Tag Archives: agriculture

The Cooperative Producers Inc. dry fertilizer plant near U.S. Highway 6 and Showboat Boulevard went up in flames late Thursday night.

An emergency call about the blaze was received around 11:30 p.m. The building was reported to be engulfed in flames, and mutual aid was requested from neighboring fire departments. Juniata and Glenvil volunteer firefighters had arrived by around midnight.

A Tribune reporter who responded to the emergency call said even though he could not get near the scene, he could see rafters visible on the burning building within 30 minutes or so of the initial call. Although it was dark, the reporter said the structure apparently was destroyed

Scanner traffic monitored by the Tribune included a call for ambulances to the scene to address reported burn injuries to at least two individuals.

Hastings Fire and Rescue’s Facebook page warned residents of smoke drifting into town and advised them to keep windows shut and stay inside.

CPI opened the plant at 265 N. Showboat Boulevard in 2018. The plant was planned to have storage capacity for 42,000 tons of product.

http://www.hastingstribune.com/news/cpi-dry-fertilizer-plant-goes-up-in-flames/article_37eadcc0-7de6-11e9-abfa-27cb07fe251d.html#utm_campaign=blox&utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social

DEFENDING AMERICAN FARMERS: President Donald J. Trump is defending American farmers from unjustified trade retaliation.  

  • President Trump has authorized the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide up to $16 billion in trade mitigation programs to support our farmers.
    • This funding is in line with the estimated impact of China’s unjustified trade retaliation.
  • $14.5 billion will go to direct payments to producers through the Market Facilitation Program.
    • These payments will be made available in three allocations, as needed.
  • The first payments will be made in July, and additional payments will follow in November 2019 and January 2020 if warranted.
  • $1.4 billion will go to the Food Purchase and Distribution Program to purchase surplus commodities affected by trade retaliation.
    • These products will then be distributed to schools, food banks, and other groups.
  • $100 million will go to developing new export markets for American producers through the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program.
  • These programs will help support American farmers and give President Trump additional time to work toward a long-term trade deal that works for our country.
    • Reaching a fair, long-term trade deal with China will be a win for American agriculture.
EXPANDING AGRICULTURAL EXPORTS: President Trump is negotiating fair, free, and reciprocal trade deals that remove barriers and open up markets for American farmers.
  • President Trump negotiated the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), getting a better deal for American farmers and ranchers.
    • USMCA eliminates Canada’s discriminatory programs that allow low-priced dairy products to undersell American dairy producers.
    • USMCA includes expanded market access for dairy products, eggs, and poultry.
  • The President reached a deal with the European Union to increase American soybean exports.
  • President Trump has successfully negotiated to remove barriers on American agricultural products, including recently opening Japan’s market to all American beef.
    • Restrictions have also been lifted on American pork exports to Argentina, beef to Brazil, Idaho chipping potatoes to Japan, poultry to South Korea, and more.
PRODUCING RESULTS FOR FARMERS: President Trump and his Administration are working every day to deliver for American farmers.
  • The President signed the farm bill last year, which extends farm support programs, improves crop insurance, promotes agricultural exports, maintains disaster programs, and more.
  • President Trump is rolling back red tape that harmed American farmers, such as the previous administration’s burdensome Waters of the United States rule.
  • The President’s tax cuts and reforms helped save family farmers from the unfair estate tax.
  • President Trump provided a boost to America’s corn-growing communities by directing his Administration to allow the sale of E15 gasoline year round.
  • The Trump Administration is promoting connectivity in rural America to help communities and agricultural producers to continue to grow and innovate.

WASHINGTON — The Senate on Thursday passed a bipartisan deal that would provide more than $19 billion in disaster aid funding to parts of the United States hit by hurricanes, flooding, earthquakes and wildfires, following months of negotiation.

Senators backed the measure, 85-8, just a few hours after the agreement was reached. The House will have to vote on the bill before it’s sent to Trump’s desk. House lawmakers have already left for their recess, but the chamber could still pass it quickly through unanimous consent.

“I totally support it,” Trump said of the legislation at a White House event on Thursday.

Leaving a closed-door Senate Republican lunch earlier in the day, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., told reporters that an agreement had been reached.

He said that he had spoken to President Donald Trump on Thursday afternoon about the parameters of the deal, which excluded the $4.5 billion in border funding that the White House and the Republicans kept demanding.

The Senate voted on the measure Thursday afternoon before leaving Washington for a weeklong Memorial Day recess. This comes after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., warned earlier in the day that the upper chamber would remain in session this week until they passed a disaster aid bill.

According to a breakdown of the bill from Shelby’s office, it provided about $900 million to Puerto Rico, which was ravaged by Hurricane Maria in 2017. That money would go toward nutrition assistance and a community development block grant, both of which were key Democratic priorities.

The bill also included a provision that would require the Trump administration to make almost $9 billion in previously withheld aid available to Puerto Rico, according to a summary of the bill provided by Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., ranking member on the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Funding for Puerto Rico had long been a sticking point in negotiations because Trump was opposed to giving the territory more aid. In April, he falsely claimed on Twitter that “Puerto Rico got 91 billion dollars for the hurricane” when the federal government had only allocated $40 billion for the island’s recovery and most of it hasn’t reached it yet.

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/senate-strikes-deal-19-billion-disaster-relief-bill-excludes-border-n1009396?cid=sm_npd_nn_tw_ma

Lawmakers reached a bipartisan deal on Thursday for $19 billion in disaster aid that includes funding for Puerto Rico and southern states hit by hurricanes, flood-ravaged Midwestern states, and California areas scorched by fires.

President Donald Trump has agreed to the deal, although lawmakers did not include $4.5 billion sought by the White House and Republicans for humanitarian aid on the U.S. border with Mexico. The Senate is expected to pass the relief package yet today.

COLBY, Kan. — The trade conflict between the United States and China, which began brewing early last year pulled U.S. corn prices down an average $0.20 per bushel per month in the first six months of 2019, according to a Kansas State University agricultural economist.

“Since December 2018, U.S. corn prices had been moving in a pattern contrary to a normal seasonal price pattern found in Kansas, with essentially no seasonal price increases,” said Dan O’Brien, K-State Research and Extension agricultural economist in a report released May 17.

Seasonally, corn prices tend to move higher during the spring and summer when the crop is planted and growing and often come down during the fall harvest when the new crop is available to the market.

Much of the focus in recent months has been on how the trade tensions have cut soybean exports to China, pushing soy prices lower, O’Brien said, but the potential spillover effect is that U.S. farmers will plant fewer acres to soybeans this year and instead plant more corn.

“And that sentiment has held sway among the corn trade until recently in mid-May 2019 when 2019 U.S. corn planting problems became serious enough to cause corn futures prices to begin trending higher,” he said, referring to unusually wet spring weather which delayed planting in some areas.

After analyzing data, O’Brien said that from January to May this year, U.S. corn prices were $0.07 to $0.34 per bushel under levels they would have been if normal, seasonal average price patterns – those that are typically seen in Kansas – had prevailed.

Market perceptions about the trade negotiations seem to have had a negative effect on U.S. corn markets, said O’Brien, citing trader data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission that confirmed a bearish “short” sale aggregate position of speculative traders that started in January 2019 and trended to record bearish levels in April. Someone with a “short” position in the futures market makes money as the price of a commodity declines.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture also increased its projected U.S. corn ending stocks-to-use to 14.45% in May 2019 from 11.85% in January for the corn crop harvested last year. During that time, the only changes affecting supply and demand were on the usage side, with market expectations for U.S. corn use declining, he said. USDA also projected this year’s average corn price in May at $3.50 per bushel, down $0.10 from its projection in February.

Further, China may be eyeing Brazil’s crop as it moves away from buying U.S. corn.

“The success of the 2019 Brazilian second corn crop also contributed, likely in a sort of ‘piling on’ negative, confirming manner,” O’Brien said.

With the trade dispute ongoing even as farmers are planting this year’s crop, he said, CFTC data indicate traders are beginning to focus more on planting concerns linked to weather-related delays, with some speculators moving away from short positions and toward the long side, indicating they think prices may go up. It remains to be determined, however, if the trade conflict will continue to weigh on the market to the same degree that it did through mid-May.

More information is available on the K-State agricultural economics website www.agmanager.info

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) – member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture – cosponsored the Agricultural Export Expansion Act of 2019, legislation to remove a major hurdle for American farmers and ranchers to selling American agricultural products in the Cuban market. The bipartisan bill would support jobs in Kansas and across the country by lifting restrictions on private financing for U.S. agricultural exports to Cuba.

“This bipartisan legislation, which would allow for the private financing of ag exports to Cuba, represents an important step forward in our work to open Cuban markets for Kansas farmers and ranchers,” said Sen. Moran. “With low commodity prices and an ongoing trade war, our producers can only benefit from increased market access.”

The 2018 Farm Bill took steps to help American agriculture access the Cuban market by allowing funding for U.S. Department of Agriculture export promotion programs for U.S. agricultural products to be used in Cuba. However, the biggest barrier for producers as they seek access to Cuba is the Trade Sanctions and Reform Act (TSRA) prohibition on providing private credit for those exports, which forces Cubans to pay with cash up front for American-grown food. As a result, American farm goods have become less competitive, and Cuba has turned to other countries who are able to directly extend credit to Cuban buyers for transactions. This bill would amend the TSRA to allow for private financing of agricultural exports and level the playing field for American farmers competing in the global market.

The legislation is authored by U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-Ark.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and is cosponsored by U.S. Senators John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Angus King (I-Maine), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.).

Full text of the legislation can be found here.

Item to note:

  • In March, 2017, Sen. Moran introduced the Cuba Trade Act of 2017, legislation that would fully restore trade with Cuba.

A national workshop dedicated to childhood agricultural safety is scheduled for June 23-24 in Des Moines, Iowa. The Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center will co-host the event along with the Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health at the University of Iowa, and the National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety. Sponsors of this workshop include John Deere, Westfield Insurance and the National Farm Medicine Center.

The Child Agricultural Injury Prevention (CAIP) Workshop is designed for those who work in or with the agriculture industry, and want to establish and enhance child injury prevention strategies for their organizations.

Registration fee is $249. Scholarships are available to assist with the cost of registration. More information, including the registration link, is available at www.marshfieldresearch.org/CAIP-Workshop.

“We’ll coach workshop participants on how to work with farmers and farm supervisors to protect children who live, work and play on farms and ranches,” said Ellen Duysen, Central States Center coordinator.

The workshop is expected to draw participants from producer groups, insurance, FFA, healthcare, Extension, agribusiness, public health and media.

“All these professions have a role to play in protecting kids on farms,” said Stephanie Leonard, M.S., an occupational safety manager at the University of Iowa who also writes a safety column for Iowa Farmer Today. Leonard will give a workshop presentation on partnering with media.

By the end of the workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Understand the leading causes of injuries to children who are either working or playing on farms;
  • Describe interventions most likely to be effective in preventing childhood farm injuries; and
  • Identify their (and their organization’s) unique role in helping farm children grow up happy and healthy.

“Protecting our children needs to be a priority,” Duysen said. “A youth dies in an agricultural incident about every three days in the United States.”

The workshop will be co-located with the International Society for Agricultural Safety and Health (ISASH) annual conference, which begins June 24 and runs through June 27, https://vafb.swoogo.com/ISASH2019. Those who register for both the workshop and the ISASH Conference will save $50 on the combined registration fees. Both events will be held at the Embassy Suites Downtown Des Moines.

For more workshop information, email nccrahs@marshfieldresearch.org or call 1-800-662-6900. The National Children’s Center is funded in part by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

John Deere says it will slow production output at certain facilities by as much as 20 percent year-over-year during the second half of 2019. Reasons for the decision range from trade uncertainty to a host of other issues pressuring the Ag industry.

Director of Investor Relations Josh Jepsen says output reductions will mainly focus on large equipment in the North American market. Cory Reed, President of John Deere Financial, points to a lack of trade dispute resolution, as well as wet weather conditions and African Swine Fever as reasons to lower production. Reed wants the company to position itself well for 2020 by the end of this year.

Higher freight costs, including some air freight charges to bring in parts, as well as unfavorable product mix and overall uncertainty, along with upcoming decreased production volume, are all causing manufacturers to drop their margin projections in the industry by one percent this year.

DENVER — In meetings last week, the Producer Traceability Council reached consensus on two major points to increase the number of cattle identified in the U.S. The Council unanimously agreed the best option for the cattle industry moving forward is to work toward the adoption of a High Frequency/Ultra High Frequency (HF/UHF) radio identification system and the timeline for adoption of the system mirror that of USDA’s timeline for the sunsetting of the metal tags with complete implementation no later than January 1, 2023.

The newly formed Producer Traceability Council has evolved and was established independently of the Cattle Traceability Working Group (CTWG). The focus is specifically on ways to increase the number of cattle identified with electronic identification devices, increase the number of sightings of identified cattle, identify methods of data storage, and suggest cost sharing scenarios, while taking into consideration and minimizing negative effects on producers.

“The cattle traceability issue is complex and concerns nearly everyone involved in the production, marketing, processing, and animal health aspects of the industry,” said Chuck Adami, co-chair of the Council and CEO of Equity Cooperative Livestock Sales Assn. “The importance of a workable traceability system cannot be overstated given the need to effectively trace animals in the event of an animal health event. In addition, increasing pressure from consumers and our export partners demanding a robust traceability system solidifies the need to get a system in place sooner rather than later.”

Currently, cattle in the U.S. are traced using a variety of systems and methods depending on the state in which the cattle are located, the age of cattle, and the type of identification the cattle may, or may not have. In some cases, this lack of consistency and use of effective technology hampers the efforts to complete timely and effective tracebacks and trace-outs.

“Being deeply involved in the cattle business, I feel it is imperative that we come together as producers and help lead the effort to enhance cattle traceability,” said Joe Leathers, Council co- chair, TAHC Commissioner and General Manager of the 6666 Ranch near Guthrie, Texas. “It just makes sense that we, as producers, use the best technology available so that while traceability is being achieved, we are also able to better manage our operations using that technology.”

While there continue to be obstacles that will need to be overcome, including how such technology will be paid for and by whom, protection from the misuse of data collected, and the development of secure data systems to transfer information, the Producer Traceability Council is optimistic that continuing this work will lead to success.

(Lenexa, Kan) – Four Nebraska school districts were awarded $100,000 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to replace five older diesel school buses. The new buses will reduce pollutants that are linked to health problems such as asthma and lung damage. The districts, cities, number of buses, and award amounts are listed below:

School District               City                Number of Buses             Amount
Hayes Center High School Hayes Center 1 $20,000
Johnson County Central Public Schools Tecumseh 1 $20,000
Palmer Public School (North of Grand Island) Palmer 1 $20,000
South Platte Public Schools Big Springs 2 $40,000

“Children’s health is a top priority for EPA, and these grants will help provide cleaner air and a healthier ride to and from school for America’s children,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “This DERA funding reflects our broader children’s health agenda and commitment to ensure all children can live, learn, and play in healthy and clean environments.”

Nationally, EPA will provide more than $9.3 million to 145 school bus fleets to replace 473 older buses in 43 states or territories, each of which will receive rebates through EPA’s Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) funding.

Applicants replacing buses with engine model years of 2006 and older will receive rebates between $15,000 and $20,000, depending on the size of the bus. Regional, state, or tribal agencies including school districts and municipalities, or private entities that operate school buses under contract with state, tribal or local agencies were eligible to apply.

Over the last seven years, EPA has awarded approximately $39 million in rebates to replace almost 2,000 school buses. Bus replacements funded through the rebate program reduce emissions and exposure to particulate matter and nitrogen oxides for children at schools, bus stops, and on the buses themselves.

School buses travel over 4 billion miles each year, providing the safest transportation to and from school for more than 25 million American children every day. However, exhaust from diesel buses can harm health, especially in children, who have a faster breathing rate than adults and whose lungs are not yet fully developed.

EPA has implemented standards to make newer diesel engines more than 90 percent cleaner, but many older diesel school buses are still operating. These older diesel engines emit large amounts of pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, which are linked to instances of aggravated asthma, lung damage, and other serious health problems.

The 2018 DERA school bus rebate recipients can be found at: https://www.epa.gov/cleandiesel/awarded-rebates.