dairy operators have the additional necessity of understanding a complex system of milk marketing, labor inputs and federal policy implications.”

Presentations during the seminar include:
-    2018 Farm Bill, by Joe Outlaw, professor and extension economist at Texas A&M University.
-    Milking Robots: Do They Pay? by Larry Tranel, dairy specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach.
-    Dairy Market Outlook, by Robert Cropp, emeritus professor of agricultural and applied economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
-    Market Outlook, by Chad Hart, associate professor and extension economist at Iowa State University.
-    Barn Safety, Fire Prevention and Insurance Required, by Larry Wyatt, senior investigator and ag engineer with Grinnell Mutual Insurance Company.
-    Accrual Accounting and the Necessity of Good Financial Records, by Gary Vande Vegte, managing partner of Van Bruggen & Vande Vegte CPAs and Financial Advisors.

“Our goal is that Siouxland lenders have a local source for current information, which they can use as they begin their annual client reviews,” Hall said. “The presenters have national standing and are actively participating in the national discussion in their topic areas.”

Registration is due by Oct. 26 and is $80 for the first person from a business or organization and $50 for each additional attendee. A registration form is available online. Registration includes lunch, refreshments and informational materials. Attendees can register the day of the event, but the event day $100 per person registration fee does not include lunch.

The event will begin at 9 a.m. on Nov. 1 and conclude at 3:30 p.m. It will be held at The Triple Box, 4758 Ironwood Avenue, Orange City.

The seminar is supported by Iowa Farm Bureau, Iowa Bankers Association, Minnesota Bankers Association, Nebraska Bankers Association and South Dakota Bankers Association.

NBB Appreciates Bipartisan Support for Biodiesel Tax Incentive Extension

Today, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) thanked the 46 Congressmembers – led by Rep. David Young (R-IA) and Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-IA) – who voiced their strong support for a multi-year extension of the biodiesel tax incentive. The Congressmembers representing states from California to Connecticut asked for a resolution in the coming weeks in a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD).

The letter notes that the biodiesel tax incentive was retroactively renewed for 2017 in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, passed in March this year. Unfortunately, the incentive was not extended to 2018 and is currently expired.

“Biodiesel and renewable diesel producers are putting investments on hold in the face of the uncertainty created by the off-again, on-again nature of tax incentive eligibility. A multi-year extension of the biodiesel and renewable diesel incentives will provide the industry the certainty it needs to continue to generate the economic and environmental public benefits,” the Congressmembers state in the letter.

Kurt Kovarik, NBB’s Vice President of Federal Affairs, added, “Right now, soybean farmers are harvesting a record crop but facing extreme uncertainty about the price they’ll receive and whether they’ll have access to markets. Biodiesel adds value to every bushel of soybeans and provides a market for the growing surplus of soy oil. A multiyear extension of the biodiesel tax incentive would give farmers a welcome bit of certainty this year.

“It would further provide biodiesel producers, blenders and retailers the opportunity to plan and expand the market for biodiesel, which would benefit truck drivers, consumers and others all along the value chain. NBB appreciates the leadership of Representatives Young and Loebsack and the support of the bipartisan group of Representatives from across the country that co-signed the letter.”

FDA Requests Comments on Dairy Food Labeling

NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern

“We welcome the public comment request announced today by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that we hope will finally curtail the misleading labeling practices of plant-based foods imitating real dairy products. NMPF will provide additional perspective explaining why the agency must enforce its own labeling regulations and limit the use of standardized dairy terms to products that come from an animal.

“We are pleased that after years of engagement with FDA, the agency is finally addressing our concerns about how these plant-based products are inappropriately marketed to consumers. In fact, the docket recognizes many of the same issues we’ve brought to light over the last four decades: that plant-based products are packaged, merchandized and sold in the same way as real dairy foods, yet provide fewer nutrients and therefore cannot be considered suitable substitutes.

“However, our comments will further emphasize that at its heart, our concern over accurate labeling is a concern not just about nutritional equivalence and the implications for public health. A food identified by a standard of identity is so much more than just a collection of nutrients. A standardized dairy food, like milk, yogurt or butter, is defined by its inherent characteristics including how and where it is sourced, and its sensory attributes and performance properties. Quite simply, just adding plant protein, calcium and a few other ingredients to water does not make it milk.

“We appreciate Commissioner Gottlieb’s efforts to evaluate current food labeling practices and how they can impact public health. But, as important as that is, we also believe FDA’s efforts must go a step further. We will remain engaged throughout this and future processes to keep a spotlight on this critical issue.”

Alberta Cattle Need More Feed Grain; Council Encourages U.S. Corn, DDGS Use

Drought conditions on the Canadian prairie have reduced harvest yields and caused more yearling cattle to move into feedlots earlier. U.S. corn and distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) can help supplement this domestic shortfall and meet increased demand for feed - as a U.S. Grains Council (USGC) mission promoted to feedyards in Alberta in September.

“The lots varied widely from calves only to finishing feeders and everything in between,” Hanson said. “These end-users are looking for a consistent, reliable supply of U.S. corn and DDGS and practical solutions to problems related to railroad timing, reliable offloading and additional investment needs.”

The marketplace for Canadian livestock feed demand is highly competitive with many alternative energy and protein feed ingredients available for producers. The 2018 Canadian harvest, however, has realized lower yields for wheat and barley, leading to less overall tonnage. Additionally, the harvest has higher quality, which is moving the limited volume available into export and food markets versus feed markets.

The United States is well-positioned to fill this domestic grain shortfall due to close geographic proximity to the U.S. market, including northern U.S. ethanol plants that offer U.S. DDGS for local feed rations, and the market access provided by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Overall, Canada has purchased 1.44 million metric tons (56.7 million bushels) of U.S. corn thus far in the 2017/2018 marketing year (Sept. 2018-July 2018), more than double the previous marketing year, in addition to 605,000 tons of U.S. DDGS.

The Council continues to work with Alberta feedlots to address concerns related to challenges with Canadian rail transload and delivery and provides practical solutions to buffer these challenges.

“Alberta livestock producers have mounting concerns about feed grain availability and rising prices are putting U.S. corn into a competitive price with Canadian grain,” Dowler said. “Given that corn was widely available in Alberta last year, more cattle feeders are well aware of the opportunity to feed U.S. corn and DDGS and are becoming more knowledgeable about pricing and logistics, in large part due to the Council’s work.”

Furthermore, the same drought conditions are affecting pastures, and producers are selling yearling calves to feedlots about a month earlier than normal. The combination of these market conditions means the Council’s visit was well-timed as cattle feeders are making important decisions about grain buying for coming months.

“All indications are that U.S. corn will move into Alberta, with potentially more than one million tons required to make up for domestic shortfalls in feed grains,” Dowler said. “On the final day of the Council’s travel, more than 100,000 tons of corn traded in Southern Alberta attributed to increased awareness of the use of corn and DDGS in cattle feed rations provided by team members and downward pressure on corn prices.”

Auto Import Tariffs Will Prompt More Retaliation Against American Agriculture, Warns NPPC

U.S. tariffs on auto imports likely would prompt retaliation from some of American agriculture’s biggest trading partners, leading to catastrophic financial harm to farmers, warned the National Pork Producers Council in comments submitted today to the Senate Committee on Finance.

In its ongoing efforts to realign U.S. trade policy, the Trump administration is considering putting duties on autos and auto parts under the 1962 Trade Expansion Act’s Section 232 for national security reasons.

NPPC reiterated its opposition to U.S. tariffs imposed to date – Section 232 duties on steel and aluminum imports and tariffs on imported goods from China related to that country’s theft of U.S. intellectual property and forced transfers of U.S. technology – and to any new tariffs.

“American agriculture generally and U.S. pork producers specifically have borne the brunt of trade retaliation from some of our top trading partners,” said NPPC President Jim Heimerl, a pork producer from Johnstown, Ohio. “We can’t afford to take another hit. If we do, a lot of farmers could go out of business, and consumers will pay a lot more for food.”

According to an estimate from Iowa State University economists, an initial 25 percent Chinese tariff on U.S. pork was the main cause of hog futures dropping by $18 per pig from March through May, or $2 billion industrywide on an annualized basis. In June, Mexico imposed a 10 percent tariff on U.S. pork, and in July, it increased the duty to 20 percent, and China imposed another 25 percent tariff. (Mexico is the U.S. pork industry’s No. 2 export market; China is No. 3.)

U.S. tariffs on auto imports could affect Canada, Japan, Mexico, South Korea and at least four members of the European Union – Germany, Italy, Sweden and the United Kingdom – as well as countries that supply parts to those nations. All are customers for U.S. pork. Canada, Japan, Mexico and South Korea are four of the U.S. pork industry’s top five export markets.

“Tariff retaliation from any of those countries would be bad for us,” Heimerl said, “but if we get duties from Canada, Japan, Mexico or South Korea – or all of them – U.S. pork and other U.S. farm exports would be dealt a devastating blow.”

Farm Bill Unlikely Before Lame Duck Session

ASA Newsletter

With the end of Fiscal Year 2018 approaching this weekend, time will run out on the farm bill. Major programs, including crop insurance and Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps, will continue because they are permanently authorized and funded.

The 2014 Act also provides funding through the marketing year for 2018 program crops, but the dairy program will expire at the end of December. While the Conservation Reserve Program is permanently funded, its authority will lapse in October, meaning that U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will honor existing contracts but not be able to enter into new ones. Then there are 39 so-called “orphan” programs that will lose both authorization and funding on Oct. 1, including certain conservation programs, most bioenergy (biofuels), rural development and agricultural research programs.

The Foreign Market Development (FMD) program will lose authorization and funding on Oct. 1, while the Market Access Program (MAP) will remain authorized and funded through December.  ASA has worked with other trade associations that participate in FMD and MAP to maintain authorization and increase funding for these export promotion programs in the new farm bill.

Negotiations between the House and Senate on the 2018 farm bill have bogged down on several issues, including the SNAP work requirements in the House bill.  A compromise under which waivers of these requirements by states would be restricted has been floated, but no agreement is in sight.

Another provision in the House bill would make base acres that weren’t planted to a program crop in 2009 to 2017 ineligible for Title 1 payments under Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC). Savings from this change would be used to allow producers who experienced severe drought in 2009 to 2012 to update their yields under the PLC program. The base change provision is controversial because farmers who have been allowed to underplant their base and receive payments since the 1996 Farm Bill would have their base and payments taken away.

It is highly unlikely that Congress will return to Washington in October to finish the farm bill. The annual appropriations process for Fiscal Year 2019 has made more progress than in recent years, with a package of three of the 12 bills signed into law by President Donald Trump earlier this month.

Other packages are still stymied, including one that includes agricultural appropriations. However, a catch-all Continuing Resolution is included in a bill that also covers appropriations for the Department of Defense, which is considered “must pass” legislation. Assuming the CR passes and is signed by the President, funding for the government will continue until it expires on Dec. 7.

Legislators will return after the Nov. 6 mid-term elections to elect new leaders for the 116th Congress, but won’t get around to finishing the spending bills and trying to finalize the farm bill until after Thanksgiving.

ASA and its state affiliates are calling on Congress to complete the next farm bill this year rather than consider an extension when they come back to Washington. A short-term extension would avoid the “dairy cliff” at the end of December, but would mean starting the farm bill process over again with a new Congress and potentially new members and leaders of the Agriculture Committees.

Faced with continuing low prices and a volatile trade environment, no one in production agriculture wants to see added uncertainty in the support provided through the farm bill.  As a result, and if the farm bill isn’t finished in the lame duck session, there has been discussion of possibly extending the 2014 Farm Bill for three years – beyond the term of the next Congress and hopefully to a more stable farm economy.

ASA Joins Effort to Ensure Appropriations Bills Don’t Undermine BE Disclosure Law

Late last week, ASA joined others in the ag value chain on a letter to House and Senate appropriations Committee leadership regarding a provision impacting the disclosure of bioengineered (BE) food. The House and Senate are conferencing their respective versions of the appropriations bill and the letter aims to ensure that the final bill does not include any language that would undermine USDA’s uniform disclosure standard or create confusion for consumers. USDA is expected to finalize rules on BE foods later this year.

Farmers Union Urges Administration to Allow E15 Year-Round, Reconcile Billions of Gallons of Lost Demand for Biofuels

Ahead of an expected Trump Administration announcement on changes to the nation’s biofuel policies, National Farmers Union (NFU) is urging the President to follow through on his promises to support American family farmers and the biofuel industry by allowing year-round use of E15 gasoline, ceasing undue hardship waivers to oil refiners, and making up for lost demand as a result of previous waivers.

Building on a recent letter from farm and biofuel groups to President Trump, NFU President Roger Johnson said that while an E15 waiver is a step in the right direction towards expanded use of American grown biofuels, such a measure on its own would not make up for the billions of gallons of lost demand for ethanol that have resulted from Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) exemptions handed out by former EPA chief Scott Pruitt.

“The historic decline in the farm economy over the past five years has been exacerbated by mishandling of the nation’s chief biofuel policy, the Renewable Fuel Standard,” said Johnson. “While a move to allow year-round use of E15 gasoline is expected to increase domestic demand for ethanol by 1.3 billion gallons over the next five years, that number pales in comparison to the projected 4.6 billion gallons worth of demand that would be lost over the next 6 years if EPA continues handing out hardship waivers to oil refiners.”

The administration has been working on changes to biofuel policies that would ease tensions between biofuel and oil industries. Yet, to date, its actions have undercut demand for biofuels by waiving oil refiner requirements to comply with the RFS. USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue last month said the administration will soon allow year-round use of E15 gasoline – a bump for the biofuel sector.

Johnson said such an announcement must be accompanied by a provision that makes up for the billions of gallons of lost demand as a result of hardship waivers, as well as a commitment not to further erode demand through continued use of waivers. “An announcement on E15 in and of itself does not make whole a biofuels industry that has experienced significant damage as a result of the former EPA administrator’s actions,” he said.

Johnson said such a request is commonsense for an administration that has pledged to support family farmers and American grown biofuels.

“The farm economy has placed many family farmers in dire financial straits right now,” said Johnson. “They are looking to the administration to take meaningful actions that, in the aggregate, expand demand for American farm products. Yet, to this point, they’ve only seen demand destruction. That must change immediately with tangible actions that ensure more biofuels make their way into the transportation fuel sector.”

Johnson added that NFU is a strong proponent of expanding use of higher blends of ethanol, like E30, in order to provide farmers with a stronger market for their products and consumers with cheaper, cleaner, and more efficient transportation fuels.

“Farmers Union is going to continue to push for expanded use of higher blends of ethanol, for the benefit of family farmers and consumers alike,” he said. “Until the administration creates an environment in which these fuels can succeed, it will have shortchanged the family farmers the President has pledged to support.”

Soy Family Participates in Taiwan Goodwill Mission and Signing Ceremony

U.S. soybean farmers have been present and active developing demand and utilization of soy in Taiwan for nearly 50 years. During a Washington visit this week, Yau-Kuen Hung, chairman of the Taiwan Vegetable Association and Wade Cowan, past president of the American Soybean Association, signed a commitment by the Taiwan soy industry to purchase an additional 600,000- 1 million metric tons of U.S. soybeans.

The Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) is hosting a Goodwill Mission from Taiwan with the help of the soy family during this week, and on Wednesday, the delegation met with soy family representatives, Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) officials and Members of Congress. This trip reestablishes the deep connection and relationship between the U.S. and Taiwan.

IGC Raises 2018-19 Grain-Production Forecast, Boosts Corn

The International Grains Council said Thursday that it has increased its forecast for global grain production for both this season and the next.

The IGC's fresh monthly forecasts boost expected 2017-18 production by 3 million metric tons to 2,095 million tons, and expected 2018/2019 production by 9 million tons to 2,072 million metric tons.

The changes represent increases of 0.1% and 0.4% on the grain body's figures from last month's report.

In its predictions for the 2018/2019 production season, the IGC upped its expected corn production to 1,074 million tons from 1,064 million tons. That increase combined with a 4-million-ton increase to expected soybean production, bringing that forecast total to 370 million tons, complimented by a 1-million-ton addition to the wheat production forecast, at 717 million tons.

Expected rice production was flat at 491 million tons.

"Nearly all the adjustment is for maize, including increased figures for the US (+6.1 million tons), the EU (+2.7 million tons) and Ukraine (+1.2 million tons)," the IGC said, adding that, for soybeans, "reduced shipments to China are more than offset by bigger deliveries to other markets, including Argentina, the EU, North Africa and Near East Asia."

Learning to Do, Doing to Learn Through the Turn the Bag Blue & Gold FFA Program

Mycogen Seeds is excited to announce its 2018-19 Turn the Bag Blue & Gold program with the National FFA Organization. After a successful pilot year in 2017-18, Mycogen expanded the program to seven states and eight FFA chapters.

The Turn the Bag Blue & Gold program focuses on a comprehensive learning platform that provides foundational agronomic principles and professional sales training to FFA students. As part of the program, students can raise funds for their local FFA chapter, state FFA associations and National FFA Organization.

“We are not only dedicated to our farmers’ growth but also the growth of young agricultural leaders,” says Blake Courtney, Mycogen marketing communications manager. “Last year, we piloted the program with six FFA chapters across corn-growing regions, donating more than $35,000 to local FFA chapters, the National FFA organization and their respective state FFA associations.”

Students will hit the field this fall, putting their skills to work. In collaboration with their local Mycogen territory manager and local retailer, participating FFA members will offer corn hybrids that fit local geographies, including two Mycogen® brand TMF silage hybrids. Farmers can purchase seed through FFA members and receive their Mycogen brand seed in a specially branded Mycogen blue-and-gold bag.

Real-life experience

Matt Porter, a Mycogen territory manager, says the experience is invaluable and provides students with real-life, in-the-trenches experience.

“It’s one thing to learn about agronomy or professional sales techniques in a classroom, but this program takes that experience to a new level by asking students to incorporate their learnings in the field,” Porter says. “Last year, I worked with the York, Nebraska, FFA chapter, and it was rewarding to see those students interact with farmers and follow the curriculum.”

Farmers interested in supporting the program and their local FFA chapter can contact one of the following 2018-19 FFA chapter participants or corresponding Mycogen retailer partners.
    York FFA Chapter, York, Nebraska - Central Valley Ag Cooperative, York, Nebraska
    Chase County FFA Chapter, Imperial, Nebraska - Nutrien Ag Solutions, Imperial, Nebraska
    Central Plains FFA Chapter, Gowrie, Iowa - NEW Cooperative, Inc., Fort Dodge, Iowa
    Alexandria FFA Chapter, Alexandria, Minnesota - Pro-Ag Farmers Coop, Brandon, Minnesota
    Elsberry FFA Chapter, Elsberry, Missouri - MFA, Inc., Elsberry, Missouri
    Eastern Hancock FFA Chapter, Charlottesville, Indiana - Harvest Land, Wilkinson, Indiana
    Fremont FFA Chapter, Fremont, Michigan - Ceres Solutions, Fremont, Michigan
    Bureau Valley FFA Chapter, Manlius, Illinois - Nutrien Ag Solutions, Sheffield, Illinois

“As part of the Turn the Bag Blue & Gold program process, students started getting more interested in careers in agriculture,” says Jason Hirschfield, FFA advisor in York. “Whether they go into agronomy or not, they are at least asking the ‘what ifs,’ and that, I believe, is powerful.”

Driving Dairy Profitability — Tip 1: Shoot for an SCC of 100,000 or lower

By Mike Lormore, DVM, MS, MBA, Director, U.S. Dairy Cattle Technical Services, Zoetis

Aggressively pushing your somatic cell count (SCC) as low as you possibly can — even lower than the accepted standard of 200,000 — will drive profitability. Merely monitoring SCC isn’t enough as you work to increase productivity and battle mastitis, the most costly disease in the industry.

High SCC could cost you 11 pounds/cow/day, according to Zoetis and Compeer Financial’s analysis of a 11-year herd data study that included 489 year-end financial and production record summaries.1* The top-third of herds in the study had a bulk tank SCC that averaged 132,000 cells/mL. Meanwhile, the bottom one-third of herds had a bulk tank SCC average of 284,000 cells/mL. This difference in SCC was associated with an 11-pound difference in milk per cow per day for the top-performing herds. Additional benefits associated with lower SCC included more milk production, increased pregnancy rates and fewer death losses.

The challenge is to rethink your ultimate SCC goal — 200,000 SCC isn’t low enough. The study showed that for every 100,000 cells/mL increase in bulk tank SCC, milk yield declines 5.5 pounds. 1* Giving up this many pounds of milk as an accepted standard shows more ambitious goals present a real opportunity for our industry and individual dairies to improve. To increase dairy production and operation profitability, pushing your SCC lower — to 150,000 or even 100,000 — is critical.

Get there in three steps:

1.    Keep SCC in check — Without a management strategy that includes actively monitoring individual cow SCC and new infections, you are taking a financial risk. Make sure you know your SCC levels and have protocols in place for identifying mastitis pathogens and treating them.

2.    Prevent new infections — Coliform intramammary infection rate is about four times greater during the dry period than during lactation.2 When going into the dry period, set protocols that are both tailored to clear up existing infections and prevent new ones. Implement a dry cow treatment program that includes a broad-spectrum tube, a proven internal teat sealant and vaccination against coliform infections.

3.    Reduce mastitis risk and use fewer mastitis tubes — Nothing lessens the financial impact of mastitis like reducing the risk of it occurring. Genomic testing can help you identify which animals are most likely to avoid getting sick. This has been proven with first- and second-year results from a field study using Clarifide® Plus that shows cows in the top quartile based on their respective genetic trait herd rankings had 47% fewer cases of mastitis. Effectively, those cows in the top quartile need half as many mastitis tubes, they have half as much discarded milk, and they spend half the number of days in the hospital pen compared with the cows in the bottom quartile.3

Managing SCC to push levels as low as possible presents a large opportunity to improve your long-term profitability. To learn more about SCC management strategies and the Dairy Financial Drivers study, visit

Wednesday September 26 Ag News

USDA Providing Funds to Protect and Restore Agricultural Lands, Grasslands and Wetlands Across Nebraska

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is now accepting applications for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP). This program, created under the 2014 Farm Bill, provides funding for the purchase of conservation easements to help productive farm and ranch lands remain in agriculture and to restore and protect critical wetlands and grasslands.

Nebraska state conservationist Craig Derickson said, “Conservation easements are a good tool to ensure natural resources are conserved and protected for all Nebraskans. We encourage Indian tribes, state and local governments, non-governmental organizations and private landowners to contact their local NRCS office to find out how to apply.”

The main goal of ACEP is to prevent productive agriculture land from being converted to non-agricultural uses and to restore and protect wetlands and wildlife habitat. Cropland, rangeland, grassland, pastureland and nonindustrial private forestland are eligible.

Applications can be submitted at any time, but to be considered for 2019 funding opportunities, applications in Nebraska must be received by Nov. 1, 2018. Applications are currently being accepted for both agricultural land and wetland reserve easements.

NRCS provides technical and financial assistance directly to private and tribal landowners to restore, protect, and enhance wetlands through the purchase of conservation easements. Eligible landowners can choose to enroll in a permanent or 30-year easement. Tribal landowners also have the option of enrolling in 30-year contracts.

A key option under the agricultural land easement component is the "grasslands of special environmental significance" that will protect high-quality grasslands that are under threat of conversion to cropping, urban development and other non-grazing uses.  To qualify, the application would need to be located in an area meeting the designated criteria.

All applications will be rated according to the easement’s potential for protecting and enhancing habitat for migratory birds, fish and other wildlife. Eligible applicants will be compensated with a payment rate comparable to the local land use value.

Applicants will need to provide accurate records of ownership and ensure they have established current fiscal year ownership eligibility with USDA’s Farm Service Agency. Application information is available at your local USDA Service Center and at

“NRCS staff will work with all interested applicants to help them through the application process and provide one-on-one assistance to create the conservation easement option that works best for their farming or ranching operation,” Derickson said.

For more information about the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and the programs and services it provides, visit your local USDA Service Center or

Land O'Lakes CEO to Address ABA National Ag Bankers Conference

Land O’Lakes President and CEO, Beth Ford, is among the headline speakers who will address the nation’s largest gathering of ag lenders at the American Bankers Association National Agricultural Bankers Conference Nov. 11-14 in Omaha, Neb. This year’s event, hosted at the CHI Health Center Omaha, will cover the most pressing issues in agricultural lending today including U.S. trade policy, commodity prices and the way technology is changing ag finance.

Ford, one of just 25 female CEOs leading a Fortune 500 company, will explain how consumer trends are changing the way businesses operate, as well as opportunities and challenges ahead in the ag sector and overall economy. In addition to Ford, ag lenders will hear from former USDA Chief Economist Dr. Joseph Glauber on current U.S. trade policy and how it will affect farmers; Amazon Web Services’ Head of AgTech, Cameron Holbrook, on Amazon’s development of cloud technology and its interest in the ag industry; and Dr. Stephen Higgs of Kansas State University on the threat of agricultural biological weapons.

The four-day conference will feature more than 35 sessions on other topics including:
-    Commodity outlooks. The latest updates from the experts on beef, dairy, grains, livestock/pork and—new this year—a super session on permanent plantings, rice and cotton.
-    Succession planning on the farm. This session will help lenders understand the key role they can play in helping businesses and families address succession planning.
-    Regulatory view of ag banking. The OCC and FDIC will share their views on the impact of new regulatory changes on ag and rural lending.
-    How technology is changing ag and ag finance. More than one session will cover the future of ag banking and how bankers can harness the latest financial technologies.

For the second year, the event will include a “Women in Ag Banking Networking Breakfast,” which aims to inspire participants and provide an opportunity to discuss ways to celebrate successes and failures as professional women in the field. This year’s networking session will feature Natalie Bartholomew, author of The Girl Banker Blog.

For additional schedule information or to register for the conference, call 1-800-BANKERS or visit

Perdue on Negotiations for a U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today issued the following statement regarding today’s agreement between President Donald J. Trump and Prime Minister Shinzō Abe to begin negotiations for a U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement:

“Achieving high-standard trade agreements is a top priority for American agriculture, and the announcement of the beginning of negotiations for a U.S.-Japan trade agreement is an important step in that process. This is welcome news, since we know that export income is critical to the financial health of agriculture and is a key contributor to rural prosperity. Japan is an important customer for our agricultural products and we look forward to the great potential this breakthrough represents. Today’s announcement is further proof that President Trump’s approach to trade – standing strong for American interests and bringing other countries to the table – will benefit our entire economy, including the agricultural sector.”

Ricketts Hails News of U.S.-Japan Trade Negotiations as “Big Growth Opportunity”

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts issued a statement following news that the United States and Japan had agreed to enter trade negotiations.  The agreement came at a summit meeting in New York between President Donald J. Trump and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

“Japan is Nebraska’s number one direct international investor and our second largest trading partner outside of North America,” said Governor Ricketts.  “Last year, Nebraska experienced double-digit growth in beef and pork exports to the country.  A new deal with Japan is critical to sustaining that growth into the future.  Nebraska is grateful for the personal attention both President Trump and Ambassador Lighthizer have given to pursuing a new deal, and I appreciate that our friends in Japan are coming to the table to negotiate around our shared goals.  A new trade deal represents a big growth opportunity for both countries, and I hope negotiations move swiftly.”


Japan is Nebraska’s fourth largest export market, with over $1 billion worth of exports in 2016.  The country is Nebraska’s largest direct international investor with Japanese companies employing about 9,400 people in Nebraska.  They are a top-3 customer for Nebraska beef, pork, eggs, corn, wheat, and soybeans.
·         Beef:  $316.1 million – #1 market
·         Corn:  $244.2 million – #2 market
·         Pork: $198.4 million – #1 market
·         Soybeans and Soybean Products: $81.5 million – #3 market
·         Eggs: $16.8 million – #1 market
·         Wheat: $13.9 million - #2 market

Smith Applauds Progress on Trade between U.S. and Japan

Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) released the below statement following a September 26 summit between President Trump and Prime Minister Abe of Japan which produced a joint statement outlining plans for future trade negotiations.

“Japan is one of our most important allies and trading partners, and a bilateral trade agreement between our two nations is long overdue. Today’s meeting between President Trump and Prime Minster Abe represents a positive step toward the negotiation of such an agreement for the benefit of our producers and consumers alike. I have long called for the reduction of trade barriers between United States and Japan, and I encourage our trade negotiators to meet as soon as possible to build on this progress.”

Smith introduced legislation earlier this Congress, H. Res. 236, Recognizing the importance of the United States-Japan partnership and supporting the pursuit of closer trade ties between the United States and Japan.

Statement by Steve Nelson, President, Regarding U.S., Japan Trade Talks

“Ever since the President pulled the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, we have urged the Administration to follow through on its promise of developing bilateral free trade agreements with TPP member countries, especially Japan. Today’s announcement that the United States and Japan have agreed to enter trade talks is tremendous news and couldn’t have come at a better time.”

“Japan is already our largest trading partner for Nebraska beef, and a major purchaser of Nebraska agriculture commodities including pork, corn, soybeans, wheat, grain sorghum, and dairy products. There is no doubt that a bilateral agreement with Japan would be a major win for Nebraska farmers and ranchers if the U.S. is able to reach an agreement with similar terms to those previously negotiated under the TPP, specifically as it relates to tariff reduction on agriculture products.”

“TPP 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. If the U.S. can lower Japan’s existing 38.5 percent tariff on U.S. beef which was slated to gradually decline to 9 percent under TPP, that would be a major victory for Nebraska, the ‘beef state’.”

NCBA “Strongly Supports” Expanding Trade with Japan

Today National Cattlemen's Beef Association President Kevin Kester released the following statement in response to the announcement that the United States and Japan will pursue a bilateral trade agreement:

“The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association strongly supports President Trump’s commitment to expanding trade with Japan. Today’s announcement is exciting news for America’s beef producers because Japan is our top export market, accounting for nearly $1.9 billion in U.S. beef sales in 2017. Unfortunately, U.S. beef faces a massive 38.5 percent tariff in Japan—a trade barrier that hurts America’s beef producers and Japanese consumers. NCBA has been a strong advocate for a bilateral trade deal between our nations and looks forward to working closely with the Trump Administration to secure increased market access for our industry. We congratulate President Trump and Prime Minister Abe for taking this important step in our trading relationship. The faster negotiations conclude, the faster U.S. producers can provide more Japanese consumers with the high-quality beef they demand.”

NPPC Lauds Administration On Bolstering Ties With Japan

The National Pork Producers Council strongly praised the Trump administration, following today’s announcement by the White House that the United States and Japan soon will begin trade talks. The Asian nation is the U.S. pork industry’s No. 1 value market, importing in 2017 more than $1.6 billion of U.S. pork.

“This is fantastic news for America’s pork producers,” said NPPC President Jim Heimerl, a pork producer from Johnstown, Ohio. “Japan has been our top export market for years, so it’s good that the administration wants to solidify the relationship with that important economic and geopolitical ally.

“This is very positive for the U.S. pork industry, and it comes at a time when pork producers were having concerns about losing market share in Japan.”

That’s because the U.S. pork industry’s biggest competitor, the European Union, recently concluded negotiations on a free trade agreement with Japan. That deal is set to become effective early next year. Additionally, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP minus the United States) is expected to be finalized in early 2019.

“We look forward to working with the Trump trade team on bolstering ties with one of our most important trading partners,” Heimerl said.

U.S. Wheat Associates Welcomes Formal Trade Talks with Japan

U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) is excited to hear that the Trump Administration and the Japanese government are taking formal steps toward trade negotiations. The announcement today to “further expand trade and investment between the United States and Japan in a mutually beneficial manner” has the potential to eliminate a dangerous vulnerability for U.S. wheat farmers.

Over the years, Japan has purchased more U.S. wheat than any other country, but also imports wheat from Canada and Australia, which are members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) along with Japan. Once ratified, this agreement will include a gradual reduction of Japan’s effective tariffs on milling wheat imported from TPP member countries. While U.S. wheat farmers have excellent and longstanding relationships with Japanese millers, the higher tariffs on U.S. wheat would force them to purchase significantly more Canadian and Australian wheat within a few years of the new agreement’s implementation. That is a result no U.S. wheat grower can afford, and we are hopeful that the Administration will address this problem as an early achievement in the negotiations.

In addition to addressing this specific problem for wheat, we appreciate the emphasis on free, fair and rules-based trade. These negotiations are a positive sign that the United States is again moving toward a comprehensive agreement with Japan and, hopefully, with other countries in the Pacific region and around the world. That would benefit U.S. agriculture and the entire U.S. economy. 

House Ag Committee Holds Roundtable with Doud, McKinney to Discuss Ag Trade Agenda

House Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway (TX-11) and Ranking Member Collin Peterson (MN-7) made the following statement today after holding a roundtable with USTR Chief Agricultural Negotiator, Gregg Doud, and USDA Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, Ted McKinney, to discuss the administration’s agricultural trade agenda:

“We know the angst in farm country right now. Between low prices, droughts, flooding, hurricanes and the retaliatory tariffs of our trading partners – there is hurt in the heartland. We continue to work with the Administration as they make progress on NAFTA and other trade agreements, but we also recognize that the best thing Congress can do to aid farm country is to provide farmers and ranchers with the certainty and predictability of a five-year farm bill. On that front, we will continue our work until a new farm bill is complete.”

EIA: US Ethanol Stocks Again Decline

Domestic ethanol stocks declined for a second straight week during the week ended Sept. 21 on mixed blending demand and decreased plant production, according to Energy Information Administration data released Wednesday, Sept. 26.

EIA reports ethanol inventories decreased 117,000 barrels (bbl) during the week reviewed to 22.629 million bbl, 1.9 million bbl, or 9.2%, above supply held a year earlier.

Plant production dropped 15,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 1.036 million bpd during the week ended Sept. 21, 4% above the corresponding week in 2017. Four-week averaged production was 1.048 million bpd versus 1.034 million bpd during the corresponding four week period in 2017.

Net refiner and blender inputs, a measure for ethanol demand, slid 27,000 bpd to 901,000 bpd during the week-ended Sept. 21, 1.7% lower than a year ago. For the four weeks ended Sept. 21, blending demand averaged 922,000 bpd, 12,000 bpd more than the same period in 2017.

USDA Outlines Next Steps for Animal Disease Traceability

Greg Ibach, under secretary for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Marketing and Regulatory Programs, announced USDA's four overarching goals for advancing animal disease traceability to protect the long-term health, marketability and economic viability of the U.S. livestock industry.

"The landscape surrounding animal disease traceability has changed dramatically in the past decade, and producers across the nation recognize that a comprehensive system is the best protection against a devastating disease outbreak like foot-and-mouth disease" Ibach said. "We have a responsibility to these producers and American agriculture as a whole to make animal disease traceability what it should be--a modern system that tracks animals from birth to slaughter using affordable technology that allows USDA to quickly trace sick and exposed animals to stop disease spread."

USDA's four overarching goals for increasing traceability are:
- Advance the electronic sharing of data among federal and state animal health officials, veterinarians and industry; including sharing basic animal disease traceability data with the federal animal health events repository (AHER).

- Use electronic ID tags for animals requiring individual identification in order to make the transmission of data more efficient;

- Enhance the ability to track animals from birth to slaughter through a system that allows tracking data points to be connected; and

- Elevate the discussion with States and industry to work toward a system where animal health certificates are electronically transmitted from private veterinarians to state animal health officials.

These goals reflect the core themes resulting from a State and Federal Animal Disease Traceability Working Group that developed 14 key points for advancing traceability. They are also in keeping with feedback APHIS received at stakeholder meetings held across the country to hear from industry and producers directly.

USDA recognizes that some sectors of the livestock industry have already invested a lot of infrastructure into developing their traceability programs. These new goals complement what those sectors are already doing, and will help increase traceability across the entire industry. USDA is committed to continued discussion and collaboration to ensure we coordinate traceability efforts across the country.

While electronic ID is critical for advancing traceability, it's important to emphasize USDA will not dictate the use of a specific tag technology. Different industries prefer different tag types (low frequency vs. ultra high frequency) and choice will continue to be a cornerstone of USDA's program, giving producers the ability to decide what works best for their operations. Not only will electronic ID allow animals to move more quickly through ports, markets and sales, it will also help ensure rapid response when a disease event strikes.

To assist with the transition to electronic ID, USDA is ending the free metal tags program and instead offering a cost-share for electronic tags. This is something stakeholders have repeatedly told us they need to help transition to electronic ID.

"Another key component of our plan is sharing a few key data elements from existing state and industry animal movement databases with our animal health events repository," said Ibach. "That way, if an outbreak occurs, we can quickly find the information we need to locate and identify potentially diseased or at-risk animals. This helps avoid unnecessary quarantines that could impact producers' livelihoods. And by linking to that information instead of housing it ourselves, we maintain our stakeholders' privacy."

Moving forward, USDA wants to continue to build on the current momentum around animal disease traceability, and will begin implementing these ADT goals starting in fiscal year 2019. USDA will work with our state partners and industry to establish appropriate benchmarks to meet to show progress. USDA will also ensure all new traceability cooperative agreements will be contingent on measurable advancements toward these three goals.

All Fertilizers Higher Third Week of September

Retail fertilizer prices continue to track higher, according to fertilizer prices tracked by DTN for the third week of September 2018. All eight of the major fertilizers' increased from a month earlier. One fertilizer, urea, made a significant 6% move higher compared to the third week of August. The nitrogen fertilizer had an average price of $384 per ton.

The remaining seven fertilizers were all higher in price compared to last month, but none were up a noteworthy amount. DAP had an average price of $494 per ton, MAP $520/ton, potash $362/ton, 10-34-0 $448/ton, anhydrous $494/ton, UAN28 $239/ton and UAN32 $278/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.42/lb.N, anhydrous $0.30/lb.N, UAN28 $0.43/lb.N and UAN32 $0.44/lb.N.

In the U.S., all eight of the major fertilizers are now higher compared to last year with prices shifting higher in recent months. Potash is 5% higher, 10-34-0 is 8% more expensive, UAN32 is 12% higher, UAN28 is 13% more expensive, both MAP and DAP are now 15% higher and both anhydrous and urea are now 23% more expensive compared to last year.

ACE leadership testifies on fuel economy, emissions standards

American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings testifies today during the public hearing in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposed Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule for Model Years 2021-2026 Passenger Cars and Light Trucks.

Jennings’ testimony emphasizes how ethanol-enriched, high octane fuel blends between 25 and 30 percent (in the 99-100 RON range) would enable automakers to simultaneously reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improve fuel economy. The following are excerpts from Jennings’ testimony:

“We are grateful EPA and NHTSA are seeking comment on how fuel such as 100 RON E30 can provide automakers flexibility to meet CAFE-GHG standards. Research indicates the use of 98 to 100 RON fuel containing at least 25 percent ethanol results in 3 to 9 percent efficiency gains in high-compression engines which are beginning to dominate the marketplace.

“Increasing the content of ethanol in gasoline is but one way to produce high octane fuel. We recognize refiners prefer 95 RON where additional octane is petroleum-derived and ethanol content is capped at 10 percent. Ultimately, however, EPA needs to weigh benefits and costs. In some wholesale markets today, unleaded gasoline costs nearly one-dollar-per-gallon more than ethanol.

“Not only will 98 to 100 RON fuel containing 25 to 30 percent ethanol save consumers compared to the premium-priced octane level being advocated by oil refiners, it is a more cost-effective approach for automakers to achieve meaningful efficiency gains and emission reductions.”

Below are steps ACE will recommend in its written comments and encourages EPA to take during its final rulemaking to enable high octane fuel to play a role in helping automakers meet the 2021-2026 standards, including:
-    Establish or promote a minimum octane fuel rating in the range of 98 to 100 RON with 25 to 30 percent ethanol and propose or invite automakers to propose a corresponding certification fuel for engine testing purposes.
-    Phase out the 85 AKI octane rating in high elevation areas of the country because automakers do not recommend it in their engines.
-    Restore credits for automakers to produce flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs) and establish new incentives for vehicles designed to achieve optimal efficiency on high octane ethanol blends.

ACE encourages ethanol supporters to utilize its Legislative Action Center to submit comments on or before the comment period deadline of Oct. 26.

NCGA at SAFE Vehicles Rule Public Hearing

Michigan farmer and NCGA Ethanol Action team member Russell Braun testified on behalf of NCGA at a public hearing in Dearborn, Mich., September 25 to review the proposed SAFE Vehicles Rule. This proposed regulation would set standards for vehicle fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions. Important for farmers, regulators also requested comments on the benefits and role of high-octane fuels when it comes to meeting vehicle standards.

Corn farmers have a vested interest in the future of transportation fuels, and NCGA wants to ensure automakers have the tools and technology to meet future emissions and efficiency standards, both cost-effectively and safely for drivers. One of these tools is high-octane fuel, such as a mid-level ethanol blend.

Braun’s testimony urged regulators to consider fuels and vehicles as a system of high-octane fuel used with optimized engines. While ethanol may not be the only source of fuel octane, it is the lowest cost - and lowest carbon - octane source currently available to consumers.

Braun also encouraged EPA to use the agency’s authority to support the production and use of higher-octane fuels by addressing regulatory barriers, the need for a minimum fuel octane standard, RVP parity and correcting fuel efficiency calculations.

“NCGA supports one national standard for vehicles. High-octane, low-carbon fuel can help harmonize federal and state standards and is a needed compromise solution on future standards,” Braun concluded his testimony.

Farm Bureau Calls for Evaluation of Endangered Species Protection

California Farm Bureau Federation President Jamie Johansson today urged Congress to improve the current culture of conflict that exemplifies current Endangered Species Act regulations.

Testifying on behalf of the American Farm Bureau Federation, the California olive and citrus grower told members of the House Committee on Natural Resources that an evaluation is needed of how the Endangered Species Act works, and how it can be improved to better work with farmers and other landowners.

“We all value protecting species from extinction.” Johansson said. “Our disagreements are not about the goal of species protection, but the best way to achieve that goal. We are not here to question the Act’s fundamental goal of striving to conserve species from extinction. This goal will not and should not change. What we grapple with today is not whether we should conserve species from extinction, but how we should conserve species from extinction.”

Johansson explained to the Committee that farmers and conservation groups understand that for species protection programs to work better, they must be improved for both species and people.

“What we know is that to actually take care of species on the land, we need to work with, not against, the people on the land,” Johansson said. “For this to happen, we must increase the opportunities for collaboration and decrease the opportunities for conflict. Currently, landowners view the ESA as a threat. The history of the ESA has generally shown landowners that having species or habitat (on their private land) creates a lot of risk and provides no real benefit. Given that half of listed species spend 80% of their lives on private land, this situation offers little opportunity for people or species.”

Tuesday September 25 Ag News

Northeast showcases agriculture, applied technology programs at Husker Harvest Days

The “world’s largest totally irrigated farm show” served as a perfect backdrop for Northeast Community College to showcase one of its newest programs as well as its students. Northeast has had a presence at Husker Harvest Days in Grand island for a number of years, but in 2018, the College added an outdoor exhibit in addition to staffing its regular indoor booth.

“This is the first year we had our Precision Ag simulator trailer and some mobile trainings that feature the use of our two-row planter our staff built and a spray application simulator,” said Corinne Morris, dean of agriculture, science and math. “The two-row planter sparked the curiosity of several producers and industry people who stopped to ask how we are using it. They seemed to be impressed to learn that we use it to demonstrate several aspects of precision planting.”

The Precision Agriculture Learning (PAL) simulator is outfitted with multiple hands-on mobile training modules to train current and future producers. The simulator is an integral part of a three-year, $785,000 grant awarded to the College by the National Science Foundation. Northeast purchased a trailer to transport the PAL simulator and its modules to educational trainings and events across the College’s 20-county service area and beyond.

“In this next year, we’ll be visiting area high schools as well as offering customized training for producers and those in industry through Northeast’s precision agriculture program … and the PAL simulator will be a big part of that,” Morris said.

Husker Harvest Days is a good opportunity that allows high school students and producers to see what the College has to offer. Many schools send students in their agriculture-related classes and FFA programs to practice their networking skills.

“We already have a great relationship with all of the FFA groups and Husker Harvest Days is another way for us to meet with many of those students. This setting allows us to have more casual one-on-one conversations with potential students and find out what their individual goals are. In turn, it allows them to be engaged and develop their own communication skills when they speak to people like us.”

Morris said it’s not easy for some students to make those initial contacts.

“But they see places like Northeast Community College as already a ‘friendly place.’ They may start by coming up to booths like ours before they stop at a business because we look familiar to them. That’s why we’re here … we’re here to help.”

Morris said Husker Harvest Days is also a time for she and her faculty and staff to network with business and industry representatives as they work with the students in preparing them to become their future employees.

In addition to the agriculture programs, Northeast also sent representatives from its applied technology division. Those stopping by the outdoor booth had the opportunity to try their hand at welding through the College’s welding simulator, see high performance engines and participate in a diesel challenge where students competed against one another in disassembling a diesel engine and putting it back together.

“The hands-on events presented a terrific opportunity to showcase various careers and gave visitors a taste of a career they might not have given much thought to,” said Shanelle Grudzinski, associate dean of applied technology at Northeast.

Inside the West Diversified Industries Building, Brad Ranslem, director of recruitment, and Anthony Faust, recruiter, visited with high school students and the general public in providing additional information on the College.

“I had multiple people go out of their way to personally stop at our booth and give positive feedback about Northeast and acknowledging that we are a great option for students,” Ranslem said. “It’s not uncommon for generations of families to attend Northeast. There were parents of current and former students that told us how much they loved Northeast when they attended and that their kids love it, too.”

Husker Harvest Days organizers say approximately 100,000 people attend the three-day show each year.

Ricketts Welcomes EPA Approval of E-30 Pilot for State of Nebraska Vehicles

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts and state agencies welcomed news that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved a project requested by the State of Nebraska to study the use of higher ethanol blends.  In the pilot program, the State of Nebraska will study the use of E-30 in conventional vehicles owned by the state.

“Thank you to acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler and his team for approving Nebraska’s E-30 pilot project,” said Governor Ricketts.  “I appreciate the great work Todd Sneller and Nebraska’s ethanol advocates did in collaboration with the EPA to bring this to fruition.  We look forward to piloting the use of Nebraska-grown and produced E-30 in state vehicles.”

In recent months, the Governor’s Office, Nebraska Ethanol Board, Governors’ Biofuels Coalition, and state agencies have been working with the EPA on a request to pilot the use of higher ethanol blends in state vehicles.  The pilot program will assess the effects of E-15 and E-30 blends on “vehicle performance, fuel economy, and emissions control systems” in state-owned vehicles.  The fuel used in the pilot program will be supplied by Nebraska ethanol companies.

“This demonstration program is designed to evaluate the use of an E-30 ethanol blend in conventional vehicles compared to the same type vehicles operating on E-10 and E-15 blends,” said Sarah Caswell, Administrator of the Nebraska Ethanol Board.  “Fuel cost per mile, performance, maintenance and other factors will be included as a part of the project.  Several engineering consultants from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln will help provide technical expertise during the duration of the project.  Approximately 50 vehicles will be involved in the demonstration program.  In addition to state fueling sites, six Nebraska fuel marketers have agreed to provide access to E-30 at fueling sites in the state.”

Previously, Governor Ricketts had directed state agencies to order flex fuel vehicles when possible and other vehicles must be compatible with E-15.  The state has also switched over fuel pumps from E-10 to E-15, and agencies also have E-85 available.  These include:
·       The Transportation Services Bureau at the Nebraska Department of Administrative Services has switched from E-10 to E-15.  They also offer E-85.
·       Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT) has switched all gas sites from E-10 to E-15.  NDOT has seven sites providing E-15 and three sites with E-85.
·       Nebraska State Patrol vehicles generally utilize E-15.

“This E-30 pilot program is a great opportunity for us to demonstrate what we in the corn and ethanol industries have known for a long time,” said Dave Bruntz, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board and farmer from Friend.  “By using a 30 percent ethanol blend in standard, non-flex fuel vehicles, we’ll be able to conclusively prove higher ethanol blends are clean-burning and don’t harm or damage engines.  By going through this program and through rigorous testing, we’re paving the way for high-performing, renewable options for consumers.”

The pilot is expected to be launched in the coming weeks.  More details will become available as the pilot program gets underway.

E15 Now Bus Tour Tomorrow

Siouxland Ethanol welcomes a visit from the E15 Now bus, September 26  from 10 am to 12 noon during an ETHANOL PROMOTION DAY at Jackson Express in Jackson, Neb. The bus is traveling across the heartland to rally support for quick action on the president’s promise to unleash E15 ethanol blends, made with 15 percent ethanol, a grain-based biofuel. The bus is part of a nationwide campaign, led by biofuel supporters at Growth Energy, that is working to end outdated restrictions against the summer-time sale of lower-cost, higher-octane biofuel blends that are only currently available during the spring, winter, and fall.

 From 11:15 am - 12:30 pm special guests at the bus stop will include: Neb Senator Lydia Brasch, Bancroft, Chair of the Legislature’s Agriculture Committee and Neb Senator Joni Albrecht, Thurston, Chair of the Business & Labor Committee

“E15 is cleaner, greener and cheaper.  It improves the quality of air we breathe.  At Siouxland Ethanol, we manufacture a fuel that lowers greenhouse gas emissions by more than 30% and today costs almost $1 per gallon less than gasoline.  At a time when agriculture is waking up to headline after headline of actions that are destroying demand for our products, it’s time this Administration puts forth a rule making that enables new demand.   The reid vapor pressure restrictions on E15 and higher blends are exactly the type of ridiculous regulations President Trump promised he would dismantle." Pam Miller, Director of Industry and Investor Relations, Siouxland Ethanol LLC.

    Siouxland Ethanol turns area corn into 85 million gallons of homegrown biofuels each year

    With E15, consumers can save up to 10 cents on every gallon, while supporting local farmers and a stronger rural economy

    Farm income has fallen 47 percent over the last few years, but new markets for American biofuels can help turn things around

“Rural America is counting on the Trump Administration to open up new domestic markets for homegrown fuel so we can have cleaner, more affordable options at the pump,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “Nationwide adoption of E15 could drive billions of gallons of new ethanol demand, creating a much-needed market for two billion bushels of American corn. We’re calling on policymakers to make certain that 2018 was the last summer that drivers are denied a chance to save money on fuel while supporting local farmers. Our bus tour is helping spread the message at fairs, campaign rallies, and community events across the heartland that rural America wants action on E15, and we want it now.”

Applications Available NOW for the 2019 Corn & Soy Ambassador Program!

The Nebraska Corn Growers Association and the Nebraska Soybean Association are pleased to announce that applications are now open for the 2019 Corn and Soy Ambassador Program. The Corn and Soy Ambassador Program is a year long program for college students who are interested in learning more about the industry and becoming better advocates for agriculture. Each year up to 10 students are selected to participate in the program.

Throughout the year, students will take part in three seminars and a summer tour. The first meeting covers state and federal policies affecting the corn and soybean industries. The second meeting will focus on the role of checkoff programs in promoting corn and soybeans. The final meeting gives the students a glimpse of advocacy and leadership opportunities after they graduate. Meetings will take place in the Lincoln, NE area. The summer agribusiness industry tour will include different areas of the 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 also 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 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 provided by the Nebraska Corn Board and Nebraska Soybean Board.

“The Corn and Soy Ambassador Program is a great way for college students to get an introduction to the industry. Many of our past program participants have gone on to internships and jobs from connections made during this program. We are looking forward to another excellent class,” said Kelly Brunkhorst, Executive Director of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association (NeCGA).

Applications for the Corn and Soy Ambassador Program can be found on the Nebraska Corn Growers Association website, Nebraska Corn will also have applications on hand at the CASNR Career Fair on Thursday, September 27th in the East Campus Union.

Preconditioned vs Weaned Calves can Affect Bunk Space Requirements in Feedlots

Mariah Woolsoncroft, Nebraska Extension Educator

Weaning season is right around the corner for producers. However, some producers do not think about how their management techniques can affect calves when entering the feedlot. These techniques can affect how calves are managed when received at the feedlot and subsequently, can determine the number of head in a pen during receiving. This article will review the difference in bunk space requirements between calves that are weaned and shipped immediately to a different location compared to calves that are preconditioned before entering the feedlot. Preconditioning is defined by calves that are vaccinated, have a nutritional background, and have had time to adjust to weaning before being shipped to a new location.


There are multiple ways to ease stressors on calves before entering the feedlot. One practice is waiting a week or longer after weaning before moving the calves to a new location or sale barn. This allows calves to adapt slowly to changes. Allowing calves time to adjust after weaning before moving locations is called “precondition”.

Additionally, limiting the number of calves in small groups helps ease the transition to group housing. By limiting the number of head, calves are allowed to adapt to the social interactions of group housing. This can decrease a calf’s stress level. This strategy can be translated into a feedlot as well, because calves need time to adapt to a new location and new calves in a pen.


Another concern to be aware of is pathogens. Pathogen loads could vary in preconditioned calves’ versus weaned calves. Preconditioned calves could potentially have a built up immune system against pathogens because of the social interaction prior to entering the feedlot. Weaning, change of diets, transportation, and change of housing can all be stressful events for calves, thus suppressing the immune system which weakens its ability to fight pathogens present in feedlots.


Rumen development cannot be overlooked while a calf is being weaned. Rumen development is extremely important for calf health because it takes 4 to 6 months before the rumen is completely developed. Feeding high starches (grains) can increase the rate of rumen growth and development. Calves that are preconditioned could potentially have had access to long stem forages and grains which would aid in gut health. The calves that have access to forages or grains could also potentially be bunk broke because the dams may have taught the calves what is in a feed bunk. This can also affect bunk space in a feedlot for calves that are preconditioned or weaned.


The issues listed above, can affect the number of calves in a pen at a feedlot. According to Harner and Murphy, the recommended bunk space for backgrounding feedlots (500 to 700 lb calves) is 18 inches per head. Younger cattle are more likely to eat together which requires more bunk space compared to finishing cattle. However, one needs to consider the differences in bunk space for preconditioned calves and weaned calves in a feedlot. Finishing cattle have a bunk space of 9 to 12 inches per head. These differences in bunk space are due to the factors described above.


Water consumption is another factor that can aid in calf health. Cattle can consume 8 to 20 gallons per 1,000 pound animal unit. This will vary depending on the weather and time of the year. Having fresh clean water for calves is important for rumen development. Calves should have unlimited clean water at all times.


Bunk space can vary depending on if calves were preconditioned or not prior to entering the feedlot. If calves are preconditioned, they have been exposed to group housing and can have a more tolerable immune system compared to the calves that were weaned and sent to a sale barn then to the feedlot. If calves are bunk broke, vaccinated, and have had social interactions prior to entering the feedlot this can result in more head in a receiving pen. On the contrary, calves that are weaned and sent to a sale barn without preconditioning, and are not familiarized with social interactions, could require more bunk space in a receiving pen.

Pork Industry Commits To Fighting Antibiotic Resistance

The National Pork Producers Council is joining with more than 100 public- and private-sector U.S. organizations in a global initiative to create international standards and codes of practices to prevent unsafe residues of veterinary drugs in food, to develop integrated surveillance that can help mitigate risks associated with antibiotic use and to minimize the development and spread of antimicrobial resistance in humans and animals.

Known as the “AMR Challenge” and being led by the U.S Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the initiative is bringing together pharmaceutical and health insurance companies, food animal producers and purchasers, medical professionals, government health officials and leaders from around the world to collaborate on efforts to address antibiotic resistance, which in the United States annually affects about 2 million people, with 23,000 of them dying.

“Antibiotic resistance is a very serious issue, and the U.S. pork industry is committed to doing its part to address it,” said Dr. Gordon Spronk, a swine veterinarian from Minnesota and an NPPC board member. “Pork producers have practiced responsible use of antibiotics for as long as they’ve been employing them as a way to keep their animals healthy and produce safe pork.”

The international effort will focus on improving antibiotic uses, including ensuring people have access to them when needed; developing new vaccines, drugs and diagnostic tests; improving infection prevention and control; and enhancing antibiotic use data sharing and data collection.

NPPC will provide pork industry knowledge and scientific evidence to inform the development of the standards on antibiotic residues and utilize communications channels to increase industry knowledge and adoption of standards that ultimately are accepted by the World Organization for Animal Health and the U.N.’s Codex Alimentarius Commission, the international food-safety standards-setting organization.

“Developing international, science-based standards will provide objective information for best antibiotics uses, whether we’re talking about in people or animals,” Spronk said.

K-State Boosts Efforts to Address Swine Fever Questions

With recent occurrences of African Swine Fever Virus (ASFV) and Classical Swine Fever Virus (CSFV) in countries important for U.S. trade, there have been many questions about how to best prevent foreign animal disease transmission into U.S. swine herds.

Cassie Jones, an associate professor in Kansas State University's Department of Animal Sciences and Industry, says that while feed and ingredients are not the most likely sources of introduction and transmission, they are a documented vector for disease. Thus, the extension of on-farm biosecurity practices to the feed mill is important.

"We have made updates to the 'Feed Safety Resources' link on to answer producer questions about African Swine Fever Virus in feed," Jones said. "The updated site includes frequently asked questions about ASFV in feed."

For example, many producers have approached members of the K-State swine nutrition team with questions about which ingredients are high risk, and what they can do to help keep their feed safe.

Jones said that the FAQ document on the website describes that an ingredient may be high risk for foreign animal disease transmission based on its geographic, agricultural and transportation practices. Ingredients that may be dried on roadsides in countries with circulating ASFV would be higher risk than those fermented in a biosecure facility in a country free of foreign animal disease.

Also, the website includes a biosecurity audit for producers to use for suppliers or in their own facilities to help identify the risk of the disease entering into feed. Jones said there are also links to research articles on viral transmission in animal feed, and the site includes questions to ask suppliers to help reduce risk of ASFV transmission.

Farmers Union Urges Fair and Consistent Application of the Term “Meat” Across the Federal Government

As new, alternative “meat” products make their way onto grocery store shelves, National Farmers Union (NFU) is encouraging federal officials to establish a definition for “meat” that fairly and consistently informs consumers about the difference between meat products that come from livestock raised in the traditional manner and alternative proteins that are created in a laboratory.

“Because of rapidly evolving technologies such as animal cell culture applications, NFU urges establishment and clarification of the standard of identity for ‘meat’ and related products to prevent mislabeling of food in the marketplace,” wrote NFU President Roger Johnson in comments to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). “Existing labeling and marketing laws should be consistently enforced, and regulations should be updated to promote fair competition for producers and the health and safety of consumers.”

Johnson noted that common names given to meat and animal products are widely understood by consumers to be the tissue and flesh of animals that have been slaughtered for food.

“Foods produced using animal cell culture technology are not slaughtered, but rather are derived from animal cells grown in a petri dish and other growing media,” Johnson explained. “Thus, NFU opposes labeling of foods produced using cell culture applications as ‘meat’ and as related products such as ‘beef,’ ‘poultry’ and ‘seafood.’”

Johnson pointed out that FDA has the responsibility under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) to deem a food “misbranded” if its labeling is false or misleading, if it is offered for sale under the name of another food or if it is an imitation of another food. “Labeling foods produced using animal cell culture technology as “meat” and other related products is false and misleading,” he said.

Johnson said the topic is also concerning because of extreme consolidation in the beef, pork and poultry industries, which has diminished family farmers’ and ranchers’ market share.

“Lab grown products are likely to be produced by large companies, including the major global meatpackers, exacerbating the anti-competitive practices facing family farmers and ranchers and the rural communities in which they live,” said Johnson. “Fairly and accurately labeling animal cell culture products would provide some protection for family farmers’ and ranchers’ market share.”

“It is critical that a clear standard of identity for “meat” and related products is established and that this standard is implemented consistently across the federal government,” he concluded.

Secretary Perdue Statement on DOJ Filing in 9th Circuit Chlorpyrifos Ruling

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today praised the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) decision to request a rehearing of a pesticide case before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. DOJ has asked for a panel rehearing and a rehearing en banc in a case in which the court directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ban chlorpyrifos, a common and useful pesticide, within 60 days.

Secretary Perdue issued the following statement:

“USDA disagrees with the ruling ordering EPA to revoke tolerances and cancel registrations for chlorpyrifos. The decision appears to be based on a misunderstanding of both the available scientific information and EPA’s pesticide regulatory system. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and other groups have pointed out significant flaws in the draft chlorpyrifos assessments on which the court based its opinion, and USDA supports EPA’s conclusion that the available scientific evidence does not indicate the need for a total ban on the use of chlorpyrifos. EPA should be allowed to continue its ongoing science-based and expert-led evaluation of chlorpyrifos, which is part of EPA’s registration review program that covers all pesticides.

“The costs of an incorrect decision on chlorpyrifos are expected to be high and would cause serious impacts to American farmers working to feed, fuel, and clothe the United States and the world. This ruling, which would mean the sudden and total loss of chlorpyrifos, prevents farmers from using an effective and economical crop protection tool. Chlorpyrifos is used on well over 50 crops grown throughout the United States due to its efficacy and broad-spectrum activity across multiple pests. For some crops and target pests, chlorpyrifos is the only line of defense, with no viable alternatives.

“Chlorpyrifos helps farmers and consumers by improving production efficiency and contributing to public health and safety. The arbitrary, immediate, and total loss of this crop protection tool endangers agricultural industries and is expected to have wide economic impacts. Given the court’s incorrect assessment of the scientific evidence, we thank the Department of Justice for continuing to fight on behalf of American farmers and consumers in support of science-based regulatory oversight of crucial crop protection tools.”

USMEF Statement on Signing of Revised KORUS

On Sept. 24, the revised Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) was signed by President Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) President and CEO Dan Halstrom issued the following statement:

Signing of the revised KORUS agreement is reassuring news for the U.S. beef and pork industries. The market access terms secured in the original KORUS not only helped increase U.S. red meat's market share in South Korea, but also bolstered consumption by making our beef and pork products more affordable and accessible to Korean consumers. The United States is the largest supplier of beef to Korea and trails only the European Union as the second-largest pork supplier. U.S. red meat exports to Korea set a record last year of $1.7 billion, up 19 percent year-over-year and up 69 percent from 2012, when KORUS entered into force. This trend continues in 2018, with both U.S. beef and pork export value increasing more than 50 percent compared to a year ago. Korea is now the second-largest value market for U.S. beef (after Japan) and fourth-largest for U.S. pork (after Japan, Mexico and China/Hong Kong).

Under KORUS, most U.S. pork products now enter Korea duty-free. The duty rate on U.S. beef has been reduced from 40 percent to 21.3 percent and will continue to decline each year until it is eliminated by 2026. All major red meat competitors also now have free trade agreements with Korea, but the U.S. has benefited from KORUS being implemented earlier than most of these FTAs, providing the U.S. with a head start on tariff elimination. USMEF thanks our U.S. trade officials for recognizing the importance of the favorable terms included in KORUS, and maintaining them in the revised agreement.

 Statement by Steve Nelson, President, Regarding Signing of KORUS Trade Agreement

“The President’s approval of a modernized United States-Republic of Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) is welcomed news for Nebraska farmers and ranchers. South Korea has been a tremendous trading partner and consumer of Nebraska beef, pork, corn, soybeans, as well as other agriculture commodities. This agreement eliminates the uncertainties that existed about our ability to access this critical market moving forward.”

“Nebraska Farm Bureau’s own economic analysis* shows the KORUS agreement was worth roughly $340 million to Nebraska agriculture in terms of total exports in 2016. On an individual basis, our analysis shows the KORUS agreement is worth $34.35 cents per-head to Nebraska beef producers and $11.52 cents per-head for Nebraska pork producers. The fact this trade agreement will continue is a win for Nebraska agriculture, our farm and ranch families, and Nebraska’s broader economy.”

“Furthermore, we are hopeful the finalization of the KORUS agreement is just the start of more good news for agriculture that would come in the form of the U.S. finalizing an updated NAFTA agreement with Canada and Mexico as well as the U.S. expanding market opportunities into other countries including the EU, Japan, and other member nations involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership.”

CWT Assists with 1.3 Million Pounds of Cheese and Whole Milk Powder Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) member cooperatives accepted five offers of export assistance from CWT that helped them capture contracts to sell 850,984 pounds (386 metric tons) of Cheddar cheese, and 440,925 pounds (200 metric tons) of whole milk powder. The product has been contracted for delivery in Asia and Oceania for the period from October 2018 through March 2019.

CWT-assisted member cooperative 2018 export sales total 51.952 million pounds of American-type cheeses, 12.962 million pounds of butter (82% milkfat) and 52.298 million pounds of whole milk powder to 35 countries on five continents. These sales are the equivalent of 1.153 billion pounds of milk on a milkfat basis. Totals have been adjusted to reflect bid cancellations.

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


As companies across the globe increasingly embrace blockchain technology, Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), a national cooperative owned by dairy farm families across the U.S., is testing blockchain’s capabilities in the area of food and agriculture. DFA has partnered with, a food tech startup focused on using blockchain technology to transform the food supply chain for data transparency, so consumers can be confident in their food from farm to fork. Through the pilot project, DFA is hoping to increase supply chain transparency and better connect our farmer owners with customers.

“Consumers today want to know where their food comes from and blockchain technology, like, gives consumers real-time data, which can really help increase trust and confidence about food production from start to finish,” says David Darr, Vice President Sustainability and Member Services at DFA.

The pilot project is utilizing the platform and leverages data from a group of DFA member farms as well as one of DFA’s manufacturing plants to support more consumer engagement.

“We know that there’s a lot of application for blockchain technology within agriculture, and we ultimately want to help our dairy farmers be on the forefront,” adds Darr. “For now, our goal is to evaluate the technology and explore how it might benefit our supply chain.”

Recently, completed the 2018 Sprint Accelerator program, which is also sponsored by DFA. The Accelerator is a 90-day, immersive program that helps accelerate and grow startup businesses.

“We’ve led and participated in many other pilot projects and know there are tremendous possibilities with blockchain and agriculture,” says Raja Ramachandran, CEO and co-founder at “DFA has been a great partner for us, and we look forward to working with them to better understand the potential value blockchain can provide for dairy.”

September 24 Crop Progress & Condition Report - NE - IA - US


For the week ending September 23, 2018, there were 5.8 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 5 percent very short, 13 short, 78 adequate, and 4 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 2 percent very short, 14 short, 80 adequate, and 4 surplus.

Field Crops Report:
Corn condition rated 2 percent very poor, 4 poor, 12 fair, 51 good, and 31 excellent. Corn dented was 98 percent, near 96 both last year and for the five-year average. Mature was 69 percent, ahead of 52 last year and 53 average. Harvested was 9 percent, near 6 both last year and average.

Soybean condition rated 2 percent very poor, 4 poor, 11 fair, 54 good, and 29 excellent. Soybeans dropping leaves was 84 percent, ahead of 76 last year and 69 average. Harvested was 13 percent, near 9 last year, and ahead of 6 average.

Winter wheat planted was 53 percent, ahead of 44 last year, but near 56 average. Emerged was 8 percent, behind 13 last year and 19 average.

Sorghum condition rated 1 percent very poor, 1 poor, 14 fair, 56 good, and 28 excellent. Sorghum coloring was 95 percent, near 97 both last year and average. Mature was 48 percent, near 47 last year, and ahead of 41 average. Harvested was 6 percent, behind 11 last year, but near 4 average.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 2 percent very poor, 4 poor, 18 fair, 62 good, and 14 excellent.


Another week of storms bringing heavy rainfall to much of the state left Iowa farmers just 3.0 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending September 23, 2018, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Activities for the week included seeding cover crops and harvesting corn, soybeans and hay.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 1 percent very short, 3 percent short, 71 percent adequate and 25 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 3 percent very short, 5 percent short, 66 percent adequate and 26 percent surplus. While topsoil moisture supplies have improved in south central Iowa, subsoil moisture levels still rated 62 percent short to very short.

Nearly all of the corn crop has reached the dent stage or beyond with 74 percent of the crop mature, just over a week ahead of average. Five percent of the State’s corn for grain crop has been harvested, 5 days ahead of both last year and average. Farmers in southeast Iowa lead the way with almost one-fifth of their corn for grain harvested. Moisture content of field corn being harvested was at 22 percent. Corn condition rated 73 percent good to excellent.

Ninety-three percent of the soybean crop was coloring with 72 percent dropping leaves, 1 week ahead of average. Eight percent of the soybean crop has been harvested, 5 days ahead of average. Soybean condition rated 72 percent good to excellent.

The third cutting of alfalfa hay was nearly complete at 97 percent.

Pasture conditions improved slightly to 52 percent good to excellent. Rain and cooler temperatures have been beneficial for pasture regrowth. Feedlots will need some time to dry.

USDA:  Corn, Soybean Harvest Remains Ahead of Normal Nationwide

Though heavy rains halted fieldwork in portions of the Upper Midwest last week, nationwide, the corn and soybean harvest remained ahead of the average pace, USDA's National Ag Statistics Service said in its weekly Crop Progress report on Monday.

As of Sunday, Sept. 23, 16% of corn was harvested, 6 percentage points ahead of last year's pace of 10% and 5 percentage points ahead of the five-year average of 11%. Soybeans were 14% harvested, 5 percentage points ahead of last year's 9% and 6 percentage points ahead of the average of 8%.

Both crops also continued to reach maturity at an ahead-of-normal pace. Seventy-two percent of corn was estimated as mature as of Sunday, 19 percentage points ahead of the five-year average of 53%. The percentage of soybeans dropping leaves was estimated at 71%, 14 percentage points ahead of the average pace of 57%.

Nationwide, condition ratings for both corn and soybeans saw a slight improvement last week. Corn condition was rated 69% good to excellent, up 1 percentage point from 68% the previous week. Soybean condition was rated 68% good to excellent, up 1 percentage point from 67% the previous week.

Winter wheat planting jumped from 13% the previous week to 28% finished last week with several states making big strides. That's ahead of 22% at the same time last year and also slightly ahead of the five-year average of 26%.

Sorghum coloring was 94%, ahead of the five-year average of 90%. Sorghum mature was estimated at 50%, near 51% at the same time last year but behind the five-year average of 53%. Thirty percent of the sorghum crop was harvested as of Sunday, behind the average pace of 32%.

Sixty-five percent of rice was harvested as of Sunday, behind last year's 67% but ahead of the five-year average of 59%. Fifty-eight percent of cotton had bolls opening, near the average of 57%. Sixteen percent of cotton was harvested, ahead of last year's 14% and also ahead of the average pace of 9%.

Monday September 24 Ag News

Cercospora Purple Seed Stain and Blight in Some Nebraska Fields
Nick Arneson - Research Technologist in Plant Pathology, UNL

With the warm temperatures following the recent rains in Nebraska, we are starting to see more Purple Seed Stain and Blight symptoms in some soybean fields.

Purple Seed Stain and Blight is caused by the fungus Cercospora kikuchii. Its inoculum source is infected seed and previous soybean crop debris. Sporulation of Cercospora kikuchii is favored by periods of high humidity and temperatures of 73-80°F.

Symptoms of Purple Seed Stain are usually observed in the seed as pink to purple spots that range in size from specks to large blotches. Blight symptoms often become prevalent during the mid to late reproductive stages (R3-R6) and are typically on young leaves on the upper portion of the canopy. These symptoms include dark reddish-purple bronzing of the leaf. Lesions typically occur on both the upper and lower leaf surfaces and can range from specks to blotches up to ½ inch in diameter. Severely affected upper leaves can drop with the petioles remaining on the plant while lower leaves are still attached.

There are commercially available resistant varieties for Cercospora Blight, but no known sources of resistance for Purple Seed Stain. There is also no clear relationship between the severity of Cercospora Blight and the severity of Purple Seed Stain. Extended crop rotations and residue incorporation will reduce the inoculum by breaking down infested residue. Foliar fungicides are registered for Cercospora Blight and can be applied during R3-R5 pod stages which can reduce blight incidence and severity, but this may not affect soybean seed stain symptoms. Seed lots with a high percent of infected seed should be treated with a seed treatment fungicide when used for seed. In most cases there will not be enough seed symptoms for any docking in price, but in severe cases this could happen.

New Methods Needed to Manage SCN in Soybean

John Wilson - NE Extension Educator, Burt County

Some Nebraska farmers managing for soybean cyst nematode (SCN) are noticing something different: They aren't getting the control they expect from planting an SCN-resistant variety. Why are their control measures becoming less effective?

Greg Tylka, a nematologist at Iowa State University who researches soybean cyst nematodes, states, “Almost all SCN-resistant soybean varieties... were developed from the same soybean breeding line, or ‘source of resistance,' named PI 88788. These resistant varieties controlled most, over 90%, of SCN reproduction for many years. But researchers throughout the Midwest detected a troubling trend in recent years: SCN populations were becoming resistant to the resistance.”

SCN in Nebraska

SCN has now been confirmed in 59 counties covering almost the entire eastern half of Nebraska. These counties produce over 93% of Nebraska’s soybeans.

When SCN was first confirmed in Nebraska in Richardson County in 1986, only a few soybean varieties were resistant to it. By 2000, there were hundreds of SCN-resistant varieties. Today most varieties have some genetic resistance to SCN. (This resistance is transferred through normal breeding programs; SCN resistance is not a GMO.)

A recent survey in Nebraska showed almost half (47%) of the fields tested had SCN populations that reproduced on PI 88788. In other states where SCN has been present longer, SCN is reproducing on over 90% of the soybean varieties using this source of resistance. The reproduction is not as great as it would be on an SCN-susceptible variety, but it is occurring at a rate that allows SCN egg counts in the soil to build up and increase rather than decrease.

Sometimes the growth of an SCN population in a field is hard to imagine because most of its life it's a microscopic roundworm in the soil or soybean root. Rather, think of managing SCN as you would a weed that has developed resistance to a particular herbicide. Continuing to use that same herbicide will give you more weed control than not using any herbicide, but it does not give you satisfactory control. Over time the problem weed will become a greater problem in your field.

Tylka says the bottom line is, “soybean varieties with PI 88788 SCN resistance no longer control SCN well in many fields... and farmers are losing yield as a result of increased SCN reproduction on resistant soybean varieties.”

This SCN resistance requires growers to change their SCN management practices to maintain yields and profitability in their soybean fields.

The recommendations we made 20 years ago to control SCN ― “rotate soybeans with a non-host crop like corn and plant an SCN-resistant variety when planting soybeans” ― worked great then, but today additional measures are needed.

New SCN Management Practices Needed

So what should growers keep doing and what should they change?

Test. Testing fields for SCN is not a new recommendation, but retesting infested fields about every six years is a new recommendation. If SCN wasn’t present six years ago and is now, you will likely have caught it before the population reaches a level that would significantly reduce yield.

The new recommendation is to retest infested fields about every six years. If your previous test was positive for SCN, sample at the same time of year and following the same crop as your first sample. SCN populations vary throughout the growing season and depending on whether they follow soybeans or a non-host crop.

If you originally sampled in the fall following soybeans, make sure your new sample is also taken in the fall following soybeans. Depending on your rotation, you may need to retest after five or seven years. This retesting will let you know if your current management practices are reducing the SCN population density (egg numbers) over time.

Select SCN-resistant varieties and rotate with a non-host crop. Plant SCN-resistant varieties and rotate with a non-host crop like corn.

Consider adding a nematode-protectant seed treatment on your resistant variety. When managing SCN in your field, never use a seed treatment in place of a resistant variety, use it on a resistant variety.

Know Your Number and Adjust. If your SCN egg count is increasing, select SCN-resistant soybean varieties with sources of resistance other than PI 88788. Look for varieties that list “Peking” as the source of resistance. It is the most common source of resistance other than PI 88788, but is only found in about 2% of SCN-resistant varieties commercially available.

Free SCN Testing

To encourage testing, the Nebraska Soybean Board has a great program that covers the cost of analyzing soil samples for SCN, normally a $20/sample cost.

To get the bags for this free soil analysis or for more information on identifying and managing SCN, contact your local Nebraska Extension office.

SCN Coalition

The SCN Coalition was formed in the 1990s to encourage farmers and agronomic professionals to test for SCN and manage it as if it was detected in a field. Their primary focus was on detection.

This group recently reorganized to address the problem of SCN reproducing on varieties using the PI 88788 source of resistance. Their new message is, “What’s your number?” and encourages soybean growers to periodically test to see if the SCN density (egg counts) in their SCN-infested fields is increasing or decreasing.

The SCN Coalition is funded by the United Soybean Board and the North Central Soybean Research Program (checkoff dollars) as well as with support from private industry partners. Visit the SCN Coalition’s website for resources to help you manage SCN.

Meeting Cow Nutrient Requirements Workshop

University of Nebraska – Extension will be offering a workshop examining ways to address below average feed quality going into winter feeding. The program will help educate producers on nutrient requirements of different classes of livestock, nutrient qualities of current feed sources on hand, and nutrient qualities and costs of possible feed sources to help bridge any nutritional deficiencies in livestock diets. Additionally, feed rationing expertise and advice will be available to anyone who brings in a feed analysis from forage sampling. The workshop fee is $15/person or take advantage of the “Ranch Discount” at $10/person if you come with 3 or more people.

Upcoming Workshop Locations:

  - October 3; Holt Co Ext Office, O’Neill; 5:30-8:30 PM - Dinner Provided (RSVP by September 28) Contact Amy Timmerman (402) 336-2760
  - October 10; United Methodist Church, Bassett; 5:30-8:30 PM - Dinner Provided (RSVP by October 5) Contact Jace Stott (402) 387-2213
  - November 19; Fullerton; 5:30-8:30 PM  - Dinner Provided (RSVP by November 14) Contact: Mariah Woolsoncroft (308) 536-2691
  - December 4; Hartington; 5:30-8:30 PM - Dinner Provided (RSVP by November 28) Contact: Ben Beckman (402) 254-6821
  - December 6; Brewster; 11:00 AM-2:00 PM - Lunch Provided (RSVP by November 26) Contact: Bethany Johnson (308) 645-2267 or

Farm/Ranch Transition: When You Aren’t in Control

A rancher once said, “No one has the right to automatically inherit a family farm or ranch… but everyone has the right to know what is going on.”

Passing the farm/ranch on to the next generation is a tough job, especially if the next generation is unsure of what will happen when their parents pass. Because it is especially hard for those people, who are wondering what is going on, that a series of farm and ranch transition workshops are planned at Valentine, Ainsworth, O’Neill, Norfolk and York from Oct. 23 to Nov. 14.

The workshops will focus on the needs of the “sandwich generation” on whom farm/ranch transition and transfer often falls.  This generation is between parents who still own the land and children who might want to join the operation.

Lack of communication often hinders transitions. The Gen2, or Sandwich Generation, will learn how to communicate with family to understand the transition and practice asking difficult questions. A handbook and script will help farmers/ranchers to complete transition “homework.”

Legal topics presented at the workshops will center around Gen2 needs, including elements of a good business entity, levels of layers for on-farm heirs control and access, and turning agreements into effective written leases. Joe Hawbaker, estate planning attorney, and Allan Vyhnalek, Nebraska Extension transition specialist, will share stories and experiences to successfully plan on the legal side. 

Transition of the land is important, but farmers and ranchers should also work to transition the business. Dave Goeller, financial and transition specialist, will cover financial considerations, retirement, and compensation versus contribution.

Many families struggle to split assets fairly between on-ranch and off-ranch heirs, while continuing the ranch as a business. Goeller will discuss the family side and what to consider when dividing assets.  Vyhnalek will also cover less-than-ideal situations, negotiating, and looking for other business options.

Below are workshop dates and locations. The times are 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. local time at each location. Pre-register one week prior for a meal count.
-     Oct. 23, Valentine, contact Jay Jenkins, 402-376-1850,
-     Oct. 24, Ainsworth, contact Jace Stott or Chandra Murray, 402-387-2213,
-     Oct. 25, O’Neill, contact Amy Timmerman, 402-336-2760,
-     Nov. 13, Norfolk, contact Allan Vyhnalek, 402-472-1771,
-     Nov. 14, York, contact Jenny Rees, 402-362-5508,

Cost is $20 per person. If more than two people are attending per operation, the cost is $15/person.  Pre-register one week prior for a meal count to the local extension office. 

Funding for this project was provided by the North Central Extension Risk Management Education Center, the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Award Number 2015-49200-24226.


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Much hay will be worth over one hundred dollars per ton this year.  Let’s identify what you need to know to get by with using as little as possible.

Minimizing the amount of hay fed over winter can be wise when hay is expensive like this year.  You don’t want to be wasteful.  But you shouldn’t short your cows just to save a few dollars, either.

The two most important bits of information you need are what does your cow need and what can your different feedstuffs provide.  A dry beef cow fed winter range, corn stalks, or even straw rarely needs more than one pound of extra protein per day.  Just six or seven pounds of average alfalfa hay will provide this protein; feeding any more probably is wasting hay.

Once she calves, or if you have grass hay instead of alfalfa, the feeding system will be drastically different because she needs more nutrients and grass hay usually has less protein than alfalfa.

With hay as expensive as it is, forage testing is just common sense.  It is the only way – let me repeat – the only way you will know for sure how much protein, energy, and other nutrients your hay can provide.  One more healthy calf, one more bred cow, one bale of saved hay will more than make up for the cost of testing your forages.

One final thing – store and feed your hay to reduce weather losses and waste.  Outdoor stored hay in Nebraska looses about one percent of its nutrients every month when stored properly; those losses can more than double if hay is stored carelessly.  Feeding waste can be similar.  Don’t give animals free access to your precious hay.  Control the amount and location of the hay so little of it gets stomped into the ground.

Remember – expensive hay deserves extra management.

USDA Cold Storage August 2018 Highlights

Total red meat supplies in freezers on August 31, 2018 were up 4 percent from the previous month and up 4 percent from last year. Total pounds of beef in freezers were up 4 percent from the previous month and up 6 percent from last year. Frozen pork supplies were up 6 percent from the previous month and up 1 percent from last year. Stocks of pork bellies were down 14 percent from last month but up 82 percent from last year.

Total frozen poultry supplies on August 31, 2018 were up 5 percent from the previous month and up 11 percent from a year ago. Total stocks of chicken were up 6 percent from the previous month and up 19 percent from last year. Total pounds of turkey in freezers were up 3 percent from last month and up 1 percent from August 31, 2017.

Total natural cheese stocks in refrigerated warehouses on August 31, 2018 were down 4 percent from the previous month but up 2 percent from August 31, 2017.  Butter stocks were down 9 percent from last month but up 4 percent from a year ago.

Total frozen fruit stocks on August 31, 2018 were up 3 percent from last month but down 13 percent from a year ago.  Total frozen vegetable stocks were up 22 percent from last month but down 3 percent from a year ago.

NCGA Calls on Congress to Pass Farm Bill Before Heading Home

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) today, called on leaders of the Senate and House Agriculture Committees to put partisan differences aside and find common ground on a farm bill that can be signed into law before the current bill expires September 30.

In a letter to Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway, R-Texas, and Ranking Member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., NCGA President Kevin Skunes said a new farm bill would provide certainty to farmers during increasingly uncertain times for agriculture.

“Members of Congress have just a few days to come together and reach agreement on a bipartisan farm bill. There is no good reason this task can’t be completed,” Skunes said. “Farm income forecasts remain low and farmers have been negatively impacted by trade tariffs and retaliation. A new farm bill would go a long way in providing some certainty during these challenging times.”

The NCGA letter also highlighted the importance of the farm bill’s Foreign Market Development (FMD) Program, which would lose vital resources if a new bill is not completed by September 30.

Secretary Perdue Statement on Signing of New KORUS Trade Agreement

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today issued the following statement regarding the signing of the new United States-Republic of Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS):

“We are entering into a new KORUS agreement that is a better deal for the entire United States economy, including the agricultural sector. This represents an important improvement in trade relations between our two nations, building on long-standing cooperation we have enjoyed. This agreement adds to the momentum building for President Trump’s approach to trade, which is to stand strong for America’s interests and strike better deals. I am optimistic that the dominoes will continue to fall: KORUS, then a new NAFTA, and new agreements with the European Union, Japan, and, most notably, China. As an avid sportsman, I would say ‘put this one in the bag and keep hunting for more.’”

Fischer Welcomes New U.S.-South Korea Trade Deal

U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, released the following statement today after President Donald Trump signed a new free trade agreement with South Korea:

“Nebraska ag producers need international market access so they can deliver their products to the world. South Korea is one of our state’s top customers. I have long supported modernizing trade agreements like this because it will provide certainty for our farmers and ranchers.”

South Korea is Nebraska agriculture’s fifth-largest international customer. Nebraska is South Korea’s second largest American supplier of beef and its fourth largest American supplier of pork. In 2017, South Korea imported $500 million of Nebraska agricultural products. 

KORUS "Tore Down" Trade Barriers, Helped Increase Beef Exports

Today National Cattlemen's Beef Association President Kevin Kester released the following statement in response to the signing of the modernized Korea-United States Trade Agreement (KORUS):

“KORUS is a prime example of how U.S. producers benefit from trade agreements that reduce tariffs and implement science-based standards. Less than a decade ago, U.S. beef exports to South Korea were severely limited by a 40 percent tariff and a host of non-tariff trade barriers. KORUS tore down those barriers, helping turn South Korea into a leading destination for U.S. beef. In fact, exports to South Korea accounted for over $1 billion annually over the last two years. We applaud President Trump for his leadership in improving KORUS for other sectors and we know that a modernized KORUS agreement will allow U.S. producers to continue focusing on what we do best: Providing safe, high-quality beef for Korean families to enjoy.” 

AFBF Encouraged by Korea Trade Agreement

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall

“President Trump’s approval today of the modernized U.S. – Korea Free Trade Agreement preserves a two-way trade relationship that greatly benefits America’s farmers and ranchers. South Korea bought $6.9 billion worth of U.S. agricultural goods last year, making it our sixth-largest export market.

“Whether it’s corn, soybeans and wheat, or poultry, eggs and meat products, our agricultural exports to South Korea are growing thanks to the U.S. – Korea FTA.

“Renewal of our trade deal with South Korea is much-needed good news and help for our farmers and ranchers as the agricultural economy struggles. Securing export markets for our products is critical, and we encourage the administration to continue to push for conclusion of other trade agreements, such as an updated NAFTA agreement with Canada and Mexico.

“Our negotiators also should continue pushing to remove barriers to U.S. ag trade in other parts of Asia. As Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue recently stated, now would be a good time to take a fresh look at the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an agreement that Farm Bureau has estimated would boost U.S. agricultural exports by $4 billion per year. Rejoining TPP negotiations would send a clear message to other nations, such as China, that the U.S. is serious about growing key markets for our agricultural products around the world.”

Escalating Trade War with China Will Increase Damage to American Soybean Farmers

The Administration’s decision to impose 10 percent tariffs on an additional $200 billion in Chinese imports—and China’s subsequent retaliation on $60 billion of U.S. products—deepens and prolongs the trade war between the two countries, posing even more adverse consequences for American soybean farmers.

Davie Stephens, a soybean grower from Clinton, Kentucky, and American Soybean Association (ASA) vice president stated, “If this trade war is not resolved soon, we will see irreversible consequences. Beyond very real concerns about a continued price drop for our beans, we’re talking about the viability of our long-term relationship with the China market. We need negotiations now rather than tit-for-tat responses that hurt both countries.”

Since June, the price of U.S. soybeans at export terminals in New Orleans has dropped 20 percent, from $10.89 to $8.68 per bushel. Farm-gate prices have fallen even further. During the same period, the premium paid for Brazilian soybeans has increased from virtually zero to $2.18 per bushel, or $80 per metric ton.

Already, China has pursued new means to procure soybeans and other protein crops, including maximizing soybean imports from other exporting countries, particularly Brazil.

“With the situation worsening, these decisions could become long-term policies. Even if the Administration achieves its goal of changing China’s policies on forced technology transfer and intellectual property theft, which could end the tariff war, this trend could be irreversible. U.S. soybean farmers may become the supplier of last resort to what has been, by far, our most important foreign market,” Stephens explained.

U.S. soybean producers have spent more than 40 years and millions of farmer dollars building the China market for soy and livestock products.

James Lee Adams, a soybean producer from Camilla, Georgia, was ASA president in 1989 when these market development efforts were in full swing. According to Adams, building the China market was a long, arduous process. “We had a lot of opposition. People thought we were throwing money away, but we kept investing despite the pressure to cut our losses. It took many years, but we prevailed, and today, China is a $14 billion market for U.S. beans. This trade war is of grave concern because it could wipe out all those years of work. Knowing the difficulties we faced, we know how hard it will be to get this market back.”

Some trade analysts say it will be impossible for China to find enough soybeans and other protein feeds from other sources, and that it will continue to depend on the U.S. for a significant amount of its imports. But even if the U.S. keeps half of its soybean market in China, the value of exports due to lower prices will fall to an estimated $5.6 billion from the $14 billion sold in 2017. In the absence of other expanded and new markets, the outlook is for continued low prices and declining U.S. soybean production for years to come.

ASA has consistently opposed using tariffs to pursue the Administration’s trade objectives, and has called for the Section 301 tariffs to be rescinded.

Ryan Findlay, CEO of ASA, said, “Recognizing the long-term impact of China’s soybean tariff on our exports, we have implored the Administration to finalize NAFTA, including Canada, reconsider joining TPP and, if not, negotiate bilateral trade agreements with TPP countries, including Japan and Vietnam, and with other countries where soy and livestock product exports could be expanded, including Indonesia and the Philippines.”

“We are also asking the Administration and Congress to double funding for the Foreign Market Development and Market Access Programs for export promotion activities,” Ryan stated. “While the additional cost of $2.35 billion over ten years can’t be covered under the 2018 Farm Bill, revenues collected by the Treasury from the Administration’s Section 232 and 301 tariffs already more than meet this funding level. Another use of these revenues if the tariffs remain in place and additional revenues are collected would be to fund the $8 billion in inland waterway improvements needed to upgrade the competitiveness of U.S. agricultural exports in future years.”

Findlay concluded, “We need these market opening and competitiveness measures to help offset the expected long-term negative impact of China’s soybean tariff on the livelihoods of U.S. soybean farmers.”

Make Reservations Today For Export Exchange 2018: Hotel Cutoff Coming October 1

U.S. suppliers of coarse grains and co-products, industry representatives and members of the grain trade should make hotel reservations before the Oct. 1 cutoff for Export Exchange 2018. Co-sponsored by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), Growth Energy, and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), Export Exchange 2018 is scheduled for Oct. 22-24 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Make hotel reservations online at
Register online at

This biennial event focuses on bringing together international buyers and end-users of coarse grains and co-products, including distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS), with U.S. suppliers and agribusiness representatives. Export Exchange generates sales on a global scale, and relationships built at this conference help build future demand for in overseas markets.

In addition to networking opportunities, the conference will feature general sessions that will address critical issues facing U.S. agricultural exports, offering the customers and sellers in attendance an increased awareness of the benefits of U.S. coarse grains and co-products. View a conference agenda at

Registration is available online via USGC, Growth Energy and RFA members will be eligible for discounted registration pricing and should identify themselves as such when registering. Reporters wishing to cover Export Exchange are eligible for complimentary registration by sending an email to and asking for the registration code.

More information will be distributed in the coming months to members of the grains industries and will be made available online at or on social media using the hashtag #ExEx18. Those interested can sign up for a mailing list to automatically receive conference updates by emailing

Land O'Lakes SUSTAIN debuts first-of-its-kind digital platform to support farmer-led stewardship

Land O'Lakes SUSTAIN today announced its plan to roll out the Truterra™ Insights Engine, an interactive on-farm digital platform that will help farmers advance their stewardship goals and return-on-investment in real time, acre-by-acre and help food companies measure sustainability progress. The platform will be available this year as the core tool under the new Truterra brand. The full suite of the Truterra offering aims to advance the agricultural industry's ability to enable conservation at scale across a variety of crops, commodities and commitments.

"Truterra holds tremendous potential to harness stewardship to drive value by providing data-driven insights from farm-to-fork," said Matt Carstens, senior vice president of Land O'Lakes SUSTAIN. "Using the Truterra Insights Engine, farmers and food companies will have the ability to establish and report clear metrics, create customized stewardship strategies that meet farmers where they are in their sustainability journey, and use a common language for on-farm stewardship that holds meaning and value. It's a major step forward in supporting food system sustainability that starts on the farm."

One of the biggest challenges in understanding and enhancing the sustainability of our food system remains a lack of comprehensive tools that can quantify economic and environmental benefits for farmers to identify farm management options. The Truterra Insights Engine, along with other technology services and tools under the new Truterra suite of offerings, will help to fill this need by providing tangible conservation options and benefits customized to every business.

The Truterra Insights Engine leverages agronomic expertise and technical capabilities from a variety of contributors to enhance the value of stewardship across the supply chain. Such collaborations include USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service and integration of the sustainability metrics of Field to Market's Fieldprint® Platform. The Insights Engine even ties into major private-sector commitments such as Walmart's Project Gigaton.

For farmers and agricultural retailers, the Truterra Insights Engine will utilize soil, weather, economic, and farm management data to create customized reports showcasing the potential impacts of various stewardship practices – providing field-by-field insights, tracking against both economic performance and conservation practices. Together, the economic and environmental results will facilitate the long-term productivity and success of our farmers and food system.

A key differentiator for this platform from other data tools is its design to be of value for farmers first and foremost. It was created by a farmer-owned cooperative, to be used by farmers, agricultural retailers, and agricultural experts to improve on-farm economic and natural resource stewardship. The benefits of the platform span the food value chain, but it was built to start with the farmer and deliver value back to the farm.

Importantly, the Truterra Insights Engine will measure and track stewardship progress over time. In addition to helping farmers make the right choices for their business, these expanded metrics will help food companies achieve their sustainability goals – leading the industry toward a more sustainable food system.

While created by Land O'Lakes SUSTAIN, Truterra and the Truterra Insights Engine are bigger than Land O'Lakes or the Land O'Lakes member-owner network. Today's announcement underscores the importance of collaboration with industry peers and nonprofit organizations across the nation in support of farmer-driven stewardship to increase sustainability throughout the industry.

"Every farmer, farm and business is different both in how they operate and where they are in their sustainability journey," said Precision Ag Territory Lead Ashley Schmeling of Minnesota-based agricultural retailer Central Farm Service. "Our seed and agronomy professionals work beside our farmers every step of the production process to capture opportunities and support precision agriculture. It is our hope that the Truterra Insights Engine will help us do this more effectively and provide a more customized approach to each of our farmers."

"Companies like Land O'Lakes that are providing advice and services to farmers are critical as we create a sustainable agriculture system," said Larry Clemens, Director of The Nature Conservancy's North America Program. "In order to achieve our conservation goals of soil health and nutrient management across America's farmland, it's vital that companies across the supply chain work with the farmers and advisors to both promote and evaluate sustainable practices. Land O'Lakes is setting a great example to support farmers on a journey to a sustainable future."

"We've seen that the most effective way to encourage on-farm sustainability is to make data more available to farmers when making management decisions," said Dan Sonke, Director of Sustainable Agriculture, Campbell Soup Company. "Truterra is built on this same philosophy, and we are glad to be piloting this platform as we work with agricultural advisors The Mill, Land O'Lakes SUSTAIN, and Environmental Defense Fund on sustainable agriculture in our Chesapeake Bay wheat sourcing region."

"Data-driven on-farm conservation protects our most valuable natural resources and puts money back in farmers' pockets so they can continue growing food season-after-season," said Sara Kroopf, Supply Chain Manager at Environmental Defense Fund. "We are excited that Land O'Lakes is working hard to tackle the data and tracking challenge by developing a user-friendly program to collect and analyze data. This will allow agricultural retailers and other trusted advisers to write customized stewardship prescriptions for each farmer – and provides essential data to measure environmental progress in the Chesapeake Bay."

Friday September 21 Cattle on Feed + Ag News


Nebraska feedlots, with capacities of 1,000 or more head, contained 2.33 million cattle on feed on September 1, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This inventory was up 8 percent from last year. Placements during August totaled 480,000 head, up 2 percent from 2017. Fed cattle marketings for the month of August totaled 470,000 head, unchanged from last year. Other disappearance during August totaled 10,000 head, unchanged from last year.


Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 680,000 head on September 1, 2018, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Cattle on Feed report. This was down 3 percent from August 1, 2018, but up 6 percent from September 1, 2017. Iowa feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head had 425,000 head on feed, down 10 percent from last month and down 6 percent from last year. Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in all Iowa feedlots totaled 1,105,000 head, down 6 percent from last month but up 1 percent from last year.

Placements of cattle and calves in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during August totaled 82,000 head, up 24 percent from last month but down 11 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head placed 30,000 head, down 36 percent from last month and down 27 percent from last year. Placements for all feedlots in Iowa totaled 112,000 head, down 1 percent from last month and down 16 percent from last year.

Marketings of fed cattle from Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during August totaled 100,000 head, up 35 percent from last month but down 1 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head marketed 73,000 head, down 3 percent from last month but up 22 percent from last year. Marketings for all feedlots in Iowa were 173,000 head, up 16 percent from last month and up 7 percent from last year. Other disappearance from all feedlots in Iowa totaled 4,000 head.

United States Cattle on Feed Up 6 Percent

Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 11.1 million head on September 1, 2018. The inventory was 6 percent above September 1, 2017. This is the highest September 1 inventory since the series began in 1996.

Cattle on Feed - By State                                       

                                 (1,000 hd     -   % Sept 1, '17)

Colorado .......:              900                105       
Iowa .............:              680                106           
Kansas ..........:            2,310               104          
Nebraska ......:            2,330               108           
Texas ............:            2,680               103       

Placements in feedlots during August totaled 2.07 million head, 7 percent above 2017. Net placements were 2.02 million head. During August, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 430,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 335,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 460,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 475,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 240,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 130,000 head.

Placements by State                                             

                                 (1,000 hd     -   % Aug, '17)

Colorado .......:            205                  117       
Iowa .............:              82                   89         
Kansas ..........:            520                  105       
Nebraska ......:            480                  102       
Texas ............:            415                  108      

Marketings of fed cattle during August totaled 1.98 million head, slightly above 2017.  Other disappearance totaled 55,000 head during August, 12 percent above 2017.

Marketings by State                                              

                                 (1,000 hd     -   % Aug, '17)

Colorado .......:              190                  100          
Iowa .............:               100                   99            
Kansas ..........:               430                   97            
Nebraska ......:               470                  100          
Texas ............:               440                  101           


All layers in Nebraska during August 2018 totaled 8.13 million, up from 7.76 million the previous year, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Nebraska egg production during August totaled 211 million eggs, up from 201 million in 2017. August egg production per 100 layers was 2,596 eggs, compared to 2,593 eggs in 2017.


Iowa egg production during August 2018 was 1.40 billion eggs, up 1 percent from last month and up 4 percent from last year, according to the latest Chickens and Eggs report from the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.  The average number of all layers on hand during August 2018 was 57.7 million, up 1 percent from last month and up 5 percent from last year. Eggs per 100 layers for August were 2,417, up slightly from last month but down 1 percent from last year.

 August Egg Production Up 3 Percent

United States egg production totaled 9.16 billion during August 2018, up 3 percent from last year. Production included 7.96 billion table eggs, and 1.20 billion hatching eggs, of which 1.11 billion were broiler-type and 87.2 million were egg-type. The average number of layers during August 2018 totaled 385 million, up 3 percent from last year. August egg production per 100 layers was 2,379 eggs, down slightly from August 2017.
All layers in the United States on September 1, 2018 totaled 386 million, up 3 percent from last year. The 386 million layers consisted of 325 million layers producing table or market type eggs, 57.4 million layers producing broiler-type hatching eggs, and 3.53 million layers producing egg-type hatching eggs. Rate of lay per day on September 1, 2018, averaged 77.1 eggs per 100 layers, up 1 percent from September 1, 2017.

Egg-Type Chicks Hatched Up 16 Percent

Egg-type chicks hatched during August 2018 totaled 53.4 million, up 16 percent from August 2017. Eggs in incubators totaled 51.3 million on September 1, 2018, up 26 percent from a year ago.

Domestic placements of egg-type pullet chicks for future hatchery supply flocks by leading breeders totaled 192 thousand during August 2018, up 33 percent from August 2017.

Broiler-Type Chicks Hatched Up 1 Percent

Broiler-type chicks hatched during August 2018 totaled 840 million, up 1 percent from August 2017. Eggs in incubators totaled 672 million on September 1, 2018, up slightly from a year ago.

Leading breeders placed 8.41 million broiler-type pullet chicks for future domestic hatchery supply flocks during August 2018, up 3 percent from August 2017.


El Nino Conditions Forecast for Fall-Winter 

Al Dutcher - Associate Nebraska State Climatologist

Longer term forecasts of what lies ahead for the Central Plains this fall and winter often start with a look at ocean temperature trends.

Sea surface conditions in the Equatorial Pacific continue to exhibit above normal temperatures, with a large pool of anomalously warm water underneath the surface that extends from South America to Indonesia. The strongest area of warmth below the surface is just west of central Equatorial Pacific. Therefore, there is ample warmth underneath the Pacific to maintain the surface warm pool.

Current outlooks by the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) call for this warm pool to continue through winter, with a peak warmth occurring before the end of the year. This warm event is commonly known as an “El Nino.” Although CPC indicates that this event will end by next spring, the warm pocket underneath the surface has yet to show signs of any cold pool development in the western Equatorial Pacific.

Until evidence of a cold pocket develops below the surface, anomalous warm water will continue to work eastward and reinforce surface warming in the eastern Equatorial Pacific. Over the next three months, climatologists will be watching the western Equatorial Pacific for development of a cold pocket. If this doesn’t happen by the end of 2018, the odds would favor El Nino conditions lasting through the summer and a high probability that a second-year event will unfold in fall 2019.

In addition to the warm equatorial Pacific, the Gulf of Alaska and the northern half of the Atlantic have both turned warmer than normal. The interaction of these two regions can give us an idea of where the most likely areas of below normal moisture will develop. Under a warm Atlantic and warm Pacific, dryness issues are most pronounced across the northern third of the continental U.S., with above normal dryness favored across the southern third of the U.S. from New Mexico through Georgia.

Under an El Nino, the northern jet begins to relax in the late summer and early fall. Precipitation usually tilts to the wet side from the southwestern desert area through the southern Mississippi River valley region. At the same time, dryness begins to develop across the Pacific Northwest through the western Dakotas as the eastern Gulf of Alaska upper air ridge begins to push eastward and the western Gulf of Alaska upper air low slides into the eastern half of the Gulf of Alaska.

As this process unfolds, the northern jet stream begins to weaken as more energy begins to strengthen the variable Pacific jet (subtropical jet). Pieces of energy from the Gulf of Alaska upper air low will slide underneath the upper air high pressure to the east of this low. This helps pull subtropical moisture northeastward out of the Equatorial Pacific and into the southwest coast of North American.

These types of conditions have shown signs of developing in the last 30 days as dryness has begun to expand eastward from the Pacific Northwest. Most of the western Dakotas, Montana, Wyoming, and the northwestern third of Nebraska have been well below normal precipitation. Just to the east of this area, excessive moisture continues to be a problem across the northern Mississippi River valley.

The preliminary 30-day outlooks issued by the Climate Prediction Center indicate cooler than normal conditions centered over eastern Nebraska and Iowa.  CPC’s preliminary 30-day outlooks are most influenced by atmospheric conditions at the time of the forecast release.  With the cool air moving into the upper Midwest during the second half of September, it would be reasonable to expect that cool conditions would be favored during the early stages of October, especially with the northern jet stream directing the upper air flow out of northern Canada into the upper and central Midwest.

As fall progresses, most of the Corn Belt will likely deal with periods of heavy rainfall, interspersed with warm and dry weather. Although weak El Nino conditions are developing, the northern jet stream is still strong enough to bring upper air troughs over the northwestern U.S. upper air ridge, then drive them southeastward over the northern High Plains. If we are in a true El Nino pattern, there should be a weakening of this process as the fall progresses.

However, if we look back at the last El Nino event, heavy snowstorm activity hit the eastern Dakotas and northern Minnesota during the second half of fall of 2016. El Nino conditions were exhibited off and on during the late summer and early fall, but were not dominant enough to weaken the northern jet. As the event strengthened during the first half of the winter, milder conditions developed across the northern Plains due to a weakened northern jet leaving this area well south of the mean northern jet position.

What happens if the subtropical jet fails to form as expected during El Nino conditions? Actually, approximately 3 of 10 El Nino events will fail to conform to typical patterns. Under these circumstances, fall and winter temperatures can be exceptionally brutal and stormy. Arctic air infiltration occurs regularly because the northern jet failed to weaken and the primary steering currents favor the northern half of the country east of the Rocky Mountains. In other words, a typical winter pattern.

Smith Awarded “High Octane Champion” Award from Nebraska’s Ethanol Industry

Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) has been recognized as a 2018 High Octane Champion by Renewable Fuels Nebraska, the trade association for Nebraska’s ethanol industry. The award was developed by the RFN membership as a way to recognize public policy leaders that strongly support Nebraska’s $5 billion ethanol industry.

“Nebraska’s ethanol industry is proud to recognize Adrian Smith as a biofuels leader in the US House of Representatives and as one of this country’s stalwart supporters of the ethanol industry,” said RFN Executive Director Troy Bredenkamp. “At a time when Washington’s political climate for ethanol remains a challenge at best, Representative Smith continues to be a leader in the House on our behalf. This award is a small token of our appreciation and a way to recognize him for all that he does for us.”

Smith has led the legislative effort in the US House to resolve the Reid vapor pressure (RVP) waiver issue and allow for year-around E15 sales nationwide. This week, the bi-partisan House Bio-fuels Caucus sent a letter to Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler urging the agency to act swiftly on E15 regulatory reform and Representative Smith was a leader in this effort. If the EPA fails to initiate the rule-making process on the RVP waiver, then there is a high likelihood that the US ethanol industry and consumers will once again see restricted E15 availability for the 2019 summer driving season.

“Knowing how important year-around E15 sales would be to grow the US ethanol industry, Representative Smith introduced legislation that, if passed, would resolve the RVP waiver issue and force the EPA to allow for uninterrupted sales of E15 year around,” said Bredenkamp. “It is this kind of support that needs to be recognized and Nebraska’s ethanol producers want Representative Smith to know we appreciate everything he has done, and continues to do, on behalf of Nebraska and America’s ethanol industry.”

Take a Second For Safety this Harvest Season

As combines pop up in fields across the Midwest, the Nebraska Corn Board and Nebraska Corn Growers Association encourage farmers, as well as local residents and visitors, to take a second for safety in rural areas this harvest season. To help promote farm safety, “National Farm Safety and Health Week” kicked off September 16 and will run through September 22. This week-long farm safety promotion has taken place every year since 1944 and occurs during the third week of each September.

The theme for this year’s farm safety promotion is “cultivating the seeds of safety.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the agricultural sector is one of the most dangerous industries in America. Over 2 million workers are employed full-time in production agriculture, which does not account for part-time help or family members who also live and work on farms. In 2016, there were 180 reported fatalities of agricultural workers, which equates to 21.4 deaths per 100,000 workers. While “National Farm Safety and Health Week” will help remind farmers, rural residents and visitors about the importance of farm safety for seven days, it’s also important for people to be cautious on or near farm operations throughout the year.

“All farmers are excited to gather their crops from their fields, but harvest can be a dangerous time, especially if we don’t practice safety,” said Dan Wesely, president of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association and farmer from Morse Bluff, Nebraska. “There are a lot of moving parts during harvest – combines, tractors, grain carts, trucks, augers and people. It’s important everyone understands their individual responsibilities, remains alert and has an emergency action plan in place, in case something goes wrong.”

Farmers typically have a narrow window to complete their harvest work. Therefore, it’s important farmers take care of themselves to ensure a safe and productive season.

“A well-rested farmer is a safe and productive farmer,” said Dave Bruntz, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board and farmer from Friend, Nebraska. “It may seem counterproductive, but farmers should take short breaks during the harvest season. They’re often operating large equipment and working long hours throughout the day. By getting enough sleep and eating healthy meals, farmers will be alert and engaged during the harvest process.”

Farmers are not the only people who should be cautious during the harvest season. Anyone who may be visiting or traveling through rural areas should be mindful of increased farm traffic on roads and highways. Harvest equipment should be visible with front and rear warning lights, as well as slow moving vehicle emblems to notify motorists of approaching machinery. In rural areas, parents of small children should also develop safety rules to prevent youth from playing on or near harvest equipment.

Additional tips for farmers, farm workers and rural residents to consider while on the farm this fall (adapted from the National Corn Growers Association):

Equipment Safety

    Be careful when approaching harvest equipment. Approach from the front and gain eye contact with the operator before approaching.
    Ensure the harvesting equipment is fully stopped and disengaged before climbing onto a vehicle.
    Do not place yourself near any unguarded or otherwise running machinery.
    Avoid pinch points between equipment – such as tractors with grain wagons. Visibility can be limited and serious injury can occur.

Entanglement Hazard

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

Fall Hazard

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

Fire Prevention

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

Grain Wagon Safety

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

Grain Bin Safety

    If entering a bin, wear a harness attached to a secure rope.
    Never work alone.
    Never allow children to get too close or inside the bin.
    Wear a dust filter or respirator when working in bins.
    Stay out of bins when equipment is running.

“All farmers are excited to see the fruits of their labor,” said Bruntz. “By taking a little extra time to exercise safe practices, we’ll continue to do our part to produce safe and abundant sources of food, fuel and fiber for the world.”

Safety Professionals Gear Up for Training in Kearney

Safety professionals from across the state will gather in Kearney, Nebraska, for the 14th annual Environment, Health and Safety Summit Friday, September 28.

The daylong summit presented by the Nebraska Ethanol Board will feature speakers from agencies and organizations across the country, including the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, Air Regulations Consultants, NAQS Environmental Experts and Pinnacle Engineering.

“This is a great opportunity to network and learn about the latest regulations and compliance changes, especially as ethanol plants implement new technology and expand operations,” said Megan Grimes, Nebraska Ethanol Board program manager. “We are proud that the summit is attracting companies both directly and indirectly related to the ethanol industry, including organizations that focus on air quality and environmental compliance.”

To organize and put on the summit, the Nebraska Ethanol Board works with a variety of private partners and ethanol plant personnel that focus on compliance, worker safety and public health issues. College students are invited to attend and may qualify for a scholarship to waive the registration fee.

The event is presented in cooperation with Renewable Fuels Nebraska and the Nebraska Ethanol Industry Coalition, and is open to professionals who work in environmental compliance, worker safety, and processing and manufacturing. For registration details, contact the Nebraska Ethanol Board at 402-471-2941 or visit

Cover Crops in Nebraska – Expectations and Realizations

Cover crops have potential for Nebraska farmers that are looking to reduce erosion and soil nitrate loss, improve soil health and provide grazing. However, the predominant corn-soybean erosion limits the selection and productivity of cover crops. Katja-Koehler-Cole, post-doctoral research associate in cropping systems, will present their findings from four years of cover crop research in no-till corn and soybean systems in Nebraska, with implications for both cover crop and main crop management.

Date: Oct. 5, 2018 Time: 3:30 pm–4:30 pm
Keim Hall Room: 150
Contact: Michelle Green-Ihde, 402-472-1503,
Additional Public Info:  

Farm Finance and Ag Law Clinics this October

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, October 4
    North Platte — Thursday, October 11
    Norfolk — Friday, October 12
    Fairbury — Wednesday, October 17
    Lexington — Thursday, October 18
    Valentine —Monday, October 22
    Norfolk — Monday, October 22

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.

Rademacher Named Iowa Pork Industry Center Associate Director

Chris Rademacher said the opportunity to develop new conduits of information from Iowa State University to all pork producers drew him to the associate director position at Iowa Pork Industry Center.

“I’ve been able to collaborate with people from IPIC since I started work as the Iowa State extension swine veterinarian in 2014, and I think IPIC is uniquely positioned to be able to rapidly disseminate health and production information to producers with all sizes of operations in Iowa and around the world,” he said. “My passion is about helping producers become more efficient, and to protect animal health and well-being across the U.S. swine industry.”

As a clinical associate professor at Iowa State’s College of Veterinary Medicine, Rademacher works with veterinarians and scientists who are working on the cutting edge of new technologies related to animal health. Part of his extension appointment is to share this knowledge with producers.

He said his 16 years of experience as a production veterinarian for two large swine production companies built and strengthened his understanding of both swine production and swine medicine, and his strong interest in research can provide a bridge between Iowa State and the industry. He graduated in 1998 from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, and worked for the next 10 years as director of health for New Fashion Pork in Jackson, Minn. In 2009 he moved to Murphy-Brown Western Operations (Smithfield Foods) as director of production improvement where he worked with veterinarians and production managers on health and production improvement opportunities for 330,000 sows. He came to Iowa State in December 2014.

“I love the collaborative nature between swine faculty in the colleges of vet med and ag and life sciences,” Rademacher said. “I think IPIC is positioned to be able to leverage the excellent research happening at Iowa State, which is recognized worldwide as a leader in swine production and swine medicine.”

Just as he’s intent on providing information to producers, Rademacher also continues to increase his own knowledge in the College of Veterinary Medicine. He’s currently enrolled in a newly created population sciences in animal health doctoral program through the Department of Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine. His research will focus on developing better research methodologies for applied animal health research in the field for pork producers, to help them make better decisions.

Rademacher can be contacted by email at or by phone at 515-294-8792.

New grant will help define best practices for no-till organic grain production

Farmers are in a tough spot when it comes to controlling weeds. Since conventional herbicides aren’t an option, many choose to use tillage — mechanically turning over the soil to upend weeds. However, tillage can take a toll on soil health and cause run-off. Increasingly, organic farmers are seeking better ways to control weeds while preserving soil health.

To help develop solutions for these farmers, researchers at UW–Madison, Iowa State University and the Rodale Institute are embarking on a new project to assess current technologies that could be used in no-till organic systems and determine which practices will help farmers protect soil health in their fields. The project is funded through a grant from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) that totals $2.2 million, including matching funds.

“We hope to define a set of best management practices for maximizing organic grain production yield while minimizing environmental impact and improving soil health,” says Brian Luck, assistant professor of biological systems engineering at UW–Madison and project lead. “We are aiming to find the best combination of cover crops, cover crop termination methods, planting dates and planter set-up to maximize yield potential in no-till organic systems.”

With partners in Wisconsin, Iowa and Pennsylvania, researchers will have the opportunity to conduct trials at various sites to test planter technologies, cover crop types, planting dates, weed management strategies and more in the first three years of the grant-funded project. They will then use their findings to select the most promising management systems and test them across all of the participating field sites during the project’s fourth year.

Researchers will also conduct on-farm demonstrations for farmers and work to understand farmer perceptions and attitudes toward adopting various practices. They aim to integrate all of this knowledge into guidelines for growers and to disseminate the information throughout organic grain growing regions.

“Testing the methods across locations will ensure that the best management practices for no-till organic production hold up across varying soil types and growing environments,” says Luck. “Farmers will be able to understand what does and doesn’t work when implementing no-till practices in their organic production systems.”

The four-year grant is part of the USDA-NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant Program and is a 1:1 matching grant. For every federal dollar received, the researchers match that amount through funds from their institutions as well as donations of time or supplies from cooperating farms and companies. The structure of the grant means collaboration with industry and producers is essential and indispensable.

“We’re excited to receive this funding from USDA-NRCS and to have invested collaborators who see the value of this work,” says Luck. “We think the work has great potential to change typical management practices associated with organic grain production.”

Other researchers involved in the project include soil scientist Matt Ruark and plant pathologist Erin Silva from UW–Madison; agronomist/horticulturalist Kathleen Delate from Iowa State University; and farm director Jeff Moyer and chief scientist Andrew Smith from the Rodale Institute.


President Trump this week announced that the United States and South Korea soon will sign the revised free trade agreement between the countries. The agreement, which was finalized earlier this year, could be signed as early as Sept. 25, during the United Nations General Assembly meeting, according to President Trump.

The U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement, or KORUS, was one of several trade agreements scrutinized by the president during his 2016 election campaign. The National Pork Producers Council was pleased with the outcome of the renegotiations, with the new deal having little impact on agriculture. Most U.S. pork will continue to flow to South Korea with no tariff. (Prior to KORUS, Korean duties on U.S. chilled and frozen pork were 22.5 percent and 25 percent, respectively.) Last year, the United States shipped $475 million of pork to South Korea – a 30 percent increase over 2016 – making it the No. 5 U.S. pork export market.


The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) this week extended the deadline for submitting public comments on revising current Hours-of-Service (HOS) rules, which limit certain commercial truckers to 11 hours of driving time and 14 consecutive hours of on-duty time in any 24-hour period. Once drivers reach that limit, they must pull over and wait 10 hours before driving again. Comments now are due by Oct. 10.

In response to congressional, industry and public concerns about the incompatibility of current HOS rules for industry-specific truck drivers, including livestock haulers, the FMCSA agreed to consider changes to the regulation in four areas: expanding the current 100 air-mile “short-haul” exemption from 12 hours on-duty to 14 hours on-duty; extending the current 14-hour on-duty limitation by up to two hours when a truck driver encounters adverse driving conditions; revising the current mandatory 30-minute break for truck drivers after eight hours of continuous driving; and reinstating the option for splitting the required 10-hour off-duty break for drivers operating trucks that are equipped with a sleeper-berth compartment.

NPPC continues to seek a limited exemption for livestock haulers from the DOT’s Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate, which requires truckers to replace their paper driving logs with electronic ones. A fiscal 2018 federal spending law delayed the mandate for livestock truckers until Oct. 1, 2018.

Cowboy Poetry Contest Offers Convention Trip, Performance Opportunities

A talent in poetry will win one cattleman or woman a trip to the 2019 Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show in New Orleans, La., Jan. 30 – Feb. 1, 2019. The Cowboy Poetry Contest, being coordinated by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and sponsored by IMI Global, is accepting entries until Oct. 19, 2018.

              Five finalists will be selected by NCBA on Oct. 26, with public voting on submitted videos held Nov. 6 – Dec. 4, 2018. The top three will be announced Dec. 5, 2018. The winner will have the chance to perform their work live on stage at the 2019 Cattle Industry Convention in New Orleans Feb. 1, 2019, or via video if not in attendance. Entries must be original and humorous.

              In addition to performing their poem live, the first place winner will receive a free trip to the 2019 Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show in New Orleans, La. Included will be a travel credit of up to $500, one full convention registration (including Cattlemen’s College), and one hotel room for three nights. The poetry will also be published in National Cattlemen Magazine and on the organization’s website, pending proof of copyright.

              Second place will also perform their poetry live on stage Feb. 1 and receive a full registration to the 2019 Convention, while third place will perform their poetry live and receive a $100 Cabela’s Gift Card.

              The contestant must upload a video performing the poetry work (five minutes or less), along with the poem in document form, to be considered. For more information and to enter, go to, then click on conventions and events/Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show. 

USDA Secretary Working to Empower Local School Leaders and Improve the School Meal Programs

USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue yesterday hosted a roundtable with local school officials to learn more about how USDA can best assist and enable their efforts to serve nutritious meals to our nation’s children.

The meeting was part of the Secretary’s ongoing efforts to explore reforms that will make school meals more appealing by giving control back to local school food professionals who know the children best.

“School officials have expertise critical to the conversation of school meal reform,” said Perdue.  “USDA is committed to giving schools the common sense flexibilities they need to serve nutritious meals kids will want to eat.”

Local officials provided feedback on the role of school meal policy in ensuring their students’ nutrition:

    “Every day, school meals fuel the academic success of America’s future generations.  School Nutrition Association welcomes this opportunity to join our partners in discussing ways to strengthen school meal programs and ensure students have access to nourishing, appealing meals.  We greatly appreciate Secretary Perdue’s continued dedication to reducing unnecessary burdens and streamlining the complexity of school meal programs so that our members, working in school cafeterias nationwide, can focus on serving students,” said School Nutrition Association President Gay Anderson.
    “School boards have an integral role in implementing school meal programs but we should not be the cupcake police,” said Neil Putnam, National School Boards Association Director and Vice President of the Mitchell Board of Education, South Dakota.  “I appreciate U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue’s interest in hearing directly from locally elected school board members who are on the front lines of providing affordable nutritious meals to students.  In my view, increased flexibility and decreased regulations will help local school districts reduce food waste and costs and will increase student participation in school meal programs.”
    “As directors of large urban school nutrition programs, we appreciate the opportunity to discuss with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue ways the Department can simplify federal administrative requirements and help our schools continue to meet current nutrition standards for our nation’s children, design desirable meals, take better advantage of in-season fruits and vegetables, increase student participation, reduce plate waste, and control costs,” said Cincinnati Public Schools Director of Food Services Jessica Shelly and Miami-Dade County Public Schools Food and Nutrition Officer Penny Parham in a joint statement.
    "I believe strongly in serving my students with a well-rounded education, and proper nutrition is a critical piece of that education,” said Mervin Daugherty, Superintendent for Red Clay Consolidated School District, Wilmington, DE. “I understand the importance of nutrition, and work to ensure all students can access healthy meals. In Red Clay, we have worked to find a balance of following federal standards, serving meals that students enjoy, and maintaining costs. I thank the Secretary for calling this meeting and look forward to working with him to find some common-sense regulatory changes to better serve students.”

The Secretary’s roundtable was held in advance of the publication of the final rule on Child Nutrition Programs: Flexibilities for Milk, Whole Grains, and Sodium Requirements, targeted for release later this year.  The interim final rule published in November 2017 gave schools flexibilities for the milk, sodium, and whole grain requirements for school year 2018-2019.

“We are looking ahead for more ways to help local operators run world-class school meal programs,” said Perdue.  The Secretary added that increasing program efficiency and accountability is a priority for USDA, as it makes the best use of taxpayer dollars.

USDA Acting Deputy Undersecretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services Brandon Lipps expects to meet with more school meals partners and customers through the remainder of the year.  USDA encourages local feedback and seeks to provide the tools and flexibilities school meal programs need to improve customer service.

Thursday September 20 Ag News

Rural Mainstreet Index Sinks for September: Eight of 10 Bank CEOs Report Negative Tariff Impacts

The Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index climbed above growth neutral in September for an eighth straight month, according to the monthly survey of bank CEOs in rural areas of a 10-state region dependent on agriculture and/or energy.    

Overall: The overall index declined to 51.5 from 54.8 in August. The index ranges between 0 and 100 with 50.0 representing growth neutral.

“Our surveys over the last several months indicate that the Rural Mainstreet economy is expanding outside of agriculture. However, the negative impacts of recent trade skirmishes have begun to surface, weakening already anemic grain prices,” 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 September sank to 37.5 from 44.7 in August. This is the 58th straight month the index has fallen below growth neutral 50.0.

The September farm equipment-sales index fell to 35.9 from August’s 37.8. This marks the 61st consecutive month that the reading has moved below growth neutral 50.0.
Below are the state reports:

Nebraska: The Nebraska RMI for September sank to 52.0 from 55.2 in August. The state’s farmland-price index fell to 37.6 from last month’s 44.9. Nebraska’s new-hiring index declined to 64.2 from 67.4 in August. Nebraska's Rural Mainstreet economy added jobs at a 1.2 percent pace over the past 12 months.

Iowa: The September RMI for Iowa sank to 51.2 from August’s 56.8. Iowa’s farmland-price index for September sank to 37.3 from August’s 44.1. Iowa’s new-hiring index for September jumped to 61.1 from August’s 59.1. Iowa’s Rural Mainstreet economy added jobs at a 1.3 percent pace over the past 12 months.

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.

Costco Poultry Complex Could Redefine Farm-to-Fork

As Costco is set to be the first U.S. retailer to integrate its meat supply to the farm level, a new report from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange Division predicts that other food retailers and foodservice companies may be prompted to reevaluate their own supply chain integration opportunities.

In September of next year, Costco is slated to open a new chicken complex in eastern Nebraska where it expects in-house production to generate a savings of 10 to 35 cents per bird. According to the CoBank report, the move comes as Costco’s rotisserie chickens have become a major traffic-driver for in-store customers, while available supplies of whole birds at targeted weights have declined. Since 2010, Costco’s rotisserie chicken sales have grown by more than 8 percent annually—three times the growth rate of total U.S. poultry consumption—and have maintained a $4.99 per chicken price point.

Costco’s move marks the first time a U.S. retailer has integrated its meat supply to the farm level and taken on the risks associated with animal husbandry, including feeding, animal welfare, disease prevention and harvesting.

“We see the decision by Costco to bring its poultry supply in-house as a result of three primary drivers—surety of supply, visibility up the chain and cost control,” said Will Sawyer, lead animal protein economist at CoBank. “The ability to control the consistency of bird weights enhances food preparation and safety. Locating the facility in Nebraska also provides access to feed at favorable costs, a reliable water supply and a comparatively advantageous labor market.”

The Nebraska complex will be able to process 100 million birds per year with one-third of the rotisserie program being produced in-house. The facility will also process chicken parts.

If Costco’s foray into production and processing is successful, it could be the model for other food retailers and food service companies to vertically integrate in other protein sectors. However, Sawyer suggested this approach presents significant risks and challenges to other U.S meat sectors, particularly beef and pork.

“Food retailers will need to evaluate a number of risks in order to justify the investment of time and capital required to build their own production capacity,” said Sawyer. “Beef packers have historically yielded very tight margins, and with declining per capita beef consumption the sector would be unlikely to meet its return objectives. Pork processing brings the risk of very large exposure to export market risks. Additionally, retailers will need to consider food safety risks, negative profitability in production and whole animal utilization to justify such investments.”

Of the three major proteins, poultry is the most appealing for retailer integration. Opportunities for further integration in poultry will likely be focused in secondary and further processing rather than primary processing, said Sawyer.

If Costco’s chicken production is successful, it will undoubtedly prompt questions across agricultural supply chains and lead other food retailers and foodservice companies to reexamine their business models, CoBank’s report concludes.

The full report, “Redefining Farm-to-Fork: Costco Sets New Protein Precedent” is available at

Reynolds Halts Enforcement of WOTUS Rule in Iowa

Gov. Kim Reynolds has successfully halted the enforcement of the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule in Iowa. The U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota granted the governor's request to stop the rule on Tuesday.

"I am pleased the court granted my request to halt the WOTUS Rule in Iowa," Reynolds said. "Now, Iowa farmers and small business owners will not be burdened by this federal overreach while we continue fighting to permanently end the WOTUS Rule."

The court ordered the preliminary injunction in a lawsuit filed by Reynolds, 12 states and two agencies of a 13th state against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The WOTUS Rule is now on hold in 25 states.

"The EPA's WOTUS Rule imposes unnecessary burdens on Iowans and interferes with our local and state solutions to improve Iowa's water quality," Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg said.

The lawsuit challenges the WOTUS Rule, which was adopted by the Obama Administration.

The rule went back into effect in Iowa in August 2018 when a federal court in South Carolina ruled the EPA could not suspend the WOTUS Rule. The court reinstated the rule in any state (like Iowa) where it had not yet been preliminarily enjoined.

Reynolds will continue to pursue the federal lawsuit in cooperation with other plaintiff states to permanently overturn the rule.

Tours of Automatic Milking Systems Feature Precision Management

The number of automatic milking systems used in dairy operations continues to increase with over 5 percent of farms now milking with robots.

The Iowa State University Extension and Outreach dairy team has scheduled a series of farm tours to offer first-hand looks at the way fellow dairy farmers are managing automatic milking systems in new or retrofit facilities. The tours will focus on facilities, economics and overall management of automatic milking systems. 

Nine dairy facilities in northeast and eastern Iowa will be visited as a part of the tour series. Tours are scheduled for Oct. 23, Nov. 5, Nov. 13 and Nov. 14. Two locations will be visited on the first three tour dates; three sites will be toured on Nov. 14.

Tuesday, Oct. 23
10-11:30 a.m. – JoLane Dairy, 13254 Hickory Ave., Monona; two Lely robots installed in 2013
12:30-2 p.m. – Frieden Dairy, 19731/19733 Abbey Road, Elgin; three Lely robots installed in 2017

Monday, Nov. 5
10-11:30 a.m. – Mike and Kathleen Scott, 12402 R. Ave., Westgate; two Lely robots installed in 2016   
12:30-2 p.m. – New Day Dairy, 31000 175th St., Clarksville; two Insentec Galaxy robots installed in 2015   

Tuesday, Nov. 13
10-11:30 a.m. – Koopman Bros., Chad and Brent, 7242 Koopman Road, Epworth; two Lely robots installed in 2015
12:30-2 p.m. – Todd Moser, 30215 370th St., Colesburg; two DeLaval robots installed in 2016   

Wednesday, Nov. 14
10-11:30 a.m. – Mark Hosch, 2374 County Road D61, Bernard; three Lely robots installed in 2012-14    
12-1:30 p.m. – Green Bros., Mel and Ed, 7820 St. Joes Prairie Road, Dubuque; two Lely robots installed in 2012
2-3:30 p.m. – Bill and Jeff Lawler, 18655 Old Highway Road, Peosta; four Lely robots installed in 2013

Each tour is open to the public, no preregistration is required and travel between farms is on your own. For more information, contact extension dairy specialist Jenn Bentley at or 563-382-2949 or extension dairy specialist Larry Tranel at 563-563-583-6496 or

Dolch Named Iowa Soybean Association Public Affairs Director

Michael Dolch has been named Public Affairs Director for the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA).

The Villisca, Iowa-native previously served as legislative assistant for Sen. Joni Ernst, representing agriculture, trade and biofuels policy.

“Considering today’s political climate, market conditions and trade environment, farming across Iowa and the United States is facing a tough future,” said Dolch. “This reality underscores the absolute requirement for farmers to remain unified and engaged. I’m looking forward to going to work on behalf of Iowa’s soybean farmers to advance their policy priorities.”

Serving in key leadership positions in local, state and national agricultural organizations heightened his interest in being a voice for farmers and representing their needs. Upon graduating from Iowa State University with a degree in Agricultural Communications, Dolch took to Capitol Hill where he held several positions with Syngenta before assuming a policy role with Ernst.

Dolch will coordinate ISA’s lobbying and policy communications activities involving federal and state legislative and regulatory arenas. He’ll interact with state and nationally elected officials and coordinate a comprehensive outreach strategy with the goal of mobilizing soybean farmers to action in ways that positively benefit the industry.

All-Time Record High for Red Meat Production

Commercial red meat production for the United States totaled 4.77 billion pounds in August, up 3 percent from the 4.63 billion pounds produced in August 2017.

By State       (million lbs  -  % Aug '17)

Nebraska .....:     737.6             99      
Iowa ............:     681.6            110      
Kansas .........:     529.2            101      

Beef production, at 2.43 billion pounds, was 1 percent above the previous year. Cattle slaughter totaled 2.98 million head, up 1 percent from August 2017. The average live weight was down 1 pound from the previous year, at 1,344 pounds.

Veal production totaled 6.5 million pounds, 2 percent above August a year ago. Calf slaughter totaled 52,300 head, up 13 percent from August 2017. The average live weight was down 23 pounds from last year, at 215 pounds.

Pork production totaled 2.32 billion pounds, up 5 percent from the previous year. Hog slaughter totaled 11.2 million head, up 5 percent from August 2017. The average live weight was unchanged from the previous year, at 278 pounds.

Lamb and mutton production, at 13.4 million pounds, was up 4 percent from August 2017. Sheep slaughter totaled 204,500 head, 5 percent above last year. The average live weight was 131 pounds, down 1 pound from August a year ago.

January to August 2018 commercial red meat production was 35.3 billion pounds, up 4 percent from 2017. Accumulated beef production was up 4 percent from last year, veal was up 1 percent, pork was up 4 percent from last year, and lamb and mutton production was up 5 percent.

Dairy Revenue Protection Webinar Slated for Friday, Sept. 28

A webinar on the new Dairy Revenue Protection program, hosted by developers American Farm Bureau Insurance Services and American Farm Bureau Federation with featured presenter AFBF Chief Economist John Newton, is slated for Friday, Sept. 28, 1:30 p.m. – 3 p.m. Central.

Participate in the webinar to learn how the program works and is likely to be quoted, in addition to the history behind its development and an overview of current dairy markets.

The webinar is open to all but will be of particular interest to insurance agents, dairy farmers and commodity group members/staff. Advance registration for this free webinar is recommended. Go to to register.

Visit for the latest information on the Dairy RP program.

EPA Updates RFS Website to Improve Transparency

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) updated the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program website to increase transparency surrounding the program. The updated website includes new data and information for both stakeholders and the public.

“For the first time, EPA is providing new information to the public on small refinery exemptions and RIN trading,” said EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Increasing transparency will improve implementation of the RFS and provide stakeholders and the regulated community the certainty and clarity they need to make important business and compliance decisions.”

“In our corn-growing community, the RFS program is one of the top issues people are talking about. We hear concerns about lack of transparency around the issuance of small refinery waivers and we are hopeful these changes will put everyone on a level playing field to receive the information at the same time,” said U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. “Farmers stay on top of every bit of news that comes out about the RFS and their industry, so providing them with more information is a priority. Adding timely updates to EPA’s website will be important to USDA’s customers, the people of American agriculture. We have had a great working relationship with Acting EPA Administrator Wheeler and we are pleased to continue it with this progress on RFS information.”

The data will provide important information for renewable fuel producers, fuel refiners, importers, and marketers that can be used as they make business and compliance decisions. In posting the data, EPA will ensure the protection of confidential business information.

New information includes:
-    The number of small refinery exemption petitions received, approved, and denied for each compliance year;
-    The weekly average price of Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) traded; and
-    The weekly volume of RINs traded.

The Agency has been working to upgrade online systems to provide easy access to the most up-to-date information. These technical upgrades to the website serve to improve transparency in the Agency’s implementation of the statute.

Moving forward, EPA intends to coordinate small refinery hardship decisions with website updates such that the recipients of waivers and the broader market receive the same information at the same time. The Agency will also update information on RIN prices and trading volumes on a monthly basis.

The updated RFS website includes interactive and dynamic features that allow users to customize display of RIN information, feedstock type, and producer attributes.

The data are available here:  

NCGA Statement on EPA RFS Website Updates

The following is a statement from North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes, president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), in response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) updated Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) transparency website that will provide information on granted small refinery waivers and data on Renewable Identification Number (RIN) prices.

“We appreciate the step EPA Acting Administer Andrew Wheeler has taken to update the RFS data
website to bring some initial transparency to refinery exemptions.  This information is a good place to start.

“However, there are a lot of questions left unanswered. We will still not know EPA’s justification for granting a refinery waiver and, without a change in how EPA accounts for those exempted gallons, those waived gallons will still be lost from RFS obligations.  It’s helpful to know when the harm is being done, but EPA needs to go a step further and take steps to mitigate the damage.

“We are still waiting for a plan to ensure exemptions are accounted for, with 2.25 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons waived during the past year and with 11 new 2018 petitions pending. With low commodity prices and an expected large corn harvest, America’s corn farmers need reliable markets for their crop.”

NBB, ASA Ask President Trump to Support Biodiesel Producers, Soy Farmers

Today, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) and the American Soybean Association (ASA) wrote President Donald Trump asking that he “provide additional help to the nation’s farmers and rural communities by supporting policies that expand production and use of biodiesel.” The groups asked the president to provide biodiesel room for growth under the Renewable Fuel Standard, restore lost demand for biodiesel resulting from small refinery exemptions, and back legislative extension of biodiesel and renewable diesel tax incentives.

In the letter, NBB CEO Donnell Rehagen and ASA CEO Ryan Findlay state, “Biodiesel adds value to every bushel of soybeans and plays an important role by providing a market for surplus soybean oil. Today, farming income is at its lowest level in more than a decade. Even as soybean growers set production records this year, they are experiencing depressed prices and market uncertainty.”

The CEOs add that the Environmental Protection Agency “offered too little room for growth of biodiesel” in this year’s proposed rule for the RFS. While the agency acknowledged the industry’s ability to produce 2.8 billion gallons, it proposed a much lower volume. Moreover, the agency granted a flood of small refinery exemptions that reduced biodiesel demand by at least 300 million gallons – equivalent to the annual production of Iowa, the nation’s top biodiesel-producing state, they point out.

The CEOs also urge the president to back the industry’s request to Congress to provide long-term certainty for the biodiesel and renewable diesel tax incentive. The industry needs certainty to ensure access to capital, make investments, hire and grow, the CEOs say.

Rehagen and Findlay close the letter by stating, “Your support for these policies can further grow the RFS and provide an economic boost for rural America when it is most needed.”

U.S. Soybean Meal: A Dependable Feed Ingredient 

The global animal agriculture industry consumes 97 percent of all U.S. soybean meal, and U.S. farmers are diligent about practices to ensure that U.S. soybean meal is a dependable feed ingredient. 

Most of this soybean meal is consumed by swine and poultry. Because of this, the United Soybean Board (USB) is monitoring and responding to a recent outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) in Chinese swine herds and U.S. farmers are being encouraged to take extra measures to mitigate a potential domestic outbreak by using U.S.-produced soybean meal. While spread by direct or indirect contact, viruses can live on most surfaces for short periods of time, including feed that comes in contact with infected animals. African swine fever has not been detected in the United States, although it has spread to parts of Europe. Consequently, U.S. pork producers are being cautioned to take extra care with imported meal or synthetic additives and to consider buying more U.S. soybean meal.

“I raise both soybeans and livestock, so I have a personal appreciation for the concerns of the animal agriculture industry,” says Lewis Bainbridge, United Soybean Board (USB) chair and soybean farmer from South Dakota. “We know U.S. soybean meal is a nutritious, reliable product for our animals, and the U.S. soybean industry is committed to providing this abundant supply of feed for poultry and livestock.”

The soy checkoff has consistently participated in efforts to control foreign animal diseases, including projects to mitigate and eradicate threats such as African swine fever, porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) and others. USB efforts related to pathogens include cross-industry discussions with USB’s feed technical team, who will continue to coordinate during this latest occurrence.

“U.S. soybean farmers know we are providing global pork producers with a wholesome, quality feed ingredient – U.S. soybean meal,” adds Bainbridge. “Through our checkoff, we’re working closely with the pork industry to produce the soybean meal that meets their needs.”

Vietnam Biofuels Conference Supports Increased Ethanol Use

Ethanol provides a win-win for domestic stakeholders in Vietnam and the U.S. ethanol industry, as discussed last week during the first U.S. Grains Council (USGC) biofuels conference conducted in the country.

The joint Vietnamese ministry and U.S. industry ethanol conference in Ho Chi Minh City shared information on the new ethanol policy in Vietnam, the advantages of increased ethanol usage and studies demonstrating ethanol marketing to consumers and environmental benefits.

More than 200 representatives participated, coming from stakeholder groups including the Vietnamese government's ministries of finance and industry and trade, petroleum trading and petroleum distributors, private sector enterprises, the U.S. government and press.

The conference was a direct follow-up activity to the Ethanol Summit of the Asia Pacific in May, which included a post-tour to Nebraska for Vietnamese attendees.

“This successful event was a by-product of all the work we have collectively accomplished in promoting the expansion of global ethanol use,” said Manuel Sanchez, USGC regional director in Southeast Asia. “We are excited about Vietnam's commitment to making the current E5 and the future E10 policy work.”

The conference is part of the Council’s work to support Vietnam’s trade-friendly policies as the government and industry are developing best practices to incentivize consumers at the pump and ethanol blenders to support increased ethanol use.

Vietnam is the fastest growing economy in Southeast Asia, thanks to a growing population, urbanization and rapid economic growth. Total gasoline consumption is expected to grow by nearly 15 percent by 2022 as Vietnam’s rising middle class takes advantage of different transportation options with large numbers of motor scooters and more and more cars on the road.

To fuel those vehicles, Vietnam started offering E5 on Jan. 1, with a goal to move to E10 by 2020. This new policy allows for two options at the pump - E5 and E0 - and roughly half of consumers are choosing to fuel up with E5.

“The collaboration between U.S. and Vietnamese stakeholders includes work to highlight the importance of having octane in both options at the pump,” Sanchez said. “Doing so ensures ethanol’s octane advantages are fully captured and environmental benefits fully realized, which will be even more important as Vietnam introduces E10.”

The ethanol conference shared information on the new ethanol policy in Vietnam, the advantages of increased ethanol usage and studies demonstrating ethanol marketing to consumers and environmental benefits.

The Vietnamese ethanol industry expects to source some of the ethanol needed to fulfill these mandates domestically from local cassava producers. However, the government and industry are open to importing ethanol should domestic producers fall short on feedstock needed to fulfill the mandate, as ethanol plants come back online or as feedstock prices fluctuate.

A decade ago, Vietnam initiated a biofuels policy that largely was unsuccessful due to a lack of price differentiation at the pump between E0 and ethanol-blended fuel, which has since been addressed. Continued success in Vietnam will include offering ethanol in all grades of gasoline at E5 in 2018 and 2019 and moving to E10 in 2020.

The Council’s work there - in partnership with domestic ethanol industry partners - is already starting to pay off in sales as the Vietnamese fuel industry expands. After importing no U.S. ethanol for the last four marketing years, Vietnam has imported about three million gallons in the 2017/2018 marketing year to date (September 2017-July 2018), including product transshipped through South Korea.

By 2020, Vietnam could represent a 225 million gallon ethanol market at an E10 blend rate, equivalent to roughly 80 million bushels of corn.

“The U.S. industry remains committed to supporting Vietnam and other countries in the region to develop their own ethanol policies that allow a role for trade,” Sanchez said. “These efforts include capacity building and direct industry and government engagement.”

Registration Open for AgGateway's Annual Conference

Registration is now open for AgGateway's Annual Conference, "Get Plugged In," coming Nov. 12-14 to the Sheraton Austin Hotel at The Capitol, Austin, Texas. AgGateway's annual conference draws hundreds of business and IT professionals to discuss ongoing initiatives to help companies better manage and use agricultural information. Early registrants receive a significant registration discount.

The conference keynote speaker is Stephanie Liska, CEO of Beck Ag, who will explore ways to use data to drive customer insights.

Other speakers include Norbert Schlingmann, general manager of the Agricultural Industry Electronics Foundation (AEF); a representative from the U.S. Department of Agriculture speaking on the agency's data-related work; and Vince Restucci, director of procurement & business technology at R.D. Offutt Company, who will discuss data opportunities for grower/producer operations.

The conference will feature additional educational sessions focused on business and technical topics, as well as updates from the AgGateway Global Network. The conference also features a welcome luncheon for first-time attendees, the annual awards program, and multiple networking breaks and receptions.

"Austin is a place to plug into great music, and this fall we're inviting the industry to plug into digital agriculture," said AgGateway Executive Vice President and COO Brent Kemp. "This is the time to make sure you're hooked into the resources and networking contacts you need to be successful - that your company is making the connections it needs to stay competitive in a dynamic information age, when maximizing efficiency and productivity is essential."

The program is especially geared to ag retailers, distributors, manufacturers of ag inputs (e.g., seed, crop nutrition, crop protection) and specialty chemical products, and software and data service providers, as well as professionals in precision ag, academia, agricultural organizations, students and ag media.

More information is available on AgGateway's 2018 Annual Conference webpage, found under "Events" at Explore sponsorship opportunities by reviewing the sponsorship program on the event webpage or email General inquiries can also be directed to AgGateway's Member Services at or866-251-8618.

AgGateway is a non-profit organization dedicated to the expanded use of information to maximize efficiency and productivity, promoting and enabling the industry's transition to digital agriculture.

New Hours of Service ELD for Agriculture Commodity Transporters Announced

Today GeoSpace Labs is launching a new hours of service vertical product designed specifically for transporters of agriculture commodities who use FMCSA exemption 49 CFR 395.1(k).

Professional drivers and fleets who work under the 49 CFR 395.1(k) have had a difficult time using traditional hours of service products, as the exemption regulation is both sophisticated and complex.

Exemption status is based around the type of commodity being transported, federal agriculture definitions, state agriculture seasons, the location of the pickup and drop off, the sequence of transportation destinations, and a real-time translation of air miles to ground miles as the hauler moves from location to location.

GeoSpace Labs has created an agriculture specific version of its award-winning hours of service product, Geowiz, that completely automates the entire 49 CFR 395.1(k) process, creating clear hours of service logs to meet the requirements of Electronic Logging Devices (ELD), Automatic On-board Recording Devices (AOBRD), and GPS only electronic logbooks.

Further, the Geowiz HOS agriculture specific log book automatically fills in log notes, correctly logs hours inside the exemption and then reports as off duty, reconciles exempt driving so drivers do not have to explain exempt unassigned driving to inspectors or auditors, automatically starts recording hours of service when outside exempt areas, properly transmits only the non-exempt driving information to the FMCSA if required, and allows for agriculture exemption routing on maps so drivers can plan routes with full knowledge of where exemptions begin and end.

The system puts drivers in complete control, they can add and remove locations, and the system allows for multiple locations of commodity pick up or drop off, which roll continually onto logs until removed, all follow the posted FMCSA rules including the complex A,B,C pick-up/drop-off, en-route empty to source, return empty, and other scenarios as published.

The HOS AG system is very easy to use and is one of the least expensive ELD system on the market, with a monthly fee of only $15, putting it at nearly half the cost of other, non-agriculture friendly systems.

If a driver is driving a vehicle exempt from the ELD requirements, the Geowiz AG APP can be used without a monthly fee as a GPS centric electronic logbook, with all the features and automations intact.

For more information please visit or call our toll free support number 1.877.4.GEOWIZ. 

Kansas State University to honor Dan Glickman with honorary doctorate

Dan Glickman, the former U.S. secretary of agriculture and longtime congressman from Kansas, will receive an honorary doctorate from Kansas State University.

The awarding of the honorary doctorate was approved by the Kansas Board of Regents at its Sept. 20 meeting and is the highest honor Kansas State University can give. Glickman will be presented with the honor at the Graduate School's fall commencement ceremony at 1 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7, in Bramlage Coliseum.

Glickman was nominated for the recognition by several current and former Kansas State University administrators and faculty members as well as several distinguished colleagues, including Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas; Peter McPherson, president of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities; and Dorothy Reddel Caldwell, retired deputy administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service.

"Few individuals can match Dan Glickman's distinguished record of service to Kansas, the nation and the world, particularly on issues involving food and agriculture, and hunger prevention and food secure communities," said Charles Taber, university provost and executive vice president. "Through this work, he has helped champion and advance K-State's longstanding work with global food systems. We are truly pleased to honor him with the university's highest honor."

Glickman represented the state's 4th Congressional District from 1977-1995. During that time, he was a member of the House Agriculture Committee, including six years as chair of the subcommittee with jurisdiction over federal farm policy issues. He also was an active member of the House Judiciary Committee, chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and was a leading congressional expert on general aviation policy.

In 1995 Glickman was appointed secretary of agriculture by President Bill Clinton and served in the post until 2001. As secretary, he administered farm and conservation programs; modernized food safety regulations; and forged international trade agreements to expand U.S. markets.

Glickman earned a bachelor's in history from the University of Michigan and a law degree from the George Washington University Law School. He served as a trial attorney for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission from 1969-1970, and then as a partner in the Wichita law firm Sargent, Klenda and Glickman from 1970-1977. He also was president of the Wichita School Board in 1976.

Since leaving his cabinet post, Glickman has remained active in several organizations involved with agriculture, public health and more. He is a senior fellow at the Council on American Politics, a part of the Graduate School of Political Management at George Washington University. He also is a senior fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center, focusing on public health, national security and economic policy issues. He is executive director of the Aspen Institute Congressional Program and senior fellow at the Center on Communication Leadership and Policy at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism. In addition, he is member of the Council on Foreign Relations and Chicago Mercantile Exchange; chair of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition at the Center for U.S. Global Engagement; and a member of the board of trustees of the National 4-H Council.

As a member of the Meridian Institute, Glickman co-chairs an initiative at the Institute of Medicine on accelerating progress on childhood obesity. He is co-chair of the global agricultural development initiative of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and is a director of Oxfam America Inc. He also served as chair and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of American from 2004-2010, and taught at Harvard University's School of Government and Institute of Politics from 2002-2004.

Glickman has been a speaker twice for Kansas State University's prestigious Landon Lecture Series: On Sept. 8, 1995, he presented the lecture "Securing Our Place in the Global Economy," and on Oct. 21, 2013, he joined five other former secretaries of agriculture for a Landon Lecture panel, "A Conversation With the Secretaries."

Wednesday September 19 Ag News

Nebraska Farm Bureau Works to Lower Health Costs for Farmers and Ranchers; Unveils New Large Group Association Health Plan

For the first time, individual farm and ranch families in Nebraska will have the opportunity to join Nebraska Farm Bureau’s (NEFB) new large group Association Health Plan (AHP) and avoid the higher cost of premiums in the individual health insurance market.  

NEFB has announced the formation of a new large group AHP for its farmer, rancher and, agribusiness members and a new partnership with Medica to be the carrier of health insurance products within the AHP. It will be officially marketed as the “Nebraska Farm Bureau Member Health Plan” and qualifying NEFB members can sign up for this more affordable health coverage during an Oct. 1 to Dec. 1, 2018 open enrollment period.

“I don’t think there has been a group of individuals hurt more by the high cost of health insurance than farm and ranch families. By establishing this new AHP for our qualified members, we know it will help cut costs associated with health insurance premiums,” NEFB President Steve Nelson said.

Nebraska farmers, ranchers, and those who work in agribusiness, have faced significant challenges with increasing costs tied to individual health insurance. In fact, nearly 400 farmers and ranchers who took part in NEFB’s listening sessions across the state this summer said the affordability of health care, health insurance, and access to both, was one of, if not the highest issue on their list of concerns.

“The last couple of years we have heard stories from farmers and ranchers about the high cost of health insurance for their families. When farm and ranch families in Nebraska are facing $25,000 to $40,000 per year for health insurance premiums, the financial stress on those family operations are extremely high, very emotional, and can easily impact whether they can stay in the business of agriculture.” Nelson said.

This is why NEFB established a new consortium of qualifying NEFB members, creating the Nebraska Farm Bureau Member Health Plan. The Nebraska Farm Bureau Employee Insurance Consortium was created to sponsor and to manage the Nebraska Farm Bureau Member Health Plan and to help comply with state and federal laws for AHPs. The Consortium has partnered with Medica to provide this new health insurance option, which is a way to lower health insurance premiums by grouping farmers, ranchers, and certain agribusinesses so they can be in a larger more risk stabilizing pool, Nelson said.

“We have listened to the concerns of farmers and ranchers and believe this new AHP will present a great opportunity and we think the only opportunity of Nebraska farmers and ranchers to form a large risk group to help lower premiums,” Nelson said.

The Consortium is led by a seven-member board of employer members of NEFB located throughout the state. President of the Consortium, long-time Farm Bureau member Tom Schwarz of Bertrand, NE, knows that the cost of health insurance has been a real emotional and financial strain in agriculture the last several years.

“I am looking forward to seeing how much my family will save from this plan. As far as my own farm operation, we have literally lost employees because I could not offer them health insurance benefits because of their high costs. We think the opportunities created by this new Association Health Plan will give farmers and ranchers like me some opportunities to lower health insurance costs and recruit and retain employees. I certainly look forward to helping NEFB and the Consortium develop these new and more affordable health insurance products,” Schwarz said. 

Medica has developed coverage options, premiums, and other provisions for the Nebraska Farm Bureau Member Health Plan. They are working with Farm Bureau agents to sell the new and exclusive health care products. Farm Bureau agents will be available to help resolve benefit questions or issues and provide ongoing support to the Nebraska Farm Bureau Member Health Plan.

“We are delighted to bring another health coverage option to the farmers and ranchers in Nebraska because it gives them a greater say in their health plan choices moving forward,” said Geoff Bartsh, Medica vice president of individual and family business. “Nebraskans can be confident that the Nebraska Farm Bureau Member Health Plan will meet their needs and that Medica will continue to be in the state, earning their trust every single day.”

The Nebraska Farm Bureau Member Health Plan is a regulated AHP and is a fully insured product through Medica that provides consumer protections. It is available to all eligible NEFB members regardless of health status. If you are interested in learning more about the Nebraska Farm Bureau Member Health Plan contact any Farm Bureau Financial Services agent.

“We welcome Nebraska farmers, ranchers, or agribusinesses to join our organization and take advantage of the opportunities of our Association Health Plan in the years ahead,” Nelson said.  

New Director Named for Iowa Nutrient Research Center at Iowa State University

An Iowa State University professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering has been named the new director of the Iowa Nutrient Research Center.

Matt Helmers, professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering and extension agricultural engineer, began his duties on Sept. 1. Helmers succeeds Hongwei Xin, assistant dean of research for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and a professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering, who served as interim director since 2017.

Helmers joined Iowa State in 2003. He serves as the agricultural and biosystems engineering department’s associate chair for research and extension and holds the title of Dean’s Professor in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

“Dr. Helmers is well-known among Iowa farmers and water quality researchers as an exceptional scientist and a trusted source of information about nutrient management,” said Joe Colletti, interim endowed dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “His leadership of the Iowa Nutrient Research Center is a significant new chapter in addressing the goals set forth in the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.”

Helmers was part of the scientific team that worked on the strategy’s Nonpoint Source Science Assessment, serving as its nitrogen team chair. He served on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Advisory Board Agricultural Science Committee from 2016 to 2018.

The Iowa Nutrient Research Center has committed $8.7 million to 76 research projects since it was created in 2013 by the Iowa Board of Regents in response to legislation passed by the Iowa Legislature. The center funds research by scientists at Iowa State, the University of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa to address nitrogen and phosphorus nutrient losses to surface waters. They pursue science-based approaches to areas that include evaluating the performance of current and emerging nutrient management practices and providing recommendations on implementing the practices and developing new practices.

Helmers is involved in research and extension and outreach activities in the areas of water management and water quality. One focus area is subsurface drainage and the impacts of agricultural management on nutrient export from subsurface drained lands. Another focus is surface runoff from agricultural areas, including the strategic placement and design of buffer systems focusing on how buffer systems can be used to minimize environmental impacts.

He is faculty adviser to the Iowa Learning Farms, a partnership of farmers, non-farmers, urban residents, educators, agencies and conservationists to promote a renewed commitment to a Culture of Conservation. This year he was presented the Outstanding Achievement in Extension Award by the Iowa State College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and received its Dean Lee R. Kolmer Award for Excellence in Applied Research in 2017.

Helmers earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Iowa State in 1995; a master’s degree in civil engineering in 1997 from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University; and a doctorate in agricultural and biological systems engineering from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2003.

Theme of 2019 National Ag Day Announced

The Agriculture Council of America will host National Agriculture Day on March 19, 2019. This will mark the 46th anniversary of National Ag Day which is celebrated in classrooms and communities across the country. The theme for National Ag Day 2019 is "Agriculture: Food for Life."

On March 19, 2019, the ACA will host major events in the nation's capital including an event at the National Press Club as well as a Taste of Agriculture Celebration. Additionally, the ACA will bring approximately 100 college students to Washington to deliver the message of Ag Day to the Hill.

These events honor National Agriculture Day and mark a nationwide effort to tell the true story of American agriculture and remind citizens that agriculture is a part of all of us. A number of agricultural associations, corporations, students and government organizations involved in agriculture are expected to participate.

National Ag Day is organized by the Agriculture Council of America. The ACA is a nonprofit organization composed of leaders in the agricultural, food and fiber community, dedicating its efforts to increasing the public's awareness of agriculture's role in modern society.

In addition to the events in Washington, DC on March 19, the ACA will once again feature the Ag Day Essay Contest. The winning essay will be presented on National Ag Day.

Visit for more information on National Ag Day in 2019.

Growth Energy, USGC, RFA Submit Comments to UK Department of Transport on Benefits of E10

Earlier this week, Growth Energy, the U.S. Grains Council, and the Renewable Fuels Association jointly submitted comments to the United Kingdom's (UK) Department of Transport as it considers implementing a nationwide E10 ethanol blend. The comments, submitted on Sept. 16, highlight the proven benefits of ethanol for fuel and draw on the experience of the United States in implementing a similar nationwide E10 fuel blend.

"Ethanol has a number of proven benefits including reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, reductions in harmful tailpipe pollution such as carbon monoxide and particulates, consumer cost savings, as well as job and agriculture development," according to the comments. "In the UK, there are 31.3 million vehicles on the road and only 250,000 deemed to be incompatible with an E10 blend. There is no reason to deny the benefits of ethanol to British consumers."

In addition, the joint comments strongly support moving directly to an E10 blended fuel, as the overwhelming majority of gasoline-powered vehicles are approved for this fuel. Doing so would offer benefits for consumers and ensure certainty for UK producers.

"It is imperative that the government move E10 forward to give these producers a predictable market for their fuel," the comments noted. "Just this week, we saw the largest ethanol producer in Britain announce that they are ceasing production simply because they do not have a market and because the government has not moved fast enough in its adoption of E10."

By submitting these comments, Growth Energy, the USGC, and the RFA aim to achieve the goal of substantially reducing transportation sector greenhouse gas emissions to combat global climate change and provide consumers with more affordable, cleaner fuel.

Growth Energy Welcomes House Biofuels Caucus for Voicing Support for RFS, E15

Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor today thanked 24 members of the House Biofuels Caucus, led by Co-Chairs Kristi Noem (R-SD) and Collin Peterson (D-MN), who sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler urging the administration to lift summertime regulations on E15 and uphold the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). In addition, the letter calls on the agency to “put an end” to secretive refinery waivers that “hurt farmers and prevent market growth of ethanol.”

“We’re deeply grateful to our rural champions for standing united behind a strong RFS and fighting for better, more affordable options at the fuel pump,” said Skor. “It is vital that the EPA uphold President Trump’s commitment to American biofuels and immediately tear down outdated regulatory barriers against the summertime sale of E15. Opening the market to year-round competition will help to revitalize farm income and restore growth in rural communities hit hardest by the agricultural downturn.”

Last week, Growth Energy launched an E15 Now bus tour that will carry the same message to local events across the Midwest.

“EPA waivers have destroyed billions of gallons of biofuel demand and cut a key market for U.S. farmers,” noted Skor. “To reverse the damage, the EPA should listen to rural lawmakers, restore those gallons, and unlock E15 – a move that could create demand for two billion bushels of American corn.”

August Milk Production in the United States up 1.4 Percent

Milk production in the United States during August totaled 18.3 billion pounds, up 1.4 percent from August 2017.  Production per cow in the United States averaged 1,946 pounds for August, 27 pounds above August 2017.  The number of milk cows on farms in the United States was 9.40 million head, 4,000 head less than August 2017, but 5,000 head more than July 2018.

Milk production in Iowa during August 2018 totaled 442 million pounds, up slightly from the previous August according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Milk Production report. The average number of milk cows during August, at 220,000 head, was unchanged from last month but 1,000 more than last year. Monthly production per cow averaged 2,010 pounds, unchanged from last August.

Fertilizer Prices Shift Higher Again

Over the past several weeks, retail fertilizer prices appeared to be beginning their seasonal move lower, but that trend reversed this week. All eight major fertilizer prices tracked by DTN increased in the second week of September compared to last month.

The price of urea jumped significantly higher compared to last month, breaking with the trend of only minor price movements. Urea is up 5% compared to the second week of August with an average price of $380 per ton.

The remaining seven fertilizers were all higher from last month, but their move to the high side was fairly small. DAP had an average price of $491/ton, MAP $518/ton, potash $362/ton, 10-34-0 $449/ton, anhydrous $487/ton, UAN28 $238/ton and UAN32 $278/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.41/lb.N, anhydrous $0.30/lb.N, UAN28 $0.43/lb.N and UAN32 $0.43/lb.N.

All eight major fertilizers are now higher compared to last year with prices pushing higher throughout the year. Both potash and 10-34-0 are now up 8%, UAN32 is 12% higher, UAN28 is 13% more expensive, both DAP and MAP are 14% higher, anhydrous is up 18% and urea is 23% higher compared to last year.

The remaining three fertilizers are lower in price compared to a year prior. Both 10-34-0 and UAN32 are 1% lower while UAN28 is 2% less expensive looking back a year.

EIA: Ethanol Stocks Down

 Domestic ethanol stocks decreased during the week-ended Sept. 14 despite a 3% gain in production as East Coast ethanol supplies dropped nearly 8%, Energy Information Administration data released Wednesday shows.

EIA reports ethanol inventories decreased 148,000 barrels (bbl) during the week reviewed to 22.746 million bbl, 1.6 million bbl, or 7.6%, higher than supply held during the same week in 2017.

Plant production rose 31,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 1.051 million bpd during the week ended Sept. 14, nearly 2% above the corresponding week in 2017. Four-week averaged production was 1.057 million bpd versus 1.045 million bpd during the corresponding four week period in 2017.

Net refiner and blender inputs, a measure for ethanol increased 10,000 bpd to 928,000 bpd during the week-ended Sept. 14, 3.3% more than a year ago. For the four weeks ended Sept. 14, blending demand averaged 935,000 bpd, 16,000 bpd more than the same period in 2017.

Canada to Resume NAFTA Talks as Republicans Lose Patience

High-level NAFTA negotiations are set to resume in Washington, where Republicans are warning time is running out for Canada to join the U.S. and Mexico in a trilateral deal. Bloomberg reports that Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland will arrive in the U.S. capital Tuesday evening and talks with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer are due to resume Wednesday. Only a few days likely remain until a handshake deal would need to be reached in order to generate text of an agreement by Sept. 30, which is the deadline to allow a new version of the North American Free Trade Agreement to be signed before Mexico’s incoming president takes office.

While Canada has signaled it’s not in a rush to accept a bad deal -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday the two sides aren’t yet at a “decision point” -- a top Republican lawmaker indicated Tuesday that patience is thin.

“There is a growing frustration with many in Congress regarding Canada’s negotiating tactics,” House Majority Whip Steve Scalise said in a statement. “While we would all like to see Canada remain part of this three-country coalition, there is not an unlimited amount of time for it to be part of this new agreement.”

Freeland confirmed her trip after a cabinet meeting in Ottawa. Bloomberg reported on her plans earlier Tuesday, citing four people familiar who spoke on condition of anonymity. The Canadian dollar climbed on the news, trading 0.4 percent higher at C$1.2991 per U.S. dollar at 1:39 p.m. Toronto time.

The U.S. is barreling down on the Nafta deadline as a trade fight with China escalates. The precise cutoff point for a handshake agreement is unclear, but a Canadian official believes it’s Thursday.

Trudeau touted progress in the talks at an event Monday night but said the timeline remains unclear. “Every time we get momentum, every time we work together, we do knock off a few more things and move closer,” the Canadian leader said in a televised interview with Maclean’s magazine. “There were points in the spring where we thought we were perhaps days or weeks away; turned out not to be the case. We might be days or weeks away now, it might not be.”

Harvesting? Don’t Forget to Complete National Yield Contest Harvest Entry

With harvest already underway in many parts of the country, the National Corn Growers Association reminds farmers that National Corn Yield Contest entrants must report within two weeks of their final yield check or by Nov. 16, whichever comes first.

The online harvest entry is available to both farmers and seed representatives using the same login process as the initial entry. Login does require submission of the entrant’s NCGA membership number.

To complete, entrants will upload weigh tickets and yield calculations worksheet that details the number of rows harvested and length of each pass. Prior to upload, both documents must be signed by the contest supervisor. A tutorial video is available online.

Two new rules will be implemented in 2018. First, a recheck of 1.2500 acres or more using the same harvest pattern in the rows next to the completed harvest plot is required if the first check yields 300.000 bushels per acre or higher. Secondly, all yields of 325.0000 bushels per acre or higher require the supervisor to contact NCGA to report the first yield as well as the recheck yield.

Two clarifications of note will be implemented in 2018. There will be two testing options for obtaining moisture percentage. Contestants may do so through a state-certified moisture tester at a grain handling facility. In this case supervisor(s) must be present when the grain handler runs the representative sample of corn through the moisture tester. Moisture percentage must be printed or written on the weigh ticket that contains the supervisor(s) signature approval. One moisture reading listed on the certified scale printout is acceptable.

The second testing option is to use a non-certified moisture tester (including portable moisture meter). Portable testers MUST be calibrated. Supervisor(s) must be present when the representative sample of corn is tested. The same sample of corn must be run three times. The average of the three moisture readings will stand as the final moisture percentage. All three readings must be written on the weigh ticket that contains the supervisor(s) signature approval.

Additionally, the rules have been amended to more clearly define the differences between entries in the non-irrigated and irrigated categories.

For access to contest information and a detailed list of the entry and harvest rules, click here...

For half of a century, NCGA’s National Corn Yield Contest has provided corn growers the opportunity to compete with their colleagues to grow the most corn per acre, helping feed and fuel the world. This has given participants not only the recognition they deserved, but the opportunity to learn from their peers.

Winners receive national recognition in publications such as the NCYC Corn Yield Guide, as well as cash trips or other awards from participating sponsoring seed, chemical and crop protection companies. The winners will be honored during Commodity Classic 2019 in Orlando, Florida.

Less Than 30 Days Left to Nominate for Annual Soy Recognition Awards

The American Soybean Association (ASA) wants to recognize exceptional soy volunteers and leaders—and we need your help. During ASA’s annual awards banquet, individuals will be recognized and honored for state association volunteerism, distinguished leadership achievements and long-term, significant contributions to the soybean industry. The nomination period is open through Oct. 15, 2018. The Recognition Awards categories are:
-    ASA Outstanding State Volunteer Award–Recognizes the dedication and contributions of individuals who have given at least three-years of volunteer service in any area of the state soybean association operation.
-    ASA Distinguished Leadership Award–Distinguished and visionary leadership of ASA or a state soybean association is recognized with this award to either a soybean grower-leader or association staff leader with at least five-years of leadership service.
-    ASA Pinnacle Award–An industry-wide recognition of those individuals who have demonstrated the highest level of contribution and lifetime leadership within the soybean family and industry.

Please consider and submit a nomination for one or more of the award categories. For more information and to submit nominations, click here....

All nominations must be received online, no later than Monday, Oct. 15, 2018. No nominations by telephone, email or fax will be accepted. A judging committee will be assigned to make the final selections.

Recipients will receive their awards at the ASA Awards Banquet on Friday, March 1, 2019, in Orlando, Fla. at Commodity Classic.

 Agricultural Retailers Open to Helping Farmers Learn About Cover Crops, Still Face Challenges

A new study found that 89 percent of agricultural retailers have offered cover crop products and services in the past two years, and 94 percent say they want to expand these offerings in the future.

Despite this willingness, however, the industry faces barriers to making cover crops a prominent business segment, according to the study conducted by Datu Research, LLC.

Farmers plant cover crops to keep the soil anchored between growing seasons, reaping benefits in soil erosion, fertility, water retention, weed and pest control, and biodiversity. While the practice is growing in popularity, cover crop acreage in the United States remains low.

“Ag retailers and Certified Crop Advisers are a trusted go-to source for farmers,” said Dr. Angel Cruz, lead author of the study. “We wanted to understand their role in promoting cover crops and see what it would take to expand that role.”

The survey, developed in cooperation with the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA), was distributed to ARA members and Certified Crop Advisers in the Midwest. Many respondents reported offering their customers cover crop advisory services (83%), selling cover crop seed (56%) and cover crop termination services (44%).

Still, these products and services account for less than five percent of total revenue, the study found. Many respondents described mutually reinforcing challenges: a lack of customer demand, insufficient evidence of cover crop benefits in their region, and “uncertain or negative profitability.”

Despite the low revenue they generate, cover crop services were cited by 60 percent of respondents as a way “to diversify your product and service offerings.” Respondents also cited “to stay ahead of the competition” (40%), and “to grow your customer base” (39%) as justification for incorporating cover crop products into their business model.

“We apparently have a long way to go,” said Cruz. “These results will be useful in developing a business case for ag retailers to integrate cover crops.”

The study recommends engaging state agribusiness associations, along with increased collaboration between agricultural retailers and agricultural conservation professionals such as local soil and water conservation districts and USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

Even more important, to increase customer demand will likely require providing farmers more solid answers on the economics of cover crops and how to manage them for local conditions.

"Ag retailers have always worked to assist their farmer customers in conservation practice implementation," said ARA President and CEO Daren Coppock. "The adoption of cover crops will continue at a slower rate until farmers can see the true value in the practice. Our retailer members appreciate the survey results and any subsequent findings to work with their customers in making the best decisions for their operations and the environment."

Tuesday September 18 Ag News

National Farm Safety and Health Week is September 16-22, 2018
Larry Howard, NE Extension Educator, Cuming County

National Farm Safety and Health Week is September 16-22, 2018. This annual promotional week commemorates the hard work and sacrifices made by our nation's farmers and ranchers. This year's theme is “Cultivating the Seeds of Safety.”

The theme reminds local and rural communities that agriculture is one of the most dangerous occupations in the U.S. and farm injuries and fatalities are preventable through education. The most recent data from the U.S. Department of Labor indicates that agriculture accounts for 21.3 deaths per 100,000 workers and approximately 130,000 disabling injuries.

Each year since 1944, the third week of September has been recognized as National Farm Safety & Health Week. This recognition has been an annual promotion initiated by the National Safety Council and has been proclaimed as such by each sitting U.S. President since Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the first document.  As we recognize National Farm Safety & Health Week this September, please join in promoting safe and healthy practices on our farms and ranches across the U.S. as producers enter the harvest season.

One of the biggest hazards during harvest season is the farm equipment and the motorists having to share the roadways.  Here in rural America, most of us realize that the farmer driving the harvest equipment is completing their job for the season.  Driving farm equipment on public roads is a top concern for farmers, yet some farmers have no choice but to use a public road to get farm equipment to and from the field. Motorists can help by slowing down and giving them plenty of room to maneuver the equipment and use caution to help keep our roadways more safe.

According to data from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, more than 40 percent of all rural traffic fatalities occurred on rural roads with speed limits of 55 mph or higher. The Committee on Agricultural Safety and Health Research and Extension found crash fatalities in rural counties were nearly twice as high as urban counties.

Before taking farm equipment on public roads, farmers should inspect their equipment to make sure motorists can easily see it.  Make sure each piece of farm equipment has a slow moving vehicle sign and working lights.   Even without farm equipment, the hills, bridges, and turns on rural roads can present unique challenges for motorists. Some intersections on gravel roads have no stop signs. Dry weather conditions may make roads dusty while wet weather may soften road shoulders.  There are certain situations such as crossing bridges or traveling on hilly roads where visibility for the motorist and the farm equipment driver may be limited. Having an escort vehicle may help to call attention to the farm equipment on the road so that everyone may share the road safely.

There is also a new farm safety website, “Telling the Story,” which features firsthand accounts by farmers who have been injured or who have lost family members to agriculture-related incidents. The website debuts just in time for National Farm Safety Week. provides a venue for farmers who have been impacted by fatal and non-fatal agricultural workplace injuries to share their experiences and offer insight for injury prevention. The site also includes links to major AG safety resources such as the National Ag Safety Database, the US Agricultural Health and Safety Centers YouTube channel, Farm & Ranch eXtension in Safety and Health (FReSH) Community of Practice (CoP) and Ireland’s Health and Safety Authority (HAS) Survivor Stories.

Cuming County 4-H Beef Exhibitors Participate at the Norfolk Beef Expo

Cuming County 4-H members participated at the 69th annual Norfolk Beef Expo that was held Sunday, September 9, at the Northeast Community College Ag Complex in Norfolk. According to Larry Howard, Nebraska Extension Educator in Cuming County, there were three county 4-H members that exhibited five market beef projects. Jaleigh Hallsted of Pender was the Champion Intermediate Showman.

Complete show results are as follows:

Market Steers … Purple ribbons to Jaleigh Hallsted, Pender and Evie Schlickbernd, West Point. Blue ribbons were earned by Evie Schlickbernd, West Point and Jamie Palm, West Point.

Showmanship … Purple – Jaleigh Hallsted and Blue ribbons to Evie Schlickbernd and Jamie Palm.

Holdenville Livestock Market to host World Livestock Auctioneer Championship qualifier October 1

Holdenville Livestock Market, 3233 N 370 Cr, will host the first of three regional qualifying events for the World Livestock Auctioneer Championship (WLAC). The midwestern regional qualifying event will be October 1. Opening ceremonies will commence at 11 a.m. CST with the Awards Ceremony to follow. A total of 33 contestants will compete for a top 10 placing, granting them a spot in the semi-finals for the 2019 WLAC at Tulare Sales Yard in Tulare, Calif.

Each qualifying event is a live sale where each contestant auctions 8 drafts of livestock (traditionally cattle) to actual bidders. Contestants are judged on the clarity of their auction chant; professionalism; and their ability to conduct the sale while catching bids.

Contestants competing are Zach Ballard, Grant City, Mo.; Andy Baumeister, Mullin, Texas; Neil Bouray, Webber, Kan.; Chuck Bradley, Rockford, Ala.; Troy Bradshaw, Lipan, Texas; Dakota Davis, Caldwell, Kan.; Dean Edge, Rimbey, Alberta; Will Epperly, Dunlap, Iowa; Andrew Finlay, Carbondale, Kan.; Brandon Fey, Creston, Iowa; Joshua Garcia, Goliad, Texas; Jim Hertzog, Butler, Mo.; Kirby Hill, Paris, Texas; Jake Hopwood, Valentine, Neb.; Jase Hubert, Emporia, Kan.; Tanner Jessup, Hillsboro, Kan.; Wade Leist, Boyne City, Miss.; Jeremy Miller, Fairland, Okla.; Terry Moe, Watford City, N.D.; Bill Nance, Sheldon, Mo.; Trey Narramore, Grants, N.M.; Lander Nicodemus, Cheyenne, Wyo.; Mark Oberholtzer, Loyal, Wis.; Sterlyn Paiz, Portales, N.M.; Kade Rogge, Rupert, Idaho; Ethan Schuette, Washington, Kan.; Jim Settle, Arroyo Grande, Calf.; Russele Sleep, Bedford, Iowa; Dustin Smith, Jay, Okla.; Chas Tillman, Swink, Okla.; Marshal Tingle, Nicolasville, Ky.; Curtis Wetovick, Fullerton, Neb.; Vernon Yoder, Dundee, Ohio.

The public may attend the livestock auction and competition free of charge. It will also be streamed live on

The remaining qualifying events are balanced regionally across the LMA Membership. The western regional will be held at Delta Sales Yard, Inc; October 27. The eastern regional will be held at Northeast Georgia Livestock, LLC; December 12.

About the World Livestock Auctioneer Championship

In June 1963, the Livestock Marketing Association held the first annual World Livestock Auctioneer Championship (WLAC) at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Denver, Colorado. The purpose: to spotlight North America’s top livestock auctioneers and to salute their traditionally important role in the competitive livestock marketing process. That year, 23 auctioneers from the United States and Canada sold the same 20 head of cattle over and over again.

The contest was held at hotels until 1967, when it traveled to its first LMA member market. Since then the WLAC has been held in conjunction with the LMA Marketing Industry Convention at member markets around the U.S. and Canada. Recent locations include California, Missouri, Montana, Tennessee, Kansas, South Dakota and Alberta, Canada.

Though the rules have changed, the enthusiasm for the competition hasn’t. On average each year, nearly 100 auctioneers enter the qualifying events and only 31 (10 from each qualifying event, one from the auctioneering competition at Calgary Stampede) are selected to compete in the WLAC. The championship consists of three stages: the regional qualifying events held at different markets around the country, followed by the semi-finals and the finals that are held each June in conjunction with the LMA Annual Convention. Contestants competing for the World Champion title must be 18 years old, employed as a livestock auctioneer and sponsored by a local auction market that shares in the favorable publicity generated by the winners.

LMA is proud to sponsor an event that brings together North America’s top livestock auctioneers in a competition that showcases professionalism and promotes the auction method of selling livestock.

About the Livestock Marketing Association

The Livestock Marketing Association, headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, is North America’s largest membership organization dedicated to supporting, representing and communicating with and for the entire livestock marketing sector. LMA has more than 800 member businesses across the U.S. and Canada. For more information, visit

Escalation of trade dispute with China

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig issued the following statement on the announcement by the Trump Administration that the U.S. will impose duties on an estimated $200 billion in additional Chinese goods. The U.S. has already imposed duties on about $53 billion worth of Chinese goods. China previously increased tariffs on numerous ag products such as soybeans, corn, pork, beef and poultry.

“This escalation of trade tensions comes at a time when our farmers and businesses cannot afford any further erosion of our markets. As harvest is underway and farmers plan for the 2019 growing season, they need certainty now more than ever. I continue to urge the Administration to resolve this trade dispute with China in a way that does not further damage our agricultural economy. We need to conclude NAFTA negotiations and aggressively work to open new markets for our products.”

Caskey to Join NCGA as Vice President of Communications

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) today announced that Neil Caskey has been selected to serve as NCGA Vice President of Communications, beginning Monday, October 15. Caskey will build upon the organization’s ongoing communications efforts to create and increase opportunities for corn growers.

“For more than 20 years, Neil has helped global agribusinesses, nonprofits, and government agencies connect with their audiences,” said NCGA CEO Jon Doggett. “We are looking forward to having his vast experience in building brands, along with his creativity and energy at NCGA.”

Caskey currently serves as the Executive Vice President of Osborn Barr, an agriculture-focused agency in St. Louis. Prior to joining O+B, he held the titles of Special Assistant to the CEO and Director of Industry and Public Relations for the American Soybean Association.

Early in his career, Caskey managed a portfolio of policy issues for Ameren, a local public power company. He began his career on Capitol Hill, handling agriculture, energy and transportation issues in the office of former U.S. Congressman Kenny Hulshof, R-Mo.

Caskey holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Webster University and a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Missouri – Columbia.

AG HEALTH AND SAFETY SPOTLIGHT - Raising the Bar on Tractor Safety

Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center, University of Minnesota

Tractors and farming are nearly one and the same. Tractors are used to do many things on the farm from mowing ditches, to planting corn to hauling rocks and grading the driveway. Unfortunately tractor rollovers can and do occur too often, whether it is on the small hobby farm or in larger production agriculture operations.

Tractor rollovers are the single deadliest type of injury incident on farms in the United States.

The latest figures from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) suggest there are approximately 130 tractor rollover fatalities per year. NIOSH estimates that there are approximately 4.8 million tractors in use on U.S. farms; one-half of them are without rollover protection for the operator.

In addition to the human cost of tractor rollover, there is a financial cost as well. Roughly 7 out of 10 farms go out of business within 5 years of an accident.  Also, 197 close calls and 16 serious injuries/fatalities have been prevented since the NRRP began retrofitting tractors with ROPS in 2006.

Rollover protection structure (ROPS) are 99% effective in preventing injury or death in the event of an overturn when used with a seatbelt.  The National ROPS Rebate Program (NRRP) offers farmers 70% off costs with a maximum out of pocket cost of $500 (for the farmer) in rebates for rollover protection installedon unprotected tractors.

Learn more about the program and how to apply:  Click here for more information on tractor safety...

NFU Opposes ERS, NIFA Reorganizations and Relocations

National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson today wrote to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue, urging him not to reorganize and relocate the department’s Economic Research Service (ERS) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) agencies. The NFU Board of Directors recently adopted a position against the proposal.

“NFU has long been concerned by reduced investment in public agricultural research,” said Johnson. “Our member-driven policy argues that the reduction in funding for public research and ‘increase in private research has reduced the sharing of information and increased costs of production inputs.’ ERS and NIFA play a key role in helping farmers and ranchers improve productivity, natural resource stewardship, and access to global markets and trade. As the economic and environmental challenges facing family farmers and ranchers mount, it is critical that USDA prioritize the work of the agencies.”

Broadband is not a Luxury, it’s a Necessity


Farmers and ranchers must have access to fixed and mobile broadband to be more efficient, economical and environmentally responsible, the American Farm Bureau Federation said in recent comments on the Rural Utility Service’s e-Connectivity Pilot Program.

At the heart of Farm Bureau’s comments is the need for accurate and third-party verified data to successfully target the pilot program’s limited funding to boost access to broadband service in rural areas. Farmers and ranchers need broadband to use the latest precision agricultural equipment, follow commodity markets, communicate with their customers, gain access to new markets around the world and, increasingly, for regulatory compliance.

In addition, rural communities’ much-needed access to health care, government services and educational and business opportunities in most cases can only be gained by using broadband services and sophisticated technologies that require high-speed connections, Farm Bureau noted in the comments.

“Broadband is no longer a luxury for a household or business, it’s a necessity,” the group said.

Without reliable, third-party verified maps to accurately determine where wireless broadband is accessible, Farm Bureau cautioned against RUS’ plan to base program eligibility on at least 90 percent of households without sufficient broadband access.

“Additionally, using households as the sole metric overlooks the need for wireless broadband connectivity to cropland and ranchland, which is critical for modern agriculture,” Farm Bureau continued.

Because farmers’ and ranchers’ “offices” are in the field or on ranchland, Farm Bureau suggested that the pilot program include wireless broadband for cropland and ranchland within the eligibility requirement.

“Precision agricultural equipment requires a wireless broadband connection for data collection and analysis performed on both the farm and in remote data centers. As more precision equipment becomes available, farmers and ranchers cannot take full advantage of that equipment if they do not have access to wireless broadband in the field or on the ranch.”

Farm Bureau also suggested that rural areas would be better served if the agency brings its minimum definition of broadband speed in line with the Federal Communications Commission’s definition of 25 Mbps (upstream)/ 3 Mbps (upstream). Among other things, this would allow for uniformity across federal agencies.

“Federal programs, such as the e-Connectivity Pilot Program, must offer farmers, ranchers and rural communities the same access to broadband speed as is available to suburban and urban communities, for these programs to successfully reduce the digital divide,” Farm Bureau said.

As for the maps the agency plans to use, Farm Bureau recommended the pilot program go beyond the National Broadband Map because it doesn’t accurately reflect the served, underserved and unserved areas across the country. Instead, the organization suggested, RUS should use an approach that increases the map’s granularity and accuracy and uses a verification process that includes consumers.

The e-Connectivity Pilot Program was established in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 and appropriated $600 million to expand rural broadband in underserved rural and tribal areas.

AGCO Launches AGCO Agriculture Foundation

AGCO, a global leader in the design, manufacture and distribution of agricultural machinery and solutions, today announced the launch of the AGCO Agriculture Foundation. “The AGCO Agriculture Foundation is a testament to our commitment to support farmers feeding the world. Our objective is to support non-profit initiatives that contribute to global food security, support sustainable agriculture development and have an economic impact in developing countries,” said Martin Richenhagen, AGCO’s Chairman, President and CEO.

The new philanthropic focus demonstrates AGCO’s strong commitment to specific Sustainable Development Goals developed by the United Nations that seek to end hunger and provide basic necessities to a growing world population. AGCO has already been driving change globally, particularly in certain developing markets, by supporting farmer education initiatives as well as access to mechanization and agricultural projects. As a private organization, the AGCO Agriculture Foundation will leverage new partnerships and utilize its networks to develop and advance vital initiatives that will have a positive direct social, economic and environmental impact on communities around the globe. “We believe that with our agriculture expertise and resources the foundation can truly maximize our efforts for a good cause,” said Metti Richenhagen, Manager, AGCO Corporate Social Responsibility and AGCO Agriculture Foundation.

An AGCO Agriculture Foundation Board of Directors is entrusted with the oversight and administration of the foundation’s activities. “We appreciate the ideas, support and engagement from the global AGCO family in making this goal a reality,” said Ulrich Stockheim, Chairperson of the AGCO Agriculture Foundation.