Tag Archives: agriculture

Governor Laura Kelly appointed Earl Lewis as Director of the Kansas Water Office.

“Earl has proven to be a skilled and knowledgeable leader when it comes to water conservation and other important issues related to this precious resource,” Kelly said.

Lewis joined the Kansas Water Office in 1999 working first with reservoir operations and analysis before serving as the agency’s chief technical staff and overseeing agency operations. Before joining the Kansas Water Office, he worked for seven years in the Kansas Department of Agriculture’s Division of Water Resources working on water use, water right compliance, water conservation, and interstate litigation.

“I’m honored the Governor has selected me for this position and am excited to join the Kelly administration,” Lewis said. “I look forward to working with the Governor and stakeholders across Kansas to improve our water resources.”

Lewis is a lifelong Kansan and was raised on a farm in Osage County. His family raised row crops, cattle, and ran a custom hay business. He attended both Emporia State University and the University of Kansas, graduating with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Kansas in 1992.  He also holds a professional engineering license in Kansas.

Lewis’ appointment is pending confirmation by the Senate.

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — More bankers surveyed in parts of 10 Plains and Western states say President Donald Trump’s trade skirmishes are having a negative effect on their local economies.

The Rural Mainstreet survey released Thursday shows the survey’s overall index falling from 53.2 in June to 50.2 this month. Any score above 50 suggests a growing economy, while a score below 50 indicates a shrinking economy.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss, who oversees the survey, says higher agriculture commodity prices and rebuilding from recent floods helped prop up the region’s economy last month. But he added that nearly 9 of 10 bankers surveyed noted the tariffs’ negative impact on the economy. That’s up from 8 in 10 who said the same thing in September.

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

This is day 14 of the Kansas Wheat Harvest Reports, brought to you by the Kansas Wheat Commission, Kansas Association of Wheat Growers and the Kansas Grain and Feed Association.

About two weeks behind schedule, wheat harvest in Kansas is progressing quickly with high temperatures this week about 100°F in northwest Kansas.

According to Larry Glenn, of Frontier AG Inc. in Quinter in Gove County, harvest is 85-90% complete in the area. Glenn reported that yields are above average in the western third of the state. Harvest was delayed and started out slow, but then moved very quickly.

Glenn said they started paying protein premiums last year and added protein testers in all locations. Protein is averaging about 10.5%.

Storage is an issue in the area, with the bunker in Quinter full. They are getting some rail cars in to start moving grain as the elevator space gets tight.

“We’ve been blessed with rains in this area,” Glenn said, adding that the rains didn’t come too much at a time like other areas. While there was some hail, it was spotty and didn’t cause widespread damage.

“We are well above last year on bushels, which was a good year,” Glenn said.

Larry Snow of Heartland Mills in Marienthal in Wichita County, reports that yields are way above average, but proteins are way below, estimating high 10s for most of the organic wheat they buy. Fortunately for the mill, they have been able to source higher protein wheat from other areas in the high plains.

“There will be a lot of 8s and 9s that would take too much to blend up, so it will end up as organic feed wheat,” said Snow. He said that harvest has been about two weeks late and is nearing completion. He added, “Test weights are really good.”

Ken Wood, who farms near Chapman in Dickinson County, wrapped up wheat harvest this last Saturday. Wood said they had good yields that were on higher ground in the fields and some lower yields where water stood for a longer period of time. Wood says they don’t test proteins, but they had solid test weight numbers for the year.

“I was pleased with the outcome that we had this year. It turned out better than we expected,” Wood said.

The 2019 Harvest Report is brought to you by the Kansas Wheat Commission, Kansas Association of Wheat Growers and the Kansas Grain and Feed Association. To follow along with harvest updates on Twitter, use #wheatharvest19.

A new online tool can help farmers and ranchers find information on U.S. Department of Agriculture farm loans that may best fit their operations. USDA has launched the new Farm Loan Discovery Tool as the newest feature on farmers.gov, the Department’s self-service website for farmers.

USDA undersecretary Bill Northey says the tool can “help farmers find information on USDA farm loans within minutes.” The changes are part of customer service improvements effort by USDA, and was identified through suggestions from farmers. USDA’s Farm Service Agency offers a variety of loan options to help farmers finance their operations, from buying land to financing the purchase of equipment.

Compared to this time last year, FSA has seen an 18 percent increase in the amount it has obligated for direct farm ownership loans. Through the 2018 Farm Bill, FSA has increased the limits for several loan products. USDA conducted field research in eight states, gathering input from farmers and FSA farm loan staff to better understand their needs and challenges.

ARLINGTON, Va. – The National Milk Producers Federation today marked the one-year anniversary of then-FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb’s famous observation that “almonds don’t lactate” by reminding the agency it still has not resolved the issue and that citizens who heeded its call for comments with thoughtful responses deserve answers.

“An almond doesn’t lactate, I must confess,” Gottlieb said last July 17, admitting that FDA has been lax in enforcing its own rules on the use of dairy terms on products containing no dairy ingredients. “Have we been enforcing our standard of identity? The answer is, probably not,” he said, while pledging agency action in “something close to a year.”

“FDA’s longstanding inaction on enforcing its own standards of identity is perpetuating the marketing of products using milk and dairy terms when those products don’t match the nutritional content of the dairy products they are imitating,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “Dairy farmers have never called for bans on fake-food competitors, nor have they called for market censorship. They do want the FDA to enforce its own rules defining what a product is and what it isn’t, in keeping with similar standards enforced in other countries around the globe. The clock is still ticking. We are not going away.”

The FDA in January concluded a comment period exploring the issue of consumer confusion regarding the nutritional content of dairy products versus plant-based imitators, with organizations including the American Academy of Pediatrics offering evidence of nutritional deficiencies caused by confusion over the contents of plant-based versus dairy beverages while dairy’s detractors submitted thousands of off-topic creeds. After carefully considering comments and noting consumer survey data that clearly demonstrates confusion over nutrition, NMPF in Februaryreleased its own road map offering solutions to how public health, product integrity and free speech could be protected through updated regulations. That Citizen Petition is currently open for comment.

NMPF also supports the DAIRY PRIDE Act, a potential legislative prod for FDA action.

Delegates attending the National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Congress in Washington this morning elected four farmers to serve on the organization’s Corn Board.  Taking office on Oct. 1, the start of NCGA’s 2020 fiscal year, are new board members Mike Lefever of Colorado and Dennis McNinch of Kansas. Current board members Chris Edgington of Iowa and Tom Haag of Minnesota were re-elected. All were elected to three-year terms

 

“During these challenging times, it serves as testament to the importance of NCGA’s work that so many talented, well-qualified candidates stepped forward,” said NCGA Nominating Committee Chairman Kevin Skunes. “These remarkable candidates already have impressive histories of service to American agriculture. I look forward to seeing the work they will do for the benefit of corn farmers across the country in coming years as they share their valuable perspectives and insights with the Corn Board.”

(Video) Corn Congress Gets Underway. Comments from NCGA First Vice President Kevin Ross

The NCGA Corn Board represents the organization on all matters while directing both policy and supervising day-to-day operations. Board members represent the federation of state organizations, supervise the affairs and activities of NCGA in partnership with the chief executive officer and implement NCGA policy established by the Corn Congress. Members also act as spokesmen for the NCGA and enhance the organization’s public standing on all organizational and policy issues.

 

(Video) Interview with Jeff Wilkerson, Director of Market Development with the Nebraska Corn Board, about his role and ethanol export opportunities

 

TOPEKA, Kan. — The Kansas Soybean Commission (KSC) will conduct its Annual Meeting Monday, Aug. 26, at the Kansas Soybean Building in Topeka. It is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m.

During that meeting, the commissioners will elect officers for the coming year and approve their request for proposals (RFP) for fiscal year 2021 research and education projects.

Other discussion topics will be current and future research projects, market-development activities, educational programs, and administrative items. To obtain a complete agenda or to suggest additional matters for deliberation, contact KSC Administrator Kenlon Johannes at johannes@kansassoybeans.org or call the Kansas Soybean office at 877-KS-SOYBEAN (877-577-6923).

A bipartisan group of Senators introduced legislation to address a shortage of agricultural inspectors who protect the nation’s food supply and ag industries at the border.

Ag inspectors work to prevent the intentional or unintentional entry of harmful plants, food, animals, and goods into the U.S. The Protecting America’s Food and Agriculture Act of 2019 would ensure the safe and secure trade of agricultural goods across our nation’s borders by authorizing U.S. Customs and Border Protection to hire additional inspectors to fully staff America’s ports of entry.

Senate Ag Chair Pat Roberts was one of several authors of the legislation. Roberts says, “Every day, millions of pounds of produce, meat, and other agricultural good enter the U.S. through our ports of entry. Ag Inspectors are responsible for ensuring that the goods move efficiently across our borders while safeguarding against harmful pests, diseases, and even potential bioterrorism attacks.”

Senate Ag Committee Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow says, “It’s critical that we address the shortage of agricultural specialists and hire qualified staff to safeguard our food and our farms.”

This is day 11 of the Kansas Wheat Harvest Reports, brought to you by the Kansas Wheat Commission, Kansas Association of Wheat Growers and the Kansas Grain and Feed Association.

The hot, dry weekend weather was just what farmers needed to make some excellent progress on wheat harvest in Kansas.

Mike McClellan, who farms in Rooks County, is wrapping up his wheat harvest on Monday. Their harvest started on July 1, and they have seen good yields and test weights, but lower than average protein levels.

“We’ve had a really good harvest run this year,” said McClellan. “We’re pretty happy with the yields. No complaints here.” He added, “We’re ready to wrap it up.”

McClellan reports that the area is about 80-90% finished with wheat harvest.

“We’ve been pleasantly surprised on some fields, and disappointed on others,” he said. Yields have ranged from 20 on a field with hail damage to 80s on his best wheat. Test weights have remained over 60 pounds per bushel, and his proteins have been lower than average, which he partially attributes to the fact that they were late getting nitrogen on because of the moisture. He said he has neighbors who have gotten as high as 12s on protein.

Wheat harvest for Lisa Schemm, who farms in Wallace and Logan counties, got into full swing on July 10. They had started cutting on July 4, but rains kept them out of the fields until last week. A normal start date for them is June 25. A severe storm on June 22 hit some of their wheat and corn hard with hail.

Schemm reports that they are now a little over half done with harvest. She says that yields are above average, and test weights have remained well above 60, ranging from 62-63. Areas that had to be replanted aren’t yielding as well, so planting date has definitely had an effect on yields. Their protein levels have been coming in about 10.5%.

Schemm says the Kansas Wheat Alliance variety Kanmark has been performing well for them this year. She says morale is a little higher in their area, with the excellent yields and a slightly higher wheat price. Overall, wheat harvest is going well; it’s just behind schedule. She hopes to wrap up by the end of the week.

Brian Linin, a farmer from Goodland in Sherman County, started his harvest on July 8, and they’ve been rolling ever since. His wheat is yielding quite a bit above average, ranging from 70 bushels per acre and up. Test weights are 61.5 to 62 pounds per bushel, and proteins are ranging from 11.5 to 13%.

Linin says this is an above average year, with good quality wheat and good kernel size. He reports that he has about 1,200 acres left to cut, so their harvest will last about another week. The WestBred variety WB-Grainfield and a WB-Grainfield/PlainsGold Langin blend are performing well for him.

The 2019 Harvest Report is brought to you by the Kansas Wheat Commission, Kansas Association of Wheat Growers and the Kansas Grain and Feed Association. To follow along with harvest updates on Twitter, use #wheatharvest19.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency will allow farmers to resume broad use of a pesticide over objections from beekeepers, citing private chemical industry studies that the agency says show the product does only lower-level harm to bees and wildlife.

Friday’s EPA announcement — coming after the agriculture industry accused the agency of unduly favoring honeybees — makes sulfoxaflor the latest bug- and weed-killer allowed by the Trump administration despite lawsuits alleging environmental or human harm. The pesticide is made by Corteva Agriscience, a spinoff created last month out of the DowDuPont merger and restructuring.

Honeybees pollinate billions of dollars of food crops annually in the United States, but agriculture and other land uses that cut into their supply of pollen, as well as pesticides, parasites and other threats, have them on a sharp decline. The University of Maryland said U.S. beekeepers lost 38 percent of their bee colonies last winter alone, the highest one-winter loss in the 13-year history of their survey.

Emails and other records obtained from the EPA through Freedom of Information Act litigation by the Sierra Club, and provided to The Associated Press, show sorghum growers in particular had pressed senior officials at the agency for a return to broad use of sulfoxaflor.

Sorghum growers regard honeybees as just another “non-native livestock” in the United States, lobbyist Joe Bischoff said in one 2017 email to agency officials, and by cutting threats to the bees, “EPA has chosen that form of agriculture over all others.”

A federal appeals court had ordered the EPA to withdraw approval for sulfoxaflor in 2015, ruling in a lawsuit brought by U.S. beekeeping groups that not enough was known about what it did to bees.

EPA Assistant Administrator Alexandra Dapolito Dunn said Friday that new industry studies that have not been made public show a low level of harm to bees and other creatures beyond the targeted crop pests.

Dunn said EPA’s newly reset rules for use of sulfoxaflor, such as generally prohibiting spraying of fruit and nut-bearing plants in bloom, when pollinators would be attracted to the flowers, would limit harm to bees. She called it “an important and highly effective tool for growers.”

Michele Colopy, program director of the Pollinator Stewardship Council, one of the beekeeping groups that had successfully sued to block sulfoxaflor, said the EPA limits weren’t enough to protect bees and other beneficial bugs whose numbers are declining.

“We understand farmers want to have every tool in their toolbox,” when it comes to curbing insects that damage crops. “But the … pesticides are just decimating beneficial insects,” Colopy said.

An environmental group charged the EPA with sidestepping the usual public review in reapproving broader use of the pesticide.

“The Trump EPA’s reckless approval… without any public process is a terrible blow to imperiled pollinators,” said Lori Ann Burd, director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s environmental health program.

Separately, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced without fanfare on July 1 that it would stop collecting quarterly data on honeybee colonies, citing budget restrictions. Beekeepers and others used the data to track losses and growth in U.S. honeybee colonies.

Other Trump administration decisions have upheld market use of the weed-killing glyphosate, which is now the target of thousands of consumer lawsuits over alleged harm to people exposed to it, and shelved an Obama-era decision to ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos as a threat to human health.