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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
Wednesday November 25 Ag News

Groundwater Management Area proposed for Cuming, Colfax, and Dodge Counties

High nitrates in our drinking water can have negative health impacts, and some communities have been required to invest significant financial resources to upgrade their infrastructure in order to deliver a safe, reliable source of drinking water.  The Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) is proposing changes to the Groundwater Management Area in portions of Cuming, Colfax, and Dodge Counties in an effort to keep the nitrate levels from increasing.  The proposed management area was scheduled to be addressed at a series of public meetings in December and January.  However, due to COVID, they will now have a virtual meeting on Thursday, December 17th at 6:30 p.m.  The virtual meeting will be conducted using Zoom Webinar and will allow viewers to ask questions using the chat function during the event.  The webinar will be recorded and the information presented will be revisited at the Open House Public Hearing on January 28th in West Point.

Additional Background:  The Lower Elkhorn NRD has been monitoring groundwater quality across their 15-counties in Northeast Nebraska for over 40 years.  In the early ‘90s, a Groundwater Management Plan was established to protect the resource for future generations.  In 1997, a Groundwater Management Area was put in place for the entire district.  As the groundwater monitoring continued, elevated levels of nitrates were detected in portions of Pierce & Madison Counties, which moved portions of those counties into Phase 2 and 3 designations of the Groundwater Management Area requirements.  As part of the Lower Elkhorn NRD’s Groundwater Quality Sampling Program, technicians collect annual water samples to document changes or trends in groundwater quality.  In recent years, elevated in groundwater nitrates have been detected in portions of Cuming, Colfax, and Dodge Counties.  In October 2020, the Lower Elkhorn NRD Board of Directors voted to begin the formal process of considering a Phase 2 Groundwater Management Area in portions of these three counties.

Lower Elkhorn NRD approves applications for new irrigated acres

Landowners within the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) boundaries recently had an opportunity to apply for new irrigated acres.  The LENRD board approved applications for standard variances at their November board meeting.

LENRD Assistant Manager, Brian Bruckner, said, “We received 94 applications for new irrigated acres during the sign-up period, and eligible applications were processed using the LENRD’s scoring and ranking system.”

The board voted to allow up to 287.41 acre-feet of new peak season streamflow depletions in the LENRD’s Hydrologically Connected (10/50 Area), which calculates to 2,817 new irrigated acres.  The board also voted to allow for the development of 2,540 new irrigated acres in the LENRD’s Non-Hydrologically Connected (Non 10/50 Area).  Staff will be contacting the landowners in writing, for both approved and non-approved applications.  70% of the total number of applications were approved.

In other action, the board approved the annual groundwater allocations for the Quantity Management Subareas subject to allocations for the 2021 growing season.  Bruckner, said, “Each year, the board must determine the annual groundwater allocation amounts for the Wayne and Eastern Madison County Quantity Management Subareas for the upcoming crop year.”  The board voted to keep the allocation amounts the same as previous years:  18 acre-inches per irrigated acre for gravity/flood irrigation systems, 13 acre-inches per irrigated acre for subsurface drip irrigation systems, and 14 acre-inches per irrigated acre for all other irrigation systems in the Eastern Madison County Quantity Subarea, and 17 acre-inches per irrigated acre for gravity/flood irrigation systems, 12 acre-inches per irrigated acre for subsurface drip irrigation systems, and 13 acre-inches per irrigated acre for all other irrigation systems in the Wayne County Quantity Subarea.  These groundwater allocation amounts have remained unchanged since first being imposed for the 2013 pumping season.

In other business, the board approved 7 Community Forestry Incentive Program applications for a total cost of $25,037.22.  The communities receiving grants to remove and plant trees this year include:  the City of West Point, the Village of Emerson, the Village of Uehling, West Point Public Schools, the Village of Pilger, Norfolk Public Schools, and the City of Wakefield.  The board also approved 1 Public Facilities application for a total cost of $2,500 for the Rolling Hills Country Club for the removal and planting of trees.  LENRD Natural Resources Conservation Technician, Todd Stewart, said, “We look forward to working with these communities as they plan for the future.  If you’re in need of trees for your community, your acreage, or your backyard, give me a call, I’d be happy to come out and help you design your project.”

The board voted to instruct staff to work with the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency to submit an amendment for the High Hazard Potential Dam (HHPD) grant for Phase 1 of the Willow Creek Dam Artesian Pressure Mitigation.  This amendment would be the first phase in mitigating the artesian pressures present at Willow Creek Dam.  Primarily, this phase would involve installation of wells and pump tests.   LENRD Projects Manager, Curt Becker, said, “This project is another example of the continued effort of the LENRD to partner with agencies in securing available funding.  The district is always looking for grant opportunities in order to maximize the use of our local tax dollars.”  The total estimated project cost is $307,970.00 with $170,000 coming from the HHPD grant.

The board accepted the bid of Cech Excavating to replace rip rap along the shore at Maple Creek Recreation area in the amount of $18,593.75.

The board also voted to contribute $3,000 to the Nebraska Association of Resources Districts (NARD) for the Risk Pool Insurance Fund.

The LENRD board & staff meet each month to develop and implement management plans to protect our natural resources for the future.  The next LENRD board meeting will be Tuesday, December 22nd at 7:30 p.m.  Watch for further updates and stay connected with the LENRD by subscribing to their monthly emails.


Brittany Fulton appointed Extension Assistant for Women in Ag position

Scottsbluff native Brittany Fulton has been appointed as Extension Assistant for Nebraska Women in Agriculture. She will be responsible for teaching, training, managing educational activities and events, and other duties related to the Nebraska Women in Agriculture (WIA) program.

Her appointment was announced by WIA program director Jessica Groskopf, an Extension Educator based at the Panhandle Research, Extension and Education Center in Scottsbluff, where Fulton will also be based.

Fulton comes to UNL after a seven-year stint at the Denver-based National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, where she served as Director of Stakeholder Communications (2018-20), Associate Director of Organizational Communications (2016-18), and Associate Director of Web Content (2013-15). She graduated from the University of Wyoming in 2012 with a bachelor of science degree in agriculture communications. At UW she was a public relations and marketing intern for Wyoming Stock Growers, the University of Wyoming College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and the UW Dean’s Office.

Nebraska Women in Agriculture is designed to assist women in their agricultural business, according to the program’s website at “The (UNL) Department of Agricultural Economics recognizes the vital role that women play in the agricultural industry and is committed to bringing Nebraska ag women relevant management education,” the website says, focused on both business and family.

Nebraska WIA programs include the annual farm and ranch management conference targeted toward women, attended by about 275 women each year. From that conference, founded in the 1980s, has come a variety of educational programs and workshops. In Nebraska WIA also offers Annie’s Project educational programs, designed to strengthen women’s roles in modern farm enterprises.

Groskopf noted that women are a significant and growing percentage of the population employed by, managing, and owning farms and ranches in Nebraska. Nebraska’s 24,730 female producers (counted by the 2017 USDA Census of Agriculture) represented 32 percent of all producers in the state. Their numbers have increased by 22 percent since the 2012 USDA Census. Seventy-two percent of female producers are involved in the day-to-day decision making of Nebraska’s farms and ranches.

Fulton will teach educational programming, train Extension professionals in Annie’s Project facilitation techniques, identify emerging issues focusing on underserved audiences, manage educational activities and events, and pursue grants and other resources.

Her husband, Jesse Fulton, was recently appointed the state coordinator for the Nebraska Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program, and he also is based in Scottsbluff.

She said, “I am excited to be back in my hometown and working with such a great program. Agriculture has always been a passion for me and I want to share that passion with other women throughout the state. Growing up on the farm and my experience at NCBA has given me the opportunity to expand my knowledge in livestock, crops, ag policy and telling the agriculture story.  I hope to be able to share that knowledge and continue to learn in this new role.”

Brittany and Jesse Fulton are both involved in the family farm east of Scottsbluff, where Brittany is the fourth generation on the land. In the past, the farming operation included sheep, cattle and row crops. Currently it is mostly comprised of sheep and working to expand. Growing up, she was heavily involved with 4-H and FFA and showed livestock at the fair.

Nebraska in Top 10 States for Ag Co-op Business Volume

Iowa was the nation's top state for net business volume conducted by agricultural cooperatives during 2019. Based on USDA's annual survey of co-ops, 106 cooperatives doing business in Iowa reported $17.1 billion in net business volume, derived from marketing farm commodities, farm supply sales, and providing services for producers.

Ranking second was Minnesota, where 200 co-ops did $16.5 billion worth of business. Combined, Iowa and Minnesota accounted for 18.9 percent of the $178 billion in net business volume for ag co-ops nationwide.

California ranked third among the states for co-op business volume, with 127 ag co-ops recording $13.4 billion in net business. Illinois was fourth with $12.8 billion in net business by 114 ag co-ops. Wisconsin followed with 94 ag co-ops conducting $9.4 billion of net business. The top five states together generated $69.5 billion in net-business, or 39.1 percent national net business total of just under $178 billion.

Rounding out the top 10 states in net business volume by ag co-ops are Nebraska ($7.7 billion in net business), Washington ($7.5 billion), Kansas ($6.8 billion), North Dakota ($6.6 billion), and Texas ($6 billion). The top 10 states had 57.5 percent of the total net business volume of all states.

Co-ops marketed $48.4 billion in grains and oilseeds in 2019, making it the largest commodity sector in terms of net sales for ag co-ops. Dairy (milk and milk products) was second, at $42.4 billion. Fruit and vegetables ranked third, at $6.7 billion, followed by: sugar ($7.8 billion), livestock ($4.9 billion), cotton and cottonseed ($2.8 billion), nuts ($1.7 billion), poultry ($943 million), rice ($1.7 billion), beans and peas ($224 million), fish ($232 million) and tobacco ($316 million). "Other" products (which includes forest products, hay, hops, seed for growers, nursery products, biofuels, coffee, wool, mohair, etc.) accounted for $5.3 billion in business volume.

Grains and oilseeds marketing made up 41 percent of the total and dairy followed at 35 percent. Thus, these two commodities represented 76 percent of total ag co-op marketing. Following the top two biggest commodities were fruit and vegetables (6 percent of the total), sugar (4 percent), and livestock (3 percent).

For total products marketed by ag co-ops, California, Minnesota, Iowa, Washington, and Illinois were the leading states. California marketed $12.3 billion of farm commodities, followed by Minnesota ($10.1 billion), Iowa ($9.8 billion), Washington ($6.1 billion) and Illinois ($5.9 billion).

The major commodities marketed in California included dairy, fruits and vegetables, nuts, rice, and poultry. Major marketing of commodities in Minnesota were grains and oilseeds, dairy, sugar, livestock and poultry. Iowa was the top state for co-op grains and oilseeds marketed, Arkansas for rice, Maine for fish, and North Dakota for beans and dry peas.

Co-ops sold $53.2 billion in farm supplies in 2019. The highest sales levels among farm supplies, were petroleum and energy products at 18.9 billion, followed by fertilizer at $10.7 billion, feed at $9.9 billion, crop protectants at $3.4 billion, other supplies at $4.6 billion and seed at $3.4 billion.

Petroleum and energy products accounted for 36 percent of total net farm supplies sold by co-ops. Next was fertilizer at 20 percent, followed by feed (19 percent), crop protectants (10 percent), other supplies (9 percent), and seed (6 percent).

The leading state for farm supply sales by ag co-ops was Iowa in 2019 at $6.8 billion in net sales, or 12.8 percent of the nation's total. Minnesota was next with co-op sales of $5.1 billion, or 9.6 percent of all ag co-op farm supply sales. Illinois ranked third, with $4.8 billion in farm supply sales (9.1 percent). Following those states were Wisconsin ($3.4 billion), and Nebraska ($3.2 billion). The states of North Dakota, Missouri, Kansas, Indiana, and South Dakota rounded out the top 10 states in farm supply sales by co-ops. The top 5 states had $23.3 billion in farm supply net sales, or 43.8 percent of the total co-op farm supply sales, and the top 10 states had $35.9 billion in sales, or 67.5 percent of the total.

Iowa was the leading state for ag co-op sales of petroleum, feed, and fertilizer. Illinois was the leading state in co-op sales of crop protectants and seed, and Wisconsin led in sales of other farm supplies.

Co-ops also cooperate with each other, conducting a significant amount of inter-cooperative business. A total $23.2 billion in inter-cooperative business occurred in 2019. The sum of inter-cooperative business, net sales, and service income, equaled $201.2 billion (this is excluding patronage and non-operating income). When also including patronage and non-operating income of $1.8 billion, the total was $203 billion, which represents total gross business volume. Total net business volume dropped by $1.3 billion, or by 0.6 percent, from the previous year, while total gross business volume fell by $767 million, or by 0.4 percent.

Iowa Farm to School Programming Blossoms Despite Pandemic

In spite of challenges posed by COVID-19, Iowa’s farm to school and early care work has blossomed in 2020. Two statewide coalitions made up of more than 20 organizations merged earlier this year to make the movement even more powerful.

The newly formed Iowa Farm to School and Early Care Coalition recently released its first annual report. The report was written by evaluators with the Farm, Food and Enterprise Development Program of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. FFED staff also serve on the coalition.
farm to school.

Report highlights

    More than 200,000 Iowa youth at 1,003 sites participated in farm to school and early care activities in 2019-20.
    469 of these sites hosted on-site gardens where students learned to grow, harvest and prepare healthy vegetables.
    390 school districts and early care sites bought food from local farmers to serve their youth. They spent more than $500,000 on this food, boosting both healthy eating and the farmers’ bottom line.
    Iowa farm to school and early care programs earned $375,494 in grants to support their programs last year.

The coalition and its members created a wide variety of programs to build capacity for more sites to participate in farm to school work. Here’s a sample from 2019-20:
    2019 Iowa Local Food Day. On Oct. 11, 2019, more than 280 schools and 10 early care sites around Iowa served at least two locally sourced items at breakfast and lunch — in 107,900 meals. Meal participation jumped that day at 33% of sites. All of the participants said they’d do it again this year. (In spite of COVID-19, 61 schools and sites in 35 counties signed up to celebrate local food on October 14, 2020. They served 9,700 breakfasts and 41,800 lunches featuring Iowa-grown items.)
    Farm to early care training series. This virtual training will launch later this fall, to educate ECE professionals around the state on farm to ECE and how to implement it at their site. It is led by the Iowa Association for the Education of Young Children, funded by W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
    Iowa Nutrition Network school grant program. The program introduces students to healthy foods through an interactive nutrition lesson called Pick a Better Snack. Impacts: 14,478 children participated at 32 sites, including 30 school gardens and $58,132 in subgrants awarded to local partners. It is led by the Iowa Department of Public Health, funded by SNAP-Ed.

More information on Iowa farm to school and early care programming is available online at

Weekly Ethanol Production for 11/20/2020

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending November 20, ethanol production expanded 2.9%, or 28,000 barrels per day (b/d), to 990,000 b/d—equivalent to 41.58 million gallons daily and a 35-week high. Production remained 6.5% below the same week last year. The four-week average ethanol production rate rose for the seventh straight week, up 1.3% to 972,000 b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 14.90 billion gallons (bg).

Ethanol stocks scaled 3.3% higher to 20.9 million barrels, which was the highest volume since August and 2.9% above a year-ago. Inventories built across all regions except the West Coast (PADD 5).

The volume of gasoline supplied to the U.S. market, a measure of implied demand, declined 1.6% to 8.13 million b/d (124.62 bg annualized). Gasoline demand was 11.7% less than a year ago.

Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol flattened at 813,000 b/d, equivalent to 12.46 bg annualized. This was 12.6% below the year-earlier level as a result of the continuing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

There were zero imports of ethanol recorded for the second consecutive week. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of September 2020.)

Mixed Moves in Retail Fertilizer Prices Third Week of November

Average retail fertilizer prices were mixed the third week of November 2020, continuing a trend that has lasted for several months, according to retailers surveyed by DTN.

Prices for five fertilizers were slightly lower compared to the previous month, though none was down a significant amount, which DTN designates as 5% or more. Urea had an average price of $358 per ton, 10-34-0 $455/ton, anhydrous $422/ton, UAN28 $207/ton and UAN32 $249/ton.

The remaining three fertilizers were slightly higher in price from last month. DAP had an average price of $455/ton, MAP $488/ton and potash $336/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.39/lb.N, anhydrous $0.26/lb.N, UAN28 $0.37/lb.N and UAN32 $0.39/lb.N.

Retail fertilizer prices continue to be mostly lower in price from a year ago, but there now is one exception. MAP is 5% higher compared to last year with its recent surge to the high side.

DAP is 1% lower, 10-34-0 is 4% less expensive, urea is 8% lower, both potash and UAN32 are 12% less expensive, anhydrous is 15% lower and UAN28 are 16% less expensive than last year at this time.

NCGA and Checkoff Support FFAR Grant to Address Corn Tar Spot

In 2018, an epidemic of corn tar spot plagued corn growers from Florida to Michigan. This plant disease, caused by the fungus Phyllachora maydis, reduced corn yields by as much as 60 bushels per acre. Compounding difficulties, the fungus cannot be grown in a lab, limiting scientists’ understanding of how to fight it. To combat its spread, the Foundation for Food & Agricultural Research (FFAR) awarded a $150,000 Rapid Outcomes for Agricultural Research (ROAR) grant to a group of plant pathologists to study and mitigate tar spot on corn.

This ROAR grant was matched by the National Corn Growers Association, Corteva Agriscience, Wyffels Hybrids, Illinois Corn Growers Association and Purdue University for a total investment of $300,000.

“Research is critically needed for rapid development of management strategies to reduce the impact of tar spot. The National Corn Growers Association, with the support of state corn checkoff dollars, is pleased to provide matching funding for this FFAR grant, which will help identify practices and tools to help growers reduce the potentially devastating effects of this emerging disease,” said Robyn Allscheid, NCGA Research and Productivity Director.

Tar spot was first detected in the US in 2015 and has quickly spread through the Corn Belt. In 2020, tar spot was confirmed in Ontario, Canada and Pennsylvania. Scientists predict that tar spot could soon reach as far west as parts of North Dakota and east to New York, further devastating yields. This disease causes significant losses for farmers’ livelihoods. Even a 1 percent reduction in total domestic corn production could cost American farmers an estimated $231 billion in lost revenue.

Efforts to combat the disease have been hampered by the difficulty of growing Phyllachora maydis in a laboratory – an essential step for developing a remedy. In addition, little is known about the biology of the fungus, which is required to develop effective management practices. The team of pathologists is developing tools and techniques that can help study this pathosystem in basic and applied settings and develop tools to combat the disease. This information will provide farmers with better hybrid choices, improve understanding of management practices for suppressing tar spot and help inform decisions about the need to apply fungicides – which can better protect crops from corn tar spot if the application is timed correctly.

“It’s especially hard to develop solutions for tar spot when the underlying fungus cannot be grown in a lab,” said FFAR Executive Director Dr. Sally Rockey. “Thus, this project will study tar spot in the field to generate the knowledge needed to help farmers make timely and economical decisions to prevent the disease.”

The multi-state effort is focused on developing research tools and information to help growers with tar spot management. The team’s research is mapping where the fungus is present, assessing the potential origins of the fungus and potential alternate hosts, understanding resistance in corn germplasm, assessing tar spot management options such as resistant hybrids and fungicides and developing outreach and extension materials for corn farmers. The researchers are also building forecasting models to help producers make timely fungicide decisions using a free smartphone application and working with corn farmers to collect information that will result in immediate real-world impacts on, and benefits for, producer decisions.

“FFAR-ROAR is a nice platform for enabling researchers to generate preliminary data on rapidly emerging pathogens and pests. In this case, the FFAR-ROAR program enabled several researchers the ability to generate preliminary data that not only are important for producers, but also can be leveraged to support future research projects that will help combat tar spot not only in the US, but other countries where this disease is problematic,” said primary investigator Dr. Nathan Kleczewski of the University of Illinois.

This research is funded through FFAR’s ROAR program, which rapidly funds research and outreach in response to emerging or unanticipated threats to the nation’s food supply or agricultural systems. The research team is made up of plant pathologists from University of Illinois, Iowa State University, Purdue University, Michigan State University, The Ohio State University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Grain Export Sales Reach Historic Highs in October

Unshipped export sales of corn, wheat, and soybeans reached 64 million metric tons for the week ending Oct. 29--a historical record, up 2% from last week and almost triple the same time last year.

The increase in export sales was driven mainly by increased exports of corn and soybeans to China.

Also, during the last four weeks, unshipped export sales averaged about 63 mmt, 160% above last year.

Total commitments of corn to China reached 10.8 mmt, compared to just 0.06 mmt last year and the 3-year average of 0.3 mmt.

Total soybean commitments reached 26.8 mmt, more than triple (7.1 mmt) the same time last year and 28% higher than the 3-year average.

Tuesday November 24 Ag News


The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) announced today its selection of the 2020-2021 Nebraska Agricultural Youth Council (NAYC). The 21-member Council, all students at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, will help lead the celebration as NAYC enters its 50th year of promoting Nebraska agriculture and making a difference in the lives of young Nebraskans. NDA sponsors NAYC and its activities throughout the year.

“The student leaders who serve on NAYC dedicate their time to promoting Nebraska agriculture and teaching young Nebraskans about food and the many careers available in agriculture,” said NDA Director Steve Wellman. “It’s always an honor to be selected to serve on NAYC, and I look forward to working with these students as they continue to pursue their careers in agriculture and teach others about food, fuel and the ag industry.”

Throughout the year, NAYC members coordinate and participate in a wide range of activities and events that focus on agriculture. Council members visit elementary schools to talk about where food comes from, take urban youth on farm tours to experience life on a farm, and visit with high school students about career opportunities in agriculture. The primary focus of NAYC is to coordinate the annual Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute (NAYI), a five-day summer conference for high school juniors and seniors full of speakers, workshops and networking opportunities. NAYI is the longest running event of its kind in the nation.

The 2020-2021 NAYC leadership includes:
• Head Counselor: Kelsey Loseke, Blair;
• President: Felicia Knoerzer, Elwood;
• Secretary: Wesley Wach, Hayes Center;
• Vice President of Communications: Cole Kalkowski, Omaha;
• Vice President of Alumni Relationships: Colin Ibach, Sumner;
• Vice President of NAYI Improvement and Promotion: Colton Thompson, Eustis;
• Vice President of Youth Outreach: Layne Miller, Oakland; and
•Vice President of Sponsorship: Isaac Stallbaumer, Oconto.

Additional NAYC members include: Nick Birdsley, Omaha; Jadyn Fleischman, Herman; Emily Hatterman, Wisner; Savannah Gerlach, DeWitt; Mitchell Manning, Fairmont; Abby Miller, Mead; Tyler Perrin, Ogallala; Taylor Ruwe, Hooper; Payton Schiller, Scribner; Megan Schroeder, Wisner; Josie Thompson, Wayne; Clayton Thomas, Bloomington, IL; and Sam Wilkins, Ainsworth.

To learn more, visit NAYC’s website at or search for Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute on Facebook.  

Aaron Holliday Named to 2021 Pork Leadership Institute Team

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) and the National Pork Board (NPB) have announced the members of the 2021  Pork Leadership Institute (PLI). Aaron Holliday of Columbus will represent Nebraska as one of the eighteen team members from thirteen states.

The yearlong program will have six-sessions beginning in February of 2021 and will wrap up in November of the respective year.  Over the next year, members will be challenged to grow personally and professionally as they dive deeper into understanding the U.S. pork industry.   The training will focus  on preparing and motivating them  to represent the U.S. pork industry at the state and national levels.   

Holliday is with Pillen Family Farms headquartered in Columbus, Nebraska and provides oversight to five nursery barns and six finishing barns, totaling 78,000 pigs. As part of the 2019 Nebraska Pork Producers Assoociation (NPPA) Pork Leadership Program, Aaron shared his unique work experiences as well as his personal involvements and interests.  NePPA President, John Csukker, extended his congratulations by saying, “Aaron was a very active participant in the NPPA Leadership Program and his selection to the National PLI program is the next step in building his professional resume.”

Ricketts, Fellow Governors Call on EPA to Revise Rule on Biogenic Carbon Emissions

Governor Pete Ricketts recently joined the governors of Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and South Dakota to write a letter to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler.  The six governors urged the EPA to revise regulations on biogenic carbon emissions to recognize their negligible environmental impact.

“EPA is the only regulatory authority in the world that neglects to distinguish between biogenic carbon emissions and those from fossil fuels,” the Governors wrote.  “The failure to correct this erroneous policy is harming our agricultural communities and affecting our efforts to expand our states’ biobased industries.”

The EPA’s current regulatory framework hampers rural development by placing unnecessary regulatory burdens on bioeconomic producers in the United States.

“EPA’s regulatory policy concerning agricultural crops disadvantages our states and America’s biobased producers—giving foreign producers a significant advantage,” the Governors wrote.  “According to USDA’s analysis, the nation’s bioeconomy generates $459 billion in economic activity, and provides 4.6 million American jobs.  However, other countries have a substantial competitive advantage for construction, modernization and improvement of facilities.”

Nebraska Beef Council December zoom meeting

The Nebraska Beef Council Board of Directors will have a zoom meeting at the NBC office in Kearney, NE, located at 1319 Central Ave. on Tuesday, December 8, 2020 beginning at 10:00 a.m. CST. The NBC Board of Directors will review evaluations for FY-2019-2020 authorizations request.  For more information, please contact Pam Esslinger at    


– Megan Taylor, NE Extension Educator, Platte Co.

So you pulled some soil cores and now you have the results in your hand, now what? On your soil test results you will want to check out pH, potassium, and phosphorous levels across all soil textures. If you have a lighter textured soil, check for sulfur levels as well. Today we will focus on pH and potassium recommendations.
For pH, you will want to see a soil test result of 6.2 to 7.0. This range allows alfalfa to have high nodulation and is a range that many of the essential nutrients are readily available. With established alfalfa, adjusting pH is challenging and surface application of lime can affect the upper 2 to 3 inches of the soil profile. However, a pH issue in an established stand can cause decreased nodulation and may be a sign to renovate. Bottom line in alfalfa: it is best to be correct the pH issue at least 4 to 6 months before establishment.  Correcting pH in established fields is very difficult and may be a signal to renovate.
Potassium is measured in parts per million or ppm on your soil test sheet. If your test ranges from 126 to greater than or equal to 150, then you do not need to apply potash. If your test ranges from 0-40 (apply 120 lbs. potash/acre), 41-74 (apply 80 lbs. potash/acre), and 75-125 (apply 40 lbs. potash/acre). Potash can be applied in the fall following the last cutting and is recommended yearly for irrigated and in 2 year cycles for dryland.
Remember if you are still wanting to pull soil cores, you will want to sample at 8 inches or historic depth. Collect samples by grid, soil type, or representative area (40 acres or less). Then pull 10 to 15 random soil cores and combine in a plastic bucket. Take about a pint of soil and submit to an accredited lab. If you have questions please contact your local extension educator or agronomist.

Applications Now Available for Class V of Nebraska Corn Growers Association’s PRIME Program

The Nebraska Corn Growers Association (NeCGA) is pleased to announce that applications for the next class of the PRIME Program are now available. The PRIME Program is a continuing education opportunity for younger or newer producers who are interested in learning more about agronomic, business, innovations and marketing within their operations. Over the course of a year, participants will come together for three seminars to learn and discuss new ideas that can be incorporated into their own operations.

“Providing opportunities to further education and involvement is one of our core missions,” said Dan Nerud, president of NeCGA. “The PRIME Program is one opportunity for members to focus on the agronomics and business aspects of their operations. I look forward to welcoming the fifth class into this great program.”

The first session will be in March, where participants will have the opportunity to go to St. Louis to tour the Mel Price Locks and Dam. The summer session dates will be determined by participants schedules and will feature a Nebraska Agriculture Tour. The final session will be in conjunction with the Nebraska Corn Growers Association Annual Meeting.  Applications for the PRIME Program can be found at The applications are due by Friday, January 29, 2021. All costs to participate in the program are covered for those that are 3-year members of the Association. If applicants are not members, the fee is $190 (the cost of a 3-year membership).

The PRIME Program is made possible with funding from our presenting partners, Northwestern Mutual and Farm Credit Services, along with the Nebraska Corn Board. For more information about the PRIME Program, please visit

Building Your Future with Virtual ICA Policy Committee Meetings and the Annual Meeting

Due to restrictions related to COVID-19, the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association is wrapping up this year’s policy development process on Zoom. Members of the cattle industry are invited to attend the virtual Policy Committee Meetings and the Annual Meeting during the months of December and January.

Producers across the state will dive deep into issues affecting Iowa’s cattle industry. Attendees will review expiring policies, hear updates on hot topics in the industry and debate new policies. Each meeting will begin at 7 p.m.

“For many years, the Iowa Cattle Industry Leadership Summit has functioned as the culmination of the policy development process for our members. This year may look different than face-to-face opportunities of the past, but the business that needs to be accomplished is just as important,” said Cora Fox, ICA Director of Government Relations.

With changes in Washington, D.C. and in Iowa, we need your input now more than ever to ensure the interests of the beef producers are protected and pursued. As the definitive voice of Iowa’s cattlemen, it’s important that we have policy on the books to support the beef cattle industry.

Mark your calendars for the dates below.

Business Issues Committee
Some topics of interest in this committee might include: Regulation of Livestock Haulers, Land Acquisition, Soil Conservation, Tax Credits or Capital Gains.
    December 2 at 7:00 p.m. (Review expiring policies)
    December 9 at 7:00 p.m. (New policy/discussion)

Cattle Production Committee
Discussion during this committee could include: Foreign Animal Disease Response, Green/Gold Tag Preconditioned programs or Live Cattle Marketing.
    December 29 at 7:00 p.m. (Review expiring policies)
    January 5 at 7:00 p.m. (New policy/discussion)

Beef Products Committee
Country of Origin Labeling, World Trade, Iowa Beef Checkoff or Alternative Meats could be the topic of conversation during one or both of these meetings.
    January 12 at 7:00 p.m. (Review expiring policies)
    January 19 at 7:00 p.m. (New policy/discussion)

Annual Meeting
The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association will finalize the policy development process with ratification at the Annual Meeting, which will be on January 26 at 12:00 p.m.

These meetings are for current producer members. To register for policy committee meetings and the ICA Annual Meeting, visit:  

HOG Awards Made at the Iowa Football State Championships

Six Iowa high school football players took home awards recognizing their play during the final games at the 2020 Iowa High School State Football Championships last week.
Hog of the Game (HOG) awards went to the outstanding offensive lineman in each of the championship games. The HOG awards are sponsored by the Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA) and awarded by the Iowa High School Sports Network (IHSSN).
HOG award winners were recognized for their strength and speed in creating opportunities for their teams to be successful.
"We sponsor this award to recognize the often un-sung linemen who are out front and helping their team be effective," said IPPA President Mike Paustian of Walcott. "Just like Iowa's pig farmers, these players work hard to create opportunities for their team and their communities to be successful."
"The IHSSN is grateful for IPPA's sponsorship of this award. Everyone we visited with about the Hog of the Game commented that IPPA had knocked it out of the park with this type of recognition. We have been associated with the IPPA for more than 10 years, and they have been a first-class organization to work with," said Ken Krogman, president of IHSSN.
Iowa high school players who received the 2020 HOG awards are:
    Xavier Galles of St. Mary's High School in Remsen. The Hawks won the 8-player tournament. Galles is a senior and the son of Lee and Angie Galles, Remsen.
    Josh Gaffey, a junior at Iowa City Regina, which won the Class A contest. Gaffey is the son of James and Sally Gaffey of Iowa City.
    Gabe Kuehler, a senior at Van Meter High School. Van Meter was the runner-up in the Class 1A title game.
    Sawyer Krueger, a senior at Waukon High School, the winner of the Class 2A tournament.  
    Carson McCaughey, a senior at North Scott High School in Eldridge. North Scott won the Class 3A Championship.
    Logan Curtis, a senior at Ankeny High School, the Class 4A tournament winner.

EPA Seeking Comments on Updated Plant Biostimulants Guidance

In recognition of the growing class of products generally known as plant biostimulants, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is accepting comments on an updated Draft Guidance for Plant Regulators and Claims, Including Plant Biostimulants.
“Plant biostimulants are increasingly being used by farmers to increase agriculture productivity,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Alexandra Dapolito Dunn. “When finalized, our Plant Biostimulants Guidance will provide sought-after certainty and transparency for this growing area of the economy.”
Plant biostimulants are a relatively new but growing category of products containing naturally occurring substances and microbes. Their increasing popularity arises from their ability to enhance agricultural productivity through stimulation of natural plant processes using substances and microbes already present in the environment. Plant biostimulants can also reduce the use of synthetic chemical fertilizers, making it an attractive option for sustainable agriculture and integrated pest management programs. Benefits include:
-    Increased plant growth, vigor, yield and production.
-    Improved soil health.
-    Optimized nutrient use.
-    Increased water efficiency.
While many plant biostimulants are not regulated as pesticides, certain mixtures and plant regulators can be pesticides under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).
Today’s released updated draft guidance incorporates diverse and helpful changes made in response to stakeholder feedback received during the draft guidance’s initial comment period in 2019. EPA now will seek input on those changes, including the wording of certain plant and non-plant regulator claim examples.
The public comment period will be open for 30 days in docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2018-0258 at After carefully considering the comments received, EPA anticipates finalizing this guidance in January 2021.

Organization for Competitive Markets Addresses disparaging comments from NCBA leadership
Written by: Fred Stokes

LINCOLN, NE – Today the Organization for Competitive Markets issued the following statement from Fred Stokes, VP and founder of OCM, after a series of cattlemen’s meetings held in Florida in an attempt to bring industry stakeholders together for the betterment of the industry. This statement follows a campaign of misinformation by NCBA president Marty Smith and CEO Colin Woodall who attacked OCM and it’s board members.

“Colin Woodall, speaking on behalf of NCBA has resorted to absurd and reckless rhetoric in his attempt to impute guilt-by-association to OCM; claiming it is supported by and in partnership with HSUS. He also makes the charge that OCM is not an advocate for cattlemen and makes the outrageous and likely libelist charge that OCM is a domestic terrorist organization.

Let me address these two matters separately, starting with the terrorist charge. I am generally credited with being the primary founder of OCM. I am a retired Army Military Intelligence Officer who held the nation’s very highest security clearance. I served two tours of duty in Vietnam and returned without a scratch. But, I received seven air medals and two awards of the bronze star medal. Two other current board members were previously military officers. OCM has a twenty-two year record of conduct in the best traditions of our beloved country.

Every member of the Board of Directors over the past twenty-two years of the organization’s existence has been an honorable, law-abiding and patriotic citizen of this country. OCM has tenaciously adhered to its mission of making agricultural markets open, transparent, competitive and fair so that independent family agriculture and rural America might prosper. This is hardly the profile of a terrorist organization.

OCM’s shining a bright light on NCBA misdeeds and causing them to become terrified does not make OCM a terrorist organization.

The real terror comes from the caliphate of NCBA, who continues to use cattlemen’s own hard-earned tax dollars to put them out of business and to create more consolidation among the four big packers.

As to OCM’s relationship with HSUS; it has been limited to “in kind” legal support of OCM’s actions delving into NCBA’s suspect handling of beef checkoff funds. This support was voluntarily provided with NO STRINGS ATTACHED. OCM is neither funded by or in partnership with HSUS.

In 2010 Clifton Gunderson Accounting firm conducted an independent audit of NCBA’s expenditures of checkoff funds at the behest of Tom Jones, President of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board. After examination of 1 % of the transactions for a period of two years and five months (9 days), gross “misspending” was found. Unauthorized spousal overseas travel, a $150,000 loan to NCBA’s Executive Director to buy a house and a $2,000,000 advance to NCBA for unspecified future work were among the many misappropriations found. The finding smacked of the beef checkoff fund being used as an NCBA slush fund. As a result of the audit, NCBA was required to refund to the CBB, more than $300,000. This was seen by many of us as but the tip of the iceberg. The audit sent shockwaves throughout the industry. Both the CBB President and Executive came under fierce hostility for their audacity in authorizing the embarrassing outside audit. Both resigned!

In February of 2011, a USDA OIG Audit of the Beef Checkoff Program was commenced at the request of OCM and other allied organizations. A number of OCM members met with the OIG Audit Team at the outset and shared its concerns regarding abuse of these funds. OCM furnished significant information to the OIG investigators during the almost year-long investigation. In almost all cases the investigation team acknowledged finding the information to be factual and useful. I personally had periodic communications with team leader, Mr. Don Pfeil. This relationship was cordial, but ethical and proper. It was clear from these conversations that investigators were focused on the propriety of financial transactions and related aspects, not the supervision of the program by USDA AMS. Mr. Pfeil stated to me, “I am going to follow the money.”

A conversation with Mr. Pfeil in December of 2011 revealed that his team had finished their work and that their findings were now in the hands of the “report writers”. Pfeil stated that he expected a report to be publicly released by March of 2012.

There were rumors and speculation as to what the report would reveal. Many thought the more in-depth examination (OIG Audit) would indeed prove the Clifton Gunderson findings to be but a smattering of the irregularities and provide

a strong indictment of NCBA. Others took a more cynical view; that NCBA was well connected and thus the audit would be a sham. This view was supported by a conversation overheard at the February 2012 joint CBB/NCBA meeting at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville. A Pulitzer Prize winning reporter from a major newspaper reported that he overheard a USDA AMS representative tell NCBA officials that he (AMS rep.) had seen the draft OIG report which contained some “bad stuff”. He continued; “but don’t worry I fixed it.”

The “first” final OIG Report was released in March of 2013, fifteen months after the conclusion of the investigation. The report writing process had generated thousands of pages of drafts, as the basis for the scant seventeen page report that effectively exonerated NCBA. Most of us in OCM and in other allied organizations, viewed the report as a whitewash and cover-up.

In the first place, the report did not “follow the money” but rather focused on USDA AMS’s oversight of the program. Because of the uproar, or for some other unknown reason, this first report was withdrawn to be reworked and re-released in late January 2014; some three years after the audit began. There were few changes, but the outright vindication of NCBA was removed.

Not only does NCBA have disproportionate influence over who is awarded Checkoff contracts, it also has tremendous influence over the success or failure of entities that are awarded contracts. Anecdotal evidence strongly suggests that NCBA and its affiliated state organizations exerted undue influence to cause non-NCBA contractors to fail. For example, the National Livestock Producers Association previously was awarded the contract to implement the Checkoff’s Beef Mobile program, a program that necessitated the cooperation of State Beef Councils for its success. However, based on our best available information, the State Beef Councils (controlled by NCBA) refused to cooperate with this non-NCBA affiliated organization, thus ensuring the failure of the program and exclusion of the National Livestock Producers Association from the Beef Mobile program contract.

The Checkoff Program’s clear and unambiguous language prohibits using any Checkoff funds, in any manner, for the purpose of influencing governmental action or policy, with the single exception of recommending amendments to the Order. However, NCBA routinely charges one-half of its officers travel expenses to the Checkoff. According to the OIG Audit Report itself, 83% of NCBA’s total revenue comes from the Beef Checkoff. These funds pay a major portion of salaries and overhead and are essentially the organization’s lifeblood.

The NCBA IRS Form 990 for 2017 reflects that the Executive Director position that Mr. Woodall currently holds pays $574,000 per year in total compensation. Numerous other NCBA officials receive salaries of more than $200,000.

In August of 2012, The Polsinelli Law Firm of Kansas City filed a suit on behalf of OCM against NCBA and USDA based on the conflict of interest constituted by NCBA’s undue influence in the contract awarding process. Immediately, intense pressure came from the Big Ag community, causing Polsinelli to withdraw from the suit.

In May of 2014, the President of HSUS offered legal assistance to support litigation against USDA OIG to compel compliance with a previous and long-ignored OCM Freedom of Information Request. This support was furnished with no strings attached. OCM appropriately expressed its gratitude.

In 2018 NCBA became an Intervenor in OCM’S FOIA suit after learning that 10,000 pages of unredacted financial records and ledgers were deemed relevant and would potentially be released to us. As a pretext for opposing the release, NCBA made the absurd claim that OCM competed with NCBA in the Contract Bidding process and that this “Privileged and Confidential” information would cause them competitive harm.

NCBA, USDA AMS and USDA OIG have all gone to extraordinary lengths to stall and resist release of the records that would show how beef checkoff funds were expended. Hard-pressed beef cattle producers are compelled to provide the $80,000,000 each year to fund the beef checkof program; they are entitled to know how their money is being spent! The protracted and aggressive resistance to the release of records raises an obvious question; what are they trying to hide?

The Beef Promotion and Research Act of 1985 has been a dismal failure in terms of promoting the interests of the U. S. cattle producers who fund the program. Since the program began, per capita consumption of beef has diminished with a resultant loss of market share and many producers have been driven out of business. Those remaining have struggled to remain viable. In terms of promoting the interests of U. S. checkoff-paying cattlemen, it is reasonable to say that the almost $3 billion that has been spent over the past thirty-five years has been wasted.

NCBA has a long record of working against the interests of cattle producers. They were a plaintiff in litigation to block implementation of COOL (Country of Origin Labeling); worked against producers seeking mandatory price reporting; against cattle producers that opposed the National Animal Identification System (NAIS); against cattle producers that supported captive supply reform in a major class-action lawsuit; against cattle producers that tried to prevent the premature reintroduction of imported cattle from a disease-affected country; against cattle producers that attempted to ban packer ownership of livestock in both the 2002 and 2008 Farm Bills; and were key in effectively opposing the proposed Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) rules that clarifies and defines how GIPSA will administer and enforce the Packers and Stockyards Act.

Based on NCBA’s reporting of membership numbers, they have only one cattleman in thirty-three as members. So, it appears that cattlemen have been compelled to be the principal funder for an organization that has a mere 3% of total cattle producers as members. Clearly, NCBA has used the approximately $1.2 billion it has received since 1996 to become the spokesman for the entire industry.

It is my opinion that as long as NCBA is the voice of the industry and the spokesman for producers, the future of independent ranching in this country is very bleak.”

Monday November 23 Ag News


For the week ending November 22, 2020, there were 6.5 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 20% very short, 44% short, 35% adequate, and 1% surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 24% very short, 40% short, 35% adequate, and 1% surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Winter wheat condition rated 4% very poor, 16% poor, 41% fair, 36% good, and 3% excellent.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 17% very poor, 21% poor, 30% fair, 31% good, and 1% excellent.


Dry conditions and warmer temperatures allowed Iowa farmers 6.3 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending November 22, 2020, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Fieldwork activities included harvesting corn for grain, baling corn stalks, applying fertilizer and manure, and hauling grain to elevators. Farmers in some areas of the State continue to clean up debris from the derecho that blew through in August.

Topsoil moisture condition rated 13% very short, 31% short, 56% adequate and 0% surplus. Subsoil moisture condition rated 22% very short, 35% short, 43% adequate and 0% surplus.

Only 2% of Iowa’s corn for grain crop remains to be harvested, over 3 weeks ahead of last year and 11 days ahead of the 5-year average. In most areas of the State only scattered fields remain to be harvested. Some corn fields damaged by the derecho remain to be disked down. Extra tillage is being done by some farmers out of concern for volunteer corn in 2021 due to damaged corn this crop year.

No problems with livestock were reported. Livestock producers continue to allow cattle to graze on corn stalks. Some producers are providing supplemental feed for cattle on pastures.

USDA: Winter Wheat Condition Drops

After rising the previous week, winter wheat conditions fell last week, according to the USDA NASS weekly Crop Progress report released on Monday. NASS estimated that 43% of the U.S. winter wheat crop was in good-to-excellent condition as of Sunday, Nov. 22. That is down 3 percentage points from 46% the previous week and is below 52% at the same time a year ago.

An estimated 89% of winter wheat had emerged as of Sunday, up 4 percentage points from the previous week and 1 percentage point ahead of the five-year average of 88%.

NASS was no longer reporting row-crop harvest in Monday's report. Sorghum harvest was estimated at 97% complete, and cotton harvest was estimated at 77% finished.

NASS will release its final national Crop Progress report of 2020 next Monday, Nov. 30.


Lower Elkhorn NRD announces winners of Conservation Poster Contest

“Where would we BEE without Pollinators?” was the theme for this year’s Stewardship Week and Poster Contest sponsored by the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD).

Pollinators form the foundations of a healthy and sustainable future for food and the environment, but in recent years, they have shown concerning signs of decline. It’s important that we work to help them prosper by enhancing native pollinator habitats and protecting against pollinator declines.

Over 100 K-12th grade students participated in the contest.  Buzzing bees and butterflies were some of the examples shown in the winning posters, created by students from across the Lower Elkhorn NRD’s 15-counties in northeast Nebraska.

The following winners will receive special recognition from the Lower Elkhorn NRD:

Grades K-1     
1) Carson Gerths    Guardian Angels Central Catholic, West Point
2) Isabelle Anderson    Battle Creek Elementary
3) Abigail Zweep     Bancroft-Rosalie Elementary

Grades 2-3
1) Dawson Mackling     Guardian Angels Central Catholic, West Point     
2) Kenna Olmer           St. Francis, Humphrey
3) Jesus Vargas            St. Mary’s, Wayne
3) Blake Heithold        St. Mary’s, Wayne

Grades 4-6
1) Madie Thiele           Guardian Angels Central Catholic, West Point
2) Audrey Praest           St. Wenceslaus, Dodge
3) Mariana Nexticapan Hernandez    St. Mary’s, Wayne

Grades 7-9
1) Emerson Ortmeier     Guardian Angels Central Catholic, West Point
2) Myranda Hansen      Norfolk High School
3) Kali Mangelsen        Norfolk High School

Grades 10-12
1) Claire Steskal           Norfolk High School
2) Courtney Hintz         Norfolk High School
3) Anna Lemus             Norfolk High School

The first place posters in each category were sent on to the Nebraska Association of Resources Districts (NARD) in Lincoln for the State Competition.

The NARD recently announced that the Lower Elkhorn NRD has 3 winners at the State level this year.  Students winning in the State competition include:
    Grades K-1:  Carson Gerths, Guardian Angels Central Catholic, West Point
    Grades 7-9:  Emerson Ortmeier, Guardian Angels Central Catholic, West Point
    Grades 10-12: Claire Steskal, Norfolk High School

These students will receive special recognition from the NARD in Lincoln.  The posters created by Gerths, Ortmeier, and Steskal will be sent on to Las Vegas, Nevada for the National competition in February 2020.

“I’m always amazed at the talent we see from the students each year.  This contest is a fun way to help students connect with the world around them and use the theme to focus on things they can see and hear in their own backyard,” said Julie Wragge, LENRD Information & Education Specialist.  She added, “Congratulations to all the participants.  Please enter again next year.”

The 2021 stewardship theme is “Healthy Forests = Healthy Communities”.  

Reinke Introduces Industry-First Maintenance-Free Pivot Bearing

In an effort to make pivot maintenance easier for growers, Reinke Manufacturing, a global leader in irrigation systems and technology, introduces the industry’s first Maintenance-Free Bearing to the North American market.

Due to the nature of bearing grease, annual maintenance has been needed to ensure that the center pivot rotational movement was not interrupted. With Reinke’s patent pending Maintenance-Free Bearing, the need to do all that work is done.

“We’re always looking for ways to lower ownership costs for our growers,” says Chris Roth, president of Reinke. “This is the first of its kind on the market. Our team has designed a better bearing assembly that requires zero maintenance along with superior structural expectations and durability. This will also save growers time that they can use to complete other important work on their operation.”

The key benefits for growers are:
    Saves time – no need to grease the pivot center before the season starts
    Maintenance-free – growers have peace of mind that it will work without interruption
    Eliminates grease spill-out on and around the pivot
    Increases rotational efficiency for greater system longevity – product trials showed a 40% decrease in strain on the bearing over the previous version

“We tested the bearing with more than a quarter of a million revolutions without issue,” says Roth. “When we see testing results like this, we get excited knowing that we’ve got a high-load, low-friction product on our hands.”

The Maintenance-Free Bearing is designed to last the lifetime of the system, using the same high-quality specifications of all Reinke’s products. The product is available on new Reinke irrigation systems using an 8” pivot bearing. But it can also be retrofitted onto existing 8” Electrogator II center pivots.

ISU hosting Ag Chem Dealer Update meetings this December

Sprayer cleanout to minimize tank contamination will be the featured topic at the 2020 Ag Chemical Dealer Update meetings sponsored by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

These meetings will also feature a short crop disease and insect update covering topics like Sudden Death Syndrome in soybeans, tar spot in corn and corn rootworm.

The Ag Chem Dealer Update meetings, which were scheduled to be held in a face-to-face format in Ames and Iowa City, are now being offered online on two different dates due to COVID-19 restrictions.

On Dec. 8 the session will be offered from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., and Dec. 15 the session will be offered from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Meetings are approved for Certified Crop Adviser credits. In addition, the meetings offer Iowa Commercial Pesticide Applicator recertification in categories 1A, 1B, 1C and 10 for calendar year 2020.

Recertification is included in meeting registration. Attendance at the entire meeting is required for recertification. Applicators are requested to join 10 minutes prior to the start of the meeting to allow time for check-in for Commercial Pesticide recertification.

In order to meet recertification requirements applicators will be required to answer four of six poll questions during the 2.5-hour session. Applicators failing to answer at least four questions will not meet verification requirements.

Each applicator must attend and log-in with their own device for tracking using Zoom attendance logs. Applicators must join the meeting on time and attend the entire meeting. Late entries will be denied access to the program. Additional information and guidelines are provided on the registration page.

Registration is $70. The deadline for the Dec. 8 program is midnight, Dec. 6, and the deadline for the Dec. 15 program is midnight, Dec. 13.  

Visit for program details or to register online. For additional information contact an ISU Extension and Outreach field agronomist hosting the meeting.

Iowa Farm Bureau survey shows cost of turkey lowest in 10 years

While family gatherings this November may look different than years past, those choosing to celebrate with traditional holiday fare will welcome lower prices on many food items, according to the 35th annual Farm Bureau Thanksgiving survey.

The most notable price drop is reflected by Thanksgiving’s most beloved bird—the turkey—which at roughly $1.21 per pound is the lowest price since 2010. Iowa, ranking 7th in turkey production in the United States, is also home to the turkeys who will travel to our nation’s capital for this year’s ceremonial Presidential “turkey pardon.”

“Iowa’s farm families appreciate the value consumers put on safe, nutritious foods and are proud to provide a wide range of items that grace our holiday tables,” says Dr. Sam Funk, IFBF director of agriculture analytics and research. “Our livestock and poultry farmers still face the challenge of recovering from lost markets and supply chains impacted by COVID, but that hasn’t stopped them from producing sustainably-grown, real meat products we enjoy at Thanksgiving.”

The survey includes favorites such as stuffing, sweet potatoes, cranberries, pumpkin pie, whipped cream and rolls with butter. With changing food trends and increased appetites for a variety of animal-based proteins, ham has also made it to the list of surveyed foods along with potatoes and frozen green beans. Although these additional items contribute to cost, this year’s Thanksgiving menu results in a 4 percent price decrease overall from 2019.

“Farm Bureau’s Thanksgiving dinner cost survey shows, no matter your food preferences, Americans may spend less this year on the fixings to set on the table,” says Dr. Funk. “While there’s been many hardships in 2020, something to be thankful for is all the people who, from gate to plate, have worked endlessly to bring food and necessities for our families. We depend on each other and the bounty that continues to be provided from Iowa’s agricultural heritage.”

For more information on the Farm Bureau Thanksgiving survey, visit  

U.S. Pork Producers ‘Give-a-Ham’

The National Pork Producers Council today launched the “Give-a-Ham” challenge, a national social media campaign encouraging hog farmers and those involved in the industry to donate pork to organizations serving the food insecure, and challenging others to follow suit. The “Give-a-Ham” challenge begins today and runs through the end of the year.

“With so many Americans struggling with COVID-related financial challenges, this year’s ‘Give-a-Ham’ challenge takes on special meaning,” said NPPC President Howard “AV” Roth, a hog farmer from Wauzeka, Wisconsin. “Giving back to our communities is a core value of hog farmers nationwide; it’s gratifying to come together as an industry this time of year to serve those in need.”

Throughout the COVID pandemic, U.S. hog farmers and numerous state associations that represent them have donated to local food banks, providing a collective 15.7 million pounds—or 222.8 million servings—of pork through Oct. 31.

“I’m proud to be part of an industry that has already made significant contributions this year to help those less fortunate and look forward to participating in the ‘Give-a-Ham’ challenge, paying it forward with pork,” Roth added.

Participants are encouraged to share their stories on social media using the #GiveaHam hashtag.


All layers in Nebraska during October 2020 totaled 8.23 million, down from 9.27 million the previous year, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Nebraska egg production during October totaled 211 million eggs, down from 233 million in 2019. October egg production per 100 layers was 2,563 eggs, compared to 2,511 eggs in 2019.

IOWA:  Iowa egg production during October 2020 was 1.25 billion eggs, up 4% from last month but down 14% 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 October 2020 was 47.7 million, up slightly from last month but down 17% from last year. Eggs per 100 layers for October were 2,625, up 4% from last month and up 3% from last year.

October Egg Production Down 2 Percent

United States egg production totaled 9.50 billion during October 2020, down 2 percent from last year. Production included 8.24 billion table eggs, and 1.25 billion hatching eggs, of which 1.17 billion were broiler-type and 79.8 million were egg-type. The average number of layers during October 2020 totaled 386 million, down 3 percent from last year. October egg production per 100 layers was 2,459 eggs, up 1 percent from October 2019.
Total layers in the United States on November 1, 2020 totaled 388 million, down 3 percent from last year. The 388 million layers consisted of 324 million layers producing table or market type eggs, 60.5 million layers producing broiler-type hatching eggs, and 3.14 million layers producing egg-type hatching eggs. Rate of lay per day on November 1, 2020, averaged 79.7 eggs per 100 layers, up 1 percent from November 1, 2019.

Egg-Type Chicks Hatched Down 3 Percent

Egg-type chicks hatched during October 2020 totaled 50.6 million, down 3 percent from October 2019. Eggs in incubators totaled 44.6 million on November 1, 2020, down 7 percent from a year ago.  Domestic placements of egg-type pullet chicks for future hatchery supply flocks by leading breeders totaled 197,000 during October 2020, down 1 percent from October 2019.

Broiler-Type Chicks Hatched Down 1 Percent

Broiler-type chicks hatched during October 2020 totaled 805 million, down 1 percent from October 2019. Eggs in incubators totaled 660 million on November 1, 2020, down 3 percent from a year ago.  Leading breeders placed 8.07 million broiler-type pullet chicks for future domestic hatchery supply flocks during October 2020, up 7 percent from October 2019.

USDA Cold Storage October 2020 Highlights

Total red meat supplies in freezers on October 31, 2020 were up 1 percent from the previous month but down 12 percent from last year. Total pounds of beef in freezers were up 8 percent from the previous month and up 7 percent from last year. Frozen pork supplies were down 4 percent from the previous month and down 27 percent from last year. Stocks of pork bellies were down 21 percent from last month and down 57 percent from last year.

Total frozen poultry supplies on October 31, 2020 were down 7 percent from the previous month and down 4 percent from a year ago. Total stocks of chicken were up 3 percent from the previous month but down 4 percent from last year. Total pounds of turkey in freezers were down 25 percent from last month and down 4 percent from October 31, 2019.

Total natural cheese stocks in refrigerated warehouses on October 31, 2020 were down 1 percent from the previous month and down slightly from October 31, 2019.  Butter stocks were down 13 percent from last month but up 28 percent from a year ago.

Total frozen fruit stocks on October 31, 2020 were up 10 percent from last month but down 15 percent from a year ago. Total frozen vegetable stocks were up 7 percent from last month and up 3 percent from a year ago.

Farm & Biofuel Leaders Urge Courts to Hold EPA Accountable on Improper 2016 Waiver

Today, a coalition of the nation’s largest biofuels and agricultural trade groups filed a motion in the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia asking the court to enforce its 2017 decision requiring the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to address its improper waiver of 500 million gallons of biofuel demand in the 2016 renewable volume obligation (RVO).   

The coalition, which includes Growth Energy, Renewable Fuels Association, National Biodiesel Board, American Coalition for Ethanol, National Corn Growers Association, National Farmers Union, and National Sorghum Producers issued a statement following the filing:  

“It is simply unconscionable that EPA would so brazenly ignore a federal court’s order. The agency must do right by America’s farmers and biofuel producers and supporters. Together, our coalition represents millions of rural families who should not have to resort to more court proceedings to hold EPA accountable to the law. It’s well past overdue that EPA restore the 500 million gallons and focus on restoring integrity to the Renewable Fuel Standard.”  

In the July 2017 ruling of the case Americans for Clean Energy et al. v. EPA et al., the court invalidated the EPA’s improper waiver of 500 million gallons in the 2016 RVO and ordered EPA to revisit the rule. The court held that EPA’s interpretation of the “inadequate domestic supply” waiver provision “runs contrary to how the Renewable Fuel Program is supposed to work.” To date, EPA has failed to open any proceedings to reconsider the 2016 RVO and has not restored the 500 million lost RIN gallons.

 In the motion filed today, the coalition asks the court to:   
    Require EPA to issue a 500 million gallon “curative obligation” on obligated parties to make up for the lost gallons;   
    Require EPA to do so no more than 6 months after the court’s order;
    Require obligated parties to show compliance with the additional obligations no more than 3 months after EPA issues the curative obligation; and   
    Declare that it will not extend these deadlines.

Mercaris Expands Reporting Capabilities with New Organic Dairy Market Analysis

Dairy industry stakeholders can now rely on a regularly updated report to understand market influences, thanks to Mercaris. The report, released today, covers market and input insights and comes as organic dairy markets stand positioned for profitability after being largely flat over the last several years.

Mercaris, a leader in data insights for organic grain & oilseeds, announced the report as a complementary information source to their already established dairy trading platform.

“Our customers know that organic dairy is one of the largest, most important organic food and agriculture categories,” says Kellee James, co-founder and CEO of Mercaris. “This report covers the complex nature of this category from growth and value to participants in the market place, providing stakeholders with a deeper understanding of this nuanced market to help them make informed decisions.”

In its debut issue, the U.S. Organic Dairy Market Summary provides an outlook for the organic dairy industry moving into 2021, along with current trends and pricing. The report will be published twice annually.

The report provides data insights for:
    Organic Dairy Herd Size by State
    Pay Price for Fluid Milk
    Organic Milk Production by State
    Value of U.S. Organic Milk Production
    Retail Fluid Organic Milk Sales
    Organic Sales Growth Projections
    Organic Cream Prices
    Organic Feed Prices

The summary includes additional data and commentary on expected production, use, prices and more for organic dairy. For more information and to access a free copy of the summary, visit  

FFA Members Across the Country Give Back to Their Communities This Fall

Thanksgiving might look a little different this year—not as many large family gatherings, not as many in-person Black Friday sales—but FFA members around the country are working together to ensure their communities still have the food they need.

FFA members at the Lawrence Free State High School FFA in Kansas worked on gleaning from local gardens and/or farms, while members of the Tillamook FFA in Oregon organized a food drive and members of the Faded Blues Alumni FFA in North Carolina organized a food drive and developed a community garden. Many other members participated in food drives and gleaning gardens as well as creating food pantries.

It’s all part of the National Days of Service program through the National FFA Organization. Traditionally, members who attend the National FFA Convention & Expo participate in National Days of Service (NDoS), giving back to the community hosting the event. This year, the convention went virtual—so the National Days of Service program challenged members across the country to give back where they live. It’s all part of a bigger initiative by the organization to have nationwide community engagement programs for NDoS, sponsored by CoBank and Tractor Supply Company.

There were four areas that chapters were encouraged to explore: community safety; hunger, health and nutrition; environmental responsibility; and community engagement.

While more than 4,855 volunteers from 318 chapters across the country participated in the National Days of Service overall (from 45 states as well as Puerto Rico), 115 chapters focused specifically on hunger, health and nutrition. In fact, more than 1,512 members volunteered for a total of 5,691 hours. (Thirty-six states and Puerto Rico participated in this area for the National Days of Service.)

“We know service is an important part of the FFA experience for our members,” said Michele Sullivan, senior manager of local engagement for the National FFA Organization. “With convention going virtual this year, FFA was excited to launch the first-ever National Days of Service set to take place across the country. Members stepped up and put their leadership into action by serving their community in need. We plan to continue the virtual National Days of Service, along-side our in-person event, for years to come.”

World Ag Expo Goes Online

For the first time in show history, the 2021 World Ag Expo will be an online event February 9-11. Officials at the International Agri-Center announced the cancellation of the live event on September 14, and spent the next month carefully weighing the implications of a digital show.

"A digital show is not a replacement for a live event like World Ag Expo," said Jerry Sinift, International Agri-Center CEO. "But the ag industry has never stopped working, and neither will we. Ag is essential and so is our job as a trade show to bring buyers and sellers together. We're just going to do it a little bit differently in 2021."

World Ag Expo will work with Map Your Show, an industry leader in event and conference management software. The Map Your Show team has executed more than 120 digital trade shows since March.

While most digital trade shows have limited their online show to their traditional dates, the World Ag Expo team is taking a year-long approach.

"Instead of just a one-week show, we will be supporting our exhibitors and the online site throughout 2021," said Jennifer Fawkes, International Agri-Center Marketing Manager. "Each exhibitor has a micro-site within the show to share information and hold live chats, along with many other options. These can be changed during the year. As organizers, we will have online seminars, the Top-10 New Products Contest, and more new content being released throughout the year."

World Ag Expo Online will kick off February 9-11, 2021 - the original show dates. Live events and seminars will be scheduled 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. PST each day, but content will be available on-demand at no charge to attendees around the clock.

New Covid/Meat Industry Study Confirms Massive Risks to Public Health and Worker Safety

Press Release

Statement of Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter on the groundbreaking study “Livestock plants and COVID-19 transmission,” published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States of America:

“The COVID-19 pandemic has cast a bright spotlight on our broken food system, as employees and federal inspectors working in meat and poultry plants have borne the brunt of the outbreak, suffering unbelievably high illness and death rates. To be clear, these illnesses and deaths were absolutely preventable.

“The last thing we need right now are faster hog, beef and poultry line speeds with more contaminated products and more food workers at risk. Unlike Trump, the Biden administration should scrap these efforts and actually work to protect public health instead of industry profits.”

The new study comprehensively details how these impacts were not limited to people who work within the slaughterhouses. Indeed, as of July 21, 2020, such plants were associated with an inordinate 236,000 to 310,000, or 6 to 8% of all COVID-19 cases. They were associated with 4,300 to 5,200 deaths, or 3 to 4% of all deaths. These estimates controlled for a host of potentially confounding variables in counties. The temporary closure of high-risk plants were followed by lower rates of COVID-19 case growth.

This study shows that meat and poultry slaughter plants were in fact vectors of the disease.  In April of this year, the president declared workers in these plants “essential” workers. And while it turns out that the companies’ meat was far from essential for anything but the companies’ profits, the plants were essential for spreading the disease.

Researchers found that poultry plants showed a significant relationship with COVID-19 cases, with pork plants showing the strongest relationship. Beef plants showed the strongest relationship with deaths from the illness.

The study comes at a time when the USDA is considering dramatic policy changes relating to meat and poultry production. In 2018, the agency finalized its rules that lifted line-speed limits for hog slaughter plants, a move that has been challenged in several pending court cases.  The agency is considering similar changes in beef plants.  The USDA is also now considering a rule that would allow poultry plants to lift line-speed limits so that chicken carcasses whizz by federal inspectors at close to three birds per second.

The new study found that there was a relationship between those poultry plants whose line-speeds had already been lifted because of regulatory “waivers.”  The granting of a waiver predicted a two-fold increase in county-level COVID-19 case rates compared to plants without waivers, and it is even higher in plants granted waivers very recently. Faster production can result in both workers working much more closely to one another.

USDA Shares Easy At-Home Advice for Handling Food Safely this Thanksgiving

This week, Americans will enjoy a delicious meal on Thanksgiving Day with family and friends – either in person or virtually. Taking the necessary steps toward safe food handling and sanitation will help protect you and your loved ones this year. To make sure your Thanksgiving meal is prepared safely, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is offering food safety advice to reduce foodborne illness, including on Thanksgiving Day.

“Our data shows that consumers can reduce their likelihood of foodborne illness by focusing on good hand hygiene and other food safety practices,” said Dr. Mindy Brashears, USDA’s Under Secretary for Food Safety. “As home chefs nationwide prepare their Thanksgiving meals, proper handwashing and avoiding cross contamination in the kitchen are critical to keeping your loved ones safe.”

Wash Your Hands

The first step to safe food preparation is to clean. In recent USDA observational research, participants did not even attempt to wash their hands, or did not wash their hands sufficiently about 95 percent of the time before and during meal preparation.

Handwashing is recommended to control the spread of germs, especially before, during and after preparing food (especially after touching raw meat or poultry).

Thawing the Turkey

Frozen turkeys should never be thawed on the counter or in hot water and must not be left at room temperature for more than two hours. The best method to thaw the turkey is in the refrigerator since this allows slow, safe thawing. When thawing turkey in the refrigerator, allow about 24 hours for every five pounds of turkey. Once thawed, it can remain safe in the fridge for one to two days. Other safe thawing methods include a cold-water bath or the microwave. If you use either of these thawing methods, you should cook the turkey immediately after it is thawed. If using the cold-water method, allow 30 minutes per pound, and submerge the turkey in its original wrapping to avoid cross-contamination. If thawing in the microwave, make sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions when defrosting the turkey.

Avoid Cross-Contamination

In a recent study, USDA found 60 percent of kitchen sinks were contaminated with germs after participants washed or rinsed poultry. To avoid this cross-contamination risk, do not wash your turkey. But if you do wash your turkey or put your turkey in the sink, you need to fully clean and sanitize your sink. Cleaning and sanitizing is a two-step process. To clean, rub down surfaces — including the sink, cutting boards, and counter tops — with soap and hot water, and then sanitize them with a cleaning solution to remove any residual germs you cannot see. You can use a homemade solution of one tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach in one gallon of water. Let air dry.

Do Not Stuff the Turkey

Although many choose to stuff the turkey, USDA does not recommend doing so for optimal safety. Instead, cook stuffing outside of the turkey cavity to reduce cross-contamination risk. This will also allow your turkey to cook more quickly.

Cooking to the Safe Temperature

A whole turkey is safe when cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit as measured by a food thermometer in three parts: the thickest part of the breast, the innermost part of the wing, and the innermost part of the thigh. Even if the turkey has a pop-up temperature indicator, you should still use a food thermometer to check that the bird has reached at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit in those three places. If you are planning to cook a turkey breast instead of a whole turkey, check the temperature with the food thermometer (165 degrees Fahrenheit) at the thickest part the breast. All previously cooked side dishes should be reheated to 165 degrees Fahrenheit as measured by a food thermometer as well.

The Two-Hour Rule

To make sure food stays safe to eat through the weekend, all perishable items should be refrigerated within two hours of when they finished cooking. After two hours, perishable food will be in the Danger Zone (40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit) too long, which is when bacteria can multiply quickly and cause the food to become unsafe. If foods have been left out for more than two hours they should be discarded.

Store and Reheat Leftovers

Store leftovers in small, shallow containers in the refrigerator until the Monday after Thanksgiving Day or in the freezer for later use. Shallow containers help cool leftovers more quickly than storing them in large containers. Reheat leftovers to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Check the internal temperature of the food in several places with a food thermometer after allowing a resting time.

You Have Questions, USDA Has Answers

For advice about how to safely prepare the turkey and all other menu items this Thanksgiving Day, call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) or chat live with a food safety expert at from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. If you need last-minute help on Thanksgiving Day, the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline is open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Eastern Time. Visit or follow USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) on Twitter @USDAFoodSafety or on Facebook at for the latest food safety tips.

Friday November 20 Cattle on Feed + Ag News


Nebraska feedlots, with capacities of 1,000 or more head, contained 2.50 million cattle on feed on November 1, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This inventory was up 2% from last year.  Placements during October totaled 560,000 head, down 16% from 2019.  Fed cattle marketings for the month of October totaled 460,000 head, down 4% from last year.  Other disappearance during October totaled 10,000 head, unchanged from last year.

Iowa Cattle on Feed Report

Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 620,000 head on November 1, 2020, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Cattle on Feed report. This was up 2% from October, but down 6% from November 1, 2019. Iowa feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head had 500,000 head on feed, up 2% from last month but down 6% from last year. Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in all Iowa feedlots totaled 1,120,000 head, up 2% from last month but down 6% from last year.

Placements of cattle and calves in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during October totaled 105,000 head, up 46% from September but down 8% from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head placed 68,000 head, up 11% from September but down 44% from last year. Placements for all feedlots in Iowa totaled 173,000 head, up 30% from September but down 27% from last year.

Marketings of fed cattle from Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during October totaled 92,000 head, up 31% from September but unchanged from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head marketed 54,000 head, unchanged from September but down 19% from last year. Marketings for all feedlots in Iowa were 146,000 head, up18% from September but down 8% from last year. Other disappearance from all feedlots in Iowa totaled 7,000 head.

United States Cattle on Feed Up 1 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 12.0 million head on November 1, 2020. The inventory was 1 percent above November 1, 2019. This is the highest November 1 inventory since the series began in 1996.

On-Feed by State
                          (1,000 hd   -   % Nov 1 '19)
Colorado .......:         1,120          105           
Iowa .............:           620             94           
Kansas ..........:         2,520          104               
Nebraska ......:         2,500          102               
Texas ............:         2,910          101               

Placements in feedlots during October totaled 2.19 million head, 11 percent below 2019. Net placements were 2.13 million head. During October, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 570,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 495,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 465,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 387,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 185,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 90,000 head.

Placements by State  
                          (1,000 hd   -   % Oct '19)  
Colorado .......:          175            73             
Iowa .............:          105            92              
Kansas ..........:          430            96              
Nebraska ......:          560            84              
Texas ............:          480            91               

Marketings of fed cattle during October totaled 1.87 million head, slightly below 2019.  Other disappearance totaled 63,000 head during October, 7 percent above 2019.

Marketings by State
                             (1,000 hd  -  % Oct '19)
Colorado .......:          160           103          
Iowa .............:            92            100           
Kansas ..........:           440           110          
Nebraska ......:           460            96            
Texas ............:           420            97            

"Good Life. Great Steaks" Online Apparel Store Now Open

The Nebraska Beef Council is once again offering “Good Life. Great Steaks” apparel to promote the beef industry in Nebraska.
Now until November 30th, visitors to the online apparel store will have an opportunity to purchase “Good Life. Great Steaks” clothing including short sleeve and long sleeve t-shirts, hooded sweatshirts and performance wear.
“We saw a tremendous response when we originally launched this promotion back in July,” said Adam Wegner, director of marketing for the Nebraska Beef Council. “Because of the popularity of these shirts we decided to re-launch the campaign this fall. It will be a great opportunity for people to purchase these items just in time for the holidays.”
The online store will be open until November 30th with all items schedule to be delivered by December 16th. For more information visit or follow the Nebraska Beef Council on Facebook.


One highlight for farmers in a year full of challenges, is having a successful harvest to share, and this year’s harvest has success written all over it, said Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) Director Steve Wellman. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) forecasted a record crop for Nebraska corn and increases over last year in sorghum, soybean, dry edible bean and sugar beet production.

“Agriculture is the heart and soul of Nebraska, and once again Nebraska agriculture has delivered an abundant supply of food, feed and fuel,” said Director Wellman. “This year’s bountiful harvest is the direct result of hard work and perseverance by our farmers. This Thanksgiving, I’d like to give special thanks to the farmers for strengthening the nation’s food supply and congratulate them on completing a successful harvest.”

According to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), based on Nov. 1 conditions:
-    Nebraska's 2020 corn crop is forecast at a record 1.82 billion bushels, up 2% from last year's production;
-    Sorghum production is forecast at 12.4 million bushels, up 3% from last year;
-    Soybean production is forecast at 299 million bushels, up 5% from last year;
-    Dry edible bean production is forecast at 3,487,000 cwt., up 85% from last year (based on Oct. 5 conditions); and
-    Sugar beet production is forecast at 1.48 million tons, up 38% from last year.

NASS is the federal statistical agency responsible for producing official data about U.S. agriculture. Find agricultural statistics for different counties, states and the U.S. at

Nebraska Soybean Board to meet

The Nebraska Soybean Board will hold its next meeting on November 24, 2020 at the Holthus Convention Center located at 3130 Holen Ave., York, Nebraska.

The Board will conduct regular board business and hold an election of officers. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the in-person meeting is not open to the public. Registration for attending through Zoom and the complete agenda for the meeting is available for inspection on the Nebraska Soybean Board website at

Nebraska Leopold Conservation Award Seeks Nominees

Know a Nebraska rancher, farmer or forester who goes above and beyond in the care and management of natural resources? Nominate them for the 2021 Nebraska Leopold Conservation Award®.

Sand County Foundation and national sponsor American Farmland Trust present the Leopold Conservation Award to private landowners in 21 states for extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation. In Nebraska, the $10,000 award is presented with Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska (AFAN), Cargill and the Nebraska Environmental Trust.

Given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, the award recognizes landowners who inspire others with their dedication to land, water and wildlife habitat management on private, working land. In his influential 1949 book, “A Sand County Almanac,” Leopold called for an ethical relationship between people and the land they own and manage.

Nominations may be submitted on behalf of a landowner, or landowners may nominate themselves. The application can be found at

The application deadline is March 1, 2021. Applications can be emailed to or postmarked by March 1, and mailed to:
Leopold Conservation Award
c/o AFAN
5225 S. 16th Street
Lincoln, NE 68512

Selected recipients must be available for an Earth Day press conference, summer video production, and fall award ceremony.

The first Nebraska Leopold Conservation Award was presented to Wilson Ranch of Lakeside in 2006. The 2020 recipients of the award were Ed and Leta Olson of Craig.

The Leopold Conservation Award Program in Nebraska is made possible thanks to the generous support of American Farmland Trust, Cargill, AFAN, Nebraska Environmental Trust, Sand County Foundation, Farm Credit Services of America, Audubon Nebraska, Lyle Sittler Memorial Fund, McDonald’s, Nebraska Department of Agriculture, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Nebraska Land Trust, Rainwater Basin Joint Venture, Sandhills Task Force, Tri-State Generation & Transmission Association, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, World Wildlife Fund-Northern Great Plains, and Green Cover Seed.

Avoca’s Bloom Where You’re Planted Farm & Pumpkin Patch to be featured on Women in Ag webcast series

“Open for Business: A Nebraska Women in Agripreneurship Series,” will feature Bloom Where You’re Planted Farm & Pumpkin Patch, a family farm near the village of Avoca during its next live webcast on Dec. 8 at 6:30 p.m. Central time.

Produced by Nebraska Women in Agriculture, the monthly webcast series highlights the entrepreneurial spirit of women in agribusiness from across the state, offering creative insights and the stories behind what it takes to build a business.

The conversations focus on surviving business shocks such as disasters, regulatory changes and shifting family dynamics. Featured business leaders are interviewed by Brittany Fulton, Extension Assistant with the Nebraska Women in Agriculture program.

Bloom Where You’re Planted Farm & Pumpkin Patch is owned and operated by Teresa Lorensen and her husband Terry, who purchased and moved onto the property in 2003. Having worked in the hotel industry, at State Farm Insurance, and most recently as executive director of the Bess Streeter Aldrich House & Museum in Elmwood, Teresa brings a customer service and tourism background to her current agritourism adventure.

In the years when Teresa was dissatisfied with her career and looking for something more fulfilling, her mom would tell her to “bloom where you’re planted,” or in other words, make the most of the place you’re at in life. Those words helped inspire the Lorensens to take the leap, and in 2005 they opened a new business which they named for her mom’s advice.

Over the past 16 seasons, Bloom Where You’re Planted Farm & Pumpkin Patch has grown to offer a full slate of pumpkin patch activities, all based around agriculture and nature. Outside of the fall season, the farm is home to monthly Rural Route Rust vintage markets from May through September, featuring antiques, home décor and occasional guest vendors.

The webcast is free to attend but registration is required. Visit the Nebraska Women in Agriculture program website,, to register.

Nebraska Women in Agriculture is a program of Nebraska Extension in the Department of Agricultural Economics. For 35 years, it has been dedicated to providing unbiased, research-based risk management education to female agriculture professionals in Nebraska.

‘Let’s get growing.’ Scoular launches new brand and web site

The 128-year-old Scoular on Friday debuted a new corporate brand identity, including a bold blue and gold logo and a redesigned web site. Scoular customers can easily explore the web site to discover global supply chain solutions across six key industries: grains, food ingredients, animal feed ingredients, pet food ingredients, international trade, and transportation.

Scoular’s new brand and tag line “Let’s get growing” reflect the Nebraska-headquartered company’s past and continued path of growth, as well as employees’ ability to define what’s possible for their customers and themselves.

“Our employees possess the confidence, curiosity and creativity to anticipate and solve problems for our customers in a quickly evolving agricultural industry,” said Scoular CEO Paul Maass. “Our new brand identity reflects those strengths and communicates our powerful story and the many advantages of partnering with Scoular.”

The new logo reimagines the company’s former gold rosette emblem and consists of four rounded shapes inspired by the natural ingredients Scoular sources. “It pays homage to our deep history of success, while signifying the modern and innovative direction for Scoular’s future,” Maass said. Maass said the company developed its refreshed brand by leveraging what differentiates Scoular from its competitors: dynamic networks built through ownership and partnership; empowered employee decision-making enabling speed and responsiveness; customized solutions for customers; and employee ownership and integrity that drive engagement and performance.

Scoular employs more than 1,000 people who operate from more than 100 offices, grain elevators and processing facilities in North America and Asia. The company, with $4.6 billion in sales, recently announced a new global headquarters site in Omaha to accommodate its strategic growth plans and to create the foundation for an inclusive, innovative and energizing workplace.

“We are a company of employee-owners, problem-solvers and decision-makers,” Maass said. “The possibilities for Scoular’s future are limitless.”

Iowa Farm Families Receive Environmental Leader Award

Forty-two Iowa farmers have been selected to receive the 2020 Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig and Department of Natural Resources Director Kayla Lyon recognize these Iowa farm families for taking an active role in the state’s ongoing conservation efforts, which rely on farmers, landowners and businesses working together to make a difference. Gov. Reynolds, Secretary Naig and Director Lyon will present the awards to the farm families during the 2021 Iowa State Fair.

The award recognizes farmers who take voluntary actions to improve or protect the environment and our state’s natural resources. These practices enable farmers to maintain their operational productivity while being good stewards of the land, and assisting the state in making progress towards the goals outlined in Iowa’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy. Additionally, these farmers are leaders in their local communities, encouraging others to adopt more conservation practices.

“Conservation and agriculture go hand-in-hand, and Iowa farmers play a vital role in protecting our environment and preserving our state’s natural resources,” said Gov. Reynolds. “The 2020 Environmental Leader Award recognizes these family farmers for their outstanding stewardship and dedication to improving the land for future generations of Iowans. Congratulations and thank you for leading by example for your community and our entire state.”

“I want to thank these farmers for their commitment to improving soil health and water quality,” said Secretary Naig. “The state of Iowa continues to be a conservation leader and it’s because of farmers, like these award recipients, who are implementing practices on their land and encouraging their friends and neighbors to do the same.”

“Every year we look forward to recognizing these leaders in agriculture that have implemented innovative conservation measures,” said Director Lyon. “Their steadfast leadership is pushing the envelope and showcasing their care for our natural resources through conservation practices and paves the way for other farmers.”

The award winners are chosen by a committee representing both agricultural and conservation groups. Since this program was launched in 2012, more than 650 Iowa farm families have been recognized with an Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award.

2020 Award Recipients: (Listed alphabetically by last name)
    Loutsch Brothers, Inc., Plymouth County
    Steve and Tracy Pickhinke, Sac County
    Kirk and Lynell Vorthmann, Kelby and Jennifer Vorthmann, Pottawattamie County
    Darin Goodman, Pottawattamie County
    Sam and Danielle Bennett, Ida County
    Thomas and Linda Bindner, Cherokee County
    Kirk and Diane Den Herder, Sioux County
    Eric Andersen, Grundy County
    Trent Dight, Floyd County
    Ra Ra Farms: Becky Dorale, Crawford County
    Rodger Fullenkamp, Lee County
    Jacob and Dellisa Geisler, Webster County
    Chris Henning, Greene County
    Jamie Hostetler, Jackson County
    Ben and Amy Johnson, Andy and Abbie Johnson, Floyd County
    Brent and LuAnn Johnson, Calhoun County
    Jim Kadner, Grundy County
    John Kerkove, Buchanan County
    Jim and Jody Kerns, Delaware County
    Glenn and Michelle Kreuder, Decatur County
    Rodger and Karen Krogmeier, Jefferson County
    Daryl Landsgard, Clayton County
    Lance Lillibridge, Benton County
    Jeff and Shielly Monck and Family, Jones County
    Scott and Mary Beth Neff, Stan and Marianne Neff, Marshall County
    Brad Ohrt, Grundy County
    John and Jill O’Neal, Montgomery County
    Craig D. Pfantz, Marshall County
    David and Julie Rice, Jerry and Georgia Rice, Keokuk County
    Dan and Darlene Roth, Black Hawk County
    Greg and Aimee Shepherd, Henry County
    Charles (Phil) Short, Buchanan County
    Jeremy Sills, Tama County
    Adam and Lindsay Smith, Davis County
    Dennis and Patty Staudt, Floyd County
    Dennis Strother, Franklin County
    Stanley Eric Price, Pocahontas County
    Austin Schulte, Benton County
    Stuart Swanson, Wright County
    Arvin and Carolyn Vander Wilt, Mahaska County
    Roger and Louise Van Ersvelde, Poweshiek County
    Steve Wright, Taylor County

Submissions for the 2021 Farm Environmental Leader Awards are now open. Nominate a deserving farmer at before June 2021.


On Sunday, China and 14 countries signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the world’s largest free trade agreement. The deal, which doesn’t include the United States, covers trade in goods, services, investment, and economic and technical cooperation, among other issues, and represents nearly 30 percent of the world’s population.

RCEP negotiations were launched in November 2012 and the deal includes Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam, among others. It will enter into force 60 days after six Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members and three other countries have ratified the agreement.

The National Pork Producers Council sees tremendous market opportunity in Southeast Asia, and among top near-term priorities is U.S. participation in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). As NPPC President Howard “AV” Roth recently stated, “CPTPP countries are among the largest pork-consuming nations in the world. The United States produces the highest quality and most affordable pork in the world, and we are eager to compete on a level playing field in these high-growth markets.”

Illinois Waterway System Reopens to Traffic

A major rehabilitation project on the Illinois River has been completed, allowing for the 12 million tons of food and ag commodities that leave the state to resume. This past summer, the Illinois River was shut down to go through necessary infrastructure upgrades with all of the newly completed work accompanied by a price tag totaling roughly $200 million.

This Week in Agribusiness recently featured the ongoing work from the Illinois Lock and Dam Project. Back in September, corn growers and NCGA staff toured four active construction sites along the Rock Island District including LaGrange, Peoria, Starved Rock, and Marseilles. The inland waterways system is essential to getting U.S. corn to the export market, with more than 60 percent of the grain produced in the U.S. being transported by barge.

Illinois corn grower Terry Smith told This Week in Agribusiness that waterways transportation isn’t just more efficient, it also makes the roads safer. “If you know some of the numbers from just Illinois, Illinois in 2018 had a little over 83 million ton of product move up and down the river. That took roughly 2.1 million semis off the highways of Illinois.” Smith is a member of the Market Development Action Team who jointly funded a video project with the Risk Management and Transportation Action Team to highlight the rehabilitation work that took place on the Illinois River.

“I think it’s fantastic that some of the video content we produced while in Illinois was picked up and featured in This Week in Agribusiness. The purpose behind our involvement in the project was to help showcase all of the tremendous work underway by the Army Corps of Engineers so, to have our message amplified and to put extra wind in the sails, really helps our mission,” says Michael Granché, NCGA Market Development Manager.

Last week, November 12th was the 17th annual Waterways Council Inc. (WCI) Symposium. The symposium took a virtual platform for the first time, where Army Corp of Engineers Chief of Engineers, LTG Scott Spellmon spoke to guests and highlighted the work that’s been completed on the inland waterway system this summer. Spellmon emphasized the importance of this work while addressing the need to further improve the infrastructure.

ACGF Calls on Policymakers to Ratchet Up Ethanol RFS to 30%, Citing Rabobank Report in World Grain

“An article in the November 17, 2020 edition of World Grain, titled COVID-19’s lasting impact, cites a Rabobank report, ‘The Grain and Oilseed Sector in a Post-COVID-19 World’ authored by Stephen Nicholson, a grain and oilseed analyst for Rabobank, should serve as a warning to corn growers, farm organizations and policymakers in Congress that it’s time to ratchet up ethanol blending under the RFS to 30 percent nationwide as soon as possible,” says Gale Lush, ACGF Chairman and corn, soybean and wheat farmer from Wilcox, Nebraska. “According to Nicholson, ‘working from home, less business travel, less vacation travel and more virtual events and meetings make for a grim long-term picture for the biofuels industry.’ Nicholson’s report states, ‘in recent years we’ve been seeing a slow decrease in corn demand for ethanol in the US. That’s been fueled by a couple things, including more fuel-efficient cars, more electric cars and an overall decrease in demand for gas and oil products. That trend was already in place and it’s not going away. If anything, it might accelerate.’ America needs a 30 percent ethanol blend to offset that trend,” said Lush.

Lush said, “ethanol is an environmentally friendly, octane enhancing, job creating economic superstar that offers massive benefits for the rural sector and the American economy overall. According to a May 2020 fact sheet from Growth Energy:
-    Thanks to ethanol, there are fewer toxic, dirty chemicals in our fuel supply, water and air.
-    Biofuels, like ethanol, play a major role in cleaning up our transportation sector and displacing harmful fuel additives, like benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene (BTEX) that can be found in petroleum-based fuels.
-    USDA data shows that ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 39 percent or more compared to traditional gasoline, with corn ethanol’s relative carbon benefits reaching as high as 70 percent.
-    Research conducted in five global cities by the University of Illinois at Chicago found that E10 ethanol blends cut toxic emissions by 15.2 percent, while E20 blends reduce toxins by 31.7 percent.
-    A study done by researchers at the Ford Motor Company found that ethanol blends above 30 percent cut particle emissions by as much as 45 percent.

“An 11/18/20 article from World Grain cites the South China Morning Post as reporting a notice by China’s State Council encouraging all farmers to increase grain production with the planting of wheat, corn and rice. So, the large U.S. corn exports to China that have been in the news lately may not be ongoing, as some grain analysts might hope. With history as a teacher, we better not count on exports to China to save our farm sector.

Recent trade wars prove that reality. The new Biden Administration is going to push for more renewable energy. Ethanol is a perfect fit to help rebuild and modernize the U.S. motor fuel infrastructure,” said Lush.

Dan McGuire, ACGF policy director, points out that USDA’s November 2020 World Agricultural Supply Demand Estimate (WASDE) report projects that marketing year 2020/2021 corn use for ethanol is only at 5.050 billion bushels, a major drop from 5.5 billion bushels used per marketing year in recent years. That same report projects MY 2020/21 corn year ending stocks at 1.702 billion bushels and average farm prices of only $4.00.

“China is a major importer of U.S. corn in the near term due to a tremendous reduction in their domestic grain production and supply,” said McGuire. “According to an 11/12/20 Reuters article, ‘China’s grain buying has accelerated since May as Beijing burned through once-huge stockpiles and as extreme weather damaged this year’s corn crop’, which explains why China is importing so much U.S. corn and U.S. prices have risen a little.

USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service reports that China’s corn imports are estimated to hit 22 million metric tons (867 million bushels), demand met by the U.S., Ukraine and other suppliers. Even if China buys 500 million bushels of US corn it will only temporarily offset one year’s lost domestic U.S. ethanol demand. The Biden Administration must reverse EPA’s RFS ethanol blending waivers for oil companies and push for a 30% ethanol blend in gasoline nationwide. No-till/low-till practices and cover crops makes corn ethanol a value- added product of modern, regenerative farming. Ethanol is a pro-environment, renewable energy strategy.”

COVID-19 Affects American Lamb Exports

The American Lamb Board works with the U.S. Meat Export Federation to monitor and build export markets for American lamb. USMEF carries out market access and development activities in more than 90 countries in an effort to increase the value and profitability of American lamb, beef and pork.
In 2019, the American lamb industry exported 15,732 metric tonnes of products, including variety meats – a 22-percent volume increase from 2018. The key export markets for American lamb in 2019 included Mexico, the Caribbean, the Middle East and Canada. Although exports to Asia in 2019 remained slow, recent access to Taiwan and Japan has created opportunities in high-end foodservice.
In 2020, COVID–19 has impacted American lamb exports due to the pandemic’s effect on tourism and fine dining in worldwide markets. Foodservice and tourism-dependent markets such as the Caribbean, Middle East, Japan, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and Taiwan were heavily impacted by COVID-19 shutdowns.
Domestically, supply of American lamb has been disrupted not only by pandemic issues, but by the closure of Mountain States Rosen earlier this year.
“We can’t sell into the export market what we are unable to produce and process. This year has brought challenges to all sectors of the American lamb industry never seen before,” said ALB Chairman Gwen Kitzan of Nisland, S.D.
A bright spot in the export picture rests on opportunities in Japan and Taiwan. Similar to the United States market, Japan experienced a retail surge as a result of COVID-19 because foodservice options were limited and consumers opted to eat at home. As a result, USMEF shifted ALB 2020 promotional funds in Japan from fine dining and chef education to retail. USMEF partnered with a Japanese retailer to launch new American lamb products, including boneless shoulders and steaks in the retailer’s 10 stores.
In Taiwan, restaurants adapted to the pandemic by adding additional delivery services to their regular menus. Many households in Taiwan prefer to dine-out instead of cook at home, so dine-in services are still expected to rebound because of this strong preference. In 2020, USMEF devoted part of its ALB funding to reach consumers directly via social media. The purpose is to build interest in American lamb as a top-tier product that deserves high regard at retail and on restaurant menus. USMEF hosts a Facebook page dedicated to educating Taiwan consumers about American lamb cuts and cooking techniques, and collaborates with restaurant partners to feature lamb recipes.

Thursday November 19 Ag News

 Rural Mainstreet Index Retreats for First Time Since April

For the first time since April of this year, the Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI) declined. According to the monthly survey of bank CEOs in rural areas of a 10-state region dependent on agriculture and/or energy, the index fell to its lowest level since August of this year.         

Overall: The overall index for November sank below growth neutral to 46.8 from October’s 53.2. The index ranges between 0 and 100 with a reading of 50.0 representing growth neutral.

“Recent improvements in agriculture commodity prices, federal farm support payments, and Federal Reserve’s record low interest rates have underpinned the Rural Mainstreet Economy. Still, only 6.5% of bankers reported economic improvements from October, while 12.9% detailed economic pullbacks for the month,” said Ernie Goss, PhD, Jack A. MacAllister Chair in Regional Economics at Creighton University’s Heider College of Business.  

Farming and ranching: For a second straight month, the farmland-price index advanced above growth neutral. The November reading jumped to 55.0 from October’s 50.6. This is first time since 2013 that Creighton’s survey has recorded back-to-back above growth neutral readings in farmland prices.

The November farm equipment-sales index increased to 42.9, its highest level since December 2013, and up from 37.9 in October. However, this marks the 86th straight month the reading has remained below growth neutral 50.0.  

Banking: Bankers reported record low loan volumes for November. The November loan volume index fell to its lowest since the initiation of the survey in 2006. The lending index slumped to 25.8 from October’s 46.8. The checking-deposit index soared to 87.1, a record high, from 66.1 in October, while the index for certificates of deposit, and other savings instruments rose to 46.8 from 38.7 in October.       
This month bankers were asked to project the share of grain farmers likely to experience negative cash flow for 2021. Bankers expect 9.2% of grain farmers’ cash expenses to exceed cash revenue. This is an improvement from 2019 when bankers projected 12.4% of farmers to experience negative cash flows for 2020.

Below are the state reports:

Nebraska: The Nebraska RMI for November slumped to 45.1 from 58.6 in October. The state’s farmland-price index improved to 58.7 from last month’s 53.8. Nebraska’s new-hiring index fell to a still strong 56.9 from 58.0 in October. Compared to the same month last year, Nebraska’s Rural Mainstreet economy has lost 3.9% of its nonfarm employment, representing 11,300 jobs.   

Iowa: The November RMI for Iowa sank to 47.4 from October’s 52.3. Iowa’s farmland-price index rose to 53.4 from 50.6 in October. Iowa’s new-hiring index for November inched lower to 54.0 from 54.9 in October. Compared to the same month last year, Iowa’s Rural Mainstreet economy has lost 6.4% of its nonfarm employment, representing 43,000 jobs.

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 2006.

Nebraska Communities United Asks Public To Help Protect Nebraska From Excessive Industry In New Watchful Citizen Program

“The Salvation of the State is the Watchfulness in the Citizen” is inscribed over the main entrance of Nebraska’s State Capitol building. For generations, this Hartley Burr Alexander quote has reminded us that citizen watchfulness is vital to a healthy democracy.

Honoring this sentiment, Nebraska Communities United (NCU) is inviting rural Nebraska citizens to take part in a health-focused, agriculture and environmental initiative, The Watchful Citizen Program.

The Watchful Citizen program is designed to be the eyes and ears for grassroots Nebraska individuals and communities who have local CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations) near their homes, farms or place of business.  Citizens who volunteer become part of a team that collects data regarding these respective CAFOs.   Data collection will include noise and light pollution, road conditions, air quality and water testing.  

The Watchful Citizen Program intends to promote public transparency in regard to industrialized ag companies, while holding them accountable to a higher, and more sustainable standard.

NCU was founded in 2016 in response to the incursion of vertically integrated agriculture in Nebraska.  For the past four years, NCU has been educating citizens and farmers about regenerative farming strategies, and encouraging independent farming and ranching that is both profitable and ecologically responsible.

Randy Ruppert, President of Nebraska Communities United says, “An informed community is a strong community. These programs such as The Watchful Citizen and Citizen Scientist Water Testing, are designed to allow more Nebraskans to participate in the protection of our health, natural resources and communities.”

If citizens are interested in obtaining more information or if you would like to join the team of Watchful Citizens, please contact us at

Citizens can also enroll in the program by visiting our website at

 Fischer Cosponsors Growing Climate Solutions Act of 2020

U.S. Senator Deb Fischer, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, today joined Senators Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) in introducing The Growing Climate Solutions Act of 2020. The legislation would reduce barriers to entry to enable more farmers and ranchers to voluntarily participate in carbon credit markets

“Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers have long been good stewards of the land and innovators of ways to conserve our precious natural resources. By reducing barriers to carbon credit markets, Senator Braun’s bipartisan legislation will enable more ag producers to be part of the climate solution and it will help them expand on existing practices,” said Senator Fischer.

The Growing Climate Solutions Act creates a certification process at USDA to help solve technical entry barriers to farmer and forest landowner participation in carbon credit markets.

The bill establishes a process through which USDA will be able to provide transparency, legitimacy, and informal endorsements of third party verifiers and technical service providers that help private landowners generate carbon credits.

Through the program, USDA will help connect landowners to private sector actors who can assist the landowners in implementing the protocols and monetizing the climate value of their sustainable practices. Third party entities, certified under the program, will be able to claim the status of a “USDA Certified” technical assistance provider or verifier. The USDA certification lowers barriers to entry in the credit markets by reducing confusion and improving information for farmers looking to implement practices that capture carbon, reduce emissions, improve soil health, and make operations more sustainable. The bill also instructs USDA to produce a report to Congress to advise about the further development of this policy area.

“On behalf of Nebraska’s corn farmers, I’d like to thank Sen. Deb Fischer for signing on to the Growing Climate Solutions Act. This legislation not only recognizes the current work of our farmers’ conservation efforts, but it also improves the opportunity for access to carbon markets, helping our farmers take the next step in their stewardship and environmental efforts,” said Kelly Brunkhorst, executive director of the Nebraska Corn Board and the Nebraska Corn Growers Association.

“The Growing Climate Solutions Act is an important step toward solving climate change in a manner that supports Nebraska's farms and ranches. Senator Fischer is to be commended for sponsoring this act, which has support from major farm and environmental organizations and members of both parties.  Climate change is already affecting our weather across Nebraska and our farmers and ranchers are feeling much of the pain.  It is great that Congress has developed a response that has both short and long-term benefits.  It will improve our croplands while reducing carbon emissions.  The Nebraska Citizens' Climate Lobby strongly supports Senator Fischer's decision to sponsor this important bill,” said the Nebraska Citizens' Climate Lobby.

“We greatly appreciate Sen. Fischer’s support for the Growing Climate Solutions Act. Nebraska Farm Bureau has long been a proponent of ensuring farmers and ranchers are recognized for their ongoing efforts to protect and conserve soil health. That’s why Farm Bureau offered support for this forward-looking legislation when it was introduced this past June. The bill, which authorizes USDA to establish a third-party verification system and technical support, is an important step forward to facilitate farmers being financially rewarded for their ongoing efforts to keep carbon in the soil,” said Steve Nelson, president, Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation

“Passage of the GCSA would be a big win for agriculture and for conservation. Farmers and ranchers need a straightforward way to tap into voluntary carbon markets, and this bill is a big step in that direction. Thanks to Senator Fischer for her leadership on this important issue,” said Mace Hack, State Director of The Nature Conservancy in Nebraska.

“CRES applauds Senator Fischer for joining the Growing Climate Solutions Act. Covering 92% of the state’s total land, Nebraska’s farms and ranches are an impressive engine for the state’s economy. With support from Nebraska’s Senior Senator, the Growing Climate Solutions Act recognizes that these hard-working men and women can be trusted to help protect our environment while continuing to feed our nation and the world. Senator Fischer is a recognized advocate for agriculture and conservation, and her commitment to commonsense, limited-government climate solutions is a welcomed, much-needed voice in the Federal government. CRES is thrilled to work with Senator Fischer and the other Growing Climate Solutions Act sponsors to advance this bipartisan, voluntary framework for empowering America’s farmers, ranchers and landowners to address climate change while boosting local economies,” said Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions’ Executive Director Heather Reams.  

Northwest Iowa Wagyu Beef Producer Earns Triple Crown Steak Challenge Honors

What makes a superior steak? Feddersen USA Wagyu is raising the bar with its big wins in the national Triple Crown Steak Challenge, including the Reserve Grand Champion title.

Feddersen USA Wagyu of Anthon earned top honors in mid-November for producing beef with superior flavor, tenderness and health benefits.

“Our goal is to produce the best-tasting, 100% Wagyu beef,” said Brad Feddersen, who has raised Wagyu cattle with his family since 1997. “We look at every little detail that can have an impact on our cattle’s well-being and performance. The Triple Crown Steak Challenge results verify that all the long hours, hard work, efforts to maintain a healthy environment for the cattle pay off in exceptional meat quality.”

The Feddersen family has been building their herd of full-blooded Wagyu cattle since 2017. Their plans to sell hormone-free, antibiotic-free beef directly to consumers and chefs accelerated after the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the food-supply chain.

The family keeps their cattle on feed for two years, significantly longer than traditional cattle production, to produce extraordinary marbling. In the hierarchy of beef, Wagyu’s superior marbling makes it exceptionally tender, savory, flavorful, juicy beef.

The Triple Crown Steak Challenge goes beyond taste assessments to measure precise, objective scientific valuations of meat quality. This helps consumers know exactly what they’re buying. “The most distinguished people in the meat industry judge this beef,” says Desiree (Desi) Cicale, a director with the American Wagyu Beef Association. “All these tests eliminate the guesswork of determining beef quality.”

Feddersen USA Wagyu took top honors in the “Warner Bratzler Shear Force for Tenderness—Fullblood” category (which measures meat tenderness) and the “Fatty Acid Profile for Health Benefits--Fullblood” category, which analyzes the beef’s palatability and health benefits. Feddersen USA Wagyu also scored high in the “Total Lipid Panel Fullblood” category, which reveals how much marbling is in the meat.

“Exceptional marbling looks like a blizzard on an ultrasound,” Cicale said. “Fine grains of marbling elevate the taste sensation of the beef and lend a buttery flavor to the meat.”

Feddersen USA Wagyu also ranked high in the “Japanese Carcass Camera—Fullblood” category. The high-tech Japanese carcass camera test allows meat to be graded on the Japanese system, which involves quality grades above prime. “Wagyu takes beef to a whole new level,” said Feddersen’s wife, Shawna. “Wagyu is something every meat lover should experience at least once.”

Online shopping makes the farm-to-fork connection

The Feddersens ship their Wagyu beef to buyers across the United States. Nathanael Koch, a customer from the Denver, Colorado, area, says the beef is unlike anything available at the grocery store.

“It brings the steakhouse experience right to your home, so you can share it with your family and friends. I appreciate the fact that the Feddersens are entrepreneurs who sell directly to consumers. It’s rewarding to know this beef comes from a family who takes good care of their cattle, their farm and their community.”

Brad Feddersen encourages customers to visit his family’s feedlot in the hills of Woodbury County to learn more about where their food comes from.

“It’s an honor to share what all our hard work has created—the best-tasting, fullblood Wagyu in the country,” he said. “I hope Feddersen USA Wagyu will help bring people together and make great memories for a lifetime.”

To learn more about Feddersen USA Wagyu, visit

This Week's Drought Summary

Heavy precipitation – from 2 to locally near 8 inches – pelted the Carolinas, southern Appalachians, mid-Atlantic region, Pacific Northwest from the Cascades westward, higher elevations of the northern Intermountain West and western Wyoming, northeastern Wisconsin, and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Lesser amounts of 0.5 to locally over 2 inches dampened most of a large area from eastern sections of the central and northern Great Plains eastward through the middle and upper Mississippi Valley, Great Lakes Region, Appalachians, and Atlantic Coast States. Similar amounts fell on lower elevations of the northern Intermountain West and Pacific Northwest. Meanwhile, light precipitation at best fell on the central and western Gulf Coast States, most of the Plains, and the Southwest. Meanwhile, temperatures were generally cool in the West and warm in the East. Temperatures average 12 to 15 degrees F above normal from the Carolinas through Alabama. above normal from the High Plains of subnormal temperatures. In contrast, it was 8 to 12 degrees F cooler than normal from Montana southward through Utah, Arizona, the Southwest and the Great Basin. This pattern brought areas of improvement to parts of the Northeast the western Ohio Valley, the northern half of the Mississippi Valley, and northern sections of the Rockies, Intermountain West, and Pacific Northwest. In stark contrast, conditions deteriorated through most of central and eastern Texas, parts of the central Great Plains, the southern High Plains, and the central tier of the Four Corners States. As the period ended, dryness had persisted or worsened throughout the large area of entrenched drought from the Rockies westward, and dry conditions were intensifying quickly across Texas and the central Plains.


Moderate precipitation – slightly above normal – fell on most of the Midwest, with heavier amounts of 1.5 to 3.0 inches falling on parts of southern Illinois and Missouri, and over the central Great Lakes. This had the effect of whittling down dryness and drought coverage compared to the previous week, especially across eastern Minnesota, central Iowa, southwestern Missouri, and a stripe across southern Illinois and central Indiana. The past 3 months brought 4 to7 inches less precipitation than normal from much of western Indiana, central Illinois, and the northern half of Illinois.

High Plains

A few inches of precipitation fell on the highest elevations, particularly in western Wyoming. This induced some reductions in drought severity there, but broad areas of extreme to exceptional drought remained across the rest of Wyoming and Colorado, with the most severe classification D4 almost ubiquitous across western Colorado. Farther east, moderate to severe drought persisted across North Dakota, and generally moderate to severe drought stretched over much of Kansas and Nebraska. Conditions deteriorated across most of Kansas, but conditions were more stable farther north.

Looking Ahead

Through November 23, 2020, moderate to heavy precipitation should primarily fall on a swath from Kansas and Oklahoma through the lower Great Lakes Region, the Ohio Valley, and upstate New York. Over 1.5 inches are expected across parts of southern Illinois, central Missouri, and southeastern Kansas. Through the rest of the country, amounts over 1.5 inches should be restricted to the northern half of the immediate West Coast and the windward Cascades. Light to moderate precipitation – from a few tenths to about an inch – is forecast in the Sierra Nevada and the higher elevations across Idaho, western Montana, northwestern Wyoming, and central Colorado. Light to moderate precipitation could also fall on Florida’s immediate Atlantic Coast, and a few tenths of an inch should dampen the Northeast. Little or no precipitation is expected elsewhere, including most areas in the West experiencing extreme to exceptional drought. Specifically, a dry week is expected in the Southeast, the Gulf Coast, Texas, the northern Great Plains, the High Plains, lower elevations of the Four Corners States, the valleys of the Pacific Northwest, the Great Basin, and the Southwest. Meanwhile, unusually mild weather will prevail across most of the country. Most areas from the interior Atlantic Coast States through the Rockies should average at least 6 degrees F above normal, with means exceeding 12 degrees F above normal over a large area from the Plains through the Southwest. Only portions of the northern Intermountain West and West Coast can expect near to slightly below-normal temperatures.

The Climate Prediction Center’s 6-10 day outlook (November 24-28) favors subnormal precipitation to continue across most of the Plains, the upper Great Lakes Region, the Rockies, the Four Corners States, the Great Basin, and most of the Southwest. Subnormal precipitation is also favored in northwestern Alaska. Meanwhile, odds tilt toward surplus precipitation in southern Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, from the southeastern Great Plains and lower Great Lakes Region eastward to the Atlantic Coast. Meanwhile, a large part of the country has enhanced chances or warmer than normal weather, including central and western Alaska, the southern Rockies, the Plains, the Ohio Valley, the Southeast, and the mid-Atlantic region. Subnormal temperatures are not significantly favored anywhere in the continental 49 states.

Tyson Waterloo Managers Suspended - Lawsuit Claims Bosses Bet on Number of Virus Cases

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) -- Tyson Foods suspended top officials at its largest pork plant on Thursday and launched an investigation into allegations that they bet on how many workers would get infected during a widespread coronavirus outbreak.

The company's president and CEO, Dean Banks, said he was "extremely upset" about the allegations against managers at its plant in Waterloo, Iowa, saying they do not represent the company's values. He said the company has retained the law firm Covington & Burling LLP to conduct an investigation, which will be led by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

"If these claims are confirmed, we'll take all measures necessary to root out and remove this disturbing behavior from our company," Banks said in a statement.

Banks said the accused have been suspended without pay but did not elaborate.

The Arkansas-based company has faced a backlash over recently amended wrongful death lawsuits in which plaintiffs' lawyers allege that Waterloo plant manager Tom Hart "organized a cash buy-in, winner-take-all betting pool for supervisors and managers to wager on how many employees would test positive for COVID-19."

Hart allegedly organized the pool last spring as the virus spread through the Waterloo plant, ultimately infecting more than 1,000 of its 2,800 workers, killing at least six and sending many others to the hospital. The outbreak eventually tore through the broader Waterloo community.

The lawyers represent the estates of Sedika Buljic, 58; Reberiano Garcia, 60; Jose Ayala Jr., 44; and Isidro Fernandez, age unknown. Buljic, Garcia and Fernandez died in April, and Ayala died May 25 after a six-week hospitalization.

The allegation, which was first reported Wednesday by the Iowa Capital Dispatch news site, generated anger toward Tyson on social media and in Waterloo.

Hart didn't respond to an email seeking comment.

Democratic State Rep. Ras Smith, whose district includes the plant, said Hart should be fired if the allegation is founded and that workplace safety officials should investigate.

"They were knowingly allowing this virus to spread rampantly in the plant and the community. The more we hear, the more we find out how insidious and intentional it was," Smith said.

At the time of the alleged betting, Tyson was resisting pressure from local officials to shut down the plant as a safety precaution. The company argued the plant, which can process nearly 20,000 hogs per day, was a vital market for farmers and critical to the meat supply.

Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds, who allowed Tyson to keep the plant open and praised its executives for taking voluntary safety measures, did not answer directly Thursday when asked whether her trust in the company was misplaced. Reynolds, who signed a law in June shielding companies from liability for some COVID-19 related injuries, instead praised her administration for inspecting the plant and helping organize mass testing of workers.

A sheriff helping lead Black Hawk County's pandemic response said that during an April tour of the plant, he was "shaken to the core" after seeing workers not social distancing or wearing adequate personal protective equipment.

Managers told workers they had a responsibility to stay on the job to ensure that Americans didn't go hungry, even while they started avoiding the plant floor themselves because they were afraid of contracting the virus, the lawsuits allege. They increasingly delegated responsibilities to low-level supervisors with no management training or experience.

One upper-level manager, John Casey, ordered a sick supervisor who was leaving to get tested to get back to work, and told others they and their subordinates had to keep working even if they had symptoms, the lawsuits allege. Casey allegedly told workers the virus was the "glorified flu" and "not a big deal" because everyone would get it.

On a tour of the plant with Hart, Iowa Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors on April 20 saw four workers within six feet of each other in one part of the plant, records show. Tyson said it was still in the process of installing barriers at the time.

The plant soon suspended operations to allow for the mass-testing of employees and it reopened about two weeks later with new safety protocols. Iowa OSHA said in June that it found no violations of its standards during the April 20 inspection.

Tyson has asked a federal judge to dismiss the lawsuits, arguing that the exclusive remedy for workplace injuries under Iowa law is through the workers' compensation system. Its lawyers also argue that the plaintiffs have failed to show that the deceased workers contracted the virus at the plant and not elsewhere.

K-State, Minnesota researchers collaborate to study antimicrobial use in food animal industries

Kansas State University and University of Minnesota researchers are collaborating with the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Veterinary Medicine and food animal industries to evaluate systems for collecting and evaluating antimicrobial use data in food animal production, including U.S. beef feedlot, dairy, swine, turkey and chicken production settings. The project is largely funded by the Center for Veterinary Medicine.

The researchers also are collaborating with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Center for Epidemiology and Animal Health as they develop their data systems. Their results have just been published in a special issue of Zoonoses and Public Health, an international journal that publishes integrated and global approaches to disease transmission and public health at the interface of human and animal health.

Leading the collaborative research for beef feedlots and dairy is the K-State team, all connected to the university's College of Veterinary Medicine: Mike Apley, professor of production medicine; Brian Lubbers, associate professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology; and former graduate students Nora Schrag and Katie Hope, both now K-State doctoral graduates in pathobiology.

Collaborators at the University of Minnesota include Sandra Godden, dairy cattle; Randy Singer, chickens and turkeys; and Peter Davies, swine.

Preserving the ability to use effective antimicrobials in the therapy of disease for both humans and animals is the underlying goal for each of the projects. To better understand the future of antimicrobial use in animal agriculture, the researchers said it is important to fully understand current antimicrobial use. Food animal producers and veterinarians also benefit from knowing how their current antimicrobial use compares to their peers. These goals require systems that are capable of gathering data from varying record systems and standardizing and reporting the data in a meaningful way.

"One of the key components of antibiotic stewardship is understanding how we are using the antimicrobials in comparison to others," said Apley, the principal investigator for K-State's portion of the project. "In our papers, you will find an emphasis on the effect of how we choose to report and evaluate antimicrobial use data, as well as the unique aspects of each food animal production system and how they require different approaches to data collection and analysis."

The scope of the monitoring in each project varies, from approximately 90% of the chicken industry, represented in Singers' data, to convenience samples involving 22 beef feedlots and 29 dairies.

Apley said producers and veterinarians were key to success of the projects. Each producer received a confidential benchmark report comparing their antimicrobial use to the other participants. The reports and papers separate antibiotics by class and present them in relation to the animal populations from which the data were derived.

The beef feedlot and dairy papers are pilot projects that will help inform the structure of systems designed to describe antibiotic use in a manner that supports antibiotic stewardship.

"The projects would not have been possible without our collaborating beef feedlot and dairy producers," Apley said. "The ability of these producers to combine their own expertise with their veterinarian's in applying the data to their specific circumstances is a focus of our work. Their feedback on what is useful will shape our future efforts."

Apley is a current member of the Presidential Advisory Council for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria, a council that Singer and Davis have previously served on. Collecting antimicrobial use data is one of the areas of focus in the most recent council report, which may be accessed at

Kansas State University and University of Minnesota researchers collaborate with the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine and food animal industries to evaluate systems for collecting and evaluating antimicrobial use data in food animal production.

Record High Red Meat Production in October

Commercial red meat production for the United States totaled 5.09 billion pounds in October, up slightly from the 5.07 billion pounds produced in October 2019.

Beef production, at 2.47 billion pounds, was 1 percent above the previous year. Cattle slaughter totaled 2.95 million head, down 1 percent from October 2019. The average live weight was up 25 pounds from the previous year, at 1,385 pounds.

Veal production totaled 5.3 million pounds, 24 percent below October a year ago. Calf slaughter totaled 37,100 head, down 33 percent from October 2019. The average live weight was up 28 pounds from last year, at 250 pounds.

Pork production totaled 2.60 billion pounds, down slightly from the previous year. Hog slaughter totaled 12.0 million head, down 2 percent from October 2019. The average live weight was up 6 pounds from the previous year, at 291 pounds.

Lamb and mutton production, at 10.6 million pounds, was down 17 percent from October 2019. Sheep slaughter totaled 182,300 head, 11 percent below last year. The average live weight was 116 pounds, down 8 pounds from October a year ago.

By State                 (mill. lbs  -  % Oct '19)

Nebraska ...........:     737.9             94       
Iowa ..................:     819.3            100       
Kansas ...............:     554.5            131       

January to October 2020 commercial red meat production was 46.1 billion pounds, up 1 percent from 2019. Accumulated beef production was down slightly from last year, veal was down 13 percent, pork was up 3 percent from last year, and lamb and mutton production was down 8 percent.

Amino Acid Helps Shore Up Defenses of Swine

A third round of feeding trials conducted by a team of USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and university scientists has again shown that a dietary supplement called L-glutamine can naturally promote growth and wellness in pigs.

Jay S. Johnson, an animal scientist with ARS's Livestock Behavior Research Unit in West Lafayette, Indiana, and his Purdue University collaborators are investigating L-glutamine as a natural alternative to using dietary antibiotics. Swine producers had used antibiotics to help piglets cope with stressful events like being weaned from their mothers and then transported, which can lower young animals' immune function, feed intake and growth.

However, a 2017 Veterinary Feed Directive restricted the practice amid concerns it contributed to antimicrobial resistance to medically important antibiotics used to treat human infection. The team's investigation of L-glutamine, a naturally occurring amino acid found in the body and in food, is part of a broader research effort to identify suitable replacements that are just as effective, safe and economical to use.

The latest study is an expansion of trials conducted in 2017 and 2018. As before, groups of piglets were weaned and then transported for 12 hours, simulating what they might experience in a commercial operation. After transport, the piglets were housed in a nursery barn. This time, the researchers supplemented the young animals' diets for 14 days with L-glutamine at one of five feed concentrations: 0.20, 0.40, 0.60, 0.80 or 1.00 percent. Another group of piglets also received feed with antibiotics (chlortetracycline and tiamulin) but no supplemental L-glutamine, and a final group received a non-supplemented diet.

Highlighted results of a paper published in Translational Animal Science are below:
    As with prior trials, L-glutamine-treated pigs performed similarly to those in the antibiotics group, and both of these groups fared better than piglets given non-supplemented feed.
    The study results indicate that the increased weight gain and other benefits of treating piglets with L-glutamine above the original .20 percent test can be as profitable as using dietary antibiotics.
    0.40 percent L-glutamine was the optimal supplementation level for improving pig welfare and performance immediately after weaning and transport, while 0.80 percent appeared to offer the most long-term economic benefit.

Growth Energy Outlines 2021 Biofuel Policy Priorities  

Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor today outlined the biofuels industry’s top federal priorities for 2021, highlighting key measures that elected leaders must take to protect the climate, revitalize rural communities, and offer more consumers clean, affordable options to fuel their cars.   
“Biofuels, including plant-based ethanol, are critical tools for decarbonizing America’s existing transportation fleet and supporting our nation’s farmers and rural communities. Solvable challenges in this area await leaders in Congress and the next administration,” said Skor.
"As a climate solution," Skor added, "biofuels will be key to meeting the nation’s goals for the transportation sector, America’s largest source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions."
“To maximize the value of America’s low-carbon biofuels, it’s vital that officials address outstanding issues that are hindering our industry’s ability to access markets, promote innovation, and create rural jobs,” she said.  
Specifically, Skor highlighted the association’s key priorities and opportunities where elected leaders can help reverse setbacks experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic, promote better fuel choices, and protect the environment. These include:

Restoring integrity to the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS)
    Reject outstanding small refinery exemptions (SREs) and apply the 10th Circuit court ruling nationwide moving forward
    Finalize strong Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) for 2021 and restore the 500 million gallons remanded by the courts in 2017
    Set forward-leaning biofuel targets for 2023 and beyond
    Approve applications for the production of advanced, corn kernel fiber ethanol

Eliminating barriers to higher blends to accelerate market access
    Clarify rules around the use of existing fuel storage and dispensing equipment for E15
    Remove outdated labeling at the fuel pump
    Expand infrastructure for higher biofuel blends, including USDA’s Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP)

Expanding the role of biofuels in a clean energy future at home and abroad
    Promote innovation in biotechnology and sustainable agriculture  
    Update and modernize federal GHG emissions modeling on biofuels based on the most up- to date science
    Utilize opportunities to decarbonize our nation’s transportation sector through the use of high octane, low-low carbon fuels
    Break down trade barriers to low-carbon ethanol in markets like Brazil, Mexico and China
    Leverage benefits of biofuels in the Paris Climate Accord

“Addressing these issues, in addition to continued support to stabilize the industry from the impacts of COVID-19, can bring significant economic benefits for rural communities across the country and bolster the incoming administration’s plans to Build Back Better. We look forward to working with leaders in Congress and the next administration to advance these important initiatives in renewable energy,” said Skor.

Farm Action Applauds New “Justice for Black Farmers Act”

Press Release

Today, Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Elizabeth Warren (D-NH), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) are filing “The Justice for Black Farmers Act of 2020.” This bill takes up issues at the heart of the historic racial discrimination in U.S. agriculture by:
-    Establishing an Independent Civil Rights Oversight Board to review civil rights complaint appeals and investigate discrimination reports with USDA. The Board would also provide oversight of Farm Service Agency County Committees
-    Creating an Equity Commission to develop recommendations to end disparities in treatment of Black farmers
-    Forming a Black Farmer Land Grant through a new line agency at USDA where land of up to 160 acres would be available to Black individuals at no cost
-    Increasing credit access and land retention for marginalized farmers
-    Funding historically Black colleges and universities at a level of $500 million per year for 10 years to expand agricultural education
-    Strengthening existing antitrust enforcement through the Packers and Stockyards Act, with the knowledge that food chain workers of color are additionally vulnerable to economic and labor exploitation

Family Farm Action Alliance released the following statement:

“We applaud the introduction of The Justice for Black Farmers Act of 2020 by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-NH) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). We stand in solidarity with Black farmers -- those who currently farm, those who will have their land restored to them, and those who will have the opportunity to farm if this bill is to pass. The Justice for Black Farmers Act is a step to right the land and generational wealth loss that Black people in the United States have experienced and continue to experience. The legislation will redistribute power and provide land and resources so that all farmers may have the opportunity to prosper, steward the land, and feed their communities.”

Discrimination against Black farmers is sewn into the fabric of U.S. agriculture and over time it has gotten worse. In 1910, Black farmers owned 16 to 19 million acres of land and made up 14% of America’s farmers, while in 2017 Black farmers operated on 4.7 million acres of farmland and accounted for 1.4% of farmers in the U.S. Between 2012 and 2017 alone, the number of Black farmers has dropped 3%. Much of this land loss can be attributed to discriminatory lending, particularly by the hands of USDA.

Black land and farm loss is a symptom of disproportionate harm from corporate consolidation and industrialization of agriculture, when compared to harms experienced by white farmers. The Justice For Black Farmers Act recognizes this, providing a well-rounded approach and building the solid foundation needed to address the ongoing legacy of systemic racism and injustice that Black farmers have experienced in The United States.

Family Farm Action Alliance Releases Pivotal Agricultural Consolidation Report in Partnership with Open Markets Institute

Press Release
Today, Family Farm Action Alliance, in partnership with Open Markets Institute, released a groundbreaking report titled, “The Food System: Concentration and Its Impacts,” at a virtual event featuring Sen. Cory Booker. The report was authored by Dr. Mary Hendrickson, Dr. Phil Howard, Emily Miller, and Dr. Douglas Constance.

Sen. Booker offered remarks about the report, stating, “Consolidation in our food system is a grave threat to our family farmers and rural communities, and this important new report from Dr. Hendrickson reinforces the urgent need for Congress to take action to address corporate concentration and create a food system that is rooted in fairness and opportunity for all.”

The event featured a conversation with Dr. Hendrickson, rural sociologist and leading food system scholar, who discussed the implications of a concentrated agrifood system. Dr. Hendrickson stated, “Even with my years of examining consolidation in the food system, I am profoundly distressed by its ecological waste, the erosion of communities, and its callous treatment of human beings. Consciously or unconsciously, we have created this system and we can change it.”

The report provides the latest updated data on agricultural market shares in the U.S. as part of a holistic and comprehensive analysis of the shortcomings of our overly concentrated food supply chain. It also includes bold proposals for decentralizing our agri-food system to move power out of the control of just a few. Highlights include:
-    An updated analysis of the current state of concentration where in the U.S., the top 4 companies control 80% of soybean processing, 73% of beef processing, and 67% of pork processing; and globally, the top 4 control 65% of agrochemicals, 58% of animal pharmaceuticals, and 50% of seeds.
-    The cost to the U.S. of an industrial feed-meat complex that reinforces extensive monocropping, chemical inputs, dangerous farmworker conditions, and environmental degradation for the sake of corporate profit is over $44 billion per year in soil erosion, and at least $100 million in lost farm income.
-    A call for policies that democratize the agrifood system through antitrust enforcement, prioritizing racial equity, transforming and redirecting production subsidies, and empowering alternative and localized food systems and economies.

The report is founded on the premise that monopolistic control is no longer about accumulating capital or profits, but rather amassing and protecting power. These few points, among others in the report, demonstrate that concentration is a tool for corporations to maintain power and control - not to feed people.

New Poll Reveals Chicken Consumers Would Switch Brands and Pay More for Meat to Avoid Current Standard Industry Practice of Live-Shackle Slaughter, Reports The Humane League

Press Release

The Humane League announces new findings by Rethink Priorities revealing that large majorities of U.S. customers would be willing to switch brands and pay more for chicken to avoid the cruel and unfortunately common industry practice of live-shackle slaughter. This new data includes meat eaters, with 93% of respondents sharing that they consumed chicken within the past month.

Conducted by Rethink Priorities, the poll surveyed 2,000 individuals living in the U.S. Results found that a clear majority (81%) of American consumers would prefer to purchase chicken from a brand that did not perform the industry standard method of killing chickens for meat, known as live-shackle slaughter. The sample was weighted based on the U.S. Census to be representative of Americans by age, gender, education, race, political ideology, income, and urban/rural residence.

"This newfound data should come as a wake-up call for grocery stores, restaurants, and meat suppliers. As consumers learn more about what goes on behind the walls of factory farms, even avid meat eaters feel that animals deserve better than the daily torture inflicted on them," said David Coman-Hidy, President of The Humane League. "It's unsurprising that people are horrified by what goes on in slaughterhouses. Brands would be wise to move away from the cruel standard practice of live-shackle slaughter before their customers move away from them."

In meat processing facilities across the country, live chickens are slammed into metal shackles—a method that often breaks their legs and makes it difficult for them to breathe. The chickens are then dragged through an electrified waterbath to be stunned, before their throats are cut by an automatic blade, and they're submerged into a scalding water tank meant to remove feathers. Unfortunately, this process is often unreliable. According to the USDA, half a million chickens drowned in scalding tanks in 2019, equating to 1,400 birds boiled alive every day.

The shackling of live chickens has been shown to reduce the quality of meat, due to the violent struggle the birds endure. The practice creates dangerous hazards for slaughterhouse workers, who often end up covered in scratches, feces, blood, and pathogens. Meat industry giants like Tyson Foods, Pilgrim's Pride, and Sanderson Farms could end this abuse with one decision—by ending the cruel, unhealthy practice of live-shackle slaughter.

This data comes as The Humane League works to urge the world's largest food companies to adopt the Better Chicken Commitment, a set of welfare standards that includes ending the practice of live-shackle slaughter. More than 185 major US food companies, including Chipotle and Campbell's, have already pledged to implement the changes in the Better Chicken Commitment—meaningfully reducing the suffering of chickens within their supply chains.

These findings will help inform the fate of the chicken industry, at a pivotal time when customers are growing increasingly concerned about where their food comes from.

As we approach the holidays, consumers should be aware that turkeys are also slaughtered using live-shackle slaughter.

Wednesday November 18 Ag News


As the 2020 growing season comes to an end, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will contact producers nationwide to gather final year-end crop production numbers and the amount of grain and oilseeds stored on their farms. At the same time, NASS will survey grain facility operators to determine year-end off-farm grain and oilseed stocks.

“These surveys are the largest and most important year-end surveys conducted by NASS,” explained NASS’s Northern Plains Director Nicholas Streff. “They are the basis for the official USDA estimates of production and harvested acres of all major agricultural commodities in the United States as well as grain and oilseed supplies. Data from the survey will benefit farmers and processors by providing timely and accurate information to help them make crucial year-end business decisions and begin planning for the next growing and marketing season.”

“Responses to the survey will be used in calculating county-level yields which have a direct impact on farmers around the State. USDA’s Farm Service Agency may use the data in administering producer programs and in determining disaster assistance program calculations,” said Streff. “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 2019, 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,” Streff 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.”

Survey results will be published in several reports, including the Crop Production Annual Summary and the quarterly Grain Stocks report, both to be released on January 12. These and all NASS reports are available online at For more information call the NASS Nebraska Field Office at 800-582-6443.


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

“According to the most recent Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report in September, there were 79.1 million hogs and pigs in the United States,” said Nicholas Streff, NASS Northern Plains Regional Director. “The December survey and resulting report will continue to provide important indicators for the industry of what changes are occurring – if any.”

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

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

NASS will publish the survey results in the Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report on December 23. All NASS reports are available online at For more information, call the NASS Northern Plains Regional Office at (800) 582-6443.

Nebraska Extension Master Gardener volunteer program goes virtual for 2021

Nebraska Extension is accepting applications for its 2021 Master Gardner Volunteer training program. The 2021 training will take place virtually.  

The Nebraska Extension Master Gardener Volunteer program is a horticulture-related volunteer training program based in many counties and has been part of Nebraska Extension since 1976. Volutneers are trained by Nebraska Extension faculty and staff in horticulture, environmental, and landscape-system related topics. It was designed for individuals interested in learning more about gardening and landscape practices, or who have a passion for giving back to the community by sharing science-based horticulture information.

Working through their local Extension office, the trained volunteers use these unique skills, to participate in horticulture and landscape projects within their communities. More specifically, they provide education about sustainable horticultural practices while developing valuable partnerships within the community and leveraging the resources of Nebraska Extension and the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

Participants are required to complete 40 hours of class training and 40 hours of volunteer service during the initial year of their involvement in the program. The initial training curriculum covers topics such as plant science, botany, insects, weed and wildlife management, pesticide safety, soils, turfgrass, and whole landscape system management.  

Volunteers retain their certification through annual training and volunteering. Volunteer tasks may involve answering phones at a county Extension office, giving horticulture presentations to community organizations, assisting 4-H clubs with garden projects, judging horticulture exhibits at county and state fairs, participating in community garden projects, writing a garden column for the local paper and more.

Class times, location, and cost vary across the state but are generally offered February through May. The 2021 trainings will be presented virtually.   

Volunteer applicants should be at least 19 years old, with a passion for plants, gardens, and an excitement for learning more about your landscape system. Volunteers need to be willing to commit to the training and volunteer process and meet all requirements for yearly recertification.

For more information about the Nebraska Extension Master Gardener Volunteer program, find a training location coordinator near you, or learn to complete an application form, visit  

Upcoming Nebraska Farmers Union Virtual Convention Agenda Highlights Announced

“107 Years of Service” is the theme for the 107th annual Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) state convention.  John Hansen, NeFU President said, “For the past 107 years, the focus of our general farm organization has been to serve the needs of family farmers, ranchers, and rural communities. For the first time ever, in order to conduct the necessary elections and business of the organization, and keep our members safe, we will be doing our convention virtually via ZOOM.  Instead of holding our convention in Kearney as scheduled, our convention will be held in farm homes across the state.”  

NeFU delegates and members will elect Board of Directors from Districts 1 and 5.  Incumbents Al Davis is running for re-election for District 1, and Camdyn Kavan is running for District 5 to replace retiring Director Ben Gotschall who announced he is moving to Maine to serve as the Dairy Manager at Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture and the Environment in Freeport. The final district caucuses to field potential additional candidates and all elections will be held Friday morning between 11:00 am and noon.

In addition to electing officers, three delegates and alternates to the National Farmers Union (NFU) Convention will be elected.  The 2019-2020 NeFU policy will be extended for one year. Urgent time sensitive policy issues can be sent to the NeFU Board of Directors for consideration.

Hansen said he hopes NeFU members will take advantage of this new virtual opportunity to attend their state convention. “Since it is virtual, there will be no transportation time or costs, lodging, meal, or registration costs.”  Registration is at the NeFU website: The latest information will be on the website. “We are still doing the organization business including elections, but we have condensed the usual two full day schedule down to one short day. In addition to hearing from NFU President Rob Larew Friday after lunch, the convention will feature the always popular State Senator panel with Senators Brandt, DeBoer, Quick, and Walz. We start late and end early to allow time to do morning and afternoon chores,” Hansen said.

NeFU Vice President Vern Jantzen of Plymouth noted “The safety of our members was our primary concern which is why we moved to a virtual event. Thanks to the pandemic, people everywhere including rural Nebraska have learned how to use ZOOM or some sort of platform to conduct business. As people get more comfortable with this technology, it makes it easier for rural Nebraskans to participate when long distances are not a factor. This pandemic has shown the light on the need to improve the accessibility and capacity of high speed internet broadband. This could be a positive that comes out of this pandemic.”

NeFU President John Hansen concluded, “The good news is that since our virtual convention will be practicing extreme social distancing, we won’t need to wear our masks to be safe.”  

National Biodiesel Board Virtually Elects New Governing Board

The National Biodiesel Board members met virtually this week to elect new Governing Board leaders from across the biodiesel and renewable diesel value chain. NBB’s new leadership will help the development and success of the industry, reflecting the member-driven and member-focused values of the trade association.

“As the national trade association for the biodiesel and renewable diesel industry, it is critical that we are led by a strong team of advocates from all sectors of the industry,” said NBB CEO Donnell Rehagen. “As we see consumers and policymakers leading the shift to cleaner transportation and heating fuels, NBB’s Governing Board will continue to play a critical role in our goal to double our production and become a 6 billion gallon a year industry by 2030.”

NBB members voted to fill eight board member spots for two-year terms:
    Troy Alberts, Ag Processing Inc.
    Greg Anderson, Nebraska Soybean Board

    Tom Brooks, Western Dubuque Biodiesel, LLC
    Tim Keaveney, Lake Erie Biofuels DBA HERO BX
    Mike Rath, Darling Ingredients Inc.
    Rob Shaffer, American Soybean Association
    Robert Stobaugh, Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board
    Paul Teta, Kolmar Americas Inc.

Kent Engelbrecht, Tim Ostrem, Ryan Pederson, Harry Simpson, Paul Soanes, Chad Stone, and Dave Walton continue to serve on the board. The board elected Chad Stone to continue serving as Chairman, Mike Rath as Vice Chairman, Rob Shaffer as 2nd Vice Chairman, Ryan Pederson as Treasurer, and Troy Alberts as Secretary.

The NBB Governing Board reflects the wide range of member companies in the biodiesel and renewable diesel industry from soybean growers to feedstock processors to producers.

NBB also extended its thanks to retiring Governing Board members Jeff Lynn and Bob Morton.

“We sincerely thank Bob and Jeff for their time and dedication over the years to biodiesel and renewable diesel,” says Rehagen. “We appreciated their ability to represent our members’ interest and advocate for our industry in critical moments, leading us to growth and success. NBB will miss their devoted leadership but we know they will continue as strong advocates for growth in our industry.”

Crop Marketing Strategies Webinar Planned for Nov. 19

A free, one-hour webinar on crop marketing strategies will be presented Nov. 19 at 7 p.m. by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

Steve Johnson, farm management specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach, and Ed Kordick, farmer education program manager with the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, will discuss topics related to the current crop in storage to be marketed.

Specifically, they will discuss the current corn and soybean supply and demand, and the price outlook; local basis trends and future price carry; cost of grain ownership; and crop marketing strategies, tools and market planning.

“Participants will better understand the importance of tracking their own local basis and calculating cost of ownership for bushels being stored,” said Johnson. “Also, we will discuss the multitude of crop marketing resources available on the ISU Extension and Outreach Ag Decision Maker website.”

The Ag Decision Maker is holding crop marketing webinars on a monthly basis and most sessions are free. Additional farm management opportunities are also being offered, and include the annual Pro-Ag Outlook and Management webinars, which will be held daily the week of Dec. 7. The Pro-Ag registration is $20 for the week.

Pre-registration for the Crop Marketing Strategies webinar is required. To register and review additional webinars, visit the Ag Decision Maker webinar site

November 2020 Dairy Market Report Now Available

Government dairy donation purchases, along with the differing dynamics of retail vs. food-service sales, continue to be the main movers of domestic demand and prices for dairy products as the end of 2020 draws near. Cheese prices rose again in October, capping the second major cheese price run-up of the pandemic, as a second round of government purchases stoked demand. This ended at the beginning of November, when daily cash market prices of both blocks and barrels dropped sharply for more than a week as markets anticipated federal purchases winding down.

Bright spots for dairy in the year’s first three quarters of data include increases in total sales of fluid milk, yogurt and butter, which have been buttressed by strong retail demand. Cheese, meanwhile, has seen mixed progress in commercial use year-to-date, with use that’s been higher for American-type cheese but slightly lower for other types. Export growth has also been strong for dry skim milk, whey products and other than American-type cheese, which has offset the drop in its domestic use. The DMC margin dipped a toe below $9.50 per cwt in September, due to strengthening corn and soybean meal prices that followed modest, but steady declines for the year to that point.

Read the report here:  

Weekly Ethanol Production for 11/13/2020

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending November 13, ethanol production scaled back by 1.5%, or 15,000 barrels per day (b/d), to 962,000 b/d—equivalent to 40.40 million gallons daily. Production remained 6.9% below the same week last year. However, the four-week average ethanol production rate rose for the sixth consecutive week, up 1.3% to 960,000 b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 14.72 billion gallons (bg).

Ethanol stocks ticked up 0.2% to 20.2 million barrels, which was the highest volume since August and 1.5% below a year-ago. Inventories built across all regions except the East Coast (PADD 1) and Gulf Coast (PADD 3).

The volume of gasoline supplied to the U.S. market, a measure of implied demand, slumped 5.8% to 8.26 million b/d (126.60 bg annualized). Gasoline demand was 10.2% less than a year ago.

Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol decreased 2.5% to 813,000 b/d, equivalent to 12.46 bg annualized and a 22-week low. This was 12.5% below the year-earlier level as a result of the continuing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

There were zero imports of ethanol recorded after 68,000 b/d hit the books the prior week. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of September 2020.)

Two K-State studies focus on SARS-CoV-2 transmission in domestic cats, pigs

Two recently published studies from Kansas State University researchers and collaborators have led to two important findings related to the COVID-19 pandemic: Domestic cats can be asymptomatic carriers of SARS-CoV-2, but pigs are unlikely to be significant carriers of the virus. SARS-CoV-2 is the coronavirus responsible for COVID-19.

"Other research has shown that COVID-19-infected human patients are transmitting SARS-CoV-2 to cats; this includes domestic cats and even large cats, such as lions and tigers," said Jürgen A. Richt, the Regents distinguished professor at Kansas State University in the College of Veterinary Medicine. "Our findings are important because of the close association between humans and companion animals."

There are about 95 million house cats in the U.S. and about 60 million to 100 million feral cats, Richt said.

Richt is the senior author on the two recent collaborative publications in the journal Emerging Microbes & Infections: "SARS-CoV-2 infection, disease and transmission in domestic cats" and "Susceptibility of swine cells and domestic pigs to SARS-CoV-2."

Through their in-depth study at the K-State Biosecurity Research Institute, or BRI, at Pat Roberts Hall, the researchers studied susceptibility to infection, disease and transmission in domestic cats. They found that domestic cats may not have obvious clinical signs of SARS-CoV-2, but they still shed the virus through their nasal, oral and rectal cavities and can spread it efficiently to other cats within two days. Further research is needed to study whether domestic cats can spread the virus to other animals and humans.

"This efficient transmission between domestic cats indicates a significant animal and public health need to investigate a potential human-cat-human transmission chain," said Richt, who is also the director of the university's Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases, known as CEEZAD, and the Center on Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, known as CEZID.

For the study involving pigs, the researchers found that SARS-CoV-2-infected pigs are not susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection and do not appear to transmit the virus to contact animals.

"Pigs play an important role in U.S. agriculture, which made it important to determine the potential SARS-CoV-2 susceptibility in pigs," Richt said. "Our results show that pigs are unlikely to be significant carriers of SARS-CoV-2."

The BRI has provided the high-security laboratories for Richt and collaborators to study SARS-CoV-2. It is a biosafety level-3 and biosafety level-3 agriculture facility that houses important multidisciplinary research, training and educational programs on pathogens that affect animals, plants and insects, as well as food safety and security.

Richt and his collaborators plan further studies to understand SARS-CoV-2 transmission in cats and pigs. They also plan to study whether cats are immune to SARS-CoV-2 reinfection after they have recovered from a primary SARS-CoV-2 infection.

"This research is important for risk assessment, implementing mitigation strategies, addressing animal welfare issues, and to develop preclinical animal models for evaluating drug and vaccine candidates for COVID-19," Richt said.

The research has involved other K-State researchers from the department of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology in the College of Veterinary Medicine: Natasha N. Gaudreault, Jessie D. Trujillo, David A. Meekins, Igor Morozov, Daniel W. Madden, Sabarish V. Indran, Dashzeveg Bold, Velmurugan Balaraman, Taeyong Kwon, Bianca L. Artiaga, Konner Cool, Wenjun Ma and Jamie Henningson, also director of the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.

Other researchers involved include Mariano Carossino and Udeni B. R. Balasuriya from Louisiana State University; William C. Wilson with the U.S, Department of Agriculture's Arthropod-Borne Animal Disease Research Unit; Adolfo García-Sastre with Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai; and Heinz Feldmann with the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.  

DAP Prices Close in on 2019 Levels; Most Other Fertilizers See Minor Price Changes

Retail fertilizer prices continue to be generally mixed, according to retailers tracked by DTN for the second week of November 2020.

The prices of five of the eight major fertilizers were down from last month, but none were lower by a significant amount, which DTN designates as 5% or more. Urea had an average price of $358/ton, down $1; 10-34-0 $455/ton, down $2; anhydrous $422/ton, down $2; UAN28 $208/ton, down $1; and UAN32 $248/ton, down $1.

Three fertilizers were slightly higher in price compared to last month, but again none were up a sizeable amount. DAP had an average price of $454/ton, up $9; MAP $486/ton, up $11; and potash $333/ton, up $1.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.39/lb.N, anhydrous $0.26/lb.N, UAN28 $0.37/lb.N and UAN32 $0.39/lb.N.

Prices are mostly lower than a year ago with one lone exception. MAP is 5% more expensive than last year.  The remaining seven fertilizers are all lower than a year earlier. DAP is 1% lower, 10-34-0 is 4% less expensive, urea is 8% lower, potash and UAN32 are both 13% less expensive, anhydrous is 15% lower and UAN28 16% less expensive from last year at this time.

Growth Energy Applauds Streamlining Advanced Biofuels Registration Act of 2020

Today, U.S. Representatives Cheri Bustos (D-IL) and Jim Hagedorn (R-MN) introduced the Streamlining Advanced Biofuels Registration Act of 2020 to encourage low-carbon fuel production and increase production of cellulosic biomass into renewable fuels.   
This legislation would expedite the approval process at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for low-carbon biofuel pathways, an issue which has stalled technological progress for years. Cellulosic technologies can reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 100% or more, providing even more effective, low-cost alternative petroleum products which are more expensive and pollute the air.   

“We applaud Representatives Bustos and Hagedorn for introducing this legislation to streamline pathways for low-carbon biofuels,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “Unnecessary delays have stalled progress on the biofuels industry’s ability to harness clean energy from agricultural residue, corn fiber, and waste. We know that cellulosic technologies can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 100% or more, providing options for negative-emissions liquid fuels and providing a low-cost alternative to petroleum-based aromatics that poison our air and threaten our health.”   

“This important legislation will help clear the deck on long-overdue approvals and jumpstart growth in these innovative technologies at a time when revitalizing rural communities has never been more important.”   

The Streamlining Advanced Biofuels Registration Act of 2020 is the House companion to the previously introduced S.3986 by U.S. Senators John Thune (R-S.D.) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.).

October Milk Production in the United States up 2.3 Percent

Milk production in the United States during October totaled 18.6 billion pounds, up 2.3 percent from October 2019.  Production per cow in the United States averaged 1,977 pounds for October,
37 pounds above October 2019.  The number of milk cows on farms in the United States was 9.39 million head, 43,000 head more than October 2019, and 14,000 head more than September 2020.

Milk production in Iowa during October 2020 totaled 457 million pounds, up 3% from the previous October according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Milk Production report. The average number of milk cows during October, at 219,000 head, was the same as last month and 2,000 more than last year. Monthly production per cow averaged 2,085 pounds, up 45 pounds from last October.

Model Filter System Removes Antibiotics from Wastewater

A model for an economical filter system that can remove antibiotics from wastewater has been designed by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and University of California-Riverside (UCR) collaborators.

Microbiologist Mark Ibekwe with the ARS Agricultural Water Efficiency and Salinity Research Unit in Riverside, California, and UCR soil chemist Daniel Ashworth constructed the prototype system using four layers of natural materials: gravel, sand, soil, and biochar in a column 50-cm tall and 12-cm diameter.

They used the laboratory-scale model to remove four antibiotics: amoxicillin, cefalexin, sulfadiazine, and tetracycline at various levels of efficiency. These four antibiotics were selected for testing in the scale model because they are among the most common in wastewater treatment plant effluent. Conventional wastewater treatment plant systems are relatively effective at removing nutrients and bacteria but can be somewhat ineffective at removing antibiotics.

The effectiveness of the laboratory-scale system varied with the antibiotic being evaluated. It successfully removed 98 percent of the tetracycline, followed by 91 percent of cefalexin, 81 percent of amoxicillin and 51 percent of sulfadiazine. The antibiotics had initial concentrations of 10 ppb, comparable to levels that have been seen in municipal wastewater.

Amoxicillin and cefalexin removal were largely controlled by chemical degradation in the gravel layer, while sulfadiazine was largely removed by a combination of chemical and microbial degradation in the soil mixed with biochar layer. Tetracycline was primarily removed by chemical reactions with water (hydrolysis) in the gravel layer.

"These results show the importance of using layers of different materials to target different antibiotics rather than expecting one layer and material will be able to do the job." said Ibekwe.

Increasing the time it takes for the water stream to pass through the column also improved removal efficiency, especially for amoxicillin and cefalexin. In this design, the simulated wastewater enters at the bottom of the column to saturate the bottom layer and then is pumped up through the column to flow out through the top.

A "full-size" scale-upped version of the researchers' filter system—one that might serve a small-town wastewater treatment plant—would be about 2 meters tall and 50 cm in diameter, according to Ashworth. Of course, you could use multiples of the columns to serve a larger need and the footprint would still be relatively small, which is one of the powerful features of this system, Ashworth added.

There are some existing systems that can remove antibiotics from wastewater, but these tend to be very expensive or require much more space. This research was published in the Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering.

USDA Opens Registration for the 2021 Agricultural Outlook Forum

Registration is now open for the 97th annual Agricultural Outlook Forum (AOF), the largest annual meeting and premiere event of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The two-day Forum will take place on Feb. 18-19, 2021. Due to COVID-19 and current restrictions on large gatherings in the Washington, D.C. area, USDA will hold the 2021 Forum virtually for the first time and registration will be free for the event.

The 2021 Forum, themed “Building on Innovation: A Pathway to Resilience,” builds on USDA’s Agriculture Innovation Agenda, launched earlier this year to align USDA’s resources, programs, and research toward the goal of increasing U.S. agricultural production by 40 percent while cutting the environmental footprint of U.S. agriculture in half by 2050. The Forum will feature a panel of distinguished guest speakers and 30 breakout sessions developed by agencies across USDA. Topics covered include the food price outlook, innovations in agriculture, U.S. and global agricultural trade developments, and frontiers in sustainability and conservation. In addition, the USDA Chief Economist will unveil the Department’s latest outlook for U.S. commodity markets and trade, and discuss the U.S. farm income situation.

The 2021 Forum’s program will be announced in early December.

About USDA’s Outlook Forum

USDA’s Agricultural Outlook Forum began in 1923 to distribute and interpret national forecasts to farmers in the field. The goal was to provide the information developed through economic forecasting to farmers so they had the tools to read market signals and avoid producing beyond demand. Since then, the event has developed into a unique platform where key stakeholders from the agricultural sector in the United States and around the world come together every year to discuss current and emerging topics and trends in the sector. More than 1,800 people attended the 2020 Forum.

The Agricultural Outlook Forum, which is organized by USDA’s Office of the Chief Economist together with other USDA agencies, is independent of commercial interests and aims to facilitate information sharing among stakeholders and generate the transparency that supports well-functioning open markets.

Farm Bureau Survey: Thanksgiving Dinner Cost Down 4%

Thanksgiving celebrations will look different for many Americans this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Gatherings are likely to be fewer and farther between, with social distancing and perhaps even remote family get-togethers. One tradition that continues this year is the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual cost survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table.

Farm Bureau’s 35th annual survey indicates the average cost of this year’s Thanksgiving feast for 10 remains affordable at $46.90 or less than $5.00 per person. This is a $2.01 decrease from last year’s average of $48.91.

“The average cost of this year’s Thanksgiving dinner is the lowest since 2010,” said AFBF Chief Economist Dr. John Newton. “Pricing whole turkeys as ‘loss leaders’ to entice shoppers and move product is a strategy we’re seeing retailers use that’s increasingly common the closer we get to the holiday,” he explained.

The centerpiece on most Thanksgiving tables – the turkey – costs less than last year, at $19.39 for a 16-pound bird. That’s roughly $1.21 per pound, down 7% from last year. The survey results show that retail turkey prices are the lowest since 2010.

Year-to-Year Price Comparison

The shopping list for Farm Bureau’s informal survey includes turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a veggie tray, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and coffee and milk, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10 with plenty for leftovers.

In addition to turkey, foods that showed slight price declines include whipping cream and sweet potatoes. Foods showing modest increases this year included dinner rolls, cubed bread stuffing and pumpkin pie mix. After adjusting for inflation, the cost of this year’s Thanksgiving dinner is $18.01, down slightly from last year.

In recognition of changes in Thanksgiving dinner traditions, the Farm Bureau price survey also includes ham, potatoes and frozen green beans. Adding these foods to the classic Thanksgiving menu increased the overall cost by $13.21, to $60.11. This updated basket of foods also declined slightly in price (4%) compared to 2019.

Although it’s difficult to predict if panic purchasing will again become a concern due to the pandemic, “Turkeys – and other staples of the traditional Thanksgiving meal – are currently in ample supply at grocery stores in most areas of the country,” Newton said.

Farmers’ perseverance in continuing to produce food throughout the pandemic despite the challenges of volatile markets has been recognized by the public, according to recent AFBF public opinion research. Nearly nine in 10 adults (88%) trust farmers, a 4% increase from AFBF’s June 2020 polling. Further, the #StillFarming campaign tells the stories of farmers and ranchers still hard at work during the pandemic – and the challenges they are overcoming to feed America and the world.

This year’s national average cost was calculated using more than 230 surveys completed with pricing data from all 50 states. Farm Bureau volunteer shoppers were encouraged to check prices online using grocery store apps and websites due to the pandemic. They looked for the best possible prices without taking advantage of special promotional coupons or purchase deals.

The AFBF Thanksgiving dinner survey was first conducted in 1986. The informal survey provides a record of comparative holiday meal costs over the years. Farm Bureau’s classic survey menu has remained unchanged since 1986 to allow for consistent price comparisons.

Farmers Earn 11.9 Cents of Thanksgiving Food Dollar, NFU Farmer's Share Shows

For every dollar Americans spend on their Thanksgiving dinner this year, farmers and ranchers will earn approximately 11.9 cents, according to National Farmers Union (NFU). This marks a slight decline from 2019, when farmers claimed 12.15 cents of the Thanksgiving food dollar.

Though farmers’ increasingly small share of food expenditures could be blamed on dropping commodity prices in years past, that isn’t the case this Thanksgiving; after cratering during the pandemic, prices for many agricultural products have mostly recovered. Instead, the shift can be attributed to higher grocery bills. In the last 12 months, the food prices have risen nearly 4 percent, far outpacing the 1.4 percent rate of overall inflation.

The rise in food prices couldn’t come at a worse time for American families, who are experiencing elevated rates of unemployment and food insecurity as a result of the covid-19 pandemic. “Ordinarily, Thanksgiving is a time to gather with our loved ones and enjoy a big meal,” said NFU President Rob Larew. “But for many Americans, the typical, food-filled get-together won’t be possible, and not just because of public health concerns. With millions out of work and no additional government support in sight, the cost of traditional holiday foods may simply be out of reach for some families.”

Since the beginning of the pandemic, NFU has been pushing legislators to expand the nutrition safety net in order to offset an abrupt rise in food insecurity. Congress took some steps to do so with the passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in March, which added $15.5 billion to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in order to accommodate more participants and facilitated the redistribution of surplus food from farmers to food banks. In the subsequent eight months, however, most of the CARES Act funding has been spent, and there has been little progress towards securing additional support for nutrition assistance programs.

“As cases continue to rise across the country and safety measures are put in place, it’s clear that we have a long ways to go with economic recovery,” said Larew. “In the meantime, it is a moral imperative that we ensure every single American has access to the food they need. By far the most cost-effective and efficient way legislators can achieve that is by expanding SNAP benefits.”

Even though consumers are paying 4 percent more for food, almost none of that is being passed on to farmers and ranchers. Instead, it’s being captured by the processors, packers, distributors, and retailers in between. Nowhere has this been more evident than the meat sector; retail beef prices have increased more than 10 percent over the last 12 months, but ranchers are earning essentially the same amount for cattle as they were a year ago.

The disparity is largely due to the overwhelming market power held by the largest beef packers, Larew indicated. “Lax antitrust enforcement has allowed just four corporations to take over 85 percent of beef slaughtering and packing in the United States. As a result, those companies are able to manipulate farmers’ and consumers’ prices to their advantage – and, as we’ve seen again and again, they do just that,” he said. “The key to ensuring farmers a fair price isn’t charging consumers astronomical prices ­– it’s breaking up these companies and restoring competition to the market.”

The Farmers’ Share is based on calculations derived from the monthly Agriculture Prices report produced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service and price points of common grocery food items at Safeway supermarket. The farmer’s share of retail turkey sales is reported by the Contract Poultry Growers Association of the Virginias, as national data on farm prices for turkey does not reflect the amount turkey growers receive.

Accelerating a Generation Syngenta Scholarship opens for tomorrow’s ag leaders

Agricultural students in post-secondary education are eligible to compete for up to $15,000 in total scholarship awards through the Accelerating a Generation Syngenta Scholarship Program.

Syngenta invites eligible university students to apply for six regional awards of $2,500 each, now offered in partnership with the National FFA Organization. Students can apply by visiting the FFA Scholarship Portal.

“Agriculture thrives by continually engaging passionate people and training them to lead our industry. We look forward to hearing about what drives the passion of our applicants and how they plan to inspire others to establish roots in the ag industry,” said Vern Hawkins, Syngenta regional director, North American Crop Protection.

University students and incoming freshmen pursuing bachelor’s or associate degrees in crop-related agricultural disciplines are eligible to compete for the Syngenta scholarships. Applicants must be U.S. residents enrolled as of fall 2021 in an accredited agriculture program at a land-grant university. FFA membership is not required.

“During this challenging time, supporting our future ag leaders is essential to our industry’s continued advancement. We encourage all eligible students to apply for the scholarship,” said Pam Caraway, communications manager at Syngenta.

Syngenta will grant scholarships to winners in six regions of the country, which include all U.S. states and territories and the District of Columbia. Scholarship recipients will be announced in spring 2021. Each winner will have the opportunity to designate an agriculture-related non-profit organization to receive a $500 donation from Syngenta.

FFA-member entrants will have one additional week beyond the application deadline to turn in supplemental FFA materials. For more information about the scholarship, visit the FFA Scholarship Portal.

Bayer Introduces Delaro Complete Fungicide After Federal Approval

Bayer is proud to announce the launch of the new Delaro® Complete Fungicide product that offers precision customers can trust to stop even the toughest of diseases. The new formulation offers three modes of action (MOAs) for consistent disease control, higher yield potential and improved plant health to keep operations moving forward for corn and soybean growers across the U.S.

Delaro® Complete is a premium fungicide application that acts as a protective barrier against key corn and soybean diseases under diverse environmental conditions. The distinctive chemistry combination of Delaro® Complete reliably boosts its ability to increase grain fill, drought tolerance, canopy closure and standability for corn and soybeans, resulting in a higher level of protection for growers in core corn and soybean growing regions.

Ray Lello, Corn and Soybean Fungicide Product Manager shares, “Delaro® Complete has all the key attributes of Delaro® Fungicide plus more consistent disease activity, better resistance management and higher yield potential than its predecessors. We are excited to provide growers with another innovative, high-performing solution as part of Bayer’s robust crop protection portfolio.”

2019 Corn and Soy Performance

Recent trial data demonstrated the use of Delaro® Complete consistently increased yield potential for both corn and soybeans compared to untreated crops. The addition of its third active ingredient, Fluopyram, an SDHI, also consistently resulted in a yield advantage over Delaro® Fungicide. Growers demand fungicide brands that deliver dependable disease control and improved plant health, resulting in increased yields. This new formulation marks a key milestone for Bayer to offer growers a best-in-class premium fungicide.

“Adding Delaro® Complete to a disease management program can help growers improve their plant health and overlapping modes of action to control key diseases, including increased activity on gray leaf spot in corn, and white mold and brown spot in soybeans,” says Randy Myers, Agronomic Solutions Manager. “Through a variety of environmental conditions, corn and soybean growers across the U.S. can rest assured that their operations are protected against even the toughest diseases and will continue to move forward.”

Delaro® Complete is included in the Bayer PLUS Rewards program1 – a broad portfolio of high-performance products designed to provide growers with flexibility and rewards on eligible purchases all season long.

Tyson Foods Reports Strong Fourth Quarter And Fiscal 2020 Results Company Remains Focused On Worker Health And Safety, Long Term Growth

Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE: TSN), one of the world’s largest food companies and a recognized leader in protein with leading brands including Tyson, Jimmy Dean, Hillshire Farm, Ball Park, Wright, Aidells, ibp and State Fair, today reported the following results:

Fiscal 2020 Highlights
    GAAP EPS of $5.86, up 6% from prior year; Adjusted EPS of $5.64 (52-week basis), up 3% from prior year
    GAAP operating income of $3,114 million, up 10% from prior year; Adjusted operating income of $3,116 million (52-week basis), up 5% from prior year
    Total Company GAAP operating margin of 7.2%; Adjusted operating margin of 7.4% (52-week basis)
    Generated approximately $3.9 billion of operating cash flows
    Results negatively impacted by approximately $540 million of direct incremental expenses related to COVID-19

Fourth Quarter Highlights
    GAAP EPS of $1.90, up 88% from prior year; Adjusted EPS of $1.81 (13-week basis), up 50% from prior year
    GAAP operating income of $1,012 million, up 68% from prior year; Adjusted operating income of $961 million (13-week basis), up 40% from prior year
    Total Company GAAP operating margin of 8.8%; Adjusted operating margin of 9.0% (13-week basis)
    Liquidity of $3.2 billion at October 3, 2020
    Reduced total debt by $690 million
    Results negatively impacted by approximately $200 million of direct incremental expenses related to COVID-19

“Our business performed well and delivered strong fourth quarter and full-year results,” said Dean Banks, President & CEO of Tyson Foods. “Our team members, agricultural partners, and customers have shown resilience. This has enabled us to maintain and accelerate our efforts to provide global consumers with a safe and accessible food supply.”

“While we will continue to face pandemic-related challenges in fiscal 2021, we’re settling the business down to be focused on executing our long-term strategy while generating strong returns for shareholders. I’m excited for the opportunities ahead for this great company, and am certain we have the people, products, and strategies in place to drive future growth.”

Farmobile Works with The Fertilizer Institute to Advance Data Collection for Variable Rate Technology and 4R Initiatives

Farmobile LLC, Agriculture’s Independent Data Company™, today announced that The Fertilizer Institute (TFI), the leading voice of the fertilizer industry, is supporting through outreach the advancement of agronomic and machine-collected data for ag retailers seeking to take advantage of Variable Rate Application technology, 4R practices and sustainable agriculture for growers.

The topic is being explored during the virtual 2020 Sustainable Ag Summit, November 18-19, 2020. Farmobile joins TFI and Luckey Farmers Cooperative to discuss the value of real-time data to benefit farmers, ag retailers and environment during the concurrent technical session.

With the supply chain’s growing interest in a more sustainable food, fiber and fuel supply, best practice initiatives like TFI’s 4R Nutrient Management (4R) program are focused on increasing production and farmer profitability, enhancing environmental protection and improving overall sustainability. In order to unlock the next generation of agricultural production and enable growers to take advantage of emerging markets, retailers must be able to write fertilizer recommendations faster and provide a system of record to scale variable rate technology (VRT) practices so that the right amount of the right fertilizer hits the right spot in the field, every time.

“At TFI, we’re always looking ahead to future opportunities and challenges in the fertilizer industry. Nutrient management is both,” said Peyton Harper, senior manager of stewardship and sustainability for The Fertilizer Institute. “Real-time data-collection provides visibility and generates ground-truthed yield maps, which can improve VRT accuracy which is very beneficial in a robust 4R system.”

Farmobile’s data collection enables growers and ag retailers to capture all of the layered data involved in the growing of a crop, serving as a robust system of record from a crop’s planting through its applications and all the way through harvest. Farmobile automatically converts second-by-second raw agronomic and machine data, collected across a mixed fleet of farm and application equipment,  into a uniform data set. Available for 24/7 exports or API streaming, the data (permissioned by users) creates a system of record that captures how a field was farmed and fertilizer applied.

“Using Farmobile to enhance the speed and quality of data collection allowed us to expand Variable Rate Application acres which, in turn, is helping us to surpass our 4R goals. Our state (Ohio) had a goal of a minimum of 35 percent of acreage being 4R certified,” said Andrew Gladden, IT manager of Luckey Farmers, Inc. “With Farmobile and their ability to track variable rate application, we not only hit 35 percent — we’re aiming for 70 percent going forward, and looking forward to the improved profitability that comes with it.”

As is the case with Luckey Farmers, Inc., nutrient management mandates are both an opportunity and a challenge for farmers and a strong, comprehensive data backbone is needed to meet these goals effectively, while increasing profitability.

“Farmobile was formed to help growers get the most value from the data they’re generating in their operations, and nutrient management is no exception,” said Bradford Warner, vice president of business development and sustainability, Farmobile. “Whether growers are trying to get ahead of potential future regulations or looking to provide proof of stewardship to grow their profitability and care for their land, Farmobile’s technology collects the right data across machine makes and models at the right time, and processes it into insights to be delivered with the right farm management systems, such as Agworld, with this scenario.”

Those interested in learning more about how Farmobile and TFI are working to promote the use of data to serve as a system of record in nutrient management, should attend the joint panel discussion with Luckey Farmers’ Andrew Gladden at the virtual Sustainable Ag Summit, November 18-19, 2020.

Farmers find measurable improvements in corn portfolio after R&D investment

Major investments and an enhanced breeding strategy are producing tangible results in the Golden Harvest® corn portfolio. New heights in bushels per acre arrive just as farmers seek new ways to maximize their profit potential in the 2021 growing season.

The key to these improvements is a commitment from Syngenta to spend $1.4 billion every year on global research and development, supporting the company's seeds, traits, digital and crop protection businesses – and the customers they benefit.

"Golden Harvest and Syngenta Seeds have really doubled down on making sure every new corn hybrid in our portfolio is helping deliver yield, standability and consistency to support farmers' profit potential," said Drew Showalter, Syngenta strategic corn marketing manager. "As results roll in from across the U.S., we can see this strategy is working."

Meeting farmers' needs

In addition to the annual global R&D spend, Syngenta also has made an incremental $400 million investment in the company's U.S. seeds business across a five-year period.

One impact of this investment is the construction of a $30 million Trait Conversion Accelerator in Nampa, Idaho. With advanced breeding technology and climate control technologies, the accelerator – which opened in 2019 – is bringing traited hybrids to market faster than ever.

Golden Harvest also overhauled the organization's process for determining which hybrids will be brought to market. Along with two years of extensive testing before being brought to market, all new Golden Harvest hybrids now undergo enhanced screening processes to determine each product's ideal field conditions.

"The Golden Harvest corn portfolio has really evolved the past couple of years," said Showalter. "Today, products like Golden Harvest corn G10L16, which provides industry-leading yield throughout the Corn Belt, and Golden Harvest corn G10D21, which has outstanding roots and stalks for season-long standability, showcase how this investment is meeting farmer needs in a tangible way."

Farmers seeking locally relevant Golden Harvest performance data can sign up to attend a free virtual harvest report. Presented through Dec. 3, 2020, these events feature Golden Harvest agronomists' insights on yield results and how they can help farmers plan for success in 2021. A complete schedule, as well as information on how to sign up, can be found at

Industry-leading traits

In addition to the brand's strong genetic portfolio, the 2021 growing season will see the introduction of more Golden Harvest hybrids with industry-leading Agrisure® traits than ever before. Of the 2021 Golden Harvest corn portfolio:
    Almost half of the hybrids contain the Agrisure Viptera® trait, the most comprehensive above-ground insect control, and the only effective western bean cutworm control trait.
    About one-third feature the Agrisure Duracade® trait for above- and below-ground insect protection and best-in-class corn rootworm control.
    More than a quarter offer Agrisure Artesian® technology, the most advanced water optimization technology for season-long performance.

The Golden Harvest portfolio is available from Golden Harvest Seed Advisors, who combine high-yielding seed options with local agronomic knowledge and deliver a Service 365 year-round commitment to doing whatever it takes to yield results for farmers. These Seed Advisors also provide access to Enogen® corn, including Enogen Feed hybrids that help improve farmers' profit potential by helping to provide more available energy to feedlot or dairy cattle.

Buzzworthy News: Honey Ranks As Americans' #1 Preferred Sweetener

The sweetener made by Mother Nature claims the number one spot among Americans as their most preferred sweetener. The ranking, revealed in the National Honey Board Consumer Attitudes & Usage Study 2020, asked consumers to choose their favorite from among several common sweeteners, including white sugar, brown sugar, several non-calorie sweeteners, raw sugar, monk fruit, and maple syrup. Honey came out on top for the first time.

According to consumers, honey rates above other sweeteners in attributes like 'natural,' 'unprocessed,' 'good for the environment,' 'organic,' 'good source of antioxidants,' and 'flavorful.'

Honey volume in the U.S. has nearly doubled since 1986, from 339 million pounds to 603 million pounds in 2020, according to data from the USDA/ERS. The data also show honey per capita consumption has grown from 1.79 pounds per person in 2015 to 1.83 pounds per person in 2020.

"Honey popularity continues to rise as consumers make conscientious decisions about food," said Margaret Lombard, chief executive officer of the National Honey Board. "Honey fits perfectly with consumers' desire to know where their food comes from and their preference for foods that are unprocessed. Consumers know that honey is made by bees from the nectar of flowers -- you can't get closer to nature than that."

The tracking study, fielded in June 2020, comprised an online quantitative survey of 2000 people identified as the primary shopper in their household. The survey is balanced to age and ethnicity as reflected in the Census.

Pioneer Brand Corn and Soybean Product Performance Drives Long-term Business Advantages for Farmers

With 2020 harvest results rolling in, Pioneer® brand corn and soybean products are winning the majority of competitive on-farm trials. The consistent yield advantages can be measured in bushels per acre and by potential farm income advantage.

“Pioneer is pushing past boundaries to achieve consistently higher yields year over year in corn and soybeans compared to other seed brands, leveraging our research, product development and rigorous testing,” said Judd O’Connor, President, U.S. Commercial Business, Corteva Agriscience. “Even in some of farming’s toughest years, Pioneer best-in-class genetics and traits continue to drive yield gains.”

Pioneer provides value-added, boots-on-the-ground customer service, which is strengthened by the combination of industry-leading genetics, seed treatments, crop protection solutions, digital tools and new product traits.

Pioneer® Brand Qrome® Products, Optimum® AQUAmax® Hybrids Lead Corn Revolution
The top 40 most popular Pioneer brand corn products by sales volume delivered an average 4.2 bu/A yield advantage1 over the competition in more than 17,000 on-farm comparisons. Two outstanding technologies, Pioneer® brand Qrome® products and Pioneer® brand Optimum® AQUAmax® hybrids, significantly contributed to the Pioneer advantage this year.

In its first year available at large volumes across the U.S., Qrome products are dominating with a 7.7 bu/A yield advantage over competitive SmartStax® technology, which equates to a $31.142 advantage per acre.

Qrome products across all maturities have demonstrated superior yield advantages against competitors this year, including:
    Pioneer® P1828Q™ brand corn with a 10.8 bu/A yield advantage
    Pioneer® P0421Q™ brand corn with a 10.6 bu/A yield advantage
    Pioneer® P0507Q™ brand corn with a 10.4 bu/A yield advantage
    Pioneer® P0075Q™ brand corn with a 9.9 bu/A yield advantage
    Pioneer® P1185Q™ brand corn with an 8.7 bu/A yield advantage
    Pioneer® P0622Q™ brand corn with an 8.4 bu/A yield advantage
    Pioneer® P1366Q™ brand corn with a 7.5 bu/A yield advantage

“The Corn Revolution is continuing to build and we are already seeing the benefits of our commitment,” said Geoff Graham, Vice President of Plant Breeding, Corteva Agriscience. “We’re focused on the local adaptation of our hybrids through the right mix of science and technology, and local breeding footprint. We can bring global science down to the local level, which has led to improved product performance for farmers. With the tools available to us today, we can screen almost 20 times more candidates in our pipeline than we did even a decade ago.”

With key native traits that improve root systems and silk emergence, Pioneer® brand Optimum® AQUAmax® hybrids excel at managing drought stress. These hybrids are bred to perform in limited and optimal water environments.

Highly resilient in challenging conditions, Optimum AQUAmax hybrids shined in 2020, and out-performed the competition in a variety of local environments. In yield levels below the 150 bu/A threshold, Optimum AQUAmax hybrids had a 6.3 bu/A advantage. Between 150 and 200 bu/A, these hybrids offered growers a 4.6 bu/A advantage, and above 200 bu/A, they provided a 4.5 bu/A advantage.

Part of the success of the Corn Revolution can be attributed to advancements in seed treatments. Lumialza™ nematicide seed treatment, a biological nematicide, provides more than 80 days of root protection in upper, middle and lower root zones against plant parasitic nematodes. By expanding the bio-barrier, it not only shields roots but also cooperates with beneficial organisms in the soil, contributing to a 3.7 bu/A yield advantage3 under low nematode pressure.

Proven Yield Performance Driven by the Power of Pioneer in Every Soybean
The power of the Pioneer® brand soybean portfolio continues to grow and consistently perform year-over-year thanks to a continued investment in research and development. In nearly 2,300 on-farm comparisons, the top 40 Pioneer brand soybean products by demand are winning the yield battle 66% of the time, with a 2.2 bu/A yield advantage4, resulting in a more than $22 income per acre advantage5. The 100 bu/A mark was topped more than 105 times in 2020 with 38 varieties across 12 states.

Pioneer® brand A-Series soybeans continue to provide industry-leading yield performance for farmers throughout the U.S. In more than 4,200 on-farm comparisons, Pioneer brand A-Series soybeans with Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® technology or the LibertyLink® gene hold a 2.3 bu/A yield advantage6 against all competitors, winning 67% of the time.

Leading the way are varieties in a wide range of maturities:
    Pioneer® P21A81L™ brand soybeans with a 6.9 bu/A yield advantage
    Pioneer® P31A95BX™ brand soybeans with a 4.9 bu/A yield advantage
    Pioneer® P28A42X™ brand soybeans with a 4.6 bu/A yield advantage
    Pioneer® P47A64X™ brand soybeans with a 4.5 bu/A yield advantage
    Pioneer® P25A54X™ brand soybeans with a 3.0 bu/A yield advantage

Pioneer maintained its consistent yield advantage from last year while adding new Pioneer® brand Enlist E3® soybeans. Enlist E3 soybeans have shown strong yield performance versus competitive varieties with the Enlist E3 soybean trait, including:
    Pioneer® P26T23E™ brand soybeans with a 3.4 bu/A yield advantage
    Pioneer® P32T26E™ brand soybeans with a 2.6 bu/A yield advantage
    Pioneer® P30T99E™ brand soybeans with a 2.6 bu/A yield advantage
    Pioneer® P28T14E™ brand soybeans with a 2.2 bu/A yield advantage

“The success we are seeing with Enlist E3 soybeans is the result of rigorous testing for performance and stability using the nation’s largest localized research and on-farm testing program,” said Jeff Thompson, Global Soybean Research Lead, Corteva Agriscience. “We have an elite team of product agronomists and crop protection specialists to support the Enlist™ weed control system and can answer any questions from our customers.”

Farmers continue to get the most out of their soybean seed investment with protection from Lumisena® fungicide seed treatment. Offering best-in-class protection against Phytophthora, the most common soybean disease, Lumisena fungicide seed treatment provides a 4.0 bu/A yield advantage7 over traditional metalaxyl-based treatments in areas considered high pressure locations.

“The performance of Pioneer brand soybeans demonstrates that we have the elite varieties that farmers need for their operations to be more profitable,” Thompson said. “Whatever herbicide trait technology you choose, our products consistently outperform the competition. We are committed to developing elite genetics, demonstrating product performance through our unmatched testing, and delivering customer success.”


Tuesday November 17 Ag News

2020 AFAN/WSA Annual Stakeholders Meeting Moves to a Virtual Event

The Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska (AFAN) and We Support Agriculture (WSA) will hold their joint 2020 Annual Stakeholders Meeting through a Webinar due to the rise of Covid-19.

The meeting will begin online at 9 a.m. All AFAN and WSA partners and stakeholders are invited.

A panel discussion at 10:30 a.m. will include young producers involved in the areas of the beef, poultry, dairy and pork production.

The AFAN/WSA webinar will include year-end reports by Steve Martin, executive director, Rylee Stoltz, livestock program coordinator, and Kris Bousquet, livestock development director. The reports will present the year’s accomplishments and provide a look into future opportunities for both organizations.

Also included in the meeting will be the presentation of the Sand County Foundation’s 2020 Nebraska Leopold Conservation Award to Ed and Leta Olson of Craig, Nebraska.

Anyone interested in participating in AFAN’s 2020 Annual Stakeholders Meeting should visit to register for the webinar.

Nebraska Ag Expo Postponed to February 23-25, 2021

We want to thank you for your continued support of the Nebraska Ag Expo and encouragement during the uncertain times that 2020 has brought us.

Last Friday the Mayor of Lincoln announced an effort to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 and in doing so, all events with a capacity of 500 or more must be postponed until Dec. 7. With our move-in date of December 6th, this is too close for comfort to allow for modifications at that point. It is possible the state of Nebraska could also hit 25% of their hospital capacity with COVID-19 patients in the upcoming weeks, which would likely trigger Governor Pete Rickett’s to tighten restrictions to 10 people for indoor gatherings.

Also most of you are aware that the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations has escalated dramatically over the past two weeks in Nebraska and across the country; however, even with all the health and safety protocols put in place, the added risk to all the Expo stakeholders has prompted us to relook at the current dates and general feasibility of the Expo.

After much discussion of these new developments with our Exhibit Committee, Board of Directors of the Association and selected exhibitors, we concur that holding an event in December is not plausible.

We know everyone was looking forward to this great ag event, so the decision has been made to postpone the Nebraska Ag Expo to February 23-25. Hopefully, this will provide adequate time for COVID-19 cases to decline substantially and perhaps even the deployment of a vaccine.

Show hours run 8:30 am to 4:30 pm Tuesday and Wednesday, and 8:30 am to 3:00 pm Thursday. Admission and parking at the Lancaster Event Center are FREE with pre-registration at

The Nebraska Ag Expo is produced by the Iowa-Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association in conjunction with local Nebraska and Iowa farm equipment dealerships. The show is sponsored by: Diamond Sponsor – Farm Credit Services of America and AgDirect; Platinum Sponsor – Nebraska Farm Bureau; Gold Sponsors – Stine Seed Company and Sukup Manufacturing; and Media Sponsors – Midwest Messenger and Rural Radio Network.

Nebraska farmer appointed to United Soybean Board

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has appointed one new Nebraska farmer to serve on the United Soybean Board (USB). Greg Greving of Chapman will join the board of 73 farmer directors across the country.

Greving will be officially sworn in for service at the annual USB meeting in December and will serve a three-year term. This year, USDA appointed eight new U.S. soybean farmers to USB and reappointed 11 directors for an additional term.

“I am looking forward to serving Nebraska on the United Soybean Board,” said Greving, Nebraska farmer of Chapman. “I have experience in international marketing for U.S. soy and I will use that experience as a director on the United Soybean Board to help increase the profitability of the U.S. soy farmer. Overall, it is an honor to represent and serve soybean farmers, both in Nebraska and across the U.S.”

The farmer directors will play a crucial role in overseeing the proper implementation of the soybean checkoff funding to support research, market development and promotional efforts maximizing profit opportunities for all U.S. soybean farmers. Greving brings 40+ years of experience in soybean production and additional soybean checkoff experience, which includes the Nebraska Soybean Board (2001-2013) and a previous term on USB (2013-2016).

Greving will join Ed Lammers, Tony Johanson and Ron Pavelka as one of four Nebraska soybean farmers serving as USB directors.


– Megan Taylor, NE Extension Educator, Platte County

So you pulled some soil cores and now you have the results in your hand, now what? On your soil test results you will want to check out pH, potassium, phosphorus, and sulfur. Today we will focus on phosphorus recommendations, specifically for the Olson test results.
Phosphorus has three tests that can be completed to test soil P levels: Bray-1, Olson, and Mehlich-3 are the most widely used. These are measured in parts per million (ppm) and recommendations are dependent on dryland and irrigated fields. Values will differ between Bray-1/Mehlich-3 and Olson test results, so carefully look at your soil test before making fertilizer purchases. If your soil tests are greater than 14 for Olson, you do not need to add any phosphorus for irrigated or dryland acres.
     0-3 apply 60 lbs. P2O5/acre for irrigated or 40 lbs. P2O5/acre dryland.
    4-7 apply 40 lbs. P2O5/acre for irrigated or 30 lbs. P2O5/acre for dryland.
    8-14 apply 30 lbs. P2O5/acre for irrigated or 20 lbs. P2O5/acre for dryland.
These values can be found online on the CropWatch website under the alfalfa section and include the values for Bray-1 and Mehlich-3. Also depending on your fertilization schedule, you can plan to apply phosphorus in two year increments for dryland fields; take the single year recommendations and double to calculate the two year needs.
Remember if you are still wanting to pull soil cores sample at 8 inches or historic depth, collect samples by grid, soil type, or representative area (40 acres or less). Then pull 10 to 15 random soil cores and combine in a plastic bucket to represent one soil sample. Take about a pint of soil and submit to an accredited lab.

2020 Nebraska Farmers Union Convention To Go Virtual  

John Hansen, NE Farmers Union President
Posted below is the 2020 Nebraska Farmers Union State Convention Agenda & the two Zoom registration links. NeFU members, the press, and general public will need to attend both the morning and afternoon sessions. Yes, you will need to register twice if you want to attend both sessions. There are no registration fees!

Nebraska Farmers Union 107th Annual State Convention - 107 Years of Service
December 4, 2020 First Ever Virtual Convention

Friday Morning, December 4, 2020

9:30     Call to order:  Convention Convenes, Welcome, Pledge, Prayer, Past Convention Minutes
9:45     NeFU Foundation Elections-- John Hansen, NeFU Foundation Secretary
·  Election of At-Large Member to NeFU Foundation, 1 year term  (Ron Meyer is the current director)
10:00  NeFU Foundation & Education Report—John Hansen
10:15   Nebraska Farmers Union PAC report—Vern Jantzen
10:30   Refreshment Break Sponsored by:  Nebraska Rural Radio Association (What’s in your refrigerator?)
10:40   Farmers Union Midwest Agency, LLP report—Jeff Downing, General Manager

Friday Morning Session 9:00 – 11:00 am....  Register in advance for this meeting:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.


11:00   NeFU Elections:  Report by Elections Chair, Vern Jantzen  (Delegates Only)
·         Introduction of candidates for NeFU Delegates to NFU Convention  (all Delegates vote)
February 28-March 1-2, 2021 Virtual Convention
·         Elect Top Six NFU Convention Delegates--Vote for 1, 2, or 3 candidates
           (Top 3 vote getters are Delegates—next 3 are Alternates)
·         Districts 1 & 5 caucus for additional NeFU District Director Nominations  (2021-2022-2023)
·         Election of District 1 Director (District 1 Delegates only vote)
·         Election of District 5 Director (District 5 Delegates only vote)

For delegates, we will send you the link you will need for the 11:00 to 12:00 voting and election section.

12:00    Noon Luncheon:  Sponsored by Farmers Union Midwest Agency, LLP
                              Help yourself, and eat on your own!

Friday Afternoon, December 4, 2020

12:30   NeFU President’s Award presentation to: Ben Gotschall, retiring District 5 Director
12:40   NeFU President’s Award presentation to: State Senator Dan Quick, LD35
12:50   NFU President Rob Larew, NFU Government Relations Report
1:30     A Preview of the 2021 Legislative Session
·         Senator Tom Brandt, LD32
·         Senator Dan Quick, LD35
·         Senator Lynne Walz, LD15
·         Senator Wendy DeBoer, LD10
2:30     NeFU President John Hansen, NeFU President-Convention Wrap Up Remarks  

Friday Afternoon Session 12:30 – 2:30 pm...... Register in advance for this meeting:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.


If you have questions, call Travis Waldron or John Hansen at: (402) 476-8815 (Office) or you can email us at: For more updated information, go to:   

Prolonged or intense drought triggers relief options through Livestock Forage Program

Nearly 86% of Nebraska is experiencing moderate drought or worse, and that nearly 12% of the state is experiencing extreme or exceptional drought, according to the most recent U.S. Drought Monitor map.  

Prolonged or intense droughts during normal grazing periods can negatively impact resources that livestock owners and contract growers depend on. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency offers a relief program meant to help offset forage loss, and it is triggered by the Drought Monitor.  

The Livestock Forage Program (LFP) provides payments to eligible livestock owners and contract growers who have suffered a loss of grazed forage due to a qualifying drought during the normal grazing period as determined on a county basis.  

The U.S. Drought Monitor ( is a weekly product that analyzes drought conditions across the U.S. and its territories. The Drought Monitor is housed online by the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln School of Natural Resources. Drought Monitor authors synthesize data from dozens of monitoring resources, collaborate with on-the-ground experts and determine and validate whether or not an area is in drought or not, and if so, how severe it is. Conditions are categorized on a scale from abnormal dryness (D0, which is not yet drought) to exceptional drought (D4). LFP eligibility is based in part on those categories.  

If an eligible livestock owner or contract grower who, as a grazed forage crop producer, owns or leases grazing land or pastureland physically located in a county rated by the U.S. Drought Monitor has experienced severe drought (D2) for at least eight consecutive weeks during the normal grazing period, they are eligible to receive assistance in an amount equal to one monthly payment. They are eligible for assistance of an amount equal to three monthly payments if they experience extreme drought (D3) in any area of the county at any point during the normal grazing period. They are eligible for four monthly payments if they experience extreme drought for at least four weeks or exceptional drought (D4) at any time. Experiencing exceptional drought for four weeks during the normal grazing period qualifies for an amount equal to five monthly payments.

 “Since implemented as part of the 2008 Farm Bill, the U.S. Drought Monitor has triggered over $7.3 billion in federal relief to livestock producers through the Livestock Forage Program, said Drought Monitor Author and National Drought Mitigation Center climatologist Brian Fuchs.  “The 2020 drought has been the most significant Nebraskans have seen since 2012-2013, and it has triggered relief options in several Nebraska counties already.”

PReP Rural coalition calls for prioritizing better nutrition to address health disparities of rural citizens, minorities in midst of the COVID-19 pandemic

Press Release
A new coalition, which includes several Nebraska co-contributors, is calling on the State of Nebraska to do its part to address the devastating health impacts from a broken food system that has neglected the health and nutrition of rural, and minority residents.

The coalition is made up of a national network that includes both rural and urban Nebraska participants including Comunidad Maya Pixan Ixim (South Omaha), Davey Road Ranch (Raymond), Doane University Institute For Human + Planetary Health (Crete), District 6 Nebraska Farmers Union (NE Nebraska), GC Resolve (Omaha), Grain Place Foods (Aurora), Nebraska Communities United (Fremont), Nebraska Sustainable Ag Society (Lincoln), and NOISE (North Omaha).

In PReP Rural’s second Dispatch Action Steps white paper, “Neglecting Nutrition: How a Pandemic Has Exposed Health Disparities In The Rural US”, coalition partners highlight how the lack of nutrient-dense foods and an overabundance of ultra-processed food products in the American diet has led to an increasingly high COVID-19 death toll in the US which disproportionately affects rural communities, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) communities, and those communities impacted by poverty.

PReP Rural says that the current model of food production is putting people at risk and the food system must be updated to protect the health and well-being of rural and urban residents alike.

4 Key Actions:
-    Healthcare must be accessible to all, and focus on proper health, nutrition, and illness prevention. Access to health care must be available to all Nebraskans.  We should also invest in improved nutrition by investing in farm and ranch businesses to play a larger role in national health care through the production of more healthy food.
-    Invest in a “Just Transition” away from the vertically controlled industrial agriculture system towards biodiverse regenerative food production operations.  Our Nebraska federal representatives should also prioritize modernizing the outdated industrial food system.  The first step is stopping the spread of large animal feeding operations, and helping contract livestock farmers transition their herds back to the land with no risk.
-    Nebraska must work to open up, not-over regulate, local and regional market systems to support healthy food accessibility in all communities.  The Legislature missed an opportunity, with the first wave of coronavirus funding, to invest in small distributed meatpackers who are vital in order for Nebraska communities to maintain consistent nutritional accessibility during COVID-19.  The state should also focus on helping all those eligible enroll for SNAP, rather than controlling when residents can and can’t access this already earmarked Farm Bill funding.
-    K-12 education must prioritize soil health and proper nutritional balance, and not be funded by industrial special interests.  State curriculum should include programming options that have a greater focus on soil health, and good nutrition.

With these four interventions, we can alleviate the worst health outcomes for the growing number of Americans who suffer from chronic illness, primarily those living in poverty. By prioritizing improved nutrition, consumers can also help redirect the food production system into a regenerative direction that promotes healthy soils and improves air and water quality. Improving the U.S. food system protects our minds, our bodies, and our communities from the conditions that make Americans more susceptible to COVID-19 and other health exposures.  Everyone wins when we prioritize good nutrition.

Pork Producers Supporting Blood Donations Across Iowa

While COVID-19 has put a damper on many of our social events, it has also threatened to leave Iowa with a critical shortage of blood donations. Since March, at least 500 blood drives for LifeServe Blood Centers across the state have been cancelled, resulting in the loss of more than 13,000 blood donations. To put that in perspective: a single trauma victim can use 50 units or more during their critical time of need.

To help encourage more blood donations as we head into the holidays, pig farmers from around the state have made a commitment to help LifeServe. Eleven county pork producer groups and the Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA) are donating $6500 in pork coupons to donors that visit 32 sponsored donor sites in Iowa during the week of Nov. 23.
For more details on specific site locations, hours of operations, and how to schedule an appointment, visit

Emerging Grain Market Conditions and Impacts of Calf Prices

Stephen R. Koontz, Dept of Ag and Resource Economics, Colorado State University

Feed grain and oilseed prices have undergone some dramatic changes over the past couple of months. These changes are indicative of changes to underlying fundamentals in those markets and will impact the value of feeder cattle and calf prices well into next year. It is worth examining the changes to crop market conditions and thinking about possible prices.

Corn and soybean futures have advanced substantially since early August. The 2020 harvest corn contract has increased about $1 per bushel in that time period and the harvest soybean contract has increased roughly double that amount. Importantly, the increases have also been seen in the deferred contracts. DEC 2021 corn is a little stronger than $4 per bushel and NOV 2021 soybeans are just short of $10 per bushel. The price changes communicate more than adjustments reflecting crop conditions and the current harvest. Both are substantial revenue improvements for grain farming next year. Returning to the current crop, both corn and soybean prices appear at a substantial premium to what might be implied by the underlaying market fundamentals. Both crops have excellent yields and modest harvest acreage impacts as related to the late-season storm in the upper Midwest. Crop damage concerns are persistent but appear less impactful in the context of USDA reports. Stock-to-use ratios imply more reasonably mid-to-high-$3 corn and mid-to-high-$9 soybeans. That is unless the long-term demand picture is also changing. And there is some evidence that is the case. Corn export demand has been strong but that for soybeans is considerably more so. Consumption of corn is also picking up from ethanol production. The crop market fundamentals are looking more like they did in the years prior to the trade war. Soybean demand may pull considerable acres to that crop and buoy both soybean and corn prices.

While these crop market impacts appear to be revealing themselves, the ramifications are for lower calf and feeder cattle prices. And this is emerging into those markets. $1 higher corn costs translate into about $6-$7/cwt lower feeder cattle prices. This cattle price impact is be exacerbated by dry conditions in the western U.S. and hay prices that are creeping higher. The impact on calf prices will be greater. With the higher grain prices and forage prices, we will see persistent pressure on feeder cattle and calf prices into 2021.

2021 National Ethanol Conference Shifts to Digital Experience

The 26th annual National Ethanol Conference, held February 16-18, 2021, will feature a fully digital, interactive format for the first time ever, the Renewable Fuels Association announced today. The industry’s premier event will continue to include the cutting-edge content, prolific speakers, and networking opportunities that attendees have come to expect, only in a digital format with exciting new features. Registration and agenda details for the event, themed “Essential Energy,” will be announced in the days ahead.

“As RFA prepares to enter its 40th year in operation in 2021, the upcoming NEC will hold special meaning for our organization and the entire industry,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “While the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has led us to adopt a fully digital format, we are confident the NEC will continue to serve as the largest and most visionary ethanol policy and marketing event for industry leaders and stakeholders. This is a critical time for our nation’s ethanol industry, which faces a changing political landscape, regulatory challenges, and uncertainty in the marketplace. But it is also a time of incredible opportunity for low-carbon renewable fuels, and NEC will serve as an excellent forum for exploring the strategies and approaches that will facilitate continued success for our essential industry in the future.”

RFA said the digital format will enable broader participation, provide attendees the flexibility to view content live in real-time or on-demand, and offer unique networking and business development opportunities.

The NEC is the nation’s most widely attended executive-level conference for the ethanol industry, providing an unequaled opportunity to engage key decision makers and industry executives about the latest opportunities and challenges affecting the industry today. Last year’s conference, which featured President George W. Bush as a special guest, attracted approximately 1,000 industry professionals representing 39 states, the District of Columbia, and 18 countries.

For more information, visit

ABA, Farmer Mac Joint Ag Lender Survey Reveals Top Concerns in an Uncertain Year

As the farm economy continues to work through a prolonged downturn in the midst of an unparalleled, global economic dislocation, ag lenders remain focused on credit quality, according to the Fall 2020 Agricultural Lender Survey report produced jointly by the American Bankers Association and the Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corporation, more commonly known as Farmer Mac. When it comes to their customers, lenders continue to be most concerned about liquidity, income and leverage. Uncertainty regarding tariffs and trade, the weather, and the impacts of COVID-19 and the resulting economic downturn are close behind.

“Facing a global pandemic and an unprecedented economic downturn, agricultural lenders’ concerns for both their institutions and ag borrowers remain focused on business fundamentals,” said Tyler Mondres, director of research at ABA. “With a deep understanding of both the ag sector and its cycles, lenders remain prepared to continue providing support to the farm economy through these challenging times.”

Farm Income and Profitability

The agricultural economy and farm income remained stressed in 2020. On average, lenders reported that just under 51% of their agricultural borrowers were profitable in 2020, down from 57% last year. About half of the lenders surveyed did not expect borrower profitability to improve in 2021 at the time of this survey. Respondents expressed the most concern for the grain, dairy and cattle sectors. Lender concerns for vegetables, poultry, and fruits and nuts declined compared to the previous survey results.

According to the survey results, banks that have been more heavily impacted by COVID-19 loan modifications also reported lower producer profit expectations. Many institutions reported modifying ag borrower loans due to either the coronavirus or the resulting economic turbulence. Of the banks that indicated that they had modified at least a quarter of their agricultural loan portfolio as a result of the pandemic, 46% reported average profit expectations for 2020. For banks that had modified less than 10% of their agricultural loans as a result of the pandemic, average profit expectations were just over 53%.

Despite the uncertainty through 2020, 31.2% of lenders reported that they expect borrowers to make investments in agricultural technology, with similar expectations for 2021 (27.3%). The survey results indicated some regional differences: almost half of lenders in the South expected farm technology investments to increase through 2020, while less than 30% of lenders from Cornbelt and Plains states said the same.

According to the report, producers are also asking their lenders about funding to develop alternative sources of income or to implement cost mitigation. Forty-three percent of survey respondents reported receiving inquiries from their borrowers about financing hemp production and just over one-third of respondents said that borrowers are asking about financing for renewable energy projects.

Lender Sentiments and Lending Conditions

Lenders continue to be most concerned about the liquidity, income and leverage of producers. Uncertainty regarding tariffs and trade, the weather, and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic downturn are close behind. While concern about the pandemic was lower than that for borrower financial strength, 87.4% of respondents noted that ag borrowers’ reliance on government payments in 2020 increased. Lenders reported a high percentage of ag customers inquiring about government programs like the USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program and Market Facilitation Program (CFAP/MFP, 68%) and the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP, 58%).

While over half of lenders reported that demand for ag production and ag real estate loans was flat over the last 6 months, a significant share reported increased demand (26.7% and 33.3%, respectively), and 82.2% said that overall farm debt increased over the past year.

Survey respondents generally expect higher ag loan delinquency rates heading into 2021 for both production (59.9%) and ag real estate (46.7%), though a majority expect loan charge-off rates to stay about the same (61.5% and 70.4%, respectively). About one in five ag borrowers requested a loan modification in 2020 due to the pandemic and resulting economic downturn.

In spite of the credit quality concerns, lenders still remain positive about approvals. Lenders reported an average agricultural loan application approval rate for new loans of 72.3% in the 12 months leading up to August 2020 and expect the approval rate for renewal requests to be close to 90% in the following 12 months.

“Credit quality and loan performance remained top of ag lenders’ minds this summer amid a backdrop of lower commodity prices and heightened uncertainty surrounding COVID-19,” said Jackson Takach, chief economist with Farmer Mac. “However, lenders reported strong borrower interest in and access to myriad government support programs like CFAP and PPP, and the agricultural commodity markets rebounded significantly since August. Access to capital is a critical component of economic stability, and ag lenders will be a central figure in that equation in 2021.”

The annual ABA and Farmer Mac Agricultural Lender Survey report is a joint effort to provide a look at the agricultural economy and market forces from the unique perspective of ag lenders. To view the full Agricultural Lender Survey Report, please visit

For over a decade, the alliance between Farmer Mac and ABA has enabled ABA-member banks to receive Farmer Mac preferred rates for their farm and ranch mortgage loans in addition to useful educational tools and other important benefits to better serve their agricultural customers.

State agriculture officials pioneer climate solutions through new climate alliance

Today, the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) announced its participation as a founding member of the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance (FACA). As the leading officials for agricultural and environmental regulation in the states, NASDA is proud to have contributed to the development of the 40+ recommendations for climate policy solutions also announced by the alliance today.
“Through authentic conversations with leaders from the climate, forestry and agriculture sectors, this group has pioneered a strategic plan to achieve our shared goal of empowering farmers to better protect and nourish our natural resources,” NASDA CEO Dr. Barb Glenn said. “With over 100 years of history in leading agriculture in the states, NASDA members know partnerships are key to successfully embarking on industry-shaping change.”
FACA’s core principals underscore that agricultural and forestry climate policies must be built upon voluntary, incentive-based programs and market-driven opportunities; they must promote resilience and adaptation in rural communities; and they must be science-based.
These recommendations include:
    Providing voluntary, incentive-based tools for farmers, ranchers and forest owners to maximize the sequestration of carbon and the reduction of other greenhouse gas emissions as well as increase the resilience of the land.
    Supporting the development of and overseeing private sector markets for GHG credits.
    Promoting public and private sector tools to incentivize farmers, ranchers, and forest owners to prioritize and scale climate-smart practices.
    Offering incentives for farmers to reduce energy consumption, increase use of on-farm renewable energy, and make continued progress toward reducing the lifecycle GHG emissions of agriculture- and forestry-based renewable energy.
    Streamlining consumer-facing packaging and implementing a public-private partnership to reduce the GHG impact of food waste and loss within the food value chain.
    Increasing federal investment in agriculture, forestry, and food-related research substantially and continuously.

Last year, NASDA Members unanimously acknowledged the urgency of adapting to a changing climate and building more resilient farms and ranches. Emphasizing points that would eventually contribute to the development of the FACA principals, NASDA produced a report with Environmental Defense Fund, now a FACA co-chair, to demonstrate the success of innovative state-led efforts to finance agricultural conservation.
“Climate resiliency is an issue agriculture must act upon now with new approaches and technologies,” Glenn said. "We’re eager to leverage FACA’s united voice and work with our federal partners to advance agriculture and natural resource conservation further than we’ve been able to accomplish on our own.”

Alliance Unveils Unprecedented Climate Policy Recommendations

An alliance of groups representing farmers, forest owners, the food sector, state governments and environmental advocates today unveiled an unprecedented set of recommendations to guide the development of federal climate policy.

The Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance (FACA) was formed in February 2020 by four groups that now co-chair the alliance: American Farm Bureau Federation, Environmental Defense Fund, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, and National Farmers Union. The alliance has since expanded to include FMI – The Food Industry Association, National Alliance of Forest Owners, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, and The Nature Conservancy.

Together, the group developed more than 40 recommendations based on three principles: agricultural and forestry climate policies must be built upon voluntary, incentive-based programs and market-driven opportunities; they must promote resilience and adaptation in rural communities; and they must be science-based. These recommendations share an overarching goal to do no harm. Climate policies will impact farmers, forest owners, ranchers, rural and limited-resources communities, wildlife and natural resources and must be thoughtfully crafted to account for any potential inequities, consequences and tradeoffs.

“We are proud to have broken through historical barriers to form this unique alliance focused on climate policy,” said Zippy Duvall, FACA Co-chair and President of the American Farm Bureau Federation. “We began discussions not knowing whether we would ultimately reach agreement. It was important to me to reject punitive climate policy ideas of the past in favor of policies that respect farmers and support positive change. Our final recommendations do just that.”

“The wide array of perspectives represented in this group — farmers, ranchers, forest owners and environmental advocates — sends a powerful message to Capitol Hill about the urgent need for bipartisan climate legislation,” said Fred Krupp, FACA Co-Chair and President of Environmental Defense Fund. “More resilient farms and forests protect the agricultural economy, reduce risk from the climate impacts that are already here and help prevent worsening climate impacts in the future.”

FACA Co-chair Chuck Conner, President of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, said, “Much as a farmer co-op gets its strength from uniting many producers to achieve a single goal, so too does FACA. Through FACA, the food, forestry and agriculture sectors can speak with a single voice on climate and, leveraging the unique perspectives and special talents of its members, help drive the conversation about the role that the food, forestry and agriculture sector can play in addressing climate policy.”

Rob Larew, FACA Co-chair and President of National Farmers Union, said, “Climate change is adding another enormous variable to the already unpredictable work of farming. Every year, farmers face more frequent and severe weather events, making it just that much harder to make a profit. There are concrete actions farmers can take to build resilience to weather extremes and pull carbon out of the atmosphere, but they need strong policy behind them. The recommendations we’ve compiled are a good place to start.”

Overview of climate policy recommendations
·     Provide voluntary, incentive-based tools and additional technical assistance for farmers, ranchers and foresters to maximize the sequestration of carbon and the reduction of other greenhouse gas emissions, and increase climate resilience.
·     Foster the development of private sector GHG markets. The public sector should ensure that verifiable reductions occur and provide farmers and forest owners with the technical support needed to participate.  
·     Use an array of public and private sector tools to incentivize agricultural and forestry producers to prioritize and scale climate-smart practices.
·     Incentivize farmers to reduce energy consumption and increase on-farm renewable energy production, and make continued progress toward reducing the lifecycle GHG emissions of agriculture- and forestry-based renewable energy.
·     Reduce the GHG impact of food waste and loss by streamlining confusing consumer-facing packaging and implementing a public-private partnership to achieve a meaningful and workable food date-labeling program.
·     Increase federal investment in agriculture, forestry and food-related research substantially and continuously.

Read the full recommendations at They cover six areas of focus: soil health, livestock and dairy, forests and wood products, energy, research, and food loss and waste.

NGFA commends Senate passage of U.S. Grain Standards Reauthorization Act of 2020; urges prompt House approval

The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) today commended the Senate for unanimously approving the U.S. Grain Standards Reauthorization Act of 2020 (S. 4054) on Nov. 16.

“This legislation, which would reauthorize the U.S. Grain Standards Reauthorization Act for another five years, provides certainty while improving the official inspection and weighing system through more transparency, information-sharing, and better data,” said NGFA President and CEO Randy Gordon. “This legislation is foundationally important in providing for official grain inspection and weighing services through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Federal Grain Inspection Service, as well as that agency’s maintenance of the U.S. grain standards that are relied upon by buyers, sellers and end-users to merchandise grains and oilseeds in domestic and international markets.”

NGFA said it appreciated the leadership and persistence of Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., in bringing this bill to the threshold of passage despite challenging circumstances brought on by COVID-19, and urged the House to enact the legislation promptly.

The Senate Agriculture Committee approved the bill in June, and previously had conducted a hearing on reauthorizing the legislation in 2019, during which Bruce Sutherland, president of Michigan Agricultural Commodities Inc. in Lansing, Mich., and a member of USDA’s Grain Inspection Advisory Committee, testified on behalf of NGFA.

FGIS establishes official marketing standards for grains and oilseeds under the authorization of the U.S. Grain Standards Act, which was first signed into law in 1916. The existing authorization law, which was enacted in 2015 and included provisions to ensure uninterrupted export inspections, expired Sept. 30.

In a June 23 support letter to committee leaders, NGFA and the North American Export Grain Association (NAEGA) supported reauthorizing all expiring provisions of the current law for another five years, including: the ability for Congress to appropriate funding for standardization and compliance activities that have broad societal benefits, including to farmers and consumers; authorization for the USDA Grain Inspection Advisory Committee to continue operating; and the current statutory limitation on the amount of money FGIS can spend on administrative costs not associated with direct inspection and weighing activities.

The U.S. Grain Standards Reauthorization Act of 2020 also includes several improvements advocated by NGFA and NAEGA that they said will promote increased data and information-sharing to benefit the system and its users, including:
•    Requiring delegated state agencies to notify users of Official inspection or weighing services at least 72 hours in advance of any intent to discontinue such services;
•    Ensuring FGIS user fees are directed solely to inspection and weighing services;
•    Reporting requests for waivers, exceptions and intrinsic quality and food safety factors received and granted by FGIS; and
•    Directing FGIS to complete a comprehensive review of the current boundaries for the officially designated grain inspection agencies in the domestic marketplace.

NGFA and NAEGA also highlighted their concerns about ongoing non-tariff trade barriers that have restricted exports of U.S. grains and oilseeds, noting that the reauthorization bill retains the provision that prohibits the “use of false or misleading grade designations” on official grade certificates for U.S. grain exports.

Helena to Debut Antares Complete Soybean Herbicide Next Year

Antares Complete will make its debut on soybean acres across the country next year after recently receiving federal registration from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Antares Complete is a new, multi-powered, pre-emergence soybean herbicide from Helena Agri-Enterprises, LLC. With three, proven herbicides in one powerful pre-mix, Antares Complete can be used in soybean cropping systems to eliminate early weed competition with long-lasting, residual control of key broadleaf weeds and grasses.

“As an agronomic company, we know early season weed control is where we can make the greatest positive impact for our customers,” says Mark Wayland, Manager of Herbicide Brands at Helena. “With the amount of prevent acres we’ve seen in recent years, we expect weed banks to be stocked for some time to come. The unique modes of action we’re providing in Antares Complete will give growers the opportunity to strike those weeds preemptively while combating herbicide resistance, which continues to rise at an alarming rate.”

Antares Complete unites sulfentrazone, s-metolachlor and metribuzin in a concentrated formulation that covers more acres than similar herbicides at equivalent field rates. It allows soybean growers to maximize weed control while lowering use rates and reducing the need for re-treatments and tank-mixing. According to Dr. Michael Cox, lead researcher on Antares Complete, it’s that optimized ratio of active ingredients that makes Antares Complete a top-performing soybean herbicide.     

“We’re completing our fourth year of research on Antares Complete, and in that time, we’ve been able to make sure it’s versatile across a broad range of conditions,” says Dr. Cox, Crop Protection Specialist for Research and Development at Helena. “We’ve evaluated its performance in the field and made the right adjustments in the lab to produce a product that will broaden control of extensive weed populations in soybeans.”

Antares Complete will be available for the 2021 growing season, pending approval by state regulatory agencies. Customers are encouraged to contact their Helena representative or an authorized Antares Complete dealer to secure their orders now. Antares Complete is labeled for use in spring and fall pre-plant incorporated, pre-plant burndown/surface, and pre-emergence applications in soybeans. For more information and availability by state, contact a Helena representative, or visit

COVID-19 Pandemic Has Brought Unprecedented Awareness and Consensus Regarding Factory Farming Risks

ASPCA Press Release

Today the ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) released data from a new public opinion survey conducted by Lake Research Partners, showing that the COVID-19 crisis has elevated already high levels of concern about industrial animal agriculture and reinforced the links between inhumane treatment of farm animals and human health risks. Driven by stories that have emerged throughout the pandemic of abuses on industrial farms and slaughterhouses, consumers are seeking out alternatives to factory-farmed meat, eggs and dairy—and there is strong bipartisan support for policies that would check the abuses of factory farming.

The overwhelming majority of the public are concerned about the impacts of industrial animal agriculture on animal welfare, worker and human health, the environment and local communities. But notably, those with first-hand experience—farmers and their families—are not only more concerned about these impacts, they are also twice as supportive of reforms such as a ban on future factory farms than the public as a whole.

"The pandemic has further opened consumers' eyes to the fragility and cruelty of factory farming, and the fact that poor treatment of animals in industrial farms and slaughterhouses presents an enormous threat to public health," said Daisy Freund, Vice President of Farm Animal Welfare at the ASPCA. "This survey shows that the public is aligned with advocates for the protection of animals, workers, public health and the environment who are working with urgency and solidarity to reform industrial animal agriculture. Policymakers should listen to the American people and act urgently to address and prevent the horrific abuses of animals and workers that have occurred during the pandemic."

Key findings of the survey include:
-    The vast majority (89%) of Americans are concerned about industrial animal agriculture – either citing animal welfare, worker safety or public health risks as a concern.
-    85% of farmers and their families support a complete ban on new industrial animal agriculture facilities–almost twice the support of the general public.
-    82% of respondents believe that the government should mandate slower slaughter speeds to protect workers, animals or public health, with a majority (61%) in support of reserving government funds for farmers whose practices are more humane, safe for workers, and reduce the risk of future pandemics.
-    Two-thirds (65%) of the public reported that they believe poor worker protections and harsh working conditions increase inhumane treatment of farm animals, with more than half (57%) believing that this mistreatment increases public health risks.
-    72% of those surveyed who recently heard about animal welfare, worker safety or public health issues related to industrial factory farming reported purchasing less factory-farmed animal products since the start of the pandemic—either seeking out more local animal products, shifting to products with more assurance of animal welfare or consuming less meat, eggs or dairy.

At a time when the country is divided on a number of issues, most of these opinions and beliefs held true across political party, race, gender and regardless of whether the respondent lived in a rural or urban setting.

The ASPCA is working with public health, labor and consumer groups to call on Congress to protect farmed animals and humans impacted by industrial animal agriculture by passing the Farm System Reform Act (S.3221/H.R.6718), which would phase out the largest, most inhumane and destructive factory farms, and the Safe Line Speeds During COVID-19 Act (H.R.7521/S.4338), which would slow breakneck slaughter speeds that currently endanger animals, workers and food safety.

"These findings reaffirm that the vast majority of the public – not just workers - are deeply concerned by how frontline workers have been unnecessarily risking their lives to put food on our tables," said Christina Spach, National Organizer, Food Chain Workers Alliance. "The pandemic has only magnified the already life-threatening conditions inside meat processing and meatpacking facilities. We must hold companies accountable for the lack of basic health and safety protections for their workers and their profit-driven line speeds that will continue to endanger both worker safety and animal welfare beyond the COVID-19 crisis."

"The results of this survey show what we at SRAP see every day in our work: Those who have first-hand experience and knowledge about farming—farmers and their families—also suffer the most from industrial-scale animal agriculture operations in their communities," said Sherri Dugger, Executive Director at the Socially Responsible Agricultural Project (SRAP). "This poll reinforces that there is an urgent need to rein in this dangerous, destructive industry that is devastating farming families and rural communities across America."

"This report illustrates how grossly out of step regulators and industrial animal factories are with the public," said Ryan Talbott, staff attorney with the Center for Food Safety. "The public overwhelmingly supports a slow and more humane slaughterhouse process to protect animal welfare, worker safety, and food safety, yet USDA continues to massively increase slaughter speeds. USDA should protect food system workers, not line the pockets of producers by risking workers' lives and the public's safety from foodborne illness outbreaks."

In addition to advocating for these reforms, consumers can show that there is no market for farm animal cruelty by choosing more plant-based meals and picking meat, dairy or eggs from credible, welfare-certified farms using the ASPCA's Shop With Your Heart resources, including the Shopkind Helpline, a text-based service where shoppers can get a quick response from an ASPCA expert about questions related to farm animal welfare and navigating food labels.

Methodology: Lake Research Partners designed and administered the survey with 1,000 American adults over the internet from a national sample of internet users. The nationwide survey was conducted August 18 - 24, 2020.  The data were weighted slightly by gender, age, region, race, political party identification, and education to match known characteristics of the adult US population. In interpreting survey results, all sample surveys are subject to possible sampling error. With a sample of 1,000 the results of a survey would be within 3.1% of those which would be obtained if the entire population were interviewed; the sampling error is higher for sub-groups. The size of the sampling error depends upon both the total number of respondents in the survey and the percentage distribution of responses to a particular question.  

160+ organizations urge President-Elect Biden to withdraw Heidi Heitkamp from consideration for USDA Secretary

Press Release

A coalition of more than 160 environmental, food justice, sustainable agriculture, workers’ rights, animal welfare, social justice, public health, and anti-hunger organizations sent a letter today to President-Elect Biden, Vice President-Elect Harris, and their transition team opposing Heidi Heitkamp as a potential nominee for USDA Secretary.

Heitkamp, the former U.S. Senator from North Dakota (2013-2018), has been campaigning for the top post at USDA and is considered among the frontrunners for the position.

In the letter, the groups argue that “Heitkamp is the wrong choice for the USDA because she has aligned herself with corporate agribusiness at the expense of family farmers, supports fossil fuel interests, and holds views that are out of step with the Democratic Party and the majority of Americans.”

The letter also points out that there are “many other highly qualified candidates ––including several women candidates and candidates of color.” Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH), a longtime member of the House Agriculture Committee and chair of the nutrition subcommittee, has also indicated her interest in the position. She would be the first African American woman to become USDA Secretary.

"With her terrible environmental record and deep ties to agribusiness and the fossil fuel industry, Heitkamp is the wrong person to lead the USDA,” says Kari Hamerschlag, deputy director of food and agriculture at Friends of the Earth. “We need to steer today’s agriculture away from energy-intensive industrial monoculture and factory farming toward diversified regenerative farming. If President-elect Biden is serious about meeting his climate goals, he cannot name Heitkamp as USDA Secretary.”

“Heitkamp's track record speaks for itself: she cares more about corporations than communities," added Navina Khanna, Executive Director of the HEAL Food Alliance, a coalition of organizations representing over two million rural and urban farmers, ranchers, fishermen, food chain workers, indigenous groups, scientists, public health advocates and community organizers across the United States. “Farmers and families across the U.S. deserve leaders who will prioritize their needs over those of corporations. We strongly urge the Biden-Harris administration to name a USDA Secretary who understands the urgency of the moment and will think and act with that in mind - with care for independent farmers, the food system's essential workers, and families all over that are struggling to make ends meet."

Joe Maxwell, President of Family Farm Action explained, “Facing excessive monopoly control of their markets and climate change, our farmers and ranchers need a USDA leader who has the experience and the vision to build a new resilient food system that works for farmers, workers, and local and regional businesses throughout the food system. During her tenure in the U.S. Senate, Heidi Heitkamp has proven she is not that leader; she is part of the problem, not the solution.”

"People's Action had 10,000 conversations with rural voters, and when asked what they saw as the cause of declining conditions in their community, the number one answer was a government that repeatedly chose the needs of big corporations over everyday people," People's Action Director George Goehl said. "Senator Heitkamp, is in the pocket of corporate ag, fossil. fuels and the health insurance industry, and appointing her would confirm people’s fears that Democrats are controlled by the same corporate puppet strings as Republicans. If Democrats want to start winning a larger share of the rural vote, they have to cut the puppet strings and stand with everyday people."

Monday November 16 Ag News


For the week ending November 15, 2020, there were 4.4 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Topsoil moisture supplies rated 22% very short, 42% short, 36% adequate, and 0% surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 29% very short, 41% short, 29% adequate, and 1% surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn harvested was 96%, ahead of 82% last year and 88% for the five-year average.

Winter wheat condition rated 5% very poor, 19% poor, 37% fair, 36% good, and 3% excellent. Winter wheat emerged was 95%, behind 100% last year, and near 98% average.

Pasture and Range Report:  

Pasture and range conditions rated 22% very poor, 27% poor, 28% fair, 22% good, and 1% excellent.

Iowa Crop Progress & Condition Report

Above normal rainfall, snow in Northwest Iowa and cooler temperatures only allowed Iowa farmers 4.6 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending November 15, 2020, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Fieldwork activities again included harvesting corn and soybeans, baling corn stalks, applying fertilizer and manure, and tillage.

Topsoil moisture condition rated 13% very short, 29% short, 57% adequate and 1% surplus. Subsoil moisture condition rated 21% very short, 34% short, 45% adequate and 0% surplus.

Only 3% of Iowa’s corn for grain crop remains to be harvested, almost 4 weeks ahead of last year and just over 2 weeks ahead of the 5-year average. Statewide, the moisture content of field corn being harvested for grain remained at 15%. Farmers in northwest, north central and west central Iowa have less than 1% of their corn for grain remaining to be harvested while farmers in south central Iowa still have 10% to be harvested.

Only 1% of Iowa’s soybean crop remains to be harvested, over 2 weeks ahead of last year and 8 days ahead of average. Only scattered fields are left to be harvested.

Livestock producers continue to allow cattle to graze on corn stalks.

USDA: 5% of Corn, 4% of Soybeans Left to Harvest

Winter wheat conditions improved slightly and the percentage of corn and soybeans remaining to be harvested moved to the single digits last week, according to the USDA NASS weekly Crop Progress report released on Monday.

Corn harvest moved ahead 4 percentage points last week to reach 95% complete as of Sunday, Nov. 15, 8 percentage points ahead of the five-year average of 87%.

Soybean harvest also moved ahead 4 percentage points to reach 96% complete as of Sunday, 3 percentage points ahead of the five-year average of 93%.

Winter wheat planting gained 3 percentage points to reach 96% as of Sunday. That is 2 percentage points ahead of the five-year average of 94%. An estimated 85% of winter wheat had emerged, 1 percentage point ahead of the five-year average of 84%. The condition of the winter wheat crop was estimated at 46% good to excellent, up 1 percentage point from 45% the previous week but still below 52% at the same time a year ago.


Extension webinar to cover evaluation of risk management alternatives

A Nebraska Extension webinar on Thursday at noon will explore risk management tools available for ag producers, highlighting those from the RightRisk Education Team that assist managers in sifting through information and alternative management strategies.

Presenters include John Hewlett, ranch and farm management specialist at the University of Wyoming, and Jay Parsons, professor and farm and ranch management specialist in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Department of Agricultural Economics. Both are members of the national RightRisk Education Team, which has worked for nearly 20 years to develop tools to assist agricultural managers in their decision-making.

The webinar will explore the tools currently available and the general approach followed for each. Specific decision examples will be demonstrated, including a look at the effect that Livestock Risk Protection insurance can have on projected revenue.

It is presented as part of the Agricultural Economics Extension Farm and Ranch Management weekly series.

Registration is free at


NeFB Annual Meeting Moves to One-Day Voting Delegate Session, Other Events Held Virtually

Steve Nelson - Nebraska Farm Bureau President

In response to the increasing number of Coronavirus cases in the state, the Nebraska Farm Bureau 2020 Annual Meeting and Convention will be limited to a one-day, in-person, voting delegate session. The voting delegate session will be held Tuesday, December 8. There will not be a Member Benefit trade show, nor will there be informational breakout sessions this year. Other activities such as the Young Farmers and Ranchers Discussion Meet and the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation Grower’s Gala will be held as virtual events.

Please know these decisions are not easy. The Nebraska Farm Bureau Board of Directors recognizes there are wide-ranging thoughts and opinions amongst our members as it relates to the coronavirus. We respect them all. With that said, our obligation to protect the health and safety of our members and staff in these unprecedented times is a top priority.

Electing leadership and developing policy are critical functions of our delegate body. As such, the board and I felt it important these functions continue be held in person, if allowed by health directives. We are committed to operating the delegate session in a physically distanced fashion and will strongly encourage the wearing of masks for all in attendance during the time they are not seated and properly distanced at their delegate table. All Nebraska Farm Bureau staff will be required to wear masks during times in which they are not distanced. Please note, participation during the one-day session will be limited to county Farm Bureau delegates, the State Board of Directors, State Legislative Policy Committee members, and staff.

As noted, other components of the 2020 Annual Meeting and Convention will now be held virtually including the Nebraska Young Farmers and Ranchers Discussion Meet to be held Friday, December 4. The Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation Grower’s Gala will also be held virtually, Monday, December 7.

Please click on the button below to learn more about the ways in which you can engage in the Nebraska Farm Bureau’s 2020 Annual Meeting and Convention  Any future changes in the Annual Meeting resulting from increased state or local restrictions will be posted on the 2020 Nebraska Farm Bureau Annual Meeting and Convention web page.  


– Jerry Volesky, NE Extension Forage & Pasture Specialist

Fall rain and snow are good for wheat and next year’s crops, but it does have its drawbacks.   One challenge is its impact on corn stalk feed quality.
While this fall has been quite dry, there has and will continue to be areas that receive some rain or snow events.  Rain reduces corn stalk quality several ways.  Most easily noticed is how fast stalks can get soiled or trampled into the ground if the fields become muddy.
Less noticeable are nutritional changes.  Rain or melting snow soaks into dry corn stalk residue and leaches out some of the soluble nutrients.  Most serious is the loss of sugars and other energy-dense nutrients, which lowers the TDN or energy value of the stalks.  These same nutrients also disappear if stalks begin to mold or rot in the field or especially in the bale.  Then palatability and intake also decline.
Another factor that affects cornstalk grazing is wind.  Throughout the fall, there always seems to be those days where excessively high winds will easily blow corn leaves and husks off the field.  This of course, can impact the amount of feed, and after grain, those leaves and husks contain the highest nutritional quality.
There is little you can do to prevent these losses.  What you can do, though, is to closely monitor cow and field conditions while adjusting your supplementation program accordingly.  Since weathering by rain reduces TDN more than it reduces protein, consider the energy value of your supplements as well as its protein content.
Weathered corn stalks still are economical feeds.  Just supplement them accordingly.

Caring for Animals When the Power Goes Out

Steve Niemeyer – NE Extension Educator

When temporary power outages hit rural areas of Nebraska, animal caretakers might wonder, “How did we ever raise livestock in the days before electricity?” Electric lights, hot water heaters, and mechanical ventilation are all items that are taken for granted, except when weather events interrupt their supply of “juice.”

For a great number of operations, electricity is surely essential. Modern milking parlors with vacuum pumps and refrigerated bulk tanks can’t do without a generator when the power goes out. The inability to milk cows, even on an intermittent basis, results not only in production losses, but also in more cases of mastitis.

Mechanical ventilation systems aren’t just useful to make modern hog barns comfortable for pigs, they’re essential in regulating gases and temperatures that, allowed to rise, could become a life-or-death proposition for the animal. Generators are standard equipment in those operations as well but aren’t always fail-safe and need to be continually monitored.

Water Considerations

A common use for electricity on farms and ranches during winter months is for supplying water to animals. Electric waterers allow for a consistent supply of water to livestock regardless of the temperature. When they fail, oftentimes there are no other sources for animals to turn to for water, the most important nutrient.  Exceptions are the highly insulated “energy-free” waterers that use ground temperature of the incoming water to keep the water thawed.

Beef Cattle

Most experts agree that for short-term purposes, beef cows can utilize snow, if present, as a temporary water source. A complicating factor is that the ice that brings down power lines can create a crust over the snow that cattle have a hard time breaking through. It takes energy away from the cow’s system to melt consumed snow into water, but cows tend to “graze” on snow throughout the day, rather than take it all in at once. This effectively spreads out their use of calories so that it doesn’t seem to be a significant issue.

Effects of power outages on beef herds depends on their timing relative to cow’s stages of production. Lactating cows have an increased requirement for water; necessary steps should be taken to assure those cows do not have to get by with eating snow. Decreased milk production in beef cows can have a lasting impact on newborn calves. However, power outages can also cause problems for producers wishing to provide colostrum or milk replacers for those calves. These products should be fed as close to the calf’s body temperature (102° F) as possible; a cold dose of milk or colostrum means further chilling of the calf, along with decreased absorption of antibodies from colostrum. Steps should be taken to obtain warm water for their meals, especially in these times of cold outside temperatures.


Sheep seem to be able to utilize snow to a certain degree also, but it’s not enough to meet requirements for ewes in late gestation or the ones that have lambed.


Horses drastically decrease their water intake during cold weather, while increasing their intake of forages. This creates the unfortunate possibility of colic. While case reports indicate that, on an emergency basis, horses can use snow as a water source, supplying them with a source of fresh water during power outages should be a high priority.


An issue with hogs and water outages is that of “salt poisoning.” This is a shift in metabolism due to inadequate water intake. An excessive concentration of sodium builds up in their body fluids, resulting in central nervous system signs such as muscle spasms, seizures, coma and death. The tricky thing is that these signs become worse when the water supply is turned back on and the pigs take in a lot of water rapidly. Following a water outage, water should be supplied gradually back to the group of pigs as they rehydrate themselves. All animals are susceptible to salt poisoning, but pigs are the most sensitive.

Other Health Issues

Other, less obvious animal health issues can arise from power outages. Vaccines and other medications stored in refrigerators should be treated like food items when the power goes out: keep the refrigerator door shut unless absolutely necessary. Medications that have been subject to prolonged warmer temperatures should probably be discarded, depending upon their storage requirements. Likewise, medications that have frozen should also be discarded – many animal vaccines develop toxic compounds once they’re frozen and thawed. In a similar manner, colostrum stored in refrigerators and freezers should be evaluated once the power comes back on.

Frozen colostrum that becomes thawed is still good for up to a week if refrigerator-type temperatures have not been surpassed.

Power outages bring with them a different set of circumstances to every animal operation. Questions about animal care and animal health products in the midst of electricity loss should be directed to your veterinarian.

ISU Crop Marketing Strategies Webinar November 19, 2020 at 7 pm

A live webinar on Thursday, November 19th at 7:00 pm. features speakers Steve Johnson, ISU Farm Management Specialist, along with Ed Kordick, farmer education program manager with the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation.

Topics to be discussed:
-    Current corn and soybean supply/demand and price outlook
-    Local basis trends and futures price carry
-    Cost of grain ownership
-    Crop marketing strategies, tools, and market planning

Pre-registration is required.  Click here:

New Opportunities for Agricultural Trade with China

Trade relations with China continue to be one of the biggest issues affecting the agricultural markets, and an economist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach says recent events point toward opportunity for both countries.

Wendong Zhang, assistant professor in economics and extension economist at Iowa State University, has written multiple articles this fall exploring the impacts of strained bilateral relations, COVID-19 and the Phase 1 trade agreement.

“Deteriorating bilateral relations make the Phase 1 trade deal even more important,” said Zhang. “The change of the federal administration and the Phase 1 deal give both countries an opportunity to improve and rebalance their portfolio.”

In a recent article in Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, Zhang discusses the importance of healthy US-China trade relations and how Phase 1 could possibly lead to a more balanced portfolio of commodities being traded, with increases in protein and retail food products.

According to Zhang, challenges such as COVID-19, the African swine fever and China’s growing economy continue to create demand for US pork, beef and poultry products. He and colleagues Dermot Hayes and Xi He project, in an updated CARD policy brief, that China is on track to import $31.15 billion in ag products from the US in Phase 1, which is still under the $36.5 billion target but substantially higher than the previous estimates.

However, he expects the demand for protein and other agricultural products could fill the gap, setting a strong precedent going forward.

“A more balanced portfolio will allow China to strengthen economic ties with agricultural states outside the US Midwest, such as California and Florida, and also fits China’s diversification objectives of not solely relying on soybeans when buying US agricultural products,” he said.

He has published similar articles in the Ag Decision Maker and The Conversation. Zhang also gave a related presentation through the Ohio State University Ag Policy & Outlook Conference, called China as an Indispensable Trade Partner with US Agriculture.

In the recent CARD Policy Brief, Zhang also notes that China imported a record amount of corn in recent years, with an outstanding 8.56 million metric tons for delivery in the 2020-21 marketing year. He concludes that it’s very likely China will exceed its tariff rate quota of 7.2 MMT, setting up a strong possibility that China will need to expand its 7.2 million tariff rate quota for corn.

New Podcast Compares and Contrasts the 1980s Farm Crisis With Today

AEI Premium, the online community for agricultural decision makers, launched a new podcast to help listeners better understand today's farm economy by learning from the past.
"Escaping 1980" explores the causes, impacts, and lasting effects of one of the most infamous events in American agriculture history, the 1980s farm crisis.
Hosted by rural journalist Sarah Mock, "Escaping 1980" features agricultural economists Brent Gloy and David Widmar as they travel back in time to answer an important question: is today's fretful farm economy showing signs of another crisis ahead?
"The way we remember the '80s informs the way we think about the farm economy today," said AEI Premium co-founder and "Escaping 1980" co-host David Widmar. "But to figure out if today is as bad as the 1980s, we have to start by answering a different question... what, exactly, happened during the 1980s?"
Farmers, agribusiness leaders, farm policy wonks, and students will each glean insights from the series. "Escaping 1980" explores timely, big-picture questions including:
 - Can we head off an economic crisis before it begins?
- Does thinking about the '80s as a single event - a "farm crisis"- even make sense?
- How can we tell when a "boom" period ends and a "bust" begins?
- Is it possible to compare the run-up to the 1980s with what happened in the early    2010s?
- What were the wrong lessons to learn from the '80s?
Episodes are available to stream now at along with additional reading about the topics discussed on the show.

USDA Reminds Dairy Producers of Dec. 11 Deadline for 2021 Safety-Net Enrollment

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reminds dairy producers that the deadline to enroll in Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) for calendar year 2021 is Friday, Dec. 11, 2020. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) opened DMC signup in October to help producers manage economic risk brought on by milk price and feed cost disparities.

“2020 has been a challenging year for agricultural producers, and we don't know yet what the next year will bring,” FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce. “Dairy producers should definitely consider coverage for 2021 as even the slightest drop in the margin can trigger payments.”

The DMC program, created by the 2018 Farm Bill, offers reasonably priced protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all-milk price and the average feed cost (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer.

Complete 2021 Enrollment/Evaluate Coverage Options

For DMC enrollment, producers must certify with FSA that the operation is commercially marketing milk, sign all required forms, and pay the $100 administrative fee unless the dairy operation qualifies for a limited resource, beginning, socially disadvantaged, or military veteran farmers and ranchers waiver.

Producers interested in DMC have the option to select a $4.00 catastrophic level of coverage with no premium fee or they can choose to buy-up coverage where the premium is based on margin triggers between $4.50 and $9.50 on 5 to 95 percent of established production history.

To determine the appropriate level of DMC coverage for a specific dairy operation, producers can utilize the recently updated online dairy decision tool. The decision tool is designed to demonstrate the historical performance of DMC and assist producers with calculating total premium costs and administrative fees associated with participation in DMC. An informational video is available, too.

2020 Margin Payments

For producers enrolled in DMC for 2020, the fourth DMC payment of the year triggered in September at $9.40. Including the September payment, dairy producers across the country have received 11 monthly payments for over $472 million through DMC since the program began in January 2019.

USDA Introduces Enhanced Coverage Option Crop Insurance Product

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA) today announced that a new Federal Crop Insurance product, the Enhanced Coverage Option (ECO), will be available for 31 spring-planted crops for the 2021 crop year and is expected to be available for additional crops starting in the 2022 crop year.

“We’re happy to introduce the Enhanced Coverage Option starting in crop year 2021,” said RMA Administrator Martin Barbre. “ECO provides additional coverage and more flexibility in making risk management decisions.”

ECO allows policyholders to purchase additional area-based coverage for a portion of the deductible for their underlying yield- or revenue-based crop insurance policy. ECO must be purchased as an endorsement to the Yield Protection, Revenue Protection, Revenue Protection with the Harvest Price Exclusion, Actual Production History or Yield-Based Dollar Amount of Insurance policy.

ECO provides coverage in bands from 86% to a choice of either 90 or 95% of expected yield or revenue. ECO pays a loss on an area basis, and an indemnity triggers when the county level yield or revenue drops below 90 or 95% of its expected level. There is an additional premium associated with ECO coverage, and premium subsidies are offered to make the policy more affordable. Unlike the Supplemental Coverage Option, ECO coverage is unaffected by Agriculture Risk Coverage participation for the same crop, on the same acres. You may select ECO regardless of your farm program election.

RMA is authorizing additional flexibilities due to the coronavirus pandemic while continuing to support producers, working through Approved Insurance Providers (AIPs) to deliver services, including processing policies, claims and agreements. RMA staff are working with AIPs and other customers by phone, mail and electronically to continue supporting crop insurance coverage for producers. Farmers with crop insurance questions or needs should continue to contact their insurance agents about conducting business remotely (by telephone or email). More information can be found at

Crop insurance is sold and delivered solely through private insurance agents. A list of insurance agents is available online using the RMA Agent Locator. Learn more about crop insurance and the modern farm safety net at

Farm production expenses forecast to decrease in 2020, the sixth year in a row

USDA Economic Research Service

Farm sector production expenses (including expenses associated with operator dwellings) are forecast to decrease by $4.6 billion (1.3 percent) to $344.2 billion in 2020 in nominal terms, i.e. not adjusted for inflation. These expenses represent the costs of all inputs used to produce farm commodities and strongly affect farm profitability.

Although overall production expenses are expected to decrease, changes in specific expenses vary.

Specific expenses forecast to increase in 2020 account for approximately 69 percent of total expenses and are projected to collectively rise by $6.0 billion relative to 2019 before adjusting for inflation. These include the two largest expense categories—feed purchases (1.4 percent increase from 2019) and cash labor (3.1 percent).

In contrast, expenses expected to decrease account for 31 percent of total expenses and are forecast to collectively decline by $10.6 billion from 2019 to 2020. Specifically, livestock and poultry purchases are anticipated to decrease by 7.5 percent, pesticides by 2.1 percent, and oil and fuel spending by 13.9 percent. In addition, interest expenses are forecast to be at their lowest level since 2014 (not adjusted for inflation), dropping by 27.1 percent ($5.6 billion) from 2019 as a result of historically low interest rates.

After adjusting for inflation, total production expenses in 2020 are 19 percent below the record high of $427.1 billion in 2014, continuing a six-year streak of declining expenses.  

Boehringer Ingelheim, Kansas State University partner to invest in future of veterinary medicine

Boehringer Ingelheim, a leading provider of animal health products, and Kansas State University's College of Veterinary Medicine have announced a strategic collaboration that will support a strong pipeline of highly skilled veterinarians and continued innovation in the heart of the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor.

Boehringer Ingelheim's U.S. Animal Health business will donate $800,000 over the next five years to the KSU Foundation. The funds will support interaction and collaboration between Boehringer Ingelheim and veterinary students at one of the leading animal health schools in the country, K-State's College of Veterinary Medicine.

The collaboration will create opportunities for Boehringer Ingelheim employees to train and present to students, and allow for additional professional development and learning initiatives between Boehringer Ingelheim and the university. As part of the strategic collaboration, K-State's College of Veterinary Medicine built a new auditorium named the Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health Auditorium that was completed in August 2020. The building is now open to students for fall 2020 classes.

"The Kansas City Animal Health Corridor and Boehringer Ingelheim share a history dating back more than 100 years," said Randolph Legg, head of the U.S. commercial business for Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health. "The collaboration with Kansas State University furthers our commitment to this community, where so many of our dedicated employees live and work, and to the future of veterinary medicine.

"It is critically important that we help veterinary students prepare for the changing and growing role vets play in everything from caring for the animals we cherish, to food safety, public health and protecting the environment," Legg said. "This collaboration will make a meaningful contribution to ensuring no animal suffers from a preventable disease."

The auditorium is a premier space for student lectures, seminars and campuswide events, as well as for national meetings for groups such as the student chapter of the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Pre-Vet Symposium. Boehringer Ingelheim will host training sessions, symposiums and events in the auditorium, which will expose students to emerging trends in animal health as well as potential career opportunities.

"Boehringer Ingelheim's belief in preventative care aligns with our commitment to advancing the health of animals through education and research," said Bonnie Rush, dean of College of Veterinary Medicine. "We're thrilled to work with Boehringer Ingelheim to expand our education programs and engagement with the community."

Boehringer Ingelheim's largest global animal health manufacturing site is not far from Kansas State University, in nearby St. Joseph, Missouri, where the company employs nearly 1,000 people. The site makes more than 1 billion doses of vaccine a year for livestock producers in the U.S. and 44 other counties. Boehringer Ingelheim has operated the site in St. Joseph for more than 100 years and has recently invested nearly $50 million to increase manufacturing capacity there.

Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health is the second-largest animal health business in the world, with net sales of $4.5 billion — or 4 billion euros — in 2019 and a presence in more than 150 countries. It has a significant presence in the U.S., with more than 3,100 employees in places that include Georgia, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, New Jersey and Puerto Rico.

Making new and better medicines for humans and animals is at the heart of what Boehringer Ingelheim  does. Its mission is to create breakthrough therapies that change lives. Since its founding in 1885, Boehringer Ingelheim has been independent and family-owned and has the freedom to pursue its long-term vision, looking ahead to identify the health challenges of the future and targeting those areas of need where it can do the most good. As a world-leading, research-driven pharmaceutical company, more than 51,000 employees create value through innovation daily for our three business areas: Human Pharma, Animal Health and Biopharmaceutical Contract Manufacturing.

K-State's College of Veterinary Medicine is committed to a professional degree program with broad training opportunities across a comprehensive range of companion and exotic animals, and livestock species. Its focus is on initiatives that address important societal needs at a local, national and global level. K-State in the animal corridor and is dedicated to the advancement of health and welfare of animals, people, the environment, and the veterinary profession through excellence in teaching, research, service and outreach.  

Biodiesel Board Announces New East-Coast Policy Staff Position

The National Biodiesel Board welcomed Steve Dodge as the organization's new Director of State Regulatory Affairs today. Dodge is a longtime energy industry veteran who will focus primarily on advancing state and regional policy efforts for biodiesel, renewable diesel, and Bioheat® home heating oil on the east coast.

With more than two decades of experience guiding and managing outreach, communication, and lobbying efforts for the American Petroleum Institute, most recently as Executive Director of the Massachusetts/New England Petroleum Council, Dodge is well positioned to take the lead on NBB efforts focused on this important market.

"Carbon reduction goals in the Northeast are driving significant opportunity for biodiesel and renewable diesel, with future potential on par with the West Coast market we see today," said NBB CEO Donnell Rehagen. "Key to that opportunity will be Bioheat®, the home heating market. NBB, the soybean industry, and the heating oil community have put millions of dollars into the research, market development, and education needed over the last 15-plus years. To take the next step and reach the industry goals of B50 Bioheat® by 2030 and B100 by 2050, we felt this expanded state and regional policy focus was a critical step to bolster industry efforts."

"NBB has always been a leader in fuels policy work in the northeast and I'm excited to join the team in advancing cleaner, renewable fuels like biodiesel and renewable diesel," said Dodge. "Collaboration and coalition building with our members and key stakeholders in the region, and in close coordination with the home heating oil industry, will be key to securing support in statehouses throughout the region."

NBB's state governmental affairs efforts are led by Floyd Vergara from the organization's Sacramento, California office. Dodge's addition on the East Coast compliments the program along with an already robust contract lobbying and support team strategically positioned across the country.

CommonGround Celebrates 10 Years of Breaking Barriers, Building Trust

CommonGround, a group of women farmers planting seeds of trust through conversations with consumers about the food they grow, celebrates an impressive milestone this month: 10 years of service and impact.

With so many food choices available, the farmers of CommonGround serve as a resource to connect with families about food and farming. The organization’s farmers volunteer their time to share personal experiences, as well as science and research, to help consumers sort through the myths and misinformation surrounding food. What began as a handful of volunteers with a shared goal has flourished, growing into a grassroots movement with more than 200 volunteers across 20 states.

“I’m proud to be part of something so authentic in this crazy world,” said Lauren Biegler, a CommonGround farmer-volunteer from Minnesota. “All the women in the program have such genuine love and pride for their families, farms and the products that come off their farms.”

CommonGround was developed by the National Corn Growers Association, in collaboration with state corn and soy associations. Though 10 years have passed, the mission remains the same: break the barriers between farmers and consumers through direct conversations.

“CommonGround’s continued success shows the real difference farmers can make when they reach out to not only talk but really listen to consumers,” said NCGA Communications Director Cathryn Wojcicki.

The authenticity, passion and openness of the 200-plus women are the center of the past decade of success and impact. Through their work in person, on social media and in media interviews, these farm women make real connections with consumers, many of whom share the experience of motherhood with the farmer-volunteers.

Moms naturally want to feed their families the best, safest food possible. Finding information they trust can be daunting. Research shows that many moms today often experience “mom guilt” about what they feed their kids, often due to a lack of understanding and clarity on whether they’re making the best choices. CommonGround farmer-volunteers are uniquely qualified to empower other moms to feel confident in their food choices.

“Throughout history, women have worked silently in agriculture nurturing their families, caring for their animals and tending their crops,” said longtime farmer-volunteer Joan Ruskamp from Nebraska. “Many of these women have taken on a new role of becoming a voice for their farm and a comfort to urban moms through our volunteer movement in CommonGround.”

This work is often completed conversation by conversation on social media or at local and national events. Recently, CommonGround hosted a virtual cooking class for busy moms that featured chef instruction and open conversation about the meal and a wide array of common food questions surrounding topics such as GMOs, gene editing, pesticides and hormones in meat and milk.

CommonGround’s social media outreach is great for busy moms on the go to grab quick information, such as the “HERspective” video series and timely facts and discussion on the CommonGround Instagram, Facebook and Twitter channels. Together, these activations show the program’s grassroots, authentic approach to conversations in action.

“NCGA thanks the women who volunteer as well as the state staff who continually find ways to innovate and improve the program as a whole,” said Wojcicki. “Working with so many creative, enthusiastic, smart women reminds me daily of the importance of our mission — both for agriculture and for happy, healthy, guilt-free families across the country.”

To learn more about CommonGround, visit

Noble Shares 75 Fun Facts About Beef, Grazing Lands, Cattle Production

Beef is a staple of American mealtime. Producing beef requires the dedication of farmers and ranchers across the United States, and proper management of grazing animals can rebuild the health of pastures and rangelands and provides food and essential products for society.

Since 1945, Noble Research Institute has supported farmers and ranchers in fostering land stewardship, improving the soil and producing one of the world's favorite foods. In honor of Noble's 75th anniversary, Noble is sharing 75 fun facts about beef. Below are some of those facts.

Throughout the State and Around the World
Beef cattle are raised in all 50 states. The top five states with the most beef cattle are Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Nebraska and South Dakota. There are more than 800,000 ranchers and cattle producers in the United States, making it the world's largest beef producer. Those farmers and ranchers produce 18% of the world's beef with only 8% of the world's cattle.

On the Dinner Plate
Every day, 76 million Americans eat beef. Beef is one of the most important dietary sources of iron. One person would have to eat three cups of raw spinach in order to get the same amount of iron in one 3-ounce serving of beef. It is also a source for other nutrients our bodies need, including protein, B vitamins, zinc, selenium, niacin, phosphorous, riboflavin and choline.

The hamburger was popularized at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis. A hamburger only cost 5 cents in 1921 and 12 cents in 1950. The first hamburger chain was White Castle, which was founded in Wichita, Kansas, in 1921. The most popular beef products include ground beef, ribeye steak, strip steak and T-bone steak.

More Than Steak
More than 98% of a beef animal is used. About 60% of a beef animal goes to make products other than meat, such as medical products like insulin and drugs used to help the body accept organ transplants. One cowhide can make 18 soccer balls or 20 footballs. Gummy bears, marshmallows, candles and paintbrushes, amongst other things, are also made from cattle.

Reducing Environmental Impact
Today's beef producers use 33% fewer cattle to produce the same amount of beef that they did in the 1970s. The industry uses natural resources much more efficiently today and represents only 2% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. The carbon footprint of a unit of beef produced decreased by 16% and water use decreased by 14% from 1997 to 2007. The U.S. beef industry continued to reduce water by 3% from 2005 to 2011.

It takes 2,000 years for natural processes to make 10 centimeters of fertile soil. That's why it's so important to protect the soil from erosion and other degradation. Ranchers are building up - not just conserving - the soil on pastures and rangelands by following five basic soil health principles within the context of a properly managed production system: 1) cover the soil, 2) minimize soil disturbance, 3) practice plant diversity, 4) maintain continuous living plants/roots and 5) integrate livestock.

Healthy soil with high levels of organic matter can store 20 times its weight in water, according to the FAO. Increased water-holding capacity helps reduce the need to use water for irrigation and improves the land's resiliency in drought.

Grazing lands sequester about 30% of Earth's carbon pool, according to Global Change Biology publication. Increasing soil organic matter in pastures and rangelands will help reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide. By creating natural reservoirs that can hold carbon, we can reduce the greenhouse effect and slow atmospheric warming.

Growing on Grazing Lands
All cattle spend most of their lives eating grasses and other forages on grazing lands acquiring the nutrients needed to produce healthy beef. There are 655 million acres of pasture and rangeland in the United States, making it the single largest land use in the country. About 85% of the grazing lands are unsuitable for producing crops.

Rangelands naturally evolved with the presence of fire and grazing, making them processes that the land continues to need today. Cattle and wildlife can be compatible with proper management on native rangelands. More than half of farmers intentionally provide habitat for wildlife.

Check out Noble's 75 Facts About Beef blog article to read the full list. Follow Noble Research Institute on social media and join in on the anniversary celebrations.

Friday November 13 Ag News

KC Fed: Farm Financial Outlook Improves
Nathan Kauffman, Vice President and Omaha Branch Executive
Ty Kreitman, Assistant Economist

The outlook for agricultural credit conditions in the Tenth District improved in the third quarter alongside increases in commodity prices and the announcement of additional government aid. After dropping sharply in the second quarter due to disruptions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the prices of most agricultural commodities began to recover in the summer months. Strengthening demand supported additional increases in crops prices through the third quarter and into October, expanding profit opportunities for many producers heading into harvest. As a result, credit conditions deteriorated at a notably slower pace and the share of bankers reporting declines in farm income and loan repayment rates dropped from the previous quarter.

Farm Income and Lending Activity

A sharp decline in farm income in the previous quarter abated somewhat in the third quarter. Increases in prices for the region’s major commodities late in the third quarter, in addition to direct government payments, supported farm incomes in the Tenth District.  About 55% of agricultural bankers throughout the District reported lower incomes than a year ago, compared with 75% in the second quarter. Recent developments also led to more optimistic expectations about changes in farm income through the end of the year.

The slower decline in income was consistent across all states in the District while prospects for farm borrower liquidity also improved from the previous quarter. The pace of decline in income and liquidity was slower than the previous quarter in all states. The sharp deterioration in farm finances in the second quarter subsided most notably in Kansas and Oklahoma. The financial outlook for producers was most optimistic in western Missouri, where 40% of respondents indicated they expected liquidity would be higher than the same time a year ago and 50% expected farm incomes to be higher.

Following years of steady growth, demand for farm loans appeared to soften. About 25% of bankers reported that loan demand was lower than a year ago, the highest share since 2013. The third quarter also was the first time more bankers reported a decline in loan demand than an increase since 2013. Alongside flat loan demand, the availability of funding increased for the fourth consecutive quarter. Looking forward, increases in funding were expected to continue, but loan demand was expected to rebound.

Credit Conditions

Alongside a better outlook for farm income in 2020, most measures of credit conditions also deteriorated at a more gradual pace in the third quarter. About 20% of respondents reported a decline in loan repayment rates, compared with about 35% in the previous two quarters and 30% the same time a year ago. Repayment challenges were expected to ease across all types of farm operations in the next three months and improve slightly among row crop farmers and cattle producers.

Weakness in repayment rates also moderated across states in the District’s farm economy. The pace of decline in farm loan repayment rates slowed in all states, and was most noticeable in Kansas. Expectations about the coming months also were more optimistic than in recent quarters, particularly among bankers in western Missouri.

With an improved financial outlook from recent months, problem loan rates in the third quarter also dropped. Respondents indicated the average share of farm loans monitored for potential problems or exhibiting weaknesses throughout the area reached the lowest level in five years. The share of loans placed on a watch list declined from a year ago in all states expect Nebraska and Oklahoma and the classification rate of farm loans reported was lower in every state in the District.

The pace of renewals or extensions for existing borrowers remained elevated, but rates of liquidation slowed. Slightly more than 25% of respondents continued to report an increase in renewal or extension activity, but that was down from 40% in prior quarters. Alongside improved profit opportunities for producers and slower deterioration in liquidity, the share of bankers with borrowers selling machinery or land to bolster working capital declined notably and about 35% indicated that no borrowers had any planned sales.

Interest Rates and Farmland Values

Interest rates on agricultural loans continued to decline in the third quarter and farmland values increased slightly throughout the District. Variable rates on operating loans and fixed rates on farm real estate loans reached historically low levels and provided support to farmland values. The value of nonirrigated cropland and ranchland increased 3% from a year ago and nonirrigated farmland also increased slightly for the second straight quarter.

The stability of farm real estate values was consistent across all types of land in a majority of states. On average across all types of farmland, values increased from a year ago in all states expect Nebraska. The average increase was over 5% in Oklahoma and western Missouri and less than 5% in the Mountain States and Kansas.


Better profit opportunities for both crop and livestock producers, as well as additional government support across the sector, created more favorable conditions for farm finances in 2020 than earlier in the year. Farm income and credit conditions remained weak, but the pace of deterioration slowed from the last quarter and demand for farm loans was more subdued. Amid improvement to cash flows and repayment capacity, bankers were monitoring a smaller share of loans for problems. Bankers continued to express concerns, however, about the potential for renewed pressure in the months ahead, depending on the path of agricultural commodity prices and government support programs.

Industrial Hemp Tolerance to Early-POST Herbicides

Stevan Knezevic - NE Extension Weed Management Specialist

As Nebraska just legalized industrial hemp in 2019, during the 2020 season we have conducted a total of five studies (four field studies at Mead and one in a greenhouse in Lincoln) to test hemp tolerance to various herbicides that are commonly used in corn and soybean. This is the third article (in a series of five), that outlines the results of a study that tested hemp tolerance to herbicides applied early-POST to about one foot tall industrial hemp.

The treatment list included total of 11 herbicide combinations that were based on two, primarily grass-type, herbicides (Dual II Magnum, Assure II) used in combination with three, primarily broadleaf, herbicides (Moxy 2E, Stinger and Hornet). There were no weed control ratings presented. For individual weed response ratings to tested herbicides please check the corn and soybean sections of the 2020 Guide for Weed, Disease and Insect Management in Nebraska.

Industrial hemp (variety X-59 for fiber) was planted on June 8, 2020 in 30” rows, 0.5” deep and at about 20 thousand seeds per acre (10lbs / acre). Herbicides were sprayed on 10-12” tall hemp. Study was arranged in the randomized compete block design with 3 replications with 30 ft plots. Hemp injury ratings were conducted at 6, 13 and 21 days after treatment (DAT) utilizing the scale from 0-100 (0=no injury; 100=dead plant). The study was terminated after last rating.


Hemp exhibited variable tolerance levels to tested herbicides. Visual injury levels ranged from almost no injury (~5%) to temporary injury (~20%), and in few cases, the severe injury or death (60%-100%).

Slight hemp injury was evident in plots with Dual II Magnum, Assure II and Stinger. All three products caused temporary hemp injury which lasted about two weeks and was evident in the form of leaf yellowing. For example, tank-mix of Dual II Magnum with Assure or Stinger caused 5-8% visual injury at 6 DAT, which was similar to 6-7% from a tank-mix of Assure with Stinger and Dual II Magnum. However, by the 13 or 21 DAT, all injuries disappeared, suggesting that these three products have potential for use in hemp after crop emergence (post-emergent).

Heavy hemp injury (>30%) was caused by tank-mixes with Moxy 2E, which was as much as 47% at 6 DAT, while the injuries were reduced to about 20-30% by 13 DAT and ~ 10% by 21 DAT, indicating the plant recovery. We do not know if these injuries resulted in any yields or biomass reduction on the season end as the study was terminated after last rating.

Severe hemp injury (60-10%) was caused by any tank-mixed containing Hornet, which caused about 70% injury at 6 DAT, which became much worse (97%) by 13 DAT and crop death (100%) by 21 DAT.

See data and photos here:  


Hemp exhibited relatively good tolerance to several products that can be used postemergence in industrial hemp. Assure II, Dual II Magnum and Stinger caused almost no hemp injury, thus they should be safe to use. Moxy 2E also has some potential for use. The temporary injury from Moxy 2E could be considered acceptable since it lasted only for about two weeks. Hornet caused unacceptable injuries, thus should not be used in hemp post-emergent. It is important to note that the above conclusions are based only on one year of data, this study will be repeated in 2021 season.

Nebraska Corn Board to Meet

The Nebraska Corn Board will hold its next meeting to address regular board business on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. Due to COVID-19 concerns, the meeting will be held in-person and through videoconferencing technologies at several sites across the state. Sites with videoconferencing capabilities will be the Cornhusker Marriott (333 South 13th Street in Lincoln), Nebraska Extension Clay County office (111 W. Fairfield, Clay Center), University of Nebraska Panhandle Research and Extension Center (4502 Ave I, Scottsbluff) and Nebraska Extension Dawson County office (1002 Plum Creek Parkway, Lexington).

The meeting is open to the public and will provide an opportunity for public discussion.  A copy of the agenda is available by writing to the Nebraska Corn Board, P.O. Box 95107, Lincoln, NE  68509, sending an email to or by calling (402) 471-2676.

National Pork Board Elects Officers

David Newman, a pork producer representing Arkansas, was elected to serve a second term as president of the National Pork Board at the organization’s November board meeting earlier this week. The National Pork Board’s 15 producer directors represent America’s 60,000 pig farmers, who pay into the Pork Checkoff – a program that funds research, promotion and education efforts benefiting the industry.
“Like everyone, U.S. pig farmers have faced significant challenges this year,” Newman said. “Supply chain disruptions caused by COVID-19 and the real threat of African swine fever have made this one of the most difficult years to be a pig farmer. But it has also shown us how resilient and agile our industry and the Pork Checkoff are in the face of adversity.”

Despite the numerous challenges the pork industry has faced, Newman is optimistic about the opportunities ahead.

“I am excited to be able to lead the Pork Checkoff for a second term as we implement key learnings from the past year, continue to build on retail sales growth for pork seen during the pandemic and show consumers the values of the pork industry from farm to fork through our Real Pork master brand,” said Newman, who owns and operates a farrow-to-finish Berkshire farm that markets pork directly to consumers and food service operators.

Rounding out the Pork Board’s executive officer team are Vice President Gene Noem, from Ames, Iowa, and Treasurer Heather Hill, from Greenfield, Indiana. Both are serving their second of a three-year term on the board.

Other producers appointed by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and signed in this week to serve second terms on the Pork Board include: Scott Phillips, Drexel, Missouri; Deb Ballance, Fremont, North Carolina; and Todd Erickson, Northwood, North Dakota. Al Wulfekuhle, from Quasqueton, Iowa, was appointed to serve his first term.
Dr. David Newman, President – Newman is in his second term as a board member and owns and operates a farrow-to-finish Berkshire farm in Myrtle, Missouri, that markets pork directly to consumers throughout the U.S. David is also an associate professor of Animal Sciences at Arkansas State University where he teaches and conducts research, with an emphasis in meat science. He most recently served as board president, on the 2020 Strategic Planning Task Force, and on the Swine Health committee. He previously chaired the Domestic Marketing committee, served on the Producer Services committee and participated in Pork Leadership Academy.
Gene Noem, Vice President - Noem finishes hogs at JMG Farms in Howard County. Gene also manages the contracted gilt multiplication for PIC North America. He is in his second term on the board, most recently serving on the 2020 Strategic Planning Task Force and co-chairing the joint We CareSM Task Force with the National Pork Producers Council. Gene also serves on the Iowa Pork Producers Association board of directors and on its Promotions Committee.

Heather Hill, Treasurer – Hill is co-owner of Hill Farms in Greenfield, Indiana, a 600-sow farrow-to-finish operation, with her husband Marc and his parents. Hill Farms also grows corn, soybeans and wheat. Heather is a former president of the Indiana Pork Board and has been actively involved since 2009. She also serves on the National FFA Career Development Sales Committee and is a leader for the local 4-H chapter. Heather is an Operation Main Street speaker.

USMEF Details Creative Global Marketing Solutions, Elects New Officer Team at Virtual Planning Conference

Adapting market development programs for U.S. pork, beef and lamb to a COVID-impacted world and meeting the rapidly changing needs of international consumers were dominant themes of the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) Strategic Planning Conference, which was held virtually Nov. 10-13.

USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom kicked off the conference with a recap of 2020 export results, noting that U.S. pork exports are on a record pace, while beef exports have trended lower but are poised for a strong finish to the year. Halstrom noted that the recovery of foodservice activity in most key Asian markets is providing momentum for U.S. beef, with demand bolstered further by tightening supplies from Australia. He added that while pork exports to China have begun to cool from the unprecedented levels seen earlier this year, China's demand will remain strong in 2021 and U.S. pork is well-positioned for growth in Japan, Mexico, Southeast Asia and Central and South America.

Keynote speaker Anja Manuel, a former diplomat, author and leading advisor on emerging markets cited recent experience with pandemics as one of the reasons many Asian countries have recovered more rapidly from COVID-19 compared to the U.S., Europe and Latin America.

"They have the experience of SARS and MERS, so they've been through a pandemic before," Manuel said. "Their health systems are nationalized, so it's easier than here to get everybody on the same page. They're going to come back faster economically than the rest of us."

Manuel said U.S. beef and pork have a great opportunity for further growth in China, if trade tensions on non-agricultural issues don't interfere.

"We need to find a way where we're honest about our differences - where we push back on the Chinese when they're crossing the line, or we actually cooperate," she said. "And I think one of those areas is agricultural exports. It's really a sign of elegance and status in China to serve high-quality beef, pork, everything. [China's middle class] wants things to be safe and natural and clean, and U.S. meat has all of those attributes. So, I think the market is there for you if the governments don't get in each other's way."

Day two of the conference was highlighted by a panel discussion on creative marketing strategies. USMEF members heard from Joel Haggard, senior vice president for the Asia Pacific, South Korea director Jihae Yang and Gerardo Rodriguez, marketing director for Mexico, Central America and the Dominican Republic, on the challenges involved in meeting consumers' needs through various stages of COVID-related restrictions. All noted that the surge in e-commerce, online ordering and delivery services, as well as expanded options for preparing higher-end meals at home, are likely to endure well into the future, even as restrictions are eased.

The conference concluded Friday with a presentation by former assistant U.S. trade representative Sharon Bomer Lauritsen and the election of USMEF's new officer team.

Bomer Lauritsen, who recently retired from the U.S. government after 29 years of service and is now a trade policy consultant at Ag Trade Strategies, LLC, recapped many key trade breakthroughs for U.S. red meat over the years. She noted that while the Trump administration's approach to tariffs and trade sometimes put agricultural exports in a negative position, it also helped bring key trading partners such as Japan and China to the negotiating table on longstanding market access obstacles for U.S. beef and pork. She also offered a preview of what to expect from a new administration.

"President-elect Biden has stated his priority will be fixing domestic issues first, but that doesn't mean that the new administration at lower levels can't lay the groundwork to build constructive relationships and a foundation for trade negotiation," she said. "Biden also hasn't rejected engaging on the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), but has stated the U.S. would need to see changes. I think it's possible to move forward with a Japan negotiation, although automotive issues will be difficult and could have ramifications for agriculture."

Bomer Lauritsen feels that more than ever, the agricultural sector will need a unified voice.

"Agriculture will need to speak up with the new administration on its priorities, and we need to strengthen the bipartisan nature of American agriculture," she said. "Over the past 30 years I've seen it to a small degree falling apart. There has never been a more important time to maintain a strong and unified agriculture and agribusiness voice at the state level, and in Washington, D.C., to balance the industrial voices. U.S. agriculture will need to defend and advance its interests, make sure they are heard over the non-ag voices, and keep the rules of trade strong and enforced to ensure that American agricultural exports continue to thrive."

The new USMEF chair is Pat Binger, who leads international meat sales for Cargill Protein North America. Based in Wichita, Kan., Binger has been in the red meat industry for 33 years, including 17 years directing Cargill Protein's overseas network of offices. He succeeds Idaho cattle feeder Cevin Jones, who chaired the organization for the past year.

Raised on a diversified farm in northeastern South Dakota and a graduate of Northern State University, Binger joined Cargill subsidiary Excel Corporation in 1987. His first opportunity to become deeply involved in international marketing came in 1991.

"While working in sales for another Cargill subsidiary, I was asked if I was interested in assuming responsibility for a small export business we had at that time," Binger said. "Although I didn't have any export experience, I said, 'Absolutely!' Shortly thereafter, I took a three-week trip to eight countries, traveling throughout Asia, meeting customers and gaining market exposure. I returned from that trip really excited about international business and the global red meat trade, and it's been a passion of mine ever since."

Despite facing trade barriers and an uncertain economic climate in many key regions of the world, Binger sees excellent prospects for further expansion of U.S. red meat's global footprint.

"From a carcass utilization standpoint, we need to continue to find ways to expand our export product mix - that's a big opportunity going forward," he said. "Additionally, there are items today that our industry is not getting boxed, either due to lack of labor or a combination of labor and complexity, and that's another opportunity that we need to manage through. But all in all, I am very optimistic about the U.S. red meat industry's ability to take on challenges and seize the opportunities that lie ahead. I remain excited and highly encouraged about the future of our industry."

Mark Swanson, chief executive officer of Colorado-based Birko Corporation, is USMEF's new chair-elect. Dean Meyer, a corn, soybean and livestock producer from Rock Rapids, Iowa, will serve as vice chair. The newest member of the USMEF officer team is Secretary-Treasurer Randy Spronk of Edgerton, Minnesota. A past president of the National Pork Producers Council and the Minnesota Pork Producers Association, Spronk also served as chair of USMEF's Pork and Allied Industries Committee and represented the pork producing and feeding sector on the USMEF Executive Committee. He serves on the board of directors of Wholestone Farms and is president and managing partner for Spronk Brothers Holding, which includes operations that produce pork and feedgrains, along with feed milling and delivery.

USMEF presented its 2020 Distinguished Service Award to Richard Wortham, executive vice president of the Texas Beef Council, while Bomer Lauritsen received the organization's Michael J. Mansfield Award. More information on these awards is available online.

USMEF's next meeting is the 2021 USMEF Spring Conference, which is set for May 26-28 in Minneapolis.

NCGA Sustainability Efforts Have a Clear Focus Gaining Momentum

Over the last four years, the National Corn Growers Association has homed in on sustainability initiatives completing a full assessment of its checkoff-funded organizational efforts and initiatives, NCGA CEO Jon Doggett told attendees of Field to Market’s Fall Plenary & General Assembly Meeting in his Keynote Address.

The productive effort looked at what is happening on the ground at the state and national level, and what our customers along the value chain were doing on sustainability. The investigation asked what goals the industry is setting, what was driving those decisions and delved into corn growers evolving role in meeting these goals.

“For decades, corn farmers have been making advancements in how they grow their crops, but they never referred to it as sustainability. To them, it was just the right thing to do, so they were good stewards of their land,” Doggett said. “But now we are bringing our customers together to evaluate and explore the options and opportunities to address climate in a manner that adds value for corn producers and enhances productivity and sustainability.”

The key to this effort was the formation of a Climate Task Force that invested two years working with industry partners to develop recommendations. Doggett says many of those recommendations are being implemented, but a big development was forming a Corn Sustainability Advisory Group to carry on their work.

At a surface level, Doggett said, the group affirms NCGA’s commitment to collaborate with partners to build out the sustainability story for export markets, ethanol markets, feed industry and livestock partners, and the corn processing sector.

Two concrete actions have also resulted, including the NCGA Corn Board approving a U.S. Corn Commitment Statement towards continuous improvement that can be found on our website.  To show our commitment towards continuous improvement, NCGA will be releasing a Corn Sustainability Report and Environmental Sustainability Goals early in 2021.

“Corn growers are committed to creating a more environmentally and economically sustainable world for future generations with transparency and through continued advances and efficiencies in land, water and energy use,” Doggett said. “By doing this, we can address the challenge of a changing climate that we are all experiencing.”

BLS Data Confirms Meat and Poultry Industry Reaches New All-Time Low Injury Rate

A newly released Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) annual report for 2019 shows U.S. meat and poultry packers and processors continued their lengthy track record of  reducing worker injuries, reaching a new all-time low for injuries.

“The BLS report proves that year after year, meat and poultry companies remain committed and have invested billions of dollars to reduce worker injuries and illnesses,” said Julie Anna Potts, President and CEO of the North American Meat Institute (Meat Institute). “Our members are proud of their record to reduce workplace related injuries over the last 20 years and will continue to adopt new technologies and methods to ensure the safety and well-being of its critical infrastructure workforce.”

The BLS report released final 2019 incidence rates for non-fatal occupational injuries and illnesses recorded with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Meat industry results improved from both 2018 and 2017 levels, reaching a new, all time industry low of 4.0 cases per 100 full-time workers (per year).

For perspective, just 10 years ago this number was 9.3, while in 1999 the incidence rate was 17.1. A twenty- year injury rate reduction from 17.1 to 9.3 to 4.0 illustrates the sustained industry trend of workplace safety improvement.

Meanwhile, in sharp contrast to this data, and in the midst of a global pandemic, anti-animal agriculture and activist groups have falsely accused the meat and poultry industry of ignoring the safety of the men and women who work in their facilities.

“Just as meat and poultry companies have proven their determination to reduce injuries, they are remaining vigilant to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” said Potts. “They continue to check temperatures, provide testing, supply additional personal protection equipment such as facemasks and shields, conduct contact tracing, provide enhanced employee benefits like paid leave, and much more. Although the industry was challenged in the spring, numbers of positive cases associated with meat packing dropped significantly into the summer.”

In the early 1990s, the Meat Institute declared worker safety a non-competitive issue, which encouraged member companies to collaborate to find solutions that prioritized and enhanced worker safety. The meat industry, together with OSHA and the United Food and Commercial Workers union, also developed Voluntary Ergonomic Guidelines for the Meat Packing Industry — guidelines that OSHA called a “model” for other industries. In 2019, labor and human rights, including worker safety, was identified as a key pillar in the Meat Institute’s sustainability efforts and the industry is developing additional metrics and targets for continuous improvement over the next decade.

In August, the Meat Institute and OSHA signed a two-year alliance to provide Meat Institute members, the public, and other stakeholders with information, guidance, and access to training resources that will help protect workers. During the two-year alliance, participants will develop information on recognizing coronavirus transmission risks and best practices for preventing transmission, and on challenges for exposure control in meatpacking and processing facilities. Alliance participants will also conduct outreach to small- and medium-sized facilities on available guidance and compliance assistance resources, including the On-Site Consultation Program, and will work together on other outreach activities, including providing information on OSHA’s enforcement policies and procedures relevant to the meatpacking and processing industry.
The North American Meat Institute is the leading voice for the meat and poultry industry. The Meat Institute’s members process the vast majority of U.S. beef, pork, lamb, and poultry, and manufacture the equipment and ingredients needed to produce the safest and highest quality meat and poultry products.

FFAR Grant Increases Dietary Fiber in Wheat Crop

Diets lacking fiber are linked to health concerns such as colon cancer and heart diseases; yet, Americans only consume 30 percent of the recommended daily amount of fiber. One way to increase fiber consumption is to produce wheat varieties that contain more fiber. The Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) awarded a $479,997 Seeding Solutions grant to the University of California, Davis to increase the dietary fiber content in wheat products. Bay State Milling, California Wheat Commission and LimaGrain Cereal Seeds provided matching funds for a total investment of $959,997.

“A small increase in fiber content in refined flour products can translate into a significant boost in the public’s consumption of dietary fiber.” said FFAR Executive Director Dr. Sally Rockey. “By developing wholesome food with more fiber, and the same great taste, we can lower the incidence of preventable, diet-related diseases.”

Refined wheat flour, commonly known as all-purpose flour, is more popular than whole wheat flour in most industrialized countries, but lower in fiber. To increase fiber in refined flour, University of California, Davis researchers, led by Dr. Jorge Dubcovsky, are investigating ways to increase wheat dietary fiber using modified starch synthesis enzymes. The first generation of wheat varieties with increased dietary fiber in the plant’s starch showed reduced grain yield, making the grain more costly for consumers.

Dr. Dubcovsky’s team is developing a second generation of wheat varieties with high fiber in the refined flour but with a higher grain yield. Using genetic tools and molecular markers the researchers are identifying genes responsible for wheat yield, quality and fiber content. With this information, the researchers are testing combinations of wheat genetics, environmental conditions and growing practices that encourage high-yield and high-fiber crops.

“Most of the refined flour is starch, so the trick is to hide the fiber in the starch,” said Dr. Dubcovsky. “We increased the relative amount of ‘resistant-starch,’ which is not digested in the small intestine and works as dietary fiber. We are now combining modern and traditional breeding methods to improve the grain yield of the high-resistant-starch varieties, to make this healthy product more affordable to consumers.”

Ultimately, the researchers are encouraging fiber consumption by developing productive high-fiber wheat varieties with higher yields and lower costs, while maintaining flavor and quality. This research offers consumers a healthy alternative to refined products.

New Administration Appears Ready to Scale Up Ag Solutions To Domestic and Global Challenges

With Election Day behind us, the opportunity is now here to renew the nation's forward progress towards solutions for the major challenges faced by the United States and the world – climate change, natural resource depletion and hunger being prominent among them.

As SfL has long asserted, addressing these pressing issues will require a fully cooperative effort involving lawmakers from both sides of the political aisle. Also required for our nation to move forward are new kinds of "uncommon collaboration” that incorporate a range of interests as wide as the range of sustainable development goals at risk.

The co-joined climate, hunger and health challenges the world is facing today require integrated systems solutions. The old single-issue, siloed management style of problem solving will not address the multiple problems we face.

More multiple-faceted approaches to climate change are fortunately reflected in proposals under consideration by the incoming administration that call for action to be taken by a broad range of federal agencies. A guidance memo for USDA, authored by former high-level agency officials for the Climate 21 Project, is just one example of the cases being made to the incoming administration to utilize the vast, under-recognized federal potential to address climate issues.

An item under consideration is a "carbon bank" overseen by the USDA's Commodity Credit Corporation, which would pay farmers and forest owners to store carbon in their soils and lands. Another proposal calls for the creation of a White House National Climate Council, which would have the same standing in the new administration as the current Domestic Policy Council and National Economic Council.

One prospective climate policy at the Treasury Department would promote carbon reductions through tax, budget and regulatory policies; another initiative at the Transportation Department would push electric cars and trucks. Meanwhile, the president-elect has vowed to "promote and advance renewable energy, ethanol, and other biofuels to help rural America and our nation's farmers." Biden has cited the biofuel industry's objections to the millions of gallons of demand lost when the Trump administration’s EPA granted an unprecedented number of small refinery exemptions to the Renewable Fuel Standard biofuel blending requirements. He says he "will honor the critical role the renewable fuel industry plays in supporting the rural economy and the leadership role American agriculture will play in our fight against climate change."

Many are offering ideas for addressing climate change – driven in part by the National Climate Assessment released in late 2018 that warned climate change will take a huge toll on U.S. agriculture with more drought, heat and more extreme rainfall.

Farmer and ranch organizations and multi-stakeholder sustainability platforms like Field to Market are also stepping up and providing proactive leadership in support of climate smart agriculture systems that will enable agricultural landscapes to produce not only food, feed, fiber and energy but also clean water and air, enhanced biodiversity and solutions to these challenges.

Companies like Danone, General Mills, Nestle and PepsiCo have gone a step further and signed a United Nations-sponsored pledge to set more ambitious emissions targets, aimed at keeping global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Tyson Foods Inc. is among two dozen major food, beverage and apparel companies that have joined the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), a project to develop the first science-based global standard for corporate net-zero target setting to encourage farm and forestry suppliers to help companies meet their net-zero targets.

In September, Walmart, the world's largest retailer (and a major presence in rural America with its huge market for agricultural products), set a 2040 target for zero emissions – a move which will put major pressure on its suppliers and entails the protection, management or restoration of at least 50 million acres of land. Smithfield Foods Inc., a vertically-integrated pork producer and processor, said in September it would make all of its company-owned operations carbon neutral by 2030, one of the most aggressive targets of any company in the country. Fruit and vegetable producer Dole Foods says its farms will be carbon neutral by the end of this decade.

The incredible breadth and diversity of effort coming out of the farm and food production sector demonstrates that a new era is emerging for U.S. agriculture, one in which farmers, ranchers and foresters can be valued and rewarded financially for all of the goods and services sustainably managed operations deliver from the land. The incoming administration has given every indication that it is ready to enable agriculture solutions to address the multiple challenges of our day, and SfL stands ready to help President-elect Biden scale all that agriculture can deliver.

Thursday November 12 Ag News

 Report: UNL Ranked Among Top 20 in Agricultural Sciences in U.S.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is among the top 20 U.S. institutions for academic research in the field of agricultural sciences, according to the 2021 U.S. News and World Report Best Global Universities Subject Rankings.   

The rankings, which were released last month, place UNL’s agricultural sciences research performance at 18th in the United States – the highest ranking of any UNL program. The university ranked 51st worldwide in the subject of agricultural sciences.

“Food and water security are among the most pressing issues facing our world, and UNL researchers are making huge strides in addressing both,” said Mike Boehm, NU vice president and UNL Harlan vice chancellor for the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. “IANR is also leading the way in ensuring the resilience of Nebraska’s working agricultural lands, its abundant natural resources, and the quality of life of those that call rural Nebraska, home. UNL has long been a leader in agricultural sciences and natural resources, and this recent ranking affirms that.”  

In the past year, Nebraska researchers have made progress toward development of crops that are tolerant of heat, extreme cold and drought. They are in the midst of research to aid in the development of hybrid wheat varieties, and leading the way in understanding the human microbiome, as well as in creating standards for the field of phenotyping.  

On the livestock side, the researchers are working toward development of vaccines and other protections against two devastating swine diseases. The interdisciplinary Nebraska Integrated Beef System Initiative is bringing together geneticists, ruminant nutritionists, biological systems engineers, grassland ecologists, and others to improve the efficiency and sustainability of the cattle industry. Across both crop and livestock production, researchers are working to develop new precision technology to improve efficiency, conserve water and other inputs, harness data and improve profits.  

Both graduate and undergraduate students have the chance to work alongside top researchers, said Tiffany Heng-Moss, dean of UNL’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.  

“Our students receive a truly immersive education, and they graduate with hands-on experience that prepares them for the increasingly diversified, complex agricultural workforce,” said Heng-Moss.   

The 2021 subject rankings include nearly 13,000 institutions in 38 subjects across 91 countries. The rankings are based on indicators including global research reputation, regional research reputation, publications and citations, among other factors. More information is available at Learn more about UNL’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at  

Dairy Discussions: Manure Management Practices Webinar

The Iowa State University (ISU) Extension and Outreach Dairy Team will host its annual Dairy Discussions Seminar on Tuesday, Dec. 1, from 10 a.m. to noon. The program is sponsored by EcoEngineers, a renewable energy consulting and auditing firm headquartered in Des Moines, and the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA). The program will be virtual this year due to health concerns with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The focus of Dairy Discussions this year is manure management systems, opportunities in renewable natural gas (RNG) to maximize profitability in the dairy industry, and the benefits of co-locating a dairy near a biofuel facility in the Midwest. The presentations will include a case study for an Iowa dairy and the minimum project size to make RNG project economics work.

When: 10 a.m. - noon CST,
Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020
Topics & Presenters
“Supporting Dairies in Iowa: How the IEDA can help,” Shelly Peterson, P.E., IEDA
“Successful Manure Systems,” Kris Kohl, Ph.D., ISU Extension and Outreach
“Dairy Opportunities in RNG and Location Benefits” Brad Pleima, P.E., EcoEngineers

Register here:

There is no fee to attend the program thanks to the sponsorship of EcoEngineers, but registration is required by Nov. 30. We hope you can join us! Register above to receive webinar and recording information.

Weekly Ethanol Production for 11/6/2020

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending November 6, ethanol production increased 1.7%, or 16,000 barrels per day (b/d), to a 33-week high of 977,000 b/d—equivalent to 41.03 million gallons daily. Still, production remained 5.1% below the same week last year. The four-week average ethanol production rate rose 1.1% to 948,000 b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 14.53 billion gallons (bg).

Ethanol stocks expanded by 2.5% to a ten-week high of 20.2 million barrels, which was 3.9% below year-ago volumes. Inventories built across all regions except the East Coast (PADD 1) and Midwest (PADD 2), including a sizable increase (up 1.10 million barrels) in the Gulf Coast (PADD 3).

The volume of gasoline supplied to the U.S. market, a measure of implied demand, jumped 5.1% to 8.76 million b/d (134.32 bg annualized). Gasoline demand was 6.0% less than a year ago.

In contrast, refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol decreased 0.2% to 834,000 b/d, equivalent to 12.79 bg annualized. This was 11.3% below the year-earlier level as a result of the continuing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Imports of ethanol arriving into the West Coast were 68,000 b/d, or 19.99 million gallons for the week and a 59-week high (since mid-September 2019). This also marks the twelfth time in sixteen weeks that imports were reported. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of September 2020.)

National Institute for Animal Agriculture Named Beef Checkoff Contractor

The National Institute for Animal Agriculture (NIAA) has again been selected as a contractor for The Cattlemen’s Beef Board. The Beef Promotion Operating Committee selected contractors and approved budgets for the 2021 fiscal year at their annual meeting earlier this fall.

Each year the Beef Checkoff budget is designated to programming that includes research, foreign marketing, industry information, consumer information and safety. NIAA proposed a plan that will allow farmers and ranchers to learn and engage on the importance of responsible antibiotic use in animal agriculture.

“Unfortunately, the responsible use of antibiotics in beef production is one of the most misunderstood topics in beef production,” said J.J. Jones, executive director of NIAA. “Farmers and ranchers are feeling the pressure of an ever-changing landscape of consumer demands. They are required to address the competing priorities of maintaining animal health and meeting the consumers’ pleas for “free from” labels.”

NIAA believes the future of animal antibiotic use will be shaped by consistent, effective communication about scientific collaboration between the animal agriculture sector and its allies in human and environmental health to combat antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Through the approved Beef Checkoff programming, NIAA will create educational communication materials that farmers, ranchers and veterinarians can use on social media, lead a tour at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and host a beef producer roundtable following the 10th Antibiotic Symposium November 2-4, 2020.

 USDA to Open Signup for the Conservation Reserve Program and CRP Grasslands in Early 2021

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the signup periods for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and the CRP Grasslands in 2021. Signup for general CRP will be open from Jan. 4, 2021, to Feb. 12, 2021, and signup for CRP Grasslands runs from March 15, 2021 to April 23, 2021. Both programs are competitive and provide annual rental payments for land devoted to conservation purposes.

“The Conservation Reserve Program and the many focused programs that come under it, like CRP Grasslands, are some of our most critical tools we have to help producers better manage their operations while conserving natural resources,” said Richard Fordyce, Administrator of USDA’s Farm Service Agency. “As one of our nation’s largest conservation endeavors, CRP has proved to protect our valuable resources, and next year’s signup gives our farmers and ranchers an opportunity to enroll for the first time or continue their participation for another term.”

Enrollment Options

CRP―General Signup
Through CRP, farmers and ranchers establish long-term, resource-conserving plant species, such as approved grasses or trees, to control soil erosion, improve water quality and enhance wildlife habitat on cropland. Farmers and ranchers who participate in CRP help provide numerous benefits to the nation’s environment and economy. CRP general signup is held annually. The competitive general signup includes increased opportunities for enrollment of wildlife habitat through the State Acres For Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) initiative.

Grasslands Signup
CRP Grasslands helps landowners and operators protect grassland, including rangeland, pastureland, and certain other lands while maintaining the areas as grazing lands. Protecting grasslands contributes positively to the economy of many regions, provides biodiversity of plant and animal populations, and improves environmental quality. A separate CRP Grasslands signup is offered each year following general signup.

Signed into law in 1985, CRP is one of the largest private-lands conservation programs in the United States. It was originally intended to primarily control soil erosion and potentially stabilize commodity prices by taking marginal lands out of production. The program has evolved over the years, providing many conservation and economic benefits. The program marks its 35-year anniversary this December. Program successes include:
-    Preventing more than 9 billion tons of soil from eroding, which is enough soil to fill 600 million dump trucks;
-    Reducing nitrogen and phosphorous runoff relative to annually tilled cropland by 95 and 85 percent, respectively;
-    Sequestering an annual average of 49 million tons of greenhouse gases, equal to taking 9 million cars off the road;
-    Creating more than 3 million acres of restored wetlands while protecting more than 175,000 stream miles with riparian forest and grass buffers, which is enough to go around the world seven times; and
-    Benefiting bees and other pollinators and increasing populations of ducks, pheasants, turkey, bobwhite quail, prairie chickens, grasshopper sparrows and many other birds.

The successes of CRP contribute to USDA’s Agriculture Innovation Agenda and its goal of reducing the environmental footprint of U.S. agriculture by half by 2050. Earlier this year, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the department-wide initiative to align resources, programs and research to position American agriculture to better meet future global demands.

For more information on CRP, visit or contact your local FSA county office.

Apply Now for USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) reminds farmers and ranchers that the deadline to apply for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 (CFAP 2) is Dec. 11, 2020. This program provides direct relief to producers who continue to face market disruptions and associated costs because of COVID-19.

“Producers have one more month to get their applications in for this important relief program,” said Richard Fordyce, Farm Service Agency administrator. “Applying is simple and our staff is available to assist every step of the way.”

CFAP 2 will provide up to $14 billion to eligible producers of certain row crops, livestock, dairy, specialty crops, aquaculture and more. All eligible commodities, payment rates and calculations can be found on CFAP 2 is a separate program from the first iteration of the program (CFAP 1) and interested producers must complete a new application to be eligible for payment for CFAP 2.

Customers seeking one-on-one support with the CFAP 2 application process can call 877-508-8364 to speak directly with a USDA employee ready to offer general assistance. This is a recommended first step before a producer engages the team at the FSA county office.

Application Options

Producers have several options for applying to the CFAP 2 program by the Dec. 11 deadline:
-    Using an online portal at This allows producers with secure USDA login credentials, known as eAuthentication, to certify eligible commodities online, digitally sign applications and submit directly to the local USDA Service Center.  
-    Completing the application form using our CFAP 2 Application Generator and Payment Calculator found at This Excel workbook allows customers to input information specific to their operation to determine estimated payments and populate the application form, which can be printed, then signed and submitted to their local USDA Service Center.
-    Downloading the AD-3117 application form from and manually completing the form to submit to the local USDA Service Center by mail, electronically, or by hand delivery to an office drop box. In some limited cases, the office may be open for in-person business by appointment. Visit to check the status of your local office.

USDA Service Centers can also work with producers to complete and securely transmit digitally-signed applications through two commercially available tools: Box and OneSpan. Producers who are interested in digitally signing their applications should notify their local FSA office when calling to discuss the CFAP 2 application process. You can learn more about these solutions at

Producers of commodities with payments based on acreage will use acreage and yield information provided by FSA through the annual acreage reporting process. Producers have the option to complete their application by working directly with their local FSA office or online through the CFAP 2 Application Portal.

All other eligibility forms, such as those related to adjusted gross income and payment information, can be downloaded from For existing FSA customers, including those who participated in CFAP 1, these documents are likely already on file.

Both CFAP 1 and CFAP 2 are self-certification programs, which means the applicant certifies the information submitted is correct. FSA will soon begin an important step in the internal controls portion of CFAP 1 by conducting spot checks. Producers have been randomly selected using a statistically sound methodology. These CFAP 1 applicants will be contacted by FSA staff and asked to provide supporting documentation to verify the information certified by the producer on their CFAP 1 application.

As of Nov. 9, FSA has paid more than $9.5 billion with more than 576,000 applications for CFAP 2. This builds upon more than $10.3 billion paid through CFAP 1.

In the Coming Year, USTR Must Address Key Trade Barriers Harming U.S. Dairy

Given the national and strategic importance of U.S. dairy exports, the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) today released an Executive Summary of its recent detailed analysis of the intricate web of global trade barriers that are hampering overseas dairy sales, to better inform and guide the work of the incoming administration and other policymakers.

The detailed submission to the United States Trade Representative’s (USTR) office made late last month was created as part of the USTR’s annual call for input to inform its National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers. It outlined nearly 40 pages worth of various challenges and opportunities facing U.S. dairy exports in more than 30 foreign markets.

“Exports are essential to the economic survival of our industry, and it is important U.S. trade negotiators fully understand all of the trade-distorting tricks used to keep high-quality U.S. dairy products out of global markets,” said Tom Vilsack, president and CEO of USDEC. “The USTR has worked hard to address many of these barriers, and USDEC members have benefited from our broad approach to handling issues ranging from trade policy to regulatory hurdles. We stand ready to continue our work alongside USTR and USDA to address these and future trade barriers.”

More than $6 billion of dairy products were exported in 2019, accounting for 15 percent of all U.S. milk production, with more potential to serve consumers overseas and create dairy jobs at home.

“Our comments to the USTR provide a road map for dozens of opportunities to create a more level and consistent global playing field for the U.S. dairy sector,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “The best avenue to stamp out many of these trade tactics that disadvantage American-made dairy products is to strongly convey the message that foreign restrictions on U.S. agriculture must end and that new trade agreements that dismantle trade barriers and put America’s dairy industry on a level playing field are necessary.”

The industry’s submission dedicated the most attention to key markets where trade barriers are limiting U.S. market access, including China and Europe. Foreign countries use policies including high tariffs, retaliatory duties, geographic indications, import licensing, and unscientific health requirements to keep U.S. goods at bay. The submission also focused on the importance of enforcing hard-won gains under existing free-trade agreements, particularly the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

NMPF and USDEC said the United States should prioritize trade deals most likely to yield net positive benefits for dairy and agriculture, such as with the United Kingdom and key Asian markets, including those in Southeast Asia.

Scholarship Programs Expanded: Apply Now!

The National Corn Growers Association will accept applications for a broad variety of college and graduate programs but act now. Applications are due on December 4, 2020.

NCGA will award five $1,000 scholarships to students attending technical school and community college. Students can be enrolled in any degree or certification program. The committee realized that not every student wants or needs to attend a four-year university to be successful in their community.

Students pursuing an advanced degree or working on their doctorate degree can apply for one $2,500 award plus the opportunity to attend NCGA’s Corn Utilization and Technology Conference in 2021.

The monetary award for the NCGA William C. Berg Academic Excellence in Agriculture Scholarship Program, which is sponsored by BASF, was expanded to $1,500 in 2019 and is available exclusively to undergraduate students pursuing degrees in any subject area.

To be eligible for all three scholarship programs, the student or their parent or legal guardian must be an NCGA member. Scholarship applications must be received by December 4, 2020. Like last year, all scholarship applications will be completed online.

Scholarship recipients will be selected in early 2021. The complete rules and application can be found on our website

The National Wheat Foundation Begins Accepting Applications for 2021-2022 Scholarship Honoring Ag Students

The National Wheat Foundation officially began accepting applications for the Jerry Minore Scholarship, honoring students pursuing a career in agriculture. The scholarship is available to college students for the 2021-2022 academic year with an application deadline of December 31, 2020.

“The scholarship is meant to recognize those students who have shown a passion for agriculture both inside and outside the classroom,” said David Cleavinger, Chairman of the National Wheat Foundation. “Programs like the Minore Scholarship encourage the next generation to teach others the importance of wheat and agriculture and the significant role both play in society.”

The late Jerry Minore was a BASF Senior Market Manager and a liaison to the wheat industry. Since his unexpected death in 2012, BASF has partnered with the National Wheat Foundation to fund scholarships and honor his advocacy efforts for wheat growers. This year the Foundation will be issuing two scholarships for $2,500 each.

“We value our partnership with the National Wheat Foundation and our shared passion for investing in students who have shown a commitment to the agriculture industry,” said Scott Kay, Vice President U.S. Crop, BASF Agricultural Solutions. “There’s no better way for BASF to honor Jerry’s legacy than to support these students as they achieve their ag dreams.”

For more information on how to apply, visit

NGFA reschedules 125th annual convention to June 2021

The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) today announced that given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it has rescheduled its 125th annual convention to June 2-4 at the Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego, Calif. This decision was made with the health of NGFA members and guests, staff, speakers and exhibitors as the top priority.

NGFA’s Executive Committee met virtually on Nov. 9 and determined that uncertainty surrounding the pandemic likely will not change significantly enough during the winter months for NGFA to know it can host a quality in-person convention on the originally scheduled dates of March 14-16, 2021.

Before making this decision, the Executive Committee evaluated several potential options and alternatives, but ultimately decided that rescheduling the convention to June 2-4, 2021 (Wednesday-Friday) would provide the most flexibility, certainty and safety at this time.

Bird Flu Found in German Poultry Flocks

Authorities in the north German state of Schleswig-Holstein on Tuesday ordered that all poultry be kept indoors following the discovery of bird flu in two farms in the region.

According to Reuters, type H5N8 bird flu was confirmed in a second poultry farm in Schleswig-Holstein on Monday following a case on another farm in the state last week.

A series of outbreaks of the highly pathogenic bird flu have been reported in Europe in past weeks and Dutch health officials on Tuesday ordered the culling of 48,000 chickens following a separate outbreak on a farm.

Wild birds are believed to be spreading the disease.

Syngenta celebrates two decades of innovation

Syngenta today marked the twentieth anniversary of its founding in November 2000 by the merger of Novartis Agribusiness and Zeneca Agrochemical.

This milestone caps two decades of innovation built on a legacy extending back more than 250 years to the founding of the Swiss chemical company Geigy in 1758. Today, the Syngenta Crop Protection lineup includes 37 seed treatments, 34 herbicides, 44 fungicides and 21 insecticides, while Syngenta Seeds has developed unique, industry-leading traits and trait stacks to help farmers control above- and below-ground pests.

Leading the way in the new decade

The 21st century has been a time of great change and innovation in agriculture as new seed and crop protection technologies have enabled farmers to grow more from less to help feed a growing global population.

According to Vern Hawkins, president of Syngenta Crop Protection, LLC, Syngenta is committed to accelerating innovation and moving the agriculture industry forward by understanding farmers’ needs, wants and goals — and satisfying those — better than anyone else.

“In recent years, as the farm economy has become more challenging, Syngenta has responded by delivering innovation in Crop Protection and Seed products, as well as agronomic and farm management decision support services, that help growers more consistently protect and increase their yield potential,” Hawkins said. “We understand that real value for our customers and growers is created when they have confidence that they’re getting what they’re paying for — innovation that helps deliver a measurable return on their investment in their inputs.”

Investing in farmers’ success

Syngenta invests more than $1.3 billion each year in research and development (R&D) globally. That’s more than $3.5 million every day. Last year, as part of the Good Growth Plan, Syngenta also announced a five-year, $2 billion investment to help farmers prepare for and tackle the increasing threats posed by climate change. These investments underscore the Syngenta R&D strategy — to design and consistently deliver products and processes that keep farmers productive, profitable and sustainable.

“For 20 years, Syngenta has been investing in farmers’ success,” said Justin Wolfe, president of Syngenta Seeds, LLC. “Looking ahead, we believe new technologies can change the way we grow and protect crops. By merging our deep understanding of agriculture with world class R&D capabilities, we will continue delivering solutions to help our customers and growers further transform agriculture over the next decade and beyond.”

USDA-HHS Should Put Warning Label on 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines

Press Release

The Nutrition Coalition, a group that aims to bring rigorous science to nutrition policy, is calling upon the Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS), the agencies that jointly oversee the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA), to put a warning label on the 2020-2025 DGA to ensure that the public is aware that these recommendations are only for healthy Americans.

The DGA has long limited its advice to be for "prevention only” and not for the treatment of chronic diseases. This means that, during the 2020 DGA process, the science on disease treatment was simply not reviewed. Further, the 2020 DGA Advisory Committee made the decision to exclude all studies on weight loss,[1] even though one of the Guidelines’ principal aims has historically been to help people “reach and maintain a healthy weight.”[2]

This means that for the 60% of Americans diagnosed with diet-related chronic diseases, including the 42.4% of the adults with obesity, the U.S. Dietary Guidelines are not for them.[3]

Many people understand that a diet for a healthy person is not the same as a diet for someone whose metabolism has tipped into ill-health. The DGA’s guidance to consume 6 servings of grains per day, including 3 servings of refined grains, plus up to 10% of calories as sugar, cannot be tolerated by a person with diabetes, for example. Unhealthy Americans need to know that the Guidelines may be inappropriate advice for their conditions.

Chronic diseases are the leading cause of death and disability in the U.S., costing $3.5 trillion annually. Obesity alone accounts for nearly 21% of all annual medical spending in the U.S.

The fact that the Guidelines have not reviewed nutrition science for treating disease is especially problematic given our current battle with Covid-19. Diet-related diseases, including obesity, diabetes and hypertension, have consistently been shown to dramatically increase the risk of complications for Covid-19, including higher rates of hospitalization and death.[4] People with these diseases urgently need to receive dietary advice appropriate for their conditions.

“Americans should be warned that our government’s nutrition policy does not apply to the majority of the population. With the next iteration of the Guidelines, we are asking the USDA-HHS to include a prominent warning label on the 2020-2025 DGA to make clear to the public that these recommendations are “For Healthy Americans Only” and are not necessarily appropriate for people with diet-related, chronic diseases,” stated Nina Teicholz, executive director of the Nutrition Coalition. “This will provide Americans with the transparency they need to guide their decisions about dietary choices and whether to follow the DGA.”

The Nutrition Coalition is also urging the USDA-HHS to include dietary options that are appropriate for the range of disease conditions found in the groups receiving meals from the USDA Nutrition Assistance Programs, since a high proportion of these populations have diet-related diseases.

The DGA is used to determine food selections for the roughly $100 billion in USDA Nutrition Assistance Programs, mostly delivered to populations in need. These groups suffer from particularly high incidences of diet-related diseases. For example, 49.6% of African Americans and 44.8% of Hispanics/Latinx have obesity, along with higher rates of hypertension and type 2 diabetes. However, when relying on food from the USDA, these populations are receiving a diet designed for healthy people, which is a mismatch for many people in these programs.

The guidelines exert extraordinary influence on American eating habits, driving the advice dispensed to each and every American from doctors, nutritionists, dieticians and other health professionals who shape public thinking about what constitutes a healthy diet. For patients suffering from obesity, diabetes, dementia, high blood pressure or more, professionals provide the government’s one-size-fits-all diet, designed exclusively for healthy people.

“Even though the DGA does not apply to the majority of Americans, the policy is still applied as if it is the gold standard for all people. It’s important for the USDA-HHS to be transparent about the Guidelines and fully inform Americans of its true scope,” added Teicholz.

Wednesday November 11 Ag News

Nebraska farmer wins the 2020 Syngenta #RootedinAg Contest

Hannah Borg, 22, of Wakefield, Nebraska, is the 2020 Syngenta #RootedinAg Contest grand prizewinner.

Borg is the seventh #RootedinAg Contest winner. She was chosen from a hearty pool of applicants and two other strong finalists with her testimony that moved both online voters and a panel of judges.

The number of submissions this year was one of the largest – and one of the most difficult to rank, said Pam Caraway, Syngenta marketing communications lead.

"Thank you to everybody who took the time to share their story. Each submission was a delight to read or watch. Each story gives us confidence in the future of agriculture, thanks to those who take the time to teach us," Caraway said.

This annual competition from Syngenta invites growers and other ag industry professionals across the nation to describe the person who most nourished their agricultural roots for their submission entry.

In a heartwarming video entry, Borg pays tribute to the matriarch of their sixth-generation family farm — her 86-year-old grandmother, Lois Borg. "Grandma is the perfect mix of grace and grit," Borg said. "I've always admired how she lives her life and her role in our family. She always knows what's happening on the farm and never turns down the opportunity to ride along on any kind of trip. She has passed down many stories to me and inspires me every day."

As the grand prizewinner, she receives $500, a professional photoshoot with her mentor and a $1,000 donation to her favorite local civic organization: the Wakefield Heritage Organization, a group in her community dedicated to preserving and maintaining the local history of her hometown.

"I chose this organization because preserving our community's heritage is important to me as the next generation to carry it on," Borg said.

In addition to being part of her family farm, Borg has worked for the Rural Radio Network/ 880 KRVN as a part-time farm broadcaster; a communications intern for FarmHer in Des Moines, Iowa; and an intern for the National FFA Organization.

"Every year, we have the privilege of hearing the stories of people in the ag community whose peers, mentors and family members have inspired them," Caraway said. "And every year, we learn something new about this community, which has engrained itself within all of us – and become a part of our DNA. Hannah's video about her grandma resonates with everyone who hears her story."

To learn more of Borg's story and the #RootedinAg Contest or to read other ag news stories, go to

 Jesse Fulton selected as new Nebraska Beef Quality Assurance Coordinator

Jesse Fulton, who most recently worked for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, will serve as the new Nebraska Beef Quality Assurance Coordinator.  

The position is a partnership among UNL, Nebraska Cattlemen, and the Nebraska Beef Council. The Beef Quality Assurance Program provides information and resources to beef producers and consumers related to practices throughout the production process, related to animal health and welfare, food safety and product quality.  

“I am extremely excited to be here in Nebraska working to help cattle producers,” Fulton said. “I want cattle producers and haulers to see the program as a badge of honor and to know that we recognize that they are doing their part to ensure a safe, wholesome product for beef consumers everywhere.”

Fulton has spent the past five years as the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Director of Producer Education. In the role, he assisted in the development of National Beef Quality Assurance educational materials and training programs and managed the National Cattlemen’s College, Cattlemen’s Webinar Series, and the 2016 National Beef Quality Audit. He also conducted both in-person and virtual workshops for producers on a wide range of topics including business best practices, improving herd health and more.  

“Jesse brings extremely relevant experience to this position, and he has demonstrated he is willing to work hard and think outside the box to help producers succeed,” said Clinton Krehbiel, head of UNL’s department of animal science. “We’re thrilled to have him on board.”

Fulton has a master’s degree in animal science from South Dakota State University. He received his undergraduate degree, in animal and agricultural science, from Morehead State University in Morehead, Ky.  

Fulton replaces UNL associate professor Dr. Rebecca Funk, who has served as interim Beef Quality Assurance Coordinator since June.  

Fulton’s appointment took effect on Nov. 2. He is based at the Panhandle Research, Extension and Education Center in Scottsbluff.  For more information on the Beef Quality Assurance program, visit  

Finding Value in Grazing Corn Stalks (Part 2)

Connor Biehler, Beef Systems Asst. Extension Educator, ENREC

 With feed costs often comprising greater than half of a beef operation’s annual expenses. Providing cattle with feed sources to get the most “bang for your buck” should be deemed with the utmost importance when searching for feed sources. Grazing cattle on corn residue can provide one of the most cost-effective sources of fall and winter roughage as well as providing other benefits for corn growers.  

Grazing corn residue can provide cattle with 6% crude protein and 53% TDN. (on a dry matter basis) Depending on the condition and stage of production of the cattle, intake of the stalks alone could be sufficient. If they are lactating or growing cattle, they will likely need additional supplementation to make up for net energy for maintenance or gain. Another instance where cattle will need an additional supplement is when freezing rain occurs and the residue freezes to the ground. Cattle can root for crop residue under the snow but cannot access the residue if it is frozen to the ground.

Thanks to advances in modern technology, only 1-2% of the ears will be left behind in the residue in most fields. However, there may be instances where ear loss is higher as the result of storm related damage. If there is a greater amount than this the cattle should be limited to what they can graze. Since cattle select the highest quality feedstuffs first, high levels of grain left behind could lead to digestive issues, causing bloat. Grazing of small strips, referred to as strip grazing, is an alternative form of grazing that requires some input but will not allow cattle to be as selective. Once the cattle have had appropriate time to consume the available residue, make the strip wider (using temporary fence) to allow them a greater area to graze. This will allow for a more effective removal of the residue by forcing them to eat greater quantities of the lower quality husk.

For more questions on grazing corn stalks you can reach me at my office (402)624-8007 or my cell (402)413-8557 or follow my twitter page @BigRedBeefTalk for more information on Nebraska Beef Extension.

Koch Fertilizer is investing an estimated $90 million at its Beatrice, Nebraska nitrogen plant.

Koch Fertilizer is investing an estimated $90 million at its Beatrice, Nebraska nitrogen plant to further improve reliability and environmental and safety performance, and to increase UAN production by 75,000 tons per year.  

This investment builds on recent enhancements, which improved the plant’s ammonia loadout capabilities and its environmental performance — resulting in being awarded the EPA’s 2019 ENERGY STAR® for superior energy performance.

The Beatrice team is working on the latest improvements with startup expected in fall 2021. While substantially increasing UAN production, the Beatrice facility will continue to supply ammonia for local demand.

“We are committed to serving our customers, and we continue to see greater UAN demand locally,” said Scott McGinn, Koch Fertilizer executive vice president. “This investment will improve the efficiency and reliability of our operations and add greater production flexibility at Beatrice to meet the demand of both our ammonia and UAN customers.”

In the past few years, Koch Fertilizer invested more than $7 million to substantially increase ammonia loading capacity at the site and reduce customer wait time. The company added new loading racks, which more than doubled the plant’s peak loading capacity.

“Our goal is to be the supplier of choice for our customers’ UAN and ammonia needs long-term,” said Phil Tasset, Beatrice plant manager. “We realized our loading system had become a constraint for our customers. Prior to this investment, customers would wait several hours to load on our busiest days. Now, they rarely have to wait.”

In addition to improving the loading capabilities, Koch Fertilizer developed a transportation management app, called LoadView™, to further enhance the customer experience. LoadView was introduced to the Beatrice plant in 2019.  

The app allows truck drivers to pre-check into Koch Fertilizer facilities and track their training and inspection requirements, so they can load faster. With LoadView, Koch Fertilizer has reduced loading time by approximately six minutes per truck during the peak fertilizer season.
LoadView has proven especially beneficial during the COVID-19 pandemic, as it allows drivers to check in without exiting their vehicle and the quicker load time enhances social distancing.

Additionally, customers can use the Track My Shipment tool, enabled by LoadView, to track the status and location of their shipments with real-time GPS readings and estimated time of arrival.

Lindsay Corporation Announces CEO Succession

Lindsay Corporation, a leading global manufacturer and distributor of irrigation and infrastructure equipment and technology, today announced the retirement of Tim Hassinger from his position as president and chief executive officer and as a member of the Board of Directors, effective Dec. 31. The company further announced that its Board of Directors, pursuant to its succession plan, has appointed Randy Wood, who currently serves as chief operating officer, to succeed Hassinger as president and chief executive officer and as a member of the Board of Directors, effective Jan. 1.

Hassinger joined Lindsay in October 2017 as president and CEO. During his leadership, the company achieved significant cost savings, process enhancements, and overall improvement in operating margin through the Foundation for Growth initiative.

"It has been a tremendous experience to have been part of Lindsay's transformational journey with such an exceptional team," said Hassinger. "Randy has been a partner in leading the Foundation for Growth initiative. He understands the business and company really well, and I am confident that he is going to be an excellent CEO."

Speaking about the succession, Lindsay Board Chairman Michael Nahl said, "On behalf of the Board of Directors, we are extremely thankful to Tim for leading the company through its pivotal transformation. We are a significantly stronger company today as a result of his strategic vision and focus on creating a company culture that empowers our employees to grow professionally within dynamic cooperative teams. In addition to enhancing the company's ability to deliver value to shareholders through improved financial performance, Tim has developed a remarkably talented Leadership Team and he supported our growth of environmental, social and charitable initiatives while strengthening our commitment to diversity and inclusion throughout our company. Tim's remarkable accomplishments have positioned Lindsay for further growth and success under Randy Wood's leadership. Randy is well prepared to lead our organization to continuing success."

Since joining Lindsay in 2008, Wood, 48, has served in a variety of leadership roles of increasing responsibility. Wood currently serves as COO, a position in which he is responsible for the company's financial results and overall operations. Prior to this, Wood previously held key positions leading the company's irrigation business. He played a significant role in growing our international irrigation business, building capabilities through innovation and technology and creating key relationships across the globe.

"It's my honor and privilege to serve as Lindsay's next CEO, and I thank the Board for their confidence in me," said Wood. "I also want to thank Tim for his support and guidance, and for what he's done to prepare our company for this transition. I'm excited to work with the Leadership Team and our tremendous organization around the world to continue our momentum and fulfill our vision."

NEW Cooperative 2020 Annual Meeting Notification

Members will be allowed to drop off ballots and pick up their dividend checks from their cars on Tuesday, December 1, 2020 from 9:00am – 3:00pm. at the Fort Dodge office. Ballots will be counted at 3:30pm. All mail in ballots must be received at the Fort Dodge office by 5:00pm on Monday, November 30, 2020 to be counted. No Replacement ballots will be issued.

Due to COVID -19 only limited staff and outside ballot counters will be allowed into the Fort Dodge office.

Members can pick up their Patronage Checks on Tuesday, December 1st from 9:00am – 3:00pm at the Fort Dodge office or Wednesday, December 2nd from 10:00am – 1:00pm at the Ute, IA location.

Checks not picked up, will be mail Wednesday afternoon.

2020 Iowa Forage and Grassland Council Winter Conference Goes Virtual

The Iowa Forage and Grassland Council board members will offer the state’s premier forage educational event online. The virtual 2020 conference will feature four presentations on timely topics regarding managing forages after a year of difficult weather patterns.

All presentations will be prerecorded and released on Tuesday, Nov. 24 at 9 a.m. The session titles, presenters and their affiliations are:
    Grazing Down Corn Residue – Denise Schwab, beef specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.
    Managing Drought Damaged Pastures – Joe Sellers, IFGC board member and retired ISU Extension and Outreach beef specialist.
    Emergency Forage: Options Available for Quick Feed – Luke Wilson, Barenbrug USA.
    Knowing the True Value of Your Forest: A Forestry Primer for Agricultural Producers and Graziers – Billy Beck, assistant professor and extension forestry specialist at Iowa State University.

The educational videos will be available at no charge; however, registration is required for access. To offer flexibility for viewers, sessions can be viewed at any time following the Nov. 24 release. To register, visit

The Iowa Forage and Grassland Council is an organization dedicated to advancing forage-based agriculture in the state. To learn more about the organization, visit To become a member or to renew your membership, email


The National Alfalfa & Forage Alliance (NAFA) released the 2021 edition of its popular “Alfalfa Variety Ratings - Winter Survival, Fall Dormancy & Pest Resistant Ratings for Alfalfa Varieties” - a useful tool for hay and dairy farmers, extension specialists, agri-business personnel or anyone involved in the production of alfalfa.     

NAFA’s Alfalfa Variety Ratings is a publication unlike any other in providing an extensive listing of alfalfa varieties and their corresponding ratings for fall dormancy, winter survival, bacterial wilt, aphanomyces, leafhopper, and a host of other pests. The publication also includes other ratings such as grazing tolerance and standability to provide you the information you need to make educated decisions about the alfalfa varieties which will perform best in a given environment. All varieties listed in the Alfalfa Variety Ratings publication can be purchased in the United States for the 2021 production year.

     The 2021 edition of NAFA’s Alfalfa Variety Ratings features 178 alfalfa varieties from 16 marketers and has been verified with the Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies (AOSCA) and the National Alfalfa Variety Review Board (NAVRB).

     If you’d prefer an electronic option, try NAFA’s searchable, online Alfalfa Variety Ratings database where you can make the process of narrowing alfalfa varietal choices even easier. Available at, NAFA’s searchable database allows you to search for varieties using up to 23 different parameters like variety name, marketer, fall dormancy, winter survival, disease resistance, and insect resistance. NAFA has made finding the perfect variety as effortless as possible.

NAFA’s Alfalfa Variety Ratings publication is available in the November issue of Hay & Forage Grower magazine or by visiting NAFA’s website at

NAFA’s Alfalfa Variety Ratings is a must-have for anyone involved in the production of alfalfa – be sure to get yours today!

MAP, DAP Continue to Climb as Retail Fertilizer Prices Stagnate

Most retail fertilizer prices saw minor declines in the first week of November, ranging from $1 to $4 per ton, according to prices tracked by DTN. The exception remains, as it has been for the past few months, MAP and DAP, which saw prices continue to rise.

Six of the eight major fertilizers tracked by DTN were lower in price compared to the same time last month. Potash declined to $331/ton, down $4; urea $358/ton, down $3; 10-34-0 $455/ton, down $2; anhydrous $423/ton, down $1; UAN28 $208/ton, down $1; and UAN32 $248/ton, down $2.

MAP and DAP prices were 3% and 1%, respectively. DTN considers price moves of 5% or more to be significant. DAP had an average price of $447/ton, an increase of $6/ton from last month. The average MAP price, at $479/ton, was $13/ton higher than last month.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.39/lb.N, anhydrous $0.26/lb.N, UAN28 $0.37/lb.N and UAN32 $0.39/lb.N.

MAP is the only fertilizer that's higher in price than it was a year ago, up 2% from last November.  The rest are lower in price than last year. DAP is down 3%, 10-34-0 is 4% less expensive, urea is 10% lower, potash and UAN32 are 14% cheaper, anhydrous is down 15% and UAN28 is 16% less expensive than in November last year.

Farm Bureau’s Patriot Project Helps Veterans Getting Started in Farming

Farmers’ and ranchers’ sons and daughters and many others from rural America have answered the call to military service throughout the 200-plus year history of this country. Now, farmers and ranchers are serving them. Through the Farm Bureau Patriot Project, Farm Bureau members are mentoring military veterans who are getting started in agriculture. The program was piloted in Arkansas and Texas in 2016 and is available as a program option to all state Farm Bureaus.

“Many people don’t realize that 44% of military personnel come from rural communities,” American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall recently noted.

Farming and ranching are a natural fit for those who have served in the military, according to veteran Damon Helton, an Arkansas Farm Bureau member and Patriot Project mentee.

“We’re predisposed, coming out of the military, for all the things that being a farmer requires: long hours, early mornings, very strenuous dirty work. We’re searching for service that we’ve lost when we get out, so agriculture is just an amazing fit for that, because that’s truly what it is, it’s service to our nation,” said Helton, who enlisted in the U.S. Army in February 2001 and completed five tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Duvall, too, emphasized how military service prepares future farmers.

“The men and women who worked so hard to defend our national security are fully equipped to ensure our food security. Our military veterans come back home to their communities equipped with discipline, determination and the willpower to do very difficult things. And farming is a difficult occupation,” Duvall said.

The Patriot Project helps veterans make that transition from one very challenging profession to another. Helton found the business guidance his farmer mentor provided to be particularly helpful.

 “I was very serious about it being a business model. I wanted to succeed and grow and feed my community. But in order to do that you have to treat it like a business. You have to understand what your input costs are, and you have to understand your margins, and you grow and you’re going to need employees. And so, I really learned how to run my farm like a true business,” Helton said.

In addition to the Patriot Project, Farm Bureau supports veterans’ involvement in agriculture through its partnership with the Farmer Veteran Coalition. FVC is the nation’s largest nonprofit organization assisting veterans and active duty members of the U.S. armed forces embark on careers in agriculture.

“Farm Bureau is historically one of FVC’s strongest supporters,” said newly appointed FVC Executive Director Jeanette Lombardo. “We value this partnership that allows us to jointly help our veterans and their families transition into agriculture. We’re equally excited about the Farm Bureau Patriot Project and the future farmer veterans we will support.”

Tuesday November 10 Ag News


Based on November 1 conditions, Nebraska's 2020 corn crop is forecast at a record 1.82 billion bushels, up 2% from last year's production, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Area to be harvested for grain, at 9.83 million acres, is up slightly from a year ago. Yield is forecast at 185 bushels per acre, up 3 bushels from last year.

Soybean production is forecast at 299 million bushels, up 5% from last year. Area for harvest, at 5.15 million acres, is up 6% from 2019. Yield is forecast at 58 bushels per acre, down 0.5 bushel from last year.

Sorghum production is forecast at 12.4 million bushels, up 3% from last year. Area for harvest, at 135,000 acres, is up 4% from 2019. Yield is forecast at 92 bushels per acre, down 1 bushel from last year.

Sugarbeet production is forecast at 1.48 million tons, up 38% from last year. Area for harvest, at 45,800 acres, is up 9% from 2019. Record yield is forecast at 32.3 tons per acre, up 6.9 tons from last year.

Potato acres of 19,000 were planted in 2020, down 7%. Harvested acreage set at 18,700 acres, down 7%. Production is forecast at 9.16 million cwt, down 5% from last year. Record yield is forecast at 490 cwt per acre, up 15 cwt from last year.


Iowa corn production is forecast at 2.34 billion bushels according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Crop Production report. Based on conditions as of November 1, yields are expected to average 184 bushels per acre, down 2 bushels per acre from the October 1 forecast and down 14 bushels per acre from last year. If realized, this would be the lowest corn yield for Iowa since 2014. Corn planted acreage is estimated at 13.7 million acres. An estimated 12.7 million of the acres planted will be harvested for grain.

Soybean production is forecast at 503 million bushels. The yield is forecast at 54.0 bushels per acre, down 2.0 bushels per acre from the October forecast and 1.0 bushel per acre lower than 2019. Soybean planted acreage is estimated at 9.40 million acres with 9.32 million acres to be harvested.

The forecasts in this report are based on November 1 conditions and do not reflect weather effects since that time. The next corn and soybean production estimates will be published in the Crop Production – Annual Summary report which will be released January 12, 2021.

USDA:  Corn Production Down 1 Percent from October Forecast

Soybean Production Down 2 Percent
Cotton Production Up less than 1 Percent

Corn production for grain is forecast at 14.5 billion bushels, down 1 percent from the previous forecast but up 7 percent from 2019. Based on conditions as of November 1, yields are expected to average 175.8 bushels per harvested acre, down 2.6 bushels from the previous forecast but up 8.3 bushels from last year. Area harvested for grain is forecast at 82.5 million acres, unchanged from the previous forecast, but up 1 percent from the previous year.

Soybean production for beans is forecast at 4.17 billio bushels, down 2 percent from the previous forecast but up 17 percent from last year. Based on conditions as of November 1, yields are expected to average 50.7 bushels per harvested acre, down 1.2 bushels from the previous forecast but up 3.3 bushels from 2019. Area harvested for beans in the United States is forecast at 82.3 million acres, unchanged from the previous forecast but up 10 percent from 2019.

All cotton production is forecast at 17.1 million 480-pound bales, up less than 1 percent from the previous forecast but down 14 percent from 2019. Based on conditions as of November 1, yields are expected to average 911 pounds per harvested acre, up 2 pounds from the previous forecast and up 88 pounds from 2019. Upland cotton production is forecast at 16.5 million 480-pound bales, up less than 1 percent from the previous forecast but down 14 percent from 2019. Pima cotton production is forecast at 557,000 bales, up 2 percent from the previous forecast but down 19 percent from 2019. All
cotton area harvested is forecast at 9.01 million acres, unchanged from the previous forecast, but down 22 percent from 2019.

November WASDE Brings New Optimism for Corn and Soybean Markets

AFBF Market Intel

USDA released its November World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimates with amended supply and demand expectations for the 2020/21 marketing year. Largely in response to Chinese imports, U.S. corn exports increased this month compared to last. Corn and soybean supplies were lowered as expected yields were reduced for both crops. Anticipating higher export levels and lower yields, price expectations rose for the second month in a row. Today’s article reviews the November WASDE updates.

Some of the main highlights include big changes to U.S. corn export expectations, which grew by 325 million bushels, going from 2.3 billion bushels to 2.6 billion bushels. If these expectations are fulfilled, it would be the largest amount of corn the U.S. has exported on record. This bump in U.S. corn exports is largely driven by the increase of Chinese imports from 7 MMT to 13 MMT, some of which is expected to come from the U.S. If realized, it would be the largest amount of corn China has imported on record (i.e. China Could Be Looking to Import More Corn). USDA has stated that though there have not been any public statements regarding the Chinese corn import quota, shipment data for exporting countries through early November indicates China will exceed the current tariff-rate quota of 7.2 MMT. However, there are rumors China has increased the TRQ by 5 MMT through December. If the TRQ is not lifted, any additional corn China imports above the TRQ could be subject to a tariff of up to 65% of the purchase price.

USDA put corn yield expectations lower, dropping from 178.4 bushels per acre to 175.8 bushels per acre. The two major changes to supply and demand for corn push ending stocks for the 2020/21 marketing year down to 1.7 billion bushels. Last month, the October WASDE had corn ending stocks above 2 billion bushels. With the adjustment, the average farm price rises from $3.60 per bushel to $4.00 per bushel, the highest price for corn since 2013, when the price was $4.46 per bushel.

Soybean highlights come from the changes USDA made in supply, reducing yield slightly from 51.9 bushels per acre to 50.7 bushels per acre and reducing overall 2020/21 soybean supply by 98 million bushels, going from 4.8 billion bushels to 4.7 billion bushels. The tightened supply decreases ending stocks from 290 million bushels to 190 million bushels, making it the lowest amount of soybean stocks on hand since 2013. With the tightening in supply and lower stocks, USDA raised the average farm price of soybeans from $9.80 per bushel to $10.40 per bushel, the highest price for soybeans since 2014, when the price was $10.10 per bushel.


Brazil Raises 2020-2021 Soybean Forecast to 135M Tons

Brazilian crop agency Conab raised its forecast for soybean production for the 2020-2021 growing season as farmers are expected to plant a larger area with crop amid strong demand from China and good prices.

Brazilian farmers will produce a record 135 million metric tons of soybeans this season, the agency said Tuesday. In October, the agency forecast a crop of 133.7 million tons. Brazil produced 124.8 million tons of soybeans in 2019-2020, the previous record for the country.

Hot, dry weather in parts of Brazil, the world's biggest producer and exporter of soybeans, has slowed planting in some soybean-growing areas of the country. But as precipitation returns to closer to normal, Conab expects most farmers to have finished that work within the ideal window for the crop.

The area planted with soybeans in Brazil in the current season will increase 3.5% from 2019-2020, Conab said. Strong demand from China, Brazil's weak currency and high prices for soybeans should give producers enough money to invest more in care for the crop, according to the agency.

Conab trimmed its forecast for the 2020-2021 corn crop, to 104.9 million metric tons from 105.2 million tons. In 2019-2020, Brazil produced 102.5 million tons. The agency forecast a slight reduction, of 0.5%, in the planted area for the country's corn crop.


– Jerry Volesky, UNL

Grass remaining for winter grazing can help cut feed costs for stock cows.  Your management can greatly influence how effectively this works for you.

Grazing winter range or pastures has several benefits.  It can save as much as a dollar a day per cow compared to feeding hay.   On native range, there is little risk of damage to the grasses because they are dormant and winter stocking rates can be somewhat higher compared to the summer.  Often times, you will notice that pastures only grazed during the winter are the most vigorous and productive.

It is important though, that you closely monitor body condition of the cows during the winter grazing period.  Crude protein is generally the most limiting nutrient during winter grazing.  The crude protein content of dormant warm-season grasses will be around 5 to 7%, and will slowly decline through the winter months from weathering and as the cattle selectively grazing the higher quality forage in a pasture.

Stockpiled cool-season grass pastures are those that have been only lightly or not grazed during the growing season.  These pastures may have slightly higher crude protein levels, but that quality will also decline as the winter progresses.  Feeding the right amount of protein supplement while winter grazing will allow the cows to effectively utilize that winter forage and maintain the desired body condition.

A possible grazing management strategy that can be used is to do simple rotational grazing where cattle are periodically moved to a new winter pasture.  This will allow for a more consistent diet quality when winter grazing.

Whatever your strategy, though, consider carefully what kind of nutrition animals are getting from the pasture so you neither underfeed nor overfeed expensive supplements.  And be sure to provide salt, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin A free choice at all times.

Winter grazing is a great opportunity to reduce winter feed costs.  With proper management, it can help you meet many of your feeding goals.

Nebraska farmer grows 148.8 bu/A soybeans to break his own record

For the second time in three years, Jimmy Frederick has set a new world record for rain-fed soybeans, producing 148.8 bu/acre over a five acre area on his Rulo, Nebraska farm. This tops his own mark of 138 bu/A set in 2018 in the very same field.  
Supported by root systems resembling those of "baby trees," Frederick described a typical plant as being waist high, with 5-7 lateral branches, and producing 450-500 pods.  
To achieve such a feat, you would think everything had to go perfect. But for Frederick, who farms 2,500 acres of corn and soybeans across terraces, hills and bottom ground in the southwest corner of Nebraska, that was anything but the case.
Just after he planted his AgriGold®3520 soybeans on April 21, 50 mph winds blew across his field and helped form a heavy crust on top of the soil. It took nearly three weeks for the plants to emerge.
"I planted deeper than usual, at two inches, and after two weeks I thought that might not have been the way to go," laughed Frederick. "I almost ripped it up and started over."   
But when the plants did emerge, they shot up uniformly and maintained strong vigor, aided by a biological seed treatment package from Biovante that included BioCore and Invade 5G seed inoculants. Once plants reached the V5 stage, they showed excellent plant health with a near perfect stand count. That's when he first realized it could be a special year.
While yield-breaking growers are often associated with using high levels of crop inputs, Frederick takes the opposite approach. He's found that less is more. That starts with population rates that vary between 30,000 to 90,000 seeds per acre. If this sounds more like corn planting, that was purely his intent in 2020.
"I basically used the same settings to plant both my corn and soybeans," says Frederick, who runs a John Deere 1770 on 30-inch rows. "This year I used 27-hole planter plates and kept the depth at two inches. In the past, I used 76-, then 56-hole soybean plates, but to achieve the consistently wider spacing I was looking for, I gave this a try."
While Frederick said his record yield was achieved at 70,000 spa, most of the field was planted at far lower rates. The entire 204-acre field averaged better than 90 bu/A.  
"We're getting more air and sunlight to our plants, creating healthier plants, lots of branching and way fewer pod abortions," noted Frederick. "Plus, we've eliminated all the yellowing on the bottom leaves. We now have 4-bean pods on the top and bottom branches."
These lower, intensively managed plant populations better prepared him for what the remainder of 2020 had in store.
"With lower populations, you definitely have fewer mouths to feed," he explained. "We got 27 inches of rain from April through July, and our annual rainfall is 34 inches. With so much rain early, the plant root structure was more horizontal than vertical than I'd like. Then the water shut off in July and we only received two inches the rest of the season with very high heat levels."
While adding that "when you lower plant populations, you must make every seed count," Frederick said he pays close attention to the energy curve of his plants, so he can regulate how the plant performs at each stage of growth. This includes frequent tissue sampling and timely applications of Biovante biological products, specialty fertilizers and fungicides throughout the season. He typically makes 5-7 trips across his field.
Seed population isn't the only thing that Frederick has lowered. He's not used a dry fertilizer product for five years and also dramatically slashed fertilizer and other input costs. His focus is on improving both the health of his soil and the strength of his plants.
"BioRed is a microbial product that really improves nitrogen fixation," says Frederick. "Even on these high yielded fields, I've never applied any additional nitrogen to my soybeans. "Six years ago I came to the realization that I needed to adopt a different system for farming, one that focused on soil health, crop rotation, low plant populations and less dependence of synthetic products," concluded Frederick. "That's when I reached out to Chris Masters at Biovante, and we've been refining that system every year since."

Register Today for the 15th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit

Biofuels advocates from across the globe will enjoy a jam-packed agenda tackling everything from policy to trade, to the future of the American fuel landscape, and all without braving the cold Iowa weather in January as the 2021 Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit goes virtual! Free registration for the 2021 summit is now open.

“By going virtual, it will be easier than ever before for biofuels supporters to join the discussion at the Midwest’s largest biofuels policy conference,” said Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Marketing Director Lisa Coffelt. “In this new virtual setting, we will cover all the big questions on everyone’s minds as we start this new year and attempt to glimpse into the future of U.S. energy and the role biofuels will play. We have successfully hosted the Summit for 14 years and on our 15th anniversary we are excited for the flexibility a virtual Summit provides to bring in speakers and viewers from across the country.”

The 2021 Virtual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit will be streamed on on January 26, 2021. The Summit is free to attend and open to the public, but registration is required to view the Summit.

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit has long hosted one of the biggest biofuels trade shows in the country. To learn about changes to the 2021 trade show, review sponsorship opportunities, and register to attend, please visit

National Pork Board Launches AgView, A New Tool to Help Protect the Industry from Foreign Animal Disease Fallout

The National Pork Board today announced the launch of AgView, a technology solution to help the U.S. pork industry respond faster than ever before possible in the event of a foreign animal disease (FAD) outbreak. The web-based tool will allow participating producers to easily share their farm’s FAD status updates and pig movement data with state animal health officials. The opt-in, no-fee technology – funded by the Pork Checkoff – will allow for contact-tracing of infected animals to help rapidly contain or regionalize a potential FAD outbreak.
While any FAD outbreak on even a single farm would be devastating, the potential collective losses are staggering. According to a recent study1 from Iowa State University, an outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) in the United States could cost the pork industry $50 billion over 10 years.
“When pork producers adopt AgView, they are not only helping protect their farms, but also the entire industry,” said Pork Board CEO Bill Even. “COVID taught us, the best way to quickly contain and recover from a significant supply chain disruption, which an FAD outbreak would be, is through real-time information, collaboration and a common data set to inform decision making.”
AgView is designed to help the U.S. pork industry coordinate a unified response to FADs across the nation – from grain farmers to producers, to state health officials and veterinarians. When producer-users grant permission, AgView securely provides state animal health officials with health status, site and pig movement data from registered farms in real-time. This data sharing would go a long way in aiding an effective FAD response and could ultimately help the industry more quickly contain or regionalize in an outbreak.
“While local and state reporting protocols already are in place, there is no nationwide repository for this data and no mechanism for real-time sharing,” said Pork Board Chief Veterinarian Dave Pyburn. “Time is money in an FAD response, which is why we’re excited to have AgView to help fill that gap and facilitate a quicker return to business for producers, especially in our export markets”
AgView, as a single software platform, allows for the rapid and accurate visualization of relevant pig movement data and diagnostic test results to create visibility, accountability and trust during an outbreak of ASF or another FAD. To make this easier for producers, and ensure data is up to date, AgView can integrate with many existing record-keeping systems for easy synchronization. For those who do manual record-keeping, AgView also accepts imports from an Excel template. For more information, visit

NMPF Statement on EU’s Retaliatory Tariffs on Dairy

In response to the European Union’s (EU) imposition of retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agriculture exports, which escalates the dispute over World Trade Organization (WTO)-incompliant aircraft subsidies, National Milk Producers Federation President and CEO Jim Mulhern issued the following statement:

“Europe has long wielded restrictive and unjustified trade tactics to limit fair competition from U.S. agriculture, including dairy exports. While Europe may be authorized to retaliate, the U.S. has already taken deliberate action to address the WTO decision. Meanwhile, Europe has failed to come into compliance with their WTO obligations.

“As the U.S. works to hold Europe accountable to its WTO obligations, U.S. retaliatory tariffs against EU dairy products continue to play a key role in bringing Europe to the negotiating table and compelling them to fulfill their trade commitments. The EU’s restrictive trade policies that have resulted in a one-way flow of agriculture trade, and in particular dairy trade, to Europe is something that both the current and future Administrations need to keep in mind. In fact, the trade deficit between the EU and U.S. continues to widen as the EU uses unjustified trade tactics to erode U.S. market access and limit fair competition.

“One of the most egregious of these tactics is the EU’s misuse of geographical indications (GIs) to ban the U.S. from selling cheeses with common names, such as asiago, feta or parmesan. We commend USTR’s continued maintenance of GI cheeses on the WTO-authorized list of tariff retaliation as these tariffs help to temporarily level the playing field for U.S. producers.

“It’s time for Europe to not only comply with its WTO obligations, but also make a fundamental change to retire its discriminatory agricultural trade policies once and for all.”

Register for free CAB webinar "Getting to know the brand"

By Abbie Burnett

How do you certify your herd to produce the Certified Angus Beef ® (CAB®) brand?
The short answer? You don’t.

The long answer is one of the many that Kara Lee, CAB assistant director of producer engagement, will answer in an upcoming virtual presentation.

The free, one-hour "Getting to Know the Certified Angus Beef ® Brand" webinar is set for November 19, 1:30 p.m. Central.

CAB was designed to increase demand for registered Angus cattle by adding value throughout the supply chain, and today quality cattle are worth more to every segment.

Qualifying carcasses earn upwards of $1.7 million in grid premiums each week, Lee says, but knowing how it all comes together is the first step to capturing some of that value.

"The Certified Angus Beef brand is a well-known, almost household name for many cattle producers. However, the structure of the brand is often less well known," she says. "This is for any producer who wants a better understanding of how the company works for them and wants to know how to connect that to what they do on the ranch."

Lee will provide a general overview of the brand and its importance to consumers, and offer insight into how cattle qualify and what typically prevents CAB certification in the first place.

"If you’ve always thought of yourself as familiar with the brand, but find it difficult to explain exactly how it works, this webinar should be a great resource," Lee says.

From the basic to the complex, she’ll talk through the most common FAQs and allow time for participants to ask questions of their own.

"We want everyone who produces high-quality beef to know what it takes to get involved," Lee says.

To register for the Nov. 19 webinar, visit

International Beef Trade Dynamics

Josh Maples, Extension Economist, Mississippi State University

The latest monthly trade data were released by the USDA Economic Research Service last week. The September data continued to show adjustments from the beef production and beef price changes earlier in the year as well as the impacts of global beef demand. According to the ERS data, beef exports totaled approximately 239 million pounds during September. This was down 5.6 percent from September 2019. Through September, beef exports in 2020 were about 6 percent lower than during the first 9 months of 2019.

September showed stronger exports to South Korea, Canada, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Exports to Japan, the largest volume destination for U.S. beef exports, were down slightly according to the ERS data. Beef exports to Mexico continued to lag behind the 2019 pace. During September, beef exports to Mexico were about 38 percent lower than in September 2019 and were 40 percent lower for the first 9 months of 2020 compared to the first 9 months of 2019. Exports to Mexico were 14 percent of total January-September 2019 beef exports in 2019; in 2020, that share has dropped to about 9 percent.

Following up on a topic brought up by David Anderson’s article in September, cattle exports to Mexico continue to be stronger relative to past years. Weekly slaughter cattle exports to Mexico averaged 870 head during September and October including 1,432 head during the 4th week of October. These are small numbers relative to overall slaughter, but interesting given that slaughter cattle exports to Mexico have been very limited since 2003. More slaughter cattle were exported to Mexico during July-October 2020 (11,226 head) than during all of 2004-2019 combined (9,184 head).

Beef exports to Mainland China continued to increase in September. During September, shipments to China accounted for 5.3 percent of total exports. For comparison, beef exports to China during 2019 were around one percent of total exports. The 12.6 million pounds of beef exported to China during September is the highest monthly level on record and is another sign of growth for that destination.

There were also adjustments in beef imports. Beef imports during September were up 26 percent from a year ago and totaled approximately 300 million pounds. This followed large import totals in July and August. Beef imports during the third quarter of 2020 were about one billion pounds which is 33 percent higher than Q3 2019. The top 4 import sources (Canada, Australia, Mexico, and New Zealand) have combined for about 80 percent of total beef imports in 2020 through September. The big jump in beef imports during the summer was most likely a reaction to the record high retail beef prices during the late spring due to pandemic disruptions. Retail beef prices have moderated in recent months which will impact imports in future reports.

Taken as a whole, beef trade in 2020 shows many of the challenges experienced in 2020. For the U.S., the production disruptions in the spring and the resulting price peaks had significant impacts on beef exports and imports through the summer. Globally, though some recovery has occurred, demand for beef in international destinations continues to be influenced by pandemic responses and safety measures. Beef demand at seated restaurants continues to be impacted, and demand in areas reliant on tourism still faces obstacles. The pace of recovery in international destinations will be key for beef exports moving forward and for the value that beef exports add to cattle production.

Short-Term Energy Outlook Forecast Highlights

Energy Information Administration

Global liquid fuels

    The November Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) remains subject to heightened levels of uncertainty because responses to COVID-19 continue to evolve. Reduced economic activity related to the COVID-19 pandemic has caused changes in energy demand and supply patterns in 2020 and will continue to affect these patterns in the future. U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) declined by 4.4% in the first half of 2020 compared with the same period a year ago. GDP began rising in the third quarter of 2020, and this STEO assumes it will grow by 3.7% from 2020 to 2021. The U.S. macroeconomic assumptions in this outlook are based on forecasts by IHS Markit.

    Brent crude oil spot prices averaged $40 per barrel (b) in October, down $1/b from the average in September. Brent prices fell in October as previously disrupted crude oil production in Libya came back online and as COVID-19 cases began increasing in many countries, which could reduce oil demand in the coming months. Despite these developments, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects global oil inventories to continue falling in the coming months. However, EIA expects high global oil inventory levels and surplus crude oil production capacity will limit upward pressure on oil prices and that Brent prices will remain near $40/b through the end of 2020. EIA expects that as global oil demand rises, forecast inventory draws in 2021 will cause some upward oil price pressures. EIA forecasts Brent crude oil prices will average $47/b in 2021.

    EIA estimates that an average of 95.3 million barrels per day (b/d) of petroleum and liquid fuels was consumed globally in October. Liquid fuels consumption was down 5.9 million b/d from October 2019, but it was up from both the third-quarter 2020 average of 94.1 million b/d and the second-quarter 2020 average of 85.3 million b/d. EIA forecasts that global consumption of petroleum and liquid fuels will average 92.9 million b/d for all of 2020, down by 8.6 million b/d from 2019, before increasing by 5.9 million b/d in 2021.

    EIA reported that 10.6 million b/d of crude oil was produced in the United States in August (the most recent month for which historical data are available), down 0.4 million b/d from July. Production fell in August mainly because hurricanes disrupted production from the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. EIA reported that U.S. crude oil production in the Gulf of Mexico averaged 1.2 million b/d in August, down 0.5 million b/d from July. Since reaching a two-and-a-half year low of 10.0 million b/d in May, when producers curtailed wells, U.S. crude oil production has increased mainly because tight oil operators have brought wells back online in response to rising prices. EIA estimates that production will rise to 11.2 million b/d in November. However, EIA expects U.S. crude oil production to generally decline to an average of 11.0 million b/d in the second quarter of 2021 because new drilling activity will not generate enough production to offset declines from existing wells. EIA expects drilling activity to rise later in 2021, contributing to U.S. crude oil production reaching 11.3 million b/d in the fourth quarter of 2021. On an annual average basis, EIA expects U.S. crude oil production to fall from 12.2 million b/d in 2019 to 11.4 million b/d in 2020 and 11.1 million b/d in 2021.

More Here:  

National Bison Assn. Moves Winter Events to Rapid City, SD

With the National Western Stock Show in Denver postponed for a year, the National Bison Association has teamed up with the Dakota Territory Buffalo Association (DTBA) to plan its annual live bison show and sale, along with its winter membership meeting for February 18-20, 2021 in Rapid City, SD.

“The Gold Trophy Show and Sale, and our Winter Conference, are vital business activities for our association,” said Jim Matheson, assistant director of the National Bison Association. “Working with the leadership of the Dakota Territory Buffalo Association, we’ve been able to plan an event that will provide a safe way for members to gather and to conduct our show and sale, while also providing an opportunity for people to participate in both the conference and the sale virtually as well.”

The annual Gold Trophy Show and Sale conducted by the bison association is recognized as the leading showcase for quality bison breeding stock in the U.S. Similarly, the DTBA’s performance tested “Girlz Gone Wild” yearling heifer competition provides ranchers with the opportunity to purchase young animals with proven quality. The two events will be combined into one simulcast auction on February 20th. Judging for the two events will take place the day before.

The national association and its regional counterpart have also collaborated to organize a joint conference with individual association membership meetings. That event is scheduled at the Ramkota Inn in Rapid City for February 19-20.

Matheson noted, “We are planning the meeting in a manner that will allow everyone to participate safely in person, or to log on and participate on-line.”

He said that details for the Show and Sale, and the Winter Conference are being posted on the bison association website,, as they are finalized.

Control Ammonia Levels, Animal Waste Volume in Closed Barns this Winter with All-Natural Ammocure from Brookside Agra

Inadequate ventilation in barns that animals inhabit during the winter months can often lead to pneumonia and respiratory illnesses caused by ammonia build up from waste. Animal producers often close-up their barns in winter to prevent cold drafts on their calves, pigs and poultry; but unfortunately restricting barn air flow can pose a greater risk to the health of their animals and the people who take care of them.

“Ammonia and its effects on human and animal health are seldom noticed when the same person works in the same operation every day. Ammonia can be a hidden killer and often is a major factor in reduced animal and human performance. Producers often admit that they have a problem with ammonia, but seldom realize how great it is,” said Tim Nelson, Vice President – Animal Health & Nutrition Sales at Brookside Agra.

At an ammonia level of 6 ppm, eye and respiratory irritation can occur. Animal performance can be reduced at ammonia levels of 11 ppm, with 25 ppm being the max level for eight-hour exposure. At the 40 ppm level, humans can experience headaches, nausea and appetite loss. Severe reductions in animal performance and health, with an increased possibly of pneumonia, can occur at 50 ppm. At 100 ppm, humans and animals can experience sneezing, salivation and irritation of mucus membranes.

To control ammonia, other offensive gasses and waste volume in animal housing during the winter months, Brookside Agra recommends its all-natural Ammocure line of products. Proven to reduce ammonia levels by up to 50 percent or more when added to a ration, Ammocure helps improve air quality, feed conversion and average daily gain, plus helps increase feed intake for better animal health and more comfortable working conditions for employees.

Made in the U.S.A., Ammocure is a specially formulated source of saponin, a natural wetting agent derived from the Yucca Schidigera plant, for addition to animal feeds. Non-toxic to all species and sizes of livestock, poultry and small animals when used as directed, all-natural Ammocure is available in a 15% Meal, 30% Powder and 50% Liquid formulation.

Ammocure Liquid is proven to control odors and reduce ammonia emissions from manure when added to feeds, while the powder and meal formulations are recommended to control waste volume, ammonia and offensive gasses produced by livestock. Ammocure Powder and Meal can also be used as a flavoring agent in commercial livestock feeds.

Brookside’s Ammocure products contain no fillers or carriers such as Zeolite or Calcium Carbonate that can often inhibit the activity of the saponin. Ammocure is also listed as a GRAS LIST safe-to-use ingredient.

Monday November 9 Ag News


For the week ending November 8, 2020, there were 6.4 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 26% very short, 45% short, 29% adequate, and 0% surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 27% very short, 40% short, 33% adequate, and 0% surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn harvested was 93%, well ahead of 70% last year, and ahead of 78% for the five-year average.

Winter wheat condition rated 4% very poor, 17% poor, 36% fair, 40% good, and 3% excellent. Winter wheat emerged was 94%, behind 99% last year, and near 97% average.

Sorghum harvested was 95%, well ahead of 68% last year, and ahead of 80% average.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 18% very poor, 20% poor, 27% fair, 34% good, and 1% excellent.

Iowa Crop Progress & Condition

Warmer than normal temperatures and no precipitation allowed Iowa farmers 6.6 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending November 8, 2020, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Fieldwork activities again included harvesting corn and soybeans, baling corn stalks, applying fertilizer and manure, and tillage.

Topsoil moisture condition rated 16% very short, 36% short, 48% adequate and 0% surplus. Subsoil moisture condition rated 23% very short, 36% short, 41% adequate and 0% surplus.

Only 6% of Iowa’s corn for grain crop remains to be harvested, almost 4 weeks ahead of last year and over 2 weeks ahead of the 5-year average. Statewide, the moisture content of field corn being harvested for grain remained at 15%. Farmers in northwest, north central and west central Iowa have less than 5% of their corn for grain remaining to be harvested while farmers in south central Iowa still have over 15% to be harvested.

Only 2% of Iowa’s soybean crop remains to be harvested, almost 3 weeks ahead of last year and 10 days ahead of average. Farmers in most of the State have only scattered fields left to harvest.

Livestock producers continue to allow cattle to graze on corn stalks.

USDA: 9% of Corn, 8% of Soybeans Left to Harvest

Less than 10% of both corn and soybeans are left to harvest, according to the USDA NASS weekly Crop Progress report released on Monday.  

Corn harvest moved ahead 9 percentage points last week to reach 91% complete as of Sunday, Nov. 8, 11 percentage points ahead of the five-year average of 80%.  Meanwhile, soybean harvest moved ahead 5 percentage points to reach 92% complete as of Sunday, 2 percentage points ahead of the five-year average of 90%.

Winter wheat planting also inched ahead last week, gaining another 4 percentage points to reach 93% as of Sunday. That is 2 percentage points ahead of the five-year average of 91%. An estimated 79% of winter wheat had emerged, 1 percentage point ahead of the five-year average of 78%.  The condition of the winter wheat crop was estimated at 45% good to excellent, up 2 percentage points from 43% the previous week but still below 54% at the same time a year ago.


Nebraska Extension and Nebraska Soybean Board launch Soybean Management Virtual Field Days

The 2020 Soybean Management Field Days moved online for the first time ever due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Growers can view Soybean Management Field Days presentations or listen to the podcasts presented by Nebraska Extension specialists and educators at

For over 20 years, Soybean Management Field Days have helped soybean growers maximize productivity and profitability through smart decisions and efficient use of resources. The field days have helped growers stay competitive in the global marketplace and increase profits with a focus on meeting the world’s growing food and energy needs right here in Nebraska.

Active research continued at the Soybean Management Field Days locations throughout the 2020 growing season. The virtual presentations provide an outlet for sharing information and updates from the sites with growers. An added benefit is that growers can view or listen to the presentations whenever and wherever it is convenient for them.

“Our annual Soybean Management Field Days may have been impacted by the global pandemic, but we still brought our producers the trusted and reliable research-based information to their devices,” said Scott Ritzman, executive director of the Nebraska Soybean Board. “The video presentations bring insightful and useful information that producers are accustomed to hearing from Nebraska Extension every August. We look forward to having in-person Soybean Management Field Days in 2021.”

Research was conducted at the following farms:
    Jerome Fritz Farm at Hildreth, NE
    Kevin Dinslage Farm at Elgin, NE
    Bart and Geoff Ruth Farm at Shelby, NE
    Mike Fuchs Farm at Arlington, NE

“Growers can obtain ideas and insight about the challenges they face in producing a quality crop at a profitable price in today’s global economy,” said Keith Glewen, Nebraska Extension educator.  “Nebraska Extension specialists and educators share information that growers can view or listen to via short modules online at a time that is convenient to them.”

There is also the opportunity to enter a prize drawing by completing short surveys after viewing the presentations. Participant input from surveys is always important in planning future programs. Farmers can complete surveys for a chance to win the grand prize - a Yeti Tundra 45 Cooler and $200 worth of local Nebraska pork. There will also be a drawing for Carhart jackets and High Oleic soy grease. Winners will be announced during the virtual Nebraska Soybean Day and Machinery Expo online on December 17 (

The field days are sponsored by the Nebraska Soybean Board in partnership with Nebraska Extension in the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and are funded through soybean checkoff dollars. The efforts of the checkoff are directed by the United Soybean Board promoting progress powered by U.S. farmers.

Contact the Nebraska Soybean Board at (402) 441-3240 or Nebraska Extension at 1-800-529-8030 for more information.

PVC November Meeting Cancelled

Brandon Groteluschen, Platte Valley Cattlemen President

Thank you for your continued support of Platte County Cattlemen. Without that support, we would not be where we are today.  That being said, however, we believe it is in the best interest of all to cancel our November Cattlemen meeting due to the increases of Covid 19 numbers.  It is our wish that you and your families remain healthy and well.


– Megan Taylor, NE Extension Educator, Platte County

So you pulled some soil cores and now you have the results in your hand, now what?

On your soil test results you will want to check out pH, potassium, phosphorus, and sulfur. Today we will focus on phosphorus recommendations, specifically looking at Bray-1 and Mehlich-3 test results.

Phosphorus has three tests that can be completed to test soil P levels: Bray-1, Olson, and Mehlich-3 are the most widely used. These are measured in parts per million (ppm) and recommendations are dependent on dryland and irrigated fields. Values will differ between Bray-1/Mehlich-3 and Olson test results, so carefully look at your soil test before making fertilizer purchases.  If your soil tests range from 25 or greater for Bray-1/Mehlich-3, you do not need to add any phosphorus for irrigated and dryland.
    0-5 apply 60 lbs. P2O5/acre for irrigated or 40 lbs. P2O5/acre dryland.
    6-15 apply 40 lbs. P2O5/acre for irrigated or 30 lbs. P2O5/acre for dryland.
    16-25 apply 30 lbs. P2O5/acre for irrigated or 20 lbs. P2O5/acre for dryland.

These values can be found online on the CropWatch website under the alfalfa section and include the values for the Olson test as well. Also depending on your fertilization schedule, you can plan to apply phosphorus in two year increments for dryland fields; take the single year recommendations and double to calculate the two year needs.

Remember if you are still wanting to pull soil cores sample at 8 inches or historic depth. Collect samples by grid, soil type, or representative area (40 acres or less). Then pull 10 to 15 random soil cores and combine in a plastic bucket to represent one soil sample. Take about a pint of soil and submit to an accredited lab.

Do You Know the Difference Between 9% and 7% Crude Protein Hay?

Hannah Greenwell – Extension Educator, BRK

When feeding harvested forages to the cow herd, you need to know what you have in order to know what to feed. This is vital when faced with some of the challenges we have seen in the past couple years such as flood, excessively cold and harsh winters, and drought. Over-feeding spends money unnecessarily and can deteriorate your bottom line. Underfeeding results in thin cows, which can lead to calving issues and disappointing conception rates.

What is the difference between hay that tests 9% crude protein (CP) on a dry matter (DM) basis versus hay that tests 7%? The easy answer is 2%, but what is the difference between these two hays when it comes to meeting cow requirements? A 1,300 lb, spring-calving cow in the second trimester (fall/early winter) requires 1.6 lb of CP as a portion of her dry matter intake. If all the factors were in your favor putting up hay this year and it tests at 9% CP, divide 1.6 lb of required CP by .09 (percent CP in your hay) requiring the cow to consume 17.8 lb DM of that hay to meet her protein demand.

If hay did not test as well, with the 7% CP hay, the calculation comes out to the cow consuming 22.9 lb DM to meet her protein demand. 

That 5-lb difference on an individual animal level is not overwhelming, but when multiplied by the Nebraska average herd size of 94, that is a daily difference of 470 lb of DM (522 lb as-fed) for the herd. Extrapolate further to a producer with 300 cows. That producer would have to feed 1,500 lb DM (1,666 lb as-fed) more of the 7% CP hay each day. Just that 2% CP difference equals more than an entire bale each day. Or, examining it on a protein provided basis, you shorted that herd by 30 lb of protein, which is the equivalent of 19 cow’s daily protein requirements.  

If the hay is the next step lower quality, say 5% CP (DM basis), the question becomes can that 1,300 lb cow physically consume enough hay to meet her requirements?  Calculations come out to 32 lb DM intake, or 36 lbs as-fed. 

36 lb of as-fed intake is the equivalent of 2.77% of BW on a 1,300 lb cow just to meet the CP requirement. Given the likely digestibility associated with 5% CP hay, she cannot physically consume enough dry hay to meet her daily nutrient requirements. Therefore, a supplementation strategy should be established before using that lower quality hay.

Based on USDA reports, Nebraska grass hay price for Fair Quality (5-9% CP) large rounds is $82/ton. The 2% CP difference for the 300-cow herd amounts to a $68.31 difference each day, or $2,050 a month. It only takes an $18 forage sample to tell you what you have, so you know what to feed. Truly, the answer to whether you know the difference between 7% CP hay and 9% CP hay is, “yes, I got my forages tested”.

More than 200 Small Meat and Poultry Processors Awarded CARES Act Funds to Grow their Businesses

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig announced today that more than 200 local meat and poultry processors have been awarded Meat Processing and Expansion grants through the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. These small businesses can use the funds to purchase or upgrade equipment, develop a direct-to-consumer sales strategy, or participate in food safety certification training. These grants are possible thanks to $4 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding allocated by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds.

“The demand at local meat processors skyrocketed after COVID-19 caused disruptions in the food supply chain. These businesses extended their hours and added shifts to help local farmers but many of them are still running at capacity,” said Secretary Naig. “The CARES Act funds will help these processors expand their operations to serve more producers in their communities, and give them opportunities to explore new markets for their products.”
Business Improvement Grants

One hundred and nine meat and poultry processors will receive grants to purchase or upgrade their equipment. These improvements must allow the facility to increase its processing capacity to accommodate the increased demands brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. In some cases, these upgrades may help a custom-exempt processing plant prepare to become an official plant, or help an official plant make the upgrades necessary to qualify for the Cooperative Interstate Shipment program.
Direct Marketing Grant

Eighty-five Iowa livestock producers will receive direct marketing grants to produce marketing materials, develop services, or purchase equipment to help transition to a direct-to-consumer sales strategy. This may include developing an online sales platform or an alternative sales channel. The recipients of this grant must direct-market less than 200 livestock or 2,000 poultry per year.
Tuition Grant

Owners and/or employees of ten state-inspected and licensed meat and poultry establishments have been awarded tuition grants to participate in continuing education programs. The money must be used to enroll in an accredited meat sciences program and may be used for food safety training, like Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) certification.

A complete list of the Meat Processing and Expansion grant awardees is available at

2020 Farm Service Agency County Committee Elections Underway

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has mailed ballots for the Farm Service Agency (FSA) county committee elections to eligible farmers and ranchers across the country. To be counted, ballots must be returned to the local FSA county office or postmarked by December 7.

“FSA has over 7,000 county committee members nationwide who serve their communities by providing input on our programs at the local level,” said FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce. “We value their knowledge and judgment as decisions are made about the services we provide, including disaster and safety-net programs.”

Each committee has three to 11 elected members who serve three-year terms of office, and at least one seat is up for election each year. Newly elected committee members will take office January 1, 2021. County committee members help FSA make important decisions on its commodity support programs, conservation programs, indemnity and disaster programs, and emergency programs and eligibility.

Producers must participate or cooperate in an FSA program to be eligible to vote in the county committee election. A cooperating producer is someone who has provided information about their farming or ranching operation(s) but may not have applied or received FSA program benefits. Also, producers who supervise and conduct the farming operations of an entire farm, but are not of legal voting age, may be eligible to vote.

Producers can find out if their local administrative area is up for election and if they are eligible to vote by contacting their local FSA county office. Eligible voters who did not receive a ballot in the mail can request one from their local FSA county office. Visit for more information.

All USDA Service Centers are open for business, including some that are open to visitors to conduct business in person by appointment only. All Service Center visitors wishing to conduct business with FSA, Natural Resources Conservation Service or any other Service Center agency should call ahead and schedule an appointment. Service Centers that are open for appointments will pre-screen visitors based on health concerns or recent travel, and visitors must adhere to social distancing guidelines. Visitors are also required to wear a face covering during their appointment. Our program delivery staff will be in the office, and they will be working with our producers in the office, by phone and using online tools. More information can be found at

New Study Highlights the Value of Corn in the Pet Food Industry

There are many benefits to including corn in your pet’s diet, but have you ever wondered about the benefits that your cat or dog brings to the corn industry? Fortunately, there is a new, comprehensive study available aimed at unpacking the $30 billion U.S. retail pet food industry, thanks to the Institute for Feed Education and Research (IFEEDER), the Pet Food Institute and the North American Renderers Association.

The study found that corn and corn gluten meal are the top two most used plant-based ingredients in pet food products. Corn is the dominant plant-based carbohydrate at 1,283,674 tons, and corn gluten meal is the dominant plant-based protein ingredient at 476,649 tons used on an annual basis. Thanks to Fido and Fluffy, the corn industry moved 1,958,061 tons of product, valued at a total of $438 million.

“Farmers and farm-product processors sell $6.9 billion worth of products to pet food manufacturers every year that are used as ingredients. Sales made by farmers and processors of farm products to pet food manufacturers stimulates further upstream economic activity, leading to the purchase of $5.3 billion of materials and services from farm suppliers providing necessary inputs such as seed, fertilizer, fuel, labor, machinery and repairs to produce high-quality products that are used as pet food ingredients,” cites the report.

Founded in 2009 by the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA), IFEEDER supports critical education and research initiatives that assure consumers a safe, healthy and sustainable food supply. The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) partners with IFEEDER and the AFIA on research projects as well as feed and food industry efforts, such as the Association of American Feed Control Officials’ petition on Corn Gluten Meal and the current partnership on the U.S. Roundtable on Sustainable Beef Feed Task Force.

“This first-of-its-kind research shows that there are nearly 550 diverse ingredients used in U.S. pets’ diets to provide complete and balanced nutrition at price points that fit shoppers’ budgets,” said Robert Cooper, IFEEDER’s executive director. “Collaborations on research like the pet food study allow us to leverage our resources and share information that helps allied organizations, like the National Corn Growers Association, amplify its outreach with decision-makers and consumer influencers, so they are more informed about how important commodities, such as corn, are in producing safe and nutritious food for both humans and their four-legged companions.”

Coalition Asks Lawmakers to Intervene in GPS-related FCC Ruling

The American Farm Bureau Federation and dozens of other organizations representing a broad range of industries is calling on lawmakers to help protect the satellite communications and GPS services that tens of millions of Americans rely on.

This spring, the Federal Communications Commission granted a petition filed by Ligado to provide 5G services. Ligado’s planned use of its spectrum is so near bands used by GPS, it could diminish the reception capability of GPS devices. This is a major problem for farmers and ranchers, who rely on precision agriculture technology and GPS so their farms and ranches can be more efficient, economical and environmentally responsible.

It would also put at risk GPS services used by the military and other national defense agencies, aviation safety agencies, mapping applications and many others.

“The proposed Ligado network would disrupt the reliability of satellite communications services and the many critical applications that rely upon GPS, which has direct implications for safety-of-life in commercial aviation operations, precision farming and irrigation management that have revolutionized the agriculture economy, autonomous ground and air vehicles that will bring a new generation of transportation, precise and actionable weather data that can predict hurricanes and other life-threatening natural events, and many other applications,” the groups said in a letter to Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), chair and ranking member, respectively, of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.

The groups are asking the lawmakers to work with the FCC to set aside the flawed Ligado order in favor of a process that is responsive to the concerns of the incredibly broad cross-section of L-band operators and users.

The 60-plus organizations that signed the letter represent the aviation, aerospace, agriculture, GPS, ground transportation, mapping, marine, metrological, public safety, satellite communications and surveying industries and professions.

Land Use, Land Value & Tenure Update

USDA Economic Research Service

As part of its research program on the economics of land resources, ERS compiles data and conducts statistical analysis on a variety of topics concerning agricultural land use, land values, and land ownership and tenure. The Major Land Uses project, maintained by ERS since 1945, is the most comprehensive accounting of all major uses of public and private land in the United States. ERS also conducts foundational analyses on various aspects of U.S. farmland ownership, including landlords, tenants, rental markets, acquisition patterns, and transfer plans—using data from the ERS/National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) 2014 Tenure, Ownership, and Transition of Agricultural Land (TOTAL) survey, the Census of Agriculture, and other sources. Recent research on the drivers of farmland values utilizes several data sources, including the NASS June Area Survey. Various stakeholders—including policymakers, academics, and the broader rural community—rely on ERS researchers to conduct peer-reviewed national and regional studies concerning the farmland economy.

Agricultural production is a major use of land, accounting for roughly 52 percent of the U.S. land base.  Land use and land-use changes have important economic and environmental implications for commodity production and trade, open space, soil and water conservation, air quality and atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, and other areas of policy relevance.

With a value of $2.55 trillion in 2019, the value of farm real estate (land and structures) accounted for over 80 percent of the total value of U.S. farm sector total assets.  Because real estate comprises such a significant portion of the balance sheet of U.S. farms, farmland and real estate values are critical barometers of the farm sector's financial performance. Changes in farmland values also affect the financial well-being of agricultural producers because farm real estate is the largest single component in a typical farmer's investment portfolio and it serves as the principal source of collateral for farm loans.

Broadly speaking, farmland ownership patterns identify the extent to which farmland is owned by farm operators and non-operators (landowners who do not themselves actively participate in a farm operation) who own land for investment or other purposes. About 40 percent of U.S. farmland has been rented over the last 25 years. Non-operator landlords owned 31 percent of land in farms in 2014, making up 80 percent of land operated by tenant farmers.

See the summary report here, along with links to more data:  

EPA, Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy Enter into First-Time MOU to Advance Engagement with Agriculture Community

Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler signed a first-time Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy (Innovation Center), furthering the Trump Administration’s focus on engaging with agriculture communities to support better environmental outcomes.

“The EPA is proud of the work it’s done to rebuild relationships with the agricultural community during the Trump Administration, and this MOU will help boost cooperation and environmental outcomes for the U.S. dairy industry,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler.  

“The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy is founded on collaboration, and we appreciate EPA’s recognition of U.S. dairy’s leadership toward building an environmentally sustainable and economically viable future for our industry,” said Innovation Center President Barbara O’Brien. “We welcome the voluntary opportunities highlighted in the MOU, and look forward to EPA participation as a member of the Dairy Sustainability Alliance®.”

The MOU between EPA and the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy signals a commitment to collaborate and coordinate in areas of mutual interest related to environmental stewardship in the dairy industry. Highlights in the MOU include:
    Outreach and education tied to dairy community access to technical, financial and educational support related to adoption of environmentally beneficial practices and technologies across farms of all sizes, regions and designs.
    Contribution of EPA expert input and feedback on Innovation Center initiatives to help advance environmental stewardship.
    EPA membership in the Innovation Center’s Dairy Sustainability Alliance.

NFU Ready to Work with Biden Administration to Strengthen Rural Communities and the Food System

After several days of ballot counting and much anticipation, the Associated Press announced that former Vice President Joe Biden had won the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

National Farmers Union (NFU) President Rob Larew issued the following statement in response to the news:
“The last four years haven’t been too kind to family farmers and ranchers. Overproduction, rampant corporate consolidation, trade disputes, and climate change have kept commodity prices stubbornly low, causing farm debt to balloon and farm bankruptcies to proliferate.
“On the campaign trail, President-elect Joe Biden has indicated that he intends to address many of the concerns we have expressed over the last several years. He has promised to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement as well as provide farmers and ranchers the tools they need to implement climate-smart practices, both of which are top priorities for Farmers Union members. Additionally, Biden has outlined his commitment to revitalize rural economies, enforce antitrust regulation, strengthen the Affordable Care Act, alleviate racial inequities in agriculture, expand rural broadband, and promote homegrown biofuels. These are all reforms that we as an organization have advocated for many years, and it is encouraging to see them incorporated so prominently into the president-elect’s platform.
“The vision that President-elect Biden has for America overlaps, in many respects, with National Farmers Union’s vision. We stand ready to work with his administration to ensure that its policies and programs adequately represent the interests of family farmers and rural communities.”

AFBF Statement on President-Elect Joe Biden’s Victory

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall

“The American Farm Bureau Federation congratulates President-elect Biden on his election, as well as the representatives and senators elected to serve in the 117th Congress.

“President-elect Biden will be presented with opportunities to improve the lives of rural Americans and this nation’s farmers and ranchers, who are facing challenges never experienced in this country’s history. A global pandemic, trade disputes and severe weather have converged to take a mighty toll on agriculture and beyond, impacting families and communities across the United States.

“Unprecedented challenges require courageous leadership and the willingness of all elected leaders to work across the aisle for the good of the nation. Agriculture provides a strong model for that, with a long tradition of aligning behind smart policy, not party lines. We urge all those chosen by the people to use the election to turn the page on partisanship and commit to working together. Show farmers, ranchers and families across America that we will rise to meet the challenges before us together as one nation.

“For agriculture, the priorities include expanding trade and market access so farmers can focus on competing in a fair marketplace. Rural broadband has expanded in recent years, but the time has come to complete the grid and end the crippling disadvantage faced by farms, families and communities without broadband access. The ability of farmers to feed America is directly tied to their ability to attract and hire employees, so we must find a fair solution to the farm labor shortage. We must strengthen the farm bill and build on advancements made toward regulatory reform to remove the barriers to prosperity while protecting resources with which we’re entrusted. We urge President-elect Biden to identify these as priorities.

“In addition, with increasing focus on climate-smart farming, we look forward to building on the great strides agriculture has made in reducing per-unit emissions and caring for the land, water and air -- all while feeding a growing population. Our journey of continuous improvement requires collaboration with the Administration and Congress to expand research that unleashes innovation, build on conservation partnerships, and help producers navigate the field of developing ecosystem markets, ensuring they remain voluntary and market based.

“President-elect Biden’s term and a new Congress begin a new chapter in America’s story. Agriculture has been part of that story since the very first chapter, and we stand ready to work with our elected leaders to ensure farmers and ranchers regain their footing so they can help make America stronger and more prosperous.”

NMPF Congratulates President-Elect Biden and Incoming Congress

The National Milk Producers Federation congratulated President-elect Joe Biden and members of the upcoming 117th Congress for their election victories, pledging to work for bipartisan solutions to the many challenges faced in agriculture and in the nation.

“Congratulations to President-elect Biden and the incoming members of the 117th Congress, who will have a lot of work to do in this country, from legislating to building common ground,” said NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern. “Dairy is ready to do its part and work with the administration and Congress to face difficult problems successfully, in the bipartisan spirit we have always practiced and believed in.”

NMPF has long been committed to working with both major political parties for sound, consensus-based public policy.

RFA Congratulates President-Elect Biden

The Renewable Fuels Association today congratulated President-Elect Joe Biden on his victory, as projected by the Associated Press and others. The following is a statement from RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper:

“We look forward to working with the Biden administration in the years ahead to ensure a strong and growing market for low-carbon renewable fuels like ethanol. During the campaign, Joe Biden repeatedly stressed his support for ethanol and the Renewable Fuel Standard, which for 15 years has helped lower fuel costs for drivers, reduce dependence on foreign oil, boost the rural economy, and slash harmful emissions. President-Elect Biden understands that renewable fuels can play an instrumental role in our nation’s effort to decarbonize transportation fuels, and he also knows just how important a strong ethanol industry is to our nation’s farmers, rural communities, and consumers. We are committed to collaborating with the Biden administration on the many opportunities that lie ahead for renewable fuels.”

Growth Energy Statement on Biden-Harris Victory

Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor issued the following statement on the 2020 election results:

“Growth Energy extends its congratulations to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on their victory.

“President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris campaigned and won on a promise to promote ethanol and other biofuels, and we look forward to working with the new administration to restore strength to the rural economy and protect the climate.

“Leading up to this election, we worked tirelessly to ensure that all candidates understood ethanol’s critical role in decarbonizing the transportation sector as well as rebuilding America’s agricultural supply chain.

“Biofuels are the most affordable and effective solution available now, and the new administration must harness those environmental and economic benefits by strengthening the Renewable Fuel Standard, accelerating innovations in climate-friendly farming, and promoting low-carbon transportation strategies at home and abroad.”

Friday November 6 Ag News

 2020 Corn Hybrid Trial Data Available
Cody Creech - NE Extension Dryland Cropping Systems Specialist

This year, the Nebraska State Variety Trial team resumed corn hybrid trials. These were planted at four rainfed sites (Saunders, Clay, Perkins, and Cheyenne counties) and two irrigated sites (Clay and Perkins counties). Data from these trials will be posted on the CropWatch Corn Variety Test page as it becomes available...

As with much of the state, the hybrid trials faced significant heat stress at flowering, limiting potential yields, and drought in a number of the rainfed sites. The trial in Cheyenne County, in particular, saw very high temperatures at silking and average corn yields across the Panhandle were 30+ bushels lower than in recent years. Dry conditions earlier in the season also seemed to reduce stand counts in the Cheyenne County trial and may have impacted the final yield CVs. Rodent damage is believed to be responsible for lower emergence/stand in the Saunders County trial.

2020 Corn Variety Trial Results

Entries in the trial included conventional and organic hybrids from a number of companies, including Dyna-Gro, Prairie Hybrids, Hi Fidelity Genetics, and entries from local seed representatives. Harvesting was completed when all hybrids had reached physiological maturity and the majority were near optimal moisture. The yields were calculated assuming a test weight of 56 lbs/bu and adjusted to 15.5% moisture based on observed moisture at harvest. Emergence was calculated based on stand counts collected around V4-V6 and divided by the seeding rate for each location.

In order to provide the data in a timely fashion, the details on cultural practices and hybrid characteristics are limited at this time, but will be included in a forthcoming 2021 Spring Seed Guide. We anticipate publishing this seed guide in February 2021, but do not hesitate to contact Drs. Easterly, Creech, or Maust with questions about specific trials or hybrids.

We are looking forward to expanding the number of corn entries in the coming years, and potentially increasing the number of sites available for testing.

November 2020 Beefwatch Webinar Series Registration Now Open

Kacie McCarthy, UNL Cow-Calf Specialist

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension will host the 2020 BeefWatch Webinar Series. The second installment of webinars will take place weekly beginning on Tuesday, November 3.

The BeefWatch Webinar series is designed to highlight management strategies in grazing, nutrition, reproduction, and economics to increase cow/calf and stocker production efficiency and profitability. Each session will feature industry experts and plenty of opportunity to interact to get your questions answered.

Each webinar will begin at 8:00 PM Central Time. Dates are November 3, 10, 17, and 24.

Topics and speakers are as follows:

November 3, Drylotting Cows - How to feed them?
    ■   Dr. Karla Wilke, Panhandle Research Extension Center
    ■   Do you know how to manage cows in the drylot in order to meet requirements through limit feeding? Karla will cover limit-feeding dry matter while meeting nutrient requirements. She will describe how to limit feed dry pregnant cows as well as how to estimate feed for lactation and the nursing calf.  

November 10, Grazing Corn Residue
    ■   Dr. Mary Drewnoski, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
    ■   How long can I graze and when do I need to provide supplement?  Mary will help you understand the fundamentals of corn residue grazing and how to monitor corn residue when grazing to make management decisions.

November 17, Body Condition Scoring
    ■   Dr. Travis Mulliniks, West Central Research and Extension Center
    ■   How do I and why should I body condition score my herd at weaning? Travis will cover how to evaluate and utilize body condition score after weaning and into the calving season.  

November 24, BeefWatch Talk - Chat with the Experts
    ■   This session is all about getting your questions answered! The presenters of webinars for the month will be joined by authors from this month's BeefWatch Newsletter to discuss any ideas or questions that you have related to forage, cow/calf, or stocker production.  

There is no cost to participate in this webinar series.  Get more information at  

Dr. Kacie McCarthy, Beef Cow-Calf Specialist, 402-472-6074,
Dr. Mary Drewnoski, Beef Systems Specialist, 402-472-6289,

Northeast Community College places importance on apprenticeships in workforce development

While the apprenticeship model has been instrumental for decades, the current system applies to more than the typical occupations that often come to mind - plumbers, electricians and linemen, among others. Apprenticeships have greatly expanded in the last decade to include more non-traditional occupations in areas that include healthcare, information technology (IT), advanced manufacturing, and engineering. The United States Department of Labor currently has 1,349 approved occupations that qualify for apprenticeships.

As National Apprenticeship Week (Nov. 8-14) gives businesses, industry, communities, and educators the opportunity to showcase their apprenticeship programs and apprentices, the state of Nebraska has been working on expanding apprenticeship programs across the state over the last several years.

In October 2018, the Nebraska Department of Education, in partnership with Northeast Community College, Wayne State College, Educational Service Unit #2, Nebraska Department of Labor, and Nebraska Department of Economic Development, received the Pathways to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) federal grant to expand youth apprenticeships in the region. The focus is to create additional IT career pathways for high school students. With a shortage of IT workers across the state, plans are being developed to determine how to fill these skills gaps.

Kimberly Andersen, youth apprenticeship coordinator at Northeast, said it begins with exposing youths at a younger age as to what a career in IT could mean for them. Careers in information technology range from cybersecurity, help desk and system administration to programming and web design. In addition, more IT jobs have been moving into the agriculture sector, specifically with more modern precision ag equipment being introduced.

Andersen said there are a multitude of apprenticeship options that youths may not even think of.

“With this grant, our mission is to match up students ages 16-24 with area businesses who desire more IT employees. This is a great opportunity for our youth to be exposed to the real world of IT while they are going to school as well as for our businesses so they are able to build a workforce pipeline to fit their needs,” she said. “It has been difficult to attract IT professionals to the area, so we need to start thinking about growing our own. The best way to do this is to work with our area businesses.”

Apprenticeship is an earn-and-learn model that is centered on involvement with business and industry.

Andersen said not all students are cut out for the traditional college model, so apprenticeship is another alternative to get young people the skills they need for high demand jobs in the area.

“By going through an apprenticeship program, students are able to apply what they learn in the classroom on the job, which can greatly help with knowledge absorption. Higher classroom engagement is also typical from apprentices as seeing real world examples sparks further questions and conversation in the classroom.”

The U.S. Department of Labor reports apprentices who complete a program could earn up to $300,000 more over their lifetime compared to individuals who only possess a high school diploma or GED®. In addition, 94% of apprentices retain employment with that employer three-years post apprenticeship completion.

So far in 2020, Nebraska has added 68 new business partners who have a Registered Apprenticeship program with 1,779 new apprentices. At the beginning of 2016, when the state started to focus on expanding apprenticeships, Nebraska had 131 programs with 1,909 apprentices. However, Andersen said there are opportunities to fill additional apprenticeship positions.

“It’s stats like this that make apprenticeship an enticing pathway for students and employers,” she said.

To learn more about apprenticeships, go online to or contact Andersen at or call (402) 844-7121.

AFBF Statement on the National Vote Count

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall

“A record number of Americans turned out to fulfill their civic duty and cast their ballots. We hold the right to vote as the foundation of our democracy. Behind each vote is a voice, and it is crucial that we all be heard this election. We encourage Americans to remain patient throughout the ballot counting process and join together to support those elected to lead this great nation.

“The issues facing agriculture and rural America are larger than political parties. We need to build on the advancements toward regulatory reform and strengthen the farm bill. We must continue to expand trade and improve market access so farmers can focus on competing in a fair marketplace. The time has come to complete the broadband grid and end the disadvantages faced by farms, families and communities without access.

“We will continue to work with elected leaders of both parties on these and other priorities for agriculture.”

Upcoming Symposium Highlights Advances in Nutrient Stewardship

To increase agriculture production and profitability in cropping systems while improving sustainability and protecting the environment, researchers look to the concept of 4R. This concept involves using the right source of fertilizer at the right rate, at the right time, in the right place. The "The 4 R's Advances in Primary Research of Nutrient Stewardship" symposium at the Translating Visionary Science to Practice ASA, CSSA, SSSA International Annual Meeting will address these topics.

The meeting is being held virtually Nov. 9-13 and is hosted by the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America and Soil Science Society of America.

The presentations are:
1. "Balancing Agronomic and Environmental Outcomes with the 4Rs of Phosphorus Management" will be presented by Nathan Nelson, Kansas State University. Identification of the right rate, right source, right time, and right place (4Rs) for phosphorus management requires understanding the agronomic, economic, social, and environmental factors that influence producer decisions. Studies that can quantify 4R effects on these diverse outcomes will provide the information producers need to achieve a balance in agronomic and environmental outcomes of cropping systems.

2. "Impact of 4R Management on Crop Production and Nitrate-Nitrogen Loss in Northwest Iowa" will be presented by Matthew Helmers, Iowa State University. Farmers in the Corn Belt are challenged to maximize corn and soybean production while addressing hypoxia concerns in the Gulf of Mexico. Four nitrogen application treatments were compared, including fall anhydrous ammonia with nitrapyrin, spring anhydrous ammonia, split nitrogen application of urea at planting and in-season, and no applied nitrogen. Helmers will present the research results evaluating these nitrogen management methods based on nitrate export and crop yield.

3. "Exploring the 4R's for Potassium-Based Fertilizers in Conservation-till Corn Systems," will be presented by Tony Vyn, Purdue University. Potassium is not known to be an environmental hazard, but corn farmers still want to adapt their 4R strategies to improve yields and tolerance to stresses. This presentation will provide a research-based overview of the opportunities to increase plant potassium uptake, as well as yields, via potassium rate, potassium timing and potassium placement alternatives in Eastern Cornbelt production. There is considerable scope for more 4R potassium research to achieve improved climate resiliency, higher yields and optimum fertilizer efficiencies in corn and other crops.

4. "Trends and Opportunities in 4R Nitrogen Management of Field and Fruit Crops in the Intermountain West," will be presented by Matt Yost, Utah State University. Trends in 4R nitrogen management of major crops in the Intermountain West are not well documented, and reports of 4R nitrogen and irrigation do not exist. These interactions are critical to nutrient stewardship as irrigation is the major yield-limiting factor in most of the Western United States. Results from a 2019-2020 survey of corn, small grain, potato, and tart cherry growers about their 4R nitrogen and irrigation management will be shared during the presentation.

Presentations may be watched asynchronously, and there will be a scheduled Q&A time to speak with presenters during the meeting. Presentations will be available for online viewing for 90 days after the meeting for all registrants. For more information about the Translating Visionary Science to Practice 2020 meeting, visit

Collectively, the host societies represent more than 12,000 individual members around the world. The scientists' memberships build collaborating partnerships in the agronomy, crops, and soils science fields for the advancement of knowledge.

Growth Energy Highlights Environmental Advantages of Ethanol in California

Growth Energy submitted comments to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) following an October 14-15 workshop on the state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). In his written submission, Growth Energy Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Chris Bliley urged CARB to expand the use of higher biofuel blends “to bring better and more affordable choices at the fuel pump to consumers, improve air quality, and protect the environment for future generations.”

“[L]iquid fuels will continue to play an important role in the transportation sector, even as alternative technologies flourish, wrote Bliley. “As such, it is imperative to look at ways to improve the availability and affordability of more environmentally sustainable fuel options that can be used in current vehicles and future vehicles.”

Bliley also emphasized the proven track record of biofuels in reducing California’s carbon emissions and improving air quality.

“Already, we’ve seen biofuels provide the foundation for the LCFS. In fact, biofuels like ethanol have generated more than 75 percent of LCFS credits. Additionally, even with room to further improve GHG lifecycle modeling, CARB recognizes the significant improvement in ethanol’s carbon intensity. In 2011, CARB reported the average carbon intensity (CI) for ethanol at 88 g/MJ. Through the first half of 2019, the average recorded CI for ethanol has decreased to 63 g/MJ, a 29 percent reduction in CI,” noted Bliley.

“Ethanol’s other environmental benefits are also noteworthy. As has been researched by the University of California, Riverside and the University of Illinois at Chicago, the use of more ethanol and ethanol-blended fuel reduces air toxics such as carbon monoxide, benzene, and other harmful particulates.3 To fully realize these and other important air quality benefits, there needs to be a clear policy with a firm future for the role and growth of cleaner-burning, affordable ethanol fuels,” added Bliley.

To maximize the benefits of low-carbon biofuels, Bliley urged CARB to press ahead on its evaluation of E15, promote E85, update internal modeling, incentivize sustainable farm practices, embrace novel technologies, support carbon capture, and consider ways to advance direct ethanol fuel cells.

Corn Grower STEM Program Seeks Teachers for a National Leadership Experience

National STEM Day 2020 is Nov. 8, and it’s a holiday National Corn Growers Association celebrates every day. That’s because the intent is to recognize the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in our schools and to the future of agriculture.

NCGA believes agriculture is a vital partner in engaging students in STEM concepts in ways that directly and indirectly impact their lives and the lives of farmers. Not only does teaching an ag-based curriculum in the science classroom inspire students to solve real-world science issues, reaching students is critical to address the job gap in agriculture-related careers, many of which go unfilled.

NCGA and its state corn checkoff programs began investing in making the latest teaching materials and teacher training available nationwide before COVID but quickly shifted gears to more virtual tools with the emergence of the pandemic. If you want to see how your checkoff support is helping teachers go to

NCGA is in the second year of investing state corn checkoff dollars in the STEM-oriented initiative called Nourish the Future and is recruiting teachers to participate in the 2021 program. If you are interested, you can apply now at

The Nourish the Future national leadership experience is a year-long cohort program designed for middle and high school science teachers who want to:
    Enhance your professional development capacities to fit diverse audiences and venues
    Become skilled in inquiry-based lesson design
    Become a leader in exploring solutions with your students on issues affecting sustainability, climate, environment, food production
    Become a career coach for your students
    Expand your professional network to include teachers and industry experts from different states

Providing high-quality Stem-based teaching resources is another key part of Nourish the Future.  Teachers and parents can find a trove of traditional and virtual teaching resources and activities that can be useful during COVID-19.

The Nourish the Future team has designed virtual resources that can be found at

Honoring Veterans Every Day at Farmer Veteran Coalition

Many veterans return home feeling lost, without purpose.

They seek that “new mission” they grew so accustomed to during their time in the military. An agricultural non-profit is helping with just that.

When Michael O’Gorman founded Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC) in the back of his pick-up truck in 2008, he thought he could help our soldiers have meaningful careers and find healing on our nation’s farms.

At that time no one was connecting veterans with the farming community. Today there are more than 250 organizations supporting this military-to-agriculture movement.

Simply put, FVC helps veterans pursue careers in agriculture. For these men and women, farming has become their new mission. FVC recognizes that agriculture additionally offers purpose, opportunity, and physical and psychological benefits.

This is the difference maker for many veterans in their civilian re-integration.

With Veterans Day upon us, the team of Farmer Veteran Coalition is reflecting on the thousands of farmer veterans they have supported in pursuit of new agricultural endeavors, including those highlighted here.

This year, after a decade of leading the charge, O’Gorman passed the pitchfork to newly appointed executive director Jeanette Lombardo. Raised by an Air Force veteran father, Lombardo grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania, on a family dairy farm. She spent decades in agricultural banking and now is eager to carry forward the single best way that FVC assists veterans – through their Fellowship Fund.

A small grant program, the Fellowship Fund purchases farm equipment the member has identified as crucial to their operation. The program has funded $3 million in equipment to over 600 veterans.

Veterans like Alex Jauregui. A double-amputee, Alex lost both legs when he stepped on an IED in Afghanistan during his fourth deployment. Now he finds new purpose in his Fury Bees operation in Northern California. “Farming makes me feel enabled,” shares the former Staff Sergeant. “I never would have imagined beekeeping but it’s been very therapeutic.” FVC teamed up with Work Vessels for Veterans and Semper Fi Fund to purchase a Hummerbee forklift, which significantly reduces the physical impact on Alex’s body.

Veterans like Ladonna Avakian & Heather Paterson. Twin sisters, both women served in the Air Force. Both returned home to Oregon with service-related disabilities. They were awarded a grant to fund an air sprayer for their Hollyaire orchard where they primarily farm sour cherries, hazelnuts, and holly under the Homegrown By Heroes label. “It’s small grants like this one that make us feel valued and supported,” Heather reflects. “Farming is all about community, and FVC really is its own community. To be physically active, outside, working with my twin, and having our family out there – it’s really an American dream.”

Ben Misko, a Marine who suffered a brain injury during combat, has found healing in his Restless Roots farm. He grows vegetables and cut flowers in Central Pennsylvania. “Having a brain injury can be very frustrating at times, but animals provide a reprieve for me. Farming keeps me sound in my mind, and the animal and plant care keeps me on schedule,” shares the former Motor Vehicle Operator. “I asked for this equipment so I can provide for more animals without additional financial burden.”

Michael Trost, who served a decades-long Army career, suffered gunshot wounds that resulted in the amputation of his right leg and the reconstruction of his hand using his toes. After 30 surgeries and two years of hospitalization, he turned to hop growing in Tennessee. “Starting this farm has given me a new mission, purpose and direction in my life. I feel more alive than I have been,” expressed Michael, explaining that the farm is a major part of his post-service recovery. “FVC believed in me and awarded me funds to install fencing around my hopyard. Now we are using the farm to help other wounded veterans. We were made to become farmers. We love to be a part of something bigger than ourselves.”

Lovay Wallace-Singleton, the president of FVC’s North Carolina chapter, served 20 years in the Navy before founding Veterans Employment Base Camp and Organic Garden. VEBCOG provides temporary employment for post-war veterans transitioning back to civilian life, teaching urban farming skills. A Fellowship Fund grant helped Lovay repair her farm’s hoophouse after hurricane Florence struck and flooded her property.

And James Webb, whose career as an Army Ranger ended when he was hit by a drunk driver while riding his motorcycle near Fort Benning. “After my accident and getting medically retired, I lost the career I wanted and worked hard for, and lost the brotherhood unlike anything I had ever known,” lamented the veteran who comes from a long line of military service. “Once I realized I could use horses to work cattle – my whole world changed.” He now operates Conway Cattle Company in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, and last year spoke at FVC’s national conference in Austin on the panel ‘Rangers on the Range’, featuring five former Army rangers all now ranching cattle.

When FVC was first established, the plan was simple: find a way to help these veterans, and then tell their story. For Michael O’Gorman, getting to work with the men and women of FVC on their own individual journeys to becoming farmers has made it the most rewarding thing he has done. “I’m really proud of the organization that I started and watched grow,” shared the founder. “But we’re still a fairly young organization and are dedicated to helping the farmer veterans out there.”

For as many veterans as FVC has helped, there are still more in need of support.

And the stakes are high, as Marvin Frink – who started Briarwood Cattle in North Carolina to cope with post-service PTSD – shows us. “I am just so thankful for [Michael O’Gorman] and the hard work he’s done for us. I can openly say it – [Michael] saved my life and I’m very thankful for him. He came to me when I was in a very bad, very dark place, and he pulled me out of it.”

More About Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC)

Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC) is the nation’s largest nonprofit organization assisting veterans and active duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces to embark on careers in agriculture. With the mission of mobilizing veterans to feed America, it provides education, resources and small grants to help veterans launch their own farming operation or find employment in related agricultural professions. Established in 2008, Farmer Veteran Coalition serves more than 20,000 veteran members from all 50 states and U.S. territories while developing a new generation of farmers and food leaders.  Its in-house programs include the Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund small grant program, the nationally recognized Homegrown By Heroes label for veteran-grown products, and the national Stakeholders Conference. It leverages its network of nearly 15 state chapters to facilitate peer collaboration and mentorship. FVC has been successful in getting millions of dollars of USDA funds appropriated for farmer veteran and the groups that support them.  They have built an extended community of organizations that look to them for leadership and guidance as the pioneer in this military-to-agriculture movement.

Learn more at: or follow along on Facebook at @FarmerVeteranCoalition, on Instagram at @FarmerVeteranCoalition and on Twitter at @FarmVetCo.  For more details on the Nov. 18-19 virtual conference or to register visit:  

Zoetis Reports Higher Revenues, Earnings

Zoetis Inc. reported its financial results for the third quarter of 2020 and increased its guidance for full year 2020.

The company had a total revenue of $1.8 billion for the third quarter of 2020, an increase of 13% compared with the third quarter of 2019. Net income for the third quarter of 2020 was $479 million, or $1.00 per diluted share, both increasing 11% on a reported basis.

Adjusted net income1 for the third quarter of 2020 was $524 million, or $1.10 per diluted share, an increase of 15%, on a reported basis. Adjusted net income for the third quarter of 2020 excludes the net impact of $45 million for purchase accounting adjustments, acquisition-related costs and certain significant items.

On an operational basis, revenue for the third quarter of 2020 increased 15%, excluding the impact of foreign currency. Adjusted net income for the third quarter of 2020 increased 20% operationally, excluding the impact of foreign currency.

New vaccine for cattle protects against fetal calf loss from EBA – anatomy of a vaccine development

A new vaccine just approved by the USDA in September promises to turn the tide against Epizootic Bovine Abortion, also known as the foothill abortion disease, that has caused devastating losses in range cattle exceeding $10 million annually in California, Oregon and Nevada.

The vaccine, developed through extensive research at the University of Nevada, Reno and the University of California, Davis, was commercialized by Hygieia Biological Laboratories of Woodland, California, and is now available to the cattle industry. This license marks a pivotal advancement in decreasing those substantial calf losses and comes as the result of decades of work by generations of scientists and cattle producers.

“It was really neat to see the pieces come together over the years as a result of all the effort that was put into this project,” Mike Teglas, a partner in the project and a professor and veterinarian in the University of Nevada, Reno’s College of Agriculture, Biotechnology & Natural Resources, said. “I have a definite sense of satisfaction that I was able to play a role in the development of this vaccine.”

First described by U.C. Davis scientists in the 1950s in the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains of California, the disease, EBA, only affects pregnant cattle and can be responsible for losses of up to 100% of the year’s calf crop in susceptible herds.

In 1985, U.C. Davis Professor Jeffrey Stott joined the faculty at the Veterinary School and began working on the disease with current collaborator Myra Blanchard, also of U.C. Davis Veterinary School.

“As a member of our research team and a faculty member in an instruction and research university, there could be no greater feeling – maybe a Nobel Prize would sit higher on the shelf – than seeing the results of our efforts,” Stott said. “We are all expected to conduct both instruction and research, but to create something that will have, and is already having, a major positive impact on the cow/calf industry is what makes this accomplishment so much more meaningful and rewarding.”

A decade of vaccine trials were conducted to establish the safety and efficacy of the product, which is now available commercially to the cattle industry through livestock veterinarians. The USDA Center for Veterinary Biologics issued the conditional license for the vaccine after two years of trials of the Hygieia product.

"The vaccine has proven safe and phenomenally effective; the fervor for its widespread availability is palpable among cattle producers,” Stott said.

The decades of perseverance of the researchers on this project shows the value of land-grant universities to the communities they serve.

“It’s translational research such as this that we all strive to achieve, completing our land-grant loop of research, education and outreach with a solid solution to a real-world problem,” Bill Payne, dean of the University of Nevada, Reno’s College of Agriculture, Biotechnology & Natural Resources, said. “It’s not just research for research’s sake. Mike’s untiring work over the long-haul, and the work of his predecessors, on identifying the disease and building a vaccine is impressive work that makes us all proud. Especially impressive is the team’s work with the relatively small pharmaceutical company to commercially produce this after the big companies shunned it for years because of (in their view) a relatively small, niche market for this particular disease.”

Industry representatives are also excited about the new vaccine

“The licensing and availability of this vaccine is monumental for the beef cattle industry,” Mark Lacey, president of the California Cattlemen’s Association, said. “For generations producers have had to manage incredible losses from foothill abortion.

“From the University’s research, to the generous donations of cattlemen and the Livestock Memorial Research Fund, to the production and commercialization of the vaccine, it has been a long haul. I couldn’t be happier to say that we are finally here.”

Teglas has been leading the EBA research at the University of Nevada, Reno, since 2006, after leaving U.C. Davis where he had been studying the origins and causes of the disease as a graduate student. He continued the University’s long-time collaboration with lead researcher Jeffrey Stott and Myra Blanchard from the School of Veterinary Medicine at U.C. Davis. At that point Stott’s lab had utilized a molecular genetic technique to finally identify the pathogen that caused foothill abortion disease.

But earlier research on the cause of EBA had gone on for decades without success. Scientists were unable to identify a pathogen as the source of the disease and were unsure about how it was transmitted. In one old study, U.C. Davis researchers even housed pregnant cattle in pens hung 8 feet off of the ground in order to determine if flying insects versus those confined to the ground served as vectors for the disease.

“Eventually, researchers were able to pin transmission on the pajaroello tick, Ornithodoros coriaceus, a species of soft tick that is commonly found in the Sierra Nevada and coastal ranges of California,” Teglas, also an expert on tick-borne diseases, said. “The distribution of the disease mirrors the distribution of its tick vector and has now been identified in the mountainous regions of California, northern Nevada, southern Oregon and southern Idaho.”

In 1992, Stott and Blanchard had teamed up with University of Nevada, Reno Professors Mark Hall in the Center for Molecular Medicine and Don Hanks in the School of Veterinary Medicine to try to identify the agent causing the disease in an effort to develop a method to grow the pathogen in the lab.

In one experiment, using cattle at the University of Nevada, Reno’s 900-acre Main Station Field Laboratory at the east end of Reno, the team glued cloth hats – with a zipper sewn into the hats – onto the cattle; the zipper would be opened in order to pour 100 hungry pajaroello ticks into the hats to infect the cattle. But the researchers ability to recreate the disease in a consistent manner was still hindered by the lack of an identifiable pathogen in those fetuses lost to the disease.

A breakthrough came along when Stott’s lab used the molecular genetic technique to finally identify the EBA pathogen, a bacteria that was more closely related to slime molds than it was to other bacterial pathogens of animals.

“With this knowledge in hand, I was able to test ticks across their range, determine their infection status and assess whether the tick vectors were being moved around the West by human activities such as the shipping of cattle,” Teglas said.

Another important discovery was made in those first few years of his new career at the University of Nevada, Reno, one that created the foundation for the eventual development of a vaccine.

Stott and Blanchard found that they could infect mice that lacked a competent immune system with the bacteria and that tissues from these animals contained considerable amounts of viable pathogenic bacteria.

“This led to our ability to reliably infect large numbers of susceptible cattle for research purposes,” Teglas said. “We quickly discovered that cattle exposed to the bacteria in their first year would develop immunity to subsequent infections for another two years without additional exposure to the pathogen.”

The research team, once again using the cattle at the University’s Main Station Field Lab inReno, used the new bacterial inoculum to sensitize cattle to the bacteria when they were not pregnant to see if that could serve as a potential source of immunization against the disease.

“For the EBA vaccine studies we used the heifers, young females, that were born the previous year and were going to be pregnant for the first time – about 50 to 70 animals a year,” Teglas said. “The benefit of doing research at the Main Station was that we could keep animals for two or three years in a row and follow up on them over time.”

There are about 520 head of cattle (males and females) at the Main Station Field Lab in a given year that are available for use in research by faculty on campus.

“The Main Station was vital to our research efforts since we had access to a large group of susceptible cattle that could be manipulated and monitored much more closely than in a private cattle herd,” Teglas said. “We used the bacterial inoculum to create an attenuated vaccine product and began to test its ability to protect pregnant cows against developing EBA. The results were immediately impressive, with 100% of the vaccinated pregnant cattle producing live calves after being experimentally infected.”

The team began studies to test the efficacy and safety of the product following USDA guidelines. Stott met with representatives from some of the largest drug manufacturers to see if there was interest in commercialization of a vaccine, but the big companies considered it a regional disease and not widespread enough to make an investment.

The final steps necessary to fully approve the vaccine by the USDA were completed this summer, and now beef cattle producers across the country can order the product directly from the Hygieia, which made the vaccine a reality.

“Jeff and Myra need to get the credit for spearheading this research and keeping the faith even when we had to start all over again,” Teglas said. “It’s a fascinating disease and there are still lots of questions waiting to be answered. I look forward to continuing working with them on EBA into the future.

“In fact, we are working on a project now investigating the potential of in-utero vaccination/protection of the fetus with the EBA vaccine. If successful the work could have lots of implications for development of future vaccines aimed at producing a calf that is already born with protection against cattle pathogens, something that is unavailable to producers today.”

The team has ongoing foothill abortion research projects and are developing new ones.

“Research is what we love and what we do,” Stott said. “Our ongoing foothill abortion research projects, are directed at furthering our understanding of the disease, its geographic distribution and new disease management strategies that will incorporate the vaccine as an important component in our translational research, of making research useful for our constituents – the cattle industry.”

Thursday November 5 Ag News

 Deep-Pit Cattle Barn Open House in Dodge on Nov 7

Central Confinement Services and the Paul & Justin Shonka family invite you to an open house of a brand new 625 head, deep-pit, cattle finishing barn.  The building is a 68 foot by 304 foot beef finisher facility.  The barn has a 12 foot deep pit, with a gable ridge vent design.  

The tour takes place on Saturday, November 7th from 11am to 2pm at 1843 18th Road, Dodge, NE.  Self guided tours start at 11am, lunch will be served at noon, and a discussion about facility features will follow, rounded out by a producer question and answer session.  

Some of the event sponsors inlcude the Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska, Kent, Helms Construction & Fencing, Nutrient Advisors, Homestead Bank, JnJ Construction, Signet, and EasyFix.  


Millions use Twitter to share their rapid-fire opinions, observations and connections to real-time events. And natural disasters are often major conversation starters. With that in mind, National Drought Mitigation Center assistant director Kelly Helm Smith wanted to see what tweets said about the impacts of drought, and whether tweets could contribute to a drought early warning system.

Smith embarked on a pilot study, the results of which were recently published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. She developed a method to monitor the rate of tweets about drought over time, state-by-state, allowing her to detect when #drought tweets unexpectedly surge. Tweets, as a measure of fluctuating attention, could contribute to a drought early warning system. In the process, Smith examined two years’ worth of drought tweets, with conversations ranging from agricultural to cultural, in different parts of the country.

“Barely made it to stubble-high by the 4th of July” one Plains state farmer tweeted in the midst of a fast-moving flash drought in summer 2017.

“CA had a great winter but the drought has left an indelible mark on our water use psyche,” a California agency tweeted, even as the state emerged from a multi-year drought.

The National Drought Mitigation Center, housed in the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s School of Natural Resources, has monitored news stories for drought impacts since 2005. Smith said monitoring social media for evidence of drought impacts is in some ways an extension of that effort, and that her work came about in response to state climatologists and others asking about ways to search and archive drought tweets.

“A lot of hazard researchers are trying to figure out what we can learn from social media,” Smith said. “Social media has a real role to play in both assessing the extent and impacts of disasters and in warning people about disasters. Seismologists, for example, report that social media sometimes provides faster earthquake notifications than seismographs."

Along with conducting research on drought impacts and planning, Smith is the drought center’s communications coordinator. Each Thursday, the center tweets the latest U.S. Drought Monitor, a map that shows the latest drought conditions across the U.S. and its territories. It leads to a lot of chatter, and Smith’s study confirmed that the number of drought tweets is highest on Thursdays.

The drought search term, Smith said, is a noisy one. Sports teams endure championship droughts. The lovelorn weather romantic droughts. Smith’s system searched for tweets that featured hashtags such as #drought, #NEdrought or #drought17 to limit results to more relevant conversations. Many Twitter-savvy farmers used hashtags with the year included — #drought17, #drought2018 — to tell the world what they were experiencing. Those tweets often provided original information, such as video shot from the back of a tractor or descriptions of field conditions.

“Just as no single hydrometeorological indicator is considered sufficient to capture all aspects of drought, #drought tweets are one more metric to consider, and represent a real addition to quantifiable drought impact data,” Smith wrote in the study. “Drought tweets reflect needs and interests identified by agencies and organizations involved in water and drought management, as well as on-the-ground experiences of agricultural producers and others whose lives and livelihoods are affected by drought. Tweets are a measurement of drought impact, even when the impact is primarily an awareness of a problem that may require attention.”

One of the original employees when the National Drought Mitigation Center opened in 1995, Smith started her working life as a newspaper reporter and public relations professional. She later earned a degree in community and regional planning and recently completed a doctoral degree in human dimensions of natural resources.

Though the study is published, the work is ongoing and will include exploration of larger Twitter searches. Meanwhile, on Mondays, Smith emails a map of the past week’s #drought tweets to a listserv of drought experts and state climatologists.

Co-authors of the article are Drew Tyre, quantitative ecologist in the School of Natural Resources; Zhenghong Tang, professor and director of the Community and Regional Planning program at Nebraska; Mike Hayes, climatologist in the School of Natural Resources; and Adnan Akyuz, North Dakota state climatologist. Tweet collection has been partially supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The study is available at the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society website,

Nebraska Beef Industry Scholars Summit

This year the Nebraska Beef Industry Scholars class will host two webinars on November 9th and 11th beggining at 7:00pm central. The webinar is free to attend but you must register.

NBIS Beef Summit - Coronavirus & Policy in the beef industry - Nov 9

This is evening 1 of the Nebraska Beef Industry Beef Scholars Beef Summit where speakers will discuss effects of coronavirus on markets and policy affecting the beef industry. Impacts of the 2020 election results will also be discussed.
Register here:

NBIS Beef Summit - Sustainability in the Beef Industry - Nov 11

This is evening 2 of the Nebraska Beef Industry Beef Scholars Beef Summit where speakers will discuss aspects of sustainability in the beef industry.  
Register here:

Nebraska Ethanol Board Meeting: Wednesday, December 9

The Nebraska Ethanol Board will meet in Lincoln at 1 p.m. at Hyatt Place (600 Q Street). We're utilizing three large adjoined meeting rooms to be able to maintain proper distancing, sit six-feet apart, and adhere to COVID recommended guidelines.

Beef Quality Assurance Trainings Continue in November

Cattle producers and allied agribusiness professionals still have time to renew or certify their training in Beef Quality Assurance.  Most major packers and a sizable majority of local livestock auctions require or encourage their feedlot suppliers to have a current BQA certificate.

BQA trainings provide more than just market access, according to Beth Doran, beef specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

“There is an economic incentive to be BQA certified," she said. "Research analyzing feeder cattle sold through video auctions indicates there was a premium of $2.71 per cwt. or $16.80 per head for cattle that had BQA listed in the lot description.”

Three late November trainings will be held in northwest Iowa as follows:
    Nov. 23, 10 a.m.-noon, ISU Extension and Outreach – Woodbury County, 4728 Southern Hills Drive, Sioux City.  RSVP to 712-276-2157.
    Nov. 23, 1-3 p.m., ISU Extension and Outreach – Woodbury County, 4728 Southern Hills Drive, Sioux City.  RSVP to 712-276-2157.
    Nov. 24, 10 a.m.-noon, ISU Western Research and Demonstration Farm, County Highway E34, Castana.  RSVP to 712-423-2175.    

To attend a session, RSVP to the site you plan to attend. Because of COVID-19, attendance at each site is limited and face masks are encouraged. Walk-ins will not be allowed. There is no cost to attend.

The BQA certification program is designed to provide producers with new information on carcass quality, cattle handling, health management, emergency action planning and industry issues. The workshops are a collaborative effort of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, the Iowa Beef Center and the Iowa Beef Industry Council.

For those unable to attend an in-person training, BQA certification may be completed online at at no charge. For more information, contact Doran at 712-737-4230 or email

Euken-Myers Family Region 3 Environmental Stewardship Award Program Winners

Located in Lewis, Iowa the Euken-Myers family runs a cow-calf operation, feedlot and row-crop farm. Randy and Jill Euken along with their daughter and son-in-law Michelle and Steve Myers have a long family history of being a part of a row-crop and cattle farm. More than 100 years later Michelle and Steve are the 5th generation in the family to earn a living from the farm.

Randy and Jill’s goal has always been to raise livestock and crops successfully enough to pass the farm to the next generation. To accomplish this goal, the family had to look at the challenges they face and put sustainable practices into place that would make them successful.

The Euken’s focused on decreasing erosion on farmland, improving soil quality, maximizing use of feedlot nutrients, purchasing manure from neighboring cattle farmers, reducing run-off in their feedlot, and improving pasture management to increase the carrying load of their land.

The family has been able to see their accomplishments and measure their success through the years. Since changing their management style, they have seen improvements in soil health, weaning weights have increased and their carbon footprint at the feedlot has decreased.

“Being a leader in conservation means being willing to try new things and explore ideas that might not yet be popular,” said Bill Northey, Former Secretary, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. “As pioneers of conservation, the Euken family embodies the spirit of what it means to be good stewards.”

Find the Right Fit for Soil Health Practices

How to create the mindset needed to evaluate soil systems and develop a customized approach for adopting soil health practices that meet on-farm goals is the topic of the Iowa Learning Farms webinar at noon on Wednesday, Nov.11.

There isn’t a prescription for the adoption of soil health practices; it’s more of a pursuit. Farmers find a practice that could accomplish an on-farm goal and then adjust that approach as they learn how it fits their system. Abbey Wick, North Dakota State University soil health specialist and associate professor, will share approaches farmers have used in the northern plains and how they’ve tweaked those approaches to achieve their goals.

“The use of soil health practices varies by region, by farm and by field — learning how to think through a problem and pull together a set of practices is how new management approaches are successfully adopted on-farm,” said Wick, who works alongside farmers, consultants, industry and researchers to come up with both science-based and practical soil health management approaches that can be adopted on-farm with reduced risk.  

Wick emphasized the importance of the thought process around soil health for the successful adoption of practices. She hopes the webinar will help participants think through some ideas to use on their farm, or in their program, research or business.

To participate in the live webinar, shortly before noon on Nov. 11, click this URL, or type this web address into your internet browser:

Or, go to and enter meeting ID: 364 284 172.

Or, join from a dial-in phone line by dialing: +1 312 626 6799 or +1 646 876 9923; Meeting ID: 364 284 172.

The webinar will also be recorded and archived on the ILF website, so that it can be watched at any time. Archived webinars are available at

A Certified Crop Adviser board-approved continuing education unit has been applied for, for those who are able to participate in the live webinar. Information about how to apply to receive the unit (if approved) will be provided at the end of the live webinar.

IA Farmers and Landowners Who Seed Fall Cover Crops Can Apply for Crop Insurance Discounts’

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig announced today that farmers who plant cover crops this fall may be eligible for a $5 per acre discount on their spring 2021 cash crop insurance premiums. To qualify, the cover crop acres cannot be enrolled in other state or federal cover crop cost share programs.

“The 2020 growing season posed significant weather challenges but farmers can adopt cover crops to mitigate some of the damage to their fields,” said Secretary Naig. “In addition to their livestock grazing and weed management benefits, cover crops reduce soil erosion and improve soil health, which will help prepare the fields for spring planting.”

Cover crops, like rye and oats, prevent soil erosion and lock in nutrients, especially during extreme weather events. Cover crops are also proven to reduce nitrogen loads by 28-31 percent and phosphorous loads by 29 percent, which helps improve water quality.
Program Details

This is the fourth year the crop insurance discount program is being administered by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA). Interest in the program continues to grow and new farmers and fields join each year. To date, about 1,700 farmers and nearly 500,000 acres of cover crops have participated in the program.

Farmers can sign up now for the cover crop insurance premium reduction program at Applications will be accepted through Jan. 15, 2021.

Some insurance policies may be excluded, like Whole-Farm Revenue Protection, or those covered through written agreements. Participants must follow all existing farming practices required by their policy and work with their insurance agencies to maintain eligibility.

Farmers should to visit their local USDA service center offices to learn more about other cost share funding available to support the implementation of conservation practices.

Pork Exports Remain on Record Pace through September; Beef Exports Trend Lower

September exports of U.S. pork increased 10% year-over-year, keeping 2020 exports on a record pace, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Beef exports were fairly steady with last year in major Asian markets but trended lower overall.

Pork exports reached 222,475 metric tons (mt) in September, with value increasing 6% to $563.2 million. Shipments to China/Hong Kong remained higher than a year ago in September but made up a smaller share of the global total compared to recent months, as exports set a new record for Canada and increased year-over-year to Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Chile and the Caribbean.

Through the first three quarters of the year, pork exports were 16% ahead of last year's record pace in both volume (2.22 million mt) and value ($5.69 billion). The increases were even stronger for pork muscle cuts, jumping 22% to 1.87 million mt valued at $4.93 billion (up 19%).

"Exporting countries are watching the hog production recovery in China very closely, because we know its demand for imported pork is moderating," said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. "While USMEF is pleased to see U.S. pork exports to China/Hong Kong maintaining a strong pace, it is vitally important that our export destinations remain diversified. The U.S. industry continues to pursue this goal aggressively, both in the Asia Pacific region and the Western Hemisphere."

September beef exports were down 6% from a year ago to 103,277 mt, valued at $600.9 million (down 9%). Coming off record performances in August, exports to South Korea and Taiwan remained strong and exports set another new record in China. However, COVID-19 related obstacles continued to negatively impact demand for U.S. beef in several key markets, especially Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.

"Although restaurant traffic and foodservice activity are not back to normal in most Asian markets, USMEF is very encouraged by the recovery in Asia and this was especially evident in the strong August and September exports of U.S. beef to Korea, Taiwan and China," Halstrom said. "As we close out the year, U.S. beef has a great opportunity to capture greater market share in Asia due to tightening supplies from Australia. While it will require more time, we also expect U.S. beef to regain momentum in regions where beef demand depends more heavily on travel and tourism, and where e-commerce channels are not as well-developed."

For January through September, beef exports trailed last year's pace by 8% in volume (911,936 mt) and 9% in value ($5.55 billion).

September exports of U.S. lamb were higher than a year ago in both volume (1,971 mt, up 37%) and value ($2 million, up 13%). Driven by strong demand in Mexico, January-September exports increased 36% to 16,399 mt, though value was down 1% to $19 million. In addition to Mexico, lamb muscle cut exports increased to Bermuda, Hong Kong, Japan and Kuwait.

 CHS Reports Fiscal Year 2020 Net Income of $422.4 million

CHS Inc., the nation's leading agribusiness cooperative, today reported net income of $422.4 million for the fiscal year that ended Aug. 31, 2020. This compares to fiscal year 2019 net income of $829.9 million.

Key financial drivers for fiscal year 2020 include:
    Consolidated revenues of $28.4 billion for fiscal year 2020 compared to $31.9 billion for fiscal year 2019.
    Strong supply chain performance in our propane business driven by efficiently sourced propane to customers to meet strong crop drying and home heating demand that contributed to improved results especially during the first half of fiscal year 2020.
    Less advantageous market conditions in our refined fuels business, primarily driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, resulted in volume and price declines that significantly reduced earnings compared to the prior year.
    Poor weather conditions negatively impacted our Ag segment's operations during the first half of fiscal year 2020, resulting in lower crop yields and poor grain quality following a late harvest and lower crop nutrient sales during fall 2019.
    Improved weather conditions during the 2020 spring planting season drove increased earnings across much of our Ag segment in the second half of fiscal year 2020.

"Our focus remains on serving our owners, local cooperatives and our customers around the world, keeping our employees safe and ensuring the company emerges stronger after the pandemic," said Jay Debertin, president and CEO of CHS Inc. "Since March, we have been focused on taking care of those who depend on us, maintaining financial strength and planning for the future."

"We delivered record earnings in propane and benefited from good weather that led to a good planting season. Consistent with our focus on innovation in agriculture, we were awarded a patent for a crop input product that can help plants access more phosphorus and, in turn, have better yield. Continued work on integration of the West Central acquisition of 2019 and leveraging commercial synergies resulted in strong crop protection sales, and we moved increased volumes of grain because of improved trade relations," he said. "Like many companies, we were not immune to the challenges posed by the impacts of the pandemic especially in our refined fuels business and with our Ventura Foods joint venture."

"Our continued investment in digital capabilities helps us anticipate and meet owners' and customers' needs by leveraging the strength of our supply chain," he said. "Enhancing our customers' experience through solutions using efficient, effective data across our supply chain encourages our customers to make CHS their first choice."

Fiscal Year 2020 Business Segment Results


Pretax earnings of $225.3 million represent a $392.9 million decrease versus the prior year and reflect:
    Significantly less advantageous market conditions in refined fuels business compared to the prior year that resulted in lower margins and volumes. These market conditions were driven by decreased crude oil differentials on heavy Canadian crude oil processed by our refineries and decreased crack spreads, which were both negatively impacted by demand shock associated with COVID-19.
    Positive resolution of an $80.8 million gain contingency associated with a tax credit during fiscal year 2019 that did not reoccur during fiscal year 2020.
    Increased propane volumes and improved propane margins during fiscal year 2020 helped partially offset decreased overall earnings in our Energy segment.


Pretax earnings of $53.7 million represent a $10.7 million increase versus the prior fiscal year and reflect:
    Improved margins across certain Ag segment businesses including feed and farm supplies, grain and oilseed and renewable fuels. These improvements resulted from optimism for improved trade relations between the United States and foreign trade partners in the second half of fiscal 2020 and favorable weather conditions for spring planting during fiscal year 2020.
    Decreased agronomy and processing and food ingredients margins, due to an oversupply in the market and the COVID-19 pandemic, respectively.
    Lower volumes driven by a combination of poor weather conditions in fiscal year 2019 that led to a smaller harvest, impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic on our processing and food ingredients business and global trade tensions between the United States and foreign trading partners, particularly in the first half of fiscal 2020.

Nitrogen Production

Pretax earnings of $51.8 million represent a $21.0 million decrease versus the prior year and reflect:
    Lower income associated with reduced sale prices of urea and urea ammonium nitrate, which are produced and sold by CF Nitrogen, of which CHS is a partial owner.

Corporate and Other

Pretax earnings of $56 million represent a $25.5 million decrease compared to the prior fiscal year and reflect:
    Lower earnings in our Ventura Foods joint venture, which experienced significantly reduced demand in the food service industry during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    Decreased financing business income due to lower interest rates during fiscal year 2020 compared to fiscal year 2019.

Based on fiscal year 2020 earnings, CHS expects to return an estimated $30 million in cash patronage and $33 million in equity redemptions to member cooperatives and individual owners in fiscal year 2021.

NCBA Highlights Beef and Produce Pairings on Healthy Plates with #UnitedOnThePlate Partnership

In an effort to continue to highlight beef’s place on the plate, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, has partnered with the Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH) to celebrate how beef, vegetables and fruits are #UnitedOnThePlate. The #UnitedOnThePlate campaign focuses on rallying food and health experts on social media and educating consumers about how delicious, nutrient-rich beef brings more to the plate, when paired with fruits and vegetables as part of a healthy, balanced diet.

To reach as many consumers as possible and highlight beef in new ways, the partnership will leverage the PBH digital and social media channels, which reach more than 1 million consumers as well as its Fruit & Vegetable Ambassadors In Action influencer network. This network is comprised of food, culinary, nutrition, fitness, and lifestyle influencers with sizeable followings.

The #UnitedOnThePlate activations include:

    National Fruits & Veggies Month: Better Together
        September kicked off the partnership with content reinforcing the nutrition and flavor benefits of uniting beef and produce on the plate – the perfect duo for healthier, happier lives. National Fruits & Veggies Month, when fruits and veggies are being celebrated nationwide, presents a great opportunity to spotlight how pairing produce with other nutrient-rich foods, like beef, can contribute to a healthy lifestyle

    #UnitedOnThePlate in My State
        Fruit & Vegetable Ambassadors In Action members from Missouri and Texas will create and share recipes featuring unique regional produce that complements beef and highlighting how beef and produce are raised and harvested by farmers and ranchers in their home states.
        A blog post from PBH’s President and CEO, Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, MS, RDN, titled “The Ultimate Trifecta: Fruits, Vegetables + Beef. United On The Plate,” highlights how beef and produce are perfect partners for health and well-being.

    Beef + Produce Pairings
        A dedicated content series featuring beef and produce pairings – tips, recipes and meal planning ideas will be on
        Additionally, Fruit & Vegetable Ambassadors In Action members will share their shopping baskets and pantries featuring beef and produce, encouraging their followers to do the same.
    Beef in the Early Years
        Rounding out beef nutrition education, two Fruit & Vegetable Ambassadors In Action members will lead two Cook-and-Chat Live posts from PBH’s channels, focusing on how beef and produce pair together as the perfect foods for growing toddlers and children.

“PBH is a unique nutrition partner for NCBA, to extend its efforts to demonstrate beef’s foundational role in health,” said Shalene McNeill, Ph.D., RD, executive director, nutrition science, health & wellness, at NCBA. “And, at a time when “plant-based” diets are gaining attention, PBH is dedicated to partnering with groups such as NCBA and creating content that reminds consumers – and the influencers who reach them – about the importance of building balanced, healthy plates featuring fruits, vegetables and beef, along with other nutrient-rich foods.”

“It's clear: beef and produce truly enhance each other – and that’s why I’m so excited about our partnership that will celebrate how we’re #UnitedOnThePlate!” says Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, MS, RDN and president and CEO of PBH.  “Over the next several weeks, the partnership will highlight delicious recipes, perfect pairing ideas and new and unique meal hacks (not just salads my friends!), reinforcing how beef and produce add more nutrition and taste to the plate, with unique flavor explosions.”

Educating consumers about the nutritional benefits of beef continues to be a top priority for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s Beef Checkoff-funded programming To learn more about beef’s role in a healthy diet and find hundreds of great tasting healthy recipes, visit

USDA Dairy Products September 2020 Production Highlights

Total cheese output (excluding cottage cheese) was 1.09 billion pounds, 1.1 percent above September 2019 and 0.6 percent above August 2020.  Italian type cheese production totaled 463 million pounds, 1.7 percent below September 2019 but 4.4 percent above August 2020.  American type cheese production totaled 432 million pounds, 4.0 percent above September 2019 but 3.3 percent below August 2020.  Butter production was 152 million pounds, 5.4 percent above September 2019 and 0.3 percent above August 2020.

Dry milk products (comparisons in percentage with September 2019)
Nonfat dry milk, human - 124 million pounds, up 5.5 percent.
Skim milk powder - 72.5 million pounds, up 23.3 percent.

Whey products (comparisons in percentage with September 2019)
Dry whey, total - 74.9 million pounds, down 17.3 percent.
Lactose, human and animal - 97.1 million pounds, up 1.7 percent.
Whey protein concentrate, total - 39.1 million pounds, down 2.3 percent.

Frozen products (comparisons in percentage with September 2019)
Ice cream, regular (hard) - 63.4 million gallons, up 9.1 percent.
Ice cream, lowfat (total) - 40.0 million gallons, up 7.4 percent.
Sherbet (hard) - 3.09 million gallons, up 14.3 percent.
Frozen yogurt (total) - 4.50 million gallons, down 0.4 percent.

Council Outlines Trade Barriers In Comments Submitted To USTR

The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) recently submitted comments to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) highlighting significant trade barriers facing exports of U.S. coarse grains, ethanol and co-products. The Council has contributed comments on this topic to USTR for more than a decade, detailing constraints the organization works to address in its export market development activities and recommending complimentary U.S. government action.

“We believe that resolution of the broad range of trade barriers outlined in this report could bring about a correction in the coarse grain trade trends of the last decade, restore market access and allow U.S. producers and agribusinesses to effectively explore and capture new markets and business opportunities,” the Council wrote in the submitted comments. “The Council has worked cooperatively with USTR on a number of these issues. We look forward to continued collaboration.”

A report on trade barriers facing U.S. goods and services has been issued by USTR for at least the last 35 years, in part to fulfill a legal requirement of the president of the United States to report to the U.S. Congress on that topic annually. Contributions from organizations like the Council help USTR provide quantifiable impacts of trade barriers on U.S. exports and detail feasible actions that can be taken to eliminate those barriers.

“It is important to understand the specific complexities of each trade barrier in each market,” said Floyd Gaibler, USGC director of trade policy and biotechnology. “USTR and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials use this information in their continuous, cooperative work with our overseas offices to increase market access for U.S. agricultural products.”

Among the highest priority items for the Council are persistent non-tariff issues like biotech approval policies. Delays in biotech approvals in Mexico, asynchronous biotech approvals in Brazil and worldwide irregularity on the regulation of plant breeding innovations (PBI) all inhibit U.S. agricultural products from entering these large markets.

Unjustified restrictions on genetically modified products have seen dramatic impacts on U.S. corn sales to the European Union (EU). The United States was once the largest foreign supplier of corn to the EU, but there have been no substantial exports to the EU since the late 1990s when these policies were put into place. USGC analysis estimates these asynchronous biotech regulatory processes have contributed to a 100-million-metric-ton loss in U.S. corn exports, a value exceeding $15 billion.

An increasing area of concern is related to regulatory restrictions on crop protection products, including maximum residue levels (MRLs) set lower than internationally recognized standards in the EU.

In addition to these non-tariff barriers to trade, countervailing duties and value-added taxes put U.S. agricultural products at a financial disadvantage. Similarly, import tariffs and tariff rate quotas also directly affect the price of U.S. coarse grains and co-products, removing competitive advantages on price.

Together, these comments help provide input not only for USTR, but also for the Council’s Trade Policy Advisory Team (A-team) and for country and regional offices developing trade policy strategies for the Council’s operational blueprint, the Unified Export Strategy (UES). These comments also contribute to the Council’s participation in the USDA’s Grains and Oilseeds Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee (ATAC).

U.S. Pork Export Outlook: How to Save Our Own Bacon as China Rebuilds

U.S. pork exports to China have skyrocketed this year as African Swine Fever (ASF) eroded two-thirds of China’s hog herd and drove its hog prices to record highs. Greater China now accounts for nearly 8% of U.S. pork production, compared to around just 2% in 2018.

However, according to a new report from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange, China is making progress rebuilding its hog herd, jeopardizing the U.S. export picture over the next 3 to 5 years.

“China’s pork market is showing the early signs of herd rebuilding and hog prices have fallen 30% from their peak a year ago,” said Will Sawyer, lead economist, animal protein, CoBank. “This increases the risk of an oversupply of U.S. pork if exports to other markets, primarily in Asia and Latin America, are unable to absorb this supply.”

The loss of exports to China would likely lead to difficult conditions for U.S. hog producers and processors alike. The U.S. pork industry has built multiple new plants over the past four years, increasing packing capacity by 12%, with much of this new capacity eyed for international markets.

Following the discovery of ASF in Germany in September, many key pork importing countries have banned German pork, opening the window for increased shipments from the U.S. and other key pork exporters. This provides the U.S. a short-term opportunity to increase market share in China, as Germany represents approximately 14% of China’s pork imports. Although the ban is unlikely to last forever, and with China’s hog prices showing signs of weakening, the U.S. may still feel the pressure of reduced Chinese pork imports.

While lower trade flows with China to pre-ASF levels would bring a good deal of stress to the U.S. pork sector, there are strategies and changes the pork industry can make now to help dampen that impact. Shifting trade relationships from transactional to strategic, pursuing trade diversification and building the U.S. market are among those strategies.

The greatest opportunity and possible challenge for the U.S. pork sector is the U.S. market itself. With few exceptions over the last 30 years, annual per capita pork consumption in the U.S. has been range bound between 48 and 52 pounds.

Spurring new or increased demand from other markets is another industry imperative. These growth opportunities may come from U.S. pork’s core trade partners, but by also expanding trade opportunities with secondary customers. Markets like Japan, Korea and Mexico are critical in the next few years. The U.S. pork sector also has great export opportunities in numerous smaller markets, especially in the Caribbean, and Central and South America.

U.S. packers have opportunities to strengthen their relationships with importers and customers of their end products. With all major pork-producing countries eyeing the Chinese market, suppliers with strategic relationships in China will fare much better during the down cycle.

“One of the many lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 is the necessity of a strong relationship between producer and packer,” added Sawyer. “This is true in both beef and pork, as those producers who had a deep and strategic relationship with their packer fared far better during the plant shutdowns and slowdowns in April and May 2020.”

The relationship between a hog producer and their packer can become strategic in many ways, whether that be by contract, ownership, geography, size, or efficiency. In an environment where demand is falling as exports shrink, producers with the deepest relationships will better weather any changes in plant capacity that may come.

U.S Ag Exports Continue to Thrive During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. ag exports generated more than $270 billion for the U.S. economy since 2019, proving that the ag sector is resilient under any circumstances, according to trade experts.

“Today, more than 20% of what U.S. farmers produce is exported,” said Veronica Nigh, an American Farm Bureau Federation economist. “America continues to be in a strong position, especially as things normalize after COVID-19.”

The engine driving this positive outlook is the unflappable productivity of the American farmer. “There are 330 million people in the U.S., but American farmers raise enough to feed 2 billion people a year,” said Melissa George Kessler, director of strategic relations for the U.S. Grains Council.

All these exports help drive both the U.S. farm economy and the general economy. Roughly 1 million jobs are supported by U.S. agricultural exports, including 764,000 in the nonfarm sector, according to These include jobs related to supplying seed and crop protection products, transporting ag commodities, and processing and distributing agricultural products for export.

The key to fostering a healthy export pipeline is growing the most marketable crops possible through elite seed genetics, trusted crop protection products and open international trade options. A case in point is the use of fungicides in corn to boost productivity, said Lynn Sandlin, business intelligence manager at Syngenta.

“Twenty years ago, hardly any farmers were using fungicides in corn,” Sandlin said. “Now, growers have Syngenta products like Trivapro® and Miravis® Neo brand fungicides for broad-spectrum disease control and plant-health benefits. We want to help farmers grow the very best crop possible, in terms of quality and yield potential.”

Maximizing crop quality helps pave the way for more export demand, as consistent supply and quality lay a solid foundation for relationships. “We’re on a mission to develop markets, enable trade and improve lives,” Kessler said. “We’ll continue to build long-term relationships abroad as we play the long-term game to benefit U.S. farmers.”

Decision Time: Self-propelled Sprayer Ownership vs. Custom Applicators

How do you know if your operation is in the sweet spot for owning a sprayer? Depending on a number of variables, sprayer ownership can be a net positive investment with as few as three applications per year.1 Case IH application experts can help guide your decision whether to purchase a sprayer by breaking down the following:
    How to determine if this investment is right for your operation
    How to calculate the cost difference between hiring custom applicators and spraying your own
    The agronomic benefits of owning a self-propelled sprayer  

Here are three areas to evaluate when considering a self-propelled sprayer purchase:

1. Determine acres farmed vs. acres sprayed.
When considering self-propelled sprayer ownership, it’s important to determine not how many acres you farm but, rather, how many acres you spray. Because of the number of applications needed across your crops throughout the growing season, the number of acres sprayed is likely much greater than you actually farm on your operation.

To determine if purchasing self-propelled spray equipment pencils out for your farming operation, calculate the number of acres you spray each year. Consider the first scenario below. If a producer farms 3,000 acres of corn and 2,000 acres of soybeans, with two applications for corn and three applications for soybeans, the total acres sprayed amounts to 12,000 acres — a number much greater than the 5,000 total acres farmed.

2. Calculate the cost difference.  
Once you determine the number of acres sprayed on your operation, it’s time to calculate the cost difference. If, for example, a producer pays $6.50 per acre of application sprayed across 12,000 total, that’s a total cost of $78,000 for custom application in one growing season.* These costs could instead be put toward an equipment payment.

On the other hand, when considering the annual payment on a sprayer purchase of $350,000 — with 15% down and 0% financing for the first 24 months — the annual payment on a sprayer would come to approximately $62,300.* With a lower annual payment, owning a sprayer would help you save on expenses — and the more acres you spray, the better return on your investment.

3. Understand ownership benefits.
The ability to get crop nutrients and protectants applied at the right agronomic moment is critical to maximizing yields, and it can reduce the stress of waiting for the application to be made. Most often, producers are facing long days and short application windows. That’s why it’s important to consider a self-propelled sprayer that’s agronomically designed and easy to operate.

With the broadest lineup of application equipment in the company’s history available today, along with leading technology and support, Case IH has a self-propelled sprayer solution that can maximize application efficiency and productivity on any operation.

To learn more about the variables that go into owning a self-propelled sprayer, or to download the Case IH spreadsheet to run the numbers for your operation, visit

Wednesday November 4 Ag News

 Nebraska Livestock Stabilization Program Closed

Due to an overwhelming response, the Livestock Producers Stabilization, Restaurants and Bars Stabilization, and Licensed Personal Service Business Stabilization programs are no longer available.

However, grants are still available for specific entities such as movie theaters, hotels, convention centers, centers of worship and charitable organizations. Nebraska official said they are encouring these groups to apply for funds as soon as possible, as they expect the remaining dollars to be claimed quickly. To apply for available grants, please visit

These grants will help keep the people of Nebraska, and the economy, moving ahead as during the COVID-19 virus.

USDA Co-hosts Free Webinar on Nov. 12 on Livestock Risk Management

The Extension Risk Management Education Program and U.S. Department of Agriculture are hosting a webinar on Nov. 12 for agricultural producers and professionals focused on livestock risk management. The webinar is free to attend and will provide information on livestock markets, price risk, and risk management options available through USDA.

“We strongly encourage farmers and ranchers to attend this webinar,” said Bill Northey, USDA Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation. “The information that will be presented here will be invaluable to livestock producers who have an interest in the various risk management tools available to them through USDA.”

“I brought my experience as a rancher with me when I came to USDA, and I know firsthand the challenges that America’s livestock producers face,” USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Greg Ibach said. “This livestock risk management webinar is just one example of our efforts to offer timely resources to cattle producers and others in the U.S. fed beef supply chain so they can make informed business decisions. USDA remains dedicated to addressing the concerns and strengthening the interests of livestock producers through forward-thinking actions that balance every segment of the nation’s livestock industry with the direction of today’s marketplace.”

The webinar is scheduled for 2-3 p.m. Eastern on Thursday, November 12. Producers can register at

In addition to Northey and Ibach, other speakers include:
    Brad Lubben, University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the North Central Extension Risk Management Education Center – introduction and moderator
    Shannon Neibergs, Washington State University and the Western Extension Risk Management Education Center – livestock economics and moderator
    Elliott Dennis, University of Nebraska-Lincoln – price risk management concepts, tools, and considerations
    Brandon Willis, Ranchers Insurance (Utah) and former USDA Risk Management Agency Administrator – insurance products, sales, and service

The webinar is a collaboration between USDA and the Extension Risk Management Education program, a USDA-funded program that provides regionally-based competitive grants for producer-focused educational projects. Learn more at

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, November 17, USDA will host the first in a series of four evening webinars from 7-9 p.m. Eastern with guest speakers from three regional USDA Cattle and Carcass Training Centers (CCTCs), the CME Group, and USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). These webinars are designed to assist cattle producers, feeders, and others in the U.S. fed beef supply chain who want to better understand the reporting, delivery, and grading of feeder cattle, live cattle, and carcasses, particularly relating to CME live cattle futures. The webinars are free, but registration is required...


– Ben Beckman, NE Extension Educator
Any farmer worth their salt knows the importance of fertilizing a crop for optimal production.  Often, this common knowledge stops at row crops or high value hay like alfalfa.  Could a look at your fertility improve pasture and grass hay production next year?
Soil sampling now, before the ground freezes can help with planning this winter and give time to develop a fertility plan if our soil tests show fertilizer is needed.  Hay ground should be the first location to consider testing, as plant material is constantly harvested and moved to another location, slowly depleting of the major nutrients needed for plant growth.
Two other factors to consider are weed control and available moisture during the growing season.  Pastures that are weedy may benefit more by addressing grazing practices and controlling weeds rather than fertility.  In these situations, additional nutrients are used by the weeds and can make matters worse.
When it comes to production, especially for native grass hay and pastures, moisture is the most limiting factor, not fertility.  You can apply all the fertilizer in the world, but doing so in a drought won’t help plants grow.  Fertilizer applications on dry land areas, especially for nitrogen, should be based on expected moisture.
In Nebraska, the main fertility focus should look at the primarily at phosphorus and potassium.  In areas of the state with sandy, low organic soils, sulfur should also be included.  Finally, keep an eye on soil pH.  Differences in soil pH play a big role in nutrient availability.  In pastures, nitrogen is nearly always used in the year it is applied. However, other nutrients can remain for a few years between applications, so a 2 or 3 year testing rotation is often enough.

Iowa State hosting Ag Chem Dealer meetings this December

Sprayer cleanout to minimize tank contamination will be the featured topic at the 2020 Ag Chemical Dealer Update meetings sponsored by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

These meetings will also feature a short crop disease and insect update covering topics like Sudden Death Syndrome in soybean, tar spot in corn and corn rootworm.

The Ag Chem Dealer Update meetings will be held near Ames on Dec. 8 and in Iowa City on Dec. 15. Each location will offer a morning session from 8 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. and an afternoon session  from 1:30 p.m. until 5 p.m.

Meetings are approved for Certified Crop Adviser credits. In addition, the meetings offer Iowa Commercial Pesticide Applicator recertification in categories 1A, 1B, 1C and 10 for calendar year 2020. Recertification is included in the meeting registration. Attendance at the entire meeting is required for recertification.

Registration is $70 and is open until noon the day prior to the meeting. Pre-registration is required, as attendance will be limited to ensure social distancing can be maintained. No walk-in registrations will be accepted, and all attendees and staff will be required to wear a face covering.

Visit for program details or to register online. For additional information, contact an ISU Extension and Outreach field agronomist hosting the meeting. The deadline to register for the Ames event is Dec. 6 at midnight. The deadline for Iowa City is Dec. 13 at midnight.

House Ag Chairman Collin Peterson Loses to GOP Challenger

Representative Collin Peterson, Democrat of Minnesota, the chairman of the Agriculture Committee who has represented his large agrarian district for three decades, lost his re-election bid early Wednesday, handing Republicans a pickup in the House.

Peterson, 76, had bucked political trends for years, winning re-election in a rural district that was increasingly shifting toward the Republican Party. Michelle Fischbach, 55, a former lieutenant governor who vowed to “fire” Speaker Nancy Pelosi upon arriving in Washington and sought to tie the congressman to his party’s left flank, finally ended his run, according to The Associated Press.

“It really is the death knell for the moderate rural Democrat,” said Tim Lindberg, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Minnesota Morris. “It was clear he knew he was in trouble.”

President Trump won the district by 31 points in 2016, and Republican strategists had theorized that should Mr. Peterson face tough competition during the president’s re-election year, they could flip the seat.

His defeat underscored a growing divide between suburban areas that are increasingly aligning with Democrats and the white working-class rural districts that are shifting ever more sharply toward Republicans.

Farm Bureau Thanks Rep. Collin Peterson for His Service

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson was defeated in the race for Minnesota’s 7th District. American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall says...

“We at the American Farm Bureau Federation would like to express our thanks to Rep. Peterson for his decades of service in the House of Representatives. Throughout his years on the House Agriculture Committee, especially his years as the committee’s chairman, Congressman Peterson has been a leader for rural America on such important issues as the farm bill, regulatory reform and new trade deals. He made it clear through his work that his politics are grounded in farmers, livestock producers and rural America. That will be his legacy.”

Majority of Fertilizer Prices Continue to Decline

A two-month-old trend continued in the final week of October: A majority of retail fertilizer prices declined, according to retailers surveyed by DTN.
At $447 per ton, the average retail price of MAP is $18 higher than at the same time month. (DTN chart)

Six of the eight fertilizers tracked by DTN experienced slight declines, while one fertilizer recorded a 4% increase and another a 2% increase.

Potash had an average price $332 per ton, down $6; urea $358/ton, down $4; 10-34-0 $456/ton, down $1; anhydrous $424/ton, down $1; UAN28 $209/ton, down $3; and UAN32 $249/ton, down $1.

Of the two remaining fertilizers that had higher prices, MAP saw its average retail price increase by $18/ton, or about 4% from last month, to $477/ton.

The price of DAP was about 2% higher, up $9/ton to $448/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.39/lb.N, anhydrous $0.26/lb.N, UAN28 $0.37/lb.N and UAN32 $0.39/lb.N.

Weekly Ethanol Production for 10/30/2020

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending October 30, ethanol production scaled 2.1% higher, or 20,000 barrels per day (b/d), to a 32-week high (since March 20) of 961,000 b/d—equivalent to 40.36 million gallons daily. Still, production remained 5.2% below the same week last year. The four-week average ethanol production rate increased 1.0% to 938,000 b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 14.38 billion gallons (bg).

Ethanol stocks ticked 0.4% higher to 19.7 million barrels, which was 10.1% below year-ago volumes. Inventories built across all regions except the Gulf Coast (PADD 3) and Rocky Mountains (PADD 4).

The volume of gasoline supplied to the U.S. market, a measure of implied demand, declined 2.4% to 8.34 million b/d (127.79 bg annualized). Gasoline demand was 8.8% less than a year ago.

Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol decreased 2.0% to 836,000 b/d, equivalent to 12.82 bg annualized. This was 8.8% below the year-earlier level as a result of the continuing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Imports of ethanol arriving into the West Coast were 29,000 b/d, or 8.53 million gallons for the week and a seven-week high. This also marks the eleventh time in fifteen weeks that imports were reported. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of September 2020.)

September U.S. Ethanol Global Sales Moderate while U.S. DDGS Exports Leap to 5-Year High

Ann Lewis, Senior Analyst, Renewable Fuels Assoc.
U.S. ethanol exports in September decreased 23% to 77.2 million gallons (mg), which is 20% lower than a year ago. Shipments across the border to Canada declined 11% to 32.1 mg, equivalent to 42% of total U.S. ethanol exports. Sales to India shot up 30% to 13.6 mg. Shipments to Colombia (6.5 mg, -24%) and Peru (4.8 mg, -14%) tapered from August while Finland (4.1 mg, up from zero) and Switzerland (4.1 mg, +83%) were more active. Mexico (3.9 mg), Saudi Arabia (3.3 mg), and the Philippines (2.6 mg) were other sizable customers of U.S. ethanol. Brazil was noticeably absent from our export market. Global year-to-date exports of U.S. ethanol totaled 982.6 mg, or 11% less than this time a year ago.
The U.S. imported 16.9 mg of cane ethanol from Brazil, half as much as in August. Year-to-date imports total 110.1 mg.
U.S. exports of dried distillers grains (DDGS)—the animal feed co-product generated by dry-mill ethanol plants—surged 14% in September to 1.16 million metric tons (mt), the largest monthly volume in five years. Strong sales to Asia—Vietnam (124,735 mt, -5%), Japan (a record 114,940 mt, +724%), and South Korea (101,761 mt, -8%)—thrust Mexico (94,589 mt, -32%) from our top DDGS export market to the fourth largest. Turkey (86,187 mt), Indonesia (67,024 mt), and Egypt (56,285 mt) were other larger customers. Worldwide U.S. DDGS exports for the first eight months of the year were 8.24 million mt, trailing just 1% behind last year at this time.

Growth Energy Statement on 2020 Election Results

Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor issued the following statement on the 2020 Election Day results:

“Across the heartland, we saw ethanol champions run and win on their support for biofuels. In the lead up to this election, few issues were agreed upon, but one thing remained true – candidates on both sides of the aisle, incumbents and challengers, recognized ethanol’s role as the engine of the rural economy and a vital tool against climate change. On behalf of Growth Energy, I congratulate the winners of last night’s election and thank those champions that have stood with us but did not prevail in their race. We look forward to educating newly elected lawmakers and continuing to work with our allies in Congress to advance biofuels’ role in our nation’s clean energy policy.”

Withdrawal from Paris Climate Agreement is "Shameful," Farmers Union Says

The United States today formally exited the Paris Climate Agreement, three-and-a-half years after President Donald Trump pledged to do so, citing “lost jobs, lower wages, shuttered factories, and vastly diminished economic production.”

One hundred and eighty-nine countries have ratified the historic agreement so far, which aims to keep “a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.” That leaves just eight countries – including the United States – as outliers.

A strong advocate for climate action, National Farmers Union (NFU) expressed support for the deal when it was finalized at the end of 2015. Since then, the need for such an agreement has become even clearer, as catastrophic hurricanes, wildfires, droughts, floods, and other natural disasters have become more commonplace. As such, the group was displeased by President Trump’s decision to withdraw, a sentiment NFU President Rob Larew reiterated in a statement released today:   

“It’s hard to explain just how disappointing and dangerous the United States’ withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord is. Climate change is a global crisis, and it requires a united, global effort to address. The fact that one of the wealthiest and most powerful countries in the world is shirking its moral obligation to mitigate climate change is a slap in the face for nearly every other country that has agreed to the terms of the agreement.

“This decision not only undermines critical climate action and makes our planet more vulnerable to increasingly frequent and severe weather extremes, but it also comes at great cost to the American people. Many of the actions that would have helped the United States meet its goals under the agreement would have created thousands of new jobs, stimulated economic growth, and revitalized rural communities. As the nation struggles to recover from the pandemic, this is a particularly painful missed opportunity to regain jobs and support family-owned businesses.

“In addition to the economic and environmental consequences, by willfully rejecting science and turning our backs on the rest of the world, the United States is sacrificing its credibility and reputation as a global leader.

“The good news is that it isn’t too late to revoke this shameful mistake. Though there is still a great deal of uncertainty as to who will be leading our country in 2021, whomever it is, we urge them to immediately rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement and recommit our nation to climate leadership.”

The Andersons, Inc. Reports Third Quarter Results

The Andersons, Inc. (Nasdaq: ANDE) announces financial results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2020.

Third Quarter Highlights:

    Company reported a net loss attributable to The Andersons of $1.1 million, or $0.03 per diluted share, and adjusted net loss of $2.4 million, or $0.07 per diluted share.
    Adjusted EBITDA attributable to the company was $46.2 million for the quarter, up 21 percent year over year.
    Trade reported pretax income of $5.9 million and adjusted pretax income of $6.9 million on improved merchandising results.
    Ethanol reported pretax income attributable to the company of $1.1 million as margins improved

"We continued to make good progress during the quarter toward reaching our vision to be the most nimble and innovative ag supply chain company in North America," said President and CEO Pat Bowe. "The integration of Trade and Ethanol is going well and is being modeled after the successful integration of Lansing Trade Group last year. While we will always be vigilant about costs, we are looking forward to placing more emphasis on profitable growth and extraordinary customer service in 2021 and beyond."

"Our results for the third quarter were solid in light of the current economic environment," continued Bowe. "Trade, Ethanol and Plant Nutrient all recorded improved results year over year. Trade led the way with better merchandising income as the fall harvest got off to a good start. Ethanol's results were much improved, notwithstanding large non-cash mark-to-market charges. Plant Nutrient's results improved substantially year over year in a quarter in which that business is usually seasonally weak. Finally, Rail continued to feel the negative impacts of weak railcar demand."

Liquidity and Cash Management

"We continued to generate strong operating cash flows and manage capital expenditures during the third quarter," said Executive Vice President and CFO Brian Valentine. "We were able to reduce total long-term debt by more than $60 million. We remain very focused on overall liquidity, including expense and cash management."

In addition to the $30 million in 2020 expense reductions announced in May, about half of which it expects to be permanent, the company also anticipates that the business restructuring announced in August will result in further annual general and administrative cost reductions of approximately $10 million beginning in early 2021.

The company has spent $69 million net of proceeds from asset sales on capital projects through September and still expects to spend approximately $100 million in 2020 after averaging more than $200 million over the last three years. This reduction prudently preserves working capital and supports the company's continued strong financial position.

Third Quarter Segment Overview

Trade Records Higher Results Driven by Improved Merchandising Income

The Trade segment recorded improved pretax income of $5.9 million and adjusted pretax income of $6.9 million for the quarter compared to a pretax loss of $2.1 million and adjusted pretax income of $0.4 million in the third quarter of 2019. The difference in reported and adjusted income in both periods was attributable to stock compensation expense associated with the 2019 acquisition of Lansing Trade Group.

A large majority of the year-over-year improvement came from commodity merchandising, which earned pretax income that was more than 80 percent higher year over year. The performance of the segment's assets improved due to strong corn and soybean sales despite earning less income from wheat. The business also continued to benefit from the successful integration of Lansing and Thompsons Limited, portfolio optimization and other cost-cutting efforts.

Trade's third quarter adjusted EBITDA was $22.3 million, up approximately 8 percent over third quarter 2019 adjusted EBITDA of $20.7 million.

While merchandising opportunities continue to be good, the resulting income will not likely fully offset the lack of carry in the corn and soybean markets into 2021 due to the significant increase in futures prices and narrowing spreads since early August.

Ethanol Remains Profitable on Improved Margins Despite Mark-to-Market Charge

The Ethanol segment reported pretax income attributable to the company of $1.1 million in the third quarter compared to the similar amount it earned in the same period in 2019.

Improved crush margins were the primary driver of significantly improved performance by the group's five plants. However, the segment recorded a non-cash mark-to-market charge of $6.2 million due to increases in corn and DDG prices late in the quarter.

Production volumes in the quarter were higher year over year due to higher yields at The Andersons Marathon Holdings (TAMH) plants and ELEMENTTM operating for the entire quarter. Board crush margins were roughly 12 cents higher than in the third quarter of 2019. The third-party ethanol trading business also posted comparatively better results due to improved margins and higher volumes.

Ethanol recorded EBITDA attributable to the company of $11.1 million in the third quarter of 2020, up from 2019 third quarter EBITDA attributable to the company of $3.9 million. The results of three of the five ethanol plants were not consolidated in 2019.

Plant Nutrient Results Improve; Rail Breaks Even

The Plant Nutrient segment improved its results year over year, recording a pretax loss of $5.4 million in the third quarter compared to a pretax loss of $7.4 million in the same period of the prior year. This was the sixth consecutive quarter that the segment posted improved year-over-year results. Plant Nutrient's current quarter EBITDA was $2.2 million compared to 2019 third quarter EBITDA of $0.9 million. While tons sold were unchanged, the improvement was driven by slightly better margin per ton and continued disciplined working capital and expense management.

Rail recorded a third quarter pretax loss of $0.1 million compared to $3.1 million of pretax income in the same period of the prior year. Its third quarter 2020 EBITDA was $12.5 million compared to its third quarter 2019 EBITDA of $16.1 million. The leasing business accounted for the majority of the shortfall due to lower lease rates and fleet utilization year over year; repair revenues and margins also fell.

Provision for Income Taxes Includes CARES Act Benefits

The company's income tax provision included additional CARES Act tax benefits of approximately $4.5 million, or $0.14 per diluted share in the current quarter and now totals benefits of approximately $14.8 million, or $0.45 per diluted share, year to date. As with the impacts of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 and CARES Act benefits recognized in the first half of 2020, the company has excluded the current quarter benefits from its adjusted net income. This quarter's additional benefits are expected to result in cash refunds of nearly $8 million, bringing the total expected CARES Act refunds to approximately $39 million. In addition, the company's reported effective income tax rate is substantially impacted by the income or loss earned by the noncontrolling interests and may result in highly variable effective tax rates in future periods.

Tuesday November 3 Ag News


A Nebraska Extension webinar on livestock risk management for agricultural producers and professionals will take place at 1 p.m. Nov. 12.

The webinar will start with an overview of current livestock market and risk-management issues from two U.S. Department of Agriculture undersecretaries: Greg Ibach, undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs, and Bill Northey, undersecretary for farm production and conservation. The overview will be moderated by the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Brad Lubben, extension associate professor of agricultural economics and director of the North Central Extension Risk Management Education Center.

The presentation will then feature a panel discussion of livestock economics and marketing, as well as the role and use of insurance tools, including the Livestock Risk Protection policy. Panelists are Elliott Dennis, livestock marketing specialist at Nebraska, and Brandon Willis, a former USDA Risk Management Agency administrator who is now with Ranchers Insurance in Utah. Shannon Neibergs, with Washington State University and the Western Extension Risk Management Education Center, will moderate.

The webinar is presented as part of the weekly Agricultural Economics Extension Farm and Ranch Management series.

Registration, which is free, is available at

Lower Elkhorn NRD invests $1.97 million in flood control project for City of Randolph

The City of Randolph will break ground this week on a flood control project that has been in the making for 18 years.

The groundbreaking ceremony will be this Friday, November 6 at 11:00 a.m. near the city’s RV parking area, west of Sholes Road and east of Nebraska Street.  Representatives from the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (USACE), the City of Randolph, and the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) will be speaking at the ceremony.  All three governmental entities are partnering on this project, along with Pierce and Cedar Counties.

One of the LENRD’s 12 responsibilities is flood prevention and control.  LENRD Projects Manager, Curt Becker, said, “After looking into many alternatives with the USACE, the most cost-effective option was the widening of the Middle Logan Creek channel that runs through Randolph.  This project will allow for a large portion of the city to be taken out of the 100-year flood plain.”

In 2017, the LENRD board approved funding up to $1.97 million for 50% of the local costs of the channel enlargement and floodplain reduction project.  Becker, said, “We created a sinking fund for the project and budgeted money responsibly over the last several years to help protect the future of this community.”

The construction contract for Phase 1 of the flood risk management project was awarded to Shinn Kellogg of Albia, Iowa, for $5.78 million.  Phase 1 will include removing and replacing the Bridge Street and Sholes Road Bridges and widening the Middle Logan Creek channel from just downstream of the Jackson Street Bridge to upstream of the Sholes Road Bridge.

Becker, said, “This flood control project will prevent numerous homes and businesses from being placed in the flood plain.  He added, “We are not only working to protect the community from future flood events, but also to prevent the required annual flood insurance costs.  We are excited to get the project underway.”

Phase 2 work will include continuation of bridge removals and channel widening with contract award anticipated in the summer of 2021 and completion in the spring of 2024.


– Megan Taylor, NE Extension Educator, Platte Co.

Did your alfalfa not yield what you were expecting this year? Well fall is the perfect time to pull soil samples and see what’s going on underground.
Soil fertility is key to maintaining yield and alfalfa fields should ideally be sampled each year to check soil pH, potassium, and phosphorous levels across all soil textures. Note, if your field is sandy, eroded, or highly weathered, you may want to test for sulfur as well. It is important to remember that compared to row crop ground or grass hay, nitrate-nitrogen is not a concern since alfalfa can fix atmospheric nitrogen. However, digging a few plants up and checking nodulation will provide some insight to plant/soil health as well.
To collect soil samples this fall, you will need to collect soil cores to 8 inches, or if the field was previously sampled to 6 inches stay with the historic depth for comparison. It is very important to be at an accurate depth, because values change the deeper or shallower we go in the profile. You can use a file or a sharpie marker to measure 8 inches on your soil probe to make it easier, when pulling cores.
When sampling there are a few ways you can decide to pull the cores: by soil type, grid, or representative samples for every 40 acres. For alfalfa fields by soil type or representative samples for every 40 acres would be the most cost-effective choices. You will need to pull 10 to 15 random soil cores across your soil type or 40 acre area to be represented. Those soil cores need to be mixed together in a plastic bucket. From there, take about a pint of soil and place in a labelled bag to be analyzed. Repeat this process across the field for every 40 acres or by the soil types in your field and then package for submission.
Once you have your results reach out to your extension educator, fertilizer dealer, or agronomist for more information to help build a profitable alfalfa program.

Barchart Releases Final 2020 U.S. Production and Yield Forecasts for Corn and Soybeans

Barchart, a leading provider of data and technology services to the financial, media, and commodity industries, announces their final 2020 Production Forecasts at 15,324M bu for corn and 4,157M bu for soybeans in the U.S, which incorporates forecasts for end of season yield at 180.4 bu/ac for corn and 50.1 bu/ac for soybeans in the U.S. This represents an increase in expected production and yield for corn, relative to the October 6 report, which predicted end of season production at 15,119M bu and end of season yield at 178.2 bu/ac. Soybeans also saw expected production and yield decrease from 4,190M bu and 50.5 bu/ac, respectively.

Ag Economy Barometer rises to record high on improving financial conditions

The Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer rose 27 points to a reading of 183 in October and set an all-time high for the index. Farmers were more optimistic about both the future and current financial situation on their farms as the Current Conditions Index rose 36 points to a reading of 178 and the Future Expectations Index rose 23 points to a reading of 186. The Ag Economy Barometer is based on survey responses from 400 U.S. agricultural producers and was conducted Oct. 19-23.

“Since bottoming out this summer, the ag economy has rebounded sharply, and the dramatic improvement in sentiment reflects the turnaround in the farm income picture,” said James Mintert, the barometer’s principal investigator and director of Purdue University’s Center for Commercial Agriculture.

Mintert was referring to a late summer/early fall rally in commodity prices combined with government program payments arising from the second round of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP 2), which provided a boost to many producers’ farm income. Corn and soybean prices continued to rally even though U.S. corn yields are expected to set a record high and the U.S. Department of Agriculture projects soybean yields to be the fourth highest on record.

“Together the combination of good yields, a rally in crop prices and CFAP 2 payments set the stage for an all-time high in the barometer and farmer sentiment,” Mintert said.

That optimism was reflected in many ways. Comparing their farm’s financial condition today to one year ago, 25% of survey respondents said their farm was better off financially now than at the same time last year. This was the most positive response from producers to this question in the history of the barometer survey.

The Farm Capital Investment Index also hit an all-time high in October, up 9 points from September to a reading 82. The percentage of producers expecting to increase their purchases of machinery in the upcoming year rose to 14% from 11% a month earlier, and up from just 4% back in May. Even more importantly, the percentage of respondents who plan to reduce their purchases in the next year was 33%, down from 40% in September.

The short-run outlook toward farmland values also improved. Respondents expecting land values to rise over the next 12 months rose to 27%, up from 23% in September. The percentage expecting lower farmland values declined to 9% from 12%. There was also a big shift in sentiment in the October survey regarding 2021 cash rental rates for farmland. Nearly four out of 10 (38%) respondents said they expect cash rental rates to increase in 2021. In September, just 8% of producers said they expected to see higher cash rental rates for farmland in 2021.

Producers also became more optimistic about trade with China this month. Nearly six out of 10 respondents (59%), said they expect to see China fulfill the food and agricultural import requirements outlined in the Phase One trade agreement with the U.S., compared with just 47% in September. When asked for their overall perspective on U.S. ag exports, the percentage of producers expecting exports to rise over the next five years increased to 65% in October, up from 58% in September.

K-State mourns loss of esteemed agricultural economics professor

Barry Flinchbaugh, whose remarkable career in agricultural policy at Kansas State University spanned nearly a half-century, died Nov. 2 at Stormont Vail Hospital in Topeka.  He was 78 years old.

The charismatic Flinchbaugh was well known as one of the United States' leading experts on agricultural policy and agricultural economics. For more than four decades, he was a top adviser to politicians of both major political parties, including secretaries of agriculture, chairs of the U.S. House and Senate Agriculture committees, and numerous senators and state governors.

Flinchbaugh was involved to some degree in every U.S. farm bill written since 1968, and served on many national boards, advisory groups and task forces, providing input on domestic food and agricultural policy.

He served as the chairman of the Commission on 21st Century Production Agriculture, which was authorized in the 1996 Federal Activities Inventory Reform, or FAIR, Act, also known as the Freedom to Farm Act.

"Barry Flinchbaugh will be deeply missed by many generations of the K-State family," said K-State President Richard Myers. "His expertise and vast contributions to the university, the state and agricultural economics will have a lasting impact on the world for years to come through those whom he taught and counseled. His experiences have touched the lives of many and his wonderfully feisty, thoughtful, helpful and kind personality will be his legacy forever."

"Agriculture has and always will be the backbone of Kansas’ economy," said Gov. Laura Kelly said. "Dr. Flinchbaugh helped shape agriculture policy for more than a half-century. While we will miss him and his enormous contributions to our state, he leaves behind a legacy as a Kansan who improved the livelihoods of Kansas farmers, ranchers, producers — and agriculture workers across the nation."

U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, Kansas, who worked closely with Flinchbaugh on farm bill legislation, wrote his condolences on Twitter.

"Franki and I are deeply saddened by the news of Dr. Barry Flinchbaugh's passing earlier today," Roberts said. "Dr. Flinchbaugh was nothing short of a legend in his field. His expertise made him one of the most coveted and trusted advisers for agricultural policy for decades.

"Dr. Flinchbaugh's legacy as an educator and advocate will live on through his work at K-State and his lifetime of dedication to agriculture. I will not only miss his guidance, but I will also miss his friendship, wit and humor."

Flinchbaugh grew up in York, Pennsylvania, and earned bachelor's and master's degrees from Penn State University. He earned a doctoral degree in agricultural economics from Purdue University before joining the K-State faculty in 1971.

At the time of his death, he was professor emeritus in K-State's Department of Agricultural Economics, teaching a 400-level course in agricultural policy each fall. He also served several years as chair of the Landon Lecture Patrons, who support the university's prestigious Landon Lecture Series.

A dynamic speaker, it was reported that Flinchbaugh would receive as many as 100 speaking invitations per year. He authored more than 100 publications and co-authored a textbook on agricultural policy.

Flinchbaugh's no-nonsense style was both loved and cursed; he was known to lay out the facts of an issue whether it was politically correct or not. In a biographical sketch detailing his speaking qualifications, a farmer in Colby once said about Flinchbaugh: "I do not agree with a damn thing you said, but the next time you are in town making a speech, I will be here."

K-State honored Flinchbaugh with its prestigious Outstanding Teacher Award three times during his career. It is estimated that he taught agricultural policy to more than 4,000 undergraduate students. He connected the university to hundreds of thousands of people by giving presentations to farmers, agricultural business groups and more through its extension mission.

"Our students, faculty and staff are deeply saddened by the news of the passing of Dr. Barry Flinchbaugh, and our thoughts are with the Flinchbaugh family during this challenging time," said Ernie Minton, dean of the K-State College of Agriculture and director of K-State Research and Extension. "Barry was known as the absolute authority on agricultural policy for decades. Few faculty members have had the opportunity to impact so many students and at the same time affect national agricultural policy as Dr. Flinchbaugh.

"We are going to miss his presence on campus, his expertise, his direct talk, his friendship and his affable personality and wit," Minton said. "We will never forget the mischievous smile underneath his white beard and the bump of his walking cane on the floor following the delivery of a good one-liner."

Upon his retirement in 2004 as the state leader of agricultural economics, a news release from K-State Research and Extension quotes Flinchbaugh as saying he wants college students and experienced farmers alike to have fun while they're learning.

"But I also want them to be uncomfortable… to think outside the box. Occasionally you'll make somebody mad. That's one of the risks. But they'll remember what you said."

Flinchbaugh said one of his proudest professional moments came in 1971-1974 when he worked on a farm tax issue. During that time, he gave 300 presentations and visited all 105 counties in Kansas at least once.

"Barry Flinchbaugh was a man who loved his family, students, university and country," said Mark Gardiner, Gardiner Angus Ranch, Ashland. "He cared about all people, from the president of the United States to young people trying to learn. We all were better educated after learning from Barry, yet we were better people from experiencing his zest for life."

Flinchbaugh is survived in the family's Manhattan home by his wife, Cathy. Flinchbaugh’s family will conduct a private family burial and plans to host a public celebration of his life sometime after the pandemic. Contributions in honor of Flinchbaugh may be made to the Flinchbaugh Scholarship Fund, the Flinchbaugh Agricultural Policy Chair, or a charity of their choice in his name.

In a statement, U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, Kansas, said the following:

"Dr. Barry Flinchbaugh was an icon of agricultural policy in Kansas and throughout the nation. Dr. Flinchbaugh was well known for his involvement in helping craft farm bills for nearly five decades, and his authority on agriculture issues made him a trusted advisor to me and many prominent federal officials of both parties throughout his lifetime.

"More importantly, Dr. Flinchbaugh was my friend. We met when I called him more than 30 years ago to ask a question about Kansas tax policy. Ever since, I've admired and respected (loved) him. He spoke his mind, told me what he thought and made me a better senator and person. His death is a huge loss to me and all of his many friends, and it is hard to find the words to capture a man revered by so many. There may be no Kansan whose company I enjoyed more.

“Each year I would make a surprise visit to his ag policy class at K-State. His trademark sarcasm, wit and quips that made him a talented professor and a sought-after speaker was always on full display at the front of the classroom. I saw he loved and cared about his students and these feelings were mutual.

"There is no doubt Dr. Flinchbaugh's presence in ag policy will be felt for generations to come through the thousands of students he taught and mentored during his decadeslong career as a professor at K-State. His loss will be felt deeply within the ag community, and Robba and I will be praying for Dr. Flinchbaugh's family and loved ones during this time."

Amy Button Renz, president and CEO of the K-State Alumni Association, said, "Barry Flinchbaugh was a wonderful member of the K-State family and a friend to not only the K-State Alumni Association but to me and many of our staff. He led multiple Traveling Wildcats tours for the association and had a very loyal following. His kindness, wit and infamous personality will truly be missed. My heartfelt sympathies are with Cathy and his children.

"Each year, the K-State Alumni Association presents the Flinchbaugh Family Wildcat Pride Award to a current or emeritus K-State faculty or staff member for his or her advocacy of alumni relations, with a special emphasis on support and participation in alumni programs that engage members of the Wildcat family. An original recipient of the award in 2011, Barry and Cathy endowed the award with a gift in 2015.

"Barry's family was very important to him and he loved to share stories about his children," Renz said. "We are honored to have an award named in honor of his family at the Association. Barry had unbelievable pride in Kansas State University and understood the important role that faculty and staff hold in strengthening the bond between alumni and their alma mater."

USTR Review of Indonesia Trade Arrangement Secures Benefits for U.S. Dairy

The U.S. dairy industry commended the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) for using its review of Indonesia’s Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) status to hold Indonesia accountable for issues that had threatened the smooth flow of U.S. dairy exports. USTR announced yesterday the conclusion of its review of Indonesia’s eligibility to continue receiving preferential tariff access to the U.S. market under the GSP program.
“The U.S. dairy industry and all of its supplying dairy farmers rely on the enforcement of fair trade rules. We appreciate the work invested by the U.S. government to use the GSP review process to ensure that Indonesia complies with its trade obligations under the terms of the GSP program,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF).  

 “This outcome demonstrates how the GSP review process can be utilized to scrutinize a country’s compliance with the program and to achieve improvements in U.S. market access where changes are needed. We look forward to working with both governments to ensure that all U.S. exporters eager to ship to Indonesia have the ability to do so smoothly.”   
NMPF and the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) were among the organizations that originally filed a complaint with USTR regarding Indonesia’s GSP compliance in 2018, citing its law mandating local partnership arrangements in order to secure import licenses. In response to dairy’s concerns raised through the GSP process, Indonesia removed that requirement.  
 “We appreciate USTR ensuring that Indonesia meet its market access obligations under the GSP review process. Through that process, USTR helped address Indonesian policies that had endangered U.S. dairy exports to Indonesia, one of our largest markets. The government of Indonesia has been responsive to these concerns, and we look forward to building further upon this positive development,” said Tom Vilsack, president and CEO of USDEC.  
The U.S. dairy industry exported $238 million in dairy products to Indonesia in 2019, making it the seventh largest market for U.S. dairy exports. That represents an increase of 80% percent by value from 2017. With a potential for even greater growth for U.S. dairy in this key market, it’s important that U.S. products can flow smoothly.

NGFA supports increasing revenue threshold for Class II RRs, but urges STB to consider enabling rail customers to bring regulatory challenges        

In a statement submitted this week, the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) supported the federal Surface Transportation Board’s (STB) proposal to increase to $900 million the revenue threshold used to determine whether a freight railroad continues to be classified as a Class II carrier.

But in so doing, NGFA urged the agency to be cognizant of the increasing size, revenues and regional dominance of Class II railroads when determining whether and when to subject such carriers to prudent regulation to protect the interests of rail customers.

The STB proposal, also supported by NGFA’s Montana affiliate – the Montana Grain Elevator Association, was triggered by a petition submitted to the agency by Montana Rail Link Inc. (MRL), a regional Class II railroad, which sought the increase from the $504,803,294 revenue threshold at which a carrier currently is deemed to be a Class I railroad.

MRL said it anticipated reaching the current Class I threshold by 2022, at which time it would be required to submit accounting, financial and other regulatory reports to the STB. In its petition, the railroad estimated these additional regulatory requirements would cost “at least an additional $150,000 annually,” plus the costs associated with converting its accounting system, training employees, and maintaining and recording the reports. Further, it said, being classified as a Class I railroad would make it ineligible for shortline rehabilitation tax credits – the carrier said it currently receives $3 million annually from this tax credit to invest in its infrastructure. NGFA further noted MRL also no longer would qualify for the Federal Railroad Transportation Administration’s Railroad Rehabilitation and Infrastructure Express Program that provides funds to Class II and III carriers to repair tracks, many located in rural areas.

NGFA said it generally agrees with the STB’s statement, that after reviewing MRL’s petition, “it does appear that regional railroads, such as MRL, even with revenues approaching the current threshold, function more like significant Class II carriers and do not possess the comparative attributes (e.g., operational characteristics) of Class I carriers.” NGFA also concurred with the STB’s statement that, “[m]oreover, MRL provides a persuasive argument that the benefits of certain Class II carriers becoming Class I carriers under the Board’s existing revenue thresholds would not outweigh the burdens that would be imposed on the newly classified carriers.”

But NGFA noted that Class II railroads are becoming increasingly large and market dominant in the regions in which they operate.  For instance, NGFA said the STB should allow rail customers to challenge Class II rail rates they believe are unreasonable under simplified procedures currently being developed by the agency, as well as to direct that Class II railroads provide competitive switching to alternative carriers to enhance rail competition if the STB reexamines such rules in the future.  

“…[A]s with many Class II railroads, MRL is a significant regional carrier that has a virtual monopoly on all rail traffic in Montana, and it often exercises that market power with its customers in a manner not dissimilar from Class I carriers,” NGFA said.  “As Class II carriers continue to increase their size, geographic reach and revenues, the latter of which would be permitted under the (rulemaking), NGFA believes the STB should be vigilant to also adjust its regulatory oversight and standards that apply to the practices and rates established by such railroads.”  

MRL is one of the largest U.S. Class II railroads, operating more than 900 route miles of track in Montana and Idaho, and interchanges with the BNSF Railway Co. More than 23 percent of MRL’s traffic volume is grain.

The STB’s proposal would retain the current revenue threshold for Class III carriers as being $40.4 million or less. The new thresholds would be calculated in 2019 dollars and indexed for inflation.

ADM Reports Third Quarter Earnings of $0.40 per Share, $0.89 per Share on an Adjusted Basis

• Net earnings of $225 million; adjusted net earnings of $499 million
• Outstanding results, great execution in all three businesses
• Continued focus on Readiness to drive growth, innovation, sustainability

ADM (NYSE: ADM) today reported financial results for the quarter ended September 30, 2020.

“We delivered an outstanding quarter, and I am proud of our team’s continued great performance,” said Chairman and CEO Juan Luciano.

“Across the enterprise, ADM colleagues are doing what it takes to help our customers and our company succeed and grow. Our strategic initiatives, combined with exceptional execution, are driving strong results across all of our businesses. Readiness is enhancing our performance, accelerating our work in areas ranging from operations to sales. Our strong cash generation is allowing us to retire higher-cost debt while retaining balance sheet flexibility. And Nutrition continues its impressive upward trajectory, delivering a fifth consecutive quarter of 20-plus percent year-over-year operating profit growth.

“From our Strive 35 sustainability goals, to our partnership with Spiber to produce plant-based polymers, to the announcement of a significant expansion in probiotics with our new state-of-the art facility in Valencia, we’re advancing our work to enrich the quality of life around the globe. We’re excited about our future as we look ahead to another strong quarter, with positive momentum continuing through 2021.”

Results of Operations

Ag Services & Oilseeds results were higher than the third quarter of 2019. Both Ag Services and Crushing saw expanding margins during the quarter, resulting in approximately $155 million in total negative timing effects, which are expected to reverse in the coming quarters.

    Ag Services executed extremely well to capitalize on strong North American industry export margins and volumes. Results were lower in South America, as the pace of Brazilian farmer selling slowed as expected following the aggressive selling in the first half of the year. Global Trade’s continued focus on serving customers contributed significantly to results, as did a $54 million settlement related to 2019 U.S. high water insurance claims. Negative timing impacts of almost $80 million led to lower overall results versus the prior year.

    In Crushing, strong execution in an environment of tighter soybean supplies and solid global demand for meal and oil supported improved execution margins in North and South America, partially offset by lower year-over-year margins in EMEAI. Negative timing impacts of approximately $75 million versus a gain of approximately $50 million recognized in the prior-year quarter led to lower year-over-year results.

    Refined Products and Other delivered significantly higher year-over-year results, driven by improved biodiesel margins around the globe. Packaged oils in South America also contributed.

    Equity earnings from Wilmar were substantially higher versus the prior-year period.

Carbohydrate Solutions results were significantly higher year over year.

    Starches and Sweeteners subsegment results were substantially higher versus the third quarter of 2019. In North America, balanced ethanol industry supply and demand drove improved wet mill ethanol margins versus the prior year. Demand for starches in North America was substantially stronger than earlier in the year, and higher than the prior-year quarter. Reduced food service demand affected sweetener and flour volumes, though retail demand for flour remained solid. Strong risk management and improved net corn costs contributed positively to results. EMEAI delivered improved results on higher demand and reduced manufacturing and raw material costs.

    In Vantage Corn Processors, distribution gains on wet mill ethanol, in addition to significantly improved year-over-year industry ethanol margins, helped to offset fixed costs from the two temporarily idled dry mills, driving higher year-over-year results. Increased volumes and margins of USP-grade industrial alcohol for hand sanitizer also supported improved performance.

Nutrition delivered its fifth consecutive quarter of 20-plus percent year-over-year profit growth.

    Human Nutrition results were substantially higher versus the prior-year quarter, with improved results across the business portfolio. Flavors delivered another exceptional quarter, driven by increased revenue globally and improved mix and margins. Plant-based proteins helped drive a solid performance in Specialty Ingredients. Sales growth in probiotics, along with income from the Spiber fermentation agreement, contributed to strong results in Health & Wellness.

    Animal Nutrition was higher year over year. Continued delivery of Neovia synergies, strength in livestock feed and year-over-year improvement in amino acids were partially offset by softer aquaculture feed demand as well as negative foreign currency impacts.

Other Business results were lower, driven by lower ADM Investor Services earnings and captive insurance underwriting losses, including a $17 million settlement impact for the high water claim with Ag Services & Oilseeds.

AGCO Reports Third Quarter Results, Raises Full-Year Guidance

AGCO, Your Agriculture Company (NYSE: AGCO), a worldwide manufacturer and distributor of agricultural equipment and solutions, reported its results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2020. Net sales for the third quarter were approximately $2.5 billion, an increase of approximately 18.4% compared to the third quarter of 2019. Reported and adjusted net income was $2.09 per share for the third quarter of 2020. These results compare to reported net income of $0.10 per share, and adjusted net income, excluding a non-cash deferred income tax adjustment and restructuring expenses, of $0.82 per share for the third quarter of 2019. Excluding unfavorable currency translation impacts of approximately 1.6%, net sales in the third quarter of 2020 increased approximately 20.0% compared to the third quarter of 2019.

Net sales for the first nine months of 2020 were approximately $6.4 billion, a decrease of approximately 1.5% compared to the same period in 2019. Excluding unfavorable currency translation impacts of approximately 3.1%, net sales for the first nine months of 2020 increased approximately 1.6% compared to the same period in 2019. For the first nine months of 2020, reported net income was $3.86 per share, and adjusted net income, excluding a non-cash impairment charge and restructuring expenses was $4.06 per share. These results compare to reported net income of $2.77 per share, and adjusted net income, excluding a non-cash deferred income tax adjustment and restructuring expenses, of $3.50 per share for the first nine months of 2019.

Third Quarter Highlights
    Reported regional sales results: Europe/Middle East (“EME”) 22.7%, North America 8.6%, South America 14.4%, Asia/Pacific/Africa (“APA”) 25.2%
    Constant currency regional sales results : EME 18.9%, North America 9.1%, South America 48.5%, APA 21.3%
    Regional operating margin performance: EME 13.3%, North America 10.0%, South America 6.1%, APA 10.1%
    Year-to-date free cash flow increased over $309 million from the first nine months of 2019
    Funding position improved with net debt below September 2019 levels
    Raised full-year outlook for net sales and net income per share

“AGCO’s third quarter results were highlighted by sales growth and margin expansion across all regions,” stated Martin Richenhagen, AGCO’s Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. "Our focused operational performance allowed us to ramp up production and recover from supply chain interruptions experienced in the second quarter. During the third quarter, we made significant progress towards fulfilling our strong order board while reducing dealer and company inventory levels. We have strong order boards heading into the fourth quarter, however, we still face a demanding environment to manage our manufacturing, supply chain and aftermarket operations. I would like to thank all our employees again for their extraordinary efforts to support our dealers and customers under these challenging conditions. AGCO is also maintaining its planned funding levels supporting premium technology, smart farming solutions and enhanced digital capabilities in 2020. These investments are delivering new features and functionality across our product portfolio which positions us to improve our global market position and profitably grow our business.”

“Harvests are progressing ahead of schedule in the northern hemisphere and global crop production is on track for a record year despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” continued Mr. Richenhagen. “Global grain consumption is recovering, consistent with improving economic activities and increased grain exports to China. Following reduced forecasts for ending grain inventories, soft commodity prices have risen in the third quarter, which is positive for farm economics.”

“Global industry demand for farm equipment is now expected to be relatively flat in 2020 versus 2019 with improved demand in North and South America offsetting lower demand in Europe,” continued Mr. Richenhagen. “Industry retail tractor sales in North America increased in the first nine months of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. Growth in the sales of low horsepower tractors was partially offset by weaker industry demand for high horsepower tractors. The fleet age for large equipment remains extended as replacement demand continues to be deferred in the North American market. Industry retail sales in Western Europe decreased in the first nine months of 2020 due primarily to COVID-19 related production constraints. Market demand was weakest in the United Kingdom, France and Spain, and was partially offset by growth in Germany which has benefited from tax incentives during 2020. The negative impact of lower wheat harvests across most of Western Europe was mostly offset by stronger grain export demand and supportive wheat prices. European dairy and livestock fundamentals have stabilized after weakening earlier in the year. South America industry retail tractor sales increased during the first nine months of 2020, with growth in Brazil and Argentina partially offset by weaker demand in the smaller South America markets. Strong crop production in Brazil and Argentina, as well as favorable exchange rates are supporting positive economics. Farmers are replacing their aged fleet following years of soft demand due to economic weakness and challenging political environments.”

Monday November 2 Ag News


For the week ending November 1, 2020, there were 4.9 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 27% very short, 41% short, 31% adequate, and 1% surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 29% very short, 37% short, 33% adequate, and 1% surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn harvested was 86%, well ahead of 55% last year and 63% for the five-year average.

Winter wheat condition rated 5% very poor, 17% poor, 37% fair, 37% good, and 4% excellent. Winter wheat emerged was 89%, behind 96% last year and 94% average.

Sorghum harvested was 92%, well ahead of 50% last year and 65% average.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 18% very poor, 22% poor, 26% fair, 33% good, and 1% excellent.


Rain and snow early in the week along with cooler temperatures limited Iowa farmers to 5.3 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending November 1, 2020, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Fieldwork activities reported included harvesting corn and soybeans, baling corn stalks, applying fertilizer and manure, moving grain to town and tillage.

Topsoil moisture condition rated 13% very short, 28% short, 58% adequate and 1% surplus. Subsoil moisture condition rated 19% very short, 34% short, 46% adequate and 1% surplus.

Only 13% of Iowa’s corn for grain crop remains to be harvested, over 3 weeks ahead of last year and 13 days ahead of the 5-year average. Statewide, the moisture content of field corn being harvested for grain fell 1 percentage point to 15%. Farmers in northwest, north central and west central Iowa have less than 10% of their corn for grain remaining to be harvested while farmers in south central Iowa still have over 30% to be harvested.

Only 3% of Iowa’s soybean crop remains to be harvested, just over 3 weeks ahead of last year and 2 weeks ahead of average. Farmers in northwest, north central and west central Iowa have few fields left to harvest with 1% or less of their soybeans remaining. In contrast, farmers in the southern one-third of the state have 9-10% of their soybeans left to be harvested.

Livestock producers continue to allow cattle to graze on corn stalks.

USDA reports soybeans 87% harvested; corn 82% harvested this week

The pace of harvest slowed again nationwide last week, but progress for both the corn and soybean harvest remained ahead of normal, according to the USDA NASS weekly Crop Progress report released on Monday.

Corn harvest moved ahead 10 percentage points last week to reach 82% complete as of Sunday, Nov. 1, still 13 percentage points ahead of the five-year average of 69%.

Meanwhile, soybean harvest slowed to a crawl last week, moving ahead just 4 percentage points to reach 87% complete as of Sunday. That puts this year's current harvest progress at just 4 percentage points ahead of the five-year average of 83%.

Winter wheat planting also slowed again last week, moving ahead just 4 percentage points to reach 89% as of Sunday. That is 3 percentage points ahead of the five-year average of 86%. An estimated 71% of winter wheat had emerged, 1 percentage point ahead of the five-year average of 70%.  The condition of the winter wheat crop was estimated at 43% good to excellent, up 2 percentage points from 41% the previous week but down from 57% a year ago.


Extension landlord-tenant cash rent workshops scheduled statewide

Nebraska Extension’s Farm and Ranch Management team has scheduled a series of landlord-tenant cash rent workshops across the state during the fall and winter months. The series, geared toward current and future landlords and tenants, will cover current trends in cash rental rates and land values, lease provisions, crop and grazing land considerations and current university crop budget information.

The workshops, “Ag Land Leasing, Budgeting and Management for 2021”, will be led by extension land specialists Allan Vyhnalek, Austin Duerfeldt, Glennis McClure and Jim Jansen, who conduct research and outreach in land management, crop budgets, farm and ranch succession, communication and negotiations. They will address common agricultural landlord and tenant topics, including equitable rental rates, managing and adjusting farmland leases, landlord-tenant communication, pasture leasing and other land management considerations.  

“Landlords and tenants often face land management questions and decisions,” Vyhnalek said.

“Both are concerned with equitable treatment of the other party and it can be difficult to keep up with the current trends. These workshops will provide participants with up-to-date information and discuss current issues to assist with decision-making.”

The workshops are free to attend. Due to COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings, pre-registration is required with the local county extension office by one day prior to each meeting. Many locations will have attendance limits to ensure social distancing requirements are met and meetings are subject to change or cancellation if local guidelines change.  

Information on the landlord-tenant workshops and registration details will be available at

Additional workshop on UNL crop budgets and new ag budget calculator to be held at five locations

Following the morning landlord-tenant cash rent workshops at select locations, landlords and producers are invited to attend a 90-minute workshop, starting at 1:30 p.m. at the same meeting site, to learn more about calculating the cost of production for crop enterprises. The additional workshop session will introduce participants to the new web-based Ag Budget Calculator (ABC) program, developed in the university’s Department of Agricultural Economics.

This workshop will be held at meeting locations in Saunders County (Nov. 24), Lincoln (Dec. 14), Grand Island (Jan. 12), Beatrice (Jan. 15) and Wilber (Jan. 18).

This session will demonstrate to attendees the new online cost-of-production calculator. Participants can follow along with examples of financial entries necessary to determine production costs per acre or unit, total expenses and projected net returns on a per-acre and unit basis. Attendees may bring their laptop computer to the session and utilize the program to gain hands-on experience. The ABC program will be available for attendees to continue using after the session and provide feedback on the tool.

This workshop is free to attend, but pre-registration is required. Please register when signing up for the landlord-tenant cash rent workshop through the local county extension office hosting the meeting.  

Full schedule:
    Nov. 23, 9 a.m. — Auburn (Nemaha County Fairgrounds 4-H Building, 816 I St.) Registration: 402-274-4755
    Nov. 24, 9 a.m. — Saunders County (Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center, 1071 County Road G, Ithaca) (Crop Budgeting workshop to be held at 1:30 p.m.) Registration: 402-624-8030

    Dec. 3, 1 p.m. — O’Neill (Holt County Extension Office, 128 N. 6th St., Suite 100) Registration: 402-336-2760
    Dec. 4, 9 a.m. — Ainsworth (Zion Lutheran Church, 318 E. 4th St.) Registration: 402-387-2213
    Dec. 7, 1 p.m. — St. Paul (Community Library, 1301 Howard Ave.) Registration: 308-754-5423
    Dec. 14, 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. — Lincoln (Lancaster County Extension Office, 444 Cherrycreek Road) (Crop Budgeting workshop to be held at 1:30 p.m.) Registration: 402-441-7180
    Dec. 16, 9 a.m. — North Platte (West Central Research and Extension Center, 402 W. State Farm Road) Registration: 308-532-2683
    Dec. 17, 9 a.m. — Bridgeport (Prairie Winds Community Center, 428 N. Main St.) Registration: 308-632-1230
    Dec. 17, 1:30 p.m. — Chadron (Chadron State College Student Center, 400 E. 12th St.) Registration: 308-632-1230

    Jan. 7,  1 p.m. — Wayne (Fire Hall, 510 Tomar Drive) Registration: 402-375-3310
    Jan. 8, 9 a.m. — Norfolk (Madison County Extension Office, 1305 S. 13th St.) Registration: 402-370-4040
    Jan. 11, 1 p.m. — Ord (Valley County Extension Office, 801 S St.) Registration: 308-728-5071
    Jan. 12, 9 a.m. — Grand Island (Hall County Extension Office, 3180 W. Highway 34)(Crop Budgeting workshop to be held at 1:30 p.m.) Registration: 308-385-5088.
    Jan. 13, 9 a.m. — Lexington (Dawson County Extension Office, 1002 Plum Creek Parkway) Registration: 308-324-5501
    Jan. 15, 9 a.m. — Beatrice (Gage County Extension Office, 1115 W. Scott St.) (Crop Budgeting workshop to be held at 1:30 p.m.) Registration: 402-223-1384
    Jan. 19, 9 a.m. — Wilber (Saline County Extension Office, 306 W. Third St.) (Crop Budgeting workshop to be held at 1:30 p.m.) Registration: 402-821-2151
    Jan. 20, 9 a.m. — Wilber (Saline County Extension Office, 306 W. Third St.) Registration: 402-821-2151

    Feb. 17, 9 a.m. — Hastings (Adams County Fairgrounds, 947 S. Baltimore Ave.) Registration: 402-461-7209

Information on the budgeting workshop is available at Questions may be directed to Glennis McClure, extension educator, at 402-472-0661 or  

2020 Nebraska Farm Bureau Silver Eagle Award Honors Stan Garbacz a Strong Supporter of International Trade

Nebraska Farm Bureau has selected Stan Garbacz as the 2020 recipient of its highest honor, the Silver Eagle Award. He served 40 years in the Nebraska Department of Agriculture as Nebraska’s Agricultural Trade Representative — a position that emphasizes international market development for agricultural products grown in Nebraska.

“Stan Garbacz’s life work has been to promote Nebraska agricultural products on an international stage,” said Steve Nelson, president of Nebraska Farm Bureau. “He has promoted Nebraska agricultural products to international markets resulting in billions of dollars in state revenue and improved nutrition for thousands of people. Stan has built relationships with hundreds of Nebraska farmers, ranchers, businesses, and government officials, traveling more than 100,000 air miles annually to more than 40 countries to help expand and sustain Nebraska’s agricultural markets.”  

Garbacz graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1975 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in finance and marketing. He is a 1971 graduate of Lincoln’s Pius X High School. In 1989, he was a member of the Nebraska Leadership, Education, Action Development Program (LEAD), a two-year program involving both national and international travel studies. LEAD has helped develop future agricultural leaders, such as Garbacz. He was drawn to international events because his parents emigrated from Poland in 1949.

“His relationships all over the world have benefited Nebraskans for many years. I know of no one more dedicated to increasing the sale of Nebraska products internationally, and he has been very effective at it. Even after his retirement from the Department of Agriculture, he continues to support Nebraska farmers and ranchers in the international trade arena working as the past Interim Director for Global Engagement of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources (UNL/IANR), and currently as the Special Assistant to Michael Boehm, vice chancellor for the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the International Trade Consultant with the Nebraska Secretary of State’s international trade team,” Nelson said.

Garbacz has received multiple honors like the James A. Graham Award for Outstanding Service to Agriculture from the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture in 2014; the Lifetime Service Award from the Nebraska Cattlemen in 2018; and the Distinguished Alumni Award from Pius X High School in 2019.

“Stan has been passionate, dedicated, determined, and devoted to promoting Nebraska’s agricultural products on the international market. He has demonstrated outstanding leadership, provided exemplary service to Nebraska agriculture; his years of accomplishments makes him more than qualified to receive Nebraska Farm Bureau’s highest honor, the Silver Eagle Award. We thank him for his service to Nebraska agriculture and the farmers and ranchers of our state,” Nelson said.

Stan and his wife, Mary, live in Lincoln and have three children, Andy, Betsy, and Angela, and two grandchildren and expect their third grandchild in December.

WashCo Feed & Supply Celebrates 2020 Purina® Check-R-Board® Days

WashCo Feed & Supply, a Purina® Certified Expert Dealer, is announcing their 2020 Purina® Check-R-Board® Days, a customer appreciation event. Stop by WashCo Feed & Supply located at 217 North 10th Street in Blair, NE from November 1st through November 30th for lots of great specials and giveaways throughout the month.
Customers will also have the opportunity to enter the national 2020 Purina® Check-R-Board® Days. Sweepstakes for their chance to win a 2020 Polaris® Ranger 500 Utility Vehicle, a Trip-for-Two to the Purina® Animal Nutrition Center for a VIP Customer Experience, or a Feed Greatness® Orion® 65 Cooler. *See store for official rules.
“We are proud to serve the residents of our community and thank them for their continued loyalty,” Steve Probst, Owner. “We invite everyone to come and celebrate our 2020 Purina® Check-R-Board® Days with us!”

Clean Diesel Rebate Applications Accepted Through January 22, 2021

The Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy’s 2020 Clean Diesel Rebate Program is now accepting applications for two types of rebate – local diesel truck replacements and agricultural irrigation pump diesel engine replacements. Applications must be submitted to NDEE by January 22, 2021 to be considered.

NDEE established the Nebraska Clean Diesel Program in 2008 to distribute funding received from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the purpose of reducing diesel emissions and improving air quality in the state.

The number of rebates offered in each category listed below may be subject to change, depending on the number of applications received in each category. Rebates will be offered for:

Local Diesel Truck Replacements – Funding will assist with the early replacement of diesel trucks with new, cleaner trucks.  Trucks eligible for replacement are heavy-duty diesel refuse trucks and medium to heavy-duty diesel trucks used in local construction, delivery, or maintenance operations. The new trucks may be powered by diesel engines or by Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) engines that comply with stricter nitrogen oxide emission standards. NDEE will reimburse 35% of the cost of a new CNG-fueled truck up to a maximum of $120,000, or 25% of the cost of a new diesel truck up to a maximum of $70,000. NDEE anticipates funding replacement of five.  Individual applicants may apply for a rebate for up to two trucks.

Agricultural Irrigation Pump Diesel Engine Replacement - Funding will assist farmers with the replacement of irrigation pump diesel engines with electric equipment. Diesel engines may be replaced with an electric motor to power a surface pump or by connecting an existing submersible pump directly to the electric grid. NDEE will reimburse 60% of the cost of the electrical equipment, installation, and required electric line extension up to a maximum of $20,000. NDEE anticipates funding 20 irrigation engine rebates.

·         To be eligible, the existing diesel irrigation engine must have engine horsepower and model year within the ranges specified below:
0-50 HP - 2006 and Newer, Unregulated – Tier 2
51-300 HP - 1996 and Newer, Tier 0 – Tier 3
301+ HP - 1986 and Newer, Tier 0 – Tier 3

·         The diesel engine must be in operating condition and have historical operations of at least 250 hours per year over the past three years.  A pre-replacement inspection may be made to verify the engine condition.

·         The diesel engine must have a legible serial number stamped into the block or listed on an engine data tag affixed to the engine.

More information about the Nebraska Clean Diesel Rebate Program, including rebate applications, can be found at NDEE’s Clean Diesel Program webpage:

ICA to Host Cattle Marketing Meetings Across the State

The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association has been keenly focused on price discovery, market transparency, and producer leverage for nearly a decade, but even more so within the last year due to extreme market disruptions. As the definitive voice of Iowa’s beef business, ICA has prominently led the development of solutions to address cattle marketing concerns. “Producers from each sector in the beef cattle industry rely on price discovery and transparency. We need more information to help us better negotiate marketing agreements with buyers,” said Matt Deppe, CEO of ICA.

In November, ICA will host 10 cattle marketing meetings across the state to provide important updates to producers and solicit grassroots input to help shape the discussion in the coming months. Join ICA’s herd to build better opportunities for Iowa’s cattle producers. Cattle marketing meetings will be held at the following locations:
    November 10, 7 p.m. at Tama Livestock Market, Tama, IA
    November 11, 10 a.m. at Plymouth County ISU Extension & Outreach, LeMars, IA
    November 11, 7 p.m. at Spencer Livestock Sales, Spencer, IA
    November 11, 7 p.m. at Decorah Sales Commission, Decorah, IA
    November 12, 10 a.m. at Brickyard Bistro, Sheffield, IA
    November 12, 10 a.m. at Humeston Livestock Exchange, Humeston, IA
    November 12, 7 p.m. at Keosauqua Sales Company, Keosauqua, IA
    November 19, 10 a.m. at Dunlap Livestock Market, Dunlap, IA
    November 19, 7 p.m. at Creston Livestock Auction, Creston, IA

    November 19, 7 p.m. at R Land & Cattle, LLC, Cascade, IA

Members of the ICA staff and board of directors will lead discussions centered on cattle market reform, to include: the Grassley-Tester 50/14 bill, the Cattle Marketing Transparency Act of 2020, and NCBA’s voluntary proposal.

“ICA is the voice of the independent cattle producer, not just in Iowa, but nationally. Your membership will make our voice louder. Join us and help be part of change,” said Brad Kooima, ICA Feedlot Council member.

For more information, contact the ICA Membership Staff, Tanner Lawton at; Lane Eads at; or Jennifer Carrico at

Insuring Pastures

Matthew Diersen, Risk & Business Management Specialist, South Dakota State University

The deadline to purchase or change Pasture, Rangeland, Forage – Rainfall Index (PRF-RI) insurance is quickly approaching. The deadline is November 15, 2020 to purchase PRF-RI for calendar year 2021. A producer selects the grid they want to insure. Indemnity payments are computed if the rainfall falls short of the insured level. The indemnity payments can be used to offset the related loss of forage production. At times the product may not work perfectly, but the goal for the insured is long-run viability.

In the 2017 Census of Agriculture, there were 400.8 million acres in permanent pasture, 13.8 million acres of pastured cropland, and 56.9 million acres of forage in the U.S. Most of those acres would be eligible to be insured using PRF-RI. Covered acres have increased from 54.7 million acres in 2015 to 159.9 million acres in 2020. The product is popular on rangeland in the Southwest U.S. Arizona led the nation with 30.0 million covered acres, followed by Texas, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah. Different metrics are also instructive. Texas lead with policies sold and total liabilities (dollars of coverage bought). Cow-calf states, such as Missouri, South Dakota, Kansas, and Oklahoma round out the top-five states based on policies sold. Florida enters the top five if ranking states by liabilities. Regardless of the ranking criteria, these states share exposure to forage production risk.

PRF-RI can cover grazing or haying with county base levels that make up the price election level. Grazing tends to be more common. If a county base is higher or lower than a producer's expected forage costs, the insurance can be adjusted using a productivity index. The insurance premium is subsidized, similar to other crops. The subsidy ranges from 51 percent of the premium for the highest coverage level of 90 percent down to 59 percent for the lowest coverage level of 70 percent. That means the producer's actual cost declines as they go with lower election levels – giving an incentive to purchase something versus nothing.

The on-going wicked aspect of the coverage is the need to select among two-month intervals to insure. Approaches vary when faced with the decision: some producers spread coverage across months to match when they use the forage, others load the coverage when moisture is most important for forage growth, and some spread out the coverage to increase the frequency of collecting. The subsidy, while attractive, can distract from solid choices. For example, the indemnity level (what is paid out) has exceeded the producers' portion of the premium for every year PRF-RI has been offered at the national level. In aggregate, the coverage pays off. However, that is not the case at the state or local levels. Staying with the coverage over time increases the chance of collecting. It may be challenging to rationalize some intervals, such as the latter months of the calendar year in the northern plains. These months also tend to have higher premium levels and lower frequencies of paying out indemnities than other intervals.

Industry Feedyard Audit Tool Now Available

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) is announcing the release of a comprehensive industry feedyard audit tool. The Cattle Industry Feedyard Audit will serve as a standardized audit tool based on the sound science and common sense established in the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program. Though the audit tool is owned by NCBA, auditing of feedyards will only be conducted through business-to-business activity within the cattle industry. NCBA will be maintaining the tool with updates as science dictates.

To ensure consistency and integrity in auditing the Cattle Industry Feedyard Audit tool has been certified through the Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization (PAACO). PAACO provides training and screens all potential auditors for qualifications including education and industry knowledge. NCBA will assist with the PAACO training process to ensure all auditors are adequately trained. NCBA will not be conducting any audits. More information about PAACO can be found on their website

The Cattle Industry Feedyard Audit was built based on BQA principles and includes key standards of animal care that are directly related to animal health and welfare that contribute to a safe beef supply. There are two major components of this complete audit tool: review of documents and feedyard observations. Auditors will review documented protocols, records, and potentially conduct employee interviews to verify protocols are being followed. Auditors will also conduct observations of pens, handling facilities, and animal observations both in pens and during processing.

Results from the audit can provide information back to the feedyard to drive improvement and measure the effectiveness of the operation’s implementation of BQA standards. Upon completion, it will also certify that participating feedlots adhere to industry best practices and provide an increased level of transparency for beef customers and consumers.

The audit tool is a product of a multiyear process that began in 2017 with NCBA’s Cattle Health and Well-being (CHWB) committee appointing a taskforce to investigate the feasibility of developing such an audit. Finding the need for a uniform industrywide audit tool, the CHWB committee assigned a task force of beef industry stakeholders to develop a workable and credible industry feedyard audit tool that would level the playing field and serve as a foundation for the industry’s feedyard operators. This group of diverse industry stakeholders, including feedyard owners and managers, veterinarians, animal scientists, packers, extension agents, BQA educators and trade association representatives, worked to develop the end product released today.

“I want to thank the many volunteer leaders who worked for several years with NCBA staff to develop this valuable tool for the industry,” said Dr. Dale Grotelueschen, co-chair of the working group. “This is an important step for continuing the momentum of added transparency in the supply chain.” For more information and to view the audit tool, visit

NPPC Petition Leads to U.S. Trade Sanctions Against Thailand

The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) today announced it is suspending $817 million in trade preferences for Thailand under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program because the country hasn’t made sufficient progress providing the United States with “equitable and reasonable market access” for pork products. The decision follows a 2018 petition by the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) asking the USTR to review Thailand’s eligibility for the GSP program, one that offers duty-free treatment to certain goods entering the United States.

“For years, Thailand has taken full advantage of special U.S. trade benefits, while imposing a completely unjustified de facto ban on U.S. pork. This is hardly a reciprocal trading relationship,” said NPPC President Howard “AV” Roth, a hog farmer from Wauzeka, Wisconsin. “We thank the administration for taking this action and hope it results in fair access to the Thai market for U.S. hog farmers.”

The United States is Thailand’s number one export market, with almost $4 billion of products annually sent to America under the GSP. Yet Thailand maintains a de facto ban on U.S. pork imports through high tariffs and several non-tariffs barriers. Thailand does not accept uncooked pork and pork offal from the United States, and it rarely, if ever, grants import licenses for U.S. pork. Even if such permits are granted, Thailand imposes a fee for imported pork equal to about $220 per metric ton compared with $7.50 per metric ton for domestically produced pork.
While the United States ships high-quality, safe and affordable pork to more than 100 countries annually, unjustified restrictions have kept U.S. pork locked out of Thailand’s large market.

USDA Sept '20 Grain Crushings and Co-Products Production Highlights

Total corn consumed for alcohol and other uses was 450 million bushels in September 2020. Total corn consumption was down 3 percent from August 2020 and down 1 percent from September 2019. September 2020 usage included 91.4 percent for alcohol and 8.6 percent for other purposes. Corn consumed for beverage alcohol totaled 3.86 million bushels, up 21 percent from August 2020 and up 17 percent from September 2019. Corn for fuel alcohol, at 401 million bushels, was down 2 percent from August 2020 and down 1 percent from September 2019. Corn consumed in September 2020 for dry milling fuel production and wet milling fuel production was 90.0 percent and 10.0 percent, respectively.

Dry mill co-product production of distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) was 1.73 million tons during September 2020, down 4 percent from August 2020 and down 3 percent from September 2019. Distillers wet grains (DWG) 65 percent or more moisture was 961,695 tons in September 2020, up 4 percent from August 2020 but down 21 percent from September 2019.

Wet mill corn gluten feed production was 284,409 tons during September 2020, up 9 percent from August 2020 but down 2 percent from September 2019. Wet corn gluten feed 40 to 60 percent moisture was 251,199 tons in September 2020, down less than 1 percent from August 2020 but up 20 percent from September 2019.

SOYBEANS: Soybeans crushed for crude oil was 5.13 million tons (171 million bushels) in September 2020, compared with 5.24 million tons (175 million bushels) in August 2020 and 4.87 million tons (162 million bushels) in September 2019. Crude oil produced was 1.97 billion pounds down 2 percent from August 2020 but up 4 percent from September 2019. Soybean once refined oil production at 1.50 billion pounds during September 2020 decreased 4 percent from August 2020 but increased 6 percent from September 2019.

USDA Sept '20 Flour Milling Highlights

All wheat ground for flour during the third quarter 2020 was 234 million bushels, up 7 percent from the second quarter 2020 grind of 219 million bushels and up 1 percent from the third quarter 2019 grind of 232 million bushels. Third quarter 2020 total flour production was 109 million hundredweight, up 6 percent from the second quarter 2020 and up 2 percent from the third quarter 2019. Whole wheat flour production at 4.91 million hundredweight during the third quarter 2020 accounted for 5 percent of the total flour production. Millfeed production from wheat in the third quarter 2020 was 1.68 million tons. The daily 24-hour milling capacity of wheat flour during the third quarter 2020 was 1.60 million hundredweight.

DMC Yields Payment for September


The monthly Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program milk price-feed cost margin for September was $9.40/cwt, which will result in payments of ten cents per hundredweight to producers who have DMC coverage at the $9.50/cwt level this year.

The September margin was $1.43/cwt lower than the August margin, resulting from a $0.90/cwt lower milk price and a $0.53/cwt higher feed cost. The September feed-cost increase, which followed mostly small but steady declines every month since March, was the largest one-month increase in the DMC feed cost since May 2016.

Higher corn and soybean meal costs helped drive the lower margins; meanwhile, a premium for high-quality alfalfa used in dairy, which NMPF in 2019 successfully advocated for inclusion in the DMC formula, contributed 14 cents more to the feed-cost calculation than would have been included under the previous Margin Protection Program, which didn’t account for high-quality alfalfa. That amount covers the entirety of the actual assistance producers will receive for September, making the advocacy win on alfalfa feed a key reason behind the payment.

The USDA-sponsored DMC Decision Tool is currently anticipating the DMC margin will rebound above the $9.50/cwt level during the remaining months of 2020 and through January next year, but then fall back below this level through at least next August.

Signup for the DMC program for 2021 coverage began October 12 and will run through December 11, 2020. Enrolling in the program for next year at the $9.50/cwt level for the first 5 million pounds of production history is strongly recommended for those operations not already signed up under the previous multi-year enrollment option.

CWT-Assisted Sales Move the Equivalent of 788.6 Million Pounds of Milk Overseas

Through August 2020, CWT member cooperatives have shipped dairy products equivalent to 788.6 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis. This includes 28.5 million pounds of American-type cheese accounting for 55% of U.S. exports; 9.3 million pounds of butter, 59% of U.S. exports; 35.9 million pounds of whole milk powder, 74% of U.S. exports; 5.7 million pounds of cream cheese; and 340,597 pounds of anhydrous milkfat, 12% of U.S. exports.

Adding to the product volumes already shipped will be the 20 sales contracts CWT assisted member cooperatives in securing in October. These include 456,357 pounds of American-type cheese, 1.5 million pounds of butter, 7.9 million pounds of whole milk powder, and 37,479 pounds of cream cheese. The products will be going to customers in Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, Central America, Oceania and South America and will be shipped to 18 customers in 9 countries during the months of October 2020 through March 2021.

The October contracts bring the year-to-date export sales CWT is helping members move overseas to 86.6 million pounds, including 26.5 million pounds of America-type cheeses, 9.4 million pounds of butter, 2 pounds of anhydrous milkfat (AMF), 42.8 million pounds of whole milk powder and 5.9 million pounds of cream cheese. The milk equivalent of these sales is 868.7 million pounds on a milkfat basis.

Land O'Lakes, Inc. reports $54 million year-over-year quarterly earnings increase

Land O’Lakes, Inc. today reported net sales of $2.9 billion and net earnings of $66 million for the third quarter ending September 30, 2020, compared with net sales of $3.0 billion and net earnings of $12 million during the third quarter of 2019.  Every business unit performed better this quarter than in the previous year.  Year-to-date net sales totaled $10.3 billion with net earnings of $184 million compared to net sales of $10.3 billion and net earnings of $151 million during the same period in the prior year.

“I am grateful for the engagement, agility and commitment of the Land O’Lakes team that delivered remarkable performance in the face of the most rapidly changing market dynamics in recent memory,” said Beth Ford, president and CEO of Land O’Lakes, Inc. “While the health and safety of our employees and members remains our first priority, strong performance like this enables us to innovate and expand beyond the traditional boundaries of food and ag.”

Earnings improved by $54 million in the third quarter due to strong performance across the portfolio.  Dairy Foods earnings were higher due to continued strength in Retail, which more than offset lower volumes in Foodservice and commodity market volatility due to impacts of COVID-19.  Animal Nutrition earnings improved due to higher sales and favorable product mix in our Lifestyle segment. Crop Inputs earnings were also higher for the quarter due to improved Seed performance, lower working capital resulting in lower debt financing costs and other targeted cost reductions. Ending liquidity was $847 million, up 70% from prior year levels.

RFA Urges Low-Carbon/Clean Fuel Standard for Colorado Emissions Reduction

The internal combustion engine is “far from dead—the fuel just needs to be changed” with a low-carbon or clean fuel standard that can help Colorado slash greenhouse gas pollution, the Renewable Fuels Association told the Colorado Energy Office after it released a draft roadmap toward GHG pollution reduction.

“A properly designed, fuel neutral, LCFS or Clean Fuel Standard encourages GHG reductions via market forces,” RFA Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Kelly Davis wrote in comments submitted Friday. “LCFS/CFS programs are already in effect in California, Oregon and British Columbia, and have been discussed in other parts of the U.S., including Washington, New York and the upper Midwest. A science-based standard can drive technological innovation, stimulate investment in clean energy, reduce climate change emissions from the transportation sector, and decrease fossil fuel consumption.”

Davis also noted these programs “enable an increasingly diverse fuel supply, thus creating competition, encouraging innovation and developing greater market opportunities while improving air quality.”

Updated Buyer’s Guides Provides Poultry Customers Around the World Information on the Value of American Poultry Products

The poultry industry alone consumes over 1,200 million bushels of corn, making our feathered friends the largest consumer of corn grain within the animal agriculture sector. As the top export product by volume for the U.S. meat market, it’s no surprise that poultry exports add $0.28 of value per corn bushel, equating to $4.1 billion in revenue.

“The USA Poultry and Egg Export Council (USAPEEC) is excited to announce that our new and improved buyer’s guides have officially launched,” says Shelby Watson, USAPEEC Manager of Allied Industry Relations. “NCGA’s initiative to update our buyer’s guides came just in time as the Covid-19 pandemic rocked the world and highlighted the need for updated digital resources. The existing guides for chicken, turkey, and eggs were PDF resources, originally designed in 1996, detailing U.S. poultry product offerings and have been used at almost all of our trade and marketing activities to ease the buying process for our foreign buyers around the world. With products as diverse as their buyers, an effort was made to facilitate the buying process by describing the products, safety, and sustainability behind uncooked and prepared poultry products through the series of USAPEEC Buyer Guides.”

The Market Development Action Team approved funding to collaborate with USAPEEC to update the previously existing buyer guides. The funding updated the chicken, turkey, and egg buyer guides and is available on both computer and mobile-enabled browsers. Best of all, through the power of Google Translate, the webpages will be automatically translated into native languages around the world, helping to better serve our industry’s diverse customers.  

“This ongoing project has been a great testimonial to the power of relationships across the industry,” says corn grower Mike Beard, President of the Indiana Corn Marketing Council and Vice President of the Indiana Corn Growers Association. “We know that our product is a great feedstuff for poultry diets because it’s low in fiber, making it the easiest grain product for poultry to digest. With so much of our product going to the poultry houses across the country, it’s important that we support that customer and demand segment while continuing to build upon our relationship with USAPEEC.”

Beard also serves as the USAPEEC Executive Committee Commodity Member-at-Large as well as a member of the Market Development Action Team within NCGA.

“With the support of NCGA and USB, the new and much-improved buyer’s guides are chocked full of information that can be accessed by importers around the world, 24/7,” Watson added. “We specifically placed a call to action in the design, encouraging importers to submit a trade lead right from the guide. These will be crucial resources for the U.S. poultry industry as this pandemic shapes the global economy and international business. We are grateful for this collaboration with our partners at NCGA and are proud to highlight the sustainability of U.S. corn. We are confident that these guides will be used as a platform not only to boast the high-quality of U.S. poultry and eggs but U.S. corn and soybean meal as well.”

Bipartisan Congressional Letter Calls for Stronger U.S. Approach to Preserving Common Food and Wine Terms

A coalition of leading farm and agricultural groups are applauding a bipartisan letter sent today by 111 members of Congress urging stronger protections for American-made food and wine exports using common terms. This is an important message regarding the need for enhanced U.S. efforts to combat the European Union’s (EU) attempts to ban U.S. exports of cheese, meat and wine products that are labeled with common terms – such as parmesan, bologna or chateau.

“Congress has spoken loudly; it is time for stronger action by the U.S. government. For far too long, Europe has used unjustified trade barriers to block competition from high-quality American-made cheese, meat and wine exports. Europe is undermining global trade rules and weakening intellectual property system protections internationally. Today’s letter is an important reminder that we must raise the bar in our efforts in order to prevail in creating agricultural trade policy that works for the world, not just the European Union,” said Jaime Castaneda, Executive Director of Consortium for Common Food Names.

The letter asks the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to make safeguarding common food and wine terms a core policy objective in all current and future trade negotiations. The effort was led by Reps. Jim Costa (D-CA), Jodey Arrington (R-TX), Angie Craig (D-MN), Dusty Johnson (R-SD), Ron Kind (D-WI), Mike Gallagher (R-WI), Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) and Mike Kelly (R-PA).

“The EU’s ban on common cheese terms has already impeded U.S. dairy exports but even more severe consequences for our industry lie ahead if the EU is allowed to continue these unfair trade practices. Preserving export opportunities for American-made cheeses and other products labeled with common terms must take priority in all future trade negotiations. I applaud Congress and the leaders of this effort for setting this important precedent in defense of American-made exports,” said Tom Vilsack, president and CEO of U.S. Dairy Export Council.

“Creating false barriers to block exports denies families around the world the high-quality food America’s farmers and ranchers produce. It’s trade manipulation. We applaud the U.S. government for its efforts to remove unfair trade practices that keep our nation from competing in the global marketplace,” said American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall.  

“The European Union has for too long unjustifiably and erroneously attempted to restrict trade in common food name products, including meat exports from the U.S. The policy advocated in the bipartisan letter sent today to USDA and USTR will advance critical safeguards for common food name products in international trade and will enable America’s meat and poultry packers and processors, agricultural producers and food manufacturers to compete on a level playing field with their counterparts in the EU. We thank members of Congress for their leadership, and we stand ready to work with the Administration to defend against anti-competitive and protectionist policies pursued by trading partners that serve only to impede U.S. meat and poultry exports,” said Julie Anna Potts, CEO of the North American Meat Institute.  

"NASDA Members work tirelessly with the federal government to open new doors for agricultural producers around the world. We encourage the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to amplify the importance of common food and wine terms as a core policy objective to successful free trade negotiations in the future. Doing so will ensure consumers are able to access the full bounties of our farmers and ranchers around the world,” said National Association of State Departments of Agriculture CEO Dr. Barb Glenn.

“America’s dairy farmers have been unduly harmed by the EU’s efforts to limit market opportunities for U.S. dairy products. For years, the EU has sought to ban high-quality American-made cheeses, putting U.S. dairy jobs at risk and limiting economic growth in the rural communities that rely on a healthy dairy industry. I appreciate the important work being done by Congress to ensure that U.S. trade negotiators must have all necessary tools at their disposal to fight back against the EU’s destructive agenda,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of National Milk Producers Federation.   

“We have watched time and again as the EU has gone well beyond protecting legitimate GIs to erect trade barriers that benefit their own producers at our expense. The recent EU-China agreement on GIs is a perfect example of how the EU abuses GIs for their own gain. The U.S. must do more to ensure a level playing field for common food names, grape varietal names and traditional terms and we are grateful to these Representatives for supporting this effort,” said Bobby Koch, President and CEO of Wine Institute.  

In July, 61 Senators sent a similar letter requesting that the U.S. government enhance protections for common food and wine terms.

Friday October 30 Ag News

 Extension webinar to focus on ag lending trends, outlook

A Nebraska Extension webinar on Thursday Nov. 5 at noon will feature a panel of representatives from agricultural lending institutions in Nebraska discussing how the economic uncertainty in 2020 has impacted their businesses and customers across the state.

With wide swings in the stock market, employment, GDP and other economic indicators, 2020 may be one of the most volatile years since the Great Depression. The webinar will focus on how farm lending has changed in 2020 and what agricultural lenders who provide credit to Nebraska producers anticipate going forward

It will be moderated by Jeffrey R. Stokes, Hanson-Clegg-Allen Chair in Ag Banking and Finance in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Department of Agricultural Economics. Panelists include: Mark Jensen, president and CEO of Farm Credit Services of America; Ben Herink, farm loan manager with the USDA Farm Service Agency; Ken Mehlin, executive vice president and chief credit officer of Bruning Bank; and Daryl Wilton, executive vice president and chief credit officer of Cornerstone Bank in York.

The webinar is presented as part of the Agricultural Economics Extension Farm and Ranch Management weekly series.

Registration is free at

Women Managing Ag Land Conference 2020

The second annual Women Managing Ag Land Conference will take place Dec. 2, from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. CDT. The conference offers learning opportunities for female farmland owners and tenants looking to improve their business management skills and navigate the challenges of owning and renting agricultural land.

This hybrid event will allow participants the opportunity to attend one of three in-person locations or via Zoom. The keynote address, “Finding Happiness in the Craziness of Life,” will be delivered by Kathy Peterson, a farmer from Storm Lake, Iowa, and founder of PeopleWorks, Inc. She will also conduct a workshop, titled “Working with You is Killing Me!”

Peterson’s keynote and workshop will be broadcast live from the Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center near Mead to meeting locations in Kearney and Scottsbluff.

The in-person locations are:
    Near Mead: Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center, 1071 County Road G, Ithaca
    Kearney: Holiday Inn Convention Center, 110 South 2nd Avenue
    Scottsbluff: Panhandle Research and Extension Center, 4502 Ave. I

Due to COVID-19, attendance at the three in-person locations will be limited, and health measures will be implemented. Participants may also live stream the event from their own device and location via Zoom.

Participants will also have access to on-demand workshops on owning and renting agricultural land including “Improve your Ag Lease by Improving the Landlord/Tenant Relationship” presented by Extension Educator Allan Vyhnalek, “NextGen A Win-Win for Beginning Farmers & Asset Owners” by Karla Bahm with the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, “Navigating Uncertainty in 2021: Nebraska Land Values & Cash Rental Rates” with Agricultural Economist Jim Jansen, and more!

Registration on or before Nov. 18, is $25. Registration on or after Nov. 19 is $30. Registrations for in-person locations will close Nov. 29. Lunch will be included at each in-person site.  Registration and more information here:  

This conference is hosted by Nebraska Extension and inspired by Annie's Project. This material is based upon work supported by USDA-NIFA under Award Number 2020-70017-32735 and by Farm Credit Services of America.

Free Farm and Ag Law Clinics Set for November

Free legal and financial clinics are being offered for farmers and ranchers across the state in November 2020. The clinics are one-on-one meetings with an agricultural law attorney and an agricultural financial counselor. These are not group sessions, and they are confidential.

The attorney and financial advisor specialize in legal and financial issues related to farming and ranching, including financial and business planning, transition planning, farm loan programs, debtor/creditor law, debt structure and cash flow, agricultural disaster programs, and other relevant matters. Here is an opportunity to obtain an independent, outside perspective on issues that may be affecting your farm or ranch.

COVID-19: For the time being the clinics are being conducted as conference calls or as Zoom meetings.  It is therefore possible to attend a clinic from any location in the state. In-person clinics are expected to resume in the near future, at which time locations will be announced.

Clinic Dates
    Wednesday, November 4th
    Wednesday, November 11th
    Wednesday, November 18th

To sign up for a free clinic or to get more information, call the Nebraska Farm Hotline at 1-800-464-0258.  Funding for this work is provided by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, and Legal Aid of Nebraska.

Pro-Ag Outlook Series to Examine Trade, Financial Status and Market Outlook

The annual Pro Ag Outlook and Management meetings will be held virtually this year due to COVID-19 concerns. With a virtual format, participants will be able to hear from five Iowa State University Extension and Outreach economists. There will be one speaker each day from 1-2 p.m. from Dec. 7–11.

This webinar series will take an in-depth look into the outlook for agriculture in 2021 as producers, ag lenders, and suppliers start planning for next year. The webinar series is designed to provide participants with a concise evaluation of current market conditions, expected trends in crop and livestock income potential, and management implications. Time for participant questions will be included at the end of each day’s presentation.

Dates and speakers include:
    Dec. 7, Wendong Zhang, assistant professor in economics and extension economist, will be presenting on farmland values and issues of trade with China.
    Dec. 8, Alejandro Plastina, associate professor in economics and extension economist, will be presenting on farm finances and the impact of government support programs.
    Dec. 9, Lee Schulz, associate professor in economics and extension livestock economist, will be presenting the livestock outlook and profit potential for the beef, pork and dairy industries.
    Dec. 10, Keri Jacobs, associate professor in economics, extension economist and Iowa Institute for Cooperatives Endowed Economics Professor, will be presenting the financial and physical impacts of the 2020 derecho on cooperatives in Iowa.
    Dec. 11, Chad Hart, professor of economics, extension economist and crop markets specialist, will be presenting the current grain market situation, including global demand and key factors going into 2021.

The registration fee for access to all five live presentations is $20. Register online at

For more information, contact Ryan Drollette at 319-853-8624 or or visit

ISU Invites you to Learn about Crop Marketing - at your own pace.

Crop marketing is a non-credit professional certificate offered by Iowa State University that provides a learning opportunity for those who manage farm operations.

What was once exclusively a face-to-face workshop is now available for you to learn your own pace, available from anywhere in the world. We all rely on crop specialists, and this course uses active learning tools to give you that expertise courtesy of leaders in the industry from the Iowa Farm Bureau and Iowa State University Extension.

In this course, you will explore the topics of price movements, contracts, basis movements, option values, and creating a successful marketing plan. The class consists of video presentations, learning activities and educational quizzes.  A special emphasis is given to comprehensive planning and risk management.

This course is self-paced, with students completing the content in 4 weeks on average after registration. The course opens on November 10, 2020. You can progress through the course as fast or slow as you want, provided you complete the course content prior to March 15, 2021.

Iowa Farm Bureau & Iowa State University Extension

About the Instructors
Ed Kordick, Farmer Education Program Manager, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation
-    Thirty-seven year career in designing risk management education and information for Iowa farmers, including almost 30 years with Iowa Farm Bureau delivering educational programs.
-    Timely education delivered through creative methods, including in-person meetings and workshops, web delivery, print, and more.
-    Manages special projects designed to help farmers learn and be heard on agricultural issues at the state and national level.

Steve Johnson, ISU Extension Farm Management Specialist
-    Twenty-five years as a university Extension specialist presenting on a variety of crop market-related topics.
-    Presents annually at nearly 80 meetings with over 8,000 in attendance.
-    Maintains 3 active Ag Marketing Clubs and a Women Marketing Grain Series during the winter months with nearly 300 participants.

Chad Hart, Associate Professor of Economics and Extension Economist, Iowa State University
-   Crop market specialist for ISU Extension for 10 years.
-   Speaks to roughly 100 groups throughout the upper Midwest each year about ag markets and the factors that shape them.
-   Served as U.S. Policy and Insurance Analyst with the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute.

Register here:  

IFBF statement on congressional efforts to eliminate combustion engine

Iowa Farm Bureau Federation President Craig Hill

"Last week, a group of U.S. senators introduced the Zero-Emission Vehicles Act of 2020, a truly disastrous proposition for Iowa farmers. Under this plan, by 2025 half of all new car sales must be zero emission vehicles and all vehicles would need to be zero emission by 2035. This legislation would spell disaster for Iowa farmers, the Iowa biofuels industry, rural Iowans and their communities. A recent study conducted by the University of Tennessee and released by the Agricultural Retailers Association found banning combustion vehicle sales by 2035 would devastate grain markets, pushing prices down to $1.74 a bushel for corn and $4.92 a bushel for soybeans. The study estimated America’s farm income would fall more than $27 billion if these non-market driven policies are adopted and would send shockwaves through Iowa communities whose livelihoods depend upon a strong ag economy.   

"Biofuels are an essential part of a climate-focused, sustainable solution to the world’s fuel needs that have helped America become energy independent. The use of ethanol and biodiesel have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 71 million metric tons in 2018 alone. That’s the equivalent of taking 17 million cars off the road. Biofuels support Iowa’s agricultural industry and are a major economic driver providing thousands of good, high-wage jobs in the rural areas of our state. Proposals like this threaten a critical industry in our state and would deal a crushing blow to farm families; these proposals underscore the need for Iowa farm families to aggressively push back against legislation that threaten our markets and livelihoods."


The U.S. and the U.K. need to complete talks on a new free trade agreement (FTA) before the administration’s Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) expires, Senate Finance Committee Chair Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) told reporters Thursday. “It's very necessary that this is hurried along either in another Trump administration or in a Biden administration, because TPA…is going to phase out the middle of next year. And if it is not done by then, it’s questionable when it will get done,” he said.

The current TPA authorization expires on July 1, 2021, so a trade deal would have to be signed before then.  Earlier this month, the U.S. and the UK began their fifth round of trade talks, in the hopes of soon completing an FTA.

The National Pork Producers Council commented on the talks.  NPPC leaders say they are supportive of negotiations, provided the agreement eliminates tariff and non-tariff trade barriers on pork, the U.K. acknowledges meat industry standards as equivalent and they agree to import product from all federally inspected facilities.


On Thursday, the National Pork Producers Council provided comments to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) on significant barriers that U.S. pork exports face in various countries. “The United States is the top global exporter of pork, shipping nearly 2.6 million metric tons, valued at over $6.9 billion to more than 100 nations in 2019. Gaining and expanding access to markets around the world is paramount to the continued success of the U.S. pork industry,” NPPC wrote in its comments.

Among the trade barriers outlined in the comments, Brazil has a de facto ban on U.S. pork that lacks any scientific justification and must be eliminated, U.S. pork exports to China face a 33 percent tariff and India remove its de facto ban on U.S. pork and pork products.

USTR is compiling comments as it begins drafting its 2021 National Trade Estimates Report on Foreign Trade Barriers.

USDA Extends Deadline for Public Comments on Recommendations for Pasture, Rangeland, Forage Rainfall Index Crop Insurance Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA) today announced it is extending the deadline for public comments on recommended improvements to the Pasture, Rangeland, Forage (PRF) Rainfall Index Crop Insurance Program to December 21, 2020. RMA will review all comments and determine what recommendations should be implemented for the 2022 crop year.

“We want to be sure we get enough feedback from producers and other stakeholders on these proposed improvements, so we’re extending the comment deadline,” said RMA Administrator Martin Barbre. “These comments will help us fine tune the PRF program to ensure its integrity and protect producers and help them manage their risk.”

RMA contracted for an independent evaluation of the PRF program to determine its effectiveness as a risk management tool for livestock producers. The independent evaluation includes several recommendations, including:
    Adjusting the County Base Value (CBV) productivity range;
    Better targeting of indemnities;
    Focusing PRF on viable forage production areas;
    Focusing coverage on risk-reducing intervals;
    Taking an alternative approach to reducing frequent shallow losses; and
    Modifying the CBV.

Details on the recommendations are published in the PRF Contractors Report and the PRF Alternative Recommendations available on the RMA website for public review and comment. Comments can be submitted via email to or by mail to Director, Product Administration and Standards Division, Risk Management Agency, United States Department of Agriculture, P.O. Box 419205, Kansas City, MO 64133-6205.

2020-21 National FFA Officer Team Elected During the Virtual 93rd National FFA Convention & Expo

Students from Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois and Missouri were elected by National FFA Delegates today to serve as 2020-21 National FFA Officers.

These members were selected from 38 candidates vying for the honor. Candidates take part in an extensive online interview process with the National FFA Officer Nominating Committee leading up to the selection. The new team was announced during the sixth general session of the 93rd National FFA Convention & Expo on Thursday, Oct. 29.

Doster Harper, an agriscience and environmental systems major at the University of Georgia, was elected national president.

Anna Mathis, an agricultural communication major at the University of Arkansas, was elected national secretary.

Paxton Dahmer, an agricultural education and leadership major at the University of Missouri – Columbia, was elected central region vice president.

Miriam Hoffman, an agribusiness economics major at Southern Illinois University, was elected eastern region vice president.

David Lopez, an agricultural communications major at California Polytechnic State, was elected western region vice president.

Artha Jonassaint, a government and global health major at Harvard, was elected southern region vice president.

Each year during the National FFA Convention & Expo, six students are elected by delegates to represent the organization as national officers. Delegates elect a president, secretary, and vice presidents representing the central, southern, eastern, and western regions of the country.

This year, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the event was held virtually.

National officers commit to a year of service to the National FFA Organization. Throughout their year of service, the officers will interact with business and industry leaders; thousands of FFA members and teachers; corporate sponsors; government and education officials; state FFA leaders; the general public; and more. The team will lead personal growth and leadership training conferences for FFA members throughout the country and help set policies that will guide the future of FFA and the next generation of leaders.

Commodity Classic Announces Transition to Digital Experience

Commodity Classic has announced it will transition its annual conference and trade show, originally scheduled for March 4-6, 2021, in San Antonio, Texas, to an alternative digital format. The change was necessary due to restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The new format is expected to be offered the first week in March 2021.

“This is about doing the right thing for our farmers, exhibitors, stakeholders, and the broader community in terms of health and safety—which is our top priority,” said Anthony Bush, an Ohio corn farmer and co-chair of the 2021 Commodity Classic representing the National Corn Growers Association.  “After careful deliberation among our farmer-leaders and industry partners, the COVID-19 restrictions would prevent us from delivering the type of high-quality experience Commodity Classic attendees and exhibitors have come to expect and enjoy for the past 25 years.”

According to Brad Doyle, an Arkansas soybean farmer and co-chair of the 2021 Commodity Classic representing the American Soybean Association, directed health measures due to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic such as social distancing guidelines would prevent Commodity Classic from conducting the trade show, educational sessions, and farmer networking—each of which are hallmarks of Commodity Classic.  “Farmers and agribusiness companies rate Commodity Classic highly because of its unique energy, excitement and one-on-one engagement with agribusiness companies and fellow farmers,” he said. “The health and safety restrictions required will simply not allow us to provide a productive in-person event that is in keeping with our 25 years of being the nation’s best farmer-led, farmer-focused ag experience.”

The transition of the 2021 Commodity Classic offers an attractive opportunity for farmers who have never attended Commodity Classic, Doyle added.  “Now farmers from across the nation and even around the world can get a taste of the Commodity Classic experience without ever leaving their farms,” he said.

Jerry Johnson, Ag Sector Chair of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers said, “Agribusiness companies put Commodity Classic at the top of the list when it comes to opportunities to engage with farmers from across the nation,” he said.  “However, our concern for the health and safety of our customers and our employees takes precedence, so all of us in agribusiness will work with the farmer-leaders at Commodity Classic to find innovative ways to connect in 2021.”

Commodity Classic is now redirecting its efforts to developing alternative methods of connecting farmers and agricultural stakeholders.  “We realize the total Commodity Classic experience cannot be completely replicated online. Yet a key benefit of Commodity Classic is the educational sessions and presentations from agricultural thought leaders, which are even more important in today’s challenging environment,” said Bush. “We are already exploring ways in which we can deliver high-quality content in unique ways that allow farmers to get the information they seek from the experts they trust.”   

The transition to an alternative experience is already underway.  More information on the transition will be available in the coming weeks.  To keep up to date, sign up for email updates at  More information on the 2021 Commodity Classic will also be available on the website.

The 2022 Commodity Classic will be held in New Orleans on March 10-12, 2022.  “Like everyone else in agriculture, we are really looking forward to reconnecting with everyone face-to-face,” Doyle added.  “We urge everyone to get these dates on their calendar and plan to join us in-person in New Orleans in 2022.”

Established in 1996, Commodity Classic is America’s largest farmer-led, farmer-focused educational and agricultural experience.  Commodity Classic is presented annually by the American Soybean Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Sorghum Producers and Association of Equipment Manufacturers.

American Butter Institute Names AMPI’s Reece President

Marshall Reece, Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Associated Milk Producers Inc. of New Ulm, MN, has been named the new president of the American Butter Institute, gaining the position during the organization’s annual meeting, held this year virtually.
Other new officers include Catherine Fox, Vice President, Brand & Product Marketing/Dairy Foods for Land O’ Lakes, Inc., of Arden Hills, MN, who became First Vice President; and Mark Armon, Portfolio Leader, Dairy Fat for Darigold based in Seattle. Officers serve for two years, with terms expiring in 2022.

“We are excited to have Marshall lead the organization for the next two years,” said Tom Balmer, executive director of the Arlington, VA-based institute. “His deep knowledge of the butter business and experience on our leadership team have positioned him well to guide ABI in achieving both near term objectives and longer-term aspirations. Marshall’s enthusiasm for the industry is unmatched, and the entire ABI membership stands to benefit.”

In addition, outgoing President Craig Alexander, Vice President, Dairy Ingredients & Regulatory Affairs, O-AT-KA Milk Products of Batavia, NY, was recognized for his service.

The American Butter Institute:
    Promotes and protects the interests and welfare of the butter industry;
    Acts as a clearinghouse for the exchange of ideas beneficial to the butter industry and the consuming public;
    Keeps its members informed of legislative and regulatory proposals; and
    Acts as the voice for all actions affecting the industry and other relevant research and other industry developments and public relation on other interactions with government agencies.  

Reece was elected by the 28-member Board of Directors for the organization as part of the conference, which took place Oct. 2. Attendees discussed market trends in the COVID-19 era and received policy updates from ABI staff.

Thursday October 29 Ag News

This Week's Drought Summary

A blast of frigid Arctic air invaded the North Central States, producing weekly temperatures averaging 15 to 25 degrees F below normal in Montana, the Dakotas, Wyoming, Minnesota, Iowa, and Nebraska. The chill was accompanied by a slow-moving storm system that produced light snow across most of the Rockies, Plains, and upper Midwest. Although outdoor conditions were harsh, the storm and cold were welcome as it brought a halt to the abnormal warmth and dryness that had expanded and deepened the drought in the region. In the southern Plains, mixed precipitation (snow, sleet, freezing rain, and rain) glazed portions of New Mexico, western Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas, while beneficial moderate to heavy rains fell from southwestern Oklahoma northeastward into the eastern Great Lakes region. Heavy rains also were measured in the western Great Lakes region and south Florida. Scattered, light precipitation was measured across most of the Pacific Northwest, Southeast, Midwest, and western portions of the Northeast. Much of the Southwest and Intermountain West was dry, with wild fires still burning across California. In addition, little or no precipitation fell on the southern Plains, parts of the Southeast, and eastern sections of the Northeast. Above normal temperatures enveloped the Southwest, southern Plains, and eastern third of the Nation. At the end of the period, all eyes were on Hurricane Zeta in the Gulf of Mexico as it tracked toward yet another Louisiana landfall.


In addition to the heavy rains in southern Missouri (see South summary), the Rockies storm and a stalled cold front produced moderate to heavy rains (1-3 inches, locally to 5) in the middle Mississippi and Ohio Valleys, and in the western Great Lakes region (eastern Iowa into Wisconsin and Michigan). Light precipitation, some of it in the form of snow in northern locales, fell across the remainder of the Midwest. With the widespread precipitation and low temperatures, there was no deterioration in the region; instead, status-quo or improvements. The 1-category improvements included: southern Missouri; southern, central, and northeastern Illinois; southern and central Indiana; western Ohio; southern and central lower Michigan; east-central Wisconsin; southeastern Minnesota; and the eastern half of Iowa. The lower temperatures, lack of evapotranspiration, and widespread precipitation were ideal for soil moisture recharge where the soils were not frozen. However, there were still some large 6-month deficits (e.g. 8-12 inches in western Iowa) that required plentiful precipitation, and this week’s totals were not impressive (0.25-1 inch), thus D2 and D3 persisted there.

High Plains

A winter storm and frigid air dropped southeastward out of Canada and into the northern and central Rockies early in the period, bringing welcome snows to the mountains, and even at lower elevations of the northern and central Plains. Decent early mountain snows blanketed western and southern Montana, northwestern Wyoming, and parts of southeastern Wyoming, central Colorado, and northern New Mexico. Light to moderate precipitation (mostly snow) also fell on South Dakota and into Minnesota, and parts of western Nebraska. For the most part, the precipitation finally halted the downward deterioration (except for North Dakota) in the region, and actually provided some improvements to western and southern Montana, northwestern and northeastern Wyoming, western South Dakota, southeastern Kansas, and some small D3 to D2 areas in central Colorado where the snows were unusually heavy. In North Dakota, however, precipitation was very light (0-0.25 inches). With indices at 2-3 months and longer (6-months) at D2 or drier, plus field reports of shallow water holes dry, low levels in rivers and larger bodies of water, no regrowth of forages, and poor pastures, an expansion of D1 in the northeast and D2 in central sections was justified.

Looking Ahead

During the next 5 days (October 29-November 2), WPC’s QPF precipitation focuses on Hurricane Zeta and the southern Rockies upper-air low as they both track northeastward. Heavy rains and strong winds are expected at Zeta’s landfall in eastern Louisiana, then as it weakens, moisture from Zeta will become entrained into the upper-air low, with a band of heavy precipitation (1-4 inches) expected from the south-central Plains northeastward into the mid-Atlantic, and in the southern and central Appalachians. Little or no precipitation is forecast elsewhere across the contiguous U.S., except for some lighter amounts in western Washington, the western Great Lakes region, and Florida. Temperatures will average near to below-normal in the eastern half of the Nation, but above-normal in the West, especially in the Great Basin.

The Climate Prediction Center’s 6-10 day outlook (November 3-7) favors below-normal precipitation across the eastern half of the U.S. and along the southern coast of Alaska, with odds for above-normal precipitation in the Northwest and northern Alaska. Temperatures are anticipated to be above-normal in the West, Plains, upper Midwest, and western Alaska, near-normal in the Southeast and mid-Atlantic, and subnormal in New England and southern and eastern Alaska.

USDA Designates Four South Dakota Counties as Primary Natural Disaster Areas

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue designated four South Dakota counties as primary natural disaster areas. Producers in Clay, Lincoln, Minnehaha and Turner counties who suffered losses caused by recent drought, may be eligible for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) emergency loans.

This natural disaster designation allows FSA to extend much-needed emergency credit to producers recovering from natural disasters. Emergency loans can be used to meet various recovery needs including the replacement of essential items such as equipment or livestock, reorganization of a farming operation or the refinance of certain debts.

Producers in the contiguous counties listed below are also eligible to apply for emergency loans:
    South Dakota: Hutchinson, Lake, McCook, Moody, Union and Yankton
    Iowa: Lyon and Sioux
    Minnesota: Pipestone and Rock
    Nebraska: Cedar and Dixon

The deadline to apply for these emergency loans is June 16, 2021.

FSA will review the loans based on the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability.

FSA has a variety of additional programs to help farmers recover from the impacts of this disaster. FSA programs that do not require a disaster declaration include: Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program; Emergency Conservation Program; Livestock Forage Disaster Program; Livestock Indemnity Program; Operating and Farm Ownership Loans; and the Tree Assistance Program.

Farmers may contact their local USDA service center for further information on eligibility requirements and application procedures for these and other programs. Additional information is also available online at

FDA Must Enforce Fake-Dairy Rules, NMPF Tells Agency Ombudsman in New Advocacy Phase

With FDA giving little indication of promised action on proper labeling of imitation dairy products, the National Milk Producers Federation today asked the agency’s ombudsman to ensure that rules are properly enforced.

“Allowing unlawfully labeled ‘plant-based’ imitation dairy foods to proliferate poses an immediate and growing risk to public health; it is a clear dereliction of the FDA’s duty to enforce federal law and agency regulations,” wrote NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern in the letter, sent to Dr. Laurie Lenkel, ombudsman for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. “The FDA’s Office of the Ombudsman must intervene to break the bureaucratic logjam that is adversely affecting consumers. Doing so would fit squarely within the Office’s own mission to ensure even-handed application of FDA policy and procedures.”

The FDA ombudsman, based in the agency commissioner’s office, “serves as a neutral and independent resource for members of FDA-regulated industries when they experience problems with the regulatory process,” according to the agency. NMPF is urging the ombudsman’s office to take appropriate action to remedy the FDA’s lax approach to enforcing its own rules on the use of dairy terms on products containing no dairy ingredients, which have proven impacts on public health – a new phase of advocacy brought about by the agency’s regrettable inaction. The American Academy of Pediatrics and other organizations have offered evidence of nutritional deficiencies caused by confusion over the contents of plant-based versus dairy beverages.

NMPF last year released its own road map offering solutions to how public health, product integrity and free speech could be protected through updated regulations. NMPF also supports the DAIRY PRIDE Act, a potential legislative prod for FDA action, and has asked FDA commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn to follow up on the pledge he made nearly one year ago to make fake-dairy labeling a high-priority issue at FDA.

U.S., Vietnam Sign $500 Million Deal to Form Pork Consortium

The Vietnam Trade Alliance, a grouping of buyers and producers, signed a pact on Wednesday to buy up to $500 million worth of American pork over three years, the U.S. embassy in Hanoi said on Wednesday.

According to Reuters, a memorandum of understanding called a "U.S.-Vietnam Pork Consortium" was signed with Smithfield Foods and other U.S. pork producers on the sideline of a virtual Indo-Pacific Business Forum on Wednesday.

Pork accounts for three-quarters of total meat consumption in Vietnam, a country of 96 million people where most of its farm-raised pigs are consumed domestically.

The Southeast Asian country is rebuilding its hog herd after an outbreak of African swine fever first detected in February last year forced it to cull millions of pigs, or 20% of the herd. In May it said it would buy 20,000 breeding pigs from Thailand.

Vietnam Trade Alliance will buy U.S. chilled and frozen pork and pork products for further processing and distribution into the Vietnam market, the statement said.

Vietnam's pork imports from the United States rose to $35 million in the first eight months of this year from $4 million in 2015, Reuters reported.

"This export activity will also help increase overall U.S. agricultural exports to Vietnam, help address the U.S.-Vietnam trade imbalance, and directly support U.S. farmers and ranchers and processing companies.," the statement said.

Vietnam has been seeking to import more U.S. goods, including liquefied natural gas, coal and crude oil, to help narrow the trade gap following last year's threats by President Donald Trump to impose tariffs on its products.

EPA Finalizes Improvements to Pesticide Application Exclusion Zone Requirements

Today, at Overman Farms in Goldsboro, N.C., U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler will announce that the agency has finalized important improvements to requirements for the pesticide application exclusion zone (AEZ)—the area surrounding pesticide application equipment that exists only during outdoor production pesticide applications. EPA’s targeted changes improve the enforceability and workability of the AEZ requirements, decrease regulatory burdens for farmers, and maintain critical worker protections. Today’s revisions are consistent with the 2018 Pesticide Registration Improvement Act (PRIA). The AEZ requirements are part of EPA’s agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS) regulations.

“Since day one, the Trump Administration has been committed to protecting the health of all our citizens," said EPA Administrator Wheeler. "The changes to the AEZ requirements make it easier to ensure people near our nation’s farms are protected, while simultaneously enhancing the workability of these provisions for farm owners and protecting the environment."

This final action balances the input EPA received from a wide range of stakeholders during the proposed action’s 90-day comment period. EPA has clarified and simplified the AEZ requirements based in part on input from state pesticide regulatory agencies and agricultural stakeholders after the adoption of the 2015 WPS rule. Consistent with PRIA, EPA is only implementing changes related to the AEZ requirements in the WPS. These targeted changes include:
-    AEZ requirements only apply within the boundaries of the agricultural establishment, removing off-farm responsibilities that were difficult for state regulators to enforce.
-    Immediate family members of farm owners are now exempted from all aspects of the AEZ requirements. Farm owners and their immediate family are now able to shelter in place inside closed buildings, giving farm owners and immediate family members flexibility to decide whether to stay on-site during pesticide applications, rather than compelling them to leave even when they feel safe remaining.
-    New clarifying language has been added so that pesticide applications that are suspended due to individuals entering an AEZ may be resumed after those individuals have left the AEZ.
-    Simplified criteria to determine whether pesticide applications are subject to the 25- or 100-foot AEZ.

No changes were made to the “Do Not Contact” provision that prohibits a handler/applicator and the handler’s employer from applying a pesticide in such a way that it contacts workers or other persons directly or through drift.

To read the rule in full, please visit:


The original WPS regulation was enacted in 1992 under EPA’s Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) authorities to protect farm workers from pesticide exposures in production agriculture. The WPS requires owners and employers on agricultural establishments and commercial pesticide-handling establishments to protect employees on farms, forests, nurseries, and greenhouses from occupational exposure to agricultural pesticides.

In 2015, EPA finalized various significant revisions to the 1992 WPS. Among the 2015 revisions was a new provision requiring agricultural employers to keep workers and all other individuals out of an area called the “application exclusion zone” (AEZ) during outdoor pesticide applications. The AEZ is the area surrounding pesticide application equipment that exists only during outdoor production pesticide applications. The AEZ will be 25 feet in all directions for ground pesticide applications when sprayed from a height greater than 12 inches, and 100 feet in all directions for outdoor aerial, air blast, air-propelled, fumigant, smoke, mist and fog pesticide applications.

The initial intent of the AEZ was to supplement existing WPS provisions for farm workers to better protect them and other on-farm persons that could be contacted by pesticides. However, state regulators expressed concerns with enforcing the complex AEZ requirements and farm owners expressed concerns with applying and complying with pesticide regulations.

Livestock Producers Hail Finalized USFWS Rule Delisting Gray Wolf

Today, leaders from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and the Public Lands Council (PLC) joined Department of the Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Aurelia Skipwith in Minnesota to mark the historic announcement that gray wolves in the contiguous 48 United States have fully recovered and will be returned to state management after having received various levels of protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for nearly 40 years.

Administration officials and stakeholder groups celebrated the announcement as an ESA success story, highlighting the robust populations of wolves that have continued to grow over time and the strong partnerships that made recovery possible.
NCBA Vice President Don Schiefelbein was able to celebrate the announcement in his home state of Minnesota, which has been the stage for a number of the legal and procedural challenges that have plagued previous delisting efforts.  

"The recovery and delisting of the gray wolf is an outstanding victory under the Endangered Species Act and should be celebrated accordingly. Today’s announcement is the culmination of decades of work done by cattle producers and landowners nationwide to protect habitat ensuring wolf recovery efforts were successful, even when impacts to their livelihoods were significant," said National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Vice President and Minnesota rancher Don Schiefelbein. "The road to recovery and delisting has been fraught with purely political lawsuits that promoted emotion over fact, and the facts are clear: the gray wolf population is recovered and states are well-equipped to manage this population. Thank you to President Trump, Secretary Bernhardt, Director Skipwith and their team for allowing the science to stand for itself."

PLC President Niels Hansen also attended the event, lending support to ranching communities who have continued to be affected by significant depredation events as a result of dense wolf populations. Hansen is a rancher in Wyoming, a state whose wolf population was delisted in 2017 after a years-long recovery effort.

"Today’s announcement is welcome news for public lands ranchers who have spent decades defending their livestock from wolves while also defending previous delisting rules in court," said Public Lands Council (PLC) President Niels Hansen. "By returning gray wolves to state management, we are giving long-overdue recognition to a conservation victory under the Endangered Species Act and returning to a state wildlife management model that has demonstrated success for thousands of other species. I look forward to the next chapter in management of this species that allows ranchers, biologists, and government officials to continue to work together for the benefit of our communities, our economies, and our wildlife because the best decisions always come from those closest to the subject.”

Gray Wolf Removed from Endangered Species List

The Department of the Interior announced it has removed the gray wolf from the endangered species list, signaling a successful recovery under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The gray wolf spent more than four decades on the endangered species list. The population is now thriving in the lower 48 states.

State and tribal wildlife management agencies will now be responsible for the management and protection of the gray wolf.

“This is an Endangered Species Act success story,” said American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall. “The gray wolf joins more than 50 other animals, including the bald eagle, as an example of how careful management and partnerships between federal and state agencies can result in the successful recovery of a once-threatened species. The gray wolf population is now thriving so it is appropriate to turn management over to the states, which can oversee the species in a way that is most appropriate for each region.”

Over 1,600 species remain on the federal threatened and endangered list. Delisting the gray wolf allows the Department of the Interior to focus resources on other species in need of recovery.

Zero-interest, extended-terms offer gives farmers confidence to make seed purchases now, flexibility to pay in December 2021

As farmers seek greater flexibility to best manage financial resources during a challenging farm economy, the Golden AdvantageSM program provides an extended-terms offer with 0% interest on purchases of Golden Harvest® brand seed products. Under the Golden Advantage program, payment for Golden Harvest seed and seed treatment purchases for the 2021 planting season is not due until Dec. 3, 2021.

Golden Advantage is designed to help farmers make the best use of all their open lines of credit and prioritize their farm input purchases. The extended-terms offer is in addition to any applicable discounts provided by Golden Harvest and applies to eligible purchases submitted by May 15, 2021, for use next season.

"Across the country, farmers are dealing with significant financial pressures in the wake of the continuing global pandemic, Midwest derecho and local agronomic challenges," said Dave Young, Golden Harvest head of marketing. "The Golden Advantage program is another important tool we can provide farmers to offer more flexibility in how they manage their whole-farm profitability over the next 15-18 months."

To participate in the program, farmers should first contact their local Golden Harvest Seed Advisor, and then review the detailed Golden Advantage program terms and conditions and apply online at, where farmers can also monitor spending limits and pay for extended-term purchases. Enogen® products sold through an authorized Golden Harvest Seed Advisor are also eligible.

"During these difficult times, we recognize helping farmers maximize yield potential is only one aspect of the service Golden Harvest provides," Young said. "With programs like Golden Advantage, we're focused on doing whatever it takes to put farmers first and help them succeed."

Wednesday October 28 Ag News

Ricketts, Wellman Comment on EPA’s Re-Registration of Dicamba Products

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts and Nebraska Department of Agriculture Director (NDA) Steve Wellman issued statements following a decision by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to re-register dicamba products.

“I welcome the recent decision by the EPA to approve registration for the ‘over-the-top’ dicamba products,” said Gov. Ricketts.  “The agency’s transparent process provides certainty to Nebraska farmers and ranchers in a year where things have been anything but normal.  Our producers now have the necessary information to make confident decisions when it comes to spring planting in 2021 and for the next few years to come.”

“The EPA’s recent dicamba decision is welcome news for Nebraska farmers and ranchers and the state of Nebraska – providing certainty for the industry when it’s needed most,” said Director Wellman.  “This outcome, based on science and stakeholder input, will allow Nebraskans the appropriate time needed to make informed decisions prior to the 2021 planting season.  The Nebraska Department of Agriculture will continue to work in partnership with the EPA to properly enforce this decision and respond to requests to adopt the new label and register products in Nebraska.”


– Brad Schick, NE Extension Educator  
Grid sampling and application of dry fertilizer is common in the fall, but is it safe to graze corn residue fields that have had the fertilizer applied?
The answer comes down to how much risk in animal wellbeing we are willing to take. The risk potential is different for different fertilizer components. Potassium, zinc, nitrogen, and sulfur could all be toxic, but that risk is all about consumption rate and the amount animals can physically consume. To reduce risk, wait to graze until after precipitation whether that be rain or snow melt. Waiting for rain is more important if the application stuck to damp or wet residue.
Calculations can tell if what was applied would pose a risk.
Nitrogen fertilizers can cause toxicity in different ways and differing amounts so any spill available for consumption is a higher risk. There are other fertilizer components in a grid sampled applications that may or may not be a problem due to the how much is in the mix. Here are some other components and elemental levels that would be toxic. Potassium would be toxic at 30,000 mg/kg of intake or 3% of the diet which is very unlikely. A very high potassium intake could cause a magnesium deficiency, so making a high magnesium mineral available might be considered. High sulfur intake could cause polioencephalomalacia or PEM, but that is also unlikely. A lot of downed corn could also increase the risk of PEM. Cattle can tolerate 0.5% sulfur in the diet, but corn residue only contains close to 0.1%. Zinc consumption is fine up to 1000 mg/kg without problems and phosphorus can be tolerated up to 1% of the diet.
Bottom line: The safest approach for grazing corn stalks is too wait until a rain or graze before fertilizer application, but that may not be realistic. Assessing the fertilizer amount will give a good idea of risk level. If the fertilizer can easily be seen on the residue, be more cautious when grazing.

Our Nonpartisan and Independent Legislature is Being Drowned in Partisan Spending

Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) is sounding the alarm over the tidal wave of unprecedented partisan spending on nonpartisan races on everything from the Legislature to public power races.

NeFU President John Hansen said “In our judgment, the size and scope of partisan funding of nonpartisan races in the Legislature and for public power boards undermines the nonpartisanship and independence of both our unique Nebraska Legislature and our public power system. Nebraska has been extremely well served by keeping the blinding bitterness, dysfunction and gridlock of Washington style partisanship out of nonpartisan races for the Legislature and public power. We think most Nebraskans would be alarmed if they knew how much partisan money was being dumped into these races.”

According to the NADC’s (Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission) latest report, Governor Pete Ricketts and his parents are using their personal checkbooks to support Republicans in nonpartisan races up and down the ballot at an unprecedented rate.

During the last two year election cycle, Governor Ricketts has directly contributed $124,500 to Republican incumbents and challengers for the Legislature, $7,500 to Republican NPPD candidates, and $5,000 for the Republican candidate for Lancaster County Commissioner for a personal total of $137,000.

Governor Ricketts has given the Nebraska Republican Party $240,000 during the last two year election cycle, and each of his parents has given an additional $100,000, for a total of $440,000 from the Ricketts family. The Ricketts family has given a total of $577,000 to support Republican candidates and organizations during the last two year campaign cycle.

In turn, the Nebraska Republican Party who operates under the direction of the Governor has spent $548,700.60 supporting their candidates or opposing their opponents for the Nebraska Legislature. By comparison, the Nebraska Democratic Party has spent only $81,685.65 on all Legislative races. The Nebraska Republicans spent a total of a $139,893.62 in Legislative District 1 alone. They spent $112,188.71 for Julie Slama and $27,704.91 against her opponent Janet Palmtag, also a Republican.

In a new development, the state Republican Party has spent $51,741 on two nonpartisan public power races supporting Republican candidates. They spent $41,256 opposing Mary Harding for NPPD Board of Directors, and $7,522 supporting her opponent Todd Calfee. In addition, Governor Ricketts recently personally donated $5,000 to Calfee. The NPPD position is nonpartisan.

For more NACD information:  Click “View Campaign Filings”.

USDA Designate 12 Nebraska Counties as Primary Natural Disaster Areas

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue designated 12 Nebraska counties as primary natural disaster areas. Producers in Banner, Box Butte, Cheyenne, Deuel, Garden, Madison, Morrill, Pierce, Platte, Scotts Bluff , Sheridan and Wayne counties who suffered losses caused by recent drought may be eligible for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) emergency loans.

This natural disaster designation allows FSA to extend much-needed emergency credit to producers recovering from natural disasters. Emergency loans can be used to meet various recovery needs including the replacement of essential items such as equipment or livestock, reorganization of a farming operation or the refinance of certain debts.

Producers in the contiguous counties listed below are also eligible to apply for emergency loans:
    Nebraska: Antelope, Arthur, Boone, Butler, Cedar, Cherry, Colfax, Cuming, Dawes, Dixon, Grant, Keith, Kimball, Knox, Merrick, Nance, Perkins, Polk, Sheridan, Sioux, Stanton and Thurston
    Colorado: Logan and Sedgwick
    South Dakota: Bennett and Oglala Lakota
    Wyoming: Goshen and Laramie

The deadline to apply for these emergency loans is June 14, 2021.

FSA will review the loans based on the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability.

FSA has a variety of additional programs to help farmers recover from the impacts of this disaster. FSA programs that do not require a disaster declaration include: Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program; Emergency Conservation Program; Livestock Forage Disaster Program; Livestock Indemnity Program; Operating and Farm Ownership Loans; and the Tree Assistance Program.

Farmers may contact their local USDA service center for further information on eligibility requirements and application procedures for these and other programs. Additional information is also available online at

USDA Designate Four Iowa Counties as Primary Natural Disaster Areas

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue designated four Iowa counties as primary natural disaster areas. Producers in Cherokee, O'Brien, Plymouth and Sioux counties who suffered losses caused by recent drought may be eligible for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) emergency loans.

This natural disaster designation allows FSA to extend much-needed emergency credit to producers recovering from natural disasters. Emergency loans can be used to meet various recovery needs including the replacement of essential items such as equipment or livestock, reorganization of a farming operation or the refinance of certain debts.

Producers in the contiguous counties listed below are also eligible to apply for emergency loans:
    Iowa: Buena Vista, Clay, Dickinson, Ida, Lyon, Osceola, Sac and Woodbury
    South Dakota: Lincoln and Union

The deadline to apply for these emergency loans is June 14, 2021.

FSA will review the loans based on the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability.

FSA has a variety of additional programs to help farmers recover from the impacts of this disaster. FSA programs that do not require a disaster declaration include: Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program; Emergency Conservation Program; Livestock Forage Disaster Program; Livestock Indemnity Program; Operating and Farm Ownership Loans; and the Tree Assistance Program.

Farmers may contact their local USDA service center for further information on eligibility requirements and application procedures for these and other programs. Additional information is also available online at

USDA announces USB appointments & reappointments

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue appointed eight new U.S. soybean farmers to the United Soybean Board (USB) and reappointed 11 directors for an additional term. These farmer-leaders will be officially sworn in for service at the annual USB meeting in December and will serve a three-year term.

“Every board member plays an integral role by lending their expertise and industry insights to determine checkoff investments that benefit all U.S. soybean farmers,” said USB Chair Jim Carroll III from Arkansas. “The soy checkoff is led by a dedicated and diverse group of farmers, and I look forward to working with each of the newly appointed leaders to move our industry forward and further innovation.”

The soy checkoff provides significant value to farmers by leveraging checkoff funds in investments and programs to build preference for U.S. soy across the country and around the world. Authorized by the Soybean Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act, the United Soybean Board is composed of 78 members representing 29 states, in addition to the Eastern and Western regions. The number of seats on the board is determined based on bushels produced in that region. Members must be soybean farmers nominated by a Qualified State Soybean Board.

“Board members have farms of almost every size and type, from those just starting out with a handful of acres to those with larger operations. Many of our farmer-leaders have a deep knowledge of demand opportunities and production research who are on the cutting edge with their minds on the future,” said USB Vice Chair Dan Farney from Illinois. “But every single one of them shares the goal to advance markets and profitability for U.S. soybean farmers.”

The newly appointed farmer-leaders include:
• Alabama — Sam Butler, New Hope
• Arkansas — AJ Hood, Star City
• Iowa — Timothy Bardole, Rippey

• Kentucky — Ryan Dale Bivens, Hodgenville
• Michigan — Laurie Isley, Palmyra
• Nebraska — Greg Greving, Chapman

• South Carolina, Fitzhugh L. Bethea III, Dillon
• South Dakota — Todd J. Hanten, Goodwin

The reappointed farmer-leaders include:
• Illinois — Gary Berg, Saint Elmo
• Indiana — Tom Griffiths, Kendallville
• Iowa — Thomas E. Oswald, Cleghorn

• Kansas — Dennis Gruenbacher, Andale
• Maryland — Belinda Burrier, Union Bridge
• Minnesota — Lawrence E. Sukalski, Fairmont
• Mississippi — Philip Good, Macon
• Missouri — Lewis Rone, Portageville
• Ohio — David A. Dotterer, Rittman
• Tennessee — David E. Nichols, Ridgely
• Texas — Andrew W. Scott, Jr., Weslaco

The newly appointed alternate is:
• Texas — Harold Roberts, Honey Grove

Visit to learn more about the work of the soy checkoff.

National FFA Organization Names Nebraska Resident 2020 Star in Agribusiness

Hay bales are a common sight across the Great Plains, but if you see some near the Kansas-Nebraska border, there’s a chance Blake Kirchhoff might have baled them.

“I basically do ‘start to finish’ haying operations,” Kirchhoff said. “Swathing, raking and then round baling or square baling, depending on what the customer wants.”

Kirchhoff owns and operates a haying business called Blake Kirchhoff Custom Baling for his supervised agricultural experience (SAE) with Superior FFA in Nebraska. Blake’s business does more than spinning hay into bales, though — he helps local farmers get in contact with buyers for their hay bales too.

“I also do some contracted hay sales, like a broker [or] a middleman,” Kirchhoff said. “Helping buyers and sellers find each other and negotiate prices.”

Kirchhoff’s business has seen strong growth since he started many years ago on his family farm. However, he didn’t initially plan on haying for his SAE.

“Originally, I had some sheep, and I thought I wanted to do that for an SAE, and I needed hay to feed them,” Kirchhoff said. “I had to start looking for small square bales, and I just couldn’t find anyone in my area … that had any for sale.”

With no other options, Kirchhoff purchased his baler at the age of 14, intending to buy hay from local providers and use that to feed his sheep. However, he realized that he was the only person in his area with a square baler, so he decided to fill a niche and focus on haying instead. He later used his haying profits to pay for a second baler, a swather, a tractor and more.

“I definitely like running equipment,” Kirchhoff said. “Especially when you own it, and you did all the books to figure out if you can afford it. [You’re] seeing things come full circle.”

The haying business is a collaborative effort, however. When he is away from the Kirchhoff farmland to attend college, his family helps run the business in his absence. Kirchhoff also said his FFA advisor, Seth Going, was a huge help for providing him with financial advice and networking opportunities.

“It got me out of my comfort zone,” Kirchhoff said.

After he graduates from Kansas State University with an agronomy degree, Kirchhoff said he wants to run his haying business full time. He added that 2020 has been a surprisingly good year for his business despite the COVID-19 pandemic because more people are starting gardens under quarantine.

Kirchhoff’s advice for FFA members wanting to start their SAEs is to find work they enjoy doing.

“You’ve got to find something that you like to do,” Kirchhoff said. “Not every day is good for me … but if you like what you’re doing, it makes it a lot easier to get over those hurdles.”

About the American Star Awards

Each year at the National FFA Convention & Expo, four FFA members are honored with American Star Awards for outstanding accomplishments in FFA and agricultural education.

The American Star Awards, including American Star Farmer, American Star in Agribusiness, American Star in Agricultural Placement and American Star in Agriscience, are presented to FFA members who demonstrate outstanding agricultural skills and competencies through completion of an SAE. A required activity in FFA, an SAE allows students to learn by doing, by either owning or operating an agricultural business, working or serving an internship at an agriculture-based business, or conducting an agriculture-based scientific experiment and reporting results.

Other requirements to achieve the award include demonstrating top management skills; completing key agricultural education, scholastic and leadership requirements; and earning an American FFA Degree, the organization’s highest level of student accomplishment.

Sixteen American Star Award finalists from throughout the U.S. were nominated by a panel of judges who then interviewed the finalists this fall. Four were named winners during the 93rd National FFA Convention & Expo this year, which was held virtually. Winners received cash awards. Case IH, Elanco Animal Health and Syngenta sponsor the awards.

National FFA Announces 2020 National Agricultural Proficiency Winners

Winners of the 2020 Agricultural Proficiency Winners were named during the 93rd National FFA Convention & Expo on Wednesday, Oct. 28, which is being held virtually this year.

Agricultural Proficiency Awards honor FFA members who, through supervised agricultural experiences (SAEs), have developed specialized skills that they can apply toward their future careers. Students complete in areas ranging from agricultural communications to wildlife management. Proficiency awards are also recognized at local and state levels and provide recognition to members exploring and becoming established in agricultural career pathways.

Among the winners announced today were:

Diversified Crop Production – Placement
Nathan Randy Kroeger
Nathan Randy Kroeger of the Carroll Area FFA Chapter in Iowa works for his family’s crop farm and grain hauling business. He is tasked with completing all corn and soybean crop production jobs, from planting and harvesting to tillage and application of fertilizer, fungicide, insecticide, and pesticide. The operation consists of 1,800 acres of soybeans and 6,000 acres of corn. They utilize a continuous flow grain dryer system and 36 grain bins to store more than one million bushels. Kroeger is supported by his parents, Michelle and Kevin, and his FFA advisor, Brady Eischeid. AgReliant Genetics and CHS Foundation sponsor this proficiency.

Equine Science – Entrepreneurship
Ashlyn Mohling
Ashlyn Mohling of the Adams Central FFA Chapter in Nebraska has been caring for and riding horses since a young age. She cares for five horses for her equine project, ensuring both their health and safety so they can perform. Throughout the year, she shows her horses at local, state and breed show levels in all different disciplines from Western to English classes.  Mohling also teaches special needs children how to brush a horse, interact with a horse, and employs therapeutic riding for children age eight to eighteen. She is supported by her parents, Heather and Brett, and her FFA advisor, Brandon Jacobitz. Zoetis and Red Brand sponsor this proficiency.

The Importance of Red Meat Exports to Corn Farmers

Dean Meyer, director of the Iowa Corn Growers Association and secretary-treasurer of the U.S. Meat Export Federation.

In many ways, this year’s harvest has been like any other – myself and my family working long days racing against the clock, against the weather, and against the many obstacles farmers typically face when getting the crops in each fall.

Of course, 2020 is a bit different. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every person and every industry, including agriculture.

The good news for corn farmers is that our biggest customer, America’s livestock industry, continues to succeed in the global market – despite COVID. Exporting red meat products around the world helps increase demand for beef, pork and lamb, which in turn creates demand for corn and other livestock feed.

Corn producers, soybean producers, hog producers and cattle producers – together we make up one heck of a team.

Supporting this team are organizations like the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), which works around the world to create demand for red meat. COVID-19 has slowed down a lot of things, but it has not slowed down USMEF’s efforts. Adapting its programs to reach importers and consumers in new ways – virtual training, online seminars, and social media promotions are some examples – USMEF sees recent rebounds in red meat exports as a sign its innovative work is paying off.

For corn producers, the numbers are impressive. Red meat exports added 12 percent of bushel value to the U.S. corn farmer in 2019, according to a study on the market value of red meat exports that was commissioned by USMEF and updated this summer.

Some other findings of the study:
    At an average of $3.75 per bushel of corn, $0.46 is from red meat exports. The study indicated that without red meat exports, corn growers would have lost $6.4 billion in corn revenue in 2019.
    In 2019, U.S. beef and pork exports used 480 million bushels of corn. Corn revenue generated by pork exports totaled $1.8 billion.
    The projected market value of red meat exports to U.S. corn from 2020-2029 is $23.1 billion.

Corn producers provide critical support for USMEF’s efforts to expand global demand for U.S. red meat and USMEF remains optimistic about a strong finish for U.S. red meat exports in 2020, despite many challenges related to COVID-19.

USMEF’s optimism comes, in part, from recent trade agreements, such as the U.S.-China Phase One Economic and Trade Agreement, the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement and the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

But the optimism also comes from USMEF’s confidence in its ability to react to market conditions and meet the needs of importers and consumers. As mentioned previously, USMEF has adapted its programs during the pandemic, utilizing online and social media channels to reach customers around the world and share information about the quality and value of U.S. beef, pork and lamb.

These programs are specifically designed to educate consumers about U.S. red meat and introduce them to new cuts, new recipes and new uses.

Next time, I’ll share some examples of these USMEF programs and explain how the efforts benefit the U.S. agriculture “team” – beef producers, hog producers, soybean producers and, of course, corn producers.

Until then, I hope your own race against the clock, the weather, and all those obstacles we farmers face each fall goes well.

Majority of Fertilizer Prices Move Lower, Except for MAP, DAP

A majority of retail fertilizer prices are lower the third week of October 2020 compared to a month earlier, with only the two phosphate prices bucking the trend, according to retailers surveyed by DTN.

This breaks a six-week streak where five of the eight major fertilizers tracked by DTN have been lower. This week, the price of six fertilizers declined.

While there were six fertilizers lower in price compared to last month, none were down a significant amount, which DTN designates as 5% or more. Potash had an average price $332 per ton, down $6; urea $359/ton, down $3; 10-34-0 $456/ton, down $1; anhydrous $424/ton, down $1; UAN28 $209/ton, down $6; and UAN32 $249/ton, down $4.

Of the two remaining fertilizers that had higher prices, MAP was up a significant amount. Its average retail price increased $23/ton, or 5%, from last month to $476/ton.

The price of DAP was also higher, up $12/ton, at $446/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.39/lb.N, anhydrous $0.26/lb.N, UAN28 $0.37/lb.N and UAN32 $0.39/lb.N.

Like last week, all but one of the fertilizers are lower in price from a year earlier. Only one fertilizer, MAP, is higher at 1% higher than last year.

The remaining seven fertilizers are lower compared to last year. 10-34-0 is 3% lower, DAP is 4% less expensive, urea is 11% lower, both potash and UAN32 are 14% less expensive, anhydrous is 16% lower and UAN28 is 17% lower than last year.

Weekly Ethanol Production for 10/23/2020

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending October 23, ethanol production expanded 3.1%, or 29,000 barrels per day (b/d), to a seven-week high of 941,000 b/d—equivalent to 39.52 million gallons daily. Still, production remained 6.3% below the same week last year. The four-week average ethanol production rate increased 1.8% to 929,000 b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 14.24 billion gallons (bg).

Ethanol stocks thinned by 0.6% to 19.6 million barrels, which was 7.1% below year-ago volumes and the smallest reserves since the end of 2016. Inventories decreased across all regions except the East Coast (PADD 1) and Rocky Mountains (PADD 4).

The volume of gasoline supplied to the U.S. market, a measure of implied demand, rose 3.1% to 8.55 million b/d (130.99 bg annualized). Gasoline demand was 12.7% less than a year ago.

Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol increased 1.8% to 853,000 b/d, equivalent to 13.08 bg annualized. This was 8.9% below the year-earlier level as a result of the continuing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Imports of ethanol arriving into the West Coast were 6,000 b/d, or 1.76 million gallons for the week. This marks the tenth time in fourteen weeks that imports were reported. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of August 2020.)

Growth Energy Touts Biofuels’ Advantage to Meet Ag Innovation Goals

Today, Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as part of USDA’s Agriculture Innovation Agenda, regarding readily available technologies that enable our domestic agriculture sector to increase production while reducing its environmental footprint. In her comments, Skor argued that biofuels like ethanol play a critical role in achieving the department’s goals and called for building on current investments to expand renewables fuels’ role in our nation’s transportation infrastructure.

“Supporting programs like the Renewable Fuel Standard and initiatives to expand access to higher biofuel blends like E15, E30, and E85 can build on biofuels’ environmental progress and expand the market for American agriculture,” said Skor. “USDA’s Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP) is a prime example how the agency can support the productivity of our farmers, while decreasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and encouraging further adoption of sustainable farming practices across our agriculture sector.”

Skor also notes the biofuels industry’s continued advancements to capture carbon dioxide and the plant-based fuel’s ability to replace harmful toxics and improve air quality.

“We have a better option in ethanol, the single most affordable and abundant alternative to petroleum-based fuel additives that threaten air quality in communities across the globe. To expand on these benefits, USDA should continue to promote programs that boost biofuels access and use throughout the country.”

As the department works to streamline programs and seek opportunities to improve sustainable farming across the country, Skor encouraged “USDA to continue exploring the strong link between U.S. agriculture and our biofuels industry, and promote the increased use of biofuels so our nation’s farmers can continue to rely on these markets as we work to reduce the environmental impact of the agriculture sector.”

Joint Statement from Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association on Motion for Partial Summary Judgment in FOIA Lawsuit Regarding Small Refinery Exemption Transparency

Upon the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) failure to adequately respond to several Freedom of Information Act requests filed by the biofuels industry regarding the small refinery exemption (SRE) program and EPA’s radical escalation in granting SREs in recent years, Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association filed a motion this week for partial summary judgment in the federal District Court of the District of Columbia.

Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association asked the United States District Court for the District of Columbia to order EPA to make public at least the most basic information pertaining to these exemptions. The following is a joint statement from Emily Skor, CEO, Growth Energy and Geoff Cooper, President and CEO, Renewable Fuels Association:

“For the last several years, biofuels interests have pleaded with EPA to lift the veil of secrecy that it has held over the issuance of small refinery exemptions under the Renewable Fuel Standard. These clandestine agency actions have destabilized markets and allowed numerous refineries to avoid their RFS compliance obligations at the expense of renewable fuel producers and supporters, including America’s farmers.

“Fundamentally, this request is about fairness and transparency in government. If an agency decides to relieve a refinery from the obligations Congress imposed under the Clean Air Act or any federal law, it should be done in the public view.”

The organizations have asked the United States District Court for the District of Columbia to order the following:
    EPA should not withhold the name of the company submitting an application for an SRE nor the name and location of the refinery for which relief is requested
    EPA should immediately produce the information that was unlawfully withheld for Renewable Fuel Standard compliance years 2015, 2016, and 2017
    EPA should not withhold any of the five data elements identified in the proposed Renewables Enhancement and Growth Support (“REGS”) rule

Democrats Claim USDA Excluding Dairy Farmers from COVID Relief

A group of Democrat Senators are criticizing the Trump Administration for what they claim 'unfairly excludes' dairy farmers from receiving COVID-19 relief to cover losses related to meat production.

In a letter to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, the lawmakers say the USDA's new Coronavirus Food Assistance Program will disadvantage dairy and other livestock producers. They claim a policy change excludes the value of the meat produced from breeding animals when determining payment eligibility.

"This change will affect the livestock industry and will be particularly harmful to dairy farmers who often operate at extremely tight margins," the letter stated. "The decision is even more troubling considering that USDA clearly has sufficient resources to cover these losses. Additionally, it is less complicated for both USDA and farmers to cover all livestock and avoid confusion about what animals are covered or excluded."

The Democrats are asking Perdue to reverse the decision, saying that while milk is the primary income for dairy farms, they often generate revenue from the meat of the cows as they are retired from milking.

The letter was co-signed by Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Patrick Leahy (D-VT) Robert Casey (D-PA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Angus King (I-ME), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Patty Murray (D-WA), Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY), Tina Smith (D-MN), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and Gary Peters (D-MI).

NCBA President Marty Smith Issues Statement on Florida Meetings

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) was invited to participate in two Florida producer meetings this week to discuss industry issues. Let me be clear, NCBA will not participate in events with organizations litigating against NCBA or the Beef Checkoff. Nor will we engage in events that that lend a voice to anti-agriculture activists like Marty Irby, a former lobbyist for the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), who now serves as executive director of Animal Wellness Action, a group founded by disgraced former HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle. Irby also serves as a member of the board of directors at Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM).

OCM is not a producer group, it is solely a front for animal rights activists who are attempting to dismantle agriculture from the inside. It is disappointing that there are still those among us willing to give them a platform to further that work. Right now, OCM, represented by attorneys from the HSUS, is engaged in legal action aimed at destroying the Beef Checkoff because it promotes beef and benefits cattle producers. NCBA will not engage or lend a voice to these activists despite the fact that there are others willing to sacrifice the reputation of themselves and the cattlemen and women they represent, to do so.  

Statement on Trade and the 2020 Election  

Today, Farmers for Free Trade Co-Executive Director, Angela Hofmann released the following statement on trade and the importance of the Presidential candidates defining their priorities in the final days of the campaign.

“This election is playing out in states where farm exports are central to the well-being of the economy. In the final days, both candidates should speak to voters in Iowa, Texas, Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and elsewhere to explain why they will reverse the harmful ag trade course we have been on. They need to better define their plans on how we regain America’s ag leadership and our historic ag surplus with the rest of the world.

"With over 40 percent of farm income currently coming from government subsidies, many triggered by the trade war, the next President will face the monumental task of opening markets and restoring our farmer’s competitive place in the world. Farmers have made clear they want trade not aid. They are ready to end the trade war and resume outcompeting their global competition on an even playing field. Both candidates should put forth their vision for doing so in the campaign’s final days and talk about it at every stop."

Over the last three months, Farmers for Free Trade, along with our ag commodity association supporters, have held a series of “AgTalks” roundtables with ag leaders across the country to gather recommendations for improving ag trade in the next administration. Those recommendations are set to be released following the election and will help provide a blueprint for efforts in the next administration.

Lely North America Breaks Ground on New Iowa Facility

Last year, Lely announced plans for its new North American campus, furthering its commitment to Pella, the state of Iowa and the dairy producers across North America. The groundbreaking ceremony took place October 22 at the company's new location. Lely North America President Chad Huyser led the event, and the new campus expects to be open in the first quarter of 2022.

"This acquisition and expansion for our new campus will allow Lely to further support the North American dairy industry and our Lely Center distribution partners across the U.S. and Canada," stated Huyser. "This first phase of build-out will accommodate our needs today and into the future. With a much larger site plan established, we have the flexibility and designs in place to further expand as the level of adoption of automation expands and new technology continues to be introduced."

Lely North America's new campus spans nearly 60 acres at the intersection of IA-163 and 250th Ave. / Adams Ave. in Pella, Iowa. Huyser was joined by several special guests at the groundbreaking, including Iowa's Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg and Pella Mayor Don DeWaard. Also in attendance were Lely's Iowa-based team members as well as a video simulcast to Lely employees across North America.

The company plans to move all its current operations from existing facilities under one roof upon completion. The new facility includes approximately 100,000 square feet of manufacturing and professional space, as well as a state-of-the-art training facility for use by employees and Lely's distribution partners throughout North America.

The current production activities include manufacturing of the Lely Astronaut A5 robotic milking system and Lely Luna cow brushes, but the new facility adds the ability to manufacture additional products in the Lely portfolio.

Vytelle Establishes Exclusive Agreement with Synomics to Tie Genetic Signatures in Cattle to Performance and Efficiency

Vytelle announced today the exclusive licensing of the Synomics Insights Platform to increase the accuracy of predicting cattle performance using phenotype and genomics data. By bringing this new capability in-house, Vytelle is uniquely positioned to fast forward cattle genetic progress – bringing certainty to producers’ high-stake management decisions.

“Vytelle will now be able to offer cattle producers the ability to correlate elite phenotype performance to unique genetic trait combinations. Combining this capability with our GrowSafe Systems phenotype data capture platform, Vytelle will offer cattle producers new intelligence to correlate genome to phenome.  As a result, producers can more rapidly multiply their elite genetics using our modern in vitro fertilization system providing them a complete solution,” commented Kerryann Kocher, Chief Executive Officer for Vytelle.

The revolutionary Synomics Insights Platform can process thousands of diverse datasets and analyze large-scale genotypic, phenotypic and environmental data.

“We’re excited to work with the Vytelle team to help them unlock individual animal performance for cattle producers,” said Steve Gardner, Founder of Synomics. “We’ve already demonstrated that we can more accurately explain the correlations among genomic, phenotype and environmental data driving new insights for health, production and fertility traits for producers.”

Vytelle and Synomics are part of the Wheatsheaf Group, an international investor in food and agriculture focused on creating efficiencies in the production and distribution of food, developing innovative business models and technologies to deliver affordable, nutritious and safe food that sustains both human health and the health of the planet.

Tuesday October 27 Ag News

 Farm Programs During COVID19: Making Government Programs Work For You

The I-29 Moo University webinar series continues with a presentation by Minnesota Extension Ag Business Management Specialist Megan Roberts on Wednesday, November 4. The webinar will be live from 12 noon to 1 pm and there is no registration.

This presentation will dive into what we do and don't know about how this new crop of government programs as we approach the end of 2020, including PPP forgiveness application changes, tax considerations, and the upcoming December 11 CFAP 2 deadline. 

Covid-19 brought farms many challenges, as well as several new governmental programs to decipher--from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP 1 & 2) and mandatory Families FIRST Act employee sick leave.

Megan Roberts is a University of Minnesota Extension educator in ag business management. She holds a bachelors and masters from the University of Minnesota and a doctorate from Texas A&M. Megan's roots in agriculture come from growing up on a dairy farm, and she currently resides on a hog and crop farm in southern MN with her husband and son.

No registration is required. Producers can log on to the presentation at:

For more information contact I-29 Moo University collaborators: Fred Hall, ISU Extension at 712.737.4230, Jim Salfer, U of M Extension at 320.203.6093, Tracey Erickson SDSU Extension at 608.882.5140, or  Kim Clark, NE Extension at 402.350.5003.

 Extension webinar for ag professionals to focus on communicating with farmers under stress

Nebraska Extension, in partnership with Michigan State University Extension, will present a free webinar, “Communicating with Farmers Under Stress,” on Nov. 10 from 10:30 a.m. to noon, CST.  This workshop is beneficial for individuals who work with farmers and ranchers on a regular basis, such as bank lenders, ag suppliers, healthcare professionals and anyone involved with the lives of farmers and ranchers.

Stress seems to be prevalent in the agriculture sector, with even more concerns arising due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many farmers and ranchers are facing financial problems and market uncertainties, along with challenges such as production risks, farm transfer issues and more.  When temporary stress turns into chronic stress, it can impact physical health and mental wellness.

Workshop Objectives include:  
    Build awareness around potentially stressful conditions affecting some farmers and ranchers.
    Learn stress triggers, identify signs of stress, and review helpful techniques for responding.
    Learn techniques for identifying, approaching, and working with farmers who may not cope with stress effectively.
    Learn where to find additional help.

In addition to being helpful for working with farmers and ranchers, the workshop educates participants about managing stress in their own lives and teaches how stressors can affect physical health and relationships with family or coworkers.

Register for the free online workshop at: .

For more information, contact Nebraska Extension Educators Glennis McClure, or Susan Harris,  

Women in Ag Leadership Conference Goes Virtual for 2020

The fourth annual Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Women in Ag Leadership Conference addresses topics that are timely and challenging. The conference features speakers ready to share leadership knowledge and skills participants can apply to succeed in farm or agribusiness careers. This year’s conference is Nov. 30, 1-3:30 p.m., and Dec. 1, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The conference is a virtual event sponsored by Farm Credit Services of America.

This year’s conference theme is Leadership in Unprecedented Times. A veteran of crisis communication, Eileen Wixted of Wixted & Co. will present a workshop the afternoon of Nov. 30. She will engage the audience in preparedness activities that can help minimize business disruptions during a crisis.

Miriam Erickson Brown, president and CEO, Anderson Erickson Dairy, is the keynote speaker on Dec. 1 at 9:30 a.m. She’ll be sharing her experiences of leading a food company through a global pandemic. As the director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Kayla Lyon will discuss the challenges of leadership following the derecho, which swept through Iowa in August. The storm devastated and closed parks across the state. The afternoon conference session will focus on cultivating diversity.

Philomena Morrissey Satre, director of Diversity + Inclusion, Land O’ Lakes Inc., will offer insights into supporting a diverse workplace. A panel of two former Women in Ag Leadership Advisory Committee members, Zoami Calles-Rios Sosa and Jittaun Floyd, will share insights on working in agriculture as minorities. The capstone speaker, ISU Extension and Outreach farm and agribusiness management specialist Melissa O’Rourke, will help put 2020 in perspective and poise the audience to move into 2021 with grace and optimism.

Once again, the ISU Extension and Outreach Women in Ag Program will honor Iowa’s Women Impacting Agriculture during the conference. This honor highlights and celebrates women’s unique contributions to a safe and plentiful food supply while enhancing Iowa’s agricultural systems.

“I’m proud of the conference advisory committee’s work to give attendees an opportunity to discuss many current events in 2020 and gain new leadership skills to help them head into 2021 with confidence and optimism,” said Madeline Schultz, program manager for women in ag.

The virtual conference will offer networking opportunities. When registering for the conference, participants can choose to post their name, email and bio or message to the password protected website.

“Registrants can check this site often to connect with others who are attending the virtual conference to say ‘Hello’ to people they’ve met before or new people who share their interest,” Schultz said. “Another way we’ve built networking into the virtual event is our breakout rooms before, during and after the conference sessions. We want people to have fun and meaningful conversations in small groups, just like they would around a face-to-face conference table.”

The mission of the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Women in Ag Program is to improve the quality of life in Iowa by providing research-based educational resources and programs that expand agricultural business, improve natural resource management and support the community of women in agriculture.

The Women in Ag Leadership Conference Online registration is open at Cost for the conference is $30. Attendance scholarships are available. For questions or additional information, contact Madeline Schultz at 515-294-0588 or

Iowa Federal Candidates Take United Stance Against Anti-Biofuels Legislation

Iowa federal candidates have taken a united public stance against legislation introduced in Congress that would destroy biofuel demand.

Last week the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) and Iowa Biodiesel Board (IBB) sent an open letter to candidates running for federal office in Iowa asking them to take a public stand against legislation that would ban biofuel-powered vehicles by 2035. All ten of the candidates declared opposition to such legislation.

“We thank Iowa’s candidates for taking such a strong, united stance against this attempt to remove biofuels from being part of our energy future,” said IRFA Executive Director Monte Shaw. “This bill that completely ignores the emission reductions possible today and in the future from biofuels. Rather than taking a technology-neutral approach that would allow the market to decide the best way to meet emission standards, this bill disregards all of the investment farmers and biofuels producers have made into increasing efficiency and ensuring biofuels continue to get greener and greener with each passing year.”

“One of the best ways to reduce carbon emissions today – and in future cars and trucks – is through low-carbon liquid fuels such as biodiesel,” said IBB Executive Director Grant Kimberley. “While we support an all-of-the-above strategy, including electric vehicle technology, we applaud the key federal leaders and potential leaders who are on the record saying they will not side with one specific technology at the expense of others that support the use of biofuels. Biofuels have earned the opportunity to compete in the low-carbon economy.”

Gas Car Ban Would Have Disproportionate Impact on U.S. Biofuels and Agriculture

Today, the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA), a member of the Transportation Fairness Alliance, released a new study that analyzes the impacts of increased electric vehicle penetration on U.S. biofuels, agriculture and the economy. Proposals to ban internal combustion engine vehicles by 2035 and 2050 served as the economic models for the study, along with a base case provided by the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Annual Energy Outlook.

The study found that U.S. light-duty and freight vehicle consumption of ethanol and biodiesel could decline up to 90 percent to 1.1 billion gallons and up to 61 percent to 0.8 billion gallons, respectively.

Corn and soybean consumption could decrease by up to 2.0 billion bushels and up to 470 million bushels, respectively. Corn prices fall up to 50 percent to $1.74 per bushel, while soybean prices fall up to 44 percent to $4.92 per bushel.

Overall, U.S. net farm income would decrease by up to $27 billion due to a proposed ban.

This study makes clear that an internal combustion engine vehicle ban could devastate the agriculture community. Proposals that seek to rush this ban to 2035 have the most severe impacts, but any ban results in dramatic decreases in ethanol, biodiesel, corn and soybean prices, and demand for fertilizer and other agricultural products. These are burdens carried disproportionately by the agriculture community.

Using the study’s estimated acreage reduction of 5 to 7 million acres of corn as an example, the impact on fertilizer alone is significant. In that scenario, nitrogen demand impact is approximately 800,000 to 1 million tons of urea and UAN each, assuming that direct application of ammonia volume remains constant. This represents about 15 percent of the urea market and 7% of the UAN market in the U.S., which will have a significant impact on fertilizer prices.

Further, the study shows that the economic losses throughout the biofuels value chain range from $105 billion to $185 billion, and cumulative federal, state, and local tax revenues losses range from $39 billion to $69 billion through 2050.  

This study used POLYSYS and IMPLAN to derive the agricultural and economic impacts of this study.

EPA Announces 2020 Dicamba Registration Decision

At the Cromley Farm in Brooklet, Georgia, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced that EPA is approving new five-year registrations for two dicamba products and extending the registration of an additional dicamba product. All three registrations include new control measures to ensure these products can be used effectively while protecting the environment, including non-target plants, animals, and other crops not tolerant to dicamba.

“With today’s decision, farmers now have the certainty they need to make plans for their 2021 growing season,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “After reviewing substantial amounts of new information, conducting scientific assessments based on the best available science, and carefully considering input from stakeholders we have reached a resolution that is good for our farmers and our environment.”

Through today’s action, EPA approved new registrations for two “over-the-top” (OTT) dicamba products—XtendiMax with VaporGrip Technology and Engenia Herbicide—and extended the registration for an additional OTT dicamba product, Tavium Plus VaporGrip Technology. These registrations are only for use on dicamba-tolerant (DT) cotton and soybeans and will expire in 2025, providing certainty to American agriculture for the upcoming growing season and beyond.

To manage off-site movement of dicamba, EPA’s 2020 registration features important control measures, including:
    Requiring an approved pH-buffering agent (also called a Volatility Reduction Agent or VRA) be tank mixed with OTT dicamba products prior to all applications to control volatility.
    Requiring a downwind buffer of 240 feet and 310 feet in areas where listed species are located.
    Prohibiting OTT application of dicamba on soybeans after June 30 and cotton after July 30.
    Simplifying the label and use directions so that growers can more easily determine when and how to properly apply dicamba.

The 2020 registration labels also provide new flexibilities for growers and states. For example, there are opportunities for growers to reduce the downwind spray buffer for soybeans through use of certain approved hooded sprayers as an alternative control method. EPA also recognizes and supports the important authority FIFRA section 24 gives the states for issuing locally appropriate regulations for pesticide use. If a state wishes to expand the federal OTT uses of dicamba to better meet special local needs, the agency will work with them to support their goals.  

This action was informed by input from state regulators, grower groups, academic researchers, pesticide manufacturers, and others. EPA reviewed substantial amounts of new information and conducted assessments based on the best available science, including making Effect Determinations under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). With this information and input, EPA has concluded that these registration actions meet Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) registration standards. EPA believes that these new analyses address the concerns expressed in regard to EPA’s 2018 dicamba registrations in the June 2020 U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Further, EPA concluded that with the control measures now required on labels, these actions either do not affect or are not likely to adversely affect endangered or threatened species.

To view the final registration of the dicamba products, visit docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2020-0492 at  

Statement by Steve Nelson, President, Regarding EPA Re-Registration of Dicamba Products

“Today’s announcement that EPA will move forward to issue a five-year re-register of dicamba-based products is welcomed news. The decision will ensure these products are available for use by farmers during the 2021 growing season and beyond. Nebraska Farm Bureau has been a strong advocate for re-registration of dicamba products to ensure farmers continue to have crop protection product options. We want to thank EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler for making this decision in a timely fashion as many farmers are in the process of making decisions about herbicide purchases for the upcoming year. We look forward to EPA’s release of complete details.”

Soy Growers Appreciate Dicamba to Remain Weed Control Option

The American Soybean Association (ASA) appreciates that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced it will reregister dicamba for 2021 and future use. The product is one of many tools integral to the success of soy growers who face different crop production challenges throughout a diverse growing region spanning 30-plus states.

Bill Gordon, soybean farmer from Worthington, Minnesota, and president of ASA said, “We rely in great part on EPA support for the continued success of our industry, from measures encouraging biodiesel market expansion to these types of decisions regarding safe and effective use of crop protection tools. We thank EPA today for the many steps and time invested in coming to this decision to reregister a product relied upon by many soy growers.”

ASA is reviewing the new registration to have a comprehensive understanding of its impact for U.S. soybean production. Dicamba is an important choice for growers to have available to help manage damaging weeds.

 EPA Provides Certainty to Ag Retailers and Farmers Through Dicamba Decision

Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) President and CEO Daren Coppock released the following statement in response to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler's announcement that the agency has granted five-year registrations for dicamba herbicides:

"Ag retailers and their farmer customers have already been working to make decisions for the 2021 growing season while waiting for clarity on if dicamba would be available for use. Now farmers and their retailers can make firmer plans for the next five years with this critical question answered.

"In addition to providing certainty and clarity, we continue to applaud EPA's work to ensure that all decisions are made through a rigorous scientific approval process."

2021 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show is officially on the move

The Cattle Industry Annual Convention and NCBA Trade Show is one of the industry’s largest events each year, bringing together cattlemen and cattlewomen from across the nation to do the work of our industry. This event is the premier event for the beef cattle business!
Unfortunately, the current pandemic presents challenges that make bringing people together in February difficult. The National Cattlemen's Beef Association will hold some of its traditional business meetings in the January or February timeframe, in accordance with the association’s bylaws.

Originally scheduled for February 3-5, 2021, the convention and trade show will now take place August 10-12, 2021. While the event may have a new date, both the convention and trade show will continue to take place at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee.
We hope you’ll join us in-person in August for the 123rd anniversary of this legendary event. We’re working behind the scenes to create a great line-up of education, speakers and a world-class trade show along with networking opportunities in a safe, responsible manner. We’d like to thank everyone involved in the event from our exhibitors, loyal sponsors and partners for being so patient as we’ve worked through this process. Together we are going to make this event one to remember.

Be sure to dial into our website over the coming months for all the details as we get ready to Tune in to Tennessee.

USDA and FCA facilitate meeting to find ways to better support credit needs of beginning farmers and ranchers

USDA Under Secretary Bill Northey and Farm Credit Administration Chairman Glen Smith are two farmers with similar backgrounds who understand the importance beginning farmers and ranchers play in the future of American agriculture. They brought their two federal agencies together today to facilitate an event to find ways for agricultural lenders to better serve the credit needs of beginning producers.

The event included staff from the Farm Service Agency (FSA), representatives of the agricultural lending community, and beginning farmers and ranchers to explore ways to better serve these producers.

USDA's farm loan programs, direct loans, and loan guarantee programs provide access to credit and needed capital for agricultural lenders to work with beginning farmers and ranchers. These producers have unique financing needs as they strive to start, develop, and grow their operations. The success of beginning farmers and ranchers is critical to ensuring the future viability of U.S. agriculture.

The goal of this event was to begin the process of more effectively leveraging these programs to benefit beginning farmers and ranchers. Farm Credit System lenders, rural community banks, and other agricultural lenders also provide programs to help beginning farmers and ranchers.

During this event, beginning farmers and ranchers discussed their relationships with agricultural lenders and FSA. Event participants discussed what worked well for beginning farmers and where improvements could be made. The event included representatives of the American Bankers Association, the Independent Community Bankers Association, the National Rural Lenders, the Farm Credit System, credit unions, and FSA, discussing how they could improve the way they work together. The groups agreed on the following:
    Establishing a process for agricultural lenders and FSA to communicate when challenges arise in financing beginning farmers and ranchers.
    Engaging agricultural lenders and FSA staff in loan-making training sessions and farm loan conferences.
    Sharing best practices to extend credit and improve creditworthiness by developing workgroups between agricultural lenders and FSA to identify a consistent process to overcome challenges to financing beginning farmers and ranchers.

"I am pleased to join Under Secretary Northey for this important event," said Chairman Smith. "With 58 as the average age of U.S. farmers and ranchers, it’s clear we need new entrants to agriculture to ensure that the industry continues to thrive. FCA is eager to work closely with USDA and other stakeholders to find ways to better meet the financing needs of beginning farmers."

This event solidified the first of many steps FSA and agricultural lenders plan to take to improve financing opportunities for beginning farmers and ranchers. While there are many challenges, this event demonstrated that FSA and agricultural lenders are committed to finding ways to improve the opportunities for beginning farmers and ranchers — who are, after all, the future of U.S. agriculture.

NIOSH pledges $6 million for child agricultural injury prevention

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has awarded the National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety, Marshfield Clinic Research Institute, a competitive grant renewal of $6 million over five years to continue the center’s mission of childhood agricultural injury prevention.

New studies being launched address youth operating ATVs for farm work, adolescent mental health, the impact of available childcare on safety practices, and other safety issues important to the agriculture community.

“Childhood agricultural safety has never been more important than now during the coronavirus pandemic,” said Barbara Lee, Ph.D., National Children’s Center director. “Children are spending more time on farms, which can be positive from a family perspective, but it also increases their exposure to farm hazards and raises supervision challenges with home-schooling and closure of many child care centers.”

The National Children’s Center is one of 11 agricultural centers funded by NIOSH, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is the only center dedicated to childhood agricultural injury prevention. NIOSH announced the renewal Oct. 1.

Although the rate of non-fatal injuries to children in agriculture has declined since the National Children’s Center was established in 1997, agriculture remains hazardous for children and youth. About every three days, a child dies in an agriculture-related incident, and each day, about 33 children suffer preventable injuries. During the past decade, youth worker fatalities in agriculture have exceeded all other industries combined.

“By working with our partners in agriculture, including farm parents, businesses and organizations, we’re helping ensure that safety interventions and guidelines are sustained beyond the span of the grant period,” Lee said.

The new grant includes six distinct research studies, an outreach program, administrative and core leadership, and a national stakeholder advisory board.

Principal investigators within the Research Institute include Lee; Casper Bendixsen, Ph.D.; Bryan Weichelt, Ph.D.; Marsha Salzwedel, Ed.D.; Florence Becot, Ph.D.; and Jeffrey VanWormer, Ph.D. External principal investigators are Farzaneh Khorsandi, Ph.D., and Fadi Fathallah, Ph.D., University of California-Davis; Shoshanah Inwood, Ph.D., Ohio State University; and Josie Rudolphi, Ph.D., University of Illinois. Andrea Swenson, Ph.D., will oversee evaluation of the center’s process, outcomes and impact.

The center will continue to partner with Migrant Clinician’s Network, working with Amy K. Liebman, M.P.A., and her team of professionals dedicated to improving the health of migrant farmworkers and other mobile underserved populations.

The projects:
    “Surveillance of Medically Attended Agricultural Injuries in Farm Children” (VanWormer)
    “Linking Childcare to Farm Children Safety” (Becot)
    “Farm Kid Paradox: Anthropological Inquiry Into The Benefits and Risks of Child-Livestock Interaction” (Bendixsen)
    “Assessing the Impact of Traumatic Injury News Articles on Farm Mothers and Educators” (Weichelt)
    “Farm Adolescent and Mental Health” (Rudolphi)
    “Capabilities and Limitations of Youth Operating Agriculture All-Terrain Vehicles” (Khorsandi and Fathallah)
    “Outreach Core” (Salzwedel)

The National Children’s Center is also supported by Marshfield Clinic Health System and through generous donations and other grants.

Illinios Leads Top Ten Pumpkin Producing States

Pumpkins are one of the most famous symbols of fall. Many consumers enjoy traveling to local farms to pick out their own pumpkins from a patch, carving Halloween jack-o'-lanterns, or making pumpkin desserts. Production is widely dispersed throughout the United States, with all States producing some pumpkins. However, about 62 percent of pumpkin acres were cultivated in only ten States. By acreage and by weight, Illinois is consistently the Nation's largest pumpkin producer.

Unlike all other States, most of Illinois' pumpkins are used for pie filling and other processed foods.

The other top states include California, Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington.

Retail prices for pumpkins typically fluctuate week to week leading up to Halloween.

At the end of the third week of October 2020, the average retail price for jack-o'-lantern style pumpkins was $3.63 per pumpkin, the same price compared to the same week in 2019.

Monday October 26 Ag News


For the week ending October 25, 2020, there were 5.2 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 27% very short, 46% short, 27% adequate, and 0% surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 28% very short, 41% short, 30% adequate, and 1% surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn harvested was 76%, well ahead of 40% last year and 46% for the five-year average.

Soybeans harvested was 97%, ahead of 78% both last year and average.

Winter wheat condition rated 5% very poor, 16% poor, 36% fair, 40% good, and 3% excellent. Winter wheat planted was 98%, near 99% last year, and equal to average. Emerged was 84%, behind 90% last year and 89% average.

Sorghum harvested was 82%, well ahead of 36% last year and 51% average.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 18% very poor, 22% poor, 27% fair, 32% good, and 1% excellent.


Measurable snowfall and rain limited Iowa farmers to 3.8 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending October 25, 2020, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Although fieldwork was limited, activities reported included baling corn stalks, applying fertilizer and manure, and fall tillage.

Topsoil moisture condition rated 11% very short, 29% short, 56% adequate and 4% surplus. Subsoil moisture condition rated 18% very short, 35% short, 45% adequate and 2% surplus.

Over three-quarters of Iowa’s corn for grain has been harvested, more than 3 weeks ahead of last year and 2 weeks ahead of average. Statewide, the moisture content of field corn being harvested for grain remained at 16%. Farmers in northwest Iowa have only 8% of their corn for grain remaining to be harvested while farmers in south central Iowa still have over 50% to be harvested.

Only 6% of Iowa’s soybean crop remains to be harvested, 3 weeks ahead of last year and just over 2 weeks ahead of average. Farmers in northwest, north central, west central, and central Iowa have 3% or less of their soybeans remaining to be harvested. In contrast, farmers in the southern one-third of the state have at least 14% of their soybeans yet to be harvested.

Pasture condition rated 18% good to excellent, down 2 percentage points from last week. Cattle producers continue to supplement hay and water supplies. Some cows are grazing on corn stalks.

USDA:  Corn 72% Harvested; Soybeans 83% Harvested

Precipitation in parts of the country slowed the nation's row-crop harvest last week, but progress for both the corn and soybean harvest remained ahead of normal, according to the USDA NASS weekly Crop Progress report released on Monday.

Corn harvest moved ahead 12 percentage points to reach 72% complete as of Sunday, Oct. 25, putting this year's progress 16 percentage points ahead of the five-year average of 56%.

Soybean harvest also slowed considerably last week, moving ahead just 8 percentage points to reach 83% complete as of Sunday. That puts this year's harvest progress 10 percentage points ahead of the five-year average of 73%.

Winter wheat planting also slowed somewhat last week, moving ahead 8 percentage points from 77% the previous week to 85% as of Sunday. That is 5 percentage points ahead of the five-year average of 80%. An estimated 62% of winter wheat had emerged, 2 percentage points ahead of the five-year average of 60%.  In its first rating of the 2020-21 winter wheat crop, NASS estimated that 41% of the crop was in good-to-excellent condition, down from 56% a year ago.


AFAN Announces Hiring of New Director of Livestock Development

AFAN has announced the hiring of Kris Bousquet of Lincoln, Neb., as its new Director of Livestock Development. His appointment is effective as of October 26.

AFAN (The Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska) is a non-profit organization formed by leading agricultural membership groups in Nebraska to encourage the development of environmentally responsible and economically viable livestock production in the state.

Bousquet’s responsibilities at AFAN include taking the lead in building relationships with our partners, working one-on-one with producers interested in adding or expanding livestock operations, and work to expand opportunities that add value to our grain commodities and livestock species throughout Nebraska.

Bousquet was born and raised on a dairy, diversified row crop, and beef farm in South Sioux City, Nebraska where his passion for agriculture grew. He has also been active in the Nebraska Air National Guard since 2009 where he currently holds the rank of Technical Sergeant and works as an aircraft mechanic. He is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a Bachelor of Applied Science and is currently pursuing his master’s in animal Welfare and Behavior at UNL. Until joining AFAN, Bousquet was the Farmer Relations Manager in Nebraska for Midwest Dairy and the Executive Director of Nebraska State Dairy Association. Bousquet will continue as the Executive Director with NSDA as he transitions into his new role with AFAN.

“I am very excited to have Kris join our team,” said AFAN Executive Director Steve Martin. “His skills, experience and network will be tremendous assets to help expand AFAN’s reach in working with producers and other partners to grow the livestock industry in Nebraska. Agriculture in our number one industry and growing the livestock sector supports rural economic vitality. The AFAN team is fully staffed and ready to help grow Nebraska agriculture.”

Income from Grazing Corn Stalks

Keith Glewen, NE Extension Educator, Saunders County

Are you looking for additional income from your corn acres? Grazing corn residue is a low-cost winter feed source for cattle and a source of additional income for farmers without negative effects on the cropland.

Many crop producers are concerned that trampling from cattle grazing corn residue negatively affects crop yields. But when grazed at proper stocking rates, small but positive effects on crop production after grazing have been observed.

Research conducted at the University of Nebraska has shown that grazing corn residue at the recommended stocking rate does not reduce corn or soybean yields in irrigated fields the following growing season.

In fact, a long-term study in eastern Nebraska at the Eastern Research and Extension Center showed 2 to 3 bushel per acre improvements for soybean production following grazed corn residue in a corn-soybean rotation. This result was the same whether cattle grazed in the fall from November through January or spring from February through April.

A five-year study in western Nebraska measured corn yields from continuous corn after cattle grazing in the fall and found no negative effects on corn yields the following year.

It must be noted that minor surface compaction can result from grazing during wet weather. However, this compaction often disappears through the natural wetting and drying and freezing and thawing processes. And the compaction level for restricting root growth and does not carry over into the following growing season.

Grazing corn residue benefits both cattle and crop producers. Corn residue should be viewed as an economical source of winter roughage for cattle that can provide an extra source of income from corn production that does not affect next year's crop production.

If you are interested in listing crop residue fields available for winter grazing and connecting with livestock producers, sign up at

Field to Fuel Student Video Contest Open for Entries

The Nebraska Ethanol Board presents the 6th annual Field to Fuel video contest, which encourages Nebraska high school students to explore the importance and value of ethanol.

With a focus on educating the public about renewable fuels, students are asked to research, film and edit a two-minute video for a chance to one of three prizes, including a $1,000 grand prize for their school or organization. Eligible videos must be received and/or postmarked no later than Jan. 31, 2021. More information and requirements can be found at

“The ethanol industry plays a significant role in Nebraska’s economy and is very important to our state’s agriculture,” said Jonathan Anderson, agriculture teacher at Norfolk High School. “Teaching about biofuels can be a blast and also ensures this generation understands the impact of biofuels now and in the future. The Field to Fuel contest is a fun, alternative way to learn and show off student learning. Last year, this video contest, and a field trip to our local ethanol plant, sparked two students to do an experiment creating ethanol production from Apple Cider Wastes that has made it all the way to the top three at the National FFA AgriScience Contest. It has been a joy to watch.”

This contest is open to all Nebraska high school students in grades 9-12th grade and can explore any aspect of ethanol, including agriculture, science, sustainability, and renewable fuels’ impact in improving the environment and Nebraska’s economy.. Teachers who would like more information about how to introduce ethanol into their curriculum (all ages) can explore the Ethanol in the Classroom tab at

Land management webinar to address trends in cash rent, USDA farm programs, closing out land leases

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Department of Agricultural Economics will continue its live webinar series, “Land Management Quarterly,” on Nov. 16, at noon Central time.

Since 2019, this online series has addressed common management problems for Nebraska landowners, agricultural operators and related stakeholders interested in the latest insight on trends in real estate, managing agricultural land and solutions for addressing challenges in the upcoming growing season.

The November webinar will cover recent findings from the 2020 USDA-National Agricultural Statistics Service county-level cash rent survey and trends in farm programs influencing operations across the state. The presentation will also include a special segment on communication issues arising from closing out 2020 leases while reviewing considerations for 2021. The session will conclude with an “Ask the Experts” session, offering participants the chance to get live answers to their land or lease questions.

The webinar will be led by Jim Jansen and Allan Vyhnalek, who are both in the Department of Agricultural Economics. Jansen focuses on agricultural finance and land economics, along with leading Nebraska Extension’s statewide land management outreach efforts. Vyhnalek is a farm succession and farmland management extension educator working throughout Nebraska.

“As 2020 comes to a close, we have seen an unprecedented level of uncertainty due to COVID-19 and growing concerns of extensive drought across Nebraska,” Jansen said. “The November webinar will cover recent trends in the land industry and farm programs involving Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC), along with addressing common communication issues arising as we end one year and look forward to the next growing season.”

The webinars are free to attend. Register and submit questions at

Recordings can be viewed the day after each session, along with recordings from the entire series. The next Agricultural Land Management Quarterly webinar will be Feb. 15, 2021.

Don’t Discount the Need for Vitamin A and E in Beef Cows During Winter

Steve Niemeyer – NE Extension Educator

Poor quality of forage fed to cows in late gestation can present health challenges not only for the cows but for the calves they’re about to give birth to. Drought conditions or poor haying conditions during the previous growing season can lower quantities of those forage’s essential nutrients, such as Vitamin A and Vitamin E. The ability of producers to provide supplemental Vitamin A and E for their animals can also be affected by manufacturing or other supply problems that change the way mineral manufacturers include such vitamins in their products.  

Regardless of the previous year’s growing conditions, forage vitamin levels are not something cattle producers should take for granted. Supplying sufficient Vitamin A and Vitamin E to cows in late gestation is important every year, and the price of the supplement should not be a limiting factor.
Both Vitamins A and E are plentiful in green forages, but tend to be much lower in hay and winter range and continues to decline as the fall and winter progress. While textbooks will point out the dramatic effects of Vitamin A and E deficiencies in cattle (congenital eye problems, white muscle disease in calves), these overt problems are not as common as the more ambiguous effects on calf vigor and immunity. Marginal Vitamin A deficiencies in calves cause lower responsiveness of immune cells in the body and a breakdown of the protective functions in the gut and lungs. Likewise, Vitamin E is important in protecting body cells from damage (e.g. from infections) and also plays a role in maintaining immunity. The result of deficiencies in these vitamins can show up as decreased vigor and an increased susceptibility to illness.

The importance of these vitamins to the newborn calf is contrasted by the fact these vitamins do not cross the placenta in high enough amounts to meet their requirements. Calves must obtain sufficient levels through colostrum right after they’re born. This means producers should focus on the vitamin status of the cow prior to calving to ensure sufficient levels in the colostrum.

Cows’ livers can store about a 4-month supply of Vitamin A, which can be depleted if green forage is not available. Vitamin E is not sufficiently stored in the body, although there is some disparity among experts and the literature on this point. If cows are supplemented with these vitamins continually during the non-grazing season, body storage becomes a less-important issue.

Pregnant cows and heifers should be supplemented with 30,000-100,000 IU/head/day of Vitamin A and 50-100 IU/head/day of Vitamin E when green forage is not available. Even high-quality stored forage should not be depended upon to supply sufficient Vitamin A or E. Some studies indicate benefits to using higher levels of supplementation, while others do not. Higher vitamin supplementation rates do not appear to be risky from a toxicologic standpoint.

Cattle producers and veterinarians sometimes rely on injections of Vitamin A to help increase levels in the liver. An injection of 1,000,000-1,500,000 IU per head can boost liver levels, but may need to be given monthly if other supplementation is not provided. A single injection two weeks prior to calving has been recommended to help the cow overcome a drop in the body reserves of these vitamins around the time of calving. If cows are not deficient in these vitamins, injections do not appear to be useful. Reports of adverse reactions (abortions, shock) have been reported in late-gestation cows receiving vitamin injections in conjunction with vaccines such as scour shots. Producers should consult their veterinarians regarding specific products and the timing of their use.

Injections of Vitamin E and A to newborn calves can also be considered; however, this should not be considered a substitute for proper vitamin supplementation in the cow’s diet, nor for ensuring timely and sufficient colostrum consumption in the calf.

Even in years when forage growing conditions are good, producers should not plan on skimping on vitamin supplementation for their cows during this – or any other – winter.

October Pork Webinar: CME Contract Overview and Market Update

The National Pork Board will host a free webinar tomorrow, Oct. 27, 2020, for pork producers. The webinar will provide attendees with an update on the new CME Pork Cutout Futures and Options contract and a market outlook. Panelists include:
    Tim Andriesen, Managing Director – Agricultural Products, CME Group
    Steve Meyer, Economist, Partners for Production Agriculture
    Dr. Lee Schulz, Associate Professor, Iowa State University  

October Pork Webinar: CME Pork Cutout Futures and Options and Market Updates
Tuesday, Oct. 27 at 1:30 p.m. CDT.

Register Here:  

USDA Announces Early Release of Select Commodity Tables for USDA’s Agricultural Projections to 2030

On November 6, 2020 at 3:00 p.m. EST, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will release select tables prepared for the upcoming USDA Agricultural Projections to 2030 report. USDA will post online tables containing long-term supply, use, and price projections to 2030 for major U.S. crops and livestock products, as well as supporting U.S. and international macroeconomic assumptions. The short-term projections from the October 9, 2020 World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report are used as the starting point.

Those tables will be posted in MS Excel format simultaneously to the Office of the Chief Economist’s (OCE) website and to the Economic Research Service’s (ERS) website. Additional data visualizations and supporting content will be available at the ERS Agricultural Baseline Database.

The complete USDA Agricultural Projections to 2030 report will be released in February 2021 and will include a full discussion of the commodity supply and use projections, and projections for farm income and global commodity trade.

USDA’s long-term agricultural projections represent a departmental consensus on a ten-year representative scenario for the agricultural sector. They are a composite of model results and judgment-based analyses, prepared from August 2020 through February 2021. The projections do not represent USDA forecasts, but rather reflect a conditional long-run scenario based upon specific assumptions about macroeconomic conditions, policy, weather, and international developments, with no domestic or external shocks to global agricultural markets. The Agricultural Act of 2018 is assumed to remain in effect through the projection period.

More than $7 Billion Paid in Second Round of USDA Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced that in the first month of the application period, the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) approved more than $7 billion in payments to producers in the second round of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. CFAP 2 provides agricultural producers with financial assistance to help absorb some of the increased marketing costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“America’s agriculture communities are resilient, but still face many challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These payments directed by President Trump will continue to help this critical industry recoup some of their losses from ongoing market disruptions and associated costs,” said Secretary Perdue. “This program builds upon the over $10 billion disbursed under the first round of CFAP. Agricultural producers who have been impacted by the pandemic since April 2020 are encouraged to apply for assistance.”

Since CFAP 2 enrollment began on September 21, FSA has approved more than 443,000 applications. The top five states for payments are Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, Illinois and Kansas. USDA has released a data dashboard on application progress and program payments and will release further updates each Monday at 2:00 p.m. ET. The report can be viewed at

Through CFAP 2, USDA is making available up to $14 billion for agricultural producers who continue to face market disruptions and associated costs because of COVID-19. CFAP 2 is a separate program from the first iteration of CFAP (CFAP 1). Farmers and ranchers who participated in CFAP 1 will not be automatically enrolled and must complete a new application for CFAP 2. FSA will accept CFAP 2 applications through December 11, 2020.

Cattle on Feed Grows Again

David P. Anderson, Extension Economist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

The number of cattle on feed hit an October record in 2020, at 11.7 million head. Placements and marketings were up over a year ago, as well. Digging into USDA’s report a little deeper reveals some more interesting directions for the cattle market in coming months.

Marketings were up 6.2 percent over September 2019. Given one more working day in the month that means daily average marketings were above a year ago for the second month in row. The ability to slaughter more cattle per day, on average, than a year is welcome data considering all the adjustments forced on the industry this year. In terms of absolute numbers, marketings trend lower in the second half of the year, and that trend is holding this year, as well.

Placements were above a year ago also, up 5.9 percent. Larger placements might be seen in the light of sharply lower placements in March and April as response to corona virus effects. Kansas and Nebraska, two of the big three feeding states, had placements up 12.6 and 13.2 percent, respectively, over a year ago. Placements were lower in Texas, down 3.2 percent. Eighty-four percent, 104,000 out of 124,000, of the increase in placements were in the heaviest categories, over 700 pounds. The largest share of heavier feeder placements went to Nebraska followed by Kansas. Texas placed fewer cattle in every weight category except the lightest, under 600 pounds. More heavier cattle placed likely indicates some pressure on marketings and slaughter late this year into early next year. For the year, feeders have placed 510,000 fewer (3 percent) head on feed this year than last year.

The combination of placements and marketings left cattle on feed a record large, for October 1, 11.717 million head. That was 429,000 head more than last year. Within the state data, Texas had 70,000 more on feed in the drought year of 2011. Nebraska had 20,000 more on feed in 2018. October on feed numbers appear to be historically large in states like California and Colorado.

Nationwide, placements tend to peak in October. Drought conditions will likely play an important part of placements this year. Difficult wheat pasture establishment and development may force more to feedlots. Drought in the West and Texas may force some more placements. More feeder cattle continue to come from Mexico adding to available supplies for placement.  

U.S. Dairy Advances Journey to Net Zero Carbon Emissions by 2050

Signaling bold climate change action, the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy today unveiled the Net Zero Initiative, an industry-wide effort that will help U.S. dairy farms of all sizes and geographies implement new technologies and adopt economically viable practices. The initiative is a critical component of U.S. dairy’s environmental stewardship goals, endorsed by dairy industry leaders and farmers, to achieve carbon neutrality, optimized water usage and improved water quality by 2050.  

“The U.S. dairy community has been working together to provide the world with responsibly-produced, nutritious dairy foods,” said Mike Haddad, chairman, Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. “With the entire dairy community at the table – from farmers and cooperatives to processors, household brands and retailers – we’re leveraging U.S. dairy’s innovation, diversity and scale to drive continued environmental progress and create a more sustainable planet for future generations.”   

The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy also announced a key milestone on its journey toward carbon neutrality – an up to $10 million commitment and multi-year partnership with Nestlé to support the Net Zero Initiative and scale access to environmental practices and resources on farms across the country.

“Supporting and enabling farmers through the Net Zero Initiative has the potential to transform the dairy industry,” said Jim Wells, chief supply chain officer for Nestlé USA. “Scaling up climate-smart agricultural initiatives is key to Nestlé’s ambition to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and will help reduce the carbon footprint of many of our brands. We are excited to collaborate with U.S. dairy and our suppliers to contribute to an even more sustainable dairy supply chain.”

2050 Environmental Stewardship Goals

The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy – a forum that convenes dairy farmers and industry stakeholders across the value chain to align on shared social responsibility priorities – built on a decades-long commitment to responsible dairy production in developing the 2050 Environmental Stewardship Goals. Leveraging a rigorous, third-party reviewed materiality assessment, the industry prioritized the most pressing areas of environmental sustainability as the foundation for its goals:
 1.    Become carbon neutral or better;
 2.    Optimize water use while maximizing recycling;
 3.    Improve water quality by optimizing utilization of manure and nutrients.

In 2008, U.S. dairy was the first agricultural sector to commission a life cycle assessment on fluid milk, which showed that dairy accounts for 2% of total GHG emissions in the U.S.

In fact, due to innovative practices in cow health, improved feed and genetics, and modern management practices, the environmental impact of producing a gallon of milk in 2017 has shrunk significantly from 2007, requiring 30% less water, 21% less land and a 19% smaller carbon footprint.

Bringing Net Zero to Life

The Net Zero Initiative is a collaboration of dairy organizations and represents a critical pathway on U.S. dairy’s sustainability journey. Many of the practices and technologies needed to reach the industry’s goals largely exist but require further research and development and overall greater accessibility across farms of all sizes and geographies. Through foundational science, on-farm pilots and development of new product markets, the Net Zero Initiative aims to knock down barriers and create incentives for farmers that will lead to economic viability and positive environmental impact.

“As part of a fifth-generation dairy farming family, we pride ourselves on sustaining our land, caring for our animals and preserving our business for the next generation,” said Tara Vander Dussen, a New Mexico dairy farmer. “We want to be at the table, testing new practices and accessing innovative technology to go further, faster. Because in the end, we all want the same thing – a healthy planet for our families and our children.”

Nestlé is the first of what the U.S. dairy community hopes will be many partners joining the Net Zero Initiative, contributing funding and expertise to help propel the entire industry’s progress toward a more sustainable future. With brands like Carnation®, Stouffer’s® and DiGiorno®, Nestlé brings a wealth of knowledge and industry leadership to the table, and an earnest commitment to supporting U.S. dairy farmers in environmental advancements and technology adoption.

Dairy companies and farms in every state already are contributing to the goals in individual ways and each year a select number are recognized for their positive impact with the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards.

The dairy community will continue to demonstrate its progress in the environment, animal care, food safety/traceability and community contributions through the U.S. Dairy Stewardship Commitment. As of October 2020, 27 dairy companies representing 70 percent of the nation’s milk production have voluntarily adopted the U.S. Dairy Stewardship Commitment and contribute to U.S. dairy’s ability to track, aggregate and report on progress.

“We know a lot more is possible – proven science and evidence from dairy’s existing best practices tells us we can get to net zero. This is not only good for dairy farmers, it’s also good for all businesses that serve dairy, the communities where we farm and the millions of people who enjoy dairy every day,” added Haddad.

For more information on U.S. dairy’s sustainability journey, please visit

NCGA to EPA: Remove Barriers to Increase Ethanol Demand

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) today, along with 14 state affiliate associations, urged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to provide more certainty and use forward-looking data analysis to update policy that will lead to greater flex-fuel vehicle (FFV) production and increased demand for higher blends of ethanol.

The associations submitted comments in response to EPA’s request for input on data sources and analytical approaches on which to base an updated weighting factor (F-factor) for E85 FFVs for model year 2021 and later.

“As the producers of the primary feedstock for ethanol, corn farmers support a forward-looking, consistent, long-term F-factor that provides automakers with greater certainty in compliance crediting for planning vehicle production,” the associations wrote.

“Corn farmers have responded to the demand for clean, renewable fuel with increased productivity. Corn production has improved on all measures of resource efficiency, including higher crop yields per acre, resulting in greater corn production using less land and fewer inputs, further fortifying ethanol as a sustainable, low-carbon renewable fuel,” they added.

NCGA and State Corn Grower Associations made the following recommendations:
   We support EPA maintaining the current F-factor of 0.14 unless and until EPA adopts an updated, forward-looking, higher F-factor determination.

    Any future F-factor determination should remain current guidance until EPA adopts a new determination to avoid gaps in the F-factor and prevent a default to zero, supporting certainty for manufacturer decision making.

    We agree with the automotive industry that a five-year advance notice requirement, plus three years of a production safe harbor for FFV models, will provide greater regulatory predictability and encourage automaker planning and innovation in FFV production.

    We believe it is inappropriate for EPA to determine a new F-factor based only on backward-looking data or limited historical data. The use of updated and forward-looking growth in station numbers and per station E85 throughput, however, supports an F-factor of 0.2.

    We have serious concerns with the problematic changes made in federal energy outlook projections made in 2020 compared to 2019, including the treatment of RFS refinery waivers, which make the 2020 outlook unsuitable for F-factor determination without corrections.

    Multiple data sources cited in our comments support an updated F-factor of at least 0.2.

    We urge EPA to rely on these data sources when determining an F-factor for MY 2021 and later, and we believe the data justifies an F-factor of 0.2.

RFA Seeks Certainty and Consistency in EPA Treatment of Flex Fuel Vehicles

In comments submitted today to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regarding emissions standard compliance calculations for Flex Fuel vehicles (FFVs), the Renewable Fuels Association supported the EPA’s new approach to maintaining some level of certainty for automakers in the absence of future guidance. At the same time, however, RFA called on the agency to provide a long-term floor and “more robust” E85 usage factors for future model years, given expected growth and the many benefits provided by ethanol flex fuels.

“Based on our discussion with automakers, it is clear that manufacturers will hesitate to invest in certain technologies, like FFVs, unless there is some assurance that those vehicles technologies will help enable CAFE and GHG standard compliance over multiple model years,” wrote Kelly Davis, RFA Vice President for Regulatory Affairs. “Fuel blenders and retailers also need multi-year certainty regarding the likely mix of light-duty vehicles so that they may appropriately direct their investments in wholesale and retail fuel infrastructure.”

Davis noted that restoring a more meaningful E85 usage factor for FFV production can help to level the CAFE/GHG playing field that currently favors battery electric, plug-in hybrid electric, fuel cell and compressed natural gas vehicles. “While we agree with EPA that automakers should be encouraged to produce vehicles that reduce petroleum consumption to improve energy security, save the U.S. money, and reduce climate change impacts, we believe incentives to stimulate the production of such vehicles should be constructed fairly and consistently.”

As part of its comments, RFA submitted an analysis comparing the number of E85 stations listed on the association’s crowd-sourced database ( to the number of E85 stations listed by the Alternative Fuels Data Center. The former lists just over 5,000 stations known to sell E85 today, while AFDC’s database only contains roughly 3,600. This is important because EPA relies on the overly conservative AFDC database to inform its projections of future E85 availability and station growth. RFA encouraged EPA to use the database to inform its future analyses.

Growth Energy Urges EPA to Provide Immediate Credit to Automakers to Produce Flex-Fuel Vehicles

Today, Growth Energy submitted comments on a notice from the Environmental Protection Agency that sets a weighting factor (F-factor) for flexible fuel vehicles for model year 2020 and would affect how the agency determines the F-factor for flexible fuel vehicles for model years 2021 and later.

“Recent trends in government and private investment in biofuels infrastructure and updated data on E85 availability all lead to growth in higher biofuel blends,” said Growth Energy Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Chris Bliley. “EPA should seize on that data to provide appropriate, immediate credit to automakers to continue to produce flex-fuel vehicles to run on these higher biofuel blends.”

In the organization’s written comments, Growth Energy offered a detailed technical analysis on the benefits of an updated F-factor, noting that any upward revision should take immediate effect so it continues to accelerate automaker investment and innovation. They recommend the following:
    Maintaining an F-factor of 0.14 until it takes action for an upward revision
    Providing, through immediately issued guidance, 5 years of F-factor continuity and an additional 3-year safe-harbor to automakers for automaker certainty
    Applying the 10th Circuit decision to limit small refinery exemptions, as dictated by the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)
    Working with Growth Energy, its retail partners, and the AFDC to appropriately update station data for higher ethanol blends that should be increased to reflect the higher number of stations currently offering E85
    Using highlighted data and correcting for flaws, providing an updated F-factor of 0.2 for model year 2021 and thereafter

Despite inconsistencies in the agency’s estimates of E85 use and the modeling in AEO 2020, Growth Energy believes that upon addressing the flaws in AEO 2020 and consideration of projected growth in E85 stations and uptake, EPA will be justified in establishing a F-factor of 0.20 for model year 2021 moving forward.

October 23 Cattle on Feed + Ag News


Nebraska feedlots, with capacities of 1,000 or more head, contained 2.41 million cattle on feed on October 1, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This inventory was up 6% from last year. Placements during September totaled 600,000 head, up 13% from 2019. Fed cattle marketings for the month of September totaled 460,000 head, up 12% from last year. Other disappearance during September 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 610,000 head on October 1, 2020, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Cattle on Feed report. This was unchanged from September, but down 5% from October 1, 2019. Iowa feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head had 490,000 head on feed, up 1% from last month and up 2% from last year. Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in all Iowa feedlots totaled 1,100,000 head, up less than 1% from last month but down 2% from last year.

Placements of cattle and calves in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during September totaled 72,000 head, down 4% from August and down 12% from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head placed 61,000 head, up 45% from August but down 28% from last year. Placements for all feedlots in Iowa totaled 133,000 head, up 14% from August but down 20% from last year.

Marketings of fed cattle from Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during September totaled 70,000 head, down 16% from August but unchanged from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head marketed 54,000 head, unchanged from August but down 32% from last year. Marketings for all feedlots in Iowa were 124,000 head, down 9% from August and down 17% from last year. Other disappearance from all feedlots in Iowa totaled 4,000 head.

United States Cattle on Feed Up 4 Percent

Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 11.7 million head on October 1, 2020. The inventory was 4 percent above October 1, 2019. This is the highest October 1 inventory since the series began in 1996. The inventory included 7.31 million steers and steer calves, up 6 percent from the previous year. This group accounted for 62 percent of the total inventory. Heifers and heifer calves accounted for 4.41 million head, down slightly from 2019.

On Feed by State    (1,000 hd  -  % Oct 1 '19)

Colorado .......:              1,110          112               
Iowa .............:                610              95                 
Kansas ..........:              2,540          107                 
Nebraska ......:              2,410          106                 
Texas ............:              2,870          103                 

Placements in feedlots during September totaled 2.23 million head, 6 percent above 2019. Net placements were 2.17 million head. During September, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 445,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 360,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 500,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 517,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 300,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 105,000 head.

Placements by State  (1,000 hd - % Sept '19)

Colorado .......:                  245              102         
Iowa .............:                    72                88           
Kansas ..........:                  490              113         
Nebraska ......:                  600              113         
Texas ............:                  450               97              

Marketings of fed cattle during September totaled 1.85 million head, 6 percent above 2019.  Other disappearance totaled 58,000 head during September, 2 percent below 2019.

Marketings by State  (1,000 hd - % Sept '19)

Colorado .......:                  170              97            
Iowa .............:                    70             100            
Kansas ..........:                  410             106             
Nebraska ......:                  460             112           
Texas ............:                  415             106           

LENRD board to address groundwater contamination in Cuming, Colfax, and Dodge Counties

At their October meeting, the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) Board of Directors approved a motion to direct staff to begin the formal process for consideration of a Phase 2 Groundwater Management Area in portions of Cuming, Colfax, and Dodge counties for groundwater quality purposes.

In 1997, a Groundwater Management Area was established to improve and protect groundwater quantity and quality.  The management area covers the entire LENRD or all or parts of 15-counties in northeast Nebraska.  This designation put the entire district into Phase 1 of groundwater management controls.  Since that time, portions of Pierce and Madison Counties have moved into Phase 2 & 3 management sub-areas due to the increasing trend of nitrate concentration in the groundwater.

As part of the LENRD’s Groundwater Quality Sampling program, water samples are collected annually across the district to help document any changes or trends in groundwater quality, testing for general water quality parameters.  This data is carefully scrutinized and can be used to delineate areas that have similar groundwater quality characteristics, such as areas that have high or low nitrate-nitrogen levels.  LENRD Assistant Manager, Brian Bruckner, said, “In the past few years, the district has seen an increase in nitrates in the groundwater in portions of these three counties.”

Organic and Inorganic fertilizers and livestock manure contain nitrogen that is either in the nitrate form or is easily converted to nitrate. Nitrate dissolves readily in water, and when this nitrate-containing water moves through the soil and below plant roots, it can very easily reach and contaminate groundwater.

Bruckner added, “We can work together to minimize the impact of agricultural contaminants on groundwater by encouraging, and in some cases, requiring the use of wise management practices.  Designating a boundary is one of the first steps in establishing a management area.”

Bruckner continued, “As we begin the process of delineating a Phase 2 Groundwater Management Area, the district will be hosting educational workshops to inform stakeholders on the issues, answer questions on the implications of a Phase 2 Area, and come up with solutions to address this potential health risk.  We will also be organizing a series of public meetings in this tri-county area in December to begin to inform and educate the public on the critical need to keep our water supply safe.”

Nitrate-nitrogen can be a threat to good health, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Nebraska Department of Health have established an upper limit of 10 milligrams per liter (or parts per million or ppm) of nitrate-nitrogen for drinking water. The district encourages anyone using a private well as a drinking water source to test their water annually for nitrate-nitrogen and consult a physician if the nitrate-nitrogen levels are close to or above 10 milligrams per liter.

State statute requires that the LENRD provide stakeholders the opportunity to provide feedback and input on any proposed change to its Rules and Regulations or Management Area boundary via a public hearing. The district will be hosting several public information meetings in December in Colfax and Dodge Counties to inform stakeholders and will also host an Open House Public Hearing in late January in West Point.

In other business, the board authorized staff to sign the professional service agreement with FYRA Engineering, not to exceed $80,346 to complete the necessary repairs to the Elkhorn River Streambank Stabilization Project near Scribner, pending approval from both the City of Scribner and Dodge County.

The board also approved an agreement with the University of Nebraska for $34,291 to investigate the deep vadose (unsaturated) zone of locations in Pierce County where increasing nitrate levels are occurring.  This project will provide data to help estimate the loading rate of nitrates into the groundwater.

After officially declaring a drought in September, the board continues to monitor any new developments.  With the health and welfare of the public in mind, the board voted to establish a 12 acre-inch annual allocation for any well located in a designated Wellhead Protection Area (WHPA)  within a D3 or greater drought area within the LENRD on November 1, 2020, and that the annual allocation be lifted if the area is removed from the D3 or greater designation.  The board also approved a motion that would postpone construction of any new well that is part of an approved Variance for any location within the district that intersects with a D3 or greater drought designation on November 1, 2020.

The LENRD board & staff meet each month to develop and implement management plans to protect our natural resources for the future.  The next LENRD board meeting will be Tuesday, November 24th at 7:30 p.m.  Watch for further updates and stay connected with the LENRD by subscribing to their monthly emails.

Extension webinar to cover Nebraska ballot measures

A Nebraska Extension webinar on Thursday at noon will provide an overview of each ballot measure on Nebraska’s 2020 general election ballot.

The educational information will be presented by Dave Aiken, professor and extension water and agricultural law specialist in the Department of Agricultural Economics. He will explain each of the six initiatives facing voters, along with the positions of both proponents and opponents of each issue and what the potential impact of each issue could be, especially on property taxes.

Measures on the Nov. 3 ballot that will be discussed include two proposed constitutional amendments: one that would eliminate slavery or involuntary servitude as punishment of a crime and another that would extend the maximum time for tax increment financing from 15 to 20 years if at least half the project area is extremely blighted. Ballot initiatives that will be covered include a proposal to reduce payday loan charges, and a trio of proposals centered around allowing and regulating casino gambling.

The webinar is presented as part of the Agricultural Economics Extension Farm and Ranch Management weekly series.

Registration is free at

Nebraska Farmers Union PAC Announces General Election Endorsements

Today is the last day to register to vote and to request a vote-at-home ballot in Nebraska. If you’re already registered to vote (but didn’t request a ballot), you can still vote early at your County Election Office. If you’ve requested a ballot you can mail it back in or better yet, drop it off at an official election drop boxes. Or, you can always vote in person at your polling place on November 3rd! Voting is both a right and an obligation.

NEBFARMPAC, the political action committee of Nebraska Farmers Union, Nebraska’s second largest general farm organization with over 4,000 farm and ranch families, announced its general election endorsements back in June for Congress, the Legislature, Public Service Commission, State Board of Education, Public Power Districts, Natural Resource Districts, and County Commissioners, Here is our updated list, with NeFU members in bold:

1st Congressional District:  Jeff Fortenberry, Kate Bolz
2nd Congressional District:  Kara Eastman

Nebraska Legislature:
Carol Blood, LD3
Mike McDonnell, LD5
Tony Vargas, LD7
Terrell McKinney, LD11
Justin Wayne, LD13
Lynne Walz, LD15
Sheryl Lindau, LD17
Helen Raikes, LD23
Anna Wishart, LD27
Eliot Bostar, LD29
Tim Royers, LD31
Steve Halloran, LD33
Dan Quick, LD35
Tom Briese, LD41
Susan Hester, LD45
Jen Day, LD49

Public Service Commission:
District 2: Crystal Rhoades

State Board of Education:
District 2: Lisa Fricke

Nebraska Public Power District:
Subdivision 1: Mary Harding
Subdivision 7: Sheila Hubbard

Omaha Public Power District:
Subdivision 1: Amanda Bogner
Subdivision 2: Sara Howard

Lower Platte North NRD
Subdistrict 3: Andrew Tonnies
Subdistrict 7: Jeff Burling

Lower Platte South NRD
Subdistrict 5: John Yoakum
Subdistrict 6: Anthony Schutz
Subdistrict 7: Chelsea Johnson

Lower Elkhorn NRD
Subdistrict 7: Randy Ruppert

Papio-Missouri River NRD
Subdistrict 3: Larry Bradley

Upper Elkhorn NRD
Subdistrict 6:  Art Tanderup
Subdistrict 7:  Keith Heithoff

Lancaster County Commissioner
Subdistrict 2: Christa Yoakum

Gage County Supervisor
District 6: Don Schuller


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently awarded $822,737 in grants to fund 16 projects designed to strengthen the specialty crop industry in Nebraska. The USDA provides grant monies through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) to fund research and ag education activities to increase demand for specialty crops. The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) monitors and administers Nebraska’s specialty crop program.

“Nebraska is home to a diverse range of agricultural products due in part to the state’s varying terrain, elevation, soil and climate,” said NDA Director Steve Wellman. “In addition to variety, specialty crops add value to Nebraska’s agricultural industry which helps to grow the state’s economy.”

SCBGP supports farmers growing specialty crops, including fruits, vegetables, tree nuts and nursery crops. Grant recipients include agricultural departments and agencies in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the five U.S. territories. A list of eligible specialty crops is available on USDA’s website at

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln (UNL) received 12 of the 16 grants that the USDA awarded to Nebraska this year. Those grant-funded projects include:
·       hosting an annual Nebraska Specialty Crop Conference and Trade Show from 2021 - 2023 to teach growers about farm practices, marketing methods, and research projects that will grow and enhance the specialty crop industry;  
·       examining the practicality of growing Vinifera grapes in high tunnels for the Midwest;
·       researching novel weed management solutions for matted-row strawberry production;
·       increasing dry edible bean usage by developing a high value-added yogurt product;
·       optimizing nitrogen fertility management of mint production in western Nebraska;
·       collaborating with local growers and area beekeepers to do on-farm testing of a trap crop tactic to manage pest and beneficial insects in sunflower fields;
·       conducting a study that will test new, relatively inexpensive commercially available chemicals for their ability to reduce damage and improve yields in chickpeas due to the fungal disease Ascochyta blight;
·       evaluating novel herbicides and herbicide timings in dry edible beans for control of herbicide-resistant Palmer amaranth;
·       developing a quick, reliable and reproducible analytical methods of evaluating the protein quality of the pulse crop, and an innovative processing technique to enhance the functional properties of pulse proteins for further development of innovative pulse protein-based foods;
·       evaluating nitrogen fertilizer management and iron fertilizer management strategies for improving dry edible bean quantity and quality in western Nebraska;  
·       identifying mungbean varieties adaptable to western Nebraska; and
·       mapping common bacterial blight and common rust resistance genes in Tepary beans to learn how to enhance resistance levels in dry beans.

Four additional groups in Nebraska received funding this year. Mac’s Creek Winery and Brewery received funding to study a more sustainable approach to grapevine weed and disease control by eliminating and reducing chemical pesticide and herbicide spraying in Nebraska vineyards and apple orchards.

The USDA awarded funds to the Arbor Day Foundation to use ozone technology to reduce pesticide usage and improve food safety in small Nebraska fruit orchards.

The USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council received funding to conduct an international trade mission to meet with food aid organization CEOs, purchasing managers, nutritionists and other key personnel. The trade team will travel to Washington, D.C. and Rome, Italy.

Through USDA funding, NDA will continue to conduct Potato Cyst Nematode (PCN) soil surveys to monitor for the presence of PCN as required to maintain Nebraska’s PCN pest-free status.

All of the projects receiving SCBGP funding this year must be completed by Sept. 29, 2023. For a list of funds awarded to each state and more information about past projects, go to USDA’s website at

NDA administered a two-phase competitive grant application process for these SCBGP funds. Phase I involved the submission of concept proposals, which allowed applicants to explain the main points of their project. The concept proposals were independently and competitively scored by a field review panel. Projects with the highest combined scores were asked to complete Phase II of the application process and include a more in-depth description of the project.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service has released the results of its 2019 Certified Organic Survey. Certified organic operations in Nebraska sold a total of $185 million in organic products in 2019, up 92% compared to 2016. The number of certified organic operations in Nebraska totaled 238, up 47% from 2016.

The 2019 Certified Organic Survey is a special study conducted by NASS and is part of the 2017 Census of Agriculture program. It provides value of sales information at the commodity level along with acreage, production, and practices data for a variety of certified organic crop and livestock operations. Information was also collected on marketing and agricultural practices, crop insurance usage, select production expenses, and acres transitioning into organic production.

Iowa 6th in U.S. for Certified Organic Farms

The 2019 Certified Organic Survey is a special study conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) and is part of the 2017 Census of Agriculture program. The primary purpose of the survey is to collect value of sales information at the commodity level along with acreage, production, and practices data for a variety of certified organic crop and livestock operations. This is the sixth comprehensive organic survey NASS has conducted and the first since the 2016 Organic Survey.

In 2019, Iowa ranked sixth in the nation for the total number of certified organic farms with 779 farms. That is nearly 5% of the nation's total number of certified organic farms. There were 133,691 acres of certified organic farmland in Iowa. This was an increase of 30,555 acres from 2016.

Corn for grain had the highest total value of sales of organically produced commodities in Iowa with $38.0 million in sales. Iowa produced more certified organic corn of grain and soybeans than any other state, and comprised 13 and 15 percent of national production, respectively. The area harvested for organic corn for grain increased 25% from 2016. Organic soybean sales were $15.5 million in Iowa.

Iowa produced 30% of the Nation's organic oats with sales totaling $4,376,642 in 2019.

On December 31, Iowa producers had 5,458 certified organic hogs on hand, and comprised 36% of the national inventory. Iowa's organic hog inventory ranked first among all other states.

Eggs had the second highest total value of sales of organically produced commodities in Iowa with $37.1 million in sales.


All layers in Nebraska during September 2020 totaled 8.59 million, down from 9.34 million the previous year, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Nebraska egg production during September totaled 212 million eggs, down from 228 million in 2019. September egg production per 100 layers was 2,473 eggs, compared to 2,439 eggs in 2019.

IOWA: Iowa egg production during September 2020 was 1.20 billion eggs, down 3% from last month and down 15% 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 September 2020 was 47.4 million, up 1% from last month but down 18% from last year. Eggs per 100 layers for September were 2,526, down 4% from last month but up 4% from last year.

September Egg Production Down 2 Percent

United States egg production totaled 9.03 billion during September 2020, down 2 percent from last year. Production included 7.81 billion table eggs, and 1.22 billion hatching eggs, of which 1.14 billion were broiler-type and 81.0 million were egg-type. The average number of layers during September 2020 totaled 384 million, down 3 percent from last year. September egg production per 100 layers was 2,354 eggs, up 1 percent from September 2019.
Total layers in the United States on October 1, 2020 totaled 385 million, down 3 percent from last year. The 385 million layers consisted of 321 million layers producing table or market type eggs, 60.8 million layers producing broiler-type hatching eggs, and 3.12 million layers producing egg-type hatching eggs. Rate of lay per day on October 1, 2020, averaged 78.9 eggs per 100 layers, up 2 percent from October 1, 2019.

Iowa Cattlemen’s Association Calls for Hearings on Cattle Market Transparency Act

The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, alongside a coalition of 16 other state cattlemen organizations, sent letters to Senate Ag Committee Chair, Pat Roberts (R-KS), and House Ag Committee Chair, Collin Peterson (D-MN), requesting support for the Cattle Market Transparency Act of 2020 (S. 4647/H.R. 8557).

The Cattle Market Transparency Act of 2020, recently introduced by Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), takes a nuanced approach to provide additional transparency and price discovery in cattle marketing. This legislation differs from the Grassley-Tester 50/14 bill (S. 3693/H.R. 7501) introduced by Iowa delegation, as it requires the Secretary of Agriculture to establish regionally sufficient levels of cash trade for robust price discovery. Additionally, the legislation creates a  library of marketing contracts and requires packers to report the number of cattle scheduled to be delivered for slaughter each day for the next 14 days.

Balanced and consistent price discovery and transparency within the U.S. cattle market have continually been top priorities for the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association for well over a decade.  These membership priorities have been heightened over the past year and have led to the development of potential solutions such as the Grassley-Tester 50/14 bill and others. The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association believes price discovery is the responsibility of all market participants. Ultimately, any viable solution requires active participation and dedication by all stakeholders to provide robust price discovery throughout the system.

We see the Cattle Market Transparency Act of 2020 as an opportunity to advance important priorities without delay or temporary commitments from packers. Insight from our producers has told us that we must act with a sense of urgency, as cattlemen cannot withstand future market disruptions without adjusting the unbalanced power dynamic between those who raise cattle and those who process beef. Without government intervention, cattlemen will continue to be at the mercy of decisions made by the packing industry.

The aforementioned bills are fueled by grassroots support from beef cattle producers who believe in legislative or regulatory fixes to cattle marketing problems within our industry. The iron is hot and it’s time to take action. It would behoove the House and Senate Ag Committee leadership to hold hearings focused on cattle marketing before we are taken out at the knees by another “black swan” event.

U.S. Custom Harvesters to Host Annual Convention in January

U.S. Custom Harvesters (USCHI) will host its 37th annual convention in Des Moines, Iowa, January 21-23, 2021. The convention will be an in-person event.

For the first time in five years, the annual convention will feature the four main U.S. forage harvester equipment companies. Krone, CLAAS, New Holland and John Deere will be showcasing their newest equipment to USCHI members in January.

“As a forage harvester myself, I’m very proud to see what these manufacturers are presenting to our members. They recognize the importance of marketing their products directly to the harvest crew owners and purchase decision makers,” said Glen Jantzen, USCHI board president.

USCHI is an association of professional custom harvesters. Since 1984, USCHI has hosted an annual event to convene members and partners to learn about new equipment, harvesting techniques and to network. “We’re very excited to have all four major forage harvester companies at this year’s convention. Our members love seeing the equipment companies they use every day at our convention,” said USCHI operations manager, Mandi Sieren.

USTR and USDA Release Report on Agricultural Trade between the United States and China

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today issued a report highlighting the progress made to date in implementing the agricultural provisions in the U.S.-China Phase One Economic and Trade Agreement, which is delivering historic results for American agriculture.

Since the Agreement entered into force, the United States and China have addressed a multitude of structural barriers in China that had been impeding exports of U.S. food and agricultural products. To date, China has implemented at least 50 of the 57 technical commitments under the Phase One Agreement. These structural changes will benefit American farmers for decades to come. China also has substantially ramped up its purchases of U.S. agricultural products. To date, China has purchased over $23 billion in agricultural products, approximately 71% of its target under the Phase One Agreement. Highlights outlined in the report include:
    Corn: Outstanding sales of U.S. corn to China are at an all-time high of 8.7 million tons.
    Soybeans: U.S. soybeans sales for marketing year 2021 are off to the strongest start in history, with outstanding sales to China double 2017 levels.
    Sorghum: U.S. exports of sorghum to China from January to August 2020 totaled $617 million, up from $561 million for the same period in 2017.
    Pork: U.S. pork exports to China hit an all-time record in just the first five months of 2020.
    Beef: U.S. beef and beef products exports to China through August 2020 are already more than triple the total for 2017.

In addition to these products, USDA expects 2020 sales to China to hit record or near-record levels for numerous other U.S. agricultural products including pet food, alfalfa hay, pecans, peanuts, and prepared foods.

“This China Phase One Agreement is proof President Trump’s negotiating strategy is working. While it took China a long time to realize President Trump was serious, this deal is a huge success for the entire economy. This agreement finally levels the playing field for U.S. agriculture and is a bonanza for America’s farmers, ranchers, and producers,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “Being able to participate in this market in a more fair and equitable way has generated more sales that are supporting higher prices and strengthening the rural economy.”

“President Trump delivered on his promise to confront China’s unfair trade practices and expand market opportunities for U.S. agriculture through the Phase One Agreement. Since the Agreement entered into force eight months ago, we have seen remarkable improvements in our agricultural trade relationship with China, which will benefit our farmers and ranchers for years to come,” said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

USTR and USDA continue to work closely with the Chinese government to ensure that the Phase One Agreement is fully and properly implemented, so that access for U.S. food and agricultural products into the Chinese market can continue to expand moving forward.

Suspension of overseas ag container shipments is blow to U.S. ag community

Specialty Soya and Grains Alliance members were shocked to learn this week that shipments of agricultural products by containers are being discontinued by a major shipping line, effective immediately and for the foreseeable future.

The German international shipping and transportation company Hapag-Lloyd has dropped a bombshell, informing exporters it is suspending overseas ag container shipments from North America, a decision that could cause major hardships within the entire U.S. ag community.

The decision is being driven by hard economics during a time of unprecedented demand for higher-value North American consumer imports by containers from Asia at premium prices. Reports to SSGA are that Hapag-Lloyd has decided it needs to quickly reposition empty containers back to Asian shipping centers, even if it means forgoing hauling critical food and agriculture products back to manufacturers overseas.

SSGA members in the Upper Midwest, including shippers of bulk and identity-preserved (IP) soybeans and specialty grains, note the decision will especially hit exporters hard in the Minneapolis-St. Paul region. The strong Twin Cities market frequently finds itself short of inbound containers to meet demand and has long relied on Hapag-Lloyd's services to reposition containers for exports.

“Hapag-Lloyd has been one of the most reliable and dependable carriers for rural, inland ag shippers, so this announcement is devastating and shocking,” said Bob Sinner, president of North Dakota-based SB&B Foods and chair of SSGA’s competitive shipping action team. “For those of us in the food soybean arena, we are just coming off a harvest that our overseas food manufacturing customers are anxious and desperate to begin receiving.”

According to available information from the global trade data company Panjiva, as read by SSGA, Hapag-Lloyd delivered 878 shipments of U.S. bulk soybeans at a volume of more than 17,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) between Oct. 22, 2019 and Sept. 25, 2020 to destinations around the world. The majority went to Japan, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Malaysia, as well as to Thailand and South Korea. Over that same span there have been 172 shipments of IP non-GMO food-grade specialty soybeans at a volume of 780 TEU.

“This disrupts the food supply chain,” Sinner said, noting that consumption of soy foods has been strong throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and that worldwide food inventories are low. “Companies in those countries rely on us for their food manufacturing. We’ve got our new crop harvested and we’re making significant and consistent bookings with carriers to get our products shipped quickly and as soon as possible.”

The move by Hapag-Lloyd poses an ominous sign for U.S. ag exporters if other ocean carriers decide to follow suit or delay ag shipments. SSGA is encouraging Hapag-Lloyd and any other carriers considering similar decisions to reexamine this policy. SSGA will explore all options to work on behalf of its members to try to help resolve this issue and is encouraging exporter members to talk to their shipping representatives.

Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. Returns to Broadcast Television In an Integrated Holiday Marketing Campaign Promoting Beef as the Center of the Season

With the holidays looking a little different this year, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, is ensuring one thing remains the same - Beef. It’s What’s For Holiday Dinner. Whether gathering around the ‘Beef Drool Log’ or learning how to cook the perfect holiday meal with beef, Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. has a little something for everyone this holiday season. To remind consumers across the country that beef is the only protein that they want to feed their families this holiday season, Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. will return to broadcast television. For the first time since 2003, Beef Checkoff-funded advertisements and the iconic Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. brand will be on television, airing a limited number of ads during the Hallmark Channel’s Countdown to Christmas movies.

Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. successful video released last year called the ‘Drool Log’—a two-hour long video of a Beef Prime Rib Roast slowly cooking over an open flame—which created quite the following with more than 14 million videos views. This year, NCBA looked for the opportunity to make even more people salivate over beef and will placing a new—and shorter—version of the Drool Log on a television network that creates similar meaningful connections with its audience. New fifteen-second Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. Drool Log ads will appear throughout late November and December on the Hallmark Channel’s holiday programming event “Countdown to Christmas” as part of a limited holiday broadcast and digital ad buy as a way to have a broader reach with consumers this holiday season.

“As a beef producer, it’s exciting to see checkoff dollars making this holiday season a little more special by bringing Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. back to broadcast television,” said Buck Wehrbein, NCBA Federation Division Vice Chairman. “While broadcast television is usually out of reach, the opportunity to advertise on the Hallmark Channel’s  Countdown to Christmas movie marathon boiled down to the right network, the right ad, the right time and the right price tag. I look forward to sharing the nostalgia of Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. ads on televisions with the next -generation of consumers.”

In addition to the bringing the iconic brand back to broadcast television, the Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. brand is helping consumers navigate how to make the perfect holiday meal through fully integrated digital and social media efforts. Whether having a smaller family gather or working with a tighter budget, there’s a beef option for everyone and the beef experts are here to help people savor the holidays.  These efforts include:
-    New versions of the ‘Beef Drool Log’ videos that will be shared across digital and social media platforms and that people can use as Zoom meeting backgrounds if they’re celebrating the holidays virtually
-    An updated holiday landing page on as a one-stop shop for all beef holiday cooking needs
-    Using cutting-edge technology to make shoppable (meaning you can click on any recipe and be taken to an on-line shopping cart for your local grocery store)
-    Working with two partners to run e-commerce campaigns during the month of December aiming to increase beef sales
-    Leveraging food and nutrition influencers and celebrity chefs to create their own beef recipes for the holiday season for more experienced at-home chefs

RFA Calls on President Trump to Level the Playing Field for Ethanol Exports to Brazil

The Renewable Fuels Association yesterday called on President Trump to move forward in seeking reciprocity and fairness in ethanol trade policy with Brazil. In a letter to the president, the association highlighted his August pledge to consider reciprocity with respect to Brazilian ethanol imports and reminded him of a commitment from the U.S. Trade Representative in September to “ensure that the ethanol industries in both countries will be treated fairly.”

“Unfortunately, it does not appear that any further progress is being made toward elimination of Brazil’s protectionist ethanol trade policies and restoration of the previous free and fair ethanol trade relationship we enjoyed with Brazil,” wrote RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “Instead, it appears likely that Brazil will allow its temporary tariff-free quota to expire again on December 14, at which time a 20 percent (or higher) tariff could be applied to all ethanol imports from the United States.”

RFA says it has become clear that Brazil no longer shares the American industry’s desire for free and open biofuel markets. Thus, the association is urging the administration to move forward with reciprocal tariffs on ethanol imports from Brazil.

“The impacts of the unlevel playing field for ethanol trade have become painfully apparent in recent months,” RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper wrote. “U.S. imports of Brazilian ethanol have surged, with new shipments appearing at U.S. ports in nine of the past 12 weeks. Year-to-date imports of Brazilian ethanol exceed the same period in 2019 by 15 percent and are at a seven-year high.” The surge of ethanol imports from Brazil shows no signs of slowing down in the remaining months of 2020, Cooper said. Meanwhile, no U.S. fuel ethanol has been shipped to Brazil since May.

RFA concluded by thanking the president for his efforts to pursue a level playing field and reciprocal treatment with respect to ethanol trade, noting that the association stands ready to work with him and his administration to secure fair and equal trade with Brazil.

USDA Announces Fourth Round of the Farmers to Families Food Box Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced it has authorized $500 million for a fourth round of purchases for the USDA Farmers to Families Food Box Program. USDA is issuing solicitations for the fourth round to existing Basic Ordering Agreement (BOA) holders and expects to award contracts by Oct. 30 for deliveries of food boxes from Nov. 1 through Dec. 31, 2020.

In the fourth round, as in the third round, states have been allocated boxes based on the internal need of the state. The program will continue the purchase of combination boxes to include fresh produce, dairy products, fluid milk and meat products. The program also will continue to require that proposals illustrate how coverage would be provided to areas identified as opportunity zones, detail subcontracting agreements, and address the “last mile” delivery of product into the hands of the food insecure population. Entities who meet the government’s requirements and specifications will be issued agreements and submit pricing through a competitive acquisition process.

“I’m gratified by the overwhelmingly positive response to the Farmers to Families Food Box program from families, distributors, food banks, faith-based organizations and non-profits in communities across the country. We recently surpassed 110 million boxes delivered, and millions more are headed to Americans in need,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said. “I’m very pleased that we are able to extend this program and continue our relief efforts for American farmers and families.”

“Across the country, I have seen firsthand how the Trump Administration is fueling millions of American families through the Farmers to Families Food Box Program,” said Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump. “President Trump’s commitment to extend this impactful program is ensuring healthy and nutritious produce, dairy and meat will continue to reach our Nation’s most vulnerable communities while supporting our farmers!”

NMPF Applauds Additional Food-Box Funding

The National Milk Producers Federation applauded USDA for deciding to fund an additional $500 million for combination food boxes to be delivered through the end of the year. The Farmers to Families Food Box program has delivered approximately $1 billion worth of dairy products to needy Americans since this spring.

“The Farmers to Families Food Box program has proven to be an effective benefit both for families needing assistance and for dairy farmers and processors providing high-quality products to those families via food boxes,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “We hope the department will build upon its successes and lessons learned from this program as it considers further initiatives during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and beyond.”

NMPF encourages vendors to maximize the amount of wholesome dairy products in the combination boxes to help the most vulnerable population in need for food assistance.

Demand for American Lamb Increases in Second Quarter

There’s good news and bad news in this pandemic. The good news is that retail sales of all lamb in the United States are increasing.
“The combination of consumers cooking at home, the desire for new meal options, the hard work by lamb marketers, retailers and American Lamb Board checkoff efforts seem to be opening consumers to lamb’s possibilities, and it shows in the numbers,” says Gwen Kitzan, ALB chair from Newell, S.D.
The latest retail data – analyzed by IRI/FreshLook Marketing, and released by ALB – quantifies the growth in retail sales for all lamb (domestic and imported) through July 12. Retail sales data show pounds of all lamb sold at multi-outlet supermarkets in the United States in the 13-week period from April 20 through July 12, increased 8.6 percent compared to the same period in 2019. That’s 16.3 million pounds of lamb sold and $137.8 million in sales during the quarter.
In the last four weeks of the period (June 15 through July 12) pounds of lamb sold increased 29.8 percent compared to the same period one year ago, and lamb dollars spent increased 38.2 percent to $40.5 million.
The IRI/FreshLook analysis also looked at the longer term. Comparison of the current 52-week period to the prior 52 weeks shows a 6.8 percent increase in lamb pounds sold and a 9.8 percent increase in sales dollars.
The increase in pounds of lamb sold and lamb dollars spent showed across the board when designated by cut. The loin continues to be the most popular cut with consumers, accounting for 24.9 percent of pounds of lamb sold. It was followed by the rib at 21.3 percent. The two cuts saw an increase in pounds of lamb sold of 13.1 percent and 12 percent respectively during the same time in 2019.
The northeast region continues to outsell other areas of the country, accounting for 29.8 percent of lamb dollar sales with a 10.1 percent increase during the same 52-week period one year ago. The southeast and the mid-south came in second and third in percentage of lamb market, but it was California that showed the most impressive growth at 16.7 percent. There, the 13-week second quarter growth came in at 39.5 percent more lamb pounds consumed and 37 percent more dollars spent than the second quarter of 2019, while the four-week period of June 15 to July 12 saw a 60.7 percent increase in pounds consumed and a 64.8 percent increase in lamb dollars spent during the same period in the prior year.
Even the region with the lowest lamb market share – the plains – saw a 1.6 percent increase in lamb dollar sales during the second quarter 2020 compared with the second quarter of 2019.

Ranch Group: NCBA's Voluntary Market Reform Defies Logic

This month the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA), which has resisted any efforts to legislatively require the nation's largest beef packers to replenish the cattle industry's most important price discovery market - the negotiated cash market, has instead proposed a voluntary plan, called the 75% Plan, that it believes will restore the industry's lost competition.

But the 75% Plan doesn't even purport to restore the volume of the negotiated cash market even to the minimal level the group's economist recommended to achieve "robust" competition.

R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard said, "Instead, the NCBA's plan proposes that achieving only three-fourths of the minimum level recommended by their economist, and doing so only some of the time, is good enough for the U.S. cattle industry."

Bullard said the entire plan defies logic and common sense because it sets a threshold for minimum purchases in the negotiated cash market at levels well below the average volume in that market during the past three years, which he said was a period marked by a severely dysfunctional marketplace that has caused serious financial losses to America's independent cattle producers.  

"This plan is much worse than if it simply enshrined the status quo. It's a recipe for disaster for the U.S. cattle industry," Bullard commented.

The NCBA plan relies first on economist Steven Koontz's prediction that the nation's broken cattle market will become robustly competitive if the largest beef packers purchase a total of only 86,000 cattle each week from the competitive cash market. But the NCBA plan requires the largest beef packers to only purchase 75% of that minimum number, or 64,500 cattle, during some, but not all weeks.

According to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) data, during the past three years (Oct. 16, 2017 - Oct. 21, 2020) the national weekly volume in both the negotiated cash market and the negotiated grid market - the two markets covered by the NCBA plan - averaged over 117,000 head per week.  

Bullard said this means the targets in the NCBA plan will result in the packers purchasing far fewer cattle in the competitive price discovery market than they purchased on average during the past three years - a period when the U.S. cattle market demonstrated a complete and utter lack of competition.

According to Bullard, if the NCBA plan had been in effect last week, the week ending October 18, when the actual volume in the national negotiated cash and negotiated grid markets was at 37%, and the week when cattle prices inexplicably fell nearly $3 per cwt below the three-year average, the packers would have been in full compliance even if they had purchased only half of what they actually purchased. He said this is because the NCBA plan's triggers for last week would have been set at only an 18% volume level for the two negotiated markets, which is a volume level even lower than the 21% level in 2015, when cattle prices fell further and faster than anytime in history.  

"This plan is an absolute bust," Bullard said adding, "And the alarming thing is that it is predicated on the same faulty economic predictions that underpin the recent bill introduced by Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE), whose proposal likewise relies on the illogical theory that you can somehow increase marketplace competition lost by a shrinking negotiated cash market by further shrinking the negotiated cash market."

Bullard said that years of inattention has resulted in today's fundamentally broken marketplace - a marketplace that has been chronically dysfunctional for years and now is acutely dysfunctional.

"There are no amounts of tweaks that can repair today's broken market. Today we need decisive congressional action to shock the market into becoming once again a competitive market, and the only meaningful solution offered so far is the Grassley/Tester bill that requires the packers to purchase at least 50% of their cattle in the negotiated cash market," Bullard concluded.

Thursday October 22 Ag News

 IANR crops and water virtual meeting set for Oct. 27

The Crops and Water Team at the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources will host a virtual meeting on Oct. 27 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Participants will discuss how to best serve the needs of Nebraska and Nebraskans that relate in some way to our water resources and soil resources in agricultural production.

The meeting is open to anyone interested in any aspect of water related to agricultural production in Nebraska.

Please contact Alesia Zaruba at for information on attending this virtual meeting.

WEBINAR: Costs and Benefits of Feed Analysis and Crop Residue Management

November 10 @ 7:00 pm

Join Nebraska Cattlemen for this producer education webinar by Ward Labs.
    Examine how crop residue removal impacts soil health
    Inspect the true cost of baling crop residues including the often overlooked piece: nutrient removal
    Considerations for grazing crop residues including
    meeting animal nutrient requirements


Rebecca Kern, MS, Professional Animal Scientist
As Ward Laboratories’ Animal Scientist, she reviews feed and forage data for quality and accuracy, promotes our feed testing department and consults with livestock producers among other duties. Rebecca earned her Master of Animal Nutrition at the University of Wyoming working on a collaborative project with the US Meat Animal Research Center studying beef feed efficiency. Upon completion of the maters program she worked at USMARC for 2 years as a research technician and has experience working with beef cattle and swine.

Terry Buettner, Account Development and Agronomy Support Manager
Terry has several years of experience as an Ag Producer. For 34 years he has been raising corn, soybeans, alfalfa, small grains and forages in the Kearney area. He is also a cow calf producer with a commercial herd and purebred Simmental seedstock operation. Terry earned his B.S. Business Administration with an economics minor from University of Nebraska-Kearney, 1983. He joined Ward Laboratories Inc in 2017.

Register here:  

IA Cattlemen's Leadership Summit Dec. 17 & 18

The end of the year is a time to come together and reflect on the successes and challenges we’ve faced, and 2020 has held no shortage of challenges. With flexibility and safety in mind, the Iowa Cattlemen's Association (ICA) will host its annual Leadership Summit and Annual Meeting in a hybrid format this year. Attendees will be able to attend in person or virtually. The face-to-face event will take place at the Briggs Woods Conference Center in Webster City.

The Leadership Summit is the culmination of the association's policy development process for the year. Lieutenant Colonel Peter Shinn of the U.S. Air Force will kick off the event on December 17 with his presentation titled, "Military Conflict Management for Agriculture Professionals." Following the keynote, the ICA policy committees will meet. These meetings are open to all producer members of the association, and will provide an opportunity for members to give input and vote on various policy topics affecting Iowa's cattle industry.

Lunch will be provided for attendees, and following the policy meetings, the Iowa Cattlemen's Foundation will hold its annual banquet and fundraiser auction. The ICA Annual Meeting will be held the next morning, and is also open to all members.

To register and find out more, visit

Annual Iowa Organic Conference to Be Held Virtually Nov. 23

The annual Iowa Organic Conference will be held virtually this year on Monday, Nov. 23, in keeping with COVID-19 regulations. A half-day of presentations and interactions with industry experts will take the place of the normal meeting.

The conference, now in its 20th year, is a joint activity between the Iowa State University Organic Ag Program and the University of Iowa in Iowa City. The usual trade show of vendors will be replaced with a virtual show of exhibitors and sponsors, including organic grain buyers, organic seed purveyors, local food system nonprofits, and government offices working with transitioning and certified organic farmers.  

“The U.S. market for organic products reached $55.1 billion in 2019, and even with 5 million certified organic acres in the U.S., the demand for organic grains and produce continues to exceed supply,” said Kathleen Delate, professor and extension organic specialist in horticulture with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. “Growers everywhere are encouraged to consider the potential for organic production to reap premium prices and environmental benefits.”

The keynote speaker of the virtual conference is Tom Harding, an international expert in organic marketing and trade. Harding brings a message of hope for surviving the pandemic through organic practices and will discuss how the general public is purchasing more organic products than ever.

Other speakers include Joseph Heckman, soil scientist from Rutgers University and an organic farmer, talking about ways to keep your soil active and productive to support bountiful organic crops and livestock.

Participants can register for the event at and be provided log-in instructions for participating that day.

This session will be a tribute to a long-time Iowa organic soil science researcher and favorite conference speaker, Cindy Cambardella, who recently passed away.

Also speaking will be Jordan and Whitney Clasen of Grade A Gardens, a certified organic farm in Johnston, Iowa, famous for its vegetables and COVID-conscious Farmers’ Market in Des Moines this year.

A well-anticipated tradition of past Organic Conferences was the conference meals prepared by UI award-winning executive chef, Barry Greenberg, and his team. This year, Chef Greenberg and Anne Watson will present a virtual cooking demonstration, using local and organic produce, meats and dairy products assembled into a gourmet meal.

“The Iowa Organic Conference has been the largest university-sponsored organic conference in the country,” said Delate. “We are hopeful that viewers will see the benefit of logging on and learning about innovators in the industry and celebrate the goodness of the organic harvest this year, despite the tremendous challenges from COVID-19, the drought and the derecho.”

For additional information, visit the conference webpage or contact Kathleen Delate at or 515-294-5116.

Lindsay Corporation Reports Fiscal 2020 Fourth Quarter and Full Year Results

Lindsay Corporation (NYSE: LNN), a leading global manufacturer and distributor of irrigation and infrastructure equipment and technology, today announced results for its fourth quarter and fiscal year, which ended on August 31, 2020.

Fourth Quarter and Full Year Summary

Revenues for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020 were $128.4 million, an increase of $26.5 million, or 26 percent, compared to revenues of $101.9 million in the prior year fourth quarter. Net earnings for the quarter were $14.7 million, or $1.35 per diluted share, compared with net earnings of $1.5 million, or $0.14 per diluted share, for the prior year fourth quarter. Net earnings for the prior year fourth quarter adjusted to eliminate costs associated with the Foundation for Growth initiative and a valuation adjustment for indirect tax credits were $5.8 million, or $0.54 per diluted share.1

Revenues for the year ended August 31, 2020, were $474.7 million, an increase of $30.6 million, or 7 percent, compared to revenues of $444.1 million in the prior year. Net earnings for the year were $38.6 million, or $3.56 per diluted share, compared with net earnings of $2.2 million, or $0.20 per diluted share, in the prior year. Net earnings for the prior year adjusted to eliminate costs associated with the Foundation for Growth initiative and a valuation adjustment for indirect tax credits were $15.6 million, or $1.45 per diluted share.1

"We were pleased to see fourth quarter revenue growth in both our Irrigation and Infrastructure segments, highlighted by the successful execution of our large Road Zipper® project with Highways England in the U.K.," said Tim Hassinger, President and Chief Executive Officer. "I am proud of the Lindsay team for achieving our 2020 operating margin goal, especially given the additional market challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic. We achieved another key objective related to culture, measured through an organizational health assessment conducted by a major consulting firm."

Fourth Quarter Segment Results

Irrigation segment revenues for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020 were $75.6 million, an increase of $6.1 million, or 9 percent, compared to $69.5 million in the prior year fourth quarter. North America irrigation revenues of $39.8 million decreased $1.8 million, or 4 percent, compared to the prior year. The decrease resulted primarily from lower engineering services revenue related to a project in the prior year that did not repeat. An increase in irrigation equipment unit volume and higher sales of replacement parts was offset by the impact of lower average selling prices. International irrigation revenues of $35.8 million increased $7.8 million, or 28 percent. The increase resulted primarily from higher sales volumes in Brazil, Australia and the Middle East which were partially offset by the unfavorable effects of foreign currency translation of approximately $3.4 million compared to the prior year.

Irrigation segment operating margin was 7.7 percent of sales in the fourth quarter, compared to 5.0 percent of sales (9.0 percent adjusted)1 in the prior year fourth quarter. Operating margin in the current year fourth quarter was negatively impacted by expense of approximately $1.6 million, related to an increase in the environmental remediation liability and severance costs.

Infrastructure segment revenues for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020 were $52.8 million, an increase of $20.4 million, or 63 percent, compared to $32.4 million in the prior year. The increase resulted from higher Road Zipper System® sales compared to the prior year, including the large project with Highways England in the U.K.

Infrastructure segment operating margin was 38.0 percent of sales in the fourth quarter, compared to 28.8 percent of sales in the prior year fourth quarter. Operating margin improvement resulted primarily from increased sales in higher margin product lines and from improved cost and pricing performance.

The backlog of unfilled orders at August 31, 2020 was $58.7 million compared with $55.4 million at August 31, 2019. Included in these backlogs are amounts of $6.3 million and $10.0 million, respectively, that are not expected to be fulfilled within the subsequent twelve months.


"The recent increase in agricultural commodity prices along with additional government support payments to farmers under the expanded Coronavirus Food Assistance Program have raised estimates for U.S. farm income," said Mr. Hassinger. "This supports an improved outlook for North America irrigation equipment demand for the fall selling season. We expect growth in international irrigation led by continued momentum in Brazil and other markets as well as new agricultural development being driven by heightened food security concerns as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic."

Mr. Hassinger added, "Our infrastructure business achieved a record year in fiscal 2020, in large part due to our success in implementing the "shift left" strategy to expand our addressable market for Road Zipper® systems. We continue to be encouraged by the execution of this strategy, which has resulted in a higher quality sales funnel."

Lindsay Corporation Announces Quarterly Dividend

Lindsay Corporation announced today that its Board of Directors has declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.32 per share, payable November 30, 2020, to shareholders of record at the close of business on November 16, 2020.

At October 20, 2020, Lindsay Corporation had approximately 10.8 million shares outstanding, which are traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol LNN.

Student Leaders Prepare for the 93rd National FFA Convention & Expo

FFA members and supporters from across the country will log on to their smart devices next week to celebrate agricultural education and agriculture during the 93rd National FFA Convention & Expo.

The event, which is traditionally the largest student convention in the country, will be held virtually this year, allowing even more people to participate in the event.

“The event may look a little different this year,” said Mandy Hazlett, associate director of convention and events for the National FFA Organization, “but we still have the amazing programming that we always offer our students and supporters. We are thankful for all of the support we’ve had as we’ve made the transition from the live event to the virtual platform. Convention activities will begin at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 27.”

The national convention and expo is an opportunity for FFA members from all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to be exposed to new career paths and opportunities — while celebrating the accomplishments these future leaders have made over the past year.

The general sessions, which will recognize the award winners, will air live on RFD-TV and the Cowboy Channel as well as streamed on RFD-TV Now, the Cowboy Channel + app and, allowing members and supporters to tune in and watch gavel-to-gavel coverage of the events with no registration required.

Those who register for the virtual event can experience many of the traditional convention experiences. Members can connect via Zoom through a member experience room. They can visit the Expo Hall, where businesses and colleges will be on hand to discuss various career pathways in agriculture. The FFA Blue Room will also allow convention attendees to discover cutting-edge technology, research and innovation in agriculture. Through experiential learning and specific focus on the most critical challenges facing our communities — from respecting the planet to feeding the world — the FFA Blue Room will inspire and equip students to activate their potential. Attendees can also participate in student and teacher workshops, which will be available on-demand.

Throughout October, FFA members have also served their local communities during the National Days of Service, focusing on one of four areas: Community Safety; Hunger, Health and Nutrition; Environmental Responsibility; and Community Engagement.

The convention will wrap up with the election of the 2020-21 National FFA Officer Team. More information on the event can be found on

Record High Beef, Pork, and Total Red Meat Production in September

Commercial red meat production for the United States totaled 4.71 billion pounds in September, up 6 percent from the 4.44 billion pounds produced in September 2019.

By State             (million lbs - % Sept '19)

Nebraska .........:     690.5             99       
Iowa ................:     744.0            105       
Kansas .............:     508.3            132       

Beef production, at 2.35 billion pounds, was 8 percent above the previous year. Cattle slaughter totaled 2.81 million head, up 5 percent from September 2019. The average live weight was up 27 pounds from the previous year, at 1,379 pounds.

Veal production totaled 4.9 million pounds, 20 percent below September a year ago. Calf slaughter totaled 32,400 head, down 34 percent from September 2019. The average live weight was up 45 pounds from last year, at 261 pounds.

Pork production totaled 2.34 billion pounds, up 4 percent from the previous year. Hog slaughter totaled 11.0 million head, up 4 percent from September 2019. The average live weight was up 3 pounds from the previous year, at 285 pounds.

Lamb and mutton production, at 10.9 million pounds, was down slightly from September 2019. Sheep slaughter totaled 185,200 head, 3 percent above last year. The average live weight was 117 pounds, down 5 pounds from September a year ago.

January to September 2020 commercial red meat production was 41.0 billion pounds, up 1 percent from 2019. Accumulated beef production was down slightly from last year, veal was down 12 percent, pork was up 3 percent from last year, and lamb and mutton production was down 7 percent.

USDA September 2020 Cold Storage Highlights

Total red meat supplies in freezers on September 30, 2020 were up 1 percent from the previous month but down 13 percent from last year. Total pounds of beef in freezers were up 3 percent from the previous month but down 1 percent from last year. Frozen pork supplies were up slightly from the previous month but down 22 percent from last year. Stocks of pork bellies were down 20 percent from last month and down 39 percent from last year.

Total frozen poultry supplies on September 30, 2020 were down 2 percent from the previous month and down 3 percent from a year ago. Total stocks of chicken were up 1 percent from the previous month but down 3 percent from last year. Total pounds of turkey in freezers were down 5 percent from last month and down 4 percent from September 30, 2019.

Total natural cheese stocks in refrigerated warehouses on September 30, 2020 were down 1 percent from the previous month and down 1 percent from September 30, 2019.  Butter stocks were down 7 percent from last month but up 18 percent from a year ago.

Total frozen fruit stocks on September 30, 2020 were up slightly from last month but down 6 percent from a year ago.  Total frozen vegetable stocks were up 19 percent from last month but down slightly from a year ago.

Virtual Applied Reproductive Strategies in Beef Cattle Workshop Planned

Registration is now open for the Virtual 2020 Applied Reproductive Strategies in Beef Cattle Workshop (ARSBC) that will be Nov. 4 and 5. The program targets commercial and seedstock producers, the artificial insemination (AI) and allied industries and veterinarians interested in using or improving implementation of reproductive management tools and associated genetic tools.

“Cow-calf producers know that reproduction is the most economically important trait,” said Sandy Johnson, K-State extension beef specialist. “Thus, reproductive management choices and implementation are critical to profitability.”

Johnson is a member of the Beef Reproduction Task Force, which includes reproductive physiologists from land grant universities who work together on reproductive management education.  

This year’s virtual program contains three segments utilizing a host of nationally recognized speakers.  The first segment focuses on cows and heifers and includes a presentation by Matt Perrier of Dalebanks Angus, Eureka, Kansas, who will discuss how reproductive technologies have changed the ranch. Dr. Tom Geary, USDA-ARS, Miles City, Montana, will share research on bull fertility: nutritional effects and new measures as part of the bull segment. In the animal health and management segment, investigating conception failures and pregnancy loss in beef cows will be discussed by Dr. Lee Jones, DVM, University of Georgia, who will help listeners optimize pregnancy rates. The complete program schedule can be found on the newly updated website Continuing education credits will be available, see the website for details.

An advantage of the virtual format is that there will be plenty of time for questions after each speaker and the new website has an “ask the expert” tab, where questions can be submitted at any time.  

The two-day program will go from 1 to 5 p.m. on Wednesday Nov. 4 and Thursday Nov. 5 from 1 to 5 p.m. and from 5:15 to 8 p.m. The program is free with prior registration.

Register using these links:

November 4 – Cow & Heifer session –
November 5 – Bull session –
November 5 – Veterinary Continuing Education session -

The Beef Reproduction Task Force together with the national Beef Reproduction Leadership Team work to promote wider adoption of reproductive technologies among cow-calf producers; educate cow-calf producers in management considerations that will increase the likelihood of successful AI breeding; and educate producers in marketing options to capture benefits that result from use of improved reproductive technologies.

The group’s mission is to optimize the productivity and improve the profitability of cow-calf operations by facilitating the adoption of cost-effective, applied reproductive technologies. The goal is to educate beef cattle producers on sustainable reproductive management systems to maintain U.S. leadership and competitiveness in the world beef market.

There is no cost to attend, however registration is required. Detailed information on the schedule, speakers and continuing education is available at or contact Sandy Johnson,, or Vitor Mercadante,  

Beef Demand Is a Well-Primed Pump

Greg Hanes, CEO, Cattlemen’s Beef Board

There seems to be a rash of articles and news pieces in ag media lately, focused on beef demand and its driving power and importance in everything from cattle prices to grocery store sales. The writers and experts all agree on this:  the process of generating beef demand is like a well-primed pump. It provides the beef industry with the means to push our great product into the hands of hungry consumers the world over.

One of these articles summarized recent webinar information and data from Dr. Ted Schroeder and Dr. Glynn Tonsor, two leading agricultural economists at Kansas State University. The article starts with a key statement from Dr. Schroeder: “Prosperity of all beef industry participants hinges critically upon consumer demand.  Every new dollar that enters the industry comes from the consumer. Without the consumer, we are out of business.”

He is correct, of course. Beef demand IS everything. Consumers have a vast array of protein choices. It is an extremely competitive protein market: beef, pork, chicken, meat alternatives – even products like beans and peanut butter. But how do we create demand for beef over all these other options? This is exactly what your Beef Checkoff is designed to do – create demand to make beef the first choice of consumers through promotion, research and education.

Even with the pandemic’s impact, the Beef Checkoff has been able to adapt and adjust programs to continue reaching those consumers and influencers. In many cases they have been able to increase program reach by shifting from in-person to virtual events. For example, events targeting middle and high school educators about beef – which typically have had 40 in-person attendees – are now reaching thousands online. Videos on veal production have reached nearly 11 million people since January.  

A new Checkoff-funded video series, “Real Facts About Real Beef,” delivers facts directly to consumers from the source: beef farmers and ranchers, as well as credentialed experts in the fields of sustainability, human nutrition and more. This series is just one of the ways that the Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. brand has helped debunk myths about the beef industry – by delivering the facts straight to consumers at home.

Beef demand is strong, as seen by the stats showing that beef sales lead all retail animal protein sales since the pandemic hit. Yet our competition never slows down. Our focus is to keep that strong flow of information to consumers so they will want our product even more. The Beef Checkoff provides a wellspring of beef promotion and resources, and consumers are eating it up.

Oil-State Senators Ask EPA to Violate the Law, Ignore the Courts

The Renewable Fuels Association today blasted the latest attempt by oil refiners and their supporters in the Senate to undermine the Renewable Fuel Standard. On Wednesday, a small group of oil-state Senators submitted a short letter to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler asking him to waive the 2021 RFS standards to prevent increased use of renewable fuels and to “account for the unprecedented collapse in demand for gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel.” (Note: Jet fuel is not subject to renewable fuel blending requirements under the RFS.)
Responding to the letter, RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper stated, “It looks like the focus of the oil industry’s RFS avoidance strategy is shifting from ‘small-refinery waivers’ to ‘all-refinery waivers.’ But this letter from a handful of refinery-state Senators comes nowhere close to satisfying the high standard required to grant a general waiver of the RFS volumes—and EPA knows that. By asking Administrator Wheeler to undercut the 2021 RFS standards to avoid the so-called ‘blend wall,’ these Senators are unashamedly encouraging EPA to ignore clear-cut court decisions and established case law.”
In 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that EPA had illegally abused its general waiver authority by attempting to lower 2014-2016 RFS volume requirements below the so-called “E10 blend wall,” despite ample availability of renewable fuels to meet the statutory volumes. The court found that the statute “…does not allow EPA to consider…demand-side constraints” when deciding general waiver requests. Yet, that is exactly what the oil-state Senator letter recommends, Cooper said.
The statute also requires petitioners to conclusively demonstrate that compliance with the RFS would cause “severe harm” to the economy of a state, region, or the country, Cooper added. “This flimsy letter makes no such demonstration,” Cooper said. “Instead, the Senators cite COVID-19 as the source of the economic challenges facing the refining sector. But the financial hardship caused by COVID-19 is not unique to the refining sector; the ethanol industry and farmers were hit even harder by the pandemic and are still struggling to recover. All Americans are still hurting from the impacts of COVID-19, but the refiners are opportunistically using the pandemic as an excuse to pursue their long-term objective of tearing down the RFS.”
Producers of renewable fuel have already lost more than 4 billion gallons of RFS requirements in the past three years due to illegally granted small refinery exemptions, and EPA still has not complied with the D.C. Circuit Court’s 2017 order to restore 500 million gallons of illegally waived volume from 2016.

“Enough is enough. EPA should immediately reject this attempt to further undermine the RFS with unjustifiable and unlawful waivers,” Cooper said. “The Senators’ letter should go straight to EPA’s dumpster, which is already littered with other baseless waiver petitions and ridiculous RFS complaints from oil state politicians and refiners.”

North American ag officials affirm role of states and provinces in implementation of USMCA

Members of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) and their state and provincial counterparts from Mexico and Canada today issued a joint communiqué underscoring the role of states and provinces in successful implementation of the United States-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) Trade Agreement. North American state and provincial agriculture officials gathered virtually this week for the 29th annual Tri-National Agricultural Accord (Accord).

NASDA President and Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles led the U.S. Delegation for the conference.

“The USMCA has delivered an era of modernized free and fair trade which will secure North America as the most powerful trading bloc in the world,” said Quarles. “By leveraging our growing power as a North American trade alliance, we will expand the opportunities of current and future generations of farmers. And there’s no doubt state and provincial governments play a key role in this success.”

Beyond the joint statements on the bilateral meetings with Canada and Mexico, the three countries held productive sessions on USMCA implementation, state and provincial response to COVID-19, prevention, surveillance, and rapid response to African Swine Fever (ASF), and the future of agriculture through innovation including gene editing.

“As state and provincial governments, we are the leaders best suited to address the local and regional concerns of our farming communities. Our mutual response efforts to the global COVID-19 pandemic are critical to the resilience of our rural communities, and strength of our increasingly more connected food supply chain. Together we will work with our federal governments to expand resource availability specifically to state and provincial agriculture departments for pandemic response efforts,” Quarles said.

The Accord represents a longstanding commitment among the senior state and provincial agricultural officials of Canada, the United States, and Mexico to work together collaboratively on agricultural trade and development issues. Manitoba Minister of Agriculture and Resource Development Blaine Pedersen led the Canadian Delegation while the Mexican delegation was led by Secretary Carlos Muñiz Rodríguez, Hidalgo Ministry of Agricultural Development and President of the Mexican Association of Secretaries of Agriculture and Rural Development (AMSDA). AMSDA is the Mexican equivalent of NASDA.

NASDA will host the 30th Annual Tri-National Agricultural Accord in Arlington, Virginia on October 25-27, 2021.

AGCO Introduces Massey Ferguson 1800E and 2800E Series Compact Tractors

AGCO Corporation, a worldwide manufacturer and distributor of agricultural equipment, announces a new family of economical compact tractors ― the Massey Ferguson® 1800E and 2800E Series. The new lineup replaces the 1700E and 2700E Series and includes five models ranging from 24 to 57.3 engine horsepower. All are equipped with dependable Iseki® diesel engines, offer greater hydraulic capacity and sport the bold new styling common across the Massey Ferguson tractor line.

These new tractors are engineered and built for heavy-duty jobs and tough applications. A cast steel rear end and cast front axle, 4-wheel drive and high-capacity hydraulics provide the weight, muscle and traction to tackle demanding jobs, such as transporting round bales, skidding logs or moving heavy gravel, topsoil and other bulk materials. The E Series can be equipped with a broad range of implements and attachments, making them an economical and versatile choice for property owners, livestock producers, landscapers, hobby farms, municipalities and commercial contractors.

“The E Series tractors are powerful, easy to operate and offer a down-to-earth price that will appeal to budget-minded customers,” says Jeffrey Ratliff, AGCO tactical marketing manager. “Plus, these heavy-duty, no-nonsense work horses provide capabilities you might only expect from larger-horsepower utility tractors.”

Leading the lineup is the 1825E. It features a naturally aspirated 1.49-liter, 3-cylinder diesel engine producing 24 horsepower. The 1835E and 1840E feature turbocharged 1.83-liter, 3-cylinder engines that provide 34.5 and 39.4 engine horsepower, respectively. The larger-chassis 2850E and 2860E models are each equipped with a brawny 2.43-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, delivering 48.8 and 57.3 engine horsepower. Liquid-cooled for increased durability, the clean-burning Iseki engines meet final Tier IV emissions standards and can be found in specialized equipment used worldwide in a broad range of demanding ag, turf and commercial applications.

“The rugged Iseki diesel engines provide significant advantages,” according to Ratliff.  “They deliver outstanding fuel efficiency, tremendous power, torque and reliability. Plus, they are easy to service and maintain.”

Hydraulic performance gets a boost

New E Series compact tractors offer up to 18 percent greater hydraulic capacity than the previous generation. The dual-pump high-flow system provides more responsive power at low engine speeds, allowing operators to throttle back to reduce noise, while maintaining full steering and implement function and control.

Open station offers convenient, easy-to-use controls

All E Series models feature an open station with a wide, uncluttered platform to provide ample room and comfort for the operator. All controls are logically arranged, easy to reach and simple to understand ‒ advantages beginning operators will appreciate.

The E Series compact tractors also benefit from an updated design with a newly styled hood and fresh decals, reflecting the look of larger Massey Ferguson utility and row-crop tractors. Operators can still count on the solid metal hood and fenders, which are stronger and less susceptible to damage than plastic hoods found on other compact tractors.

Choice of simple mechanical or smooth hydrostatic transmissions

The E Series compacts are standard equipped with a proven 8F x 8R Synchro Shuttle transmission. This rugged mechanical-gear transmission provides a wide range of working and transport speeds from 0.8 to 16.6 mph (1.4 to 26.8 km/h), depending on tire size and type. It’s an ideal choice when performing jobs such as mowing or rotary tilling, when consistent working speeds must be maintained. A handy forward/reverse mechanical shuttle shift provides easy direction changes – great for loader work.

An optional 3-range hydrostatic transmission also is available. Simple and convenient, it allows the operator to reach the speed needed within each range without shifting gears.

The 1800E models offer a Category I rear 3-point hitch, while the 2800E models are equipped with a Cat. I/II 3-point hitch with up to 2,425 lb. lift capacity, providing compatibility with dozens of implements, including the Massey Ferguson FL Series loaders and BH and CB backhoes, depending on the model. Third-function loader control enables the use of a wide array of skid-steer attachments, such as root grapples and 4-in-1 buckets. A 540 rpm rear PTO is standard.

“For customers looking for a practical, simple-to-operate and maintain tractor, the E Series has a lot to offer,” Ratliff says. “Whether you own an acreage with a few horses, a dozen cattle or half-dozen food plots, or you’re the equipment manager of a municipality or township with miles of roadsides to mow, the E Series tractors offer powerful, dependable choices, sold and supported by a dealer network with a keen focus on the small tractor market.”

E Series compact tractors have a limited, five-year powertrain warranty. Full details are available from Massey Ferguson dealers.