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Chad Moyer | KTIC Radio

Chad Moyer

Welcome to the KTIC Agriculture Information blog!!! Check back here for the latest in ag news and information, from local events to international happenings and government reports that affect your operation. Please email with suggestions! -Chad Moyer, Farm Director, KTIC Radio
Tuesday October 22 Ag News

Rural Nebraska Communities have Access to $2.2 Million for Disaster Recovery Due to FEMA-Major Disaster Declarations

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development  Nebraska State Director Karl Elmshaeuser today announces that Nebraska has been allocated with nearly $2.2 million in grants available through the Community Facilities Program to help rural communities continue in their recovery from the devastating effects of FEMA declared disasters in Nebraska.

   “Nebraska has been hit hard by the devastating weather, with 83 of our counties receiving Major Disaster Declarations,” Elmshaeuser said. “USDA works hard to help communities thrive and this funding supports in their long-term recovery.”

   The $2.2 million is included in the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act that President Trump signed into law on June 6, 2019.

   Nebraska declared counties are:  Adams, Antelope, Banner, Blaine, Boone, Box Butte, Boyd, Brown, Buffalo, Burt, Butler, Cass, Cedar, Cherry, Cheyenne, Clay, Colfax, Cuming, Custer, Dakota, Dawes, Dawson, Deuel, Dixon, Dodge, Douglas, Fillmore, Franklin, Frontier, Furnas, Gage, Garden, Garfield, Gosper, Greeley, Hall, Hamilton, Harlan, Holt, Howard, Jefferson, Johnson, Kearney, Keith, Keya Paha, Kimball, Knox, Lancaster, Lincoln, Logan, Loup, Madison, Merrick, Morrill, Nance, Nemaha, Nuckolls, Omaha Indian Reservation, Otoe, Pawnee, Phelps, Pierce, Platte, Polk, Ponca TDSA, Richardson, Rock, Sac and Fox Indian Reservation, Saline, Santee Indian Reservation, Sarpy, Saunders, Scotts Bluff, Seward, Sheridan, Sherman, Stanton, Thayer, Thomas, Thurston, Valley, Washington, Wayne, Webster, Wheeler, Winnebago Indian Reservation, and York.

      Grant applications will be accepted at USDA Rural Development Attn: Community Programs; 100 Centennial Mall North; Federal Building Room 308; Lincoln, Neb.  68508.  Applications will be accepted on a continual basis until funds are exhausted. Grant assistance will be provided on a graduated scale; smaller communities with the lowest median household income are eligible for a higher proportion of grant funds. For application details and additional information, see page 47477 of the Sept. 10 Federal Register.  In Nebraska, contact your local Rural Development Community Program Staff.

   More than 100 types of projects are eligible for Community Facilities funding. Eligible applicants include municipalities, public bodies, nonprofit organizations and federally recognized Native American tribes. Projects must be in eligible rural areas with a population of 20,000 or less.

   In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure is a cornerstone recommendation of the task force.

   To view the report in its entirety, please view the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (PDF, 5.4 MB). In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic (PDF, 190 KB).

   USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit

Cuming County Board of Supervisors Seeking Extension Board Nominations

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

Two positions on the Cuming County Extension Board are up for appointment.  The district lines are defined according to the Cuming County Board of Supervisors districts.  Nominees are needed for the districts served by Supervisors John Ross, District 2 and Clarence Tichota, District 4. Potential candidates are encouraged to contact the Extension Office, if you have questions on which supervisor district you reside in.

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

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

Crop Residue Exchange Updated and Available for Listings

Mary Drewnoski - NE Extension Beef Systems Specialist

New updates make the Crop Residue Exchange even easier to use to link cattle producers and available grazing resources. Crop producers who have listed residue available for grazing in the past are encouraged to log in and update their listings on the Exchange for the fall and winter grazing season.

Recent updates to the Exchange have expanded its geographical reach to include large portions of the states that surround Nebraska. Crop producers in much of Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, and South Dakota can now list fields they have available for grazing.

Another update allows livestock producers to save their searches and receive an email notification when a crop producer lists something matching their criteria. There is a lot more searching going on than we have listings. If a crop producr creates a new listing, odds are pretty good that in the near future several livestock producers will be receiving an email letting them know about it.

In addition to providing a winter feed resource, grazing corn residue can increase the amount and rate of corn residue breakdown. When grazed at proper stocking rates, small but positive impacts on subsequent crop production after grazing have been observed. University of Nebraska-Lincoln recommendations for establishing corn residue stocking rates are based on 50% utilization of leaves and husks (8 pounds per bushel or 20% of the total corn residue). Some additional corn residue disappears through trampling and wind loss, but there has been no increased erosion risks when only 40% to 50% of the corn residue was removed through grazing.

Getting Started with the Crop Residue Exchange

After establishing a log-in account on the Crop Residue Exchange, producers can draw out the plot of land available for grazing by using an interactive map and entering basic information about the type of residue, fencing situation, water availability, and dates available. They also need to provide their preferred contact information. The land available for grazing can be described as a “Residue Type” (corn, wheat, sorghum, other) or pasture. Pricing can be listed as a cost per acre or a cost per head per day. Livestock producers can search the Crop Residue Exchange database for grazing available within a radius for the location of interest. Livestock producers must be logged in to view the contact information attached to each listing.

The Crop Residue Exchange came online in August 2017. To date 281 registered users have posted 45 listings for grazing. Over 6,000 searches for grazing resources have been conducted on the Exchange and almost 600 views of contact information for available listings have occurred. The Exchange continues to expand in usage as well as features available to better connect livestock producers with forage resources.

Writing a Marketing Plan for Your Stored Grain

Jessica Groskopf - NE Extension Educator for Agricultural Economics

The goal for any farmer holding grain in storage should be to obtain a better price for that crop in the spring or summer than the price offered at harvest.

Some farmers put grain in the bin looking to sell it by hitting a grain marketing “home run,” i.e., selling all of their grain in storage at the highest price possible. This one-shot marketing approach is rarely a successful strategy because farmers either sell grain before the market high hits or wait too long and end up with a lower price than what was offered at harvest. Savvy grain marketers tend not to use this one-shot approach. The most successful marketers write a grain-marketing plan that guides them to sell smaller quantities of grain throughout the year. This approach allows the farmer to be more in control of the final farm average price. The following five steps describe how to write a grain-marketing plan.

1. Break the total amount of grain into smaller units.

Instead of thinking of your marketing plan as selling all of your grain at once, sell your grain in smaller quantities. Most farmers think in 1,000- or 5,000-bushel quantities. This allows multiple sales to occur and therefore the opportunity to take part in unforeseen rallies (and further price declines).

2. Set price targets.

When determining price targets after harvest, you will want to set targets above the price you could have obtained at harvest, plus any additional expenses accrued by storage. The longer the grain remains in storage, the higher the price target will need to be. Expenses to consider are bin rental/maintenance/repairs, insurance on grain in storage, potential quality deterioration, and additional interest expense on operating notes.

It is important that you set realistic price targets. Setting prices too high or too low may be detrimental to your plan. When your price targets aren’t realistic, you either sell too quickly at a low price or hold grain too long, waiting for a price the market never reaches. Price targets can always be adjusted if market fundamentals change.

3. Set sales deadlines.

If prices do not rise enough to meet your price target, you need to set sales deadlines to ensure you are proactive about selling. Sales deadlines ensure that you aren’t continuing to incur storage expenses while prices decline. Target prices and sales deadlines work together to help you achieve a farm price in a range that helps you survive.

Commodity prices typically have a defined seasonal price pattern. Setting sales deadlines that correspond to periods when prices are traditionally highest will help make marketing easier. Price patterns vary by commodity. Corn prices are typically highest in the spring (March – June,) and soybean prices are traditionally highest in summer (June – July). Don’t forget to calculate storage costs when taking this approach.

Another consideration when selecting sales deadlines is your cash flow needs. Are there certain times of the year when you need to make sales to make payments? Plan and have this cash ready by setting sales deadlines ahead of payment dates.

4. Know your contracts

There are several types of contracts you can use to sell grain. You should work with your local elevator or broker to determine what marketing contracts are available to you and what contracts you should be using to achieve your price targets and sales deadlines. Typical marketing contracts offered by most local elevators are
-    cash sales,
-    forward cash contracts,
-    basis contracts, and
-    hedge to arrive (HTA) contracts.

You can also work with a broker to establish hedges, and/or an options position.

5. Share your plan with someone else

Once you have written your plan, share it with someone else. Sharing your goals with your spouse, merchandiser, or banker will help keep you accountable to your marketing goals.

Marketing plans can become more complex. However, this basic outline will help you get started. Remember, the goal of the marketing plan is not to get distracted from your goals determined at the beginning of the crop cycle.

Iowa Corn and Peace Tree Brewing Co. Release Cornucopia Beer

Iowa Corn and Peace Tree Brewing Co. partnered to create a seasonal beer made from Iowa corn. The key ingredient to this Cornucopia beer is homegrown Iowa corn. The corn was grown by Iowa Corn Growers Association Director Steve Kuiper on his farm just five miles from Peace Tree’s Knoxville location. The limited-edition Cornucopia beer will be available through participating Hy-Vee, Fareway and other beer locations throughout Iowa. The draft will be available at participating craft beer bars and restaurants throughout Iowa.

ICA Scholarship Deadlines Approaching

The Iowa Cattlemen's Foundation offers a variety of scholarship opportunities throughout the year. Application deadlines are approaching for the:
1. Beef Scholarship Extravaganza
2. Maynard Jayne Scholars Program

Maynard Jayne Scholarship

The Iowa Cattlemen’s Foundation is currently accepting scholarship applications in honor of the late Maynard Jayne. The Jayne Family has graciously donated memorial monies as well as their own funds to develop the Maynard Jayne Scholars program.

Maynard Jayne was a long time Iowa Cattlemen’s Association employee. He began his career as a field representative and helped increase membership numbers across the state. His greatest contribution, though, was as a lobbyist for ICA at our State Capitol. Maynard’s industry knowledge and his ability to bring the right people together made him a highly respected key player at the state legislature.

Iowa Cattlemen’s Foundation will be awarding the Jayne Scholar at the Leadership Summit this coming December. The deadline for application submission is November 15th.

Beef Scholarship Extravaganza

The Iowa Cattlemen's Foundation is proud to host the Beef Scholarship Extravaganza. It is one of the most challenging and rewarding youth cattle competitions in the nation. Young people who participate in this event reap the benefits of their preparation long after the competition is over. Registration is due Nov. 5.

The contest is open to high school juniors and seniors who test their knowledge on beef industry and beef cattle management issues. Stations cover the following beef industry topics:
    Credit and Finance
    Seedstock Merchandising
    Industry Issues and Advocacy  
    Beef Management
    Job Interview   
    Keep-Cull Heifer Replacement Evaluation   

Applications can be found at For more information, please contact Mary Greiman at or 641-425-1533.

FFAR and National Pork Board Develop Tools to Detect and Understand Spread of African Swine Fever Virus

The African Swine Fever virus (ASFV) is a highly contagious disease that spreads rapidly in pig populations. It has no impact on people, so pork remains safe to consume. To help keep the U.S. ASFV-free and protect the country’s pigs, the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) and the National Pork Board (NPB) awarded $535,780 to research teams at Kansas State University and Iowa State University to study how ASFV survives and how to test pigs for the virus.

ASFV has existed in Africa for decades. However, the virus is spreading due to changing production practices and increasing globalization. ASFV entered China in August 2018 and is now quickly infecting swine herds across the globe. The virus has also been reported in Europe. The current state of ASFV spread and concerns that it could enter North America increases risk for pig farming. The U.S., specifically, produces 125 million pigs annually.

To date, a vaccine or treatment for the virus has yet to be developed although research is underway. Farmers are focused on ways to prevent the virus from entering the U.S. as losses would be staggering not only for the pork industry, but for other agriculture commodities as well. 

“We remain committed to investing Pork Checkoff funds in strategic ways, such as this collaboration to find new ways to protect our domestic swine herd from foreign animal disease threats,” said David Newman, president of the National Pork Board and a producer representing Arkansas. “Understanding how African swine fever survives can help us create better techniques for controlling the spread of this costly virus and reduce the odds of a domestic outbreak.”

Even though ASFV does not affect human health, it threatens the $20 billion-dollar U.S. swine industry and the 550,000 American jobs created by the industry. To date, only limited research funding is available, which is why FFAR and the National Pork Board are collaborating on funding research projects to diagnose and manage an ASFV outbreak in the U.S.

The main focus for producers is preventing the virus from entering the U.S. and preparing the industry by understanding the survivability mechanisms of the virus. This knowledge will help to identify strategies to keep it out of the country and assist in creating rapid and accurate virus identification techniques in case the virus does reach the U.S.

Research funded in this collaboration includes studies by Kansas State University and Iowa State University. Kansas State University researchers seek to understand how ASFV survives and continues to infect other animals in various environments. If scientists understand how the disease spreads, they will be better able to control, or even stop, the spread of this virus. Additional work at Kansas State University is developing tests to detect ASFV. A third project is creating diagnostic test to quickly test entire herds for ASF.

Iowa State University researchers are focusing on how best to identify foreign animal diseases at low prevalence in large commercial pens using oral fluid samples. This test allows farmers to string a rope in the pen, the pigs will naturally chew on the rope and then the rope can be tested to detect for traces of targeted viruses.

“There is no time to waste. We must work quickly, and through partnership with the National Pork Board, to drive solutions pork producers can use to detect and manage infected animals if the virus reaches the U.S. This research may be the key to dramatically reducing any potential spread of African Swine Fever,” said Sally Rockey, Ph.D., FFAR executive director. “U.S. Pork producers are already coping with uncertainty across the entire sector and an outbreak of African Swine Fever would devastate American farmers, who are already struggling.”

FFAR’s grant is being matched by funding from the National Pork Board, Cargill, Kemin, Purina Animal Nutrition and Kansas State University for a total investment of $535,780.

USDA Cold Storage September 2019 Highlights

Total red meat supplies in freezers on September 30, 2019 were down 2 percent from the previous month and down 4 percent from last year. Total pounds of beef in freezers were down 1 percent from the previous month and down 8 percent from last year. Frozen pork supplies were down 1 percent from the previous month but up 2 percent from last year. Stocks of pork bellies were down 11 percent from last month but up 34 percent from last year.

Total frozen poultry supplies on September 30, 2019 were down 1 percent from the previous month and down 5 percent from a year ago. Total stocks of chicken were up 2 percent from the previous month but down 4 percent from last year. Total pounds of turkey in freezers were down 6 percent from last month and down 6 percent from September 30, 2018.

Total natural cheese stocks in refrigerated warehouses on September 30, 2019 were up slightly from the previous month but down 1 percent from September 30, 2018.  Butter stocks were down 1 percent from last month but up 7 percent from a year ago.

Total frozen fruit stocks on September 30, 2019 were up slightly from last month but down 11 percent from a year ago. Total frozen vegetable stocks were up 15 percent from last month but down 1 percent from a year ago.


All layers in Nebraska during September 2019 totaled 9.26 million, up from 7.97 million the previous year, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Nebraska egg production during September totaled 226 million eggs, up from 199 million in 2018. September egg production per 100 layers was 2,446 eggs, compared to 2,499 eggs in 2018.

Iowa egg production during September 2019 was 1.40 billion eggs, down 2 percent from last month but up 3 percent from last year, according to the latest Chickens and Eggs report from the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. The average number of all layers on hand during September 2019 was 57.7 million, up 1 percent from last month but down 1 percent from last year. Eggs per 100 layers for September were 2,433, down 3 percent from last month but up 4 percent from last year.

September Egg Production Up 2 Percent

United States egg production totaled 9.19 billion during September 2019, up 2 percent from last year. Production included 8.04 billion table eggs, and 1.15 billion hatching eggs, of which 1.07 billion were broiler-type and 81.7 million were egg-type. The average number of layers during September 2019 totaled 394 million, up 1 percent from last year. September egg production per 100 layers was 2,332 eggs, up 1 percent from September 2018.
Total layers in the United States on October 1, 2019 totaled 395 million, up 1 percent from last year. The 395 million layers consisted of 333 million layers producing table or market type eggs, 58.2 million layers producing broiler-type hatching eggs, and 3.46 million layers producing egg-type hatching eggs. Rate of lay per day on October 1, 2019, averaged 77.6 eggs per 100 layers, up 1 percent from October 1, 2018.

NCBA Applauds Introduction of Livestock Risk Management and Education Act

Todd Wilkinson, South Dakota cattle producer and NCBA Policy Division Vice Chair, today released the following statement in response to the introduction of the Livestock Risk Management and Education Act by U.S. Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.):

“NCBA applauds Representative Dusty Johnson's introduction of the Livestock Risk Management and Education Act yesterday on the House floor. This legislation will provide boots-on-the-ground cattle producers with critical resources and opportunities to increase their understanding and engagement with risk management tools. This bill speaks directly to our core values as an industry - arming producers with the latest farm management resources and tools in order to help them navigate ever-changing and dynamic market conditions.

"In a market environment that continues to challenge even the most experienced multi-generational operations, NCBA believes that it is critical for producers to understand their options for managing risk. The Livestock Risk Management and Education Act policy will provide the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture the authority and flexibility to collaborate with industry to ensure that cattle farmers and ranchers have access to those options and the knowledge base to determine which ones are right for their operations. As the oldest and largest national trade association representing the U.S. cattle industry, securing these kinds of educational resources for our members is critical to our vitality into the future.

"NCBA members passed policy that directs us to engage in developing comprehensive programs for NCBA members regarding the mechanics of the commodity futures and options markets and the application of risk management tools. The Livestock Risk Management and Education Act does just that, and NCBA is proud to support this legislation and we look forward to engaging with Congress to advance this bill.”

Exports and the Impact of the U.S. Dollar Value on Beef Trade

Josh Maples, Extension Economist, Dept of Ag Econ, Mississippi State University

The latest Livestock and Meat Monthly Trade data from the Economic Research Service (ERS) was released on October 7th and included the month of August 2019 as the most recent data available. The purpose of this article is not just to discuss the export data from this report, but also to discuss an important but complex factor that impacts trade: the value of the U.S. dollar.

To the ERS report first, beef exports were lower in August 2019 as compared to July 2019 and also to August 2018. For January-August, beef exports were 3.8 percent lower than in the same period of 2018. Exports to Japan, the top U.S. beef export destination, were down 8.6 percent during this time period. Exports to South Korea were up 8 percent. Together, these two countries accounted for 50.5 percent of U.S. beef exports during data available for 2019. The October USDA World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report lowered the 2019 projection for beef exports to 3.126 billion pounds which would be about a 1 percent decline compared to 2018.

Now let's shift focus to the value of the U.S. dollar. For many of us, we might first think about inflation or the thought that "a dollar isn't worth what it used to be." This is, of course, true but is not exactly the type of value to consider when viewing things in the context of trade with other countries. More specifically, we are considering exchange rates or the value of the U.S. dollar in another country. When customers in other countries want to purchase U.S. beef, an exchange of their currency with U.S. dollars must occur at some point. The value of the U.S. dollar vs. the foreign currency is the exchange rate and fluctuations in this rate can make beef more (or less) expensive to the importer. Exchange rates fluctuate frequently between foreign currencies and are actively traded in foreign exchange (or Forex) markets.

Let's consider a simplified U.S. beef exported to Japan example for illustration. Let's assume the exchange rate for one U.S. dollar is 100 Japanese yen. Also, assume that a customer in Japan wants to import 1,000 pounds of U.S. beef and the price of that beef is 5 U.S. dollars (USD) per pound. At the current exchange rate, the customer in Japan would pay 500,000 yen for this transaction (1,000 lbs. x 5 USD x 100 yen). Now assume that a month later, the exchange rate for one U.S. dollar is 102 Japanese yen. This would be considered a stronger U.S. dollar relative to the yen because it costs more yen to buy the same dollar. Even if the price of beef in U.S. dollars is still 5 USD per pound, the customer in Japan would now pay 510,000 yen for this transaction (1,000 lbs. x 5 USD x 102 yen).

Thus, the example of a 2 percent increase in the exchange rate (from 100 to 102) led to a 2 percent increase in the cost to the customer in Japan. This is why a strong U.S. dollar can sometimes be described as a headwind to U.S. beef exports. The flip side is that a stronger dollar makes goods imported into the U.S. relatively cheaper.

Foreign exchange markets and their impact on trade are very complex, to say the least. The above example does not consider that the exchange rates between other beef exporting countries (e.g. Australia) and key beef importers (e.g. Japan) are also constantly changing. Fluctuating exchange rates could make it cheaper for the customer in Japan to import U.S. beef one month and Australian beef the next month even if the price of beef in those countries doesn't change. We know that prices change frequently within countries, countries face different tariff structures, and exchange rates are constantly changing - and this doesn't even consider the cost of transporting the beef. Put simply, there are a lot of moving parts.

The U.S. dollar is relatively strong right now and this is likely one of the contributing factors to the slightly lower exports shown in the ERS report. Compared to the Australian dollar, the U.S. dollar averaged about 8% stronger during January-September 2019 than during the same period of 2018. It was also stronger than 2018 levels for comparisons against the Canadian dollar, the Euro, and the Mexican peso. Contrary to the example used above, the U.S. dollar has been about the same or slightly weaker relative to the Japanese yen compared to a year ago which would imply that U.S. beef is slightly cheaper to customers in Japan if everything else remained constant. But everything has not remained constant and the exchange rates between Japan and other beef exporting countries have also changed. While exchange rates are just one factor in the beef trade complex, they can have important implications on the flow of beef around the world.

New Court Documents Detail Rampant EPA Abuse of Small Refinery Exemption Program

Newly available court documents assert that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency inappropriately granted Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) compliance exemptions to certain small refineries that did not even qualify for the waivers, and that there was division within the Trump administration about its new approach to small refinery hardship exemption requests.

Specifically, the briefs and supporting documents show EPA granted disproportionate economic hardship exemptions to small refineries whose previous exemptions had fully lapsed, meaning the Agency disregarded the requirement that refiners may only obtain an “extension” of an existing exemption.

The redacted briefs and other documents filed in the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals pertain to Renewable Fuels Association et al. v. EPA, which addresses EPA’s decisions to retroactively grant hardship exemptions to two refineries owned by HollyFrontier and one refinery owned by CVR’s Wynnewood subsidiary. An audio file of the oral argument was also recently made available by the Court.

The exemptions, which include two granted for RFS compliance year 2016 and one for compliance year 2017, were impermissible under the statute and based on analysis that rendered EPA’s actions arbitrary and capricious, according to the opening and reply briefs filed by RFA, along with the American Coalition for Ethanol, the National Corn Growers association, and National Farmers Union.

The petitioners’ briefs argue that EPA, in addition to ignoring the commonsense meaning of “extension,” also misinterpreted the phrase “disproportionate economic hardship”—the statutory criteria required to extend an exemption. EPA’s interpretation is also undermined by the agency’s own published conclusions that RFS compliance costs are generally passed through to purchasers of fuel and are borne proportionately for small and large refineries alike.

The parties’ filings also revealed what ethanol interests had suspected for quite some time – that EPA was granting full exemptions not only where the Department of Energy had recommended only a partial exemption, but even where DOE had recommended a denial of the small refinery exemption extension in its entirety. EPA’s supplemental proposed rulemaking for the 2020 RVO, while proposing an inadequate solution to the small refiner exemption problem, reveals the extent to which EPA departed from DOE’s recommendations. For the 2016-2018 compliance years, DOE on average recommended that 7.6 billion gallons of gasoline and diesel from small refineries be exempted from RFS obligations; however, EPA disregarded those recommendation and actually exempted an average of 12.8 billion gallons.

Although EPA maintained that the statute gives it final say on whether to extend the exemptions, EPA’s decision to grant a full exemption where DOE recommended full denial is at odds with the recently released EPA decision document for 2018 small refinery exemptions, where EPA indicated that it denied all exemption requests where DOE had recommended denials.

Although the issues have been fully briefed by the parties, on October 15, RFA and the other petitioners filed a request for the Court to consider three new documents that reveal disagreement within the administration regarding its approach to small refinery exemptions.

The first document, a memo authored by Francis Brooke, Special Assistant on the President’s National Economic Council, describes a 2018 proposal to resolve the differences between ethanol and oil interests in part by a “restructuring” whereby “EPA will grant future small refinery exemptions based on only true disproportionate economic hardship,” implying the administration was knowingly issuing waivers to small refineries who were not truly experiencing disproportionate economic hardship. The second document details the reservations of David Schnare, one of the senior aides to Former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, regarding the Agency’s granting of small refinery exemptions that Schnare maintained were unlawful. The third document is the EPA decision document for 2018 exemption extensions, showing inconsistencies in EPA’s adherence to DOE recommendations.

A decision by the court, which could impact how EPA grants other retroactive small refinery exemptions in the future, may come by early 2020. 

National Sorghum Producers Partners with USDA to Quantify Sorghum Sustainability in Key Ethanol Production Region

National Sorghum Producers today announced a partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service in Kansas. The partnership will be executed through a conservation collaboration grant that will document sorghum farmer practices to promote positive conservation outcomes and quantify the environmental footprint of the crop.

"Sorghum farmers in Kansas and across the nation have long been good stewards of the environment around them," said NSP CEO Tim Lust. "Today, we will continue documenting this fact and work to understand how we can improve even more. With 74 percent of sorghum grown using conservation tillage and 91 percent receiving no supplemental irrigation water, improvement is a tall order, but we believe our farmers are up to the challenge."

"One-third of the U.S. sorghum crop is used to produce fuel ethanol, which receives a premium for lower carbon intensity scores in certain markets," he said. "This makes demonstrating sustainability and continuous improvement at the farm level extremely important. Fortunately, sustainability goals in fuel markets and conservation goals here at home go hand-in-hand, and we look forward to working with NRCS to further these goals and create additional opportunities for sorghum farmers."

Syngenta Commits $2 Billion and Sets New Targets for Innovation to Tackle Climate Change

Syngenta today announced $2 billion will be spent over the next five years to help farmers prepare for and tackle the increasing threats posed by climate change.

The investment supports a new Syngenta sustainability goal of delivering at least two technological breakthroughs to market each year, to reduce agriculture’s contribution to climate change, harness its mitigation capacity, and help the food system stay within planetary boundaries.

Erik Fyrwald, Chief Executive Officer at Syngenta also announced that the investment in research and development for sustainable agriculture will be matched by a drive to reduce the carbon intensity of the company’s operations by at least 50% by 2030 to support the ambitious goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change. Syngenta’s commitment has been validated and endorsed by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

“Agriculture is now at the front line of global efforts to tackle climate change,” said Mr Fyrwald. “Syngenta is committed to accelerating our innovation to find better and ever safer solutions to address the shared challenge of climate change and biodiversity loss.”

“These aren’t just words, this is real action that will drive focus in Syngenta to help farmers tackle climate change and reduce the sector’s contribution to the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.”

The $2 billion will be directed towards programs with clearly differentiated benefits or breakthrough technologies that will enable a step change in agricultural sustainability, such as land use, soil health and integrated pest management.

Through a multi-year collaboration with The Nature Conservancy, Syngenta is developing strategies to identify and test new innovations and technology that can benefit farmers and contribute to positive environmental outcomes. The collaboration is grounded in efforts to promote soil health, resource efficiency and habitat protection in major agricultural regions worldwide.

Sally Jewell, CEO at The Nature Conservancy said: “Achieving conservation at scale will require bold action from the private sector. As businesses increasingly recognize the risks of climate change and the benefits of sustainability, we welcome the opportunity to contribute our science and expertise to help transform business practices. Syngenta’s investment in innovation is an important step toward a future where people and nature thrive.”

Cynthia Cummis, Director of Private Sector Climate Mitigation at World Resources Institute, one of the Science Based Targets initiative partners said: "We congratulate Syngenta for having their emissions reduction targets validated by the Science Based Targets initiative. Leadership from the agribusiness sector is vital in the fight against climate change, and by setting these targets, Syngenta is putting themselves on a pathway to future-proof growth.”

The targets form part of Syngenta’s Accelerating Innovation commitment launched earlier this year to address the increased challenges faced by farmers because of climate change, soil erosion and biodiversity loss. Progress against these targets will be reported annually and independently audited. The announcement was in large part informed by the completion of 150 listening sessions around the globe to help the company’s leaders identify priority areas for investment.

Monday October 21 Ag News


For the week ending October 20, 2019, there were 6.0 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 1 percent very short, 10 short, 84 adequate, and 5 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 1 percent very short, 7 short, 85 adequate, and 7 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn condition rated 2 percent very poor, 5 poor, 18 fair, 56 good, and 19 excellent. Corn mature was 94 percent, near 98 last year and 97 for the five-year average. Harvested was 30 percent, near 33 last year, and behind 35 average.

Soybean condition rated 1 percent very poor, 4 poor, 20 fair, 62 good, and 13 excellent. Soybeans dropping leaves was 97 percent, near 99 both last year and average. Harvested was 60 percent, ahead of 52 last year, but behind 67 average.

Winter wheat emerged was 85 percent, near 82 last year, and equal to average.

Sorghum condition rated 2 percent very poor, 2 poor, 13 fair, 67 good, and 16 excellent. Sorghum mature was 95 percent, near 98 last year and 97 average. Harvested was 22 percent, behind 41 both last year and average.

Dry edible beans harvested was 90 percent.

Pasture and Range Report: Pasture and range conditions rated 1 percent very poor, 3 poor, 18 fair, 62 good, and 16 excellent.


Field conditions throughout Iowa improved allowing farmers 5.1 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending October 20, 2019, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Fieldwork activities included chopping silage; applying fertilizer and manure; and harvesting hay, seed corn, soybeans, and corn for grain.

Topsoil moisture condition was rated 0 percent very short, 1 percent short, 78 percent adequate and 21 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture condition was rated 0 percent very short, 2 percent short, 78 percent adequate and 20 percent surplus.

Eighty-seven percent of the corn crop has reached maturity, 3 weeks behind last year and over 2 weeks behind the 5-year average. Fifteen percent of the crop has been harvested for grain, 11 days behind average. Corn condition rated 66 percent good to excellent.

Ninety-four percent of the soybean crop has begun dropping leaves or beyond, 9 days behind average. Over 30 percent of the State’s expected soybean crop was harvested during the week ending October 20, 2019. This brought the total harvested to 48 percent statewide, 4 days ahead of last year but 5 days behind average. This marks the first time the 2019 soybean crop has been ahead of the 2018 soybean crop; harvest of last year’s crop was also behind average due to wet field conditions. Soybean condition rated 65 percent good to excellent.

The third cutting of alfalfa hay is nearly complete at 97 percent, almost 3 weeks behind average.

Pasture condition improved from the previous week to 50 percent good to excellent which was the highest rating since the first week of August. Feedlots remain muddy.

US Corn, Soybean Harvest Slowest Since 2009

The U.S. corn and soybean harvest made some headway last week but is the slowest it's been since 2009, according to USDA NASS' latest Crop Progress report released Monday. 

As of Sunday, 86% of corn was estimated as mature, 11 percentage points behind the five-year average of 97%. That was closer to the average pace than last week, when corn mature was running 19 percentage points behind average.  Nationwide, corn harvest progressed 8 percentage points to reach 30% as of Sunday, 17 percentage points behind the five-year average of 47% and further behind the average pace than the previous week when harvest was 14 percentage points behind the five-year average.   The condition of corn still in fields was rated 56% good to excellent, up 1 percentage point from 55% the previous week.

The gap between the current percentage of soybeans dropping leaves and the five-year average continued to narrow last week, reaching 94% as of Sunday, just 3 percentage points behind the five-year average of 97%.  Soybean harvest also picked up speed last week, moving ahead 20 percentage points last week to reach 46% as of Sunday. That was still 18 percentage points behind the five-year average of 64%, but was an improvement from last Monday's report, when harvest was running 23 percentage points behind average. As with corn, the pace of this year's soybean harvest is the slowest since 2009 when 30% of the crop was harvested as of Oct. 18.  Soybean condition held steady at 54%.

Spring wheat harvest inched ahead another 2 percentage points to reach 96% as of Sunday, 4 percentage points behind the five-year average of 100% complete. The lack of progress was due to the northwestern U.S. Plains continuing to struggle with adverse weather.

In contract, winter wheat progress remained in line with the average pace last week. As of Sunday, 77% of winter wheat was planted, slightly ahead of the five-year average of 75%. Winter wheat emerged was estimated at 53%, equal to the five-year average.

Sorghum mature was estimated at 92%, ahead of the average of 89%. Sorghum harvested reached 49%, behind the five-year average of 53%.

Ricketts Cuts Ribbon at Costco Poultry Plant

On Saturday, Governor Pete Ricketts took part in the ribbon cutting ceremony for Costco’s new chicken plant in Fremont.  The poultry operation will turn Nebraska-grown broilers into Costco’s popular rotisserie chickens and other chicken products.  Costco sells 90 million rotisserie chickens at its stores annually, and the plant in Fremont will help meet this demand.  At full capacity, the facility will process over 2 million chickens each week.

Costco plans to hire between 800 and 1,000 Nebraskans to work at the plant by the time it’s fully operational.  In addition to the jobs at the Fremont facility, Costco is partnering with more than 100 farm families to build new chicken barns in Nebraska.  Additionally, corn and soybean growers will supply the equivalent of 2,000 acres of corn and 2,000 acres of soybeans to Costco every week. 


The long-range strategic planning process for the beef industry is underway, a process that takes months to coordinate and pulls together key leaders from all over the country representing different sectors of the beef business.


Updated every five years, the Beef Industry Long Range Plan is the standard by which the beef industry focuses on one strategic direction, identifying key areas to advance beef demand.
Since 1995, industry leaders have gathered to develop an aligned, comprehensive plan with the goal of increasing consumer demand for beef. These leaders are brought together to study and compile major areas of opportunity facing beef for the next five years. The current plan, in place since 2016, focuses on increasing beef demand in four key areas:
-    Driving growth in beef exports
-    Protecting and enhancing the business and political climate for beef
-    Growing consumer trust in beef and beef production
-    Promoting and strengthening beef’s value proposition

The newly appointed committee will begin convening over the next several months and will consider all aspects of the industry from production trends, economic factors, foreign markets, consumer trends, and the competitive climate. The group will evaluate the current plan and determine, based on industry trends and insights, where the industry should maintain and/or shift focus over the next five years.


The new plan, which will be effective from 2021 through 2025, will be developed by a group of leaders representing key beef segments from across the industry. This Long Range Plan Task Force will be led by Kim Brackett, owner/operator of Brackett Ranches, a cow-calf and stocker operation in Idaho. “Having helped develop our current long-range plan, I was encouraged with how it has been embraced by the industry, especially by Checkoff committees,” said Brackett. “Our new plan will be researched and fashioned with as much care, and I’m sure be received with as much enthusiasm.”

The balance of the task force includes individuals devoted to ensuring the long-term success of the beef industry.
    Keith Belk, Department Head of Animal Science, Colorado State University (Fort Collins, CO)
    Tim Brady, Director of Risk Management at Agri Beef packing (Boise, ID)
    Donnell Brown, Owner/Manager of R.A. Brown Ranch (Throckmorton, TX)
    John Butler, CEO the Beef Marketing Group, feeder (Manhattan, KS)
    Paul Defoor, Co-CEO at Cactus Feeders, Inc. (Amarillo, TX)
    Joe Goggins, Auction Market/Seedstock (Billings, MT)
    Ken Griner, President of Usher Land & Timber, Inc., cow/calf and seedstock (Chiefland, FL)
    Mary Kraft, Dairy Owner/Operator (Fort Morgan, CO)
    Jon Lowe, Sr. VP, Cattle & Equine Business, Zoetis animal health (Parsippany, NJ)
    Dean Meyer, Farmer/Feeder (Rock Rapids, IA)
    William Rishel, Rishel Ranch, seedstock (Lincoln, NE)

    Suzy Strassburger, President, Strassburger Steaks, LLC, a specialty meat purveyor (Carlstadt, NJ)
    Jerry Wulf, Partner/Advisor Wulf Cattle, seedstock (Hancock, MN)


The Beef Checkoff, its committees and contracting organizations, use the Long Range Plan as their guidebook. All funding decisions and focus areas of Checkoff projects and programs, by design, must follow the key areas outlined in the plan that align with Checkoff budget categories: promotion, research, consumer information, industry information, producer communication and foreign marketing. To ensure this focus, each year Checkoff committees continue to renew their alignment by identifying key plan initiatives as their priorities. Checkoff contractors take this direction and develop Checkoff-funded programs in support of those priorities.

The coordination of these meetings and processes is handled operationally through a joint effort between the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.  The task force will analyze its research and findings over the next months, with a goal of presenting the new plan to Cattlemen’s Beef Board members and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Board of Directors for approval at the industry’s annual business meeting in Denver the week of July 27, 2020.

Visit to read the current full and abbreviated versions of the Beef Industry Long Range Plan.


Milk production in Nebraska during the July-September 2019 quarter totaled 345 million pounds, down 2 percent from the July-September quarter last year, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. The average number of milk cows was 58,000 head, 1,000 head less than the same period last year.

July-September Milk Production up 0.5 Percent

Milk production in the United States during the July - September quarter totaled 54.3 billion pounds, up 0.5 percent from the July - September quarter last year.  The average number of milk cows in the United States during the quarter was 9.32 million head, 10,000 head less than the April - June quarter, and 66,000 head less than the same period last year.

September Milk Production up 1.6 Percent

Milk production in the 24 major States during September totaled 16.8 billion pounds, up 1.6 percent from September 2018. August revised production at 17.5 billion pounds, was up 0.5 percent from August 2018. The August revision represented an increase of 32 million pounds or 0.2 percent from last month's preliminary production estimate.  Production per cow in the 24 major States averaged 1,913 pounds for September, 33 pounds above September 2018.  The number of milk cows on farms in the 24 major States was 8.80 million head, 11,000 head less than September 2018, but 7,000 head more than August 2019.

IOWA: Milk production in Iowa during September 2019 totaled 423 million pounds, up less than 1 percent from the previous September according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Milk Production report. The average number of milk cows during September, at 217,000 head, was the same as last month but down 3,000 from last year. Monthly production per cow averaged 1,950 pounds, up 30 pounds from last September.

Man Killed in Accident at Soybean Plant in St. Joseph

(AP) — Federal authorities are investigating the death of a 56-year-old man at a soybean processing plant in St. Joseph.  The accident occurred Monday, October 14th at AG Processing in St. Joseph.

Tony Wilson died as the result of a fall. His hometown was not released.  Police have determined there was no foul play involved in the death.

AGP spokesman Matt Caswell said Wilson's death was an unfortunate incident. No other details were released.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating Wilson's death.

Alabama auctioneer wins World Livestock Auctioneer Championship qualifier

Chuck Bradley, Rockford, Ala., was named Champion at the 2020 World Livestock Auctioneer Championship (WLAC) Western Regional Qualifying Event. Crawford Livestock Market, LLC in Crawford, Neb., hosted the first of three WLAC qualifying events on Friday, October 11. A total of 33 contestants competed for a top ten placing, granting them a spot in the 2020 WLAC Semi-Finals at Dickson Regional Livestock Center, Inc. in Dickson, Tenn.

A relative newcomer to the championship, Bradley started competing in the WLAC in 2017.  Making the events  semi-finals in 2018, and in 2019 received the Reserve Champion title. When asked about winning the Western Regional Qualifying Event, Bradley said winning was reassurance he could compete in the WLAC and to win with so many talented auctioneers at the event was a feat in itself.

Bradley didn’t grow up with an auctioneering background.  His father was a police officer, but he remembered listening to cattle auctioneers as a child, “they were always your hero, the guys that ran the sale.”

Bradley also said, “You know that title of World Champion Livestock Auctioneer is not something that you will ever get to do again, you win it one time. What it means for me and why I want to do it is because of where I came from. I did not grow up in the auction industry. I’m a first-generation auctioneer and to be able to win that title would show that anybody can do it. No matter where you came from or what your background was that if you have a dream you can do it once you set your mind to it.”

In 2014, Bradley attended auctioneer school at North Georgia School of Auctioneering and then took his first auctioneering job selling in Montgomery, Ala. for Montgomery Stock Yards, Montgomery, Ala his sponsor for the event. 

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

Also making a great showing were Reserve Champion Steve Goedert, Dillon, Mont.; Runner-Up Will Epperly, Dunlap, Iowa and Top Rookie Collin Gibbs, Miles City, Mont. The remaining contestants who earned a top ten finish are Zach Ballard, Mitchell, S.D.; Neil Bouray, Webber, Kan.; Eric Drees, Caldwell, Idaho; Kyle Layman, North Platte, Neb.; Lander Nicodemus, Cheyenne, Wyo.; Sixto Paiz, Portales, N.M.; and Dustin Smith, Jay, Okla.

Other contestants who competed are Jared Anstine, Kingsville, Mo.; Ted Baum, Elgin, Neb.; Andy Baumeister, Mullin, Texas; Spencer Cline, Kingston, Ark.; Dean Edge, Rimbey, Alberta; Collin Gibbs, Miles City, Mont.; Jacob Hillis, Rideway, Wis.; Travis Holck, Ruthton, Minn.; Jake Hopwood, Valentine, Neb.; Jase Hubert, Olpe, Kan.; Lynn Langvardt, Chapman, Kan.; Josh Larson, Haxtun, Colo.; Curt Littau, Carter, S.D.; Jalen Mathis, Hutto, Texas; Gregg Matney, Lusk, Wyo; Jeremy Miller, Fairland, Okla.; Terry Moe, Watford City, N.D.; Drake Morrow, Opp, Ala.; Larry Nisly, Quaker City, Ohio; Mark Oberholtzer, Loyal, Wis., Kirk Otte, Rushville, Neb.; Ethan Schuette, Washington, Kan.; and Curtis Wetovick, Fullerton, Neb.

Friday October 18 Ag News

Agricultural youth receive scholarships and awards at 92nd Aksarben Stock Show
Cuming County, Nebraska wins Champion and Reserve Champion Calf Challenge

The Aksarben Stock Show managed and produced by the Nebraska State Fair welcomed with over 900 youth and 2,700 animals entered along with their families, and supporters to Fonner Park, September 26-29, 2019. Youth exhibited beef, sheep, goats, swine, and broilers along with an additional 545 young professionals participating in the Aksarben Livestock Judging and Quiz Bowl competitions.

Thirty-six youth qualified for the auction allowing them to sell their championship livestock for scholarships and cash awards.  Youth from nine of the 14 states eligible made the scholarship auction ranging in ages from 9 to 19-years-old.  The largest contingency being Nebraska with 10 exhibitors followed by six from Colorado; five from both Iowa and Missouri; four from South Dakota; three from Minnesota; one each from Arkansas, Kansas, and Wisconsin.  In 2019, four states were added in expansion to being eligible to exhibit, included were Arkansas, Indiana, Montana and Wisconsin.

Aksarben Stock Show Director Greg Harder, explains how the show has grown, “2019 was a tremendous success story for an outstanding Aksarben team that worked tirelessly. We brought in people from four additional states, added breeding gilts, returned broilers to the schedule, expanded the trade show, and had judging and quiz bowl teams from 23 states. With new sponsors and support staff, the barns were filled with fun, smiles, and excitement.”

The Aksarben Stock Show is indeed a family tradition with a rich history dating back to 1928.  The Aksarben Purple Ribbon Scholarship Auction is the pinnacle event and open to the public to attend. The Aksarben Purple Ribbon Reception presented by Five Points Bank was held before the auction for buyers to mingle with the youth exhibitors.

The 2019 auction moved to Saturday night for the first time in history. Siblings Cash and Sage Voegele from Lennox, South Dakota qualified for the second year in a row. Cash exhibited the Third Place Calf Challenge, and his younger sister Sage exhibited Reserve Champion Lamb Challenge. Also returning was the Sidwell family from Colorado for the third straight year.  Cal Sidwell exhibited the 6th Overall Lamb and in 2017, the Division Champion Market Ewe Lamb.  His brother Jed exhibited the 2018 8th Overall Market Lamb.

The Grand Champion Market Beef was shown by Kylie Beare, the 16-year-old daughter of Mike and Tianna from Estelline, South Dakota.  She is currently a junior at Estelline High School. “I love showing livestock and love everything about this industry. I have grown up doing this and couldn’t imagine life without it,” she stated.  Beare plans to attend college and major in animal science.  Her sister, Kelsey, exhibited the 2019 Reserve Supreme Breeding Heifer the following day.

Madison Rule from Hawarden, Iowa qualified twice by exhibiting both the Grand Champion Lamb and 5th Overall Lamb.  The complete Aksarben Purple Ribbon Scholarship Auction results are as follows:

Champion Beef

Grand Champion Market Beef - Kylie Beare from Estilline, SD purchased by Wells Fargo, $15,000.
Reserve Champion Beef - Makenzie Smith from Charter Oak, IA purchased by Walter Scott Jr., $10,000
Champion Calf Challenge - Ross Klitz from West Point, NE purchased by First National Bank/T & E Cattle Company, $10,500
Reserve Champion Calf Challenge - Cassidee Stratman from West Point, NE purchased by Kiewit, $8,500
3rd Overall Beef - Branden Benes from Albion, NE purchased by T-Bone Buying Group/Valmont, $5,800
4th Overall Beef - Brett Heinrich from Hickman, NE purchased by Pinnacle Bank, $6,000
5th Overall Beef - Chase Simmons from Unionville, MO purchased by Nova-Tech, Pathway Bank and HLG Inc., $5,400
6th Overall Beef - Brent Nelson from Volga, SD purchased by Wolbach Foundation, $5,000
3rd Place Calf Challenge – Cash Voegele from Lennox, SD purchased by Behlen/Mattress Firm/Union Bank and Trust, $4,200.

Champion Goat

Grand Champion Goat - Jack Falkenstien from Oswego, KS purchased by Nova-Tech, Pathway Bank and HLG Inc., $4,250
Reserve Champion Goat - Vada Vickland from Longmont, CO purchased by Union Pacific/Valmont, $2,500
3rd Overall Goat - Riley Hoyle from Taylor, AR purchased by Kiewit/Valmont, $3,000
4th Overall Goat - Atleigh Hirschfeld from Benedict, NE purchased by Tom Dinsdale/Valmont, $2,200
5th Overall Goat - Jared DeHann from Taylor, MO purchased by Industrial Irrigation Services, $2,000
6th Overall Goat - Soren Freund  from Elizabeth, CO purchased by Western Nebraska and Colorado Buying Group (Auction Miller and Associates, Chuck and Bricen Miller - Brush, CO; Colorado Animal Health - Jim and Shawn Martin - Longmont, CO; Doug, Sandy and Ryan Lukassen - Kimball, NE.), $3,000

Champion Hog

Champion Hog - Alli Stromberger from Illf, CO purchased by Wells Fargo, $5,000
Reserve Champion Hog - Braden Bowers from Belmont, WI purchased by Grand Island Hospitality Group, $4,000
Champion Purebred Hog - Kaleigh Byram from Sheldon, MO purchased by Cash-Wa Distributing, $5,000
3rd Overall Hog - Wyatt Collard from Orongo, MO purchased by Edgar Reynolds Foundation/Fred and Amanda Glade Foundation, $3,000
4th Overall Hog - Brooke Stromberger from Illf, CO purchased by Behlen/CHI, $2,000
5th Overall Hog - Lauren Kaliff from York, NE purchased by HDR, $2,000
7th Overall Hog - Tyler Kurt from Fairmont, MN purchased by Grand Island Hospitality Group, $2,000
8th Overall Hog - Jami Hoblyn from York, NE purchased by Grand Island Hospitality Group, $2,000

Champion Lamb

Grand Champion Lamb - Madison Rule from Hawarden, IA purchased Great Western Bank and Kopke Cattle Company, $6,250
Reserve Champion Lamb - Colby Williams from Mabel, MN purchased Grand Island Hospitality Group, $5,000
Champion Lamb Challenge - Gentry Duncan from Centertown, MO purchased by Walter Scott Jr., $4,000
Reserve Champion Lamb Challenge - Sage Voegele from Lennox, SD purchased by Pinnacle Bank, $3,400
3rd Overall Lamb - Sam Schmillen from Marcus, IA purchased by Edgar Reynolds Foundation, $2,100
3rd Place Lamb Challenge - Layne Miller from Oakland, NE purchased by Edgar Reynolds Foundation, $2,000
4th Overall Lamb - Colby Williams from Mabel, MN purchased by Behlen/Industrial Irrigation Services/HDR/Jerry's Sheet Metal, $2,100
5th Overall Lamb - Madison Rule from Hawarden, IA purchased by Valmont/Equitable Bank, $2,000
6th Overall Lamb - Cal Sidwell from Gill, CO purchased by First National Bank /Kopeke Cattle Company, $2,500
7th Overall Lamb - Carter Kosman from Albiam, IA purchased by Valmont/Purple Ribbon Auction, $1,400
8th Overall Lamb - Kaleb McLain from Gill, CO purchased by Valmont/Bosselman Enterprises, $2,000

Champion Broiler

Champion Broiler - Ben Kubicek  from Elkhorn, NE purchased by Pinnacle Bank, $1,400
Reserve Champion Broiler - Mason Janda from Ravenna, NE purchased by CPI, Sunrise Express, Lovander Auto and Equitable Bank, $1,700

The beef, sheep and goat shows were held at the Five Points Bank Arena in the Nebraska Farm Bureau Show Ring.  The swine show was held in the Aurora Cooperative Pavilion.  Youth from Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming showed.  The 2020 Aksarben Stock Show will be held Sept 24-27, 2020 in Grand Island, NE.  For complete details visit

Nebraska Cattlemen Welcomes Ashley Kohls & Patty Goes as New Staff

The Nebraska Cattlemen association is pleased to announce the selection of Ashley Kohls as the association's Director of Government Affairs. Previously, Ashley served for five years as the Executive Director of the Minnesota State Cattlemen's Association. She is a graduate of South Dakota State University where she earned a bachelor's degree in Animal Science and Microbiology.

"I am thrilled to share the policy and regulatory experience I gained in Minnesota with the members of the Nebraska Cattlemen Association." said Kohls "I look forward to working with members to accomplish the goals of the association on a local, state and national level."
"Ashley was selected from a very talented pool of applicants. With Ashley having excelled in her previous tenure serving Minnesota beef producers as their executive director, she brings her talent and experience to the Nebraska Cattlemen membership. She is well respected within regional and national policy circles and is an outstanding addition to the Nebraska Cattlemen family," confirms Executive Vice President, Pete McClymont

Kohls has many years of experience in sectors relevant to the Nebraska beef industry including nutrition, reproduction and animal health; as well as an extensive food safety and quality assurance background.

Kohls will begin her duties on Monday, November 18 and can be reached at 402-475-2333 or via email at

Additionally, Nebraska Cattlemen is equally pleased to announce the selection of Patty Goes as an administrative assistant to work with the executive vice president and other staff colleagues in supporting the mission of the members of Nebraska Cattlemen.

"I am excited to be given the opportunity to be a member of the Nebraska Cattlemen staff." said Goes. "I have spent the first part of my career being a steward of people and I look forward to assisting those that are stewards of the beef industry. There are not many better places to do this than the Nebraska Cattlemen Association."

"Patty was selected from nearly one hundred applicants. Her professional background and personal experiences coupled with her passion make Patty an outstanding addition to the Nebraska Cattlemen family. I am confident the members will enjoy working with Patty."

Goes will begin her duties on Monday, October 21 and can be reached at 402-475-2333 or via email at

Ethanol Trade Team from Mexico visits Nebraska to Understand U.S. Ethanol Industry

A delegation of 19 industry leaders from Mexico were in Nebraska this week to gain a better understanding of the U.S. ethanol sector. From Oct. 16-18, the delegation toured all facets of Nebraska’s ethanol industry, from cornfield to fuel retailer.

On the first day of their trip, the group was provided with an overview of Nebraska’s agricultural and ethanol industries before they traveled to Giltner and visited Hunnicutt Farms. At the farm, the team learned about corn, seed corn, popcorn and soybean production. Through the discussions, the delegation was introduced to cutting-edge technologies in American agriculture and were able to better understand how some farmers utilize irrigation equipment.

“By bringing this group onto our farm, we’re able to really lay the foundation and show how renewable ethanol is and how easy it is to incorporate into a nation’s fuel supply,” said Brandon Hunnicutt, vice-chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board and co-owner of Hunnicutt Farms. “Also, by bringing trade teams to farms and to ethanol plants, we’re able to build relationships with our customers that hopefully develop into long-term partnerships. I like to think the U.S. is the best in the world when it comes to corn and ethanol production. We’re open for business and want to share our products with the world.”

During the remainder of the group’s visit to Nebraska, they toured Chief Ethanol, an ethanol processing plant in Hastings, Magellan Midstream Partners, a fuel pipeline, storage and transportation company in Doniphan, and Bosselman’s Travel Center, a fuel retailer in Grand Island. They departed the state Friday morning after meeting with Gov. Pete Ricketts, Steve Wellman, director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture and Kelly Brunkhorst, executive director of the Nebraska Corn Board.

“In times when there’s so much uncertainty in regards to trade, it’s great to have our top customers visit to remind them how much we value their business,” said David Bruntz, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board and farmer from Friend. “Mexico is our No. 1 customer when it comes to corn and distillers grains, and there is so much potential for increased ethanol exports. We are glad to have had time with this delegation to show appreciation for their past business, answer questions about our corn and ethanol industries and to let them know we’re working hard to ensure the passage of USMCA.”

The visit from the Mexican delegation was an offshoot of an even larger event held earlier in the week. The first-ever Global Ethanol Summit occurred Oct. 13-15 in Washington, D.C. Government officials and industry leaders from 60 countries attended this event to learn about the benefits of expanding global ethanol use. The event was organized and hosted by the U.S. Grains Council, Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association.

Ricketts Meets with Ethanol Delegation from Mexico

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts and Nebraska Department of Agriculture Director Steve Wellman met with leaders involved in Mexico’s ethanol industry.  The Mexican delegation is studying Nebraska’s ethanol production and infrastructure.  Earlier this week, the group visited an ethanol plant in Hastings, a blended ethanol fuels distributor in Grand Island, and a blending terminal in Doniphan.

During his remarks to the Mexican delegation, Governor Ricketts highlighted the agricultural, financial, and environmental benefits of ethanol.  Nebraska produces over 2 billion gallons of ethanol each year, which ranks second among all U.S. states.


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               Corn harvest is ongoing and cows are starting to graze the stalks.  How should this grazing be managed to get the most out of them?

               One of the most important decisions in all grazing situations is stocking rate, including corn stalks.  Fortunately, you can get a good estimate for corn stalks by dividing the corn grain yield by 3.5 to estimate grazing days per acre for a 1,200-pound cow.

               So, for a field that yielded 210 bushels per acre, dividing 210 by 3.5 gives 60 grazing days per acre.  Thus, a 160-acre field could provide 9,600 cow grazing days.  That means you could graze 9,600 cows for one day or 1 cow for 9,600 days.  Not very practical, so some other combinations need to be explored.

               One possibility is to graze 60 cows for 160 days.  Starting here at the end of October, that could take you all the way through March.  Sounds pretty good but how will this work nutritionally?  Cows will eat the best feed first, any downed grain and the husks.  After a couple months, all that will be left are stalks and leaves that have been walked over, rained or snowed upon.  Without a lot of supplements, these cows will be in very poor shape by the end of March.

               Clearly, shorter grazing periods are needed.  Maybe, instead of 60 cows for 160 days you graze 160 cows for 60 days.  Better, but you still may need supplements near the end of the 60 days.  Better still would be to give those 160 cows just one week’s worth of the stalks to start, a little over 18 acres.  By day 6 and 7 those 160 cows will have cleaned up just about everything, but on day 8 you give them a fresh 18 acres, returning them to high quality feed without so much supplement.

               Both stocking rate and changes in the quality of grazing with time need consideration as you plan and manage stalk grazing.  Do it right and corn stalks become a great winter feed resource.

Management of Glyphosate-Resistant Marestail in Fall

Amit Jhala - NE Extension Weed Management Specialist

Abundant rain the last couple of months in much of eastern Nebraska has promoted the relatively early emergence of winter annual weeds, particularly marestail. Marestail, also known as horseweed in the eastern Corn Belt and as Canada fleabane in eastern Canada, is a winter or summer annual weed in Nebraska.

Historically, marestail was found in waste areas and field edges and along roadsides and railway tracks; however, no-till crop production systems over the last 20 years have favored marestail germination and establishment in agronomic crops in Nebraska.

A single marestail plant can produce up to 200,000 seeds, about 80% of which can germinate immediately after falling from a mature plant. Marestail’s small seeds are wind-dispersed and can germinate on the soil surface. Studies show that most marestail plants emerge during fall and survive the winter as basal rosettes. However, significant spring and early summer emergence also have been observed in Nebraska. Therefore, scouting should be done in the fall as well as in early spring to make an effective management plan.

Marestail is the first glyphosate-resistant weed reported in the United States; glyphosate-resistant marestail has now been reported in several states, including Nebraska. Marestail resistant to glyphosate and ALS inhibitors such as Classic®, Permit®, Pursuit®, and Raptor® is becoming more common in south-central and eastern Nebraska; therefore, proper management strategies should be implemented to control this problem weed.

As marestail does not mature until late summer, it competes with corn or soybean throughout the growing season, causing significant yield reduction (Figure 3). Several reports have noted that marestail is sensitive to most herbicides labeled for its control early in its growth, i.e. the rosette stage.

Fall Herbicide Options

Preliminary data for eastern Nebraska suggests that a fall burndown applied with a residual herbicide may eliminate the need for an early spring burndown for marestail control; however, this would not replace an at-planting residual application for management of additional troublesome weed species such as waterhemp and Palmer amaranth. For successful marestail management in the fall, apply herbicides following harvest while weather conditions remain favorable (air temperature above 50°F).

Fall herbicide application is a more consistent strategy because weather conditions frequently interfere with early spring applications.
-    Glyphosate-resistant marestail is widespread across eastern Nebraska, thus 1 lb a.e. 2,4-D per acre is recommended as the base treatment for marestail burndown.
-    Glyphosate or other products such as Sharpen® or Gramoxone® may be tank-mixed with 2,4-D to provide broader spectrum control of winter annuals and certain perennial weeds.
-    We generally do not recommend including residual herbicides in fall applications since they provide little benefit in managing weeds that emerge the following spring; however, if infestation of marestail is high in the field and the field has a history of marestail seed bank, it would be advantageous to add a residual herbicide such as Authority® or Valor® or Autumn™ Super, or other metribuzin products.
-    Refer to the most recent Guide for Weed, Disease, and Insect Management in Nebraska for more herbicide options.

Fall herbicide application is unlikely to eliminate the need for a burndown application at planting. Weeds adapted to cool temperatures, such as marestail, are likely to emerge before planting, making it necessary to control them.

Fall Tillage

Tillage is an integral part of the integrated management of marestail. Tillage in the fall or early spring after most marestail plants have emerged can provide effective control.

Cover Crops

A good stand of cover crops such as cereal rye planted before or after crop harvest in the fall can suppress marestail and other winter annual weeds. Early planting of cover crops is the key to effective suppression of marestail; cover crops should have emerged by the time marestail emerges. Inter-seeding cover crops while corn is at the reproductive stage is a good practice for the early establishment of cover crops. A recent study at the university’s Agronomy Research Farm (Havelock) reported excellent suppression of marestail in soybean when cereal rye had been interseeded in the previous corn crop at the R6 growth stage.

Buffer Strips are a common sense approach to land conservation

The Nebraska Buffer Strip Program is administered from fees  assessed on registered pesticides. Cropland adjacent to perennial and seasonal  streams, ponds, and wetlands can be enrolled in buffer strips, which are  designed to filter agrichemicals such as fertilizers and pesticides. Two kinds  of buffer strips are eligible - filter strips, which are narrow strips of  grass; and riparian forest buffer strips containing trees and grass. The  minimum widths are 20 and 55 feet, respectively; the maximum widths are 120 and  180 feet, respectively.

 The program is designed to be used in conjunction with the  USDA Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), Conservation Reserve Enhancement  Program (CREP), or other programs, however it can be used by itself, as well.  Rental rates are calculated as follows:
-    For irrigated cropland where CRP, CREP, or other governmentally-funded programs are also used, rental rates are $250 per acre minus payments from the other programs.
-    For irrigated cropland where CRP, CREP, or other governmentally-funded programs are not used, the rental rate is $225 per acre minus any other program payments.
-    For non-irrigated cropland enrolled in CRP, CREP or other governmentally-funded programs, the rental rate is equal to 20% of the average CRP soil rental rate.
-    For non-irrigated cropland without CRP, CREP, or other governmentally-funded programs, the rental rate per acre is equal to 120% of the average CRP soil rental rate plus $5 per acre, minus the payment rate from any other programs.
-    In no case may payments from all programs exceed $250 per acre.

Interested landowners should contact their local Natural Resources District or USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service office to begin the application process.

Integrated Crop Management Conference Set for December

Faced with challenging weather, tight profit margins and low commodity prices, today’s farmers must do everything in their power to reduce risk and manage returns.

That’s the goal of this year’s Integrated Crop Management Conference, to be held Dec. 4-5 in Ames, as farmers and agribusinesses prepare for 2020 and beyond. Now in its 31st year, the annual event is hosted by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

This year’s conference will feature 39 workshops to choose from, along with presentations on new planter technology, cover crop interseeding, glyphosate and cancer findings, nitrogen recommendations and global changes in the fertilizer industry.

“With nearly 1,000 attendees each year, the ICM conference is a great opportunity for farmers, industry, ag retailers, agronomists and educators to network with each other and interact with their university specialists,” said Mark Licht, conference chair and assistant professor in agronomy and extension specialist at Iowa State University.

    Peter Kovács, South Dakota State University, will discuss agronomic implications of new planter technologies.
    Scott Wells, University of Minnesota, will present on the evolving use of cover crop interseeding.
    Charles Lynch of the University of Iowa will share information on glyphosate and cancer and the findings of the Agricultural Health Study.
    Anita Dille, Kansas State University, will review integrating cover crops for weed suppression in corn-soybean systems.
    Justin McMechan, University of Nebraska, will discuss the ecology and management of soybean gall midge.
    Damon Smith, University of Wisconsin, will share information on smartphone-based apps used to predict and manage plant diseases.
    Newell Kitchen, from the USDA-ARS, will take a look at the history, and future, of corn nitrogen recommendations.
    Robert Mullen, with Nutrien, will discuss the global nature of the fertilizer industry and how the changing landscape is affecting US farmers.

Additional highlights will include weather and crop market outlooks, hemp as a cash crop, fertilizer application technology, harvest crop quality, budgeting for pest resistance, and weed and crop disease management updates.

The conference is approved for up to 14 continuing education credits for Certified Crop Advisors. Iowa commercial pesticide applicator recertification for 2019 is also available in categories 1A, 1B, 1C, 4 and 10.

To register, visit the ICM Conference website Space is limited for the event and requires pre-registration. Early registration is $225 and ends midnight, Nov. 22. After Nov. 22, the fee increases to $275, and registrations will be accepted, as space allows, until noon, Dec. 2. No registrations will be accepted at the door. For registration questions, contact ANR Program Services at or 515-294-6429.

NBB Announces New West Coast Office, Bolstered State Regulatory Presence

The National Biodiesel Board announced the opening of its new west coast office to be led by long-time California Air Resources Board (CARB) Division Chief Floyd Vergara. The expansion will bolster NBB’s presence on the west coast where climate programs are a substantial market driver for low carbon fuels like biodiesel and renewable diesel and will also bring critical regulatory expertise to the association as similar programs take flight across the country.

Vergara brings more than 32 years of experience at CARB to the NBB team. Most recently, he served as Chief of the Industrial Strategies Division and Assistant Chief of the Research Division. Over the years, Vergara has overseen a number of CARB’s key climate and air quality programs, including the Low Carbon Fuel Standard and Cap-and-Trade program, among others.

“NBB has always had a significant presence in California, but the time was right to take our efforts to the next level with a full-time staff member in Sacramento,” said NBB CEO Donnell Rehagen. “Our new west coast office will be a substantial boost for NBB members as we work to grow some of biodiesel’s most significant markets.”

“I am absolutely thrilled that we are able to bring Floyd to the NBB to lead our west coast office,” said NBB Director of State Governmental Affairs Shelby Neal. “In addition to overseeing some of California’s most important initiatives, Floyd has helped regulators implement climate and air quality programs in other states and several foreign countries.  We are very fortunate to have Floyd on our team.”

NBB’s new office will be in Sacramento, co-located with the California Advanced Biofuels Alliance office. Vergara will serve as Director of State Regulatory Affairs for NBB.

“I’m extremely excited to take my expertise and the experience learned from my time at CARB beyond the west coast as other regions of the country look to implement similar climate programs,” Vergara said. “The environmental benefits of biodiesel and renewable diesel are compelling, and I can’t wait to represent these industries as we get in on the ground floor of this national movement toward greater use of clean fuels. NBB’s reputation as a leader in the space makes this transition even more exciting for me personally.”

Vergara received his Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, and his Juris Doctor from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law. He is licensed to practice in California as a professional engineer and lawyer. He will begin with NBB on November 18.

KC Fed Bank Reports Slowdown in Farm Lending

Growth in farm lending activity slowed in the third quarter of 2019, according to the Federal Reserve's Agricultural Finance Databook.

Following nine consecutive quarters of year-over-year growth and a particularly notable increase a year ago, the volume of total non-real estate farm debt declined nearer to the historical third-quarter average.

The primary contributor to the slowdown from sharp increases a year ago was a decline in the average size of farm operating loans.

Despite a slowdown in the pace of debt accumulation, weaknesses in the sector persisted, continuing to pressure farm cash flows and agricultural credit conditions.

Whether Plant or Animal, Protein Plays an Essential Role in Global Nutrition

Polly Ruhland, CEO, United Soybean Board

When it comes to protein choices, I’ve observed the conversation subtly erode from speaking to the benefits of all protein to focus on an alleged competition between plant and animal proteins. In the grand scheme of things, this isn’t a contest at all. When all proteins are part of a balanced diet and work collaboratively to nourish the world, everyone wins.

U.S. farmers collectively produce protein as a nutrient-dense foundation for growth and health to better our global society. Soybean famers believe a critical key to the nutritional health and well-being of an exploding global population can be summed up in two words … Protein First.

Consumer interest in plant-based meat alternatives and protein-rich diets continues to strengthen, as restaurant chains scramble to add plant-based options to their choices for customers. Growth of plant-based protein and meat alternatives is anticipated to increase from $4.6 billion in 2018 to $85 billion in 2030, according to Swiss investment firm UBS.

Yet there is another, critical, element to the global protein story: meat consumption continues to increase briskly. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans will eat 221.4 pounds of meat this year, on average per capita, the most since 2007.

Meat consumption globally continues to rise and will continue that upward trajectory at least through 2030, and global meat production has grown from about 70 million metric tons in 1961 to more than 335 million metric tons in 2018, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). This is driven by two primary factors: 1) A population that increased from about 3 billion people to more than 7.7 billion over the same time frame, 2) Rising incomes and standards of living around the globe, with per-capita income skyrocketing more than 12 times over from 1970 to 2015, according to the World Bank.

The fact remains; however, that in some areas of the world, populations facing economic challenge do not have a choice. And with those people in mind, organizations such as the United Soybean Board and the World Initiative for Soy in Human Health team up to help ensure that affordable high-quality protein, such as soy, has a place in their daily diets.

All of this leaves us with a clear message, and a clear directive moving forward. Protein is essential to life. Protein demand continues to skyrocket as our planet’s population burgeons. U.S. farmers produce high-quality, nutrient-dense protein more efficiently, and more sustainably, than anyone else in the world. And collaboration among all farmers in the protein space remains critical to feeding the global population. U.S. animal and plant protein producers must work collaboratively, not competitively, with one another for the well-being of both the world’s population and our shared planet.

Our primary focus needs to be on meeting the demand for protein and doing so in ways that help us preserve a planet on which we want our children’s children to live. In nourishing the UN-projected 9.7 billion people on this planet by 2050, we need every form of U.S. protein that’s out there, including animal protein, soy and other plant proteins.

U.S. Soy will be pivotal to these efforts. Soy is a complete plant protein that is a primary source of nutrition in high-quality feed for animal nutrition. Soy is also the ideal direct source of protein for people – notably as a readily available and sustainably produced protein. This versatile crop contributes to protein provided in many commonly consumed foods found in our local grocery stores and can be found in many of the new protein choices gaining popularity.

U.S. Soy farmers will continue to lead the way for global protein production through our innovative production methods and active collaboration with the rest of U.S. agriculture, maintaining a consistent focus on:
-    Quality. U.S. Soy farmers rely on a wide array of advanced technologies and tools to help ensure the consistent high-quality product, as measured by protein concentration and amino acid levels, in addition to a broader nutritional bundle that U.S. Soy provides. It offers customers a superior protein as they develop products for human consumption or animal feed.
-    Innovation. We’re constantly driving innovation to develop new ways that U.S. Soy can benefit both people and animals, such as high-oleic soybeans, which provide a nutritious and more sustainable alternative to many other cooking oils.
-    Sustainability. U.S. Soy farmers continually advance global sustainability, funding environmental improvements to grow more while using fewer resources. Sustainable research includes the biotic and abiotic research needed to select and breed soybeans that are resilient and can face weather extremes and stresses caused by various pests.
-    Transparency. As soy becomes a bigger part of diets around the world, we strive to share information on farming practices to feed consumers’ growing hunger for knowledge about the food they eat and how it’s grown.

As economic conditions improve in both developed and emerging markets, protein demands continue to grow, according to the FAO. Some even estimate that an additional one-third or up to 50% more protein will be needed by 2050. Collaboration between animal- and plant-based proteins bolsters our ability to serve our shared global protein market. Together we can answer the many critical challenges facing our world: nourished versus malnourished, environmental improvement versus degradation, confident customers versus doubtful ones.

Rather than standing in the past, we must forge together toward the future. If we add Protein First and subtract unnecessary rivalry, the globe will benefit as we set an example for generations to come.

BASF launches 2020 Agronomic Advantage program

BASF has launched 2020 Agronomic Advantage, a new grower-focused program that offers both flexibility and rewards. Through 2020 Agronomic Advantage, growers have the freedom to choose products and practices that help mitigate yield-impacting challenges like weed resistance. BASF is committed to helping growers find customized solutions by developing a plan with their local agronomists, BASF authorized retailers or other local BASF representatives.

“Growers are increasingly dealing with challenges that are out of their control, such as flooding and drought,” said Scott Kay, Vice President of U.S. Crop, BASF Agricultural Solutions. “To help them face these challenges, BASF now offers growers a program with the ability to choose what works best for them on their fields. With 2020 Agronomic Advantage, growers can decide which solution makes sense for the long-term success of their operation.”

Running through September 30, 2020, the program offers products across many different sites of action. Layering sites of action is critical to preventing weed resistance. Products supported through the program include:

Across trait platforms and seed brands, the program incentivizes growers for making the right agronomic choice for the overall profitability of their acre. When it comes to product selection, BASF makes herbicide and seed decisions simple by offering a range of options within the program. Growers can invest in their fields how they want, and can participate in the program by:
-    Purchasing two participating BASF herbicides and matching acres, which will earn them 50 cents per acre. Additional herbicide purchases and matched acres will also earn 50 cents per acre. Nearly all BASF-branded herbicides are included in the program.
-    Purchasing Credenz® seed and two BASF qualifying soybean herbicides, which may earn growers $2 per acre.
-        Participating brands include: Credenz seed, Engenia herbicide, Liberty herbicide*, Outlook herbicide, Prowl herbicide, Verdict herbicide, Zidua SC herbicide, Zidua PRO herbicide and Zidua WG herbicide.
-    Purchasing InVigor® canola seed and Liberty herbicide, which may earn growers $50 per seed unit.
-    Purchasing FiberMax® and/or Stoneville® cotton seed and Engenia and/or Liberty herbicide, which may earn growers $6.40 per acre with the opportunity to earn an additional $.50 per acre with each added BASF herbicide.

“As opposed to outcome-based grower programs that have recently hit the market, BASF’s 2020 Agronomic Advantage offers flexibility and the ability to earn rewards based on agronomic needs,” Kay said. “When growers continue to work with their BASF-authorized retailers and other representatives, they’ll see their hard work rewarded in a completely new way.”

Thursday October 17 Ag News

October Rural Mainstreet Index Climbs Again: Trade War and Stalled USMCA Batters Economic Confidence

The Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI) for October climbed above growth neutral, according to the monthly survey of bank CEOs in rural areas of a 10-state region dependent on agriculture and/or energy.     

Overall: The overall index rose to 51.4 from 50.1 in September. Although still weak, this is the highest reading since June of this year. It also marked the third time in the past four months that the overall index has risen above growth neutral.

“Federal agriculture crop support payments and somewhat higher grain prices have boosted the Rural Mainstreet Index slightly above growth neutral for the month. Even so, almost three of four bank CEOs, or 73%, reported continuing negative impacts from the trade war,” said Ernie Goss, PhD, Jack A. MacAllister Chair in Regional Economics at Creighton University’s Heider College of Business. 

Farming and ranching: The farmland and ranchland-price index for October slumped to a weak 40.3 from September’s 43.1. This is the lowest reading since March of this year and the 71st straight month that the index has remained below growth neutral 50.0. 

The October farm equipment-sales index improved to 39.7 from September’s 35.9. This is the highest reading for the index since June of this year, but marks the 73rd month that the reading has remained below growth neutral 50.0. 

Below are the state reports:

Nebraska: The Nebraska RMI for October rose to 48.5 from September’s 47.6. The state’s farmland-price index increased to 44.6 from last month’s 42.3. Nebraska’s new-hiring index increased to 49.1 from September’s 45.2.  Over the past 12 months rural areas in Nebraska have lost jobs at a rate of minus 1.1% compared to a gain of 1.8% for urban areas of the state.  

Iowa: The October RMI for Iowa increased to 49.6 from September’s 48.7. Iowa’s farmland-price index fell to 39.7 from September’s 47.4. Iowa’s new-hiring index for October declined to 52.1 from 55.5 in October. Over the past 12 months rural areas in Iowa have experienced job additions with a gain of 0.3% compared to a much stronger increase of 1.0% for urban areas of the state.

Each month, community bank presidents and CEOs in nonurban agriculturally and energy-dependent portions of a 10-state area are surveyed regarding current economic conditions in their communities and their projected economic outlooks six months down the road. Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming are included.  

This survey represents an early snapshot of the economy of rural agriculturally and energy-dependent portions of the nation. The Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI) is a unique index covering 10 regional states, focusing on approximately 200 rural communities with an average population of 1,300. It gives the most current real-time analysis of the rural economy. Goss and Bill McQuillan, former chairman of the Independent Community Banks of America, created the monthly economic survey in 2005.

The Pub at the Pinicon has Iowa's 2019 Best Breaded Pork Tenderloin

A northeast Iowa mainstay is where you'll find the 2019 Best Breaded Pork Tenderloin sandwich in Iowa. The Pub at the Pinicon in New Hampton took home the top award in the 17th annual contest sponsored by the Iowa Pork Producers Association.
Simply abbreviated as "The P.T." (pork tenderloin), the sandwich starts with a center-cut, half-pound pork loin-the same piece of meat that's used for The Pub's top-selling Boneless Iowa Chop dinner entrée. These loins are injected with their own natural juices to enhance moisture, then hand cut, coated in seasoned flour, dipped in a milk and egg wash, breaded with seasoned panko crumbs and fried.

Current owners Dale and Laura Reicks of New Hampton source all of the restaurant's pork from Reicks View Farms in Lawler, a family farm they founded in 1979. In addition to pork tenderloins and chops, Reicks View Farms supplies The Pub's bacon, ribs and sausage pizza topping.

"Knowing how important the pork industry is in Iowa and knowing how much Iowans love a good breaded pork tenderloin, this is a badge of honor for our restaurant," said Phil Zwanziger, manager at the more than 60-year-old dining and events center. "The best compliment we can receive in our business is that we serve a good, tasty product."

Zwanziger, a native of Nashua, has been involved with the business for almost 30 years, and said the pork tenderloin has long been a popular menu item. Staff has modified the breading over the years, and about a year ago moved to a brioche bun instead of a hoagie.

The breading recipe particularly helped win over chef Phil Carey, who serves on the IPPA Restaurant and Foodservice Committee and helped judge the finalists. "This year's winning tenderloin, by far, had an outstanding breading that was well-seasoned and added great texture to the overall sandwich," Carey said. "The pork itself was very tender and very juicy to the last bite. A great pork tenderloin."

The Pub will receive a check for $500, a plaque and a large banner proclaiming it the winner of the contest.

IPPA judges selected Stumble Inn in Bradford as the runner-up in this year's contest. IPPA will present that restaurant with $250 and a plaque.

Rounding out the top five finalists (in no order) are Big Al's BBQ in Des Moines; Night Hawk Bar & Grill, Slater; and West Side Family Restaurant, Grinnell. These restaurants will each receive a Top Five Plaque to display.

The tenderloin contest recognizes Iowa dining establishments that have pork as a regular menu feature in support of Iowa's nation-leading pork industry. The winner is announced as part of October Pork Month to celebrate the state's dedicated pig farmers, local restaurants and their hardworking teams and a famous Midwest favorite-the pork tenderloin sandwich.

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

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

“Serving on the National Pork Board is a great opportunity for producers to support the pork industry while helping to plan for a successful future,” said Alcester, South Dakota, producer Steve Rommereim, who is the past National Pork Board president and chair of the Nominating Committee. “Not only have I been able to serve producers, I also have learned from so many in our pork industry.”

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

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

The application deadline is Nov. 1, with interviews for each candidate held in Des Moines, Iowa, Dec. 10 and 11. Please direct questions to Denise Yaske at or apply directly at

American Beef is Climate Change Solution

South Dakota cattle producer Todd Wilkinson today told a U.S. Senate subcommittee that contrary to the claims of some environmental and anti-animal-agriculture activists, "American beef production and consumption is a climate change solution."

"Climate policies that unfairly target cattle producers fail to recognize the positive role of cattle and beef in a healthy, sustainable food system," Wilkinson told members of the U.S. Senate's Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety. "Rather than adopting misguided policies that threaten the viability of farmers and ranchers, we want to shift the conversation."

The subcommittee held today's hearing on the issue of "Reducing Emissions While Driving Economic Growth: Industry-Led Initiatives." In his testimony, Wilkinson discussed the environmental benefits of grazing, and busted myths about the effect of methane on global climate.

"(Grazing) naturally sequesters carbon, a benefit compounded by ruminant grazing," Wilkinson explained. "Grazing builds deep root systems in prairie grasses, which improve soil health. Healthy soils retain more water, sequester more carbon, and increase the resiliency of our ranches."

"Methane emissions from cattle are part of the natural methane cycle," Wilkinson continued. "Within 10 years, more than 90 percent of that methane combines with oxygen in the atmosphere and converts to CO2. Methane has no long-term impact on climate when emissions and oxidation are in balance. And this balance has been maintained for centuries."

Wilkinson, who is co-owner and operator of a commercial cow-calf operation and feeing business in De Smet, S.D., also serves as NCBA's 2019 Policy Division Vice Chairman and as Vice President of the South Dakota Cattlemen's Foundation. He closed his testimony by reminding Senators of producers' long commitment to environmental stewardship.

"The U.S. cattle industry is proud of its history as stewards of our nation's natural resources," he said. "Cattle producers are America's original conservationists, and we work hard every day to ensure that we can pass our operations on to the next generation. My family, and the entire American cattle producing community, is committed to remaining environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable for generations to come."

Alfalfa and Potassium: It's Complicated.

Has anyone ever told you to eat a banana when you have a muscle cramp or eye twitch? That's because bananas have potassium. Potassium is an important nutrient for humans, and an even more important nutrient when it comes to alfalfa.

With an economic value of $9 billion annually in the United States, alfalfa is the most valuable crop behind corn and soybeans. Because of its high nutritional content, alfalfa is a common feed source for farm animals like cattle, horses, sheep and goats. So, understanding this relationship between alfalfa and potassium is a worthwhile goal.

"Potassium plays a role in many processes within an alfalfa plant," says Jacob Jungers, a researcher at University of Minnesota. "For example, it's important for converting sunlight to energy, transporting molecules and growing new cells."

However, too much potassium can be a problem. "When alfalfa plants are given more potassium than they need, the concentration of potassium in the tissues increases," says Jungers. "This is called luxury consumption." Our bodies do this too. We store certain vitamins in our fat cells when we consume more than we need.

This increased concentration of potassium affects the nutritional balance of alfalfa as a feed source for livestock. High potassium concentrations are especially concerning if fed to lactating dairy cows. "In addition to being costly for growers, over-fertilization can put dairy cows at risk of milk fever," says Jungers. Milk fever is a metabolic disease cows can get around the time of calving that causes weakness, and sometimes even death. So, Jungers and his team wanted to identify potassium fertilization rates that increase yield and nutritive value, while reducing potassium concentration in the tissue.

Researchers experimented with five different rates of potassium fertilizer on alfalfa fields. Throughout the four-year study, they took measurements of the yield, nutritive value, and potassium concentrations in the plant tissue. Soil samples were also taken to track the potassium levels in the soil.

"Potassium fertilization increased alfalfa yield, but decreased forage quality," says Jungers. "This tradeoff was consistent among all alfalfa cultivars in the study." Intensively harvested alfalfa did differ in overall yield, but it did not differ in its yield response to potassium fertilization.

When applied at recommended levels, potassium fertilization is important for high alfalfa yields. However, potassium fertilization will not prolong alfalfa stand life or productivity beyond the third production year. "Many soil types are abundant in potassium, but relatively little is available to crops at any given time," he says. "The amount of potassium that might someday be available to crops is largely dependent on soil texture, moisture, and other environmental factors." Potassium fertilizer rates for alfalfa should be determined based on expected yield, soil test levels, and if the crop will be fed to cows.

The next steps in this work may be to consider the timing of potassium fertilization. In this study, potassium fertilizer was incorporated in the soil prior to planting the first year. Then, it was applied in the spring the following years. In the Midwest, application of potassium fertilizer is common in the fall or after the first cutting.

Understanding tradeoffs between alfalfa yield and quality is important for fertility management and sustainable production. Measuring and reporting these tradeoffs helps growers make the best decisions for their operations.

Read more about this research in Agronomy Journal. This work was funded by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture Fertilizer Research and Education Council and the Midwest Forage Association.

Weekly Ethanol Production for 10/11/2019

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending Oct. 11, ethanol production edged up to 971,000 barrels per day (b/d), equivalent to 40.78 million gallons daily, an increase of 8,000 b/d or 0.8% from the prior week. Production was 4.0% below the same week a year ago and 4.7% below the level two years ago. For the first time since April 2017, production has been below 1 million b/d for four consecutive weeks. The four-week average ethanol production rate declined for the seventh straight week, falling 0.8% to 959,000 b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 14.70 billion gallons, the lowest average since May 2016.

Ethanol stocks rebounded 4.1% to 22.1 million barrels after declining by a record amount a week earlier. Still, inventories were 8.3% lower than the same week last year. Stocks rose in all regions.

There were zero imports for the third consecutive week. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of August 2019.)

The volume of gasoline supplied to the U.S. market declined 1.1% to 9.354 million b/d (392.9 million gallons per day, or 143.40 bg annualized). On the other hand, refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol increased by 2.7% to 942,000 b/d, equivalent to 14.44 bg annualized.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production rose to 10.38%.

New NGFA video showcases link between grain quality and grain handling safety

The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) this week unveiled a new safety training video, “Safety and Grain Quality Management,” that illustrates the connection between grain quality and safety.

The animated video, funded by the National Grain and Feed Foundation, was launched during NGFA’s first-ever Harvest Safety Week, which is taking place Oct. 14-18.
Working in or around a grain bin can expose farmers and workers to serious and life-threatening hazards, including entrapment and suffocation from engulfment. Historically, nearly 70 percent of these incidents occur on the farm. The video notes that hot weather and grain whose condition is not maintained and monitored can increase the need for farmers and others to enter bins to dislodge  grain hung up or crusted in a bin.

“Grain that has gone out of condition will always be a safety risk,” the video notes. Viewers will learn several steps to follow when storing grain to maintain quality, including proper aeration, moisture levels and temperature monitoring to avoid potentially hazardous situations.

All videos, “Safety Tips” sheets, webinars and other materials can be found on

During Harvest Safety Week, NGFA is delivering free safety resources particularly useful during  the busy fall harvest season to NGFA members’ inboxes each day. Participants are encouraged to use this opportunity to exemplify commitment to safety by using NGFA’s training materials and sharing them with #Harvest19 and #HarvestSafetyWeek on social media.

NMPF Statement on Its Letter to President Trump

Randy Mooney, Producer Chairman

“On behalf of dairy farmers and farmer-owned dairy cooperatives across the country, the National Milk Producers Federation wrote to the President today to commend his Administration for its excellent judgment this month in including a number of European dairy products, particularly cheeses from major EU exporters such as Italy, on a list of WTO-authorized retaliatory tariffs related to the successful U.S. case against European Airbus subsidies. However, we must reject European efforts to deceive the United States about the reality of Transatlantic dairy trade. To that end, we respectfully asked the President to put the needs of U.S. dairy farmers above those of Italian and European farmers by maintaining the retaliatory tariff list against Europe, as the Administration proposed earlier this month.

“The U.S. is running a $1.5 billion dairy trade deficit with Europe because of unfair EU trade practices that largely block our access to their market while they enjoy broad access to ours. EU policies such as Italian-initiated bans on American-made parmesan, asiago and gorgonzola mean that they can ship us $1 billion in cheese each year while U.S. cheese exports to the EU clock in at $6 million.

“In light of this disparity and the EU’s refusal to meet its WTO commitments regarding illegal Airbus subsidies, American dairy farmers saw the proposed retaliatory tariff list’s strong focus on EU dairy and cheeses as at least temporarily creating a slightly more level playing field for Made in America products that face even higher barriers to entry in the EU market.

“Dairy farmers are counting on the President to stand with them and resist Italy’s request that he side with the Italian farmers and cheese makers who have blocked our own great cheeses from EU store shelves.”

Wednesday October 16 Ag News

I-29 Moo University to offer California dairy tours and World Ag Expo trip

The I-29 Moo University consortium of Extension dairy specialists from Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota will host a “California Dairy Tours and World Ag Expo Trip” in the Fresno and Tulare, California areas on February 9-13, 2020. This tour is open to dairy producers and agri-business personnel.

The tour will focus on agriculture in California with an emphasis on dairy production. Participants will tour dairy farms in the Fresno and Tulare areas, spend one day at the World Ag Expo and another day touring local attractions and other California agriculture commodities.

“This tour provides Midwest dairy producers the opportunity to tour dairy farms in California and network with fellow dairy producers,” said Kim Clark, dairy extension educator at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. “We want dairy producers to experience California agriculture and dairy production.”

“We understand dairy producers are facing challenging times financially and with this year’s weather events,” said Tracey Erickson, dairy field specialist at South Dakota State University.  “Thanks to the support of our sponsors, we are able to offer this trip at a discounted rate for dairy producers and our current year sponsors.”

Fees for the tour include airfare, hotel, most meals, bus transportation and fees for parks and World Ag Expo. Tour fees start at $1,100 for dairy producers for the double occupancy rate. The registration information and a $250 non-refundable deposit are due by November 1. Final payment is due by December 30.  

For the full agenda for the trip and the fees, visit

The I-29 Moo University Consortium connects extension dairy staff and dairy producers from North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska to share research, information and management practices through workshops, webinars, monthly e-newsletters and on-farm tours.

For more information and to register, contact Tracey Erickson at 605-882-5140 or, or Kim Clark at 402-472-6065 or

First National Bank - Omaha supports agriculture campaign at Northeast Community College

First National Bank of Omaha (FNBO) understands the importance of agriculture in Nebraska, and has committed $250,000 toward the drive to enhance the future of agriculture education at Northeast Community College.

Don Polodna, First National Bank of Omaha community president for the Norfolk market, pointed out that agriculture is the largest industry in Nebraska.

“Our communities in this area are all surviving, are all successful, because of agriculture,” Polodna said. “Agriculture is so important for us. It’s important for my business and probably for 95% of the other businesses in northeast Nebraska.”

First National Bank has a long and colorful history that dates back to 1906 when a group of Columbus citizens got together to form a new national bank, Central National Bank. The name was changed to First National Bank & Trust Company of Columbus in 1961. First National Bank of Omaha purchased the bank in 1988; a branch was opened in Norfolk in 1993; and in 2014, the bank’s legal name was changed to First National Bank of Omaha. FNBO now has more than 100 locations in Nebraska, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, South Dakota and Texas, including two in Norfolk.

“The support of a financial institution like First National Bank of Omaha is vital to the success of the Nexus project,” said Dr. Tracy Kruse, associate vice president for development and external affairs at Northeast and executive director of the Northeast Community College Foundation. “First National understands the importance of agriculture in Nebraska; the importance of educating the next generation of farmers, ranchers and agribusiness employees and owners; and the importance of a trained agricultural workforce for the success of rural communities.”

Polodna said that supporting the communities around Norfolk is one of the reasons FNBO chose to donate to the Nexus project.

“There’s no doubt, other communities are all going to benefit by having that next generation of producer,” he said. “This project is about investing today to grow tomorrow, to grow the future of our area.”

Funding for the $23 million Agriculture & Water Center for Excellence project is currently being solicited to enhance and expand the agriculture facilities at Northeast Community College. In addition to the College’s commitment of $10 million, Northeast is seeking at least $13 million in private funds to begin the initial phase of construction, which includes a new farm site, a large animal handling facility and other farm structures for livestock operations, a new veterinary technology clinic, classrooms, a farm office and storage. The new facilities will be located near the Chuck Pohlman Ag Complex on East Benjamin Avenue in Norfolk.

In August, the Acklie Charitable Foundation (ACF) announced a $5 million lead gift to the Nexus project. ACF was founded by the late Duane Acklie and Phyllis Acklie, both Madison County natives and graduates of Norfolk Junior College, a predecessor institution of Northeast Community College.

For more information on the Nexus Campaign, contact Kruse, at, or call (402) 844-7056. Online donations may be made through the website Checks may be mailed to: Nexus Campaign, Northeast Community College Foundation, P.O. Box 469, Norfolk, NE 68702-0469.


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               Fall field work is in full swing for most folks.  Your focus may be on your row crops, but when possible, take time to get a jump on next year’s hay and pasture challenges and opportunities.

               I’m great at procrastinating.  But when it comes to pasture and hay fields, I’ve learned that problem prevention and advanced preparation are the only ways to make significant progress.  So today, I’m giving you a laundry list of actions you can still take this fall to make your forage production better next year.

               Let’s begin with weeds.  Many alfalfa fields are contaminated with mustards, pennycress, cheatgrass, and downy brome every spring.  This doesn’t have to happen.  Before the ground freezes, spray metribuzin, Velpar, Sinbar, or Karmex and these weeds won’t be there next spring.

               Similarly, you can avoid letting warm-season grass pastures get overrun by cool-season grasses and weeds.  Spray glyphosate or Plateau after a couple freezes turn desirable grasses dormant but these invaders are still green for cleaner pastures next summer.

               Speaking of pasture, is nitrogen fertilizer getting too expensive?  Adding clovers or alfalfa to your grass can eliminate your need for any nitrogen fertilizer.  Prepare for making this addition by grazing one of your pastures as short as possible this fall to open it up for adding legume seeds early next spring and to slow down its spring growth rate.

               Finally, pull soil samples, especially from hay fields but also from some of your pastures, and get them tested this fall.  Then use the test results to order fertilizer and maybe even apply it yet this fall if weather conditions still permit.

               Don’t be a procrastinator.  Act now to reduce hay and pasture problems next year and improve your forage production.

Beef Quality Assurance Transport Certification Session Set

Beef Quality Assurance Transportation is the latest certification needed for beef cattle haulers and producers who deliver cattle to major packing plants.

The BQA Transportation program has several objectives with the key components being to provide for transporter safety, to deliver cattle in a timely manner and to provide the most comfortable transportation for the animals.

"This new certification program will soon be a required part of business for any cattle haulers or producers who direct deliver cattle to a major packing plant," said Beth Doran, beef specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

To help transporters become certified in BQA transportation, a multi-state workshop will be offered by Iowa State Extension and Outreach, South Dakota State University Extension and University of Minnesota Extension on Dec. 10 from 1 to 4 p.m. at Sioux Falls Regional Livestock near Worthing, South Dakota. The workshop will include a classroom presentation and trailer walk-through discussion.

"Several major packers have announced that as of Jan. 1, 2020 they will not accept cattle from transporters who are not BQA Transportation certified," Doran said. "Transporters include both farmer feeders and commercial truckers hauling directly to a packing plant."

Those hauling cattle to a packing plant may either attend the workshop or go online at to complete the BQA Transportation curriculum. The Dec. 10 training is the last in-person workshop offered in South Dakota and northwest Iowa for 2019. It is co-sponsored by the Iowa Beef Center, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, SDSU Extension, South Dakota Beef Industry Council and South Dakota Beef Quality Assurance. Special appreciation also goes to Sioux Falls Regional Livestock and M.H. EBY, Inc. for hosting the workshop and providing refreshments and trailers for the demonstration.

For more information, see the program flyer on the IBC website. Preregistration is $25 per person and can be done by contacting Doran at 712-737-4230 or or Heidi Carroll, South Dakota BQA Coordinator, at 605-688-6623 or

Fertilizer Prices Sink for 9th Consecutive Week

Retail fertilizer prices tracked by DTN for the second week of October, 2019, continue to be slightly lower. Prices have moved lower for nine straight weeks.

All eight fertilizers were once again lower in price compared to last month. As with the last few weeks, no fertilizer was down a significant amount, which DTN designates as 5% or more.

DAP had an average price of $472/ton, down $14; MAP $473/ton, down $9; potash $383/ton, down $2; urea $403/ton, down $4; 10-34-0 $470/ton, down $1; anhydrous $509/ton, down $7; UAN28 $253/ton and UAN32 $289/ton, both down less than $1.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.44/lb.N, anhydrous $0.31/lb.N, UAN28 $0.45/lb.N and UAN32 $0.45/lb.N.

With prices significantly lower in recent months, two fertilizers' prices dropped to being lower in price from a year ago. MAP is now 10% less expensive and DAP is 6% lower from last year at this time.

The remaining six major fertilizers continue to be slightly higher compared to last year. Both UAN32 and urea are 3% more expensive, both anhydrous and 10-34-0 are 4% higher, potash is 5% more expensive and UAN28 is 6% higher compared to last year.


The National Corn Growers Association continues to move forward with its long-term initiative to manage and ultimately solve aflatoxin issues for farmers with the announcement of a new round of research grants.

The Aflatoxin Mitigation Center of Excellence Research Program will again offer grants to researchers for projects focused on solving aflatoxin issues for farmers. These grants, which will be awarded to researchers focusing on six priority areas, were designed by southern corn checkoff boards to bring a unified approach to funding research projects across the region and will thus favor research teams that include members from multiple states.

“The National Corn Growers Association, working with southern state grower associations including Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, Mississippi and North Carolina, developed AMCOE to bring a unified approach to aflatoxin research that will yield results in a timely and more efficient manner,” said NCGA Corn Productivity and Quality Action Team Chair Charles Ring, a corn grower in Texas. “Working together, we can improve the tools available for aflatoxin control and get real results that farmers can see in their fields.”

Projects funded for 2020 should focus on one of these six priority areas: amelioration, best-management, biological controls, breeding, testing and transgenic.

While corn farmers in southern states experience aflatoxin challenges every year, these challenges may present themselves in any corn region of the United States when the crop comes under stress. Thus, the benefits of such research, particularly as outlined in the six priority areas, are truly national in scope. Thusly, proposals will be considered regardless of the geographic region of the parties submitting and any state wishing to provide additional funding for AMCOE is encouraged to do so.

Letters of intent from principal investigators, co-principal investigators, and collaborators not exceeding the $75,000 per year limit will be accepted by AMCOE until October 25.

Seeding Rural Resilience Act Will Help Farmers and Ranchers

The American Farm Bureau Federation supports the Seeding Rural Resilience Act sponsored by Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), which is designed to help farmers respond to stress and decrease the stigma associated with mental health care in rural communities.

“Farmers and ranchers are some of the most resilient people you will ever meet,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “But times are tough on the farm, and with challenges from weather, trade and low commodity prices, it can definitely wear down the resiliency of farmers. AFBF commends Senators Tester and Grassley for introducing the Seeding Rural Resilience Act, which will be instrumental in bringing mental health resources and awareness to rural communities.”

AFBF is committed to raising awareness about the benefits of seeking support and how to recognize the signs that someone needs help.

According to a Morning Consult research poll commissioned by AFBF in April 2019, a strong majority of farmers and farmworkers say financial issues (91%), farm or business problems (88%) and fear of losing the farm (87%) impact the mental health of farmers and ranchers, and nearly half of rural adults (48%) say they are personally experiencing more mental health challenges than they were a year ago.

Background on the bill:
The Seeding Rural Resilience Act creates three initiatives aimed at promoting mental health awareness in rural America:
-    Implementing a farmer-facing employee training program that requires the Agriculture Department to provide voluntary stress management training to Farm Service Agency, Risk Management Agency and Natural Resources Conservation Service employees;
-    Forming a partnership between the Department of Health and Human Services and USDA to create a $3 million PSA to increase public awareness of farm and ranch stress and destigmatize mental health care in rural communities; and
-    Directing the Secretary of Agriculture to work with state, local and nongovernmental stakeholders to collaborate and determine best practices for responding to farm and ranch mental stress.

The National Wheat Foundation Begins Accepting Applications for 2020-2021 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 both high school and college students for the 2019-2020 academic year with an application deadline of December 01, 2019.

“The scholarship is meant to aid those students who have shown a passion for agriculture both inside and outside the classroom,” said Wayne Hurst, Chairman of the National Wheat Foundation. “These students can then educate the next generation on 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 are proud to partner with the National Wheat Foundation to find students who have shown a commitment to our industry and a willingness to honor Jerry’s legacy and enthusiasm for agriculture,” said Scott Kay, Vice President U.S. Crop, BASF Agricultural Solutions. “We will continue to invest in the best and brightest ag students to help them achieve their career goals. We look forward to seeing their impact.” 

For more information on how to apply, visit

Tuesday October 15 Ag News


For the week ending October 13, 2019, there were 4.3 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 1 percent very short, 7 short, 79 adequate, and 13 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 1 percent very short, 6 short, 79 adequate, and 14 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn condition rated 3 percent very poor, 6 poor, 20 fair, 51 good, and 20 excellent. Corn mature was 85 percent, behind 95 last year and 92 for the five-year average. Harvested was 20 percent, behind 25 last year, and near 24 average.

Soybean condition rated 2 percent very poor, 5 poor, 21 fair, 58 good, and 14 excellent. Soybeans dropping leaves was 91 percent, behind 97 both last year and average. Harvested was 28 percent, behind 38 last year and 47 average.

Winter wheat planted was 95 percent, ahead of 89 last year, and near 92 average. Emerged was 66 percent, behind 73 last year and 75 average.

Sorghum condition rated 2 percent very poor, 2 poor, 14 fair, 66 good, and 16 excellent. Sorghum mature was 82 percent, behind 94 last year and 92 average. Harvested was 10 percent, well behind 31 last year, and behind 26 average.

Dry edible beans harvested was 87 percent.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 1 percent very poor, 3 poor, 14 fair, 59 good, and 23 excellent.


In addition to the first freeze of the season, Iowa experienced drier weather this past week; however, wet field conditions remained an issue for farmers as they were limited to 3.1 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending October 13, 2019, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Field work activities included chopping silage and harvesting hay, seed corn, soybeans and corn for grain.

Topsoil moisture condition was rated 0 percent very short, 1 percent short, 68 percent adequate and 31 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture condition was rated 0 percent very short, 1 percent short, 73 percent adequate and 26 percent surplus.

Nearly all of the corn crop has reached the dented stage or beyond at 97 percent statewide, with 72 percent reaching maturity, 3 weeks behind last year and 15 days behind average. Seven percent of corn has been harvested for grain, 18 days behind last year and nearly 2 weeks behind average. Corn condition remained unchanged from the previous week at 65 percent good to excellent.

Ninety-seven percent of the soybean crop has begun coloring or beyond, nearly 2 weeks behind last year and 10 days behind average. Eighty-five percent of the crop has begun dropping leaves, 15 days behind last year and 10 days behind average. Seventeen percent of soybeans have been harvested, 9 days behind last year and 11 days behind average. Soybean condition rated 64 percent good to excellent.

The third cutting of alfalfa hay reached 92 percent, over 3 weeks behind average.

Pasture condition rated 45 percent good to excellent. Livestock have dealt with large temperature fluctuations the past 2 weeks and feedlots remain muddy.

Corn Condition Drops Again

In addition to corn condition dropping 1 percentage point this week, corn estimated as mature is still far behind the five-year average pace, according to USDA NASS' latest Crop Progress report released Tuesday.

As of Sunday, 73% of corn was estimated as mature, 19 percentage points behind the five-year average of 92%. That was slightly closer to the average pace than last week, when corn mature was running 27 percentage points behind average.

Nationwide, corn harvest progressed another 7 percentage points to reach 22% as of Sunday, but that's still 14 percentage points behind the five-year average of 36%.

The condition of corn still in fields continued to decline with an estimated 55% good-to-excellent rating, down 1 percentage point from the previous week and the lowest in six years.

Soybeans dropping leaves reached 85% as of Sunday, 8 percentage points behind the five-year average of 93% -- an improvement from last week when the percent of the crop dropping leaves was running 15 percentage points behind average.

Soybean harvest moved ahead 12 percentage points last week to reach 26%, but still 23 percentage points behind the five-year average of 49%. That was further behind average than in last Monday's report, when soybean harvest was running 7 percentage points behind the average pace.

Soybean condition was rated 54% good to excellent, up 1 percentage point from 53% the previous week.

Spring wheat harvest moved ahead only 3 percentage points to reach 94% as of Sunday, 6 percentage points behind the five-year average of 100% complete.

Winter wheat planting progress stood at 65% as of Sunday, equal to the five-year average. Winter wheat emerged was estimated at 41%, 1 percentage point ahead of the five-year average.

Sorghum mature was estimated at 81%, just barely behind the average of 82%. Sorghum harvested reached 40%, behind the five-year average of 46%.

Cotton bolls opening was estimated at 87%, ahead of the average of 83%. Cotton harvested was estimated at 32%, also ahead of the five-year average of 27%. Rice harvested was 87%, just slightly behind the average of 87%.

Cuming County Almost Captures Rent Triple Crown

NE Farm Bureau newsletter

Cuming County almost captured the Nebraska Triple Crown for highest average cash rental rates on irrigated, dryland, and pasture ground in 2019. The county led the state in average cash rents on irrigated and dryland ground with rents of $294/acre and $244/acre, respectively. However, it lost its chance at the Triple Crown with average rents on pasture of $72/acre, third behind Wayne County ($81/acre) and Colfax County ($74/acre). Dixon and Cedar Counties were close behind Cuming County on rents on irrigated ground, both with rents near $290/acre. Dakota and Thurston Counties followed Cuming County on rents for dryland cropland with rents of $240/acre and $233/acre, respectively.

Northeast Nebraska generally had the highest average rental rates in 2019, like it did in 2017. However, cash rents on cropland this year were less compared to 2017. The top cash rent on irrigated ground in 2017 was $312/acre in Dixon County. The top rate in 2019 was almost 6 percent less than that. The top average cash rent on dryland ground this year, $244/acre, was $22/acre less compared to 2017, or just over 8 percent. The drops in rental rates are reflective of the ongoing struggles for positive returns in the crop sector. They are also similar in percentage terms to the declines seen in land values over the past few years. Somewhat surprising, the top rental rate for pasture ground this year was higher compared to 2017 by $8/acre or 11 percent. Cattle numbers have grown in recent years and the uptick in pasture rental ground might have resulted from more competition for pasture.

Feeding Light Test Weight Corn in Growing and Finishing Diets

Steve Niemeyer – NE Extension Educator 

The number of growing degree days remaining for the season will influence the amount of light test weight corn harvested this fall. The current standard test weight for corn is 56 pounds per bushel. When corn test weight is below the standard, it is often discounted in price, suggesting the feeding value is lower. However, research has shown that the feeding value of light test weight corn is often similar to normal test weight corn when included in various cattle diets. 

A two-year study conducted by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln evaluated feeding light test weight corn during the growing and subsequent finishing phase. Dry rolled corn was included at 37% of the growing diet and 86.2% of the finishing diet (dry matter basis). Cattle fed light test weight corn (46.8 lb/bu) had similar gains and feed efficiency as cattle fed normal corn (56.2 lb/bu) during both the growing and finishing phases. Research at North Dakota State University has shown similar results when light test weight corn was harvested and fed as high-moisture corn to finishing steers. A metabolism study conducted by South Dakota State University showed that the net energy content of light test weight corn (40.8 lb/bu) was not inherently lower than normal corn (53.8 lb/bu) in steers fed finishing diets containing 77.7% whole corn. 

Light test weight corn is generally lower in starch but higher in protein and fiber than normal corn. With the variability in corn growing conditions, analyzing the nutrient content of light test weight corn prior to feeding is important from both a cattle performance and financial standpoint. 

Cattle feeders that grow their own corn have the opportunity to market light test weight corn through their cattle without sacrificing cattle performance. For cattle feeders purchasing corn, there may be opportunity to capitalize on the discounted price associated with light test weight corn.

Farm Bureau Focused on Boosting Reliable, High-Speed Internet Access for Rural Nebraska

Ensuring all Nebraskans can access reliable, high-speed internet service is the focal point of Nebraska Farm Bureau’s engagement with the Nebraska Rural Broadband Task Force. As the Task Force nears a November deadline for making recommendations to the Legislature on how to improve broadband service in rural areas, Nebraska Farm Bureau offered a series of suggestions to the group.

“Approximately one out of every ten Nebraskans report significant limitations with their internet service, while just over half of rural Nebraskans have internet service with download and upload speeds that meet the federal “broadband” definition,” said Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president. “It’s critical to the future of Nebraska that we make strides in improving broadband deployment statewide. We can’t afford to fall behind.”

Among Nebraska Farm Bureau’s recommendations to the Task Force are:
    Requiring internet service providers to meet the basic federal definition of “broadband” (25 Megabytes per second download and 3 Megabytes per second upload) to receive taxpayer support for broadband development or to be shielded from subsidized competition.

    Recognition by the Public Service Commission (PSC) that fiber deployment might not be the most efficient and affordable way for rural residents to receive high-speed internet service and encouragement of the PSC to be open to evolving technology to address cost and logistical problems for rural broadband deployment.

    Support for PSC to use a grant process for broadband project support and support for public-private partnerships that encourage collaboration between internet carriers, businesses, farms, ranches, cooperatives, as well as schools, municipalities, counties, and public power providers.

    Support for the development of cooperatives for the sole purpose of broadband deployment. 

    Support for allocating Nebraska Universal Service Fund (NUSF) dollars to telecommunications companies that experienced damaged infrastructure due to severe weather events and natural disasters if replacement dollars are used to ensure internet services meet the federal “broadband” definition for download and upload speeds.

    Emphasis on the need for more accurate data to ensure precise mapping of broadband services, given such maps are used to identify underserved areas and subsequently receive priority for federal funds for broadband improvement.

    Support for the establishment of a Subcommittee on Agriculture within the Task Force given the importance of broadband to agriculture and the state’s economy.

“Improving and expanding broadband isn’t just vital to farmers and ranchers wanting to use new technologies. It’s vital to our communities, all rural businesses, and future economic growth. It’s critical to our children’s educational opportunities. It’s important to the next generation of rural Nebraskans, as young people won’t return to rural Nebraska without it,” said Nelson. “Access to high-speed, high quality internet has become a necessity.”

The Nebraska Rural Broadband Task Force was created by the Legislature’s passage and Governor Ricketts signing of LB 994 in 2018. The bill was introduced by Sen. Curt Friesen of Henderson. The Task Force was charged with reviewing issues related to the availability, adoption, and affordability of broadband services in rural Nebraska and is required to present its recommendations and findings to the Legislature by November 1.

Ricketts: Healthy Revenues Mean More Property Tax Relief

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts issued a statement following news that state general fund tax receipts for September were $42 million above forecast.

“Our budget is set for the next two years, and higher-than-expected revenues have flowed into our cash reserve,” said Gov. Ricketts.  “This trend of healthy revenues is setting the state up to do significant property tax relief in the upcoming legislative session.“

Earlier this year, Gov. Ricketts worked with state lawmakers to increase the Property Tax Credit Relief Fund $50 million to $275 million in property tax relief annually.

Extension, Farm Service Agency Plan Farm Bill Education Meetings Across Nebraska

University of Nebraska Extension and USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) in Nebraska are planning a series of Farm Bill education meetings in late November through December to assist producers as they begin to make farm-bill related program decisions.

The 2018 Farm Bill, signed into law last December, reauthorized the existing Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) commodity crop safety net programs that were in the 2014 Farm Bill, however producers will need to make new program enrollment decisions over the coming months.

“These in-person meetings are being planned as a supplement to available online resources,” said Nancy Johner, State Executive Director for the USDA Farm Service Agency in Nebraska. “We encourage producers to educate themselves on the ARC and PLC changes, and then plan to attend a meeting in their local area for additional informational support.”

“While the ARC and PLC programs and enrollment decision may look familiar, the circumstances for a new decision are very different than they were in 2014,” said Brad Lubben, Extension Policy Specialist at UNL. “Education and analysis will help producers prepare for the decisions they have ahead.”

Information regarding 2018 Farm Bill resources can be found at or at the Nebraska FSA website at

Meetings are being planned for 28 locations across the state. Details, including locations, dates and times will be announced in early November and will be available at the website. All meetings will be free and open to the public.

USDA Opens 2020 Enrollment for Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage Programs

Agricultural producers now can enroll in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs – two U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) safety net programs – for the 2020 crop year. Meanwhile, producers who enrolled farms for the 2018 crop year have started receiving more than $1.5 billion for covered commodities for which payments were triggered under such programs.

“These two programs provide income support to help producers manage the ups and downs in revenues and prices,” said Richard Fordyce, Administrator of USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA). “USDA is here to support the economic stability of American agricultural producers by helping them maintain their competitive edge in times of economic stress. We encourage producers to consider enrolling in one of these programs.”

ARC provides income support payments on historical base acres when actual crop revenue declines below a specified guaranteed level. PLC provides income support payments on historical base acres when the effective price for a covered commodity falls below its reference price. The 2018 Farm Bill reauthorized and updated both programs.

Signup for the 2020 crop year closes June 30, 2020, while signup for the 2019 crop year closes March 15, 2020. Producers who have not yet enrolled for 2019 can enroll for both 2019 and 2020 during the same visit to an FSA county office.

ARC and PLC have options for the farm operator who is actively farming the land as well as the owner of the land. Farm owners also have a one-time opportunity to update PLC payment yields beginning with crop year 2020. If the farm owner and producer visit the FSA county office together, FSA can also update yield information during that visit.

Covered commodities include barley, canola, large and small chickpeas, corn, crambe, flaxseed, grain sorghum, lentils, mustard seed, oats, peanuts, dry peas, rapeseed, long grain rice, medium and short grain rice, safflower seed, seed cotton, sesame, soybeans, sunflower seed and wheat.

2018 Crop Year ARC and PLC Payments

FSA began processing payments last week for 2018 ARC-County (ARC-CO) and PLC on covered commodities that met payment triggers on enrolled farms in the 2018 crop year. In addition to the $1.5 billion now in process, FSA anticipates it will issue another $1 billion in November once USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service publishes additional commodity prices for the 2018 crop.

Producers who had 2018 covered commodities enrolled in ARC-CO can visit for payment rates applicable to their county and each covered commodity.  For farms and covered commodities enrolled in 2018 PLC, the following crops met payment triggers:  barley, canola, corn, dry peas, grain sorghum, lentils, peanuts, and wheat.

Oats and soybeans did not meet 2018 PLC payment triggers.

2018 PLC payment rates for the following covered commodities have not been determined: crambe, flaxseed, large and small chickpeas, long and medium grain rice, mustard seed, rapeseed, safflower, seed cotton, sesame seed, sunflower seed and temperate Japonica rice.

Study Shows Pig Farmers Improving Their Environmental Footprint Through Efficiencies

A new environmental study has found that pig farms are generating less manure nutrient content associated with odor. Data gathered from more than 106,000 samples at 182 North Carolina farms shows significant reductions in ammonia levels and manure nutrient content. The improvements are attributed to gains in feed efficiency, which means it takes less feed to raise a pig.

“For an industry that is continually striving to become more sustainable, this study shows that pig farmers are making significant progress toward reducing the environmental impact of their farms,” said Lowry Harper, president of Harper Consulting, who conducted the study from decades-long data.

The study, funded by the Pork Checkoff and conducted by Harper Consulting in consultation with Southern Utah University, found that North Carolina pig farmers have significantly increased feed efficiency over the past 17 years. Long-term, continuous improvement has resulted in trending reductions in nutrient content in manure lagoons at the farms. Specifically, data gathered from more than 106,000 samples at the 182 participating North Carolina pig farms showed a reduction of 35% to 78% in the nutrient content from hog finishers in primary lagoons, and a reduction of 17% to 68% in primary lagoons for sow farms. Also, the study showed a reduction of 22% to 54% in ammonia levels.

The analysis showed considerable improvements in pig farms’ nutrient output, with major decreases in all nutrient concentrations, except for copper which is an essential dietary nutrient. The modeling conducted suggested decreased emissions, including ammonia. 

While the study looked at North Carolina farms, the findings can likely be replicated throughout the country as U.S. pig farmers adopt better genetics and target nutrition and greater veterinary care.

The environmental study shows hog farms’ contributions to nutrient levels and ammonia emissions have declined significantly over the last two decades. Other activity – increasing human population and growth in associated emission sources like automobiles, industry and human waste processing – has likely contributed to a general increase in ammonia emissions in the state.

The study also found that “advancements in swine production practices, changes in feed formulation, improved swine genetics, reduced nutrient excretion and other management changes have resulted in reduced nutrients in both primary and secondary lagoons.”

“U.S. pig farmers have a great story of sustainability to share, and this study validates it,” said Jan Archer, a pig farmer from Goldsboro, North Carolina. “Farmers have always been good stewards of the environment, and we are proud of the continuous improvement and innovative practices on our farms. As a pig farmer in the second-largest pork producing state in the country, I am proud of our record and believe these sustainability gains are being replicated by many of my fellow farmers in other states.”

A research summary of the environmental study is online at

EPA Issues Supplemental Proposal for Renewable Fuels Volumes

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking seeking additional comment on the recently proposed rule to establish the cellulosic biofuel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel volumes for 2020 and the biomass-based diesel volume for 2021 under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program.

Today’s notice does not change the proposed volumes for 2020 and 2021. Instead, it proposes and seeks comment on adjustments to the way that annual renewable fuel percentages are calculated. Annual renewable fuel percentage standards are used to calculate the number of gallons each obligated party is required to blend into their fuel or to otherwise obtain renewable identification numbers (RINs) to demonstrate compliance.

Specifically, the agency is seeking comment on projecting the volume of gasoline and diesel that will be exempt in 2020 due to small refinery exemptions based on a three-year average of the relief recommended by the Department of Energy (DOE), including where DOE had recommended partial exemptions. The agency intends to grant partial exemptions in appropriate circumstances when adjudicating 2020 exemption petitions. The agency proposes to use this value to adjust the way we calculate renewable fuel percentages. The proposed adjustments would help ensure that the industry blends the final volumes of renewable fuel into the nation’s fuel supply and that, in practice, the required volumes are not effectively reduced by future hardship exemptions for small refineries. Consistent with the statute, the supplemental notice seeks to balance the goal of the RFS of maximizing the use of renewables while following the law and sound process to provide relief to small refineries that demonstrate the need.

EPA will hold a public hearing on Oct. 30, 2019 followed by a 30-day comment period from the date of the hearing to receive public input on these issues. The agency will finalize this action later this year.

For more information, please visit:

Today’s action fulfills the agreement reached on October 4th, with the White House, EPA, and USDA.

 Fischer Encourages Nebraskans to Submit Comments on EPA’s Supplemental Rule on RFS Deal

U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, released the following statement today after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a supplemental rule on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) seeking comments on reallocation of biofuel gallons waived due to exemptions for small oil refineries:

“It’s good to see that the EPA has rolled out this supplemental rule to protect the integrity of the Renewable Fuel Standard. However, I am disappointed in how the agency is proposing to address the three year rolling average to ensure a net 15 billion gallons is blended into our fuel supply. This is different than what we expected based on our previous conversations with the administration. I encourage Nebraska farmers and ethanol producers to weigh in during this comment period. I remain committed to holding the EPA accountable and providing certainty for rural America.”

The supplemental rule seeks comments on whether to take the three-year rolling average of the Department of Energy’s recommendations to the EPA in either 2015-2017 or 2016-2018 into account when calculating the reallocation of biofuel gallons lost due to recent exemptions for oil refineries.

Earlier this month, after a concerted effort by Senator Fischer, the EPA unveiled a new RFS deal under which the EPA announced it will factor in those recent waivers exempting oil refineries when setting new annual Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO) starting with 2020. Accounting for these exemptions will ensure the 15 billion net gallons of conventional biofuel obligation is met in the 2020 RVO.

This deal followed an announcement by the EPA earlier this year to allow the year-round sale of E-15. Senator Fischer long fought for year-round sales and was a lead sponsor of the bipartisan Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act which would have allowed retailers to sell E-15 and other higher-ethanol blends all year. She traveled with President Trump to Council Bluffs, Iowa, this summer, where the announcement was made alongside U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler.

EPA Continues to Undermine the Renewable Fuel Standard

ICGA President Jim Greif

Today, we are outraged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) did not implement the details that were presented and outlined by the President only eleven days ago. Any proposal that does not account for actual waived gallons under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) fails to restore the integrity of the law. Last week President Trump promised to uphold the Congressional intent of the RFS by addressing the demand destruction brought on by expanded use of small refinery exemptions and prospectively account for those exemptions using a three-year rolling average of actual waived gallons, beginning with the 2020 biofuel standard. Today’s announcement falls well short of that mark, only accounting for the Department of Energy recommendations that the EPA itself ignored.

The Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) will continue to fight back on demand destruction with our biofuels champions and President Trump to ensure the final 2020 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO) reflect the commitments made by the President to restore the integrity of the RFS to the benefit of farmers and consumers everywhere.

NCGA Statement: EPA Plan to Address RFS Waivers Falls Short

National Corn Growers Association President Kevin Ross today made the below statement following the release of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) supplemental proposal to the 2020 Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) rulemaking. The proposed rule follows an announcement from President Trump last week directing the EPA to follow the letter of the law and keep the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) whole.

“While corn farmers appreciate the EPA’s intent to follow Department of Energy recommendations on waivers going forward, the proposed rule fails to provide the assurance needed that EPA’s practices for granting waivers will change going forward. Farmers have long been skeptical of the EPA’s administration of the RFS. This proposal doesn’t provide farmers confidence in EPA’s ability to follow through and make this right. President Trump made a commitment to farmers and instructed the EPA to follow the law, but this proposal appears to come up short again.”

Supplemental Proposed Rule: It Does Account for SREs… But with a Loophole?

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) supplemental proposed rule would indeed estimate future exempted Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volumes, but not as a 3-year rolling average based on actual volumes previously lost through small refinery exemptions (SREs). That solution was supported by the industry to keep the pesky waivers - piling up year after year - from undermining the intent of the RFS.

The White House, EPA, and USDA reached a deal Oct. 4 that would update the already-announced 2020 renewable volume standards and the biomass-based diesel volume for 2021 under the RFS program. That deal does not directly change the volumes but instead adjusts the way annual renewable fuel percentages are calculated – and what can be exempted due to small refinery waivers. But details of the plan have been pending—and the devil may be in those details for farmers and other biofuel industry members anxious for change.

“Details announced today confirm EPA is considering a new plan in which only lost gallons previously forecast by the Department of Energy (DOE) would be restored to the marketplace going forward, with no value given to the actual gallons waived by EPA. Relying on DOE forecasts does not assure rural stakeholders, the markets, or investors that EPA is going to abide by the President’s intentions going forward and truly protect RFS volumes,” said Rob Shaffer, chair of ASA’s Biodiesel and Infrastructure Committee.

SREs are issued by EPA after consultation with DOE, but concern stems from EPA’s ability to ignore DOE recommendations. A public hearing on the proposed rule will be held Oct. 30, followed by a 30-day comment period.

Shaffer continued, “ASA will be carefully reviewing the written proposal released by EPA today. We are very concerned that this proposal does not fulfill the agreement reached between the White House, EPA, USDA, and biofuel stakeholders as it was announced last week. ASA will not support any attempt by EPA to undermine the President's commitments, which we continue to appreciate."

RFA Statement on EPA Supplemental Proposal for 2020 RVO

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today issued a supplemental proposal regarding the 2020 Renewable Volume Obligation, seeking to ensure that the conventional renewable fuel standard is not eroded by small refinery exemptions. The following is a statement from Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper:

“If the Oct. 4 announcement from EPA was a big step forward, today’s supplemental proposal is a step backward. It falls short of delivering on President Trump’s pledge to restore integrity to the Renewable Fuel Standard and leaves farmers, ethanol producers, and consumers with more questions than answers. It is baffling to us that the proposal sets the three-year average of exempted volume using the very same DOE recommendations that EPA blatantly ignored over and over. We are concerned that the volume of actual exemptions granted in 2020 could very well exceed the amount of projected exemptions from DOE, putting us right back into the quagmire where the 15-billion-gallon requirement is eroded and undermined. Simply put, this proposal is not what was promised by the administration just over a week ago and fails to answer President Trump’s personal call for a stronger conventional biofuel requirement of more than 15 billion. It is our hope that President Trump will personally intervene again to get the RFS back on track and ensure his EPA honors the commitments that were made.”

Cooper pointed out that the Renewable Fuel Standard has specifically required 15 billion gallons of conventional renewable fuel each year since 2015. However, the massive increase in small refinery waivers means the actual volume enforced by EPA has fallen short of the requirement each year. After the exemptions, the conventional biofuel requirement for 2018, for example, was only 13.89 billion gallons. In their communications since the October 4 announcement, both President Trump and EPA Administration Andrew Wheeler have stressed their intention to ensure at least 15 billion gallons are actually blended domestically. It is unclear whether this proposal will actually ensure that volume is met.

Cooper said RFA will take every opportunity to ensure President Trump’s original deal is honored and will remain active and vocal during the public comment process.

Skor Statement on EPA Supplemental Proposal

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released its supplemental proposal to the proposed 2020 renewable volume obligations. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor issued the following statement:

“It is unconscionable that EPA’s proposal betrays President Trump’s promise to rural America. A week ago, Administrator Wheeler personally took to the airwaves and promised Iowa farmers that he would accurately account for lost gallons moving forward based on the ‘last three years of the waivers.’ Administration officials repeatedly said that 15 billion gallons will mean 15 billion gallons and this proposal fails to ensure that farm families and biofuel producers have the certainty they need to reinvest and rebuild after three years of massive demand destruction at the hands of EPA.  
“After completely ignoring Department of Energy (DOE) advice to reduce exemptions, EPA now proposes to use DOE’s deflated numbers to turn a real fix into little more than a Band-Aid. To effectively address demand destruction moving forward, EPA’s fix must incorporate a projection of actual exempted gallons, not simply apply an out-of-date DOE recommendation.

“The proposal released today will do nothing to bring back the ethanol plants that have shut down or help the burden that many of our corn farmers currently face. Every day that passes without the true solution President Trump promised means more and more pain for America’s farmers and rural workers.”

Growth Energy also called on the EPA to hold a regulatory hearing on the proposal in Iowa, so more Midwest families racing to complete this year's harvest will have an opportunity to share their views. 

 "The farm families hit hardest by EPA exemptions deserve a seat at the table, and that can't happen if the EPA refuses to hold a hearing in a central location, closer to millions of voices who cannot afford to leave the farm for days at a time," added Skor. 

NBB Says Supplemental RFS Proposal Not What Was Promised

Today, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) said it is skeptical the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed supplemental rule will ensure that 2020 and future biomass-based diesel volume obligations are fully met. The supplemental notice contains a never-before-discussed proposal to estimate small refinery exemptions for 2020, with no assurance that the estimate will come close to actual future exemptions. The biodiesel industry does not believe the proposal meets President Donald Trump's October 4 promise to American farmers and biodiesel producers.

Kurt Kovarik, NBB Vice President of Federal Affairs, added, "The notice that EPA issued today is significantly different from the agreement that biofuel industry champions negotiated with President Trump just two weeks ago, which was to estimate future exempted RFS volumes based on the average of actual volumes exempted over the past three years. EPA is proposing a brand-new method for making the estimate – one that was never previously proposed or discussed and significantly undercounts past exemptions.

"Once again, EPA is sending a signal to the biofuel industry that the volumes it sets in annual rules can't be trusted. The proposed estimates lack transparency and undercut the President's commitment to ensure that biomass-based diesel volumes are fully met. The biodiesel industry will work diligently with all appropriate federal agencies to ensure that the final rule scrupulously fulfills President Trump's promise to soybean farmers and biodiesel producers."

EPA’s Biofuels Fix is Another Broken Promise to American Farmers

A week and a half after announcing its intentions to offset a portion of the 4 billion gallons of demand for biofuels eliminated due to the ongoing misappropriation of small refinery exemptions (SREs), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today released a supplemental proposed rule outlining how it plans to do so. Rather than basing relief on an actual three-year average of exempted gallons, as expected, the agency has instead suggested basing it on values recommended by the Department of Energy (DOE). The former would have increased the amount of biofuels in the transportation sector by approximately 1.35 billion gallons per year, while the latter will increase it by just 770 million gallons.

Though National Farmers Union (NFU) was initially hopeful that the proposal would reallocate the lost gallons based on a three-year average, the organization was disappointed to learn that EPA’s plan falls significantly short of that target.  NFU Vice President of Public Policy and Communications Rob Larew released the following statement in response to EPA’s announcement:

“Again and again, the administration has made big promises to family farmers. And again and again, they have failed to deliver on those promises. We shouldn’t be surprised, then, when President Trump and the EPA swear to fully repair the harm inflicted by small refinery exemptions and then only offer half a solution.

“We might not be surprised, but we are still gravely disappointed. Family farmers have been burned too many times by broken promises and half-hearted support. If this administration wants to earn back their trust, they must make the biofuels industry whole by accounting for all of the gallons lost to these exemptions.”

USDA Recognizes Hard-Working School Meals Professionals, Empowers Them to Do Right in School Lunchrooms

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today issued the following statement in support of President Donald J. Trump’s National School Lunch Week Proclamation. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) celebrates food service professionals, school leaders, as well as the farmers, ranchers, and producers who grow the delicious, healthful, American-grown foods that kids enjoy every day in school lunches.

“At USDA we recognize the importance a healthy lunch has on millions of school children across our nation. Without a nutritious and wholesome lunch, students are not being set up for success. One of my first actions when I arrived at USDA was to give school food service professionals more local control – they’re the experts and know what their kids want to eat,” said Secretary Sonny Perdue. “The tireless efforts of school food service professionals deserve recognition and I thank them for their service to our country and their commitment to the future of our next generation.”

To help give school food workers the tools they need to do their jobs well with world-class customer service, USDA is offering additional flexibilities for serving school meals, as announced this month in new guidance provided to schools. These bring new opportunities to allow commercially produced smoothies to be included in school meals, provide more guidance on serving milk options, and allow for healthier, more innovative foods to be incorporated into meal plans. Schools are also now empowered with more resources to offer salad bars and better positioned to teach good eating habits to our nation’s children.

The flexibilities provided to school foodservice professionals recently expand on those USDA gave schools last December, when the department provided more options around milk, whole grains, and sodium. USDA continues to encourage schools to meet their children’s needs and tastes in these areas, while helping schools meet the recommended MyPlate dairy needs in their students’ diets.

USDA is also promoting Farm to School initiatives. This year’s Farm to School grants are the biggest ever awarded – with more than $9 million supporting programs across 42 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico – and will reach more than 3.2 million children in over 5,400 schools. These grants increase the amount of local food in America’s schools, while helping young people foster healthy eating habits. They also create new economic opportunities for local farmers, ranchers, and producers and can inspire children to consider future careers in agriculture.

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) works to reduce food insecurity and promote nutritious diets among the American people. The agency administers 15 nutrition assistance programs that leverage American’s agricultural abundance to ensure children and low-income individuals and families have nutritious food to eat. FNS also co-develops the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which provide science-based nutrition recommendations and serve as the cornerstone of federal nutrition policy.

World Leaders Tackle Biofuels Policies With A Role for Trade

A joint statement from Growth Energy, the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) on the conclusion of the Global Ethanol Summit, held in Washington, D.C., this week:

“Today wraps up the first Global Ethanol Summit, which saw  more than 400 attendees from 60 countries come together on behalf of global collaboration, access to free trade in biofuels and the increased use of ethanol to achieve its potential for environmental, human health and economic benefits.

“Ethanol is a cost-competitive transport fuel that offers long-term, medium-term and short-term benefits to consumers, suppliers and the governments that regulate them. It reduces greenhouse gas emissions and improves human health. It also helps countries offer value-added production opportunities for rural communities.

“From Mexico to Brazil, from Canada to the Philippines, the countries here today are taking the next steps in developing biofuels policies with a role for trade. The enormity of the moment is obvious. This Summit united us in the common cause to make measurable societal change – to decarbonize transport, to reduce particulate matter emissions, to make positive impacts today that will bear opportunity for future generations.”

Growth Energy Announces New Chairman of the Board

Following a year of milestones for the biofuels industry, Growth Energy, the nation's largest ethanol trade association, announced the election of Dan Sanders as the association's new chairman of the board of directors. Sanders is the vice president of Front Range Energy, a 48 million gallon ethanol production facility located in Windsor, Colorado that joined Growth Energy in 2008, when the organization was founded.

"I’m honored to serve our members and staff as the next chairman of the Growth Energy Board of Directors," said Sanders. "I look forward to working with our dedicated board to lead our association’s strategies to deliver strong demand for our products and supportive policy."

Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor welcomed Sanders as chairman, where his proven leadership will be critical in the battles ahead: "This year we have achieved some major victories for the ethanol industry, but there is still a long road ahead of us. As the vice president of a small plant in Colorado, Dan brings a unique perspective to our board. His years of experience on the Growth Energy Board of Directors, including as Growth PAC chairman and vice chair of the board, make him the right man to continue leading this organization towards success."

As chairman, Sanders succeeds Jeff Broin, CEO of POET, LLC who held the position since the association's inception in 2008 and through the successful campaign to achieve year-round E15, the original goal on which the association was founded. Upon reaching this industry milestone, Broin announced in September he would step down as chairman, but plans to remain an active member of the Growth Energy Board.

"It has been an honor to serve as chairman of this great organization for so many years," Broin said. "Growth Energy was founded ten years ago to secure year-round sales of E15 fuel and, now that we've accomplished that goal, it is time to pass the baton. I am proud of everything we have done as an association for our nation's ethanol producers, farmers and consumers, and I am looking forward to working with Dan as our new chairman. I have the utmost confidence that Dan has the right skills and passion to lead this organization into the future."

Skor thanked Broin for his years of service, “We are grateful for Jeff’s vision and leadership on these important issues. Without his contributions, the industry would not be where it is today.”

Sanders previously served as vice chair of the board, which will now be filled by Mitch Miller. Miller currently serves as the chief executive officer and managing director for Carbon Green BioEnergy, LLC a 55 million gallon biorefinery in Michigan; president of Iroquois Bio-Energy Company, LLC a 50 million gallon biorefinery in Indiana; and managing partner of NUVU Fuels, which owns and operates convenience stores in Michigan and Indiana. Carbon Green BioEnergy joined Growth Energy in January of 2009.

The Growth Energy Board of Directors represents the most diverse set of leaders in the biofuels industry and includes producers large and small, advocacy experts, agricultural leaders, and a NASCAR team owner.

Dairy Defined: Milk ­– A Great Addition to Your Science-Based Diet

Call it old-fashioned, but dairy believes in science. For example, it takes climate change seriously – that’s why North America’s dairy sector, which is dominated by U.S. production, is the only one worldwide whose total greenhouse gas emissions have declined from 2005 levels, according to a UN study.

Dairy also closely examines research on hot-button topics like plant-based versus dairy beverages – where studies consistently show consumer confusion over nutrition and support for clearer labels. And the sector understands that “industry-funded research” will not be seen as quite the same as “independent” studies. Fine – even though industry transparency standards are high, critics will believe what they believe.

But if you don’t want to believe what dairy tells you – will you believe Consumer Reports? 
In its November issue, Consumer Reports’ food-testing team evaluated 35 plant-based beverages, including almond, coconut, oat and soy varieties, for nutrition and taste, also comparing them with milk. The result? “Few of the drinks we tested match cow’s milk for nutrition,” the authors wrote. Experts also noted that consumers “are confused about plant milks’ nutritional profile” and that in terms of calcium intake especially, “you may be missing out” with plant-based beverages.

The study found that, along with often relying on added sugars for flavor, industrially produced plant-based beverages also include concerning additives linked to higher risks of kidney disease, heart disease, bone loss, and inflammation. That’s not exactly the story a vegan lobbyist might want you to read, but facts are facts. And by the way -- they’re the same facts the Food and Drug Administration is examining as it considers enforcing already existing standards on what milk is, and what it isn’t. (We at NMPF have sent them a road map with some suggestions.)

That’s not the only interesting study of recent note. CNN recently picked up on research from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland showing that when it comes to hydration, milk outperforms even water, due to its unique blend of nutrients. The lactose in milk, for example, helps slow the emptying of fluid from the stomach, maintaining hydration longer. Beverages with higher concentrations of sugars, such as juices and sodas, use up the water that’s needed to dilute them.

These are only two studies. There are more. Did you see the one from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and the American Heart Association? It recommended that children under 5 drink only milk and water, specifically warning against replacing milk with plant-based beverages. And how about last year’s University of Wisconsin study showing that, once you factor in packaging and transportation, soy and almond beverages have a larger carbon footprint than milk, with almonds exponentially higher in water use?

The evidence keeps coming in: Milk is a highly nutritious, climate-compatible beverage that benefits consumers. And it’s not just dairy sources saying that – it’s respected scientists in reputable publications. (A few more studies of interest are listed below for ease of reference.) From the evidence, one might just conclude that milk is an excellent part of a science-based diet. But maybe it’s just old-fashioned, thinking a debate should be focused around facts instead of marketing.

Massey Ferguson Introduces 5700 Global Series Tractors Equipped with Dyna-4 Transmission

AGCO Corporation (NYSE:AGCO), a worldwide manufacturer and distributor of agricultural equipment, introduced two new Massey Ferguson® 5700 Global Series mid-range tractors during the 2019 Sunbelt Ag Expo. The 100-HP MF5710D and the 110-HP MF5711D feature the high-end performance of the rugged, reliable Dyna-4 transmission in a handy tractor designed for efficient loader work, hay production and general on-the-farm use.

“Today’s producers want durable, reliable tractors that help them do more in a day, more easily,” says Brian Celli, tactical marketing manager. “We’ve added a premium, clutchless transmission to our popular 5700 Global Series tractors to give our customers another option to help them get their work done more efficiently.”

Dyna-4 transmission makes loader work faster, more efficient

The easy-to-operate and easy-to-maintain Dyna-4 transmission shifts smoothly through 16 forward and 16 reverse clutchless speeds, allowing the operator to shift through all gears and ranges on the roll. This speeds up time-consuming tasks like loading and stacking hay or cleaning barns and livestock lots.

In addition, Auto-Drive™, standard in the new models, speed-matches the transmission to shift automatically at 1,500 rpm in Eco mode for transport and light applications. In Power mode, it auto-shifts at 2,100 rpm, convenient for field applications. Operators who make frequent stops when round baling, for example, will appreciate the Brake to Neutral feature, which operates the clutch as soon as the brake pedal is pressed, stopping the tractor with no other action required. When operations call for extremely low speeds, the 32 X 32 creeper gear option provides speeds as low as .06 mph.

For extra convenience, a combination power shuttle and power control lever on the left side of the steering column allows the operator to change direction, change gears and de-clutch the tractor with the left hand. This is especially handy when operating the loader joystick or rear remote controls with the right hand. With Comfort Control, operators can adjust settings within the system information screen to fine-tune how aggressively directional changes and DynaShift changes take place.

High-flow hydraulics for responsive loader action

The open-center hydraulic system has two high-pressure pumps, one with a standard flow rate of 11 gallons per minute (gpm) to the rear three-point linkage and the other with 15 gpm to the remote valves and the loader. An in-cab switch combines the flow from both pumps for an industry-leading 26 gpm flow for quick response times for loader and auxiliary hydraulics to help get work done quickly.

Three remotes are standard, with the third remote offering flow control capabilities.

Four loader models are available for 5700 Global Series tractors, each operated with the integrated joystick for the perfect loader/tractor combination. Choose from the MF941X and MF946X loaders for light-duty work or the high-performance MFFL3723 and MFFL3819 for work that demands the most from a loader. The pedestal mount design of these loaders and Quick Lock bucket system make attaching the loader and changing attachments faster, with fewer headaches.

New standard in cab comfort and visibility

Operators of the MF5710D and MF5711D benefit from the largest and quietest cab in the 100- to 110-HP tractor class. Its advanced suspension provides a smooth ride. The cab includes a swiveling air-ride seat and a tilt-and-telescoping steering column for optimum operator comfort. The optional see-through Visio roof provides above-cab visibility, popular among loader operators who need more visibility when stacking bales. The tractor’s sloped, low-profile hood and slim exhaust profile provide a clear view for any task.

The tractors are powered by fuel-efficient AGCO Power™ 4.4L, four-cylinder diesel engines that meet Tier 4 final emissions compliance without a costly and time-consuming diesel particulate filter (DPF). They offer many standard features which optimize the work they can handle and set them apart from the competition including an easy-to-read digital system information screen, advanced cab suspension for a smooth ride, three hydraulic remotes and a 540E/540/1000 PTO, plus radial tires for better traction and ride.

Monday October 14 Ag News

Practicing Fire Safety at Harvest
John Wilson - NE Extension Educator, Burt County

While harvest has been delayed in many areas of the state due to wet conditions, in other areas fields are dry and harvest is progressing. Each year volunteer fire departments across the state are called to respond to combine or field fires started during harvest operations. The following guides can help ensure a smoother and safer harvest season without fire emergencies.

Combine Maintenance

Preventative maintenance is key to preventing many of the fires that occur on farm equipment.
-    Keep all bearings and gears well lubricated to prevent heat buildup and keep lubricants at proper levels.
-    Repair any leaks in the fuel system and any damaged electrical wiring.
-    Repair or replace damaged or worn out exhaust systems. In addition to a good exhaust system, install a spark arrester to catch burning particles. They are easy to install and require little maintenance.

Before and during harvest operations check for a buildup of combustible crop residue around the engine and exhaust system; concealed drive belts and pulleys that can overheat due to friction when there is an accumulation of crop residue around them; and worn or frayed electrical wiring that can cause sparks and ignite grain dust, crop residues, or fuel vapors.

Refueling Safety

Too often during harvest, safe fueling practices are ignored to save time. The few seconds saved are insignificant when compared to the loss of expensive farm equipment or weeks or even months spent in a hospital burn ward. Follow these safety practices:
-    Never refuel equipment with the engine running. Always shut the engine off.
-    Allow hot engines to cool 15 minutes before refueling.
-    Extinguish all smoking materials before refueling.
-    If fuel spills on an engine, wipe away any excess and allow the fumes to dissipate before starting the engine.

Plan to Avoid Emergencies

Being prepared to respond to a fire if one should occur can save critical minutes.
-    Start harvesting a field on the downwind side. If a fire does occur, the flames will be pushed toward the harvested portion of the field.
-    Always carry a cell phone or alternative for communicating with others in case of an emergency.
-    Know the location of the field in relationship to letters or numbers on county roads. This seems obvious, but in the excitement of the moment, it’s easy to not be able to recall this information. More than once volunteer firefighters have been paged for a field fire “northeast of town” and then had to look for the smoke.
-    Always carry two fire extinguishers on the combine, one in the cab and one that you can access from the ground. Also, carry a fire extinguisher in your grain hauling equipment.
-    If a field or equipment fire does occur, call 911 before trying to extinguish it yourself.
-    Have a tractor hooked to a disk near the field you are harvesting, but located where it wouldn't be affected if a field fire should occur.
-    If using a fire extinguisher, stay between the fire and your path to safety.
-    When using a fire extinguisher, remember to PASS, which stands for Pull, Aim, Squeeze, and Sweep.
       + Pull the safety pin on the extinguisher.
       + Aim it at the base of the fire.
       + Squeeze the handle.
       + Sweep the extinguisher back and forth while releasing the contents.

Following these safety tips may seem like common sense, but with the long hours and rush to get harvest done, sometimes these are forgotten.

For more information on fire safety at harvest, contact your equipment dealer, your local fire department, or your local Nebraska Extension office.

13th Annual Nebraska Beef Industry Scholars Summit

The 13th Annual Nebraska Beef Industry Scholars Summit on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus will be held Thursday, November 21st in the Animal Science Complex.

The Nebraska Beef Industry Scholars senior class, in cooperation with Nebraska Cattlemen, has been working diligently to bring this Summit to you. A variety of topics will be discussed at this year’s event.....
-    Panel Discussion: Weather Patterns - Martha Shulski, Galen Erickson
-    Trade – Stan Garbacz
-    Breakout Session:
         - Transitioning Back to the Operation – Mark Goes
         - Genetic Management
-    Alternative Meats – Jessie Herrmann
-    Market Volatility – Charley Fezter
-    Carcass Evaluation & Checkoff - Chris Calkins

Space is limited, so please send us your registration form,, by November 14th to secure your place. The cost of this program is $50 and will cover lunch, speaker costs and other expenses for the event. After receiving your completed registration, we will send you additional event information. Parking permits are needed for lots on campus and will be provided at registration. They look forward to seeing you on November 21st.

Drying and Storing Expected High-moisture Corn

Ken Hellevang - North Dakota State University Extension Agricultural Engineer

A killing frost is expected from Nebraska to North Dakota this weekend, which will end corn development in much of the Northern High Plains.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, nearly 100% of the corn in Nebraska had reached full dent on October 6. Only 74% had reached maturity.

“It is important to check [the moisture content of] each field because these values will vary depending on planting date, corn maturity rating and growing degree days during the year,” Hellevang says. For the 18 states producing the majority of the corn in the U.S., only 58% of the corn was mature on Oct. 6. Across Midwest states, the percent mature ranged from only 22% in North Dakota and 52% in Iowa to 87% in Missouri.

The amount of drying in the field depends on parameters such as corn maturity, hybrid, moisture content, air temperature, relative humidity, solar radiation, and wind speed.

Iowa State University has developed a Corn Dry Down Calculator that covers several Midwest states, including Nebraska. You select your location on a map and input estimated grain moisture content and the start of the dry-down period. For example, it estimates that if corn in south-central Nebraska is at 35% moisture on Oct.10, it will, on average, dry to about 22% by Oct. 30. (See this ISU Integrated Crop Management article for more information

Field drying normally is more economical until mid to late October in North Dakota and mechanical high-temperature drying normally is more economical after that, Hellevang notes. The midportion of the corn-producing states, including Nebraska, will have a more rapid field dry down due to the warmer temperatures. Natural-air drying also is more feasible there due to the warmer November temperatures, Hellevang said.

For example, corn reaching maturity in Nebraska on Oct. 11 is expected to dry in the field to about 21% on Oct. 30. The average November temperature in Nebraska is about 40°F, so air drying likely is feasible in November. However, with an airflow rate of 1 cfm/bu, drying may not be completed in November.

Corn field losses will depend on stalk strength, ear shank attachment to the stalk, winter conditions and wildlife. A September 27 story in CropWatch noted widespread stalk quality issues in Nebraska this year. Accumulated winter snow adds water to the soil as it melts. Plus, standing corn shades the ground, which reduces drying and may lead to wet fields in both the fall and spring.

Natural-air and low-temperature drying are limited to initial corn moisture contents of about 21%. Even at that moisture content, air drying is limited in the northern states due to the colder outdoor temperatures in late October and November.

The moisture-holding capacity of air is very small at temperatures below about 40°F. Expect to store the wet corn for the winter by cooling it to 20 to 30°F and finishing the drying in the spring when outside temperatures average above 40°F.

Provide an airflow rate of at least 1 cubic foot per minute per bushel (cfm/bu) to complete the drying before corn deterioration affects the market quality. The required fan size to provide the needed airflow can be determined using a fan selection program such as that developed by the University of Minnesota.

High-temperature corn drying may face challenges with high-moisture corn. The kernel color of immature corn may be affected during drying due to sugars still being in the kernel. Hellevang recommended reducing the dryer temperature to reduce the potential for affecting the kernel for corn that was not mature at the time of the first hard freeze.

Hellevang also warns that corn at moisture contents above about 23% may have enough surface moisture on the kernels that the kernels freeze together in the bin and will not flow.

For more information on grain drying and storage see the Grain Storage Management section of CropWatch, the NDSU Grain Drying and Storage website, or the Grain Storage tag linking to grain storage news articles in CropWatch.

Stakeholders’ Help Needed to Identify Nebraska Weed Issues

Shawn McDonald - UNL Graduate Research Assistant

As part of a master’s project, I and UNL weed scientists are collecting stakeholder information on weed management practices and problems across Nebraska. The goal for this project is to identify the current state of cropping systems and the weed issues growers face to provide direction for future UNL research.

Nebraska Agronomist, CCA, and Farmer Input Needed

For this project we are asking Nebraska stakeholders to provide agronomic information specific to farms/fields they manage. With this data, we can conduct an analysis of weed issues across all the different cropping systems in Nebraska. Along with stakeholder survey data from previous years, data collected from this survey will provide great insight into changes in weed and systems dynamics that have occurred over time.

We have put together a three-page survey on systems information and weed issues that we would like you to fill out. Specifically, we are requesting information related to the 2019 growing season in terms of crops raised, tillage practices, herbicide usage, and weed issues. All cropping systems and management styles are acceptable.

You may have already filled out a copy of this survey at one our UNL Weed Science field days. If not, an online copy is now available at (full page version). There’s no need to send in a completed form, just follow the link and complete and submit the form online.

We look forward to receiving your submission. All data that is submitted will be kept strictly confidential. In this project, our objective is to work for you, our Nebraska producers. It’s our goal that with the data collected from these surveys, we can provide better information and research on the weed issues facing growers.

Nebraska Cattle Confinement Symposium Set for Dec. 16-17 in Kearney

Nebraska farmers who may be interested in expanding or diversifying their operations are invited to the two-day Nebraska Cattle Confinement Symposium scheduled for Monday and Tuesday December 16 and 17 at the Younes Conference Center in Kearney.

The event will run from 1:00 to 7:00 p.m. Monday and from 7:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Tuesday. Tickets are $55 each, but early bird tickets are available for $35 for those who register online prior to December 1 at

The symposium is sponsored by the Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska (AFAN), Nebraska Cattlemen, Central Confinement Service of Columbus, Neb., and Accu-Steel, Inc. of Audobon, Iowa.

Topics to be discussed by producer and supplier experts include facility design and ventilation considerations; financing a new facility; trends in cattle markets; confinements and vet protocols; and managing nutrition in confinement operations. In addition, two sessions will provide virtual barn tours and producer panel discussions. The symposium will conclude December 17 with the Cattlemen’s Lunch featuring guest speaker Matt Rush, “inspirational speak and farm boy.” For agenda details, go to

“Many area farmers are considering diversifying their operations because of the trend in declining row crop income amid surplus foodstuffs, as well as the increasing cost of land ownership,” says Will Keech, AFAN director of livestock development. “Others are looking for ways to strengthen their operations so younger family members will be able to run the farm into the future. The purpose of this symposium is to provide farmers with key information and insight they need to decide whether to add a cattle confinement component to their operation.”


Randy Pryor, NE Extension Educator, Saline County

   This past week I was doing some soil sampling on an on-farm research soybean study in the Tobias area.  The cooperator was comparing soybeans that were later planted at 160K population and no foliar fungicide and insecticide applied versus early planted soybeans at 130K with foliar fungicide and insecticide applied.  The plots are randomized and replicated and will be a part of the 2019 Nebraska Extension on-farm research results one of 104 studies! You have to admire the farmers involved in these studies for the work involved and willingness to share the unbiased statistically based results published by Extension.

   My soil samples for nutrient status at the site were not easy because of the wet soil.  It took a fair amount of WD-40 on the sampling tube to keep the soil from sticking. Fortunately WD-40 does not affect the soil sample results.  I also sampled for soybean cyst nematode.  It reminded me that fall is the best time to take soil samples, for several reasons: After corn and soybeans have been harvested it’s easy to walk between the rows of stubble; the pressure of spring planting and crop harvest is over; and soil analyses are more reliable than analyses from samples taken in early spring. The results can really help in planning for the next year’s fertilization program.

   I had a client this week ask if he should grid sample again as in the past or try a different approach.  That was a great question and the proper answer is it depends!  With today’s agricultural economy farmers are questioning everything on the cash flow sheet that they can to lower expenses.  In looking at the Nebraska Farm Business Association data of the top third profitability producers, they all performed higher in lowering expenses to a small degree in all categories. The nickels and dimes do add up.

   If you grid sample some fields this fall, I suggest that grid samples be collected every five years for phosphorus. Ag lime application, according to recommendations, should amend soil pH for 8-10 years. Even if variable rate lime application has occurred according to a grid-sampled map of pH, it should not be necessary to grid sample for soil pH for 8-10 years after application.

   Choose grid sampling if previous management has altered soil nutrient levels such as manure, land leveling, if you take on a new field with no sampling history or if you have a small field with different cropping histories that have been merged into one.  Another reason would be if you need an accurate organic matter map of the field.  Farmsteads with livestock history will likely leave areas of higher organic matter and higher phosphorus levels. Pastures which were not converted to farmland for many years are likely to show up clearly. There is very likely to be considerable difference between upland, side-slope, and lower areas of fields influenced by past years of erosion history. On irrigated fields the most common variance is caused by leveling for furrow applications done some time in the past. Old channels of streams are also quite apparent.  Do not save money by doing 4 or 5 acre grids. This reduces the samples in half compared to 2.5 acre grids but sacrifices too much accuracy of the results.

   An alternative is to take past grid sample information, yield maps, soil type and other precision ag data and sample in zones or directed soil sampling.   These samples could be georeferenced but that will add cost.  Zone management assumes uniformity based on experience and information.  Georeferencing the zone samples adds cost but still makes variable rate application a possibility.

   The bottom line is both grid and directed soil sampling are valid options for precision soil sampling — each has advantages and disadvantages. Unless the grid is dense enough, grid sampling may miss patterns and boundaries that are evident from looking at soil surveys or yield maps. Grid sampling is very expensive — both to collect and to analyze the samples. Directed sampling uses other sources of spatial information to make informed decisions on where to sample, however, there may be patterns in soil fertility which are not detectable except with grid sampling.  For more information go to:

Avoiding Harvest Compaction in Wet Soils

Paul Jasa - NE Extension Engineer

With fall harvest underway across Nebraska, rains have left fields soft and ruts are being cut into the soil in some areas. These ruts leave the soil surface rough and have severe compaction below them. This compaction can impede the crop's roots next season and increase runoff because of reduced infiltration. Grain carts and the large tractors pulling them can add to the compaction problem when the fields are soft.

If the combines and grain carts aren't leaving a rut, don't worry about compaction from the heavy equipment. Compaction is the loss of pore space between soil particles and occurs when that space is squeezed out of the soil and reappears somewhere else, such as in the form of a rut. If a rut wasn't formed, there was enough soil structure present to support the weight without causing additional compaction.

If ruts were formed during harvest, tillage can break up compaction but the soil must be dry to fracture compaction. If the soil was wet enough to cause ruts, the odds are that it is too wet to do tillage. Tilling a wet soil causes more compaction as the soil particles are lubricated and easily slide under the weight of the tractor and tillage implement. This compaction is harder to see because the entire soil surface is compacted, even though the surface looks loosened. Deep tilling a wet soil often only cuts slots and smears the soil rather than fracturing compaction.

Regardless, tilling destroys soil structure and more tracks will be formed with future passes. Typically ruts are as deep as the soil was tilled, down to the compaction layer from the tillage. The majority of compaction is caused primarily by tillage. It breaks up the existing soil structure and packs the soil below the tillage depth. With little soil structure in the tilled layer, the next pass easily compacts the soil, either full width with tillage or in tracks with traffic.

10 Tips to Avoid Compaction on Wet Soils
    Wait until the soil dries enough to support the combine.
    Don't use grain bin extensions or fill the combine as full.
    Use wide tires with lower inflation pressures.
    Keep trucks out of the field. Consider unloading at the ends of the field, not on the go.
    Grain cart should track the same rows as the combine.
    Don't turn around in the middle of the field.
    Don't fill the grain cart as full, unload more often.
    Establish a grain cart path and stay on it.
    Don't till wet soils as they are easily compacted.
    Use cover crops to help build soil structure.

Controlling Traffic, Controlling Compaction

Producers should practice controlled traffic to reduce the areas in the field with wheel traffic compaction. Eighty to 85 percent of soil compaction damage is done with the first pass of the tires. If additional passes are made on the same traffic lanes, little additional compaction occurs. Because once a traffic lane has been driven on and the soil has been firmed up, subsequent passes have little effect on the amount of compaction. By using the same traffic lanes year after year, the soil structure and water infiltration in the untrafficked areas greatly improve.

Controlled traffic lanes improve traction, soil load-bearing, and timeliness of planting and harvesting operations while minimizing potential yield reduction from compaction. Compaction is managed, not eliminated, and the area subjected to compaction is minimized. The concept is to separate traffic zones from root zones. Controlled traffic keeps compaction where it is less detrimental to root development and uptake of nutrients and water. Fertilizer placement and furrow irrigation practices can be modified as these traffic zones are established and the traffic lanes are known.

To minimize wheel compaction at harvest time, grain carts should be following the same tracks as the combine. A lot of grain cart drivers think they should move over a few rows and spread out compaction, but this will only compact more of the field. Likewise, grain trucks shouldn't be driven in the field as the axle loads and tire pressures are not suitable for soils.

If ruts were cut at harvest, wait until the soil is dry to smooth them out to avoid causing additional compaction. This smoothing operation may be a light tillage operation next spring before planting. Deeper tillage in the spring will usually cause more compaction as the soil is wet and the tillage will break up soil structure.

To fracture the compaction in the ruts from this year's harvest, a producer may have to wait until next fall before the soil is dry enough. However, often the compaction in the bottom of the ruts extends deeper into the soil than most producers will be able to till. This is a case where prevention is far more effective than the cure. It's best to build soil structure and not drive on wet soils if possible. Controlled traffic, no tillage, and cover crops will all help build soil structure and reduce compaction concerns.

NE Agri-Business Assoc. Research Symposium

Scott Merritt, President, Nebraska Agri-Business Association

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

Research Symposium is on Friday, November 22, 2019, at the Holthus Convention Center in York, NE.  Registration will begin at 8:00 am, with speakers starting at 8:30 am.

The speakers and topics are:
    Tyler Williams - 2019 Weather Recap and the Impact on Nebraska Agriculture
    Joe Luck - Crop Management
    Amit Jhala - Management of Herbicide-Resistant Weeds in Nebraska
    Amy Schmidt - Benefits and Barriers to Manure Use in Cropping Systems
    Jenny Rees - Cover Crops in Cropping Systems On-Farm Research Update
    Daran Rudnick - Overview of Irrigation scheduling Technologies
    Tom Clemente - Innovations in Agriculture
    Michael Kaiser - Effects of Soil Management on Soil Organic Characteristics

The cost of registration covers rolls & coffee, lunch, and all speaker handouts. A registration form is included for you to register for Research Symposium or you can register online at  Please contact Sarah Skirry at or (402) 476-1528 if you have any questions. We hope to see you in York at this year's Research Symposium!

Huge Beef Quality Price Spreads

David P. Anderson, Extension Economist, Texas A&M

Beef production has dipped below a year ago over the last couple of weeks, leading to some higher fed cattle prices and a widening Choice-Select price spread.

Over the last four weeks total beef production is more than half a percent below the same period a year ago. As we all know, not all beef is the same. Over this period, fed steer and heifer slaughter is down 1.7 percent, while cow slaughter is up 4.2 percent. Digging in a little deeper, fed steer slaughter is down 6.5 percent while fed heifer slaughter is up 6.7 percent. Dressed weights continue to be down about 2 pounds per head over the last month for steers, heifers, and cows. Combining weekly slaughter and dressed weights leaves fed beef production about 2.2 percent lower than a year ago while cow beef is up 3.8 percent.

To dig in a little deeper, the percent of carcasses presented for grading over the last month that are grading Prime and Choice are running about 1.6 and 2.6 percent below a year ago, respectively. About 7.7 percent more carcasses are grading Select than a year ago. Combining the percent of carcasses by grade and pounds of fed steer and heifer beef produced indicates that over the last month Prime beef production has been almost 4 percent below a year ago. Choice beef production is almost 5 percent lower than a year ago, while Select production is about 5 percent higher.

The Prime boxed beef cutout has averaged $279.55 over the last month compared to $214.81 last year. Over the same period the Choice cutout has averaged $215.76 versus $202.48 last year. That leaves the Prime-Choice spread at $63.80 per cwt this year compared to $12.33 last year. The average Choice-Select spread has grown to a whopping $25.76 per cwt over the last month compared to about $11 last year and $11 over the last 5-years. The Choice-Select spread tends to increase seasonally this time of the year and that seasonal trend is again occurring, but at a much higher price level this year.

There is a lot of data shoved into this little article, but it highlights that even though beef production remains large, the makeup of those supplies is important. We are producing a little less fed beef and a little more cow beef relative to last year. Fewer cattle grading Prime and Choice are tightening up supplies even more. Relatively tight supplies of Prime and Choice beef are contributing to historically wide price spreads and high values for high quality grade beef.

Participants From 60 Countries Gather For First Global Ethanol Summit In Washington, D.C.

Industry and government officials from 60 countries are meeting with U.S. officials in the nation’s capital this week at the Global Ethanol Summit to learn about changing biofuels policies in countries around the world and prospects for expanded global ethanol use.

“In the spirit of global collaboration, access to free trade and increased use of ethanol worldwide, we look forward to hosting, along with our partners, this meeting that focuses on ethanol’s role in improving human lives around the world,” said Ryan LeGrand, U.S. Grains Council (USGC) president and CEO.

“The number of countries with ethanol policies on the books has grown exponentially in the last 18 months, and ethanol trade around the world remains strong, showing the level of commitment these countries have to reaping the benefits of this biofuel. The Council is proud to bring this group together in Washington, D.C.”

This week's Summit, sponsored by the Council, Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), features high-level government and industry officials from Algeria to Vietnam, who are working together to expand the global use of ethanol by developing policies with a role for trade.

Building on the success and momentum of 2017’s Ethanol Summit of the Americas and 2018’s Ethanol Summit of the Asia Pacific events, the Global Summit seeks to capitalize on potential markets around the world as demand increases for higher-level biofuels policies – including decreasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improving clean air quality. The Council and its partners are working in all of these countries to highlight ethanol's benefits and address constraints to expanding ethanol's use.

“The Summit highlights policy conversations going on in governments around the world, scientific rationale for the increased use of ethanol and market development opportunities for U.S. ethanol,” LeGrand said. "The benefits of ethanol use provide common ground for countries to collaborate as they seek to meet their societal goals.”

The Summit also allows senior-level officials from agriculture, environment and energy ministries from around the world to discuss environmental, human health and economic benefits of ethanol use with industry leaders, while it fosters collaboration and trade across the region.

The two-day conference will feature remarks from both the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Deputy Secretary Stephen Censky and Foreign Agricultural Service’s Associate Administrator Daniel Whitley, who will speak on collaboration and trade and the U.S. energy renaissance, respectively.

The conference also includes views and analysis on the overall global ethanol outlook; a focus on Brazil and Canada’s changing environmental policies; the costs of inaction on both air quality and related human health consequences; a look at industrial ethanol use and the bioeconomy; octane economics; vehicle compatibility; perspectives from ethanol retailers; and prospects for the future use of ethanol.

The U.S. ethanol industry’s efforts, including conferences like the Summit, establish the United States as the resource for experience in developing an ethanol industry and as a trading partner.

The United States exported 6.1 billion liters (1.62 billion gallons, or 609 million bushels in corn equivalent) of ethanol in 2018, valued at $2.7 billion. According to analysis of USDA data, the volume of U.S. ethanol exports grew by 18 percent per year over the last five years, making ethanol the fastest growing U.S. agricultural export.

Because building collaboration creates additional markets, the U.S. Grains Council is sponsoring several pre- and post-Summit tours so participants are able to see the full production and value chain of ethanol in the U.S. These tours will highlight ethanol in Colorado, Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Growth Energy CEO Highlights International Biofuels Growth at Global Ethanol Summit

Today, Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor addressed more than 400 attendees from 60 countries at the first-ever Global Ethanol Summit in Washington, D.C. The Global Ethanol Summit is sponsored by Growth Energy, U.S. Grains Council, and the Renewable Fuels Association, bringing together industry and government officials to learn about biofuels policies and global ethanol use.

In her remarks, Skor spoke on retailer adoption of ethanol bends and the fuel's growing popularity in the U.S. and abroad:

“Some of the most well-known U.S. retailers like Kwik Trip, Casey’s, Sheetz, not only carry the nation’s standard 10 percent ethanol blend – but they are also among the over 1,900 stores who are offering E15, a fifteen percent blend of ethanol. And we’re seeing that number of retailers offering this fuel choice continuing to grow. That’s because these retail giants know ethanol’s value, and so do their customers. They are comfortable, and excited, about putting their million and even billion-dollar brands behind engine-smart, earth-kind biofuels…Ethanol blended fuel is becoming the new global norm for consumers, and along with it, the promise of a low-carbon future.”

Additionally, Skor highlighted that “this growing trend of adoption across the globe shows that governments are looking to biofuels to meet their climate goals with a choice that drivers feel good about.”

During the summit, attendees have the opportunity to hear from experts ranging from decarbonizing our transportation fuel and the human health benefits of ethanol to favorable policies and ongoing trade discussions. The summit is being held in from Oct. 13 – 15 in Washington, D.C.

Global Ethanol Summit Highlights Environmental, Human Health Benefits Of Increased Biofuel Use

Delivering on the potential that could be captured from expanded global use of ethanol took center stage on Monday during the first full day of the Global Ethanol Summit, an event with attendees from more than 60 countries, sponsored jointly by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA).

“In the last 18 months, 11 markets – nearly all in which the Council has active ethanol engagement – made announcements of new or updated ethanol policies with a role for trade,” said Ryan LeGrand, USGC president and CEO, who delivered a keynote address that was translated into nine languages for attendees.

“All of us are united by the goal of finding transport energy solutions to make our environmental and human health commitments a reality while also making economic sense. Our presence in Washington, D.C., this week is a testament to the fact that we are collectively concerned about the long-term health of our citizens and the environment and recognize the real economic opportunity that’s available through greater adoption of ethanol.”

The meeting began with a pulse-check on U.S. ethanol supply and demand including a rundown of policy drivers that could affect the outlook for the commodity, including calls by an increasing number of nations to identify permanent solutions for climate change, cleaner air, improved health and less expensive fuel.

Case studies from Brazil and Canada, the two largest markets for U.S. ethanol, were employed to highlight existing ethanol realities and new benchmarks for the environmental benefits it can provide. Additional input from the European Union's experience with ethanol rounded out the morning sessions.

The afternoon included two panels focused on the chemical properties and societal impacts of ethanol use, as well as experiences with ethanol in India and Nigeria. Speakers addressed the intersection between biofuels use and electrification of transport fleets as well as the benefits specifically to women and children of ethanol for cooking fuel.

Miguel Ivan Lacerda Oliveira, director-biofuels for Brazil's Ministry of Mines and Energy, underscored the benefits outlined by the day's presenters, saying, "The future is ethanol, and why is that? Because there is no future outside of ethanol."

In his comments, LeGrand emphasized that the Council and its partners in ethanol export market development are poised to help the attendees from more than 60 countries who are considering expanded ethanol use operationalize their plans.

"My hope for you is that no one walks away from this meeting wondering if ethanol will work for your country," said LeGrand. "The answer, as we hope to show, is yes."

The Global Ethanol Summit continues tomorrow with a scheduled address by U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Stephen Censky who will speak about global collaboration and trade of ethanol.

New Campaign Sheds Light on Beef Animal Care Standards

Consumers will soon learn about the steps beef farmers and ranchers take to care for their animals and to produce high quality beef in a new promotion and advertising campaign about the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program. BQA trains farmers and ranchers on best practices and cattle management techniques to ensure their animals and the environment are cared for within a standard set of guidelines. The program began 30 years ago, and today more than 85 percent of beef produced in the U.S. comes from a farmer or rancher who has been BQA certified. 

The formally producer-facing BQA program, will now be introduced to consumers via a campaign designed to meet their desire to learn more about how beef is produced. The integrated marketing and communication campaign includes a new video from Beef. It's What's for Dinner. bringing the BQA program to life by highlighting how cattle farmers and ranchers across the country raise cattle under BQA guidelines. The video will be used in marketing efforts and is available to consumers on the new BQA section of Consumers will also be able to learn more about BQA through interactive "BQ&A" Instagram stories addressing common questions about how cattle are raised. The video, website and social activations provide consumers with an overview of the BQA program and the ongoing commitment of cattle farmers and ranchers to caring for their animals and providing the safest and highest quality beef possible.

"According to market research, the majority of consumers say they consider how and where their food is raised when making a meal decision," said Josh White, executive director of Producer Education at the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff. "The BQA program offers consumers assurance that there are consistent animal care standards in place across the beef industry. BQA exemplifies what beef farmers and ranchers have always cared about – a commitment to caring for their animals and providing families with the safest and highest-quality beef possible, and we look forward to introducing this important program to consumers."

The foundation of BQA is a set of educational resources promoting animal care practices that are based in science and align with governmental regulations. These resources are reviewed by an expert advisory group consisting of farmers and ranchers, veterinarians and animal scientists who meet quarterly to evaluate the program, discuss trending topics, review the latest research and make recommended changes or updates, as needed.

The BQA program specifically addresses and provides training in the following areas, among others:
    Cattle handling
    Cattle health
    Cattle nutrition
    Cattle transportation

"With the vast majority of the beef supply in the U.S. today coming from a BQA certified farmer or rancher, and many packing plants and restaurant chains setting BQA requirements, consumers should have the utmost confidence in the beef they consume and purchase both at restaurants and supermarkets," White added

Cattle farmers and ranchers can become BQA certified by either attending a classroom course taught by a network of hundreds of state BQA coordinators and trainers or by completing a series of robust online courses. Certification is good for three years, after which time farmers and ranchers must become re-certified to ensure they have the most up-to-date information and are trained on the latest BQA guidelines.

Not only does the BQA program provide guidelines for proper animal care and welfare, these management guidelines also result in the production of higher quality beef. In fact, the beef industry is producing more high-quality beef today than ever before, with more than 80 percent of beef grading the highest available USDA quality grades of Prime or Choice.i

For more information about the BQA program and the high-quality beef produced today by U.S. cattle farmers and ranchers, visit

Soy Growers Hope Partial Agreement is Step Toward Ending Trade War

Reports of a partial agreement came Friday after a week of meetings between the Trump Administration and Chinese officials. The American Soybean Association is hopeful this "Phase 1" agreement will signal a deescalation in the ongoing U.S.-China trade war.

While it’s good news to hear the U.S. and China have reached a partial agreement in this conflict, ASA is still awaiting additional information on the initial agreement, and the potential impact on U.S. soy growers. We remain hopeful this is a step toward rescinding the tariffs and helping restore certainty and stability to the soy industry.

Implications of China Trade Deal for American Farmers Still Unclear

President Donald Trump Friday announced the United States had reached a deal with China to put the brakes on a trade dispute between the two countries. The United States will delay additional tariffs on Chinese imports and, in exchange, China has agreed to what are thus far unspecified changes to intellectual property policies and currency guidelines. The country will also reportedly import between $40 billion to $50 billion worth of agricultural goods from the United States over an unspecified period of time.

National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson issued the following statement in response to the news:

“While we are glad to see a détente in this seemingly endless trade war, the tangible benefits to American family farmers and ranchers are unclear.

 “There are many questions that still need to be answered: What will these agreed to policy reforms look like? How will they be enforced? And over what time frame will the $50 billion of agricultural purchases—an amount that is double our peak annual farm exports to China—take place?

“Regardless of the answers to these questions, this deal should not be the end of our efforts to address China’s transgressions. Their unfair and manipulative trade practices are clearly still a problem that need to be fixed through substantive and meaningful reforms. Moving forward, the administration should work with our friends and allies to determine what those reforms should look like.”

Friday October 11 Ag News

Saturday, October 12th is National Farmers Day

National Farmer's Day is observed every year on October 12. It's a day for everyone to acknowledge the hard work that goes into feeding and supplying the world.

The day generally encourages people to thank the farmers and ranchers in their lives and to pay tribute in some way to the individuals who plow, sow, raise, feed and harvest to provide the food and materials that our country needs to succeed.

We thank all farmers for all they do!


Based on October 1 conditions, Nebraska's 2019 corn production is a record forecast at 1.81 billion bushels, up 1 percent from last year's production, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Area to be harvested for grain, at 9.75 million acres, is up 5 percent from a year ago. Yield is forecast at 186 bushels per acre, down 6 bushels from last year.

Sorghum for grain is forecast at 13.0 million bushels, down 19 percent from last year. Area for harvest, at 140,000 acres, is down 18 percent from 2018. Yield is forecast at 93 bushels per acre, down 1 bushel from last year.

Soybean production is forecast at 277 million bushels, down 15 percent from last year. Area for harvest, at 4.95 million acres, is 11 percent below 2018. Yield is forecast at 56 bushels per acre, down 2 bushels from last year.

Dry edible bean production is forecast at 2.22 million cwt, down 32 percent from 2018. Area for harvest, at 110,000 acres, is down 16 percent from last year. Yield is estimated at 2,020 pounds per acre, down 460 pounds per acre from last year. Beginning in 2019, chickpeas were excluded from the dry edible bean program.

Sugarbeet production is forecast at 1.20 million tons, down 14 percent from 2018. Area for harvest, at 43,600 acres, is down 1 percent from last year. Yield is estimated at 27.6 tons per acre, down 4.3 tons per acre from a year ago.

All sunflower production is forecast at 51.8 million pounds, up 9 percent from last year. Acreage for harvest, at 36,000 acres, is up 2,500 acres from 2018. Yield is forecast at 1,438 pounds per acre, up 24 pounds per acre from a year ago. Of the acres for harvest, non-oil sunflowers account for 9,000 acres and oil sunflowers account for 27,000 acres.

Alfalfa hay production, at 3.51 million tons, is down 4 percent from last year. Area for harvest, at 900,000 acres, is up 6 percent from a year ago. Yield of 3.9 tons per acre, is down 0.4 ton from 2018. All other hay production, at 2.72 million tons, is down 18 percent from last year. Area for harvest, at 1.60 million acres, is down 14 percent from a year ago. Yield of 1.7 tons per acre, is down 0.1 ton from 2018.


Iowa corn production is forecast at 2.52 billion bushels according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Crop Production report. Based on conditions as of October 1, yields are expected to average 192 bushels per acre, up 1 bushel from the September 1 forecast, but down 4 bushels per acre from last year. Corn planted acreage is estimated at 13.5 million acres. An estimated 13.1 million of the acres planted will be harvested for grain.

Soybean production is forecast at 484 million bushels. The yield is forecast at 53.0 bushels per acre, down 1.0 bushel per acre from the September 1 forecast, and 3.0 bushels per acre lower than 2018. Soybean planted acreage is estimated at 9.20 million acres with 9.13 million acres to be harvested.

Production of alfalfa and alfalfa mixtures for hay is forecast at 2.24 million tons, a decrease of 2 percent from the previous year. Yield is expected to average 3.20 tons per acre, down 0.50 ton from last year. Production of other hay is forecast at 988,000 tons, up 40 percent from last year. Yield for other hay is expected to average 2.60 tons per acre, up 0.40 ton from last year.

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

U.S. Corn Production Down Less Than 1 Percent from September Forecast

Soybean Production Down 2 Percent

Corn production for grain is forecast at 13.8 billion bushels, down less than 1 percent from the previous forecast and down 4 percent from last year. Based on conditions as of October 1, yields are expected to average 168.4 bushels per harvested acre, up 0.2 bushel from the previous forecast but down 8.0 bushels from 2018. Area harvested for grain is forecast at 81.8 million acres, down less than 1 percent from the previous forecast but up slightly from 2018. Acreage updates were made in several States based on a thorough review of all available data.

Soybean production for beans is forecast at 3.55 billion bushels, down 2 percent from the previous forecast and down 20 percent from last year. Based on conditions as of October 1, yields are expected to average 46.9 bushels per acre, down 1.0 bushel from the previous forecast and down 3.7 bushels from 2018. Area harvested for beans in the United States is forecast at 75.6 million acres, down less than 1 percent from the previous forecast and down 14 percent from 2018. Acreage updates were made in several States based on a thorough review of all available data.

Cattle Production Risk Management Workshops Offered in November and December 2019

Jim Jansen, UNL Agricultural Economist

Nebraska Extension will be hosting risk management workshops for cattle producers at five locations throughout the state during November and December 2019. Join specialists and educators from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as they present vital information on strategies designed to reduce risk exposure associated with cattle marketing and forage production to achieve a profitable outcome in uncertain times. Topics covered during the workshop include marketing tools available to protect against unfavorable price declines, programs for protecting against weather related forage losses, and current issues facing the cattle industry.

Specific marketing tools covered during the workshop include futures and options as well as Livestock Risk Protection (LRP) Insurance. Programs covered to guard against weather related losses for grazing land and annual forages include Pasture, Range, and Forage (PRF) Insurance, Annual Forage Insurance, and FSA disaster programs. Current issues and opportunities facing the cattle industry will also be discussed as part of the meeting.


Dates and times for these programs include:

Tuesday, November 5, 2019 from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm MT
Country Kitchen Restaurant
1250 W 10th St, Chadron, NE 69337
Contact: Jack Arterburn at 308-327-2312

Wednesday, November 6, 2016 from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm MT
Buffalo Point Restaurant
638 Cabela Dr, Sidney, NE 69162
Contact: Aaron Berger at 308-235-3122

Thursday, November 7, 2019 from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm MT
Bunkhouse Bar & Grill
306 Fir St, Arthur, NE 69121
Contact: Randy Saner at 308-532-2683

Wednesday, December 4, 2019 from 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm CT
** Dairy focused livestock and forage meeting. **
Ramada Hotel & Conference Center
265 33rd Ave, Columbus, NE 68601
Contact: Kimberly Clark at 402-472-6065

Monday, December 9, 2019 from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm CT
Tumbleweed Café
850 East S East St, Broken Bow, NE 68822
Contact: Troy Walz at 308-872-6831

To register for the meetings please either call the contact listed above or go to the link:

These workshops do not have a cost for attending and a complementary meal will be provided, but registration is required 3 days prior to the day of the workshop to ensure an accurate meal count.


From dry beans to honey, specialty crops are an important part of Nebraska agriculture. Several organizations in Nebraska recently received nearly $675,000 in grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) to fund projects designed to strengthen the specialty crop industry in the state.

The funding comes from the USDA’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) which provides grant monies to the departments of agriculture in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the five U.S. territories. NDA administers the state’s SCBG program that funds research, agricultural extension activities and marketing to increase demand for specialty crops in Nebraska.

“Specialty crops add value and variety to Nebraska’s agricultural industry which helps grow our economy,” said NDA Director Steve Wellman. “The SCBGP projects receiving funding will benefit Nebraska specialty crop producers for years to come.”

USDA defines specialty crops as fruits, vegetables, nuts, honey and some turf and ornamental crops. A full list of specialty crops is available on USDA’s website at

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln (UNL) received grants for 10 of the 13 projects that were approved for funding this year. Below is a brief description of each of the 10 projects that will allow UNL to:
  - improve pea seed protein quantity and quality in western Nebraska by evaluating fertilizer management strategies;
  - study the genetics of bacterial wilt resistance in dry beans;
  - develop unique hop flavor profiles as hops are influenced by their growing environment;
  - distribute hybrid hazelnuts in Nebraska and other states for testing;
  - develop a dry bean gene editing system to improve the productivity and availability of dry beans;
  - provide resources to help Nebraska farmers improve yields and performance to grow broccoli, bell peppers and cucumbers;
  - create a pest management program to more effectively control Western Bean Cutworm;
  - teach youth about specialty crops and expand the availability of the crops;
  - provide information to producers about crop and water management practices to enhance productivity and increase economic return; and
  - study vineyard production in order to produce the best quality wine at the most profitable crop load.

In another funded specialty crop project, Southeast Community College will increase awareness, access and use of certain Nebraska specialty crops by creating and incorporating specialty crop curriculum for students in SCC’s Culinary Program.

The Nebraska Center for Rural Affairs will receive grant funding to test the effectiveness and production of alternative hive structure for honey production and honey bee health, in another specialty crop project.

In the last specialty crop project approved for funding this year, the Papio Valley Nursery will use their greenhouses to create year-round production of fresh strawberries.

All of the projects receiving SCBGP funding this year must be completed by Sept. 29, 2022. For more information about this year’s grant awards, go to USDA’s website at and click on “FY2019 pdf.” NDA uses a portion of the USDA-awarded funding to monitor and administer Nebraska’s SCBG program.

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.

Cattle Marketing Listening Sessions Scheduled

The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association has been dedicated to improving market conditions for Iowa’s independent cattle producers since long before the Holcomb, Kansas Tyson plant fire. However, recent market conditions have added more urgency to the situation, and ICA’s volunteer leaders are actively searching for new solutions to the market problems faced in the upper midwest.

The ICA Feedlot Council has been working on specific policy proposals and invites cattle producers to attend one of the upcoming cattle marketing listening sessions.

Each meeting will include a history of ICA's policy initiatives related to cattle marketing and an open forum to discuss new ideas with staff, Feedlot Council members and board members.

Meeting dates and locations:
Oct. 15, 7 pm, Ames; Iowa Cattlemen's Association
Oct. 17, 7 pm, Atlantic; Cass County Community Center
Oct. 23, 10 am, Maquoketa; Johnson Family Farms, 101 300th Ave
Oct. 23, 7 pm, Osage; Knights of Columbus Hall
Oct. 28, 7 pm, Sioux Center; Kooima, Kooima and Varilek office

Members who are unable to attend one of the five meetings will be given an opportunity to voice their opinion through other avenues.

Valley Irrigation Advanced Technology Uses AI to Detect Crop Health and Irrigation Concerns Before It's Too Late

Valley® Irrigation, The Leader in Precision Irrigation®, is gaining traction with the initial launch of Valley InsightsTM service. Through the partnership between Valley Irrigation and Prospera Technologies announced in February 2019, the Valley Insights limited release has demonstrated successful results this growing season, turning data into useful, actionable information for growers in Washington and Nebraska. The service has exceeded expectations by already reaching its targeted goal of one million acres by 2020.

Valley Insights ( is designed to move growers closer to autonomous crop management, generating greater returns while using fewer inputs and resources. Using computer vision, the service scouts to identify areas of over- or under-irrigation and related plant stress. It goes beyond typical aerial imaging, using artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze the visual data, detect issues and alert the grower so proper actions can be taken.

"Our initial release has been focused in the Northwest, where a late winter created a challenging season for growers," says Troy Long, Senior Director of Product Management for Valley Irrigation. "They would have been hard pressed for time to sift through stacks of aerial images provided by other services, searching for potential irrigation-related issues. Valley Insights analyzes the images and alerts growers to possible crop threats before they become big problems. It has saved our users a lot of valuable time they can now dedicate elsewhere."

Henry Boersma, who grows diversified row crops outside of Moses Lake, WA, began piloting Valley Insights this season. He says his crops are already benefitting from the technology.

"When Valley Insights identifies under-watering in certain sectors and alerts us that sprinklers appear to be plugged on certain spans, that's exactly what's happening," he says. "We have another eye in the field, so we can identify issues and make corrections long before we could see stress on our crops with the naked eye. We can fix minor issues before they become major problems, which saves us both time and money."

More and more, growers are also contending with increased resource restriction. In a changing climate, water restriction represents the new normal for growers across the country, and AI-enabled technologies like Valley Insights are helping them maintain yields while using fewer resources.

Thad Taylor, Sales Manager of Lad Irrigation South, says his customers used Valley Insights to do everything from programming a variable rate irrigation (VRI) table to improving water application.

"One of my customers has very little water allocated to his operation," he says. "By using Valley Insights, he makes sure his crops get an even application. He's able to fix issues with his irrigation equipment promptly so he's not wasting his limited supply of water."

Valley has integrated user feedback from the limited release of Valley Insights, prioritizing product development without sacrificing its commitment to simplicity and ease-of-use – all with the goal of enhancing the service prior to additional expansion in 2020.

"Valley and Prospera each bring unique expertise to the partnership, and together we're bringing greater value to growers that undoubtedly will make a difference in overall crop health," stated Darren Siekman, Valley Irrigation Vice President of Water Management & Business Development.

Larry E. Sitzman Youth in Nebraska Agriculture Scholarship Available

College students enrolled as full-time undergraduate or graduate students at a fully accredited Nebraska college, university or technical college in an agriculture related degree program are encouraged to apply for the Larry E. Sitzman Youth in Nebraska Agriculture Scholarship.

The deadline to apply is November 10. Applications will be reviewed, and selection notifications will be sent by December 1. Students may apply for the scholarship online by visiting

The Larry E. Sitzman Youth in Nebraska Agriculture Scholarship is a $1,000 scholarship that will be awarded to one deserving applicant each year.

The scholarship is named for Larry E. Sitzman, who retired in 2016 as Executive Director of the Nebraska Pork Producers Association. Sitzman learned  patriotism, service to our country, and respect for our leaders  from his parents. While  in  high school, he heard John F. Kennedy’s inaugural  address, in which he said, “Ask not what your country can do for you,  ask what you can do for your country.” This address increased his desire to serve.

Agriculture has always been his passion. Throughout his life he has provided service in various forms and from different positions of leadership. Sitzman is known for sharing his voice defending perspectives and asking challenging questions. He served on many state and national agricultural boards before being named the Director of Agriculture for Nebraska in 1991.  Today, Sitzman serves as an active volunteer leader  at the Veterans Administration in Lincoln.

Academics, agriculture, military, and other forms of public service  have all improved in some measure due to the leadership, service, and voice of Larry E. Sitzman. Upon his retirement, the Nebraska Pork Producers Association established this scholarship in his honor.

Eligibility Requirements:

  - Must be currently enrolled as a full-time undergraduate or graduate student at a fully accredited
  - Nebraska college, university or technical college in an agriculture related degree program
  - Must have at least one full year of study remaining toward a degree
  - Must have plans to work in the agriculture industry upon graduation

Selection will be based on qualities of leadership and participation in collegiate or extracurricular activities related to the agriculture industry.

Remember, the deadline for applications is November 10. Go to to apply online.
For more information, contact Kyla Habrock:

Statement by Steve Nelson, President, Regarding Announcement of Preliminary U.S., China Trade Deal

“President Trump’s announcement that he has reached a partial trade deal with China is welcomed news. For more than a year, we’ve been hopeful that the administration would be able to make progress on an agreement that would lessen the impacts of the trade war between the U.S. and China on Nebraska’s farm and ranch families. While we are anxious to learn more of the details of this agreement, reports that the deal could include significant increases in purchases of U.S. agriculture commodities beyond previous levels certainly have our attention. It’s our hope that this is the first step in resolving the ongoing trade dispute with one of the largest consumers of Nebraska agriculture products.” 

Sasse Statement on Possible China Trade Deal

U.S. Senator Ben Sasse, an outspoken advocate for trade and a China hawk, issued the following statement regarding the President's announcement that the United States and China are close to a "phase one" trade deal.

"Everyone in Nebraska hopes that the President is able to get a good trade deal across the finish line in the next few weeks of negotiation. Trade is a win-win for our farmers and ranchers. I'm also pleased that Trade Representative Lighthizer has said that Huawei, the crown jewel of China's espionage network, has not been taken off the United States' blacklist. Americans want trade and we want to win the war between Chinese techno-authoritarianism and American democracy."

Ricketts Comments on “Phase One” China Trade Agreement

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts issued a statement following news that President Donald J. Trump had achieved a “phase one” agreement on trade with China during a meeting with trade officials in Washington, D.C. 

“From forced tech transfer to non-tariff trade barriers, President Trump has rightly spotlighted a host of challenges in America’s trade relationship with China,” said Gov. Ricketts.  “Since 2012, exports from Nebraska to China have fallen, and the country has been an uncertain trade partner for our state.  Our farmers and ranchers would like to see more predictable trade that grows over time.  Today’s agreement is a positive step forward in a long process of achieving this goal and right-sizing America’s trade relationship with China.”

NCF Accepting Applications for CME Beef Industry Scholarships

The National Cattlemen’s Foundation is now accepting applications for 2020-2021 beef industry scholarships sponsored by CME Group. Ten scholarships of $1,500 each will be awarded to outstanding students pursuing careers in the beef industry.

“CME Group is pleased to support the next generation of cattlemen and women, while promoting participation in an industry that is critical to feeding the world,” said Tim Andriesen, CME Group Agricultural Products Managing Director. “During the nearly three decades of partnership with the National Cattlemen’s Foundation and NCBA, we’ve worked together to strengthen the education of tomorrow’s industry leaders on risk management in the beef industry.”

The CME Beef Industry Scholarship was first introduced 30 years ago in 1989. Today, the scholarship recognizes and encourages talented students who will each play an important role in the future of food production in America. Students studying education, communication, production, research or other areas related to the beef industry should consider applying for the scholarship.

Applicants for the 2020-2021 scholarship must submit a one-page letter expressing their career goals related to the beef industry. Students must also write a 750-word essay describing an issue in the beef industry and offering solutions to this problem. Applicants must be a graduating high school senior or full-time undergraduate student enrolled at a two- or four-year college.

Online applications should be submitted by Nov. 8, 2019 at midnight Central Time. To apply, or learn more about the scholarship, click here. Scholarship winners will be announced in January and recognition will be given in San Antonio during the 2020 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show.

For more information visit


The Department of Energy (DOE) Bioenergy Technology Office (BETO) recently held a workshop on Leveraging First Generation Bioethanol Production Facilities. The National Corn Growers Association participated in the event, which was held in Ames, Iowa at the Ames Laboratory, a national laboratory operated for the U.S. Department of Energy by Iowa State University.

The workshop focused on how to leverage existing infrastructure and available feedstocks to create biobased materials and chemicals. Suggestions and proposals from the workshop may be used to inform future DOE Bioenergy Technology Office funding announcements. NCGA’s Director of Market Development, Sarah McKay, presented a Rapid-Fire Talk during the workshop. McKay discussed NCGA’s priorities and approach for increasing corn demand and driving the bioeconomy.

“NCGA has a three-pillar approach toward increasing corn demand and driving the bio-economy,” said McKay. “This approach creates new opportunities, improves efficiency and seeks to build trust with consumers. The first pillar is encouraging and creating new demand, where NCGA seeks to stimulate innovation. Second, NCGA seeks to position corn as a clear feedstock choice, using resources such as the ’Corn as an Industrial Feedstock’ booklet found at Third, NCGA aims to help our customers sell their products to their customers, because if they are successful, so are corn growers.”

NCGA highlighted that efficiencies in production and conversion would make corn and corn-based ethanol increasingly attractive feedstocks for new chemicals, materials and fuels.  The Department of Energy, specifically the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Bioenergy Technology Office, is a major supporter of the development of renewable fuels, chemicals and materials. With these developments and adoption of front and back-end corn fractionation technologies, NCGA recognizes there are tremendous opportunities to utilize the starch and fiber component of the kernel for biobased products and chemicals while meeting current and future food, fuel and feed demands.

NPPC Honors Duroc Breeding Legend with Commemorative Painting

The National Pork Producers Council today unveiled a commemorative painting in honor of Kay Christian, a highly respected pork producer who contributed to the industry in countless ways before her passing on Nov. 4, 2018.

The painting is the second in a series commissioned by NPPC from Iowa artist Valerie Miller, who specializes in livestock-themed art. Entitled "Kay," the artwork depicts a Duroc gilt, the breed for which Christian was so well known for raising, and will be showcased at pork industry events over the next year.

Christian was recognized throughout the industry for raising quality, purebred Duroc hogs and for investing in the development of the next generation of pork industry leaders. Christian is the only woman honored to date with an Iowa Master Seedstock Producer Award, a recognition she earned twice.

"It's appropriate that we honor Kay during Pork Month," said Iowa Pork Producers Association Chief Executive Officer Pat McGonegle. "Kay was an exemplary industry leader known not only for her Duroc breeding expertise but also for her commitment to mentoring aspiring producers, including many 4-Hers, and serving as a judge at many pig shows."

Canvas, paper prints and other representations of the "Kay" painting are available from Steel Cow, the artists retail operation, at

USDA Opens 2020 Enrollment for Dairy Margin Coverage Program

Dairy producers can now enroll in the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program for calendar year 2020. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) opened signup this week for the program that helps producers manage economic risk brought on by milk price and feed cost disparities.

“We know it’s tough out there for American farmers, including our dairy producers,” said Bill Northey, Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation. “As Secretary Perdue said, farmers are pretty good at managing through tough times, and we know that more dairy farmers will be able to survive with this 2018 Farm Bill and its risk mitigation measures, like the Dairy Margin Coverage program.”

The DMC program 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. The deadline to enroll in DMC for 2020 is Dec. 13, 2019.

Dairy farmers earned more than $300 million from the program in 2019 so far. Producers are encouraged to take advantage of this very important risk management tool for 2020.

All producers who want 2020 coverage, even those who took advantage of the 25 percent premium discount by locking in the coverage level for five years of margin protection coverage, are required to visit the office during this signup period to pay the annual administrative fee.

“Dairy producers should definitely consider coverage for 2020 as even the slightest drop in the margin can trigger payments,” said Northey. “Dairy producers should consider enrolling in DMC to guard against what has been, for several years, an extremely unforgiving market.”

Certified Angus Beef brand marks 15th consecutive year of growth

Miranda Reiman

Economic incentive is a powerful thing.

It directs ranch-level decisions and points an industry in a specific direction.

Financial reward kept cattlemen on the path toward higher quality, and led them to produce record amounts of Certified Angus Beef ® (CAB®) brand product in the 2019 fiscal year that ended September 30.

For the 13th year in a row, the brand reported record sales, settling at 1.25 billion. It’s also the 15th consecutive year of sales growth.

A global network of nearly 19,000 licensed processor, foodservice and retail partners marketed an additional 38 million pounds—or a 3.1% increase—over the previous year.

CAB president John Stika credits “an entire community of Angus farmers, ranchers and feeders being extremely intentional over several years in the way they breed, raise and care for their cattle with a focus on quality.”

As a result, the CAB acceptance rate, or percentage of Angus-type cattle meeting the brand’s 10 carcass specifications, rose to a record 35% this year. That 5.65 million certified carcasses came to 471,000 more than last year’s tally.

“We basically had a thirteenth month of supply this year. That was really a big part of what allowed this brand to grow its sales,” Stika says. “You can’t turn a ship that big on a dime. It was several years of focus. That increase is significant because it doesn’t happen by random chance.”

Without the sales to move that product, it becomes too much a good thing.

“It takes a great number of people filling different yet connected roles for this growth,” Stika says. “Fortunately, there is a lot of room at the brand’s table.”

Monthly sales records and category growth

CAB set sales records in all but 3 months of fiscal 2019; 6 months ranked among the top 10 sales months in the brand’s 41-year history. Propelled by strong consumer demand and relatively steady market prices, sales records spanned product categories.

Backed by traditionally strong demand, sales of middle meats grew by 3.8%. Sales of roasts and other end meats increased 3.4%, and ground beef sales, boosted by the better burger movement, grew by 2 million pounds.

Sales of the Certified Angus Beef ® brand Prime product extension grew by 36.6%—an achievement made possible by historically high availability of the most highly marbled product.

“We used to think of this almost exclusively as a product for elite steakhouses, but this year retailers from coast to coast saw the opportunity to add to the offerings in their meat case,” he says. The brand provided encouragement in the way of business analysis and marketing support.

Divisional success

Global sales reached an all-time high of 207.5 million pounds, demonstrating the universal appeal of highly marbled, grain-fed beef among diverse cultures and markets. Japan led the way for growth, followed by Taiwan, Colombia and the Dominican Republic.

Representing 43% of the brand’s sales, the retail division’s 8.8% gain was its fourth consecutive year of growth to achieve an all-time record of 537.5 million pounds.

In addition to Prime product driving sales, retailers increasingly chose to feature CAB over lower-priced protein options on the front page of their circulars.

The foodservice division achieved a 4.6% increase. Largely driven by the efforts of licensed distributors, restaurants that actively promoted the brand on their menus more than doubled that benchmark and increased sales 10% over the previous year.

Also, for the 10th consecutive year, sales of branded value-added products set a record, exceeding 33 million pounds. Processors offered more high-quality convenience meals in both retail and foodservice.

All of this growth is possible, because of the new dollars that flow into the business from customers who want more of the best.

In 1998, beef demand was at an all-time low, Stika says. Since then, the entire beef industry has benefitted from a $60 billion increase in annual consumer spending.

“Quality improved, and demand followed suit,” he says. “Producers didn’t just do it because it was the right thing to do. It was, but the improvement is also a result of the economic signals that say produce more quality and we’ll reward you for it.”

Today, 18% of all fed cattle qualify for the brand—that’s more than the number that grade Select.

“Our partners have been a meaningful part of that success,” Stika says. “Through their commitment to quality, they’ve helped direct the entire industry, drawing it closer to the consumer. As they do so, they’re providing a more sustainable future for all.”

Brazil Forecasts Record Soybean Crop of 120.4 MMT for 2019-2020 Season

Brazilian crop agency expects the country's farmers to produce a record amount of soybeans in the 2019-20 season as producers increase the area planted and better weather is expected for the end of this year.

Brazilian farmers will grow 120.4 million metric tons of soybeans this season, for which planting has already started, an increase of 4.7% from the 2018-2019 season, when 115 million tons were produced. The area planted is forecast to rise 1.9% to 36.6 million hectares.

Unusually hot and dry weather in some soybean-producing states at the end of last year and the start of this year reduced yields for the 2018-2019 season in areas, leading to a smaller crop in the season than the record 119.3 million tons grown in 2017-2018.

The relatively small increase in the area planted is due to uncertainty about international demand in the face of the continuing trade dispute between the US, normally the world's biggest soybean producer, and China, the world's biggest consumer, Conab said.

Lower prices and the increasing cost of opening up new areas for planting also contributed to the slower increase in area planted, according to the agency.

Brazilian farmers will produce a smaller total corn crop in 2019-2020, of 98.4 million metric tons, down 1.7% from the record 100 million tons produced in 2018-2019, Conab said.

Climate FieldView Teams Up with Tillable to Improve Farm Data Transparency

Bayer’s digital agriculture division, The Climate Corporation (Climate), announced today a partnership between its industry-leading FieldView™ digital farming platform and Tillable, a first-of-its-kind digital marketplace connecting farmers and landowners.

Approximately 40 percent of U.S. farmland is rented or leased, according to USDA estimates. Despite the sizeable $32 billion farmland rental market in the U.S., Tillable is the first and only digital platform to optimize returns for landowners. The platform also helps farmers access land to expand operations. Now, FieldView farmer customers using Tillable can more easily share farm operation details, such as planting and yield data, that they’re already collecting through the FieldView platform.

“Farmers rely on many different relationships and technologies to ensure a successful season,” said Mike Stern, CEO at The Climate Corporation and Head of Digital Farming for Bayer Crop Science. “We are always interested in collaborating with other innovators to support farmers in the many decisions they make to simplify and improve their operations. Integrating Tillable’s marketplace with FieldView offers easy-to-use digital tools that will improve farm efficiency.”

Digital platforms that provide a marketplace to easily connect consumers to service providers are common across nearly all industries. From booking accommodations to scheduling a ride to the airport, digital platforms are playing a prominent role in how people secure services today.

“This partnership reaffirms our commitment to protecting farmland’s long-term value,” said Corbett Kull, co-founder and CEO of Tillable. “With FieldView integration, farmers using Tillable can more easily share data about their operation to continue building their reputation, and landowners can rest assured that their property is being properly cared for and will remain a protected investment.”

First launched in the United States in 2015, FieldView gives farmers a deeper understanding of their fields so they can make more informed operating decisions to optimize yields, maximize efficiency and reduce risk. FieldView is currently on more than 60 million paid acres across the United States, Canada, Brazil, Europe and Argentina and on track to achieve more than 90 million paid acres globally in 2019. It has quickly become the most broadly connected platform in the industry and will continue to expand into other global regions over the next few years.

R.J. O'Brien Announces Expanded Commitment to AutoHedge Agri-Tech Offering, Rebranded as Hrvyst, for Commercial Agriculture Industry

Chicago-based R.J. O'Brien & Associates (RJO), the oldest and largest independent futures brokerage and clearing firm in the United States, announced today that the firm has expanded its commitment to its agri-tech offering for the commercial grain industry, originally known as AutoHedge and now rebranded as Hrvyst. Spearheading the strategic initiative full time will be long-time RJO executive Kirk Bonniwell, who had been in charge of the Commercial Grains and OTC Markets divisions.

RJO Chairman and CEO Gerald Corcoran said: "We believe Hrvyst is positioned to revolutionize the agriculture industry by enabling grain operators to achieve significant economies of scale and superior streamlining of their business. This innovative technology platform helps our clients modernize ag commerce and build a productive bridge to farmers. I've asked Kirk to focus exclusively on the initiative going forward, with the expectation that the offering will grow and serve an important role in the industry."

Bonniwell said: "Following our early success with select clients, we will continue to build on our hedge management platform while expanding the Hrvyst ecosystem to deliver – in new and exciting ways – a range of products and services to the market."

Hrvyst enables users to manage their grain risk in real time, enterprise-wide, automatically converting cash grain movement into futures hedging orders. Conceived and developed internally by the RJO Commercial Agricultural team, Hrvyst automates what has historically been a human process, improving communication, accountability and hedging precision for large grain elevator companies and cooperatives, commercial producers and commercial agricultural operations.

Wednesday October 9 Ag News

Awards Aim to Keep Agricultural Education Teachers in Nebraska

The Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation awarded 10 teachers with funds  in support of agricultural education and FFA programs in Nebraska.

“All 10 teachers are committed to making a difference in rural Nebraska,” said Megahn Schafer, executive director of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation. “We’re proud to support this year’s winners and their contributions to their classrooms and communities.”

The 10 recipients of the scholarships are
  - Kathryn Arp, Bishop Neumann High School (Wahoo);
  - Jacob Goldfuss, Sandy Creek Public Schools;
  - Kate Grimes, Axtell Community School;
  - Blair Hartman, Ansley Public Schools;
  - Hannah Horak, Shelton High School;
  - Brian Johnson, Litchfield Public Schools;
  - Lacey Jo Peterson, Riverside Public Schools;
  - Morgan Schwartz, Stanton Community Schools;
  - Nicole Sorensen, Minatare High School;
  - Macie Wippel, Kearney Public Schools.

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


The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will survey producers in 41 states, including Nebraska, as part of its County Agricultural Production Survey (CAPS). The survey will collect information on total acres planted and harvested, and total yield and production of row crops down to the county level.

“The data provided by producers will help federal and state programs support the farmer,” said Nick Streff, director of the NASS Northern Plains Field Office. “We hope every producer will take the time to respond if they receive this survey. Producers benefit when there are data available to help determine accurate loan rates, disaster payments, crop insurance price elections, and more. When enough producers respond to surveys, NASS is able to publish data. Without data, agencies such as USDA’s Risk Management Agency or Farm Service Agency may not have information on which to base the programs that serve those same producers.”

Within the next few weeks NASS representatives will contact selected Nebraska growers to arrange telephone or in-person interviews to complete the survey.

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

USMEF Awards Honor Rodibaugh, Carpenter, Cutler

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

The USMEF Distinguished Service Award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding leadership in the pursuit of USMEF's export goals. This year's honoree is Danita Rodibaugh of Rensselaer, Ind., a former USMEF chair and longtime advocate for the U.S. red meat industry. Active in the management of a family farm operation that raises pigs, corn, soybeans and wheat, Rodibaugh is a past president of the National Pork Board (NPB) and has held many key industry leadership roles, chairing the Ethics of Pork Production Task Force and serving on the board of directors of both the National Pork Producers Council and Indiana Pork, the NPB Trade Committee and several committees focused on environmental stewardship.

"I really admire the past recipients of the USMEF Distinguished Service Award, and I am humbled to receive such an honor," Rodibaugh said. "I marvel at an organization like USMEF that can work with so many different agricultural sectors and bring them together to accomplish a common goal. Looking back at my time as USMEF chair and as an officer, it's that kind of collaboration that I am most proud of — working jointly and making key decisions together. I was truly blessed to have such an outstanding officer team when I was USMEF chair."

Rodibaugh added that fostering trust was a top priority during her time in the USMEF leadership, not only among the USMEF officers and executive committee, but also the organization's funding sources.

"Enhancing communication between the various sectors allows USMEF to benefit from the expertise each sector brings to the table and to better understand the challenges we all face," she explained. "When that level of trust is established, it helps us educate fellow producers about the value red meat exports deliver and how exports benefit all of U.S. agriculture."

The Michael J. Mansfield Award is presented in honor of the former U.S. Senate majority leader and U.S. ambassador to Japan who helped form the foundation for U.S. trade relations throughout the world. This year's co-recipients of the award, which recognizes individuals whose leadership has helped expand international trade opportunities, are Barry Carpenter, who recently retired as president and CEO of the North American Meat Institute (NAMI), and Wendy Cutler, vice president of the Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI).

Carpenter's 50-year career in the public and private sectors included 37 years at USDA, where he led the Agricultural Marketing Service's Livestock and Seed Division. Carpenter oversaw creation of USDA's beef export verification programs, which were critical to restoring market access for U.S. beef following the nation's first case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in December 2003. His leadership was also critical in developing video technology for beef yield and quality grading. During his time at NAMI, Carpenter was a highly respected spokesperson for the U.S. meat industry who provided steady guidance on key policy issues and represented the industry on several international governing bodies. His many career honors include Presidential Rank Awards, NAMI's E. Floyd Forbes Award and induction into the Meat Industry Hall of Fame.

"I am overwhelmed at the honor of receiving the Mansfield Award," Carpenter said. "Having worked on trade issues for many years in various capacities, trade is something that I care deeply about, and I never anticipated that I would be honored at this level."

When asked to reflect on the contributions he is most proud of, Carpenter cited USDA's efforts that laid the groundwork for U.S. beef exports' impressive recovery following the BSE-related market closures.

"Coming up with an export verification program that bridged the gap between our government's regulatory food safety scheme and what our trading partners were expecting was just phenomenal," he said. "I don't know how else we could have ever broken that logjam and satisfied the needs of those countries. For some trading partners it obviously worked faster and better than others, but for all practical purposes it was the tool that got us back into all of those markets."

Cutler also has a long history of helping the U.S. meat industry overcome barriers in the international marketplace. Prior to joining ASPI, she had a very accomplished career with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). Cutler worked on a wide range of trade negotiations and other initiatives in the Asia-Pacific region, serving as USTR's chief negotiator on the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) and leading the bilateral negotiations with Japan under the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

When reacting to the Michael J. Mansfield Award announcement, Cutler was quick to emphasize the team approach that underpinned these advancements in U.S. trade relations.

"I am delighted to be recognized for my efforts, but this award also belongs to the other hard-working negotiators with whom I worked so closely," she noted. "By working as a team, we made important inroads into the lucrative and growing meat markets in Asia."

While Cutler knew that USTR had secured very favorable terms for the red meat sector in KORUS, the remarkable success the U.S. industry has achieved in Korea has exceeded her expectations.

"I am pleasantly surprised that the United States has now become the leading beef exporter to Korea, because this was such a sensitive issue during and after the FTA negotiations," Cutler said. "The KORUS model is a great example of a genuine partnership between the U.S. government and U.S. industry. Trade agreements can open markets by eliminating tariff and non-tariff barriers, but then it's up to the private sector to take advantage of these opportunities. The U.S. meat industry has done an incredible job of marketing its products in Korea and other international markets."

She emphasized that Korean consumers are benefiting greatly from KORUS because it has made beef and other U.S. agricultural products more affordable.

"In many Asian countries, including Korea and Japan, agriculture has traditionally been one of the most-protected markets in their economy," Cutler said. "As those markets open up and consumers are able to avail themselves of different cuts of meat at competitive prices, consumption increases. At the same time per capita income is also rising in the region, which contributes to more meat consumption."

In addition to receiving the Michael J. Mansfield Award, Cutler will be a featured speaker at the USMEF Strategic Planning Conference. On Friday, Nov. 8, she will update USMEF members on the status of U.S. trade relations in Asia and where she sees opportunities to further increase trade and strengthen economic ties with key trading partners.

Retail Fertilizer Prices Continue Slow Slide Lower

Retail fertilizer prices are beginning to sound a bit like a broken record: They're all slightly lower, just like they've been seven of the last eight weeks, according to prices tracked by DTN for the first week of October 2019.

All eight of the major fertilizers were again lower in price from the month earlier. No fertilizer was down a significant amount, which DTN designates at 5%.

DAP had an average price of $476 per ton, down $15; MAP $474/ton, down $14; potash $384/ton, down $3; urea $404/ton, down $4; 10-34-0 $470/ton, down $3; anhydrous $511/ton, down $11; UAN28 $253/ton, down $2; and UAN32 $289/ton, down $1.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.44/lb.N, anhydrous $0.31/lb.N, UAN28 $0.45/lb.N and UAN32 $0.45/lb.N.

With prices significantly lower in recent months, two fertilizers' prices dropped to being lower in price from a year ago. MAP is now 9% less expensive and DAP is 5% lower from last year at this time.

The remaining six major fertilizers continue to be slightly higher compared to last year. UAN32 is 3% more expensive, both urea and 10-34-0 are 4% higher, anhydrous is 5% more expensive, potash is 6% higher and UAN28 is 7% more expensive compared to last year.

Celebrating a Century of the American Farm Bureau

Zippy Duvall, President

Your American Farm Bureau turns 100 next month, a truly special cause for celebration. All year long we have been celebrating a century of working together for the men and women who grow our food, fiber and energy. This remarkable milestone is a testament to how much stronger we are when we speak with one voice.

A lot has changed in 100 years, but farmers’ and ranchers’ most essential needs and concerns have not. Then and now, we need markets for what we produce, labor to grow and harvest it, infrastructure to transport it, and fair prices to keep our businesses moving forward.
Founded in November 1919, the American Farm Bureau Federation has given all farmers and ranchers a voice in our nation’s capital.

Thankfully, there is a strong, national organization working for those goals. Founded in November 1919, the American Farm Bureau Federation has given all farmers and ranchers a voice in our nation’s capital. Because of the decision 100 years ago to establish the American Farm Bureau Federation, farmers and ranchers are represented when Congress works on a wide range of issues. No matter what they grow or where they grow it, farmers and ranchers come together through Farm Bureau to work for the good of all of agriculture.

On a day-to-day basis, it’s easy to take this organization for granted. It seems as if it always has been here for us farmers and ranchers, and it always will be. But to appreciate something’s true value, you need to imagine how things would be without it. Without Farm Bureau, we would not have federal programs to provide risk management tools to help farmers and ranchers survive volatile ups and downs in the farm economy. Without this great organization, non-farm interests would drown out the voice of farmers and ranchers.

The American Farm Bureau was the first organization to bring groups of grassroots members to Washington, D.C., to influence their members of Congress in favor of farm legislation. Our Farm Bureau forefathers wrote the book on grassroots advocacy and influence, and we’re still proud of our grassroots structure.

We have been standing firm for farmers since day one. In the early days of Farm Bureau, Congress wanted to recess without voting on a farm bill. The American Farm Bureau worked with a “farm bloc” of senators and representatives, however, to stop Congress from recessing until the farm legislation was considered. With that same passion, we continue to band together across Farm Bureau to ensure that Congress, the White House and federal agencies make our farmers and ranchers a priority.

We in Farm Bureau often say that if there wasn’t an American Farm Bureau, we’d have to create one today. Of course, the reality is we do “recreate” Farm Bureau with each new generation of grassroots farm and ranch leaders. Each generation determines where this movement will go next, how engaged they will be and, therefore, how effective and influential Farm Bureau will be. Each generation strengthens Farm Bureau for the next, so that future farmers and ranchers will have a strong, united voice working for them, too.

In an age when it seems that so much is coming and going faster than ever, it is such a blessing to be able to celebrate 100 years as an organization. Much like the farmers and ranchers we represent, we tend to keep our heads down and hands on the plow here at American Farm Bureau, moving forward with the work that needs to get done. I’m so thankful for this opportunity to pause and reflect on our organization’s history and the good work we’ve accomplished together. May God bless us with another fruitful century of Farm Bureau!

Cattlemen Participate in White House Event Spotlighting Federal Overreach

Two members of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) today joined President Trump at a White House event spotlighting past federal overreach by the U.S. Department of the Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). During the event, the President signed two Executive Orders that will provide more clarity and transparency to often-daunting and complicated federal regulatory processes.

"Today’s event at the White House demonstrates the effectiveness of our association’s efforts in having meaningful and lasting positive impacts on regulation reforms that benefit our industry, rural communities and family ranching operations," said Nevada public lands rancher J.J. Goicoechea, who participated in this afternoon's West Wing event. "We stand ready and committed to further assist President Trump’s administration in further improvements."

Another NCBA member and public lands rancher who participated in today's event is Kevin Lunny of Point Reyes, California. Lunny was the owner of the Drakes Bay Oyster Company, which was forced to close in 2015 after a years-long battle with the National Park Service, Interior Department, and radical environmental groups that attracted national attention and outrage.

"As cattle producers we’re humbled to have the opportunity to advocate for our industry at the highest levels," Lunny said. "We applaud this administration for finally giving ranching families a voice, and look forward to working with the President to find solutions to these challenges.”

NCBA Vice President of Government Affairs Ethan Lane echoed Goicoechea's and Lunny's comments.

"Time and time again over the past three years, this Administration has proven its commitment to regulatory relief and reform for agricultural producers," Lane said. "Washington needs to help our producers succeed and continue to help feed the world - not actively try to put them out of business. The Trump Administration understands that, and we look forward to continuing our work with them toward that goal."

OCM Applauds U.S. Senators for Probe into JBS Transactions

As reported today in Meatingplace, "U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) sent a letter to Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin requesting that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) formally open a review of the transactions of Brazilian meat-processing conglomerate JBS S.A."

Angela Huffman, Communications and Research Director for the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM), offered the following statement:

"The corrupt actions of JBS demonstrate the epitome of unchecked monopoly power. JBS should be stripped of all its U.S. assets. No one should profit from illegal activity. We thank Senators Rubio and Menendez for their courageous action in taking on the largest meatpacker in the world."

For the past year OCM has called out JBS for using ill-gotten influence to take over the beef market in the U.S. Below are a few of JBS' most egregious abuses:

-    In November 2018, Chinese-owned Smithfield Foods rescinded its bid for bailout money after a backlash on Capitol Hill over a similar award, but neither JBS nor USDA would rescind their $22 million sweetheart deal.
-    This past week it was disclosed that Secretary Perdue had extended an additional $40 million in farmer trade bailout dollars to JBS.
-    In a decade-long scheme, the meatpacker bribed more than 1,800 Brazilian politicians, which JBS admitted helped them take over the U.S. beef market. In 2017, JBS was caught exporting rotten meat worldwide and trying to cover up the stench using cancer-causing acid products. In 2018, 12 million pounds of JBS ground beef were recalled and 246 people were sickened in the U.S. due to salmonella poisoning. Evidence shows the salmonella outbreak was caused by JBS’s standard practice of allowing sick dairy cows into the beef supply. In 2018, USDA found JBS had ripped off U.S. cattle producers at three separate slaughter facilities by shorting them on payments for their cattle, and while the JBS abuses were extensive, USDA settled the claims for a mere $50,000 penalty.
-    As reported by Reuters, JBS is making money off of the U.S. China trade war.
-    A Congressional Research Service report issued in December 2018 indicated 2018 net farm income was down 12% from the previous year. The calculations were inclusive of the farmer bailout payments which had been made due to the U.S. China trade war.
-    In spite of these massive payments for pork by USDA to JBS, U.S. hog farmers are still in what the Washington Post has called a tailspin.
-    Bloomberg reported last month that U.S. soybean growers are seeing the lowest commodity prices in a decade.

Groups Call out Kansas Livestock Association over Misuse of Funds

The Kansas Livestock Association (KLA) has been collecting and expending $10 million dollars per year in violation of state and federal law, according to the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) and the Kansas Cattlemen’s Association (KCA).

A briefing paper released by the two groups today outlines how KLA has obtained funding through an improperly close affiliation with the Kansas Beef Council, which is charged with collecting $1 a head from every cattle transaction as part of the federally mandated Beef Checkoff Program. The groups also say KLA has refused to release financial information disclosing how these federally mandated funds are spent.

Following a comprehensive review of publicly available records, OCM concluded that these funds are being used to prop up KLA operations by contributing to office rental payments and employee salaries. Co-opting these funds allows KLA to gain undue influence in the legislative arena, although by law checkoff funds can only be used for non-legislative promotion and market-development activities. The briefing paper also explains how as much as $2 million dollars a year is being funneled from KLA to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), KLA’s national trade and lobbying affiliate, in a pay-to-play scheme that unjustly amplifies its legislative activities.

All told, OCM estimates that NCBA receives more than $37 million through similar pay-to-play arrangements with various state affiliates. This money is then used to promote the political interests of its members, which include meatpackers, rather than the interests of the cattle industry as a whole.

Greg Davis of the of the Kansas Cattlemen’s Association said, “We support the beef checkoff program, but we strongly object to the way it is being administered, the way it is being collected, and the total lack of transparency and accountability to the cattle producers who are forced to pay the federal tax. For years Kansas Cattlemen’s Association has voiced these concerns, but no one has taken one step to stop this injustice. We can only hope, based on the evidence in this briefing paper, that others in our government will hear our concerns and answer the call to end the taxpayer abuse. It is our fear that if this mess is not cleaned up soon, the majority of cattle producers will be calling for an end to the beef checkoff program.”

Joe Maxwell, Executive Director of the Organization for Competitive Markets, said, “It is just unimaginable that the state of Kansas is allowing this taxpayer abuse. A large part of these funds are federal tax dollars collected by this state agency. The state has a responsibility to administer these federally mandated funds, no differently than it does any other federal funds it receives. The state’s family farmers deserve no less.”

OCM and KCA are calling for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Cattlemen’s Beef Board to disqualify the Kansas Beef Council from collecting any further checkoff funds until a complete separation is established from KLA and all associated lobbying activities. If needed, the state legislature should enact legislation setting up a new collection authority that is fully transparent and equally representative of all Kansas cattle producers, the groups say.

Corruption and Misuse of Farmers’ Funds Found in Kansas Beef Checkoff program

Today, farmers and ranchers gathered at the State Capitol to hold a press conference to release the findings of a research paper that highlights the abuses of a federal program administered by a state not-for profit.  The Organization for Competitive Markets and Kansas Cattlemen’s Association joined to speak out against the corruption and potential misuse of $10 million of farmers’ hard-earned dollars, at a time when agricultural producers are already struggling because of the disruption of international markets because of trade disputes.

Originally established by the Congress to pool funds for commodity-specific promotion and research, and mandated to be funded directly from farmer dollars, the checkoff programs have expanded far beyond their intended purposes and have become a source of controversy and government abuse.  The latest report shows the diversion of money for high salaries and lobbying activities by private trade associations – not activities consistent with the authorizing language in the federal statute that governs the program.

Checkoff dollars appear to have been misused for decades to lobby for policies that are harmful to animals, including a recent plan to roundup and incarcerate massive numbers of wild horses from public lands in the West. 

“Once again, ‘Big Ag’ and the so-called National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s scheme that misuses farmers’ dollars to line the pockets of multi-national corporations has been exposed,” said Marty Irby, executive director at Animal Wellness Action. “We’re ramping up our efforts to help end the abuses in the corrupt USDA checkoff programs. Checkoff’s shouldn’t be allowed to use the American family farmer’s hard-earned money to put them out of business.”

“I don’t want my hard-earned dollars funneled to a quasi-governmental organization that works against my best interest and represents industrial agriculture’s continued movement toward the monopolization of farming,” said Will Harris, president of the American Grassfed Association. “We’ve farmed the same land since 1866, and I want to ensure that future generations are able to continue to do the same.”

Earlier this year, a very unlikely group of allies – U.S. Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) – banded together to reintroduce the Opportunities for Fairness in Farming (OFF) Act, S. 935. The bill doesn’t seek to abolish the checkoff programs, as Big Ag has misrepresented in its attacks against the legislation – but would instead create transparency and accountability and prohibit checkoff funds from being used for lobbying. The OFF Act also would prohibit funds from being used to pay for staff and programs of trade associations that favor multi-national corporations and push small farmers out of business. U.S. Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV) plans to introduce a similar measure in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Beef Checkoff Program was established in the 1985 Farm Bill. As a result of federal law, the Beef Promotion and Research Act (Beef Act), mandates that every time cattle producer sells a cow; the producer is required to pay a $1.00 federally mandated beef checkoff assessment to the federally designated Qualified State Beef Council in the producer’s state.

Although the Kansas Beef Council, which is actually the Kansas Livestock Association, is designated as a federal Qualified State Beef Council, it does not legally exist as a formal entity. Instead, the Kansas Livestock Association – the state affiliate of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) collects the federally mandated beef checkoff assessments and administers the funds.

Because Kansas Livestock Association is a private membership trade and lobbying organization with a complex business model of both nonprofit and for-profit organizations, its role as the tax collector has created resentment and hostility among the independent cattle producers who are mandated to pay into the fund.


Greg Hanes, CEO, Cattlemen’s Beef Board

In the few months since I took the helm as CEO of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB) – the governing and administrative organization of the Beef Checkoff – there appears to be many misperceptions, false rumors, and misinformation about how the checkoff works and is administered. Let’s look at its history, what the Beef Checkoff can and cannot do, as well as the processes and procedures we have in place to continue to be strong stewards of your checkoff dollars.


The Beef Checkoff was created through the Beef Promotion and Research Act of 1985 as part of the Farm Bill. It was initiated as an effort driven by producers who saw an important need for more promotion and research to stave off falling beef demand in the late 1970s / 1980s and was designed to be producer driven at both a local and national level. Immediately following its passing, the Beef Promotion and Research Order was created, outlining the detailed rules for governance over the program, funding distribution, contractor requirements, etc.  The areas where checkoff funding can be used are clearly defined:  promotion, research, consumer information, industry information, and producer communications. Conversely, lobbying or “influencing governmental action or policy” is also clearly prohibited. 

Within 22 months, a referendum was conducted among producers throughout the U.S. to vote on the continuation of the program – which was passed by 79% of farmers and ranchers. The Beef Checkoff as we know it came life in 1988. Copies of both “The Act and Order” are available online at, or you can contact our office and we can ensure you get a copy.


The Act and The Order is our rulebook - set in law - that we must follow every day.  To ensure all aspects of this law are followed, the USDA is delegated authority by Congress to oversee the Beef Checkoff Program. As part of its oversight responsibilities, USDA reviews and approves our plans, projects, budgets, contracts, processes and procedures, and keeps a watchful eye over our financials, our board, our communications, and our operations.  In fact, the Secretary of Agriculture himself appoints all 99 CBB board members, which includes both domestic producers and importers, a process outside of our purview.


The Act and The Order outlines additional specifics about the governance supporting your checkoff dollars. As noted, they outline the type of activities that can/cannot be funded; define that all efforts must be producer-driven; that the CBB board members must be producers and importers who serve on the national board in a voluntary capacity for 3-year terms; that no member shall serve more than two consecutive terms; and that the number of board members are  based on the cattle inventory of each state.


Another piece outlined by The Act and The Order is the Beef Promotion Operating Committee. This important group of 20 producers and importers is created by appointed positions from the Cattlemen’s Beef Board (10 members) and the Federation of State Beef Councils (10 members). This committee oversees the distribution each year of nearly $40 million of national Beef Checkoff dollars to beef industry contractors to do the work outlined in The Act and The Order. Funding decisions must be made together by both national and state-level decision-makers, with great consideration to the balance between the national and regional needs of producers. No funding decision can be made without approval from at least two thirds, or 14 of the Operating Committee members, so neither the CBB nor the Federation can dictate where funding goes. As such, programs must show great benefit to the industry as a whole to get approved. 


The Beef Checkoff currently partners with eight national non-profit, beef industry-governed organizations we call contractors. All contractors are vetted, audited, and reviewed regularly by the Cattlemen’s Beef Board. Each contractor must meet specific criteria to receive Beef Checkoff funding, a process that can take up to a year to facilitate. In fact, the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association just became a new contractor this year.

The Act and The Order states that contractors to the checkoff be national non-profit industry-governed organizations that are governed by a board of directors representing the beef industry, and have been active and ongoing for at least two years.  All contractors work on a cost-recovery basis, meaning they must do the work outlined in their funding request and then seek reimbursement for their costs. This allows for the Cattlemen’s Beef Board to have direct oversight of expenses that use checkoff funds. If expenses are submitted that do not meet The Act and The Order, they are not reimbursed. Thus, the checkoff does not pay for anything it should not. In addition, if a contractor has a lobbying arm, they must prove they have an accounting “firewall” between their checkoff and lobbying dollars. The Cattlemen’s Beef Board works closely with these organizations so that checkoff dollars aren’t used outside of the scope of the Act and Order.

Our eight contracting organizations for Fiscal Year 2020 (Oct. 2019 - Sept. 2020):
    American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture
    Cattlemen’s Beef Board
    Foundation for Meat and Poultry Research and Education
    Meat Import Council of America
    National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
    National Livestock Producers Association
    North American Meat Institute
    United States Cattlemen’s Association

In addition, our contractors work with four subcontracting organizations:
    Kansas State University
    North East Beef Promotion Initiative
    National Institute for Animal Agriculture
    United States Meat Export Federation

The Beef Checkoff plays an extremely important role in providing education and driving demand for our beef. Competition is fierce among proteins in the United States and global markets now, so we are proud of our contractors and the work they do every day to ensure beef continues to be the number one protein to consumers everywhere. We have small contractors and large ones; we have contractors with very targeted audiences, and those who reach large swaths of the population. Whether building a promotional campaign, researching nutrition and health, championing handling and safety, or engaging consumers, together they each play an important role in driving beef demand, both here in the United States as well in the international markets.

Visit for more information on the Beef Checkoff, Cattlemen’s Beef Board, Qualified State Beef Councils, and Beef Checkoff contractors.

Weekly Ethanol Production for 10/4/2019

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending Oct. 4, ethanol production expanded 5,000 b/d or 0.5% to 963,000 barrels per day (b/d)—equivalent to 40.45 million gallons daily. This was the third straight week in which production was below 1 million b/d, and output was 7.4% lower than a year ago. The four-week average ethanol production rate slowed for the sixth week, declining 1.5% to 967,000 b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 14.82 billion gallons and the lowest average since June 2016.

Ethanol stocks plummeted 8.6% to 21.2 million barrels—the largest weekly draw on record. Inventories were the smallest in over 2 years (since Sept. 2017). Stocks came in 11.6% lower than the same week last year and 1.4% under two years ago. Stocks declined across all PADDs, including a 15.9% decrease in the Gulf Coast (PADD 2).

There were zero imports for the second consecutive week. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of August 2019.)

The volume of gasoline supplied lifted 3.5% to 9.460 million b/d (397.3 million gallons per day, or 145.02 bg annualized). Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol tapered off by 0.7% to 917,000 b/d, equivalent to 14.06 bg annualized.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production decreased to 10.18%.

Study Reveals Ramifications of Limited Rural Broadband Service on American Farmers

A new study commissioned by the United Soybean Board (USB) reveals the lack of access to broadband in rural areas takes a significant toll on American farmers and the economy.

According to “Rural Broadband and the American Farmer: Connectivity Challenges Limit Agriculture’s Economic Impact and Sustainability,” an alarming 60% of U.S. farmers say they do not have enough connectivity to run their businesses. USB initiated the rural broadband study to better understand how and why farmers currently access the internet, and the implications that access has for farm business decisions, economic viability and overall sustainability.

Data from the United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service indicates that farming contributes to nearly $133 billion of our country’s gross domestic product. Based on USB’s rural broadband survey, the lack of connectivity negatively impacts farmers responsible for $80 billion of gross domestic product.

“End users ask farmers to deliver a consistent and high-quality crop without adequate internet access and reliable broadband speeds, which undoubtedly impacts their efficiency and sustainability,” says Tim Venverloh, vice president of sustainability strategy for USB.

Other significant findings include:
—  78% of farmers do not have a choice in internet service providers.
—  60% of farmers say the internet service they do have is slow, with most relying on cell signals or hotspots to connect to the internet.
—  40% of farmers have a fixed internet connection, while others rely on satellite connections. 

“There’s a clear disparity between connectivity in rural versus non-rural areas,” says Venverloh. “The lack of connectivity, however, extends to farmers past the farm gate. When farmers can’t maximize the functionality of their equipment, particularly in the middle of the field, it has repercussions beyond the farm. More and more of the future is about data and data transfer. The timely dissemination and use of data is becoming more important in a precision ag and decision ag world.”

The results of the qualitative and quantitative research highlight the critical need to improve rural broadband access, which has implications far beyond quality of life (information, communication and entertainment) in addition to the livelihood for rural communities. 

“Farmers continually look for ways to improve efficiencies while protecting natural resources," adds Venverloh. "Upwards of 50% of the farmers we surveyed want to incorporate more technology into their operations, but they are held back by limited connectivity. Improving their access to broadband needs to be a priority.”

USB will share survey data with internet service providers, as well as influencer organizations working to tackle policy and technical challenges involved in delivering high-speed broadband access to rural communities.

For background on the study, more than 2,000 primary and secondary farm operators responded to a combination of online and mail-in surveys to participate. Thanks to cooperation from American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, Illinois Soybean Association and North Carolina Soybean Producers Association, the report represents a cross-section of U.S. agriculture. Participants included 86% who grow field or row crops such as corn and soybeans; 21% who grow specialty crops such as fruits and vegetables; and 55% who raise livestock. In-depth telephone interviews were also conducted with participants in eight states in July and August 2019.

National Voter Poll Shows Strong Support for RFS, Biodiesel Use

Today, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) released results of an annual national poll of registered voters designed to measure awareness of and attitudes toward biodiesel and federal policies that support the industry. The results show a candidate's support for policies to promote clean energy, including biodiesel and renewable diesel use, can influence votes.

NBB CEO Donnell Rehagen stated, "Voters are consistent year-to-year in saying they support political candidates who champion federal policies to encourage development and use of cleaner fuels such as biodiesel. Results of our poll indicate that environmental concerns are growing in importance for voters. Biodiesel can deliver environmental benefits to address those concerns today."

Among the respondents, nearly three-quarters (73%) had previously heard some information about biodiesel. More than half (57%) of all respondents agreed that federal policy should encourage use of biodiesel and renewable diesel. When asked if federal policy should support petroleum, 45% said "no," while only 34% said "yes."

When asked about issues that affect their votes, a strong majority of the polled registered voters (81%) indicated that a candidate's position on renewable fuels is important. Overall, 86% of respondents indicated that a candidate's position on clean energy is important or very important to their voting preferences. Further, 85% of respondents agreed that it is important that President Donald Trump keep his promises on the RFS.

Kurt Kovarik, NBB's Vice President of Federal Affairs, added, "President Trump recently renewed his commitment to expand use of biofuels, promising to uphold the Renewable Fuel Standard. It's clearly important to voters that the president succeed on that commitment and get American workers in the biodiesel industry back on the job."

When informed that biodiesel is America's first and most widely available advanced biofuel and has demonstrated environmental benefits, more than three-quarters (76%) of respondents supported increased use. High percentages of respondents agreed that the government should "stand with American workers, manufacturers, rural economies and businesses" to support a clean fuels industry (83%) and "follow the law to implement an existing mandate that creates jobs and economic development across the country" (82%).

Nearly four of every five respondents expressed support for existing federal programs that encourage increased production and use of advanced biofuels. Seventy-eight percent (78%) of respondents support the federal tax incentive for biodiesel, and 79% support the Renewable Fuel Standard. Additionally, 79% of respondents would encourage local communities and governments to promote use of biodiesel.

Conducted September 18-19, 2019, the poll gathered responses from 1,064 registered voters across the country. The poll was conducted by Moore Information Group on behalf of the National Biodiesel Board. The results of the poll were consistent with prior polling in September 2017 and September 2018.

NAWG CEO Honored with CropLife America Award

On September 28, 2019, NAWG CEO Chandler Goule was named a recipient of the 2019 CropLife America (CLA) Annual Jay Vroom Agricultural Ambassador Award. The award honors a member or an allied organization to CLA who has made a major contribution to public education about pesticides and their contribution to a safe, affordable and sustainable food supply.

“It is a true honor to be presented with an award named after my long-time friend and ally of wheat Jay Vroom,” stated NAWG CEO Chandler Goule. “I really appreciate being nominated for the award and to CropLife for bringing awareness to the importance of educating the public on such complicated issues as pesticides.”

The Jay Vroom Agricultural Ambassador Award is an expression of appreciation from CLA and the industry for outstanding leaders who have provided complete, accurate and unbiased information to society about pesticides. NAWG CEO Chandler Goule was presented the award during CropLife America’s 2019 Annual Meeting.

“Between social media and the ease at which information can be spread today, the wheat industry’s biggest hurdle is those who fearmonger and spread fabrications around how farmers use pesticides on their crops,” continued Goule. “I will continue to work to ensure that NAWG remains a leader in educating congressional staff, the public, and its allies on how crop protectants are vital to ensure safe and affordable food supply.”

Tuesday October 8 Ag News

The NCB Co-op 100 Reports Top Producing Cooperatives with Revenues of $222.2 Billion

On Monday, the National Cooperative Bank, known for providing banking solutions tailored to meet the needs of cooperatives and their members nationwide, released its annual NCB Co-op 100®, listing the nation’s top 100 revenue-earning cooperative businesses. In 2018, these businesses posted revenue totaling approximately $222.2 billion. The NCB Co-op 100® remains the only annual report of its kind to track the profits and successes of cooperative businesses in the United States.

“The theme for Co-op Month this year is: Co-ops: By the Community, For the Community”, stated Charles E. Snyder, president and CEO of National Cooperative Bank. “Cooperatives are unique because they operate for the benefit of their member-owners and communities. Having a vested interest in the co-op fosters a natural closeness and accountability between owners/members and management. We know this is a successful and sustainable business practice, since co-ops have been doing it for 175 years.”

The following are the top revenue producers in 2018 for the NCB Co-op 100's main sectors:


• CHS Inc., based in Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota reported $32.7 billion in revenues in 2018 and maintained its first place position on the NCB Co-op 100® list.
• Land O’Lakes, Inc., based in Saint Paul, Minnesota reported $14.9 billion in revenues, earning the number two ranking this year.


• Wakefern Food Corporation/ Shoprite, based in Keasbey, New Jersey reported $13.1 billion in revenue, earning the fourth ranking again this year.
• Associated Wholesale Grocers, Inc., based in Kansas City, Kansas reported revenue of $9.7 billion and earned the fifth position on the list.

Hardware & Lumber:

• ACE Hardware Corp., based in Oak Brook, Illinois earned $5.7 billion in revenue and came in at number nine on the list.
• Do-it-Best Corp., located in Fort Wayne, Indiana earned the 12th place on the list, with $3.7 billion reported in revenue.


• Navy Federal Credit Union, headquartered in Merrifield, Virginia, earned $6.9 billion in revenues and is number eight on the list.
• CoBank, headquartered in Greenwood Village, Colorado earned $4.3 billion and came in 10th on the list.


• HealthPartners Inc., located in Bloomington, Minnesota earned $7.0 billion in revenue and is seventh on the list.

Energy & Communications:

• Basin Electric Power Cooperative, located in Bismarck, North Dakota earned the 16th position with a reported $2.4 billion in revenue in 2018.
• Oglethorpe Power Corporation, located in Tucker, Georgia earned the 29th position with reported revenue of $1.5 billion in 2018.

Nebraska-based Cooperatives that made the list include:

(rank, name, town, 2018 revenue)
11) Ag Processing, Inc., Omaha - $4.154b
21) Central Valley Ag, York - $1.656b
26) Farm Credit Services of America, Omaha - $1.571b
35) Producers Livestock Marketing Assoc., Omaha - $1.393b
56) Aurora Cooperative, Aurora - $1.01b
70) Farmers Cooperative, Dorchester - $824m
78) Frenchman Valley Farmers Cooeprative, Imperial - $695m
86) Cooperative Producers, Inc., Hastings - $637m

Others of note:

3) Dariy Farmers of America, Kansas City, MO - $13.63b
44) Landus Cooperative, Ames, IA - $1.172b 
53) NEW Cooperative, Inc., Fort Dodge, IA - $1.078b
59) Heartland Cooperative, West Des Moines, IA - $941m

While the companies and rankings change each year, the cooperative sector continues to advance, playing an increasingly influential role in the national and global economy. Released annually in October during National Co-op Month, the NCB Co-op 100® is just one way the Bank strives to educate and promote the importance of this sector.

As a long-time advocate for cooperatives, NCB’s mission is providing critical financing to support the growth and expansion of cooperative businesses, while also deploying hundreds of millions of dollars to support underserved communities and cooperative expansion initiatives.

Although similar to other business models, a cooperative has several unique features. It is owned and controlled by its members, who have joined together to use the cooperative’s goods, services and facilities. A board of directors, elected by the membership, sets the cooperative’s policies and procedures. By pooling resources, members can leverage their shared power to buy, sell, market, or bargain as one group, achieving economies of scale and sharing in any profits generated. In addition, communities benefit both socially and fiscally by the cooperatives’ ability to access and deliver goods and services from across the nation.

ICON calls on Washington, D.C. to restore fairness to markets, label beef honestly

The Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska join other agriculture groups in calling for a stern rebuke if not the removal of USDA Sec. Sonny Perdue, who clearly believes economic opportunities only belong to the biggest companies.

Perdue recently told a group of Wisconsin dairy producers, “In America, the big get bigger and the small go out” -- ignoring the family farmers who sit on school boards, church boards, volunteer fire departments, have bake sale fundraisers and pay taxes to support local schools.

Concentration in farm and food markets has been accelerating at a rapid pace. A handful of corporations now virtually control the inputs, production and distribution of our food.

That concentration incentivizes those companies to engage in unfair and discriminatory acts that cause ranchers and farmers to receive less than a competitive price for their livestock and crops, said Al Davis, a member of the board of directors of ICON and the group’s legislative chairman.

Davis recently addressed some 400 people at a “Stop the Stealin” rally Oct. 2 in Omaha that motivated ag producers to call for fair markets and fair trade.

Davis noted that when a cattle producer loses $500 per head, the loss is not only felt on the ranch, but also in the community and the state.

Ranchers have lost around 30% of their share of the retail beef dollar over the last several years. Combined with low market prices, losses can amount to $1,000 per head. Millions of head of cattle are produced in Nebraska. 

Lawmakers must take action to ensure fair markets for producers, Davis said.

There are six actions the USDA could take immediately to restore fairness to farm markets. The most basic improvement would be to stop imported foreign meat from being labeled a “Product of the USA.”

When country of origin labeling (COOL) of meat was rescinded, it allowed foreign meat that is imported into the U.S. to be re-wrapped during processing and labeled “Product of USA.”

More than 14 months ago, the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) and the American Grassfed Association (AGA) filed a petition with Sec. Perdue’s Food Safety Inspection Services agency to stop this deception and ensure only U.S. domestic meat products can be labeled “Product of USA.”

The Food Safety and Inspection Service labeling practice must use an ingredient-based definition and not a processed-based definition, Davis said.

“We have a choice,” he said. “We can sit on our hands or we can work together as ranchers to fight for a fair and balanced market, fair and balanced labeling, fair and balanced trade, and a fair and balanced approach by the Secretary of Ag to our problems and our needs.”

Davis also noted that four processing companies now control 80% of the beef in the US, and two of the companies are foreign owned. 

He also said anti-trust protections of the Packers & Stockyards Act have been undermined, and called on the USDA to require Livestock Mandatory Price Reporting to be shared with the USDA Packers and Stockyards administration.

ICON also joins many other groups in calling for COOL to be included in the US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement.

“It’s time for us to send a message to Washington that we’re sick and tired of being screwed and we’re not going to take it anymore,” Davis said.

Prioritize Flu Vaccinations to Protect People and Pigs

As we move into fall, there are many on-farm tasks that need to be adjusted, such as ventilation and rodent control. One practice that needs to be added to the list is influenza protection, specifically to prioritize flu vaccinations for everyone working on a pig farm.

“Everyone associated with the farm should be vaccinated whether they work directly with pigs or not,” said Heather Fowler, DVM, director of producer and public health for the Pork Checkoff. “That is the best thing producers can do to protect their families, co-workers and pigs from the flu.”

In fact, a seasonal flu vaccination is a public health recommendation and part of the One Health approach to protect people, pigs and the global environment. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months of age or older be vaccinated annually against seasonal influenza. The seasonal influenza vaccine is available now, so people should be vaccinated as soon as possible to prompt their immune system to prepare for flu season, which typically stretches from October to May.

“Equally important, farms need to have sick-leave policies in place that encourage workers to stay home if they are suffering from flu-like like respiratory symptoms,” Fowler said. “While it’s especially important to stay off the farm, people need to stay away from public places and take time to rest and recover. This will help shorten the duration and impact of the infection.”
Influenza is a virus, and infections can last three to seven days, although a cough can persist for more than two weeks.

“People with active infections can be contagious for several days,” Fowler said. “They should not return to work for at least 24 hours after their fever breaks without using a fever-reducing medication.”

Other on-farm practices should receive extra attention this time of year, including reviewing the Pork Quality Assuance® Plus (PQA Plus®) section that addresses influenza. Here are a few critical steps:
-    Animal caretakers should wash their hands and arms frequently with soap and water. Keep hands away from mouth, nose and eyes.
-    Monitor animal health daily and contact the herd veterinarian immediately if influenza is suspected. A rapid response is helpful when treating sick pigs and may also minimize losses and further spread.
-    Maintain proper building ventilation and barn hygiene to help reduce influenza virus transmission.
-    Ensure bird and rodent control programs are well established.
-    Do not allow anyone with flu-like symptoms to enter the facility, and ask visitors about recent contact with others who may have been ill.
-    Restrict eating in animal areas.

“The good news is that seasonal flu vaccinations are widely available today, including convenient options, such as a quick stop at the local pharmacy or clinic,” Fowler said. “Influenza can be addressed effectively through vaccinations, which help reduce the duration, intensity and spread of the virus. Producers are committed to protecting swine health and welfare, as well as public health. Getting vaccinations and following protocols to reduce the potential transmission of influenza this season is one more step in doing what’s right for people, pigs and the planet.”

African Swine Fever

Brenda Boetel, Dept of Ag Economics, University of Wisconsin - River Falls

By now every livestock producer has heard of African Swine Fever (ASF), the highly contagious disease with no known vaccine that is devastating the hog herd in China. ASF was first detected in China in August 2018 and has since spread to every mainland Chinese province as well as Hong Kong. China's hog herd has shrunk between 25% and 50% (depending on which Chinese agency is reporting the numbers). The decline in pork production, according to the National Bureau of Statistics of China, is decidedly smaller and estimated at 20%. One shouldn't expect total pork production to be down the same as hog herd size, as sow culling is being reported at a higher percentage than market hogs. Thus, short-term pork production may not decline as much as herd size, but the long-term effects will continue into 2020. Regardless of the decline in Chinese pork production, the gap between Chinese supply and Chinese demand will be filled by either imported pork, or substitution of an alternative protein product.

Chinese pork imports are up 30% year over year for the January through August time period. Spain is the top pork exporter to China followed by Germany, Canada, Brazil and the USA. Chinese imports from the USA are up 38% year over year, but account for only 4% of US pork production. The large increase reflects both the uptick due to ASF and the downtown in 2018 due to trade concerns. Chinese imports didn't start to increase significantly until the third quarter of 2019. Given the continual tightening of Chinese supply, the fourth quarter of 2019 and 2020 will see increased Chinese imports, likely coming from a combination of Canada, Brazil and the US.

The 38% growth in exports to China has been offset by weaknesses in other exports to other Asian countries and Mexico, allowing for only a 4% growth year over year in total US export quantity. The strong dollar and disruptive trade policies have dampened the potential growth in US pork exports and will continue to slow export growth to China and other countries.

Prior to the outbreak of ASF, China consumed approximately 73 pounds per capita of pork, 13 pounds of beef and 25 pounds of poultry. Chinese pork consumption is expected to drop sharply in response to soaring prices, as well as lack of physical supply. In an attempt to curb price increases (and resulting inflation) reserve pork supplies have been released and price ceilings have been created. Nevertheless, Chinese pork prices have increased between 33% to 100% since January. Additionally, retail prices for sheep, beef and chicken are also at record levels.

China has increased beef imports approximately 57% over the same period in 2018. US beef export quantity to China has increased 24% over 2018 but note this is still less than 1% of total US beef export quantity. Given that Chinese beef imports are increasing at a faster rate than pork, and that Chinese beef and poultry prices are at record levels, one can assume there has been some substitution from pork consumption to alternative proteins.

ASF will have long-term effects on Chinese protein consumption and world protein exports. US-China trade war limits export opportunities and EU is relatively high priced. Poultry production has increased in China due to the much shorter production cycle than either pork or beef and poultry's similar price point to pork. If Chinese consumers switch to poultry in the short-run to accommodate the Chinese pork shortage, it will take some time for Chinese pork consumption to rebound. Nevertheless, pork exports into China will increase, although the amounts will be less than hoped for due to the political landscape. US pork producers and exporters should see year over year prices.

EIA Projects 1.9% Year-on-Year Decline in 2019 Ethanol Production

The Energy Information Administration expects ethanol production to average 1.03 million barrels per day (bpd) this year and in 2020, down 20,000 bod, or 1.9%, from 2018, according to its latest Short-term Energy Outlook released this afternoon.

EIA projects a 0.3% year-on-year growth rate in domestic ethanol consumption in 2020 after a 0.3% decline this year and 0.4% falloff in 2018 from 2017.

Biodiesel production is expected to edge 5,000 bpd up to 124,000 bpd this year from 2018, and to climb to 145,000 bpd in 2020.

In its outlook, EIA projects an 11.7% annual increase in U.S. biodiesel consumption this year and 10.7% year-on-year growth rate for 2020.

Registration Opens for RFA’s 25th Annual National Ethanol Conference

Registration is now open for the Renewable Fuels Association’s 25th annual National Ethanol Conference (NEC), to be held Feb. 10-12, 2020, in Houston. This year, with the theme “Focus Forward,” attendees will have the opportunity to look ahead to what the next quarter-century will bring for the U.S. ethanol industry, said RFA Board Chairman Neil Koehler, co-founder and CEO of Pacific Ethanol.

“For the past 25 years, this conference has been bringing the industry and its allies together to learn, share, network and celebrate our hard work,” Koehler said. “There will be so much to talk about in 2020, from presidential politics to increased calls for action on climate concerns. At the same time we’re talking about politics and policy, we’re also moving forward when it comes to building new markets, driving efficiency and advancing sustainability.”

The NEC is the nation’s most widely attended executive-level conference for the ethanol industry. At the 2019 NEC, about 1,000 industry leaders and professionals attended, representing 38 states and the District of Columbia. A strong international presence was also felt, with attendees from 16 countries.

The annual conference provides an unequaled opportunity to engage key decision makers and industry executives about the latest opportunities and challenges affecting the industry today. Speakers will address numerous topics, and RFA looks forward to offering attendees robust discussions around new uses and technologies, policy and politics, the market outlook, and the future vision for high-octane, low-carbon fuels.

Early bird registration provides substantial discounts until Nov. 22. For more information and to register, visit Make sure to also follow NEC on Twitter, at @EthanolConf, for updates. 

Culver's Thank You Farmers Project Donations Reach $2.5 Million

Culver's and its Thank You Farmers Project has raised $2.5 million to support agricultural education since its inception six years ago. So far in 2019, over $400,000 has been raised.

By 2050, the global population is expected to reach 9.8 billion, meaning we'll have to produce 80% more food than we do today to feed everyone. Money raised through Culver's supports programs such as FFA and others that are educating our country's future agricultural leaders.

"We're facing a turning point in agriculture, and the responsibility to feed a growing population falls on all of us, not just farmers," said Joe Koss, president and CEO at Culver's. "Our guests understand this, and that's why they've helped us to raise money every year to support the future of agriculture."

In addition to supporting agriculture education efforts, Culver's is joining the efforts of national organizations in support of agriculture's future. Mr. Koss is a newly appointed member of the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) board of directors. USFRA represents farmer and rancher-led organizations and food agricultural partners with a common vision to further our global sustainable food systems.

Online Registration Open for AFBF’s 2020 Annual Convention

Online registration is open for the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 101st Annual Convention & Trade Show, Jan. 17-22, 2020, in Austin, Texas. Attendees will learn about the policies and perspectives affecting their farms, ranches or agribusinesses and gain deep insight into current trends impacting food production.

With a focus on AFBF’s theme for the year, 2020 Vision: Sustaining America’s Agriculture, the convention will bring thousands of farmers and ranchers from around the country together to hear from powerful speakers on subjects ranging from trade, broadband and the farm economy to business development, consumer engagement and technology. Advocacy and member engagement and development will also be featured topics.

The trade show provides hands-on access to innovative products and services from highly regarded industry leaders. At the Cultivation Center, on the trade show floor, attendees can enjoy TED-style talks as well as hear the Farm Bureau Ag Innovation Challenge finalists pitch live to the Challenge judges.

“Agriculture is at a crossroads and it has never been more important for farmers and ranchers to have the latest information about the challenges and opportunities we face,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “Our convention is unique in its ability to inform, engage and unite farmers and ranchers.”

Register for the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 101st Annual Convention online here:

Monday October 7 Ag News


For the week ending October 6, 2019, there were 3.2 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 1 percent very short, 7 short, 78 adequate, and 14 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 1 percent very short, 6 short, 83 adequate, and 10 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn condition rated 2 percent very poor, 5 poor, 20 fair, 56 good, and 17 excellent. Corn mature was 74 percent, behind 91 last year and 85 for the five-year average. Harvested was 12 percent, behind 22 last year and 17 average.

Soybean condition rated 1 percent very poor, 4 poor, 21 fair, 62 good, and 12 excellent. Soybeans dropping leaves was 86 percent, behind 95 last year and 93 average. Harvested was 14 percent, well behind 35 last year, and behind 30 average.

Winter wheat planted was 88 percent, near 85 both last year and average. Emerged was 41 percent, behind 56 last year and 60 average.

Sorghum condition rated 1 percent very poor, 2 poor, 16 fair, 66 good, and 15 excellent. Sorghum mature was 75 percent, behind 88 last year and 82 average. Harvested was 4 percent, behind 22 last year and 17 average.

Dry edible beans harvested was 80 percent.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 1 percent very poor, 3 poor, 15 fair, 63 good, and 18 excellent.


 Excessive rainfall throughout Iowa limited farmers to only 1.6 days suitable for fieldwork statewide during the week ending October 6, 2019, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Very little harvesting took place this past week as farmers wait for field conditions to improve with drier weather.

Topsoil moisture condition was rated 0 percent very short, 2 percent short, 63 percent adequate and 35 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture condition was rated 0 percent very short, 3 percent short, 71 percent adequate and 26 percent surplus.

Ninety-four percent of the corn crop has reached the dented stage or beyond, nearly 3 weeks behind last year and 16 days behind the 5-year average. Fifty-two percent of the crop reached maturity, 3 weeks behind last year and over two weeks behind average. Three percent of corn has been harvested for grain, 2 weeks behind average. Corn condition rated 65 percent good to excellent.

Ninety-two percent of the soybean crop has begun coloring or beyond, 2 weeks behind last year and 10 days behind average. Sixty-eight percent of the crop has begun dropping leaves, 15 days behind last year and 10 days behind average. Five percent of soybeans have been harvested, 12 days behind average. Soybean condition rated 64 percent good to excellent.

The third cutting of alfalfa hay reached 90 percent complete, 18 days behind average.

Pasture condition improved slightly from the previous week to 47 percent good to excellent. Feedlots remain muddy.

Corn 58% Mature, 15% Harvested; Soybeans 72% Dropping Leaves, 14% Harvested

The gap between the current percentage of U.S. corn and soybeans that has reached maturity and the five-year average narrowed slightly last week, but harvest progress for both crops slipped further behind the average pace, according to USDA NASS' latest Crop Progress report released Monday.

As of Sunday, 58% of corn was estimated as mature, 27 percentage points behind the five-year average of 85%. That was slightly closer to the average pace than last week, when corn mature was running 30 percentage points behind average.

Nationwide, corn harvest progressed another 4 percentage points to reach 15% as of Sunday, 12 percentage points behind the five-year average of 27%. That was further behind average than last week, when harvest was 8 percentage points behind average.

The condition of corn still in fields was estimated at 56% good to excellent, down 1 percentage point from the previous week, and still the lowest good-to-excellent rating for the crop at this time of year since 2013. The poor-to-very-poor category moved up another 1 percentage point to 15%.

Soybeans dropping leaves reached 72% as of Sunday, 15 percentage points behind the five-year average of 87% -- an improvement from last week when the percent of the crop dropping leaves was running 21 percentage points behind average.

Soybean harvest moved ahead 7 percentage points last week to reach 14%, 20 percentage points behind the five-year average of 34%. That was further behind average than in last Monday's report, when soybean harvest was running 13 percentage points behind the average pace.

Soybean condition was rated 53% good to excellent, down 2 percentage points from 55% the previous week. As with corn, that remains the lowest good-to-excellent rating in six years.

Winter wheat planting progress, which had been slightly ahead of average in last Monday's report, stood at 52% as of Sunday, falling slightly behind the five-year average of 53%. Winter wheat emerged was estimated at 26%, equal to the five-year average.

Spring wheat harvest stalled last week, moving ahead only 1 percentage point to reach 91% as of Sunday, 8 percentage points behind the five-year average of 99%.

Sorghum mature was estimated at 65%, behind the average of 73%. Sorghum harvested reached 33%, behind the five-year average of 40%.

Cotton bolls opening was estimated at 83%, ahead of the average of 75%. Cotton harvested was estimated at 25%, also ahead of the five-year average of 20%. Rice harvested was 76%, behind the average of 80%.

Nebraska Corn encourages safety this harvest season

As combines pop up in fields across the Midwest, the Nebraska Corn Board and Nebraska Corn Growers Association encourage farmers, as well as local residents and visitors, to take a second for safety in rural areas this harvest season.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the agricultural sector is one of the most dangerous industries in America. Over 2 million workers are employed full-time in production agriculture, which does not account for part-time help or family members who also live and work on farms. In 2016, there were 417 reported fatalities of agricultural workers, which equates to 21.4 deaths per 100,000 workers. While harvest season is an opportune time to be mindful of safety precautions, safety should be implemented year-round in the agricultural industry.

“There are lot of moving parts in agriculture, and people need to be responsible,” said David Bruntz, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board and farmer from Friend. “A lot of accidents can be prevented by just allowing a little extra time and care. We like to tell people to ‘take a second for safety.’ It’s a great reminder for all of us not to get in a hurry and be mindful of our surroundings.”

With factors like fluctuating weather, field conditions and machinery availability, farmers typically have a narrow window to complete their harvest work. Therefore, it’s important farmers take care of themselves to ensure a safe and productive season.

“Farmers need to remember to look out for their own well-being during harvest,” said Dan Nerud, president of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association and farmer from Dorchester. “So often, farmers want to move fast in order to take advantage of good weather, but a tired farmer puts him or herself in danger. It’s important for farmers to get enough rest and take short breaks, when needed. A well-rested farmer is a safe and alert farmer.”

Farmers are not the only people who should be cautious during the harvest season. Anyone who may be visiting or traveling through rural areas should be mindful of increased farm traffic on roads and highways. Harvest equipment should be visible with front and rear warning lights, as well as slow moving vehicle emblems to notify motorists of approaching machinery. In rural areas, parents of small children should also develop safety rules to prevent youth from playing on or near harvest equipment.

Additional tips for farmers, farm workers and rural residents to consider while on the farm this fall (adapted from the National Corn Growers Association):

Equipment Safety
Be careful when approaching harvest equipment. Approach from the front and gain eye contact with the operator before approaching.
Ensure the harvesting equipment is fully stopped and disengaged before climbing onto a vehicle.
Do not place yourself near any unguarded or otherwise running machinery.
Avoid pinch points between equipment – such as tractors with grain wagons. Visibility can be limited and serious injury can occur.

Entanglement Hazard
Entanglement hazards can happen very quickly.
Do not ever try to unplug any equipment without disengaging power and removing energy from the equipment.
Never pull or try to remove plugged plants from an operating machine.
Always keep shields in place to avoid snags and entanglement when working around equipment.

Fall Hazard
Be careful climbing on and off equipment.
Be alert and extremely careful when working in wet or slippery conditions.
Keep all walkways and platforms open and free of tools, dust, debris or other obstacles. Clean all walkways and platforms before use.
Wear clothing that is well fitting and not baggy or loose. Also wear proper non-slip, closed toe shoes.
Use grab bars when mounting or dismounting machinery. Face machinery when dismounting and never jump from equipment.
Never dismount from a moving vehicle.

Fire Prevention
Carry a fire extinguisher with you in your vehicle (A-B-C, 5 or 10 pound).
Remove dust and buildup from equipment. Check bearings regularly to prevent overheating and chance of fire.

Grain Wagon Safety
Be careful to monitor grain wagon weight to never exceed maximum weight limits. As weight increases, grain wagons can be more difficult to control.
Load grain wagons evenly to distribute weight to prevent weaving or instability across the grain wagon.
Inspect grain wagon tires and replace any worn or cracked tires.

Grain Bin Safety
If entering a bin, wear a harness attached to a secure rope.
Never work alone.
Never allow children to get too close or inside the bin.
Wear a dust filter or respirator when working in bins.
Stay out of bins when equipment is running.

“This may be a unique year where harvest occurs over many weeks,” said Bruntz. “All farmers are excited to see the fruits of their labor, but we all need to be safe in the process.”

Nebraskans Celebrate Pork Month

This year Celebrate National Pork Month in October by enjoying delicious pork for your family meals. Get creative with new pork recipes, fix old favorites and try substituting pork for other proteins in your meal plans.  You can enjoy the pork on your fork, knowing it was raised by a farmer that cares about people, pigs and the planet.

“If you eat, you have a connection to a farmer,” said Tim Chancellor, pork producer and President of the Nebraska Pork Producers. “October Pork Month is a time to reestablish that producer-to-consumer relationship. Our mission is to produce safe, nutritious food in a responsible manner, and we need to share how we do that with consumers.  This October cook a ham, slice a marinated loin, make a pork roast, fry some bacon or create a pork surprise for the family and enjoy while talking about everyone involved in producing your meal.”

The six We Care ethical principles guide the U.S. pork industry and demonstrate our commitment to produce a safe, high-quality pork supply. Producers are committed to:
 • Producing safe food • Ensuring practices to protect public health   
 • Protecting and promoting animal well-being
 • Safeguarding natural resources in all industry practices
 • Providing a work environment that is safe and consistent for our people
 • Contributing to a better quality of life in their communities
The principles are summed up in the Pork Checkoff’s purpose to build trust by doing what is right for people, pigs and planet. Nebraska’s pork producers raise 3.7 million pigs each year making it one of the top pork producing states in the Country.

 “We know that today’s consumers are putting more pork on their fork,” Chancellor said. “They have the trust in our product as a flavorful healthy protein choice that creates a wonderful exciting eating experience.”

Effects of a Freeze on Forages

Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

Sorghum-related plants, like cane, sudangrass, shattercane, and milo can be highly toxic for a few days after frost.

If you haven’t experienced a freeze yet this fall, you soon will. And remember, a freeze can cause hazards for using some forages.

When plants freeze, changes occur in their metabolism and composition that can poison livestock. But you can prevent problems.

Sorghum-related plants, like cane, sudangrass, shattercane, and milo can be highly toxic for a few days after frost. Freezing breaks plant cell membranes. This breakage allows the chemicals that form prussic acid, which is also called cyanide, to mix together and release this poisonous compound rapidly. Livestock eating recently frozen sorghums can get a sudden, high dose of prussic acid and potentially die. Fortunately, prussic acid soon turns into a gas and disappears into the air. So wait 3 to 5 days after a freeze before grazing sorghums; the chance of poisoning then becomes much lower.

Freezing also slows down metabolism in all plants. This stress sometimes permits nitrates to accumulate in plants that are still growing, especially grasses like oats, millet, and sudangrass. This build-up usually isn't hazardous to grazing animals, but green chop or hay cut right after a freeze can be more dangerous.

Alfalfa reacts two ways to a hard freeze, down close to twenty degrees, cold enough to cause plants to wilt. Nitrate levels can increase, but rarely to hazardous levels. Freezing also makes alfalfa more likely to cause bloat for a few days after the frost. Then, several days later, after plants begin to wilt or grow again, alfalfa becomes less likely to cause bloat. So waiting to graze alfalfa until well after a hard freeze is a good, safer management practice.

Frost causes important changes in forages so manage them carefully for safe feed.

Sioux City FFA Agriculture Dinner - With IA Ag Sec

The first-ever Sioux City FFA chapter has been formed and officers elected. Now your support is needed to help send the new FFA officers to the National FFA Convention at the end of October. You're invited for a dinner and conversation with Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Mike Naig.

Date and Time
Wed, October 16, 2019
5:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Country Celebrations Event Center
5606 Hamilton Boulevard
Sioux City, IA 51108

Tickets are $40 per individual tickets, or $400 to sponsor a table.  Proceeds support the trip to FFA Nationals and the upstart costs associated with building a new FFA chapter.

Please purchase tickets by Friday, October 11th here...

Unions Sue USDA, Seeking to Halt New Pork Processing Rule

(AP) -- The union representing workers at pork processing plants sued the federal government on Monday to challenge a new rule that allows companies to set line speeds and turn over more food safety tasks to company employees.

The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union and local unions in Minnesota, Iowa and Kansas joined with nonprofit consumer advocacy group Public Citizen to file the lawsuit in federal court in Minneapolis.

The lawsuit alleges that the new rule announced in September by the U.S. Department of Agriculture violates the Administrative Procedure Act because it isn't backed by reasoned decision-making and should be set aside.

A spokeswoman for the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service said the agency does not comment on pending litigation.

UFCW International President Marc Perrone said there is no evidence that line speed increases can be done in a manner that ensures food and worker safety.

"Increasing pork plant line speeds not only is a reckless giveaway to giant corporations, it will put thousands of workers in harm's way," he said.

Swine slaughter workers regularly have reported extreme pressure to work as quickly as possible, which increases the risk of knife injuries, knee, back, shoulder and neck traumas, and repetitive motion injuries including carpal tunnel syndrome, the union said in a statement.

In June, the USDA's Office of Inspector General launched an investigation into its rulemaking procedure at the request of 17 members of Congress. Public Citizen and UFCW are asking the court to block implementation of the rule and to set it aside.

Local UFCW units joining the lawsuit represent pork slaughter workers in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota; Denison, Iowa and Bel Aire, Kansas.

August Exports Strong for U.S. Pork; Beef Exports Below Last Year

U.S. pork exports continued to post very strong results in August, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), while beef exports were below the record-large totals of August 2018.

August pork exports increased 22% from a year ago to 221,586 metric tons (mt), while export value climbed 19% to $588.8 million. These results pushed January-August export volume 4% ahead of last year's pace at 1.7 million mt, while value increased 1% to $4.35 billion.

Pork export value averaged $54.18 per head slaughtered in August, up 22% from a year ago. For January through August, the per-head average was down 2% to $51.70. August exports accounted for 27.1% of total U.S. pork production and 23.7% for muscle cuts only, up significantly from a year ago (21.9% and 19.2%, respectively). January-August exports accounted for 26.4% of total pork production and 23% for muscle cuts, both up slightly year-over-year.

August beef exports totaled 114,119 mt, a 4% decline from last year's large volume, while export value ($690.3 million) was down 8%. January-August beef exports were slightly below last year's record pace, declining 2% in volume (881,526 mt) and 1% in value ($5.44 billion).

Beef export value per head of fed slaughter averaged $298.94 in August, down 7% from a year ago, while the January-August average was down 3% to $309.85. August exports accounted for 14% of total U.S. beef production and 11.3% for muscle cuts only, down from 14.3% and 12.2%, respectively, last year. Through the first eight months of the year, exports accounted for 14.2% of total beef production and 11.6% for muscle cuts, down from 14.6% and 12.1%, respectively, in 2018.

Emerging markets strong for U.S. pork, even as exports rebound to China and Mexico

Although still held back by China's retaliatory duties, China/Hong Kong was the largest destination for U.S. pork in August at 63,656 mt, more than tripling the August 2018 volume, while export value climbed 160% to $137.6 million. For January through August, exports to China/Hong Kong were up 38% in volume (356,322 mt) and 17% in value ($717.9 million).

Since Mexico removed its 20% retaliatory duty on U.S. pork in late May, exports have rebounded significantly but are still trailing the record-large numbers posted in 2017. August exports to Mexico were down 1% year-over-year in volume (61,365 mt), but value increased 18% to $121.1 million. A slow start to the year still weighs on January-August exports to Mexico, which were down 11% from a year ago in both volume (473,309 mt) and value ($821.8 million).

"China's demand for imported pork has increased steadily over the past few months and the U.S. industry is well-positioned to help fill that need," said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. "But the really positive story behind these numbers is that even as U.S. exports to China/Hong Kong have surged and exports to Mexico rebounded after the removal of retaliatory duties, demand in other markets is proving resilient and continues to grow. This is exactly why the U.S. industry invested in emerging markets over the years, and it is definitely paying dividends."

The U.S. and Japan recently announced an agreement that will bring tariffs on U.S. pork in line with those imposed on major competitors, and August export results illustrated the pressing need for tariff relief. August volume was down 19% to 28,240 mt, while value fell 18% to $120.1 million. Through August, exports to Japan trailed last year's pace by 6% in both volume (250,540 mt) and value ($1.03 billion). U.S. exports of ground seasoned pork to Japan have been hit particularly hard by the tariff gap (20% compared to 13.3% for the European Union and Canada), with Japan's imports through August falling by 28% — nearly $60 million — compared to last year.

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

-    Led by steady growth in mainstay market Colombia and surging demand in Chile, exports to South America climbed 28% above last year's record pace in volume (105,344 mt) and 30% in value ($264.7 million). Shipments to Peru cooled in August but have also contributed to export growth in 2019.
-    Exports to Central America were 16% above last year's record pace in volume (60,727 mt) and 19% higher in value ($147 million). Honduras and Guatemala are the largest Central American destinations for U.S. pork, and exports trended higher to both markets. Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua also contributed to regional growth, with exports increasing by double digits.
-    Exports to Oceania were up 38% from a year ago to 77,556 mt, while value increased 32% to $217.1 million. A key destination for hams and other muscle cuts used for further processing, exports to Australia jumped 36% from a year ago to 69,692 mt, valued at $192.5 million (up 31%). Growth to New Zealand was also impressive, with exports up 52% in volume (7,864 mt) and 48% in value ($24.6 million).
-    While January-August exports to South Korea were down 9% from last year's record pace in volume (145,690 mt) and fell 10% in value ($411.8 million), August exports were up significantly as volume climbed 27% to 14,336 mt and value surged 35% to $42.2 million. In mid-September, South Korea confirmed its first cases of African swine fever (ASF), with 13 outbreaks reported in the northwest corner of the country near the border with North Korea. While the disease is still confined to a relatively small area, ASF is certainly a pressing concern for Korea's domestic pork industry.
-    ASF has also impacted pork production in Southeast Asia, especially in Vietnam but also recently spreading into the Philippines. While U.S. exports to the ASEAN trailed last year's pace by 10% in volume (35,164 mt) and 19% in value ($81.1 million), the region's need for imported pork is likely to trend higher in coming months.

U.S. beef exports cool in August, but remain on strong pace

After setting new value records in June and July, U.S. beef exports to South Korea slowed 9% from a year ago in August to 22,307 mt, while value dropped 11% to $157.4 million. But for January through August, exports to Korea were still 8% ahead of last year's record pace in volume (174,290 mt) and 10% higher in value ($1.26 billion). Korean import data through August showed double-digit growth for U.S. beef in the top two cut categories: short rib and short plate/brisket. The United States accounted for more than 55% of Korea's chilled/frozen beef import volume, up from 53% in the first eight months of 2018.

Similar to pork, the U.S. beef industry looks forward to gaining tariff relief in leading market Japan, where August exports slipped 15% from a year ago to 28,646 mt. Value was down 22% to $164.3 million, although it is important to note that exports in August 2018 were a post-BSE record $209.3 million. For January through August, exports to Japan were 3% below last year's pace in volume (217,698 mt) and 4% lower in value ($1.36 billion). Beef variety meat exports to Japan (mainly tongues and skirts) have been a bright spot in 2019, increasing 31% in volume (44,617 mt) and 18% in value ($260 million). U.S. tongues and skirts face higher duty rates than competitors' products but are tariffed at 12.8% compared to 38.5% for U.S. muscle cuts.

"The U.S. beef industry is extremely excited at the prospect of lower tariffs in Japan, as 38.5% is the highest rate assessed in any major market," Halstrom said. "As we've seen in Korea, where the tariff rate was once 40% but has been reduced by more than half, lower tariffs make U.S. beef even more affordable for a wider range of customers. While the agreement still needs parliamentary approval in Japan, importers are already enthused and preparing for long-awaited tariff relief."

January-August beef exports to China/Hong Kong fell 24% from a year ago in volume (60,259 mt) and 20% in value ($510.7 million). Several factors have impacted U.S. exports to the region, including street protests in Hong Kong that have slowed commerce and tourism. While supermarket sales remain strong in Hong Kong, the disruption has been particularly hard on the restaurant sector. Although China remains a small destination for U.S. beef and exports are hampered by China's retaliatory duties, January-August volume increased 23% from a year ago to 5,625 mt, valued at $44.7 million (up 12%).

January-August highlights for U.S. beef include:

-    Exports to Mexico, the third-largest international market for U.S. beef, were slightly lower than a year ago in volume (156,528 mt, down 1%), but value increased 5% to $729.5 million. Beef variety meat exports to Mexico were down 3% from a year ago to 62,504 mt, but commanded better prices as export value increased 12% to $166 million.
-    Although beef exports to Taiwan were modestly lower year-over-year in August, January-August exports were still 10% percent above last year's record pace in volume (42,785 mt) and 7% higher in value ($383.9 million).
-    Led by surging demand in Indonesia and solid growth in the Philippines and Vietnam, beef exports to the ASEAN region were 27% above last year's pace in volume (37,206 mt) and 12% higher in value ($180.6 million).
-    Strong August results in Central America pushed exports 4% above last year's pace in volume (9,898 mt) and 10% higher in value ($56.7 million), led by a strong performance in Panama and steady growth in Guatemala and Honduras.
-    Beef exports to the Dominican Republic continue to reach new heights, as volume increased 45% from a year ago to 6,060 mt, while value climbed 35% to $48.6 million.

Halstrom noted that the temporary loss of a major processing plant to a fire likely had a negative effect on August exports, but he does not expect to see a lasting impact.

"Beef supplies are tight throughout the world but the U.S. maintains a supply advantage, as production is expected to be record-large in 2020," he said. "Both domestic and international demand for U.S. beef remains strong, and there is significant potential for further export growth, especially once the U.S.-Japan agreement is implemented."

Lamb exports trend lower in August

August exports of U.S. lamb were down 12% year-over-year at 1,193 mt, while value declined 8% to $1.84 million. For January through August, exports remained 32% above last year's pace at 10,626 mt, while value increased 13% to $17.5 million. Lamb muscle cut exports were 17% lower than a year ago in volume (1,397 mt) but slightly higher in value ($9.5 million, up 1%). Markets showing promising muscle cut growth included the Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago and Panama.

Farmers and Ranchers Celebrate Japanese Trade Deal, Look Forward to More

President Trump today signed the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement, which is an important step forward with U.S. agriculture’s fourth-largest export market.

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall says, “Today’s signing marks the successful end to more than a year of negotiation between Japan and the United States. This agreement means sharply lower tariffs on our farm and ranch exports with the promise of more to come. And while we aren’t yet finished opening this market, the conclusion of these talks means we can now trade with Japan with the same advantages enjoyed by signers of the CP-TPP trade agreement. That’s great news.

Duvall continues, “We hope the momentum from this win carries through to the negotiations with China this week and sets the stage for similar bilateral agreements with other countries involved with the CP-TPP. We appreciate this Administration’s efforts to improve trade opportunities for farmers.”


U.S. negotiators have been working to develop new trade agreements with Japan and other countries in the wake of U.S. withdrawal from the multinational Trans-Pacific Partnership process.

The Japan bilateral agreement keeps intact essentially all the trade benefits the United States would have gained in Japan under TPP.

The agreement immediately eliminates all tariffs on U.S. exports of sweet corn, almonds, broccoli and prunes, among other things. Other tariffs on products such as ethanol, cheese and whey, fresh cherries and other farm and ranch products will be phased out over a number of years.

The U.S. will also benefit from increased export quotas on products such as corn starch, malt, potato starch, fructose and more.

Fischer Statement on U.S.–Japan Trade Agreements

U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, released the following statement today after President Trump signed the official text of new trade agreements with Japan:

“This agreement between the U.S. and Japan is a victory for Nebraska’s farmers, ranchers, and ethanol producers. By securing reduced tariffs on a variety of exports like beef, pork and ethanol, this agreement expands markets for Nebraska’s great ag products. I appreciate the administration’s hard work on this deal, and look forward to continuing to work with the president toward additional trade agreements.”

Under these trade agreements, Japan will eliminate or lower tariffs on American beef, pork, wheat, ethanol, and more, as well as expand digital trade between the two countries.

Statement on Trade Agreement with Japan

Jennifer Houston, President, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President Jennifer Houston today issued the following statement after attending a White House ceremony in honor of the bilateral trade agreement between the United States and Japan that will lower Japan’s massive tariffs on U.S. beef.

“I was deeply honored to attend the ceremony at the White House where we celebrated a bilateral trade agreement with Japan. As the top market for U.S. beef exports, Japan accounts for one quarter of our exports and roughly $2 billion in annual sales. As a beef producer, I understand the value of exports to my bottom line, and President Trump understands that increased access to foreign markets like Japan is the economic stimulus we need. We are grateful for President Trump’s leadership and for the hard work of our trade negotiators who fought hard to strengthen our access to the Japanese market. Because of their efforts, future generations of American ranching families will benefit from trade with Japan.”

Houston hailed today’s announcement as an important step forward for the U.S. beef industry.

“For the past few years, U.S. beef producers have benefitted greatly from growing demand for U.S. beef in Japan. While Japanese consumers enjoy high quality U.S. beef, they unfortunately pay a higher price for U.S. beef due to the massive 38.5 percent tariff. Removing that tariff allows more Japanese consumers to enjoy more U.S. beef at a more competitive price. Today’s announcement is welcome news for American families who produce U.S. beef and Japanese families who purchase it.”

In 2018, Japanese consumers purchased $2.07 billion of U.S. beef. Currently, U.S. beef faces a massive 38.5 percent tariff in Japan, while our competitors from Australia, Canada, Mexico, and New Zealand face a 26.6 percent tariff. Leveling the playing field in Japan is a top priority for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

NCGA Joins President Trump for U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement Signing

NCGA President Kevin Ross today joined leaders of other farm and commodity groups at the White House to commemorate the signing of the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement. The agreement secures the second-largest export market for corn farmers. Ross made the following statement.

“Japan is the number two buyer of U.S. corn, purchasing more than $2 billion in the most recent marketing year. This is a high-value market for our livestock industry, therefore, also a major purchaser of U.S. corn through exported meats. NCGA has been a long-time supporter of trade with Japan. With many farmers struggling amid some challenging times, this is some much-needed good news. This agreement reaffirms and builds on our trading relationship with Japan and NCGA looks forward to continued work for a successful Phase 2 of these important negotiations.”

U.S. Grains Council Statement On Signing Of U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement

USGC Chairman Darren Armstrong, a corn farmer from Hyde County, North Carolina, on the signing of the U.S.-Japan trade agreement:

"I was very pleased to join President Trump and other U.S. agriculture leaders at the White House today for the signing of the agreement recently negotiated to solidify our country's trade relationship with Japan.

"This agreement provides certainty and stability in our second largest corn market, brings sorghum imports to a zero tariff level immediately and reduces the import markup on barley. We anticipate additional market access measures related to ethanol to be addressed in the next round of negotiations with Japan coming soon.

"We truly appreciate the deep ties we have built with our Japanese customers through decades of mutual work, and we appreciate the efforts of both governments to take this step forward into the future together."

U.S.-Japan Tariff Agreement Confirms Equal Access for U.S. Wheat

The text of the U.S.-Japan tariff agreement signed today in Washington, D.C., confirms that the agreement will provide imported U.S. wheat the same preferential advantage that is now given to Canadian and Australian wheat under the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Japan’s Diet must approve the agreement before it is implemented.

 “As we hoped, the text confirms that the agreement will put U.S. wheat back on equal footing with wheat from Canada and Australia when it is implemented,” said U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) President Vince Peterson who attended the event at the White House. “In addition, Japan has agreed to open country specific quotas for U.S. wheat and wheat product imports. The Trump Administration and negotiators for both countries clearly understood what was at stake for U.S. wheat farmers and made sure to have our backs in this agreement.”

 “NAWG is thrilled to be present during the signing of the U.S.-Japan tariff agreement, a major milestone for wheat growers,” said National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) President and Lavon, Tex., farmer Ben Scholz. “We would like to thank staff and leaders at USTR, USDA, and the Administration for working with the wheat industry as this agreement nears the finish line.”

 As USW and NAWG noted when President Trump and Prime Minister Abe announced the tariff agreement last month in New York, Japan’s effective tariff on imported U.S. wheat will drop to the same level Japanese flour millers now pay for Canadian and Australian wheat. Since the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) agreement entered into force last December, market factors have kept U.S. wheat competitive. Without this new agreement, however, U.S. wheat imports would have become less and less cost competitive to the point that Japan’s flour millers would have no other choice than to buy more of the lower cost wheat from the CPTPP member countries.

 U.S. wheat represents about 50 percent of all the wheat Japan imports each year, currently valued at more than $600 million. That volume represents more than 10 percent of total annual U.S. wheat exports, generally benefiting all U.S. wheat farmers and specifically farmers from the Pacific Northwest to the Northern and Central Plains states.

NGFA commends signing of U.S.-Japan trade deal

National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) President and CEO Randy Gordon issued the following statement after President Trump on Oct. 7 signed the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement:

“NGFA commends the United States and Japan for consummating, effective Jan. 1, a stage one trade agreement that will preserve significant market access for U.S. agricultural products, including wheat and wheat products, pork and beef. Japan represents America’s third largest agricultural market, and this agreement was essential so that U.S. agricultural products were not put at a competitive disadvantage compared to the preferential tariff treatment accorded the 10 other countries signing onto the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership following the United States’ withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade accord, as well as the Japan-European Union trade agreement. NGFA is grateful that President Trump and Prime Minister Abe and their respective trade negotiators worked intensively to complete this agreement in a remarkably short, one-month period.

"NGFA also commends U.S. and Japanese trade negotiators for their commitment to engage in a second stage of trade negotiations starting in April that will focus on addressing additional agricultural tariffs, as well as important sanitary and phytosanitary and non-tariff barriers to trade, to enhance further the positive, mutually beneficial and long-standing U.S.-Japan trade relationship to benefit consumers, economic growth and job creation in both countries.”

USDA Opens 2020 Enrollment for Dairy Margin Coverage Program

Dairy producers can now enroll in the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) for calendar year 2020. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) opened signup today for the program that helps producers manage economic risk brought on by milk price and feed cost disparities.

“We know it’s tough out there for American farmers, including our dairy producers,” said Bill Northey, Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation. “As Secretary Perdue said, farmers are pretty good at managing through tough times, and we know that more dairy farmers will be able to survive with this 2018 Farm Bill and its risk mitigation measures, like the Dairy Margin Coverage program.”

The DMC program 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. The deadline to enroll in DMC for 2020 is Dec. 13, 2019.

Dairy farmers earned more than $300 million dollars from the program in 2019 so far. Producers are encouraged to take advantage of this very important risk management tool for 2020.

All producers who want 2020 coverage, even those who took advantage of the 25 percent premium discount by locking in the coverage level for five years of margin protection coverage are required to visit the office during this signup period to pay the annual administrative fee.

“Dairy producers should definitely consider coverage for 2020 as even the slightest drop in the margin can trigger payments,” said Northey. “Dairy producers should consider enrolling in DMC to guard against what has been, for several years, an extremely unforgiving market.”

Congress Must Compel FDA to Enforce Butter Law, American Butter Institute Says

Noting that the Butter Act of 1923 gives the Food and Drug Administration no leeway in enforcing a congressional statute that defines the food as a dairy product, the American Butter Institute sent letters to the chairmen and ranking members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, urging them to compel FDA to enforce federal law against plant-based imposters that illegally misuse the term “butter” as a marketing trick.

“When it comes to violations of the Butter Act specifically, Congress did not give the Food and Drug Administration any enforcement discretion on the matter,” Tom Balmer, executive director of the American Butter Institute, said in the Oct. 4 letter. “Congress stated very precisely the ingredients from which butter is to be made and its final composition. FDA’s non-action in enforcing what Congress has mandated represents, in essence, a federal agency’s rewriting of a Congressional act and usurping Congressional authority.”

Butter’s definition has been settled law for more than a century, covered by legislation dating to 1886. Imitators made from vegetable oils have been able to use terms such as “margarine” and “spread,” ensuring a transparent marketplace. However, as butter’s popularity has grown in recent years – per-capita U.S. consumption last year reached its highest since 1968 – marketing departments at brands such as Country Crock® have been breaking the law by calling their margarines and spreads “plant-based butter” – an attempt to cash in on butter’s popularity that tarnishes a product that has had a consistent identity for generations.

“Words have meaning, power, and consequences,” Balmer writes. “We know this. You know this. ‘Misregulation,’ ‘confusion,’ ‘misinformation,’ and ‘obfuscate’ are not terms that should be used to describe the marketing of our nation’s food supply. Accordingly, we urge you to continue efforts to compel the Food and Drug Administration to enforce the statutory definition of the term ‘butter.’

The letter was released in conjunction with the organization’s annual conference, held this year in Tucson, Arizona. One year ago, ABI filed a lengthy complaint to the FDA in September calling out imitators. The organization also supports the National Milk Producers Federation’s citizen petition with the agency filed in February, outlining a roadmap toward a constructive resolution of the problem of mislabeled, fake dairy products.

Cattle Recordkeeping Booklet For 2020 Available from NCBA

Cattle producer record-keeping can be improved and simplified through the Redbook, a pocket-sized recordkeeping tool from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. Made available yearly for more than three decades, NCBA’s 2020 edition helps cattle producers effectively and efficiently record their daily production efforts, helping enhance profitability.

                In addition to an area for recording Beef Quality Assurance practices and proper injection technique information, the 2020 Redbook has more than 100 pages to record calving activity, herd health, pasture use, cattle inventory, body condition, cattle treatment, AI breeding records and more. It also contains a calendar and notes section.

                Redbooks can be purchased for $7.00 each, plus shipping and handling. To order, visit      

ASA Soy Recognition Awards Nomination Period Ends Oct. 14

The American Soybean Association (ASA) wants to recognize exceptional soy volunteers and leaders—and we need your help. During ASA’s annual awards banquet, individuals will be recognized and honored for state association volunteerism, distinguished leadership achievements and long-term, significant contributions to the soybean industry. The nomination period is open through Oct. 14, 2019.

The Recognition Awards categories are:
-    ASA Outstanding State Volunteer Award–Recognizes the dedication and contributions of individuals who have given at least three-years of volunteer service in any area of the state soybean association operation.
-    ASA Distinguished Leadership Award–Distinguished and visionary leadership of ASA or a state soybean association is recognized with this award to either a soybean grower-leader or association staff leader with at least five-years of leadership service.
-    ASA Pinnacle Award–An industry-wide recognition of those individuals who have demonstrated the highest level of contribution and lifetime leadership within the soybean family and industry.

All nominations must be received online, no later than Monday, Oct. 14, 2019. No nominations by telephone, email or fax will be accepted. A judging committee will be assigned to make the final selections.

Recipients will receive their awards at the ASA Awards Banquet on Friday, Feb. 28, 2020, in San Antonio, Texas at Commodity Classic.

INTL FCStone Completes the Acquisition of the Futures and Options Brokerage and Clearing Business of UOB Bullion and Futures Limited in Singapore

INTL FCStone Inc. today announced that its Singaporean subsidiary INTL FCStone Pte Ltd has met all conditions of the Asset Purchase Agreement it entered into on 18 March 2019, and completed the acquisition of the futures and options brokerage and clearing business of UOB Bullion and Futures Limited, a subsidiary of United Overseas Bank Limited.

As part of the acquisition, IFP upgraded its Capital Markets Services license in Singapore so it can offer full service brokerage encompassing dealing in exchange-traded derivatives contracts, over-the-counter derivatives contracts and spot foreign exchange contracts for the purposes of leveraged foreign exchange trading.   IFP was also admitted as a Trading Member of Singapore Exchange Derivatives Trading Limited and Clearing Member of Singapore Exchange Derivatives Clearing Limited.

Greg Kallinikos, Chief Executive Officer of IFP and Deputy CEO, Asia for INTL FCStone Group, commented on the closing of the transaction, “The successful completion of our acquisition of UOB Bullion and Futures Limited’s F&O business in Singapore marks the beginning of a new, exciting era for INTL FCStone in Asia. We are both thrilled and honoured by the prospect of serving our new customers and look forward to building long lasting relationships with all of them. This transaction significantly enhanced our regional and international capabilities with the addition of SGX as another major exchange we now offer clearing and execution services on. This is an important milestone in expanding INTL FCStone’s presence in Asia and fully supports our plans of offering a one-stop solution for all our customers’ market access needs for listed derivatives globally.”

Friday October 4 Ag News

President Trump Delivers on a Key Promise to American Farmers as EPA, USDA Announce Agreement on Promoting Biofuels

Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue issued the following statements after President Donald J. Trump successfully negotiated an agreement on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS):

“President Trump’s leadership has led to an agreement that continues to promote domestic ethanol and biodiesel production, supporting our Nation’s farmers and providing greater energy security,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Today’s agreement is the latest in a series of steps we have taken to expand domestic energy production and improve the RFS program that will result in sustained biofuel production to help American farmers."

"President Trump has once again demonstrated that he is a champion for our nation's farmers and rural America," said USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue. "The President recognizes that American farmers are the most productive in the world, and he has found a way to pursue policy that promotes economic growth and supports our producers. Building on the success of the year-round E15 rule, this forward-looking agreement makes improvements to the RFS program that will better harness the production of our farmers and ensure America remains energy dominant.”

Under this agreement, the following actions will be undertaken by EPA and USDA:
-    In a forthcoming supplemental notice building off the recently proposed 2020 Renewable Volume Standards and the Biomass-Based Diesel Volume for 2021, EPA will propose and request public comment on expanding biofuel requirements beginning in 2020.
       + EPA will seek comment on actions to ensure that more than 15 billion gallons of conventional ethanol be blended into the nation’s fuel supply beginning in 2020, and that the volume obligation for biomass-based diesel is met. This will include accounting for relief expected to be provided for small refineries.
       + EPA intends to take final action on this front later this year.
       + In the most recent compliance year, EPA granted 31 small refinery exemptions.
-    Building on the President’s earlier decision to allow year-round sales of E15, EPA will initiate a rulemaking process to streamline labeling and remove other barriers to the sale of E15.
-    EPA will continue to evaluate options for RIN market transparency and reform.
-    USDA will seek opportunities through the budget process to consider infrastructure projects to facilitate higher biofuel blends.
-    The Administration will continue to work to address ethanol and biodiesel trade issues.

Since taking office in 2017, the Trump Administration has enacted tax and regulatory policies that have helped make America energy dominant.  The Administration has cut burdensome red tape through deregulation, including signing a record number of Congressional Review Act (CRA) legislation, repealing the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, reforming the Section 401 process under the Clean Water Act, proposing a new methane rule, and removing the U.S. from the job-killing Paris Climate Accord.  The Administration has also expedited permitting approvals, has opened up federal land for development, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), and will continue to enact pro-growth energy policies to expand American energy dominance.

NCGA: Farmers Thank Trump Administration for Listening and Upholding the RFS

The National Corn Growers Association today welcomed an announcement from President Trump directing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to follow the letter of the law and keep the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) whole.

The RFS and corn farmers have repeatedly come under attack from big oil and the EPA, including the most recent approval of 31 additional RFS exemptions for oil companies, reducing corn demand for ethanol and increasing total waived biofuels demand to 4.04 billion gallons under the Trump Administration. Today’s announcement that EPA will reopen the rulemaking for the 2020 RFS volumes and propose to account for waivers in the volume requirements allows EPA to follow the law and restore integrity to the RFS.

“We’re very grateful the President listened to our concerns and is upholding his commitments to put the RFS back on track,” NCGA President Kevin Ross said. “Corn farmers weren’t shy in telling the President that the impact of these waivers would lead to significant consequences for farmers, folks working at ethanol and biodiesel plants, and the countless other rural jobs that depend on this market.”

Earlier this year, Ross joined President Trump at an Iowa ethanol plant and pressed that he address the impact waivers are having on the RFS. NCGA has advocated that the EPA use its available tools to account for expected waivers in the annual Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) rulemaking so that waivers do not reduce the RFS volumes. The EPA, to date, had ignored these calls and the clear requirement of the law, refusing to take steps to keep the RFS whole or even consider comments pertaining to waived gallons in RVO rulemakings.

“The President is finally telling the EPA that enough is enough, they must follow the law, and we appreciate that,” Ross said. “NCGA is thankful to our elected Senators, Representatives, Governors and other state lawmakers who consistently pressed the Administration to find a real solution to the harm caused by refinery waivers. A special thanks to USDA Secretary Perdue who continues to be an outspoken advocate on this issue and for farmers. We stand ready to work with them to ensure these commitments are finalized.”

In addition to the commitment to redistribute waived gallons, the Administration is also proposing to take further steps supported by farmers, including removing additional barriers and supporting infrastructure to help grow demand for higher blends of ethanol.

Soy Growers Pleased with Administration’s New RFS Agreement

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) have announced a supplemental proposed rule to the recently announced 2020 Renewable Volume Standards and the Biomass-based Diesel Volume for 2021. EPA will seek public comment on the agreement, which aims to address the impacts of Small Refinery Exemptions (SREs) by incorporating into the RFS volumes a projection of expected waivers based on a 3-year average.

“We are very pleased to see something positive for biofuels and thank both the President and the members of Congress who have been champions of this revised proposal,” said Davie Stephens, Kentucky soybean farmer and American Soybean Association president. “Addressing the flood of waivers issued in recent years by EPA is the most immediate need, and this proposal, if finalized, will account for future waivers. We will also continue to advocate for growth in RFS volumes and improved implementation of the program.”

Biofuel and farm advocates are urging the administration to act swiftly on the president’s commitment to restore integrity to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and address the economic crisis created by EPA’s overuse of SREs. The following joint statement has been issued by ASA, the National Corn Growers Association, Growth Energy, the Renewable Fuels Association, the National Biodiesel Board, and Fuels America:

“We thank President Trump for today’s announcement, which shows that the voices of farm families and biofuel producers are being heard in Washington. Efforts to restore hope for rural communities cannot come soon enough, and we will continue to work closely on that process with our elected champions and this White House until a plan is finalized and gallons start flowing again. The EPA must uphold the president’s commitment to restore demand, based on a 3-year average of all the exempted gallons, beginning with the 2020 biofuel standards.”

Nebraska Corn thanks President Trump for upholding the law and the integrity of the RFS

This morning, the White House released its intention to uphold the integrity of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) by reallocating waived gallons of ethanol. The Nebraska Corn Board and the Nebraska Corn Growers Association thank President Trump and his administration for following through in their commitment to our nation’s corn farmers and our ethanol industry. Nebraska Corn also thanks the USDA, our state’s congressional delegation, Gov. Pete Ricketts and Nebraska’s corn farmers who took a unified stand in demanding the law is upheld and the goals of the RFS are reached.

“We’ve been waiting for a reallocation of waived gallons for a long time,” said Dan Nerud, president of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association and farmer from Dorchester. “To say we were upset with the refinery waivers is an understatement, so today’s announcement is welcome news. We’re very happy with today’s announcement.”

“I’m extremely excited with today’s announcement,” said David Bruntz, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board and farmer from Friend. “Today’s news just goes to show what our growers can achieve when our voices are unified. Thanks to all of Nebraska and our nation’s corn farmers who rallied together to ensure we have vibrant corn and ethanol industries for years to come.”

Nebraska Corn looks forward to working with the administration to ensure the RFS is fully realized and the clean-burning, renewable ethanol industry continues to thrive.

Corn Farmers Thank Trump Administration and Biofuels Champions for Upholding the Integrity of the RFS

Statement from ICGA President Jim Greif

Iowa corn farmers received positive news today for momentum in the right direction to uphold the integrity of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) thanks President Trump for his commitment to address the demand destruction of corn ethanol brought on by expanded use of small refinery exemptions and prospectively account for those exemptions using a three-year rolling average of actual waived gallons, beginning with the 2020 biofuel standard. This gives hope to Iowa’s rural economy, especially at a time when corn farmers need it most.

We also want to thank Iowa’s elected leaders and Iowa Corn Growers Association members who overwhelmingly responded to communicate with the President the top priority of ICGA -- to retain the RFS and reduce regulatory barriers for higher blends of ethanol. We are grateful for the dedication of our biofuels champions, Senators Ernst and Grassley along with Governor Reynolds, who fought for Iowa’s corn farmers, ethanol plants and rural communities.

We appreciate the Trump Administration is taking steps to make it right to help Iowa corn farmers. ICGA will continue to work with our elected champions and the Administration to ensure the commitments made today are implemented and demand for Iowa corn is restored.

 RFS Deal Provides Certainty for Farmers and Ethanol Producers

U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, today applauded the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) announcement of a Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) deal. Among other changes, the EPA will begin to account for projected numbers of gallons exempted when coming up with Renewable Volume Obligations for refiners, providing farmers and ethanol producers with more certainty.

Senator Fischer was an integral part of a concerted effort over a series of months involving numerous meetings and phone calls with President Trump, White House staff, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, and her Midwest Senate colleagues to secure this deal.

“In my discussions with the president, I fought hard for a fair deal for Nebraska’s farmers and ethanol producers. I thank the president for following through on his commitment to rural America. Today’s announcement means more certainty for families, businesses, and communities across the Good Life,” said Senator Fischer.

More information on the deal:

Under the deal, the EPA will factor in recent waivers exempting oil refineries from blending renewable fuels when setting new annual Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO) starting with 2020. Accounting for these exemptions will ensure the 15 billion net gallons of conventional biofuel obligation is met in the 2020 RVO.

This deal follows an announcement by the EPA earlier this year to allow the year-round sale of E-15. Senator Fischer long fought for year-round sales and was a lead sponsor of the bipartisan Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act which would have allowed retailers to sell E-15 and other higher-ethanol blends all year. She traveled with President Trump to Council Bluffs, Iowa, this summer, where the announcement was made alongside U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler.

Senator Fischer is also the lead sponsor of the bipartisan RFS Integrity Act of 2019. The bill aims to add order and transparency to a messy and opaque Small Refinery Exemption process. It sets a deadline for refiners to apply for exemptions and requires the EPA to account for lost gallons when coming up with Renewable Volume Obligations. Additionally, the legislation mandates more transparency in how and when the EPA reports Small Refinery Exemptions. Currently, the RFS Integrity Act has 15 cosponsors, including five Republicans and 10 Democrats.

Sasse Praises Trump Administrations Ethanol Deal

U.S. Senator Ben Sasse issued the following statement regarding the Trump Administration’s biofuels deal that was announced today.

“This is good news for Nebraska farmers and producers. The President and I have talked repeatedly about how important it is for our farmers to have clarity, and I’m glad that he’s focused on this issue. This is a tough time for agriculture but Nebraskans are grateful that the EPA is committed to E-15 being available year-around and following the law when it comes to small refinery exemptions. Nebraskans deserve this.”

Smith Welcomes President Trump’s RFS Action

Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) released the following statement today after the Trump administration released the details of his plan to uphold the RFS.

“The RFS has been widely successful, bipartisan, and benefits producers and consumers alike. I am glad the President took action to rectify the hardships RFS waivers granted by the EPA have created. This action restores credibility to the RFS consistent with congressional intent and compliments the President’s action to expand E-15.”

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issuing of Small Refinery Exemptions (SREs) for large or unqualified refiners under the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) program, has been harmful to the RFS by exempting refineries from the RFS. The White House announced today President Trump’s plan to ensure biofuel targets are met by accounting for the gallons lost due to SREs based on a three year average.

Ricketts Thanks President Trump for Delivering on Ethanol Promise

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts issued a statement following a key announcement from President Donald J. Trump aimed at bolstering ethanol production.

“Ensuring RVOs do not go below 15 billion gallons and expanding access to E15 will bolster the RFS and ethanol production at a critical time for our nation’s rural economy, which has been suffering from low commodity prices,” said Gov. Ricketts.  “Thank you to President Trump for taking these important steps for ethanol and our great farm families!”

Statement by Steve Nelson, President, Regarding Trump Administration Action on Ethanol, Biofuels

“We appreciate President Trump and the administration taking progressive steps to address the concerns of Nebraska farmers regarding the promotion and further development of domestic ethanol and biofuels. The administration’s announcement that it will ensure the blending of 15 billion gallons of ethanol in our nation’s fuel supply by 2020 is welcome news in farm country and music to the ears of our farm families who rely on the biofuels industry as a critical market for our homegrown corn, soybeans, and other commodities. Equally important to the future of biofuels is the administration’s actions and commitment to create opportunities for moving U.S. biofuels into international markets as announced with this deal. We thank President Trump for his actions, Gov. Ricketts, as well as the Nebraska Congressional delegation, for helping get us to this point, especially Sen. Deb Fischer and Congressman Adrian Smith who have championed the need for action to provide certainty to farmers in this critical market.”

Nebraska Ethanol Board eager to see action on Trump administration’s promises to the biofuel industry

This morning, the White House announced its intentions to honor the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) by upholding the existing law that requires 15 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol be blended into the U.S. fuel supply each year, starting in 2020. Additionally, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) committed to implementing a process that will eliminate barriers that inhibit the sale of higher ethanol blends and cause confusion among consumers and fuel retailers.

“The wait for this decision has been agonizing, especially for Nebraska farmers and biofuel producers struggling in today’s industry,” said Jan tenBensel, chairman of the Nebraska Ethanol Board and farmer from Cambridge. “Thank you to the White House for listening, and, to our Congressional delegates for working tirelessly to ensure our voices are heard. As you contemplate how this decision will unfold, hear this: our life’s work is to take the land we are privileged to call home and nurture it to sustain the masses. The decisions made today impacts the now and the future. Thank you for recognizing the importance of the biofuel industry and your commitment to its prosperity.”  

The Nebraska Ethanol Board’s mission is to see that the production of ethanol continues and grows. Over the past several months, the future of ethanol has looked dismal due to the trade wars and refinery exemptions. Seventeen ethanol plants across the country have ceased operation, which has directly affected the price of corn for Nebraska farmers. When the Board submitted comments to the EPA on its proposed Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) for ethanol, it urged the EPA to redistribute the more than four billion gallons of ethanol that have been stripped out of the RFS over the last three years. Today’s statement from the White House is a step in the right direction but it does not address the wrongs of the past.   

“We are encouraged by the Trump Administration’s announcement to uphold the law by way of the RFS and to remove barriers that are holding back the biofuel industry’s ability to compete and thrive,” said Roger Berry, administrator for the Nebraska Ethanol Board. “Today’s announcement is good news and we appreciate the step forward but we are disappointed in its lack of details. There is a lot of work that still needs to take place to help stabilize the damage already done and increase biofuel consumption. We look forward to working with the administration and our Congressional champions to help shape a concrete plan of action soon, as our farmers and ethanol producers cannot take any more hits and need immediate relief.”

Iowa Farm Bureau statement on EPA renewable fuels announcement

Iowa Farm Bureau Federation President Craig Hill:

"Iowa Farm Bureau is encouraged that promises to farmers made for 15 billion gallons of renewable fuels will be kept by the Administration. Burdened by six years of a downturned ag economy, depressed commodity prices and weather challenges that have wiped out crops for many, Iowa farmers welcome the good news.

"The 15 billion EPA biofuel requirements, coupled with promised action to keep biomass-based diesel sales and a recent decision to allow year-round sales of E15, is needed by grain farmers to remain sustainable and to help reduce carbon emissions for us all. But, it’s not just farmers who rely on Iowa-grown fuels; it’s all Iowans. More than 48,000 Iowans are employed by or depend upon the continued operation of the state’s biorefineries. Iowans who depend on those biofuel jobs also welcome today’s news to keep that 15-billion-gallon promise to farmers.

"Agriculture provides the food and fiber for a growing world, and farmers are pleased to see support for our Iowa-grown fuels continue, to assure a future of sustainable energy for this nation."

Secretary Naig Calls Biofuels Announcement Welcome News for Iowa

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig issued the following statement in response to today’s biofuels announcement.

“This is welcome news for Iowa’s farmers and the renewable fuels industry,” said Secretary Naig. “President Trump listened to our producers’ concerns and took action to address them. This is what happens when farmers, biofuels producers and government leaders work together to make our voices heard. We are grateful to President Trump for directing EPA to uphold the intent of the Renewable Fuel Standard, and we look forward to working with EPA and USDA to implement today’s announcement.

“As the number one producer of ethanol and biodiesel in the country, Iowa is proud to lead the nation in reducing our dependence on foreign oil. We will continue to work to restore and build demand for these critical markets for Iowa agriculture.”

Growth Energy Applauds President Trump's Plan to Uphold RFS

Growth Energy, the nation’s largest ethanol association, today applauded the White House’s announcement of President Trump’s plan to uphold the integrity of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) by ensuring biofuel blending targets are truly met each year. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor issued the following statement:

“It’s been a long process, but when the chips were down, President Trump delivered for farm families and biofuel producers. This is a victory for rural America, and we are grateful to our champions in Congress, USDA Secretary Perdue, and governors across the heartland who fought to put homegrown energy back on the market. We also thank President Trump for hearing the voices of farmers and biofuel producers and his commitment to finding a solution that will make an immediate difference for rural families.

"By accurately accounting for lost gallons from this point forward based on a 3-year average of all exempted gallons, beginning with the 2020 biofuel targets, and breaking down regulatory and infrastructure barriers to higher biofuel blends, we will be able to realize the true potential of the opportunities President Trump opened by approving year-round sales of E15. Our industry and farm suppliers are eager to put this plan in place and deliver more lower-cost, lower-carbon biofuels to American consumers. We look forward to finalizing this rule to help America's farmers.

"To restore growth and revitalize farm income, it’s vital that the EPA stay true to the president’s promise, and we will be working closely with leaders in Washington to ensure that happens. What matters now is how quickly we can restore demand for U.S. farmers and put biofuel gallons back to work for America’s economy.”

NBB Thanks President Trump and Iowa Leaders for Restoring Integrity to RFS

Today, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) thanked President Donald Trump for directing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to properly account for future small refinery exemptions in annual Renewable Fuel Standard rules. NBB also thanked Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, Gov. Kim Reynolds (R-IA), Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) for their steadfast defense of the renewable fuel industry and the RFS program.

NBB CEO Donnell Rehagen stated, "On behalf of NBB's members and soybean growers, we are grateful that President Trump is taking a huge step to restore integrity to the Renewable Fuel Standard. Biodiesel producers continue to be severely harmed by EPA's misuse of small refinery exemptions. Nine producers from across the country – including in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Texas, Georgia and Iowa – have closed their doors or reduced operations and laid off more than 200 employees. Today's announcement is a first step in reversing the loss of production and restoring those jobs. The biodiesel industry deeply appreciates the consistently strong advocacy of Agriculture Secretary Perdue and Iowa’s political leaders.”

Kurt Kovarik, NBB Vice President of Federal Affairs, added, "Proper accounting of the exemptions is vital to ensure that the annual RFS volumes send a reliable signal to biodiesel producers, who are making investments and plans for the future. The biodiesel industry relies on the RFS program to support continued growth and market development. While today's proposal addresses the lost gallons from future exemptions, it does not provide for additional volumes of biomass-based diesel in 2021. We will continue to press EPA to send signals for future growth for biodiesel producers and soybean farmers.

"We appreciate President Trump's commitment to make biofuels producers and soybean farmers whole by accounting for waived biofuel gallons using a three-year average of exempted gallons as an estimate. We look forward to working with EPA to ensure that the President's commitment is fully and faithfully implemented and the RFS program is made whole from the prior damage."

RFA: President’s Renewable Fuels Plan a Crucial Step Forward

The Trump Administration announced today that it is taking action to begin reversing the damage done to rural America by refinery exemptions from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Today’s plan requires EPA to keep the statutory RFS volumes whole by prospectively redistributing exempted renewable fuel blending requirements to non-exempt refiners. Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper offered the following statement:

“We thank President Trump for hearing the concerns of ethanol producers, farmers and consumers across the country. The plan announced today takes a crucial step toward repairing the damage done by EPA’s small refinery waivers and re-establishes the RFS as a driver of growth in the production and use of low carbon renewable fuels. Once finalized and implemented, this plan will ensure EPA follows the law in setting annual biofuel blending obligations under the RFS.

“President Trump’s action today not only begins to restore integrity to the RFS, but also starts to revive hope for farmers and ethanol plant workers who have seen small refinery exemptions wreak havoc on their markets and destabilize their rural communities.

“It is important to remember that today’s announcement marks the beginning—not the end—of an EPA regulatory process, and much work remains to be done. We will continue to diligently work with EPA and the administration to ensure this action is finalized in a way that guarantees a 15-billion-gallon requirement in 2020 truly is a 15-billion-gallon requirement.

“We are especially grateful to the many members of Congress, state governors, and USDA leaders who voiced their concerns to the President and stood steadfast with farmers and ethanol producers. America’s farm families and biofuel workers have an incredibly powerful voice when we pull together, and we applaud the President for responding to our concerns and upholding his promise to protect the RFS.”

 ACE thanks rural leaders for speaking out on the RFS, urges continued vigilance

American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings thanks rural leaders for prompting today’s announcement following White House discussions over the past few months with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). EPA says it is seeking comment on actions to ensure that the statutory volume for conventional biofuel is met by prospectively accounting for waived volumes beginning in 2020, as well as initiating a rulemaking to ‘streamline labeling and remove other barriers to the sale of E15.’ Jennings issued the statement below following today’s announcement.

“Because this plan is short on details and the final outcome is dependent upon a new rulemaking process, it’s unrealistic and premature for me to conclusively praise it at this stage. Instead, my sober assessment of the good and bad in this plan, based on the few details we currently have to work with, is as follows:

“It’s good the President is directing EPA to account for future Small Refinery Exemptions (SREs) beginning in 2020 to ensure more than 15 billion gallons is blended under the RFS next year. We are grateful for this step in the right direction, but it isn’t a special deal, it is the White House finally directing EPA to follow the law. We will carefully examine how EPA proposes to offset future SREs in the supplemental rulemaking and will submit comments to shape an outcome to get the RFS back on track starting with the 2020 Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO). Of course, this implies EPA will continue issuing SREs in the future, likely following the recent pattern whereby an average of 30 small refineries were allowed to escape blending obligations. The difference is hopefully those blending obligations will be reallocated to non-exempt refiners going forward as required by law.

“Speaking of reallocation, it’s bad that the Trump Administration is doing nothing to reallocate the more than 4 billion gallons of RFS blending obligations waived for refineries from the 2016, 2017 and 2018 compliance years. These 85 waivers combined with the trade war and weather-related disasters have taken a terrible economic toll on rural America. It’s unfortunate our only remaining remedy is our joint litigation in the DC Circuit Court. It’s also disappointing the plan appears silent on whether EPA will finally restore 500 million gallons to the RFS as ordered by the DC Circuit Court. Our comments to the supplemental 2020 RVO rulemaking will encourage EPA to comply with the court order.

“Most importantly, I want to thank the farmers, biofuel producers, and elected leaders for speaking out about the need for the Trump Administration to reverse the damage done through EPA’s abuse of the SRE provision of the RFS. Your vigilance and grassroots leadership will be necessary to help achieve a positive outcome in the upcoming rulemaking process.”

Renewable Fuel Action Crucial for Farm Economy

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall

“Farm Bureau is pleased the Administration is returning integrity to the Renewable Fuel Standard while ensuring the policy will continue to provide economic opportunities in rural America.

“Today’s actions put us on a path toward greater ethanol use in nearly all vehicles now on the road and recognize the loss in demand caused by small refinery waivers. Today’s proposal will also encourage increased biofuel infrastructure through the federal budget process.

“It’s no secret we face a difficult farm economy, so this announcement comes at a crucial moment in time. Farmers across the nation applaud this decision.”

Plan to Expand Biofuels a Step in the Right Direction

After several months of negotiations and much fanfare, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a broad plan to offset a portion of the 4 billion gallons of demand for biofuels eliminated due to the ongoing misappropriation of small refinery exemptions (SREs). More specific details will be rolled out within the next week, but EPA is expected to release a supplemental proposed rule that would add about 1.35 billion gallons to its annual biofuel blending quota for 2020.

Under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), 15 billion gallons of corn ethanol and 2.4 billion gallons of biodiesel are required to be blended into transportation fuel. However, EPA has waived that requirement for 85 oil refineries over the past three years, a rate quadruple that of the previous administration. As a result, the amount of corn ethanol and biodiesel in the transportation sector during that time has been under the benchmark, representing a 1.4-billion-bushel decline in demand for corn and an 825-million-bushel decline for soybeans.

National Farmers Union (NFU) has consistently voiced opposition to this administration’s ongoing efforts to undermine the American biofuels industry. Though the organization was relieved that the administration intends to expand the market for biofuels in the coming years, NFU President Roger Johnson is concerned that it will not go far enough to compensate for all of the economic losses incurred by farmers and rural Americans.

“Family farmers have been waiting many months for this announcement. In the meantime, they have continued to lose millions of dollars of hard-earned income, upwards of 30 biofuels plants have halted production, and hundreds of rural Americans have lost their jobs.

“The damage inflicted on rural communities by these waivers cannot be emphasized enough. While this plan will make important progress in making the biofuels industry whole, we worry that it may be too little, too late.

“We should have been taking several steps forward to expand the market for homegrown biofuels over the past several years, but instead we’ve taken many steps backwards. Though this plan will hopefully return the market back to where it was at the beginning of 2016, it won’t move us forward to where we would have been today, if it weren’t for the waivers. In order to bring biofuels to where they ought to be, NFU encourages this administration to not only reallocate the lost waivers, but to also substantially increase the amount of biofuels in our transportation sector and to find new opportunities for the use of higher level blends of ethanol like E30.”

Safety tips provided for farm equipment damaged by floods

Farmers and ranchers across the Midwest continue to work recovering their equipment damaged in the spring 2019 flooding. The safety team at the Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center reminds those working to restore equipment to consider personal safety at each step of the process.

Exposing farm equipment to any kind of water can result in serious problems and can turn a normally safe piece of equipment into a safety hazard.

Submerging electric and internal combustion engines or electric appliances in floodwater only adds to the potential for damage and complicates cleanup. Look for a dirty water line on the equipment to get an idea of how high the floodwater rose.

“If you have an internal combustion engine under water, get it out of the water and dried out as quickly as possible because the integral parts of the engine will quickly corrode,” said University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Educator Steve Melvin, an expert in irrigated cropping systems. “Drain oil out of the crank case and fuel out of the fuel system. Replace all the filters.”

Injectors or spark plugs must be removed to ensure there is no water in the cylinders. With electric motors, make sure they are completely dried out, free from any dirt, sand, or other flood debris, and grease motor bearings by removing the relief plug and adding grease until the old grease is expelled.

Whether an engine is internal combustion or electric, all parts must be thoroughly dried out before attempting to start it. Any water remaining in the cylinders of the engine could cause the engine to lock up if not drained, and any dampness in an electric motor may result in damaging electrical shorts and potentially hazardous electrical shocks.

Once the motor has been taken apart, it can be placed in a warm (not too hot) oven to speed drying. Ideally an electrical or internal combustion professional can inspect the motor before it’s reassembled to ensure it’s safe to operate.

Because floodwater contains a wide range of particles such as sand, silt, and contaminants that include an abundance of fuel, pesticides and other chemicals, carefully inspect engine parts for traces of contamination. Always wear gloves to protect yourself when handling contaminated parts. Ensure that those working around you are aware of possible contamination. Always keep children away from flood-contaminated equipment.

“You could use compressed air or something similar to help clean the engine,” said University of Nebraska Extension Educator Troy Ingram. “If it’s an electric motor, the water may affect bearings, windings and rotor. It’s best to take electric pump units to an electrical shop to have them evaluated, since you rely on them all summer to keep water on crops.”

There’s good reason to believe most internal combustion engines and electric motors can be restored after being submerged in floodwater. However, it’s possible an engine could suffer enough damage that it requires a complete rebuild.

“If a center pivot is submerged in water, you’ll want to inspect every electrical component to make sure floating debris didn’t crash against it and damage wiring or tear things loose,” Ingram said.

Components of a center pivot that should be checked include the wheel and center drive gearboxes, center drive motors on electric drive pivots, tower boxes if the water reached them, and the pivot panel. Hydraulic drive pivots would still need to have wheel gearboxes checked, but the hydraulic system should be OK as long as the pump and/or oil reservoir were not submerged.

“With gearboxes, drain any water that’s present,” Melvin said. “If the oil appears contaminated, drain it and refill with new oil. The center drive motors should be inspected to make sure they are dry and free of debris. That may require removing the stator housing from the motors.”

If water reached the pivot panel and/or the tower boxes, it’s recommended to have a service technician or electrician inspect them.

“Be sure they are completely dried out before servicing them,” Melvin said. “Both basic and computer panels may operate after drying out and cleaning, but sometimes they need to be repaired or replaced.

“It’s also a good idea to contact your local well or pivot company service technicians and involve them in the system inspection. If something was missed, additional damage could occur by operating the system.”

To help protect irrigation equipment from floodwater, consider moving it to a side hill (if there’s one in the field) or set the system as far away as possible from creeks, rivers and known flood plains.

“If it’s set on a side hill, the center pivot may be more susceptible to wind damage,” Melvin said. “But that would help keep it out of floodwater.”

Farmers who pump irrigation water out of a creek or river typically move irrigation equipment away from the water source when it’s not being used, helping to protect it from flooding.

“In those situations, the farmer is likely to be accustomed to watching for signs of a pending flood,” Melvin said. “Any type of equipment you can protect from potential floodwater will help avoid a nighttime trip to move it or deal with costly repair or replacements caused by floodwater.”

Once a center pivot’s power unit has been checked for damage, the well should be inspected, too. Wells with an open discharge pipe that is not plugged or connected to a gravity irrigation system are of more concern. Wells with proper backflow valves should be less susceptible to contamination and collection of debris.

“Make sure the well pump turns freely before operating it or you could incur damage to the impellers,” Melvin said. “Once the power unit is operable, it’s probably helpful to pump any contaminants out of the well or shock chlorinate it to kill any bacteria that might be present.”

Well gearheads are usually sealed. However, it’s advisable to drain the oil, flush if possible, and refill it with new oil.

Melvin also noted that securing propane or diesel tanks or moving them to higher ground helps keep them from floating away, keeping everyone safer in the event of a flood.

Often, insurance policies don’t provide coverage for flooding. To thoroughly understand the details of equipment coverage, consult your insurance agent and request specific information about whether or not your policy includes coverage for flood-damaged equipment. It may be helpful to request a written statement of specific coverage details.

“Above all else, stay safe when you’re working in a flood damaged area and when repairing damaged equipment,” Melvin said. “Make sure all power is shut off to these engines and center pivots. Double check to make sure that’s done. Don’t attempt to use a system that hasn’t been thoroughly restored and inspected.”

Nebraska Soybean Board names Ritzman as associate executive director

The Nebraska Soybean Board (NSB) is pleased to announce the hiring of Scott Ritzman as associate executive director.

In his position, Ritzman will work on behalf of the state’s soybean farmers to contribute to the mission of the NSB, which is to effectively invest and leverage soybean checkoff resources to maximize profit opportunities for Nebraska soybean farmers. Ritzman will work on the achievement of NSB’s mission and strategic objectives, program development and administration, employee oversight and leadership, communications and relationship-building, and fiscal and contract management.

“As a member of the Nebraska Soybean Board, I am excited to welcome Scott Ritzman to our staff as associate executive director,” said Eugene Goering, vice chair of the NSB and farmer from Columbus. “We conducted a search and interviews this summer with good candidates and the board selected Scott at our September meeting. Scott brings great talent and experience to serve our soybean farmers in Nebraska.”

A native of Omaha, Ritzman graduated from Midland University with a degree in accounting. Prior to joining the NSB, Scott spent seven years in the international grain export industry working for Mishek Inc. & Associates launching projects for clients, enhancing existing programs, and solving client problems in foreign markets. More specifically, Ritzman has experience in the global soy supply and demand chain.

“I look forward to serving the Nebraska Soybean Board and advancing the checkoff into the future and always evolving soybean industry,” said Ritzman. “I’m excited to work on increasing the awareness and marketing of Nebraska soybeans and the entire U.S. soybean industry with the collaboration of valuable partnerships. It’s vital that we work to move the products that our farmers work so hard to grow and to assist them on the research, marketing and promotion of soybeans distributed both domestically and internationally.”

Ritzman joined the NSB as a new employee as of October 1, 2019.

ISU Bee Research and Best Management Practices Topic of Monthly Webinar

Iowa Learning Farms will host a webinar on Wednesday, Oct. 16 at 12 p.m. about the research being done at Iowa State University on bees in agricultural settings.

There are between 300 and 400 species of bees in the state of Iowa, according to Randall Paul Cass, extension entomologist at Iowa State University. Cass will present Iowa State research which focuses on observing the challenges and opportunities for bees in Iowa’s agricultural landscapes.

“We thrive when bees thrive,” said Cass, whose research focuses on honey bees and native bees, and on exploring how Iowa’s landscapes impact bee health and abundance. Join the webinar at noon Oct. 16 to learn more about Iowa’s native bees and the research being done at Iowa State University on the relationship between bees and agriculture.

To watch, go to and click the link to join the webinar shortly before 12 p.m. on Oct. 16, to download the Zoom software and log in option. The webinar will be recorded and archived on the ILF website for watching at any time at

Established in 2004, Iowa Learning Farms is building a Culture of Conservation by encouraging adoption of conservation practices. Farmers, researchers and ILF team members are working together to identify and implement the best management practices that improve water quality and soil health while remaining profitable.

A Certified Crop Adviser board approved continuing education unit (1 CEU: Crop Management) is available for those who are able to watch the live webinar. Information will be provided at the end of the presentation for submitting CCA/CPAg/CPSS/CPSC number to earn the credit.

Study: Mandatory Labeling had Minimal Effect on Meat Demand

A Kansas State University agricultural economist says a law that once required mandatory reporting of the origin of meat sold in grocery stores likely did not have an impact on consumers' demand for those products.

Glynn Tonsor has completed an analysis of meat demand before, during and after the U.S. Department of Agriculture had implemented mandatory country of origin labeling for meat products.

Known as MCOOL, the law was in place in the United States from 2009 through 2015, and required food labels in grocery stores to include a statement indicating where the animal was raised before it was harvested for a meat product.

Essentially, said Tonsor, "if beef and pork products went through the grocery store, then they had to be labeled. With that (labeling) comes the cost of compliance, which goes into a benefit-cost assessment, and an attempt to quantify the benefit. So what we tried to determine is the impact on the demand for meat of that law, and ultimately whether there was a positive benefit-cost ratio.

"There's no evidence of a positive demand development following implementation of the law," Tonsor said. "So if you don't have evidence of a benefit, and you do have evidence of a cost, that's not a desirable benefit-cost ratio," which led to the law being repealed in late 2015.

Four years later, Tonsor said there is "no reason to think" that repeal of MCOOL would provide a measurable boost to the demand for meat products. "One of the estimates we have reported looks that way, but there are a lot of things that change. Beef demand or pork demand could be better after MCOOL, and have nothing to do with MCOOL being repealed."

Recent drivers in meat demand are more likely due to consumers' higher preference for protein diets, and the population mix from 10 years ago has changed, Tonsor said.

He and his colleagues have published a paper outlining many factors that have affected meat demand before, during and after MCOOL was in place. The fact sheet is available online at, and titled, "Overview of MCOOL Impact on KSU Domestic Beef and Pork Demand Indices."

"I would encourage those who read this to read the other publications we have on beef demand and pork demand," Tonsor said. "There are a lot of resources that say the last two or three years have been very good on domestic meat demand, and I am not going to attribute that to the absence of MCOOL. There are other factors that are in play, such as consumer incomes rising, favorability of protein in the diet, and more."

The fact sheet may be especially valuable as there is some renewed interest in bringing MCOOL back.

"I hope all policy decisions and industry leaders make their decisions based on information and research-based knowledge, and less on emotion," Tonsor said. "I hope this and other resources are part of the knowledge set that guides that process."

Registration Opens for Massive 2020 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show

Registration and housing for the 2020 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade show is now open. The annual convention will be held in San Antonio, Texas, Feb. 5-7, 2020, and it’s recommended attendees register early, as convenient housing will fill quickly. Annual meetings of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, American National CattleWomen, CattleFax and National Cattlemen’s Foundation will be held at this event.

Thousands of cattle industry members are expected at this event. Convention participants will gain insights on industry trends at a CattleFax Outlook Seminar, learn about current products and services at the NCBA Trade Show – the industry’s largest, with more than 350 exhibitors on 7 acres. Attendees will also enjoy entertainment throughout the event, including a Sunset Music Festival on Thursday, Feb. 6 and NCBA Invitational PBR Bull Riding on Friday, Feb. 7. 

U.S. astronaut and retired U.S. Navy Captain Scott Kelly will share his lessons from space during the Opening General Session, and other noted speakers will be on hand to inform, energize and motivate audiences. Participants will also work with other industry leaders on both Beef Checkoff and NCBA policy programs, and they will appreciate fellowship with thousands of other cattle producers from around the country.

The convention will again be preceded by 27th annual Cattlemen’s College, which is famous for stimulating and thought-provoking sessions that can help generate high returns for cattle operations. The event will begin Tuesday, Feb. 4, with afternoon sessions and be followed by an evening reception. It will be continued the next morning with a morning full of educational sessions.

In addition, the National Environmental Stewardship Award winner will be named at a special reception Wednesday, Feb. 5. Winners of Beef Quality Assurance awards will be recognized at the Closing General Session Friday, Feb. 7.

NCBA President Jennifer Houston of Tennessee says the convention represents an important annual get-together for cattlemen and women from around the country. “In addition to the important decision-making sessions at the Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show, there are valuable education, information, entertainment and engagement opportunities at this event,” says Houston. “The 2020 experience in San Antonio Feb. 5-7 will be a terrific chance to come together to do good, have fun and learn more.”

To register and secure housing for the 2020 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show, visit

Judge Won't Block Meat Label Law

(AP) -- A federal judge has declined to block a Missouri law that bans companies from labeling plant-based meat products or meat substitutes as meat.

U.S. District Judge Fernando Gaitan Jr. said last week that he wouldn't issue a preliminary injunction to stop Missouri agriculture officials from enforcing the law, which says a product cannot be marketed as meat unless it comes from an animal with two or four feet, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported .

Turtle Island Foods, which produces Tofurky products, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Good Food Institute appealed the decision on Wednesday. They argue the law violates their free-speech rights.

The law, which was approved by the Legislature in 2018, gives the Missouri Department of Agriculture the power to investigate and refer potential labeling violations to the Attorney General's office or a county prosecutor.

Supporters contend they are trying to protect the products raised by ranchers, pork producers and chicken and turkey farmers during a time when plant-based products are increasing in popularity.

Gaitan wrote in his opinion that Tofurky would not be affected by the law because its labels disclose that its products are plant-based or grown in labs.

"Thus, plaintiffs have not shown that they are at any risk of either prosecution for violating the statute or that there is any need to change their labels or advocacy efforts," the judge said.

The two sides of the dispute reached a tentative agreement last year but the talks broke down in July and no final resolution was reached.

The coalition earlier this year sued Arkansas , saying a similar law in that state also censors speech and similar law in Mississipp i is also in litigation. Other states with labeling laws include Montana, South Dakota, Louisiana and Wyoming.

Ranch Group Files Lawsuit to Stop USDA's RFID Ear Tag Mandate

Today, Harriet Hageman, Senior Litigation Counsel with the New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA), filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Casper, Wyoming representing the Ranchers Cattlemen Action Legal Fund United Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF USA) and four ranchers from Wyoming and South Dakota, to stop the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) effort to eliminate all animal identification options other than radio frequency identification (RFID) devices and premises registration for adult cattle and bison moving interstate.   

The lawsuit seeks declaratory judgment and an injunction against Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and USDA Administrator for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Kevin Shae, who together issued the RFID mandate in April of this year.

The lawsuit alleges that USDA's mandate that livestock producers use RFID ear tags, along with the requirement that they obtain a premises identification number (PIN), and the elimination of all other animal identification options currently available to U.S. cattle producers, violate current traceability regulations. The existing regulations, adopted in 2013, allow livestock producers to use the types of effective animal identification techniques and devices that have been widely used by the industry for over 100 years, including brands, tattoos, permanent metal ear tags, group/lot identification, and backtags on animals destined for harvest.

The lawsuit further alleges that the USDA violated the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) by relying exclusively upon a hand-picked group of individuals who have been advocating for the use of RFID, including industry officials and ear tag manufacturers who stand to earn windfall profits from the mandate. The USDA created this advocacy committee simply by winnowing out those U.S. cattle producers who oppose RFID. The defendants' actions in that regard violate federal law, which requires balanced representation on advisory committees.

According to Harriet Hageman: "This case is important well beyond the livestock industry. Under our Constitution, Congress is the legislative branch responsible for making the law. The executive branch, which encompasses USDA and APHIS, is tasked with carrying it out. Congress has not passed legislation requiring animal RFID, these agencies have. Of even greater concern is the fact that they did so through the back door and without following the law. Forcing livestock producers to adhere to an RFID program will have an enormous impact on their operations, with noncompliance resulting in the denial of access to interstate markets. The USDA and APHIS are seeking to force compliance through extralegal lawmaking. That practice violates our clients' Constitutional rights. This situation is exactly why NCLA was formed-to stop federal agencies from violating the law by circumventing rulemaking."

R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard said the U.S. cattle industry developed numerous and highly effective traceability systems over the past many decades, making the U.S. cattle industry's disease resistance capabilities the envy of the world. Then, in the years leading up to 2013, cattle producers worked with USDA to further improve what was already a highly effective traceability system. That effort resulted in the 2013 Traceability of Livestock Moving Interstate regulation that improved traceability for adult animals through identification during interstate travel.

"Today, the USDA is catering to special interests and running roughshod over the rights of America's cattle producers by forcing them and their industry to incur costs that could run into the billions of dollars. The agency wants to gift RFID ear tag manufactures even more profits and is continually subjecting our industry to greater risks of foreign disease introduction through unrestrained imports of cattle from Mexico, a known reservoir of bovine tuberculosis; and from Canada, a known reservoir of brucellosis.

"Our lawsuit draws a line in the sand telling the USDA that our industry will no longer stand for the agency's blatant government overreach." Bullard said.

The individual plaintiffs in this case are Tracy and Donna Hunt, cattle ranchers from Newcastle, Wyoming, and Kenny and Roxie Fox, cattle ranchers from Belvidere, South Dakota.

Sentera FieldAgent Analytics Toolset Expands to Include Tassel Counts

Tassel Counts available for the 2020 growing season

Sentera announces that its Tassel Count analytics product will be available to all FieldAgent™ customers in March 2020. Instead of forecasting yield using a small number of spot samples, the Sentera tassel count analytics tool allows users to more precisely calculate yields using tassel population data gathered across the entire field. Understanding tassel population can also help to more accurately time the application of certain crop protection products. This addition to Sentera’s toolbox will help growers and ag professionals leverage late-season data for crop marketing decisions to maximize profit and optimize storage costs.

Accurate Data. Applicable Analysis.
“We’ve validated the accuracy of our tassel counting technology over several seasons of testing. It’s another tool to improve economic outcomes for FieldAgent customers,“ said Eric Taipale, CEO of Sentera. “FieldAgent continues to build out as the go-to platform for in-season, whole field, real-time insights for advisors, retailers, cooperatives, and growers. Tassel count is also one of many advanced analytics products that we provide to our enterprise customers.“

Tassel Count capabilities
The product delivers tassel count density throughout a field so users can more easily forecast and refine their crop yields prior to harvest and make other management decisions. Visualization is available in FieldAgent and data layers can be exported via shapefile. Users can also convert their results into zone maps, which provide an average tassel count per acre per zone and total acreage per zone. API connected partners have the option to integrate these new data layers directly into other digital platform products.

Availability and Pricing
Tassel count analysis will be available starting March 2020 through Sentera’s FieldAgent Platform. The new analytics tool will be $1200 for 1-year unlimited use and users can run the analysis on all or part of a field.

Thursday October 3 Ag News

Nebraska Farm Bureau Suggests Cattle Market Reforms to USDA

Nebraska Farm Bureau has offered the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) a series of recommendations to reform the way beef cattle are marketed. The underlying concept of Farm Bureau’s suggestions are to create a more transparent and value-based system that would more closely link the prices farmers and ranchers receive for their cattle to the value of beef products sold at the wholesale and retail levels. Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson shared the recommendations with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue in an October 2 letter.

“With only four major meatpackers, many Nebraska cattle producers have expressed concerns about the level of control that exists within the consolidated meat packing industry, specifically in the way of packer captive supplies of cattle and the diminishing cash market for live cattle. We believe reexamining the cattle pricing system and moving toward one where cattle prices and cattle contract prices are discovered under a more transparent and value-based system would be beneficial in addressing producer concerns and allow the cattle market to better respond to actual supply and demand conditions,” said Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president.

Beef producers’ concerns about the potential for anti-competitive actions in cattle markets heightened after a July fire at a Tyson meat processing facility in Holcomb, Kan. with producers seeing prices paid for cattle drop while meatpackers made significant profits. Nebraska Farm Bureau had urged, and USDA stepped forward, in investigating the situation under the powers given to the agency under the federal Packers and Stockyards Act; the long-standing legislation targeted to eliminating anti-competitive measures in livestock markets.

“We have no preconceived outcome in mind for the Packers and Stockyards investigation and our state’s cattle producers are grateful USDA is doing its due diligence. However, we believe the best way to address real or perceived manipulation concerns is to move to a value discovery system that more closely links what cattle producers receive for the beef they produce and the value of that product as it nears the end consumer,” said Nelson.

Nebraska Farm Bureau’s recommendations to USDA for changes under the Packers and Stockyards Act include:

    Create regulatory standards requiring that cattle marketing contracts have a set, negotiated base price before cattle are committed for delivery. 

    Assure that cattle marketing contracts utilize reference or base prices that are more broad-based and publicly available rather than the shrinking cash markets.

    Consideration of requiring contract standards that have reference prices or base prices that are more value-based such as using wholesale price cuts, retail meat values, or beef cut-out values. Requiring base or reference prices for cattle contracts that are more value-based up the beef supply chain would reduce, by market forces, any real or perceived incentives for packers to manipulate captive supplies in order to drive down local cash markets.

    Consideration to developing a live cattle value index which would be required to be used as a reference or base price standard for cattle marketing contracts.  The index could use a combination of average spot cash prices, average weekly close of nearby live cattle futures, weekly average of beef cutout value, and weekly average of retail meat values.  Using this live cattle value index would help ensure that cattle are marketed on a value discovery system rather than a price discovery system.   

“This has been a challenging year for Nebraska beef producers as weather, trade disputes, rising debt issues, increased input costs, and now difficult marketing conditions have created great stress on the largest sector of Nebraska’s agriculture-based economy. We appreciate the work USDA has done on many fronts for farmers and ranchers. It’s our hope Secretary Perdue and USDA will consider these ideas for reforms to move our beef industry forward toward a value-based cattle marketing system that would offer true reform,” said Nelson.


A synthesis of 89 studies across six continents has helped clarify which agricultural practices hold water when it comes to helping soils soak up precipitation — a factor critical to mitigating floods, outlasting drought and stabilizing crop yields.

The roots of the solution? Put down and preserve some, said the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Andrea Basche.

“There are a number of ways to improve water getting into the soil, but what we found to be the most consistent are the practices that offer continuous roots,” said Basche, assistant professor of agronomy and horticulture.

When acting like sponges, soils can alleviate the worst consequences of torrential rains that now strike with increasing frequency and are abruptly redefining terms such as “500-year flood.” Absorbent soils can also make the most of water when it’s most precious, allowing crops and other plants to better survive droughts that many researchers predict will become more severe going forward.

Though some agricultural producers have adopted management practices designed to minimize the disruption or maximize the enrichment of soils, little research has systematically compared how those practices influence water absorption, Basche said.

“We talk about a lot of (landscape) conservation practices as if they’re equal,” she said. “My perspective was that we didn’t have a good sense of the benefits that different practices provide.”

So Basche and the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Marcia DeLonge decided to analyze the effects of five emerging ag-related practices: no-till farming, cover crops, crop rotations, perennial plantings and cropland grazing.

Their meta-analysis found that planting perennials such as grasses or trees near cropland increases the rate of water absorption by an average of 59%. Cover crops — those planted primarily to combat erosion and restore soil nutrients — boosted water absorption by an average of 35%, according to data from 23 studies.

By contrast, the synthesized data from 52 studies found no overall effect from practicing no-till agriculture.

“That was probably the most surprising finding,” Basche said. “Very commonly, you hear people talk about how important no-till is to increasing (water) infiltration. There were some environments and management combinations where no-till led to an increase in infiltration, but on average, that’s not what we found.”

Rotating among cash crops also seemed to have no substantial influence, at least in the aggregate. Allowing livestock to graze on cropland, meanwhile, reduced water infiltration by an average of 21%, though the team found relatively few studies on the practice.

The differences that emerged from the meta-analysis could partly account for the flood-related phenomena that farmers have noticed and recounted over the years, Basche said. Nebraska farmer Noah Seim told the U.S. Department of Agriculture that a rye-heavy cover crop seemed to spare his land from the worst aftermath of the widespread flooding that hit the state in March.

“You hear all these anecdotes about soil health,” Basche said. “Producers love to tell these stories about, ‘I got this 6-inch rain event. My neighbor’s farm had flooding, and my farm let all that water soak into it.’ I’ve heard (versions of) that story numerous times.”

Prior research has suggested that the continuous presence of root systems, like those that perennials and cover crops can offer, may open up more pores for water to infiltrate, Basche said. Undisturbed soil might also encourage more biological activity, such as the burrowing of earthworms, that does the same.

“It’s hard in an analysis like this to say exactly what’s the process behind that,” Basche said. “But when you put these (practices) all together, you can see the relative differences and make some new hypotheses about what might be impacting infiltration.”

Basche recently returned from Washington, D.C., where she presented to a congressional caucus focused on soils. After illustrating the post-1980 jumps in heavy rainfall across much of the United States, Basche shared lessons from the meta-analysis, other research and an ongoing study of 17 field sites across Nebraska.

Part of the challenge ahead, she said, lies in demonstrating the value and feasibility of soil-friendly practices to agricultural producers. Less than 10% of U.S. cropland, for instance, currently supports cover crops.

“Ultimately, with anything that we do research on in agriculture, it has to work on the farm,” Basche said. “We have to figure out how to do it and how to make it economically sustainable, too.

“But when it comes to improving outcomes with heavy-rain events, I think this work illustrates that soil can be a solution.”

Basche and DeLonge published their findings in the journal PLOS ONE. They received support from the Union of Concerned Scientists, the TomKat Foundation and The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment.

ACE welcomes ethanol producer members Heron Lake BioEnergy and Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) recently welcomed two new ethanol producer members Heron Lake BioEnergy (HLBE) located in Heron Lake, Minnesota, and Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy (SIRE) located in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

HLBE’s 65-million-gallon-per-year (MGY) plant provides jobs to 40 full-time employees and has approximately 1,200 investors. “Over the years, I have been able to see and experience the value ACE offers first hand,” said Kenton Johnson, HLBE and ACE board member. “ACE provides the best value in the industry. The return on investment for ACE’s policy and market development work is bar none the best in the business. In a time where our industry is working with difficult margins, it is more important than ever to invest in trade organizations that keep up the fight for ethanol’s access to the market.”

The 130 MGY SIRE ethanol plant employees 62 people and has over 800 investors. SIRE hosted President Trump to celebrate the lift on the summertime E15 ban this past June. SIRE CEO, and 18-year veteran of the ethanol industry, Mike Jerke said, “joining ACE was an initiative we wanted to accomplish this year.”

“ACE’s grassroots approach to public policy and market development is top notch, making the decision to join an easy one,” Jerke added. “They work with the folks who are in the trenches on environmental policy and international market development. Their proven experience and expertise in these areas only strengthened our cause for joining. We need industry champions who are willing to help place us in an offensive position, ACE is doing just that. We look forward to our continued work with this organization.”

“ACE is proud to represent farmer and community-owned ethanol plants,” said Liz Bunkers, ACE Director of Member and Industry Relations. “We take great pride in being a voice for farmers and ethanol producers who are committed to making a superior renewable product that supports local agriculture and lowers greenhouse gas emissions. With the addition of Heron Lake BioEnergy and Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy, ACE is growing our membership roster to represent a bigger slice of rural America.”

Survey Finds Strong Opposition to EPA Oil Refinery Waivers, Strong Support for RFS

Registered voters oppose the Trump administration’s actions to exempt oil refineries from renewable fuel blending obligations by a margin of nearly two to one, according to new polling data released today by the Renewable Fuels Association. The nationwide survey, by Morning Consult, also found strong support for ethanol and the Renewable Fuel Standard. In fact, support for the Renewable Fuel Standard reached its highest level since RFA began polling on RFS support in 2016.

“The massive increase in secretive small refiner waivers has been all over the news recently and we wanted to find out how registered voters really feel about the EPA giving highly profitable oil companies a free pass to ignore their Clean Air Act obligations,” RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper said. “Not surprisingly, the overwhelming majority of voters with an opinion on the issue opposed the small refinery exemptions. At the same time, public support for the RFS reached its highest rate since we began polling on the issue more than three years ago. As the White House and EPA move to finalize a relief package to mitigate the negative impact of these refinery waivers on rural America, we hope they take this information into account. It’s time for EPA to follow the law and implement the RFS as intended by Congress.”

The survey of nearly 2,000 voters found opposition to the refinery waivers, with 55 percent of respondents opposed compared to 29 percent supporting and 17 percent having no opinion.

When it comes to ethanol, the survey found 64 percent of voters have a favorable view, with support reflected across all key demographics, regardless of gender, location and political party. Support for the Renewable Fuel Standard, at 62 percent, represented an increase of six percentage points from May 2018 and was the highest since RFA began regular polling with Morning Consult on the rate of support for the RFS in 2016. The percentage of respondents indicating “strong support” for the RFS also hit its highest level since RFA started polling. Only 13 percent of respondents opposed the RFS, the lowest rate since polling began on RFS support.

The top reasons cited for a favorable opinion for ethanol are the environmental benefits of ethanol, the fact that renewable fuels are domestically produced, and that they offer consumers an affordable choice at the pump.

The poll was conducted by Morning Consult for RFA between Sept. 26-28, among a national sample of 1,998 registered voters. The interviews were collected online and the data weighted to represent a target sample of voters based on age, race/ethnicity, gender, education attainment and region; results have a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points.

NCBA Exposes Relationship of OCM and HSUS

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Vice President of Government Affairs, Ethan Lane, today released the following statement in response to a Nebraska rally demanding government intervention to alleviate price disparities impacting cattle markets:

“Yesterday, an HSUS-funded organization called the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) held a rally in Omaha, Nebraska entitled the “Rally to Stop the Stealin’ (sic)”.  According to OCM, this event was intended to place pressure on the Trump Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue to “fix” our cattle markets in response to the price disparity producers are currently having to endure.

“First and foremost, I think it’s important to make clear – once again – that these producers have every right to be angry. Down markets are horrible, and can leave a wake of financial and operational hardships that can persist for years after the boards in Chicago have moved on. Our stance remains consistent: NCBA is committed to the USDA’s investigation into the events surrounding the Holcomb plant fire and stand ready to respond to the results of that investigation to ensure that our members – 95 percent of which are boot-on-the-ground producers – have a fair market in which to thrive. Unfortunately, this continues to be the focus of much of HSUS and OCM’s misinformation and deception campaign. What’s worse, they’ve found willing allies in the leadership of both the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association and R-CALF.  

“It’s no secret that our industry is divided at the moment. I’ll be the first to stand up and say that a healthy debate about the future of our industry is appropriate as we see tremendous advances in technology, production practices, conservation, quality, and markets. However, these discussions need to be amongst those who love, work, and make their living in this industry. Regardless of our positions, we must stand together against the onslaught of detractors and dividers that do not care about our internal struggles. These outside forces want to end animal agriculture – full stop. Chief among them HSUS, and anyone who watched yesterday’s rally witnessed that point illustrated in high definition.

“These people have told us who they are. In 2012, OCM President Fred Stokes told a crowd that “…every cowboy out there owes a debt of gratitude to the Humane Society of the United States.” Further, on their website, OCM argues passionately on behalf of HSUS’s work to end our industry. Finally, OCM’s executive director is a well know and unapologetic HSUS operative, as outlined by Protect the Harvest several years ago.

“As if to add insult to injury, yesterday’s event included pleas for President Trump to be voted out of office in favor of Elizabeth Warren, among other positions that likely don’t reflect the views of most cattle producers I know. Oh, and they served turkey for lunch. Around this office, we don’t even serve turkey at Thanksgiving.

“There’s an old saying that most definitely applies here; if it looks like a duck, and walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, and if the duck TELLS you it’s a duck, believe it.”

Dairy Products August 2019 Production Highlights

Total cheese output (excluding cottage cheese) was 1.11 billion pounds, 2.2 percent above August 2018 and 1.6 percent above July 2019.  Italian type cheese production totaled 457 million pounds, 0.8 percent above August 2018 but 1.8 percent below July 2019. American type cheese production totaled 458 million pounds, 5.1 percent above August 2018 and 4.7 percent above July 2019.  Butter production was 136 million pounds, 2.1 percent above August 2018 but 4.3 percent below July 2019.

Dry milk products (comparisons in percentage with August 2018)
Nonfat dry milk, human - 132 million pounds, up 2.5 percent.
Skim milk powder - 51.4 million pounds, up 8.0 percent.

Whey products (comparisons in percentage with August 2018)
Dry whey, total - 84.5 million pounds, up 7.2 percent.
Lactose, human and animal - 92.8 million pounds, down 4.6 percent.
Whey protein concentrate, total - 39.6 million pounds, down 7.7 percent.

Frozen products (comparisons in percentage with August 2018)
Ice cream, regular (hard) - 65.7 million gallons, down 6.4 percent.
Ice cream, lowfat (total) - 40.2 million gallons, down 3.8 percent.
Sherbet (hard) - 2.48 million gallons, down 23.8 percent.
Frozen yogurt (total) - 3.79 million gallons, down 5.4 percent.

SSGA speaks up for identity-preserved farmers in D.C. testimony

Identity-preserved (IP) crop farmers were represented at a hearing Wednesday about China’s compliance with its commitments to the World Trade Organization (WTO), regarding China’s current zero threshold presence limit placed on imports of non-genetically modified (non-GM) field crops.

On behalf of the Specialty Soya and Grains Alliance (SSGA) and with coordination and support of the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) and American Soybean Association (ASA), SSGA Executive Director Eric Wenberg provided testimony to the Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC) in preparation of the Office of the United States Trade Representative’s (USTR) annual report about China’s compliance with WTO rules. Wenberg was one of six individuals providing testimony on a range of issues, including intellectual property among others.

Non-GM food variety soybeans from the United States have been excluded from Chinese imports, although genetically modified soybeans are allowed for import, due to China’s lack of a nonzero low level presence threshold allowing for biotech soybeans to be mixed in.

“Farmers growing identity-preserved and non-GM crops must abide by stringent standards to produce specific varieties and traits to produce food for customers around the globe,” Wenberg said. “They deserve an additional market opportunity for their products. The soybean industry’s concern about this issue helps draw attention to the need to see a solution to this problem along with the other barriers to U.S. product sales. According to customs and trade data, food variety soya exports to all destinations for IP can reach $1.7 billion (2018), but we could sell more if the China market was open to us.”

IP soybeans and specialty grains are grown coast-to-coast, but are predominately exported from North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Arkansas and Wisconsin.

Wednesday October 2 Ag News

Gillespie receives Master Conservationist Award

Dan Gillespie of Battle Creek was recently honored with the Master Conservationist Award.  The Master Conservationist Awards recognize people and organizations who excel in managing and conserving Nebraska’s water and soil.  The awards are sponsored by the Omaha World-Herald and the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The award was recently presented to Dan at the Nebraska Association of Resources Districts (NARD) Annual Conference at the Younes Conference Center in Kearney.  The Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) assisted in nominating Dan for this award in the Agriculture category.

Dan began experimenting with no-till corn into soybean stubble in 1986 on his farm south of Meadow Grove.  Since 1991, he has practiced Continuous No-Till Farming on all his 412 corn-soybean acres.  Dan was the first one to start no-tilling in the area.

After continuous no-till for 13 years, Dan began planting cover crops in the fall of 2005 in response to intense rainfall events.  He has planted cereal rye cover crops on all soybean stubble acres since 2006 while also experimenting with legumes and brassicas in seed mixtures. After several years of utilizing aerial application, he has settled on drilling all cover crops after harvest.

In the spring of 2007, the Battle Creek watershed endured a seven-inch rainfall. Dan was able to plant in his cover cropped field only three days later while having no need to repair any waterways or flow areas.  No sediment left the 11-16% slopes on his farm with valuable nutrients and he maximized his rainfall infiltration and storage in the soil profile. Dan said, “I haven’t repaired a concentrated flow area in the fields since I implemented continuous cover cropping.  I believe the top benefit or return on my conservation investments is the elimination of soil erosion.  The regeneration of my cropland soils has allowed me to spend less on fertilizer, herbicide and irrigation inputs.”

In the spring of 2012, Dan drilled soybeans into the green, living cereal rye he had planted the previous fall and let both soybeans and rye cover crop grow until cover crop termination in May. The practice worked well, yields were excellent, and he has continued to utilize this practice. He is one of the leaders in the state regarding “planting green.”

In the fall of 2012, Dan drilled the flow areas (high probability of soil erosion) in his corn fields with a bushel of rye per acre. The concept was to augment the residue cover from the corn crop in the stable flow areas with a living root system. The fields were drilled to soybeans in spring 2013 and the cover crop in the flow areas was left to grow until the first herbicide application.  Dan said, “The practice worked very well and is now used for treating ephemeral gully problems by many farmers.”

Dan’s use of soil moisture monitoring with telemetry gives him real time available water capacity for the crop, allowing him to take advantage of the increased infiltration and water storage capabilities that healthy soils provide. Dan has averaged 5.14” of irrigation water on corn and 4.94” on soybeans annually since installation of flow meters and adoption of electronic soil moisture monitoring.  The reduction in applied irrigation has also reduced issues with fungal diseases in Dan’s cornfields. He has not applied a fungicide to his corn since the implementation of soil moisture monitoring.  Dan added, “I have cut back on N application as the soil organic matter improves and increased soil biological activity continues to mineralize nitrogen at greater rates.”

The 2% soil organic matter improvement in Dan’s fields allows him to infiltrate intense rainfall events and store that moisture in the soil profile. That 2% additional soil organic matter can store an additional 1.5 inches of rainfall in the soil profile, releasing it to the crop as needed and this happens repeatedly through the year.  Dan added, “Night crawler populations are a good soil health indicator and have gained rapidly since the implementation of cover crops. The macropores they create when burrowing add significantly to the infiltration rate for rainfall and irrigation water in the field.”

Dan had 30 acres of cropland in CRP from 1981 through 2001 and enrolled 20 acres into Pollinator CRP in 2015-2016 to enhance habitat for pollinators. The 30 acres of CRP, returned to crop production, routinely out yields the cropland next to it due to the soil organic matter improvements from CRP years.

When you visit with Dan about his farming practices, he says, “I want to leave the land in better shape than it was in when I started farming it.”

Julie Wragge, LENRD Information & Education Specialist, said, “His credibility comes from experience. Dan wouldn’t ask another farmer to do something that he hasn’t tried and proven himself.  Speaking to agri-business groups, soil health workshops, No-till Conferences and Expos, college classes, high schools and grade schools, Dan has spoken to or presented to over 18,000 people since 2012.”  Wragge added, “Dan is very deserving of this high honor.  He continues to ‘sell’ conservation to everyone he encounters.”

Two instructors from Madison High School receive Educators of the Year Award

Two instructors from Madison High School received the Educators of the Year Award from the Nebraska Association of Resources Districts (NARD).

Suzy Foley and Patrick Kratochvil, both science teachers at Madison High, were recently honored at the NARD Annual Conference held at the Younes Conference Center in Kearney.  The awards were presented by Jim Johnson, Chairman of the NARD Information & Education Committee, and NARD President Larry Reynolds.

The two were nominated by the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) for their work in developing the Taylor-Union Watershed Team.  The team was started in the summer of 2011 to introduce minority students to fieldwork in science and to see how the concepts taught in the classroom can be used in real work situations.

Kratochvil said, “A total of eight sites on the Taylor and Union Creeks are tested once a month on consecutive days from June through August. The water quality is calculated based on the Water Quality Index (WQI) System, developed by the National Sanitation Federation.  Macro-invertebrates are also studied, allowing us to obtain a more complete survey of the Taylor and Union Creeks.  A macro-invertebrate count is made giving a water quality rating based on a formula developed by the Nebraska Wildlife Federation’s Adopt-a-Stream program.”

Kratochvil added, “Through the project we are using a cross-curricular strategy, which includes science, language arts, math and technology. This project also teaches the students about the different areas of science including Life Science, Earth Science, Physical Science, and Chemistry.”

Suzy Foley said, “We have students that started as young as incoming 6th graders and have continued through their first year of college. Through this process we have seen that the skills learned lead to higher achievement on tests such as the ACT and a more diverse set of skills for the job market.”

Foley added, “Students use their critical thinking skills while collecting and analyzing the samples collected during the Watershed class.  Excel is used to analyze the data that has been gathered throughout the summer and from past summers.  Once the data is entered, we generate graphs to visually display the information.  This allows the students to obtain a better grasp of the information they have collected.  They also create a Power Point presentation to share with the Madison Public School Board of Education, local community groups, the LENRD Board of Directors, and local Universities and Colleges.”

Kratochvil commented, “Each year we have some of the students involved in the program go to the Middle School and do a presentation about what the program is and how it’s exciting and fun as well as educational.  This is one way that we keep recruiting students into the program.”

LENRD Information & Education Specialist, Julie Wragge, said, “I was happy to nominate such a great team of leaders for our youth.  I have worked with Suzy and Patrick for a long time and they continue to step it up each year as they grow their program.  I’m very proud of the partnership the LENRD has developed with Madison Public Schools.  We congratulate Suzy and Patrick on this very deserving award.”

The Watershed Team has also become involved with the “Know Your Well” program through the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the Nebraska Environmental Trust, and the Nebraska Water Center.  The students have had to gain an understanding of how land and water conservation apply to real world situations.  In this project, the students collect well samples from rural drinking wells in the area.  They run tests on the water and reports are given to the well owners with a discussion about the results.  Students were given the task of trying to discover where any possible contaminants came from.

The Taylor-Union Watershed Team has received grants from the LENRD, the Nebraska Environmental Trust, the Groundwater Foundation, and Farmland.

Patrick lives in Albion, and is originally from Pierce.  Suzy lives in Madison, and is originally from Blair.

Grain donations accepted for Northeast’s Nexus campaign

A Randolph area grain producer is donating grain to Northeast Community College as a way to support the construction of new ag facilities at the College in a tax advantageous approach.

Mike Korth, of Randolph, has pledged 200 bushels of corn each year for five years to the Nexus project, a plan to relocate the College farm and build a new veterinary technology building near the existing Chuck M. Pohlman Agriculture Complex.

“Donating the grain to Northeast is easy,” Korth explained. “I just turn the corn over to Northeast when I take my crop to the CVA (Central Valley Ag) 81/20 Grain Hub. The elevator then sells the grain and sends the proceeds directly to Northeast. In that way, I get to deduct 100 percent of the value of the grain from my income for tax purposes.”

Korth encourages other producers to consider this option.

“Pledging to donate as little as one acre’s production each year for five years is an easy way to make a significant contribution to the new ag facilities at Northeast without having to write a big check,” he said.

Dr. Tracy Kruse, associate vice president of development and external affairs at Northeast and executive director of the Northeast Community College Foundation, said the College has more information on how a gift of grain would work to the advantage of both Northeast and the producer. Forms to be used to make the donations and other information on the process for giving a gift of grain can be found online at

“We do encourage producers to talk with their tax professionals if they have questions about how this process works,” Kruse said. “It is important that the producer give up title to the grain before it is sold in order to achieve the best tax advantage.”

Kruse noted that there is a similar process for giving gifts of livestock.

Funding for the $23 million Agriculture & Water Center for Excellence project is currently being solicited to enhance and expand the agriculture facilities at Northeast Community College. In addition to the College’s commitment of $10 million, Northeast is seeking at least $13 million in private funds to begin the initial phase of construction, which includes a new farm site with a large animal handling facility and other farm structures for livestock operations, a new veterinary technology clinic and classrooms, and a farm office and storage. The new facilities will be located near the Chuck Pohlman Ag Complex on East Benjamin Avenue in Norfolk.

In August, the Acklie Charitable Foundation (ACF) announced a $5 million lead gift to the Nexus project. ACF was founded by the late Duane Acklie and Phyllis Acklie, both Madison County natives and graduates of Norfolk Junior College, a predecessor institution of Northeast Community College.


Two regional convenings in October will offer Nebraskans opportunities to share their best ideas on how the University of Nebraska can help rural communities position themselves for economic success. The listening sessions, which are open to the public, will be held in North Platte on Oct. 15 and in Lincoln on Oct. 24.

“The University of Nebraska is a key resource for the state’s rural communities,” said Mike Boehm, NU Vice President and Harlan Vice Chancellor for the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. “As part of our efforts to ensure the continued competitiveness of our state, we want to help rural communities position themselves for long-term economic prosperity.”

The sessions are organized by a working group charged with creating a comprehensive strategic framework for an innovative, robust and integrated approach to rural community vitality, prosperity and resilience.

The upcoming discussions, to be hosted by Boehm, will invite Nebraskans to share experiences in rural community development and to explore how the University can be most effective in strengthening the economic prosperity and vitality of rural communities.

Session times and locations:
    NORTH PLATTE: Oct. 15, 1:30 – 5 p.m., West Central Research and Extension Center, 402 W. State Farm Rd.
    LINCOLN: Oct. 24, 8:30 a.m. – noon, Nebraska Innovation Campus, 2021 Transformation Dr.

To register to attend in person or online, visit

For more information, visit

Weed Seed Control Clinic Will Explore Harvest as a Control Method

Controlling weeds has always been one of the biggest challenges of producing a crop, and with the ever-present issue of herbicide resistance, farmers are constantly searching for new solutions.

Some practical, but innovative ideas will be explored during an Oct. 21 workshop, when Australian researcher Michael Walsh visits Iowa State University to talk about the various ways farmers can harvest and destroy weed seeds from the combine.

Walsh is director of weed research at the University of Sydney, Australia. Weed resistance in Australia is among the worst in the world, and Walsh has explored a number of seed harvest solutions, including removing chaff from combines, grinding chaff and weed seed, and windrowing/tramlining the chaff.

Walsh will host a harvest weed seed control clinic at the Iowa State University Field Extension Education Laboratory Oct. 21, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The morning session will focus on the principles of harvesting weed seeds as a method of control, and following lunch, Walsh will demonstrate the types of combine and equipment modifications used to separate weed seeds from other materials entering the combine.

Meaghan Anderson, field agronomist with ISU Extension and Outreach, said the workshop will be a great opportunity for participants to learn about weed management tactics of other countries, while also considering the potential for use on their own farm.

“'Harvest weed seed control’ is an alternative weed control tactic that targets weed seeds before they are shed from the plant, using the combine to intercept the seeds and prevent them from entering the seedbank and contributing to future problems,” she said.

According to Anderson, some Australian farmers are using combines that are modified to either pull a machine that collects and crushes the weed seed, or modified internally, in a way that collects and grinds the seed, or deposits the chaff behind the combine.

Anderson said some of the methods may not work in the United States, at least not currently, but there may be some ideas for the future.

“While the technology is not currently available for our system, it is likely this will be a tool that will be of value in the near future,” she said.

One thing she’s certain about is the continued fight against herbicide resistance. Harvesting weed seeds before they have a chance to fall to the ground could provide farmers one more option.

The clinic is free and open to the public. Attendees may be eligible to receive up to 4.0 pest management Certified Crop Adviser (CCA) continuing education units for their attendance at the clinic (pending approval). Iowa State’s Field Extension Education Laboratory is located at 1928 240th St., Boone, Iowa.

To help with the lunch count, RSVP by Oct. 14 to Meaghan Anderson at or 319-331-0058.

National Pork Board Report Calls for Pork Industry to Better Meet the Needs of Hispanic Consumers

A National Pork Board report shows U.S. Latinos’ affinity for pork and growing purchasing power make it a critical audience for the industry, but as Hispanics acculturate, their pork consumption declines. The new report, Time to Tango: Latinos are Pork’s Future, reveals steps food retailers and packers must take to connect with these influential consumers who represent the biggest growth opportunity of the next several decades.

The report is the latest in the National Pork Board’s Insight to Action research program examining key behaviors, attitudes, and cultural nuances of U.S. Hispanic shoppers. It outlines top motivators for Hispanics when selecting their preferred retailer and protein choice.

“Pork is entrenched in Hispanic heritage and culture, and extremely relevant to the fast-growing and economically powerful Hispanic segment,” said José de Jesús, director of multicultural marketing for the National Pork Board. “The pork industry must proactively engage them and better meet their needs, otherwise we risk losing the Latino consumer.”

According to the report, as Hispanic consumers become acculturated in the United States, the link between pork and culture weakens. Often, they can’t find the cuts they want for traditional dishes in mainstream stores, so they use other proteins or shop at specialty stores that offer the service to deliver the cuts they want. Nearly half (49%) of Hispanics do not choose mainstream retailers as their go-to store, and instead opt for specialty stores, ethnic markets and bodegas. The meat case is a contributing factor — 44% of Hispanics choose to buy their fresh meat at non-mainstream grocery stores.

To maintain and increase loyalty among Hispanic consumers, the report outlines three key motivators retailers and packers must address:
-    Accessibility: Most (79%) Hispanic consumers shop with someone else in their family and seek out stores that offer a family friendly experience. More than half seek out stores offering specialty cuts. Therefore, the shopping experience and value must meet Latinos’ expectations, and the cuts and preparations they want need to be more easily available in mainstream stores.
-    Authenticity: Traditional family recipes are important to Hispanic consumers, but those traditions vary by the country of origin. What’s relevant to the Cuban or Puerto Rican consumer will be different than those from Mexico or Central American countries. While two of three Hispanics in the U.S. are originally from Mexico, a third are from other nations. A “hyper-local” strategy is best and should extend beyond the meat case. Having the right cuts available is key, but also offering the seasonings, spices and ingredients that are needed to complete those traditional pork dishes is just as important.
-    Health: Nearly two-thirds (63%) of unacculturated Hispanics mistakenly believe pork is unhealthy. The industry must focus on the nutritional value of specific cuts, including pork’s protein profile.

“The food industry is changing rapidly; foresight and adaptability are the keys to survival. U.S. Hispanics spend $95 billion a year on consumer packaged goods and their purchasing power is growing,” said David Newman, a pig farmer and president of the National Pork Board. “It’s no longer enough to offer a Hispanic aisle or packaging in Spanish. We need to look at each area of the store and ensure we’re meeting Hispanic consumers’ needs.”

The report is the first in a series of reports, articles and updates the National Pork Board will provide in the months ahead to help the food industry better respond to Hispanic consumers’ needs.  The Pork Board has also developed a free marketing toolkit that includes content and information for retailers and packers to leverage in their own communications channels. The full report, and more information about the National Pork Board’s Insights to Action research, is available at

Statement on U.S. Response to Illegal EU Subsidies Under WTO

“Subsidies and barriers that handicap U.S. businesses in the global marketplace by violating international trade commitments shouldn’t be tolerated. We strongly support the World Trade Organization’s imposition of $7.5 billion in retaliatory duties on European products, including dairy foods, to prod the EU to uphold its World Trade Organization commitments and reinforce the importance of two-way trade.

“NMPF strongly endorses the U.S. Trade Representative’s new list of European dairy exports that will now face higher tariffs, including cheeses, yogurt and butter.

“The U.S. is running a $1.6 billion dairy trade deficit with Europe because of unfair EU trade practices that block our access to their market while they enjoy broad access to ours.

“Trade authorities should also address one particularly egregious example of EU trade practices: the EU’s abusing the use of geographical indications to limit competition from cheese exporters in the U.S. that use common food names. Rather than compete head-to-head with high-quality American-made foods by allowing the use of common food names to coexist alongside GIs relating to those products, Europe instead blocks sales of these everyday food products from the United States and aggressively pressures other countries to do the same.

“The retaliatory tariffs announced today are a clarion call for fair trade and an indication that trade must be a two-way trade. What better way to reduce the U.S. trade deficit with Europe than by selling them award-winning US cheeses?”

DMC Payments Top $300 Million as Signups, Aid Exceed Previous Program

The popular Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program signed up more than 22,000 dairy farmers – more than participated in the last year of the Margin Protection Program (MPP) that it replaced -- and paid out more than $302 million in its first year. That’s $302 million more than what farmers would have received under the MPP, which would have actually cost farmers money in 2019, according to an analysis of USDA data done by NMPF.

Monthly milk price/feed cost margins so far in 2019 have been above the $8 per hundredweight coverage cutoff that existed under MPP, but below the new $9.50 per hundredweight coverage limit under DMC, the stronger dairy safety net enacted last year in the farm bill. Under the old MPP rules, the total paid out under the entire program so far this year would have been $75,000 -- about $3 per farmer and a net loss for them after premium costs. Instead, the new DMC threshold has triggered hundreds of millions of dollars in much-needed assistance for dairy producers, showing the program’s value and helping farmers stay afloat who otherwise may not have been able to continue.

With 2020 signup beginning on Oct. 7, that success is worth keeping in mind as farmers weigh the program’s affordable cost versus its proven benefits.

“The Dairy Margin Coverage program has proven its worth, with more than $300 million in farmers’ pockets as a result of our work on the farm bill with Congress and USDA,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation. “None of that assistance would have occurred under the MPP. We encourage farmers who haven’t already signed up for all five years of Dairy Margin Coverage to re-new their sign up for 2020, and for farmers who decided not to participate in the 2019 program to consider it in the future.”

According to the latest USDA data, 22,631 dairy producers signed up for DMC. Based on reported margins for the first eight months of the year, payouts so far for 2019 have been $302,906,824. Wisconsin signed up the largest number of farmers, while California enrolled the highest production volume of any state.
A key change to the program that boosted aid was the inclusion of dairy-quality alfalfa into the feed-cost calculation, which narrowed the difference between milk prices and feed costs and adjusted margins to better reflect dairy expenses, a change that NMPF pushed for throughout legislation and implementation.

“We thank USDA not only for prioritizing the DMC in farm-bill implementation but adjusting it in a way that provided additional benefit to producers,” Mulhern said. “The DMC’s success has truly been a partnership throughout, from a united dairy community that aided Congress as it crafted and approved the program, to USDA’s work with that community in making it reality.”

CWT-assisted sales contracts top 94 million pounds of dairy product exports

Cooperatives Working Together in September assisted member cooperatives in capturing 39 contracts to sell 2.4 million pounds of American-type cheeses, 299,829 pounds of butter, 7.8 million pounds of whole milk powder, and 668,001 pounds of cream cheese. The products will be going to customers in 12 countries in Asia, the Middle East, Central and South America and are being shipped during the period from September 2019 through next February.

These contracts bring the 2019 total CWT-assisted product sales contracts to 94.4 million pounds, which includes of 42.6 million pounds of cheese, 4.5 million pounds of butter, 42 million pounds of whole milk powder, 277,782 pounds of anhydrous milkfat, and 5 million pounds of cream cheese. These transactions will move the equivalent of 848 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis overseas.

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

NMPF Requests Dairy Farmer Input on Zero-Day Withdrawal Period Antibiotics

The National Milk Producers Federation is requesting dairy farmers respond to this survey to better understand how dairy farmers interpret an antibiotic with a zero-day withdrawal period of zero-day milk discard time.  Survey link here:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration opened a docket Aug. 9 requesting information regarding transit times to slaughter, milking frequency, and how end users interpret zero-day withdrawal period or zero-day milk discard time statements found on new animal drug labeling. This request is driven by the recognition that the animal agriculture industry has drastically changed since original assumptions were determined in 1980, and FDA is requesting information to ensure their regulations are in line with what is practiced today. 

Survey responses are completely anonymous and cannot be traced back to the respondent. No personally identifiable information is captured, and your responses will be combined with those of other farmers and summarized to further protect anonymity. The answers will be used to inform NMPF’s comments to the FDA to ensure they have the most accurate information from dairy farmers.

Farm Bureau Releases Milk Program Recommendations

The American Farm Bureau Federation today released a proposal for the future of U.S. milk-pricing provisions and marketing-order reform. The recommendations aim to bring more democracy and a more equitable program for all dairy farmers. Although federal milk marketing orders have been a pillar of the dairy industry for more than 80 years, the program has not undergone substantial change in nearly two decades. A working group consisting of Farm Bureau grassroots leaders and other contributors from the Farm Bureau family prepared the report after broad consultation with industry and academia.

The Farm Bureau Federal Milk Marketing Order Working Group recommendations are contained in the report “Priorities, Principles and Policy Considerations for FMMO Reform.”

Key recommendations would:
-    Give every dairy farmer a voice by eliminating the ability of coops to vote on behalf of member-producers on changes to federal milk marketing orders (bloc voting);
-    Improve risk sharing across the supply chain in the product pricing formulas by adjusting the “make allowance” (a fixed deduction or credit for processing milk into finished dairy products) to be variable on a commodity-by-commodity basis;
-    Collect more robust pricing information by significantly expanding the Agriculture Department’s mandatory price reporting survey; and
-    Simplify milk pricing rules in the Southeast by aligning the qualifying criteria for pooling and eliminating transportation subsidies.

Farm Bureau leaders will convene in January to consider and vote on these priorities and policy recommendations. Based on the outcome, Farm Bureau staff will work with stakeholders in the dairy industry and policymakers to advance the recommendations.

The working group was formed in January 2019 when AFBF’s voting delegates recommended the formation of a dairy task force to review methods to restructure and modernize the current Federal Milk Marketing Order system.

Most Fertilizer Prices Continue to Decline

The streak is over.  The retail price of one of the eight major fertilizers tracked by DTN increased in the fourth week of September 2019, ending a six week run in which all of the fertilizers' prices declined.

The price of 10-34-0 increased to $471/ton, up $1 from the same time last month.

Prices for the remaining seven fertilizers were lower but not by a significant amount, which DTN considers at 5% or more. DAP had an average price of $479/ton, down $12; MAP $475/ton, down $19; potash $384/ton, down $3; urea $404/ton, down $8; anhydrous $511/ton, down $17; UAN28 $254/ton, down $2; and UAN32 $289/ton, down $1.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.44/lb.N, anhydrous $0.31/lb.N, UAN28 $0.45/lb.N and UAN32 $0.45/lb.N.

With prices significantly lower in recent weeks, two fertilizers' prices dropped to being lower in price from a year ago. DAP is now 3% less expensive, and MAP is 9% lower from last year at this time.

The remaining six major fertilizers continue to be higher compared to last year. UAN32 and anhydrous are both 4% more expensive, both urea and UAN32 are now 5% higher, potash is 6% more expensive and UAN28 are 7% higher compared to last year.

Weekly Ethanol Production for 9/27/2019

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending Sept. 27, ethanol production expanded 15,000 b/d or 1.6% to 958,000 barrels per day (b/d)—equivalent to 40.24 million gallons daily. Output is 5.6% below year-ago volumes and 5.1% below the same week two years ago. The four-week average ethanol production rate slowed 1.4% to 982,000 b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 15.05 billion gallons and the lowest average in nearly three years.

Ethanol stocks rebounded 3.2% to 23.2 million barrels. However, inventories were 1.0% lower than the same week last year. Stocks built in the East Coast (PADD 1), Midwest (PADD 2), and West Coast (PADD 5) but declined across the other regions.

There were zero imports recorded after 113,000 b/d hit the books last week. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of July 2019.)

The volume of gasoline supplied decreased 2.2% to 9.137 million b/d (383.8 million gallons per day, or 140.07 bg annualized). Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol narrowed 1.3% to 923,000 b/d, equivalent to 14.15 bg annualized.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production increased to 10.48%.

ACE introduces updated fuel marketer website, videos at NACS

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) is introducing its revamped fuel marketer-to-marketer website and new videos to prospective E15 and flex fuel retailers attending the 2019 National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) show this week in Atlanta, Georgia. The NACS show is the largest annual gathering of convenience and fuel marketing professionals, drawing nearly 25,000 industry stakeholders from around the world to see the newest and best products and strategies available to station operators. This year, ACE is also accompanied on the trade show floor by Helena Jette, Director of Biofuels for the Indiana Corn Marketing Council.

“Based on input from retailers who stopped to talk to us at trade shows, emails and phone calls we received from marketers, and conversations we had with station owners and operators we work with, ACE updated the website to provide more in-depth information for retailers considering adding E15 and flex fuel, and more answers from fellow marketers to questions retailers frequently ask about ethanol,” said Ron Lamberty, ACE Senior Vice President and Market Development Director. “ started out as a ‘landing page,’ where marketers could find general information on higher ethanol blends and then link to other existing sites with more detailed information on the topic they were searching for. We still do that, however, retailers told us they like the E15 & Flex Fuel Retailer Roadmap, and with more in-depth video and testimonials from real-world ethanol retailers, prospective higher-blend marketers can now have more of their questions answered without leaving a site they trust.”

Studies show people trust information they get from “A person like me,” and that fact drives ACE’s approach to developing new markets. After helping wholesalers and retailers add or expand their ethanol offerings, ACE follows up with those marketers to share their successes and challenges with other retailers who may be considering adding higher ethanol blends. The website was created to provide 24/7 access to those peer stories. Station owners can read information or watch short film clips from other station owners who have already done the things they are considering.

“Earlier this year, we had a conversation with Mike Lorenz from Sheetz, and single store owners Bruce Vollan of Midway Service, and Charlie Good of Good & Quick,” Lamberty said. “We talked to them about questions they’ve been receiving from other retailers and asked them some of the questions we’ve gotten from marketers considering adding E15 and flex fuels. Several videos from those conversations are up on the website. The look of the site has also changed to emphasize current news including updates to rules or policy changes as they happen, answers to retailer questions, and easier access to our E15 & Flex Fuel Retailer Roadmap.”

Visit to check out the website and new videos.

Student Leaders Preparing for 92nd National FFA Convention & Expo

In a few weeks, the city of Indianapolis will transform into a sea of blue jackets when the National FFA Convention & Expo kicks off for the 92nd time. This time-honored tradition will be held in the Circle City Oct. 30- Nov. 2, 2019.

More than 67,000 FFA members from across the U.S., representing all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, are expected to attend the event. It’s an opportunity for students to be exposed to new career paths and opportunities – while celebrating the accomplishments these future leaders have made over the past year.

Throughout the week, convention and expo attendees will also be able to experience the FFA Blue Room, a 17,000+-square-foot interactive area that showcases the cutting-edge technology, research and innovation taking place in agriculture. Through experiential learning and 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.

With an estimated $33 million impact on the city, attendees will be seen throughout the city, staying at more than 115 hotels in the area as well as giving back to the community through the National Days of Service.

In fact, during the week, more than 2,500 student members will be lending a helping hand to the greater Indianapolis area as part of the National Days of Service. Places, where students will be giving back to the community, include Gleaners Food Bank, the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, Indianapolis City Market, the Wheeler Mission and more.

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

The convention and expo will kick off on Wed., Oct. 30 with the opening general session in Lucas Oil Stadium, where the organization will be celebrating 50 years of women in FFA.  On the morning of Saturday, Nov. 2, American FFA Degrees, the highest degree for an FFA member, will be bestowed upon more than 4,000 FFA members. The event concludes that afternoon with the election of the 2019-20 National FFA Officer team.

The National FFA Convention & Expo is scheduled to be held in Indianapolis through 2031.

Tuesday October 1 Ag News

In Tough Year for Agriculture, Nebraska Agriculture in the Classroom Builds Awareness, Support

Nebraska Agriculture in the Classroom (AITC), a program of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation, headed back to school this fall with new, grade-specific lessons and activities for Nebraska teachers. AITC has a long history of creating resources tied to state education standards to assist teachers in connecting students to their source of food, fiber, and fuel – agriculture!

“The Foundation has taken big steps forward this year and looks forward to continued  positive momentum. There has been growth in the number of participating schools, students, and lessons offered,” said Megahn Schafer, executive director.

Classroom Visits provide students with opportunities to develop an awareness that agriculture is their source of food, clothing, and shelter. Since the beginning of the school year, Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation staff has taught in 21 classrooms, reaching 453 students. Over the summer, staff developed Classroom Visit lessons that complement core subject area learning and focus on a unique commodity related to the grade level.

“For the 2019-2020 school year, the classroom visit program was updated to offer two unique agricultural lessons for each elementary grade level that aligns to science, social studies, and language arts learning targets. Each lesson builds year-to-year for sustained impact in the classroom. Programming continues to build and link experiences together for a lasting effect,” said Schafer.

The third year of the Connecting Chapters program kicked off this fall with 72 FFA chapter participants. The Connecting Chapters program equips high school FFA members to connect with elementary students and peers to introduce agricultural literacy – awareness, knowledge, and appreciation of agriculture – in their communities.

“Through Connecting Chapters, FFA members gain practice with listening, understanding, and sharing agriculture in a meaningful way. This program builds confident agricultural advocates and community leaders,” said Courtney Schaardt, director of outreach education and program leader.

Newly created interactive displays rolled out this fall for engagement outside of classroom walls. These displays share with students and consumers about careers in agriculture, food labeling, and biotechnology. The volunteers of Nebraska Farm Bureau’s Promotion and Education Committee have led these activities and conversations at the state fair and other public events across the state. Through these events, the committee and staff have reached approximately 2,650 Nebraskans.

“The number of students and families reached through volunteers nearly doubled this past year. Volunteers enrich programs, bring together a community of leaders, and share a passion for helping Nebraskans understand the importance of Nebraska agriculture,” said Schafer.

The Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation is grateful for the support of numerous volunteers and partners. “We are proud to partner with all the major commodity groups and the University of Nebraska to provide comprehensive agricultural literacy programming statewide. In a year where devastating storms and floods have impacted much of rural Nebraska, we know it is more important than ever for all Nebraskans to understand and support the work of farm and ranch families and their contributions to our great state,” said Schafer.

Agriculture in the Classroom® is a program coordinated by the United States Department of Agriculture through the National Agriculture in the Classroom Organization. In Nebraska, the Agriculture in the Classroom program is managed by the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation.

October is National Pork Month

Larry Howard, NE Extension Educator, Cuming County

October is a month where we celebrate many things.  It is a time that our trees begin to turn colors as a sign that fall is arriving. Our farmers are moving forward with the harvest of our crops. Families are spending time with their children at the Pumpkin Patches and Halloween is celebrated at the end of the month. But most importantly, October is National Pork Month. This is a time to celebrate our nation’s thriving swine industry and learn as much as we can about swine production and thank the pork producers for everything they do for the agriculture industry.

According to the 2017 Census of Agriculture (most recent data), the United States had 64,871 farms selling nearly 235.3 million hogs and pigs that were valued at almost $26.3 billion.  The U.S. is the world’s third largest producer and consumer, as well as largest exporter of pork and pork products. The Census also shows that Nebraska has 1,346 farms selling over 14.3 million head that were valued at almost $1.5 billion. Locally, Cuming County had pork sales of over $66.5 million which ranks sixth in Nebraska and is the 92nd ranking county in the U.S.

Pork is the world’s most widely eaten meat, representing 36 percent of all meat consumed, according to the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service. So pork producers play a major role in helping us feed the world. Each market hog represents about 371 servings of pork. That makes for hundreds of meals that feed families from the US and around the world.  Pork provides an abundance of nutritional qualities, including amino acids, vitamins and protein.

Through changes in feeding and breeding techniques, pork producers have responded to consumer demand for leaner pork. Today’s pork is lean with 16 percent less fat and 27 percent less saturated fat as compared to pork in 1991. In fact, many cuts of pork are now as lean as skinless chicken.  Pork tenderloin is certified as heart-healthy by the American Heart Association with its heart-check mark, indicating that it contains less than 6.5 grams of fat, 1 gram or less of saturated fat.

Along with offering many great products for consumers, the nation’s pork industry plays a significant role in job creation. The U.S. pork industry supports about 550,000 jobs ranging from pork producers and meat processors, to transport and Main Street businesses.

As our global population continues to grow, be assured that our pork producers will play an even more important role in the future. As the demand increases, our pork producers, with the assistance of the supporting industries, will continue to grow and enhance their production methods to meet the needs.

So this month, make sure that you take time to thank our friends and neighbors that raise and produce pork for all of their hard work.  We can all celebrate by eating extra pork this month to show our support of local swine producers.

Porktober19 Tells the Pork Story to Iowans

Iowa's pig farmers do their work every day of the year, so it's only fitting that one month be dedicated to the delicious and nutritious product they produce.

The Iowa Pork Producers Association has dubbed the tenth month of the year Porktober - An Iowa Pork Celebration. "We encourage you to follow great nutrition and cooking information about pork by following #Porktober19 on all your social media channels," says IPPA President Trent Thiele.

"While we encourage consumers to include pork in their meals all year long, this time set aside for the traditional October Pork Month recognition is an opportunity to remind you about a great product and the men and women who produce it," says the Elma pig farmer. "Nearly one of 12 Iowans has a job connected to the pork industry," says Thiele.

Pork is the leading animal protein for consumers across the globe. "But our most important consumers will always be those here at home," Theile said. "#Porktober19 let's us reinforce our producer-to-consumer relationship so we can tell our story about producing safe, nutritious food right here in Iowa."

To learn more about pork and Iowa's pig farmers, go to There, you'll see recipe videos and a video featuring three Iowa pig farmers. You'll find preparation information for preparing pork and serving this quintessential Iowa food in your home. And, there's a simple infographic to tell you about the sustainability results from the work pork producers do.

Finalists Named for Iowa's 2019 Best Breaded Pork Tenderloin

The top five finalists have been announced for the 17th annual Best Breaded Pork Tenderloin Contest in Iowa, sponsored by the Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA).

They include: Big Al's BBQ in Des Moines; Night Hawk Bar & Grill in Slater; The Pub at the Pinicon in New Hampton; Stumble Inn in Bradford; and West Side Family Restaurant in Grinnell.

The first- and second-place winners will be named later this month as part of #Porktober19, or October Pork Month.

"All of the top five finalists scored highly in our first round of judging this summer, which included 40 restaurants from around the state," said Kelsey Sutter, IPPA marketing and programs director. "And we're excited to announce Iowa's Best for 2019."

IPPA received 5,390 nominations for 470 different establishments during the spring nomination period. Those numbers are up significantly from nearly 1,600 nominations for 380 establishments in 2018.

"We made some improvements to simplify the nomination process, and we're thrilled to see that it resulted in more tenderloin enthusiasm from loyal fans across the state nominating their favorites," Sutter said.

Any Iowa restaurant, café or tavern that has hand-breaded or battered pork tenderloins on its menu is eligible to be nominated. In order to win, the nominated business must be open year-round; however, seasonal restaurants can be in the final top five.

The winning restaurant will receive $500, a plaque, a banner to display and statewide publicity that will bring in new business.

Winners from the past five years (past winners are not eligible for the competition): 2018 - Three C's Diner, Corning; 2017 - Grid Iron Grill, Webster City; 2016 - Nick's, Des Moines; 2015 - The Belmond Drive-In, Belmond; 2014 - The Lucky Pig Pub & Grill, Ogden.


The National Corn Growers Association entered a new fiscal year today and seated the 2020 Corn Board with Kevin Ross of Minden, Iowa assuming the presidency.  Looking at the year ahead, Ross is grateful for the chance to serve and to create opportunities to fully utilize the talents of his fellow grower leaders.

“I am looking forward to having the opportunity to facilitate the growth amongst our board and to lead the organization in which I have spent so much time,” said Ross. “It is such a privilege to be able to step into this role. In doing so, I hope to represent fellow neighbors and farmers across the country well.”

Over the year ahead, he sees many opportunities to build markets and impact change for farmers. A true believer in the power of grassroots action, he sees the power of NCGA coming directly from the farmers who join, act and lead.

“When it comes to taking action, I cannot stress enough that sometimes one person’s voice can make the difference on if a piece of legislation goes through. It is their story that makes the difference.”

Noting that growers can make an impact in Washington, in their district or at the local level, Ross urges all farmers to play an active role in creating the change they wish to see for the industry.

“When you have an opportunity, you need to take action. That one voice, that one story, can make a real difference in decisions that are made in agriculture.”


The National Corn Growers Association announced the slate of new and returning farmer leaders who will serve their industry as members of the action teams and committees beginning on January 1, 2020. These volunteer farmers will actively shape the future of their industry by guiding programs and carrying out the policies and priorities that drive NCGA.

Current FY 2019 teams, committees and members will remain in place until the beginning of the new calendar year.

Leadership for NCGA’s seven major teams in 2020 will be:
    Ethanol Action Team: Mark Recker, chair; Kelly Nieuwenhuis, vice chair; Gary Porter, board liaison.
    Market Development Action Team: Dan Wesely, chair; Jed Bower, vice chair; Tom Haag, board liaison.
    Member and Consumer Engagement Action Team: Debbie Borg, chair; Lindsay Bowers, vice chair; Dennis Maple, board liaison.
    Production Technology Access Action Team: Chad Wetzel, chair; Kate Danner, vice chair; Brandon Hunnicutt, board liaison.
    Risk Management Action Team: Doug Noem, chair; Bill Leigh, vice chair; Harold Wolle, board liaison.
    Stewardship Action Team: Carl Sousek, chair; Andy Jobman, vice chair; Ken Hartman, board liaison.
     Sustainable Ag Research Action Team: Randy DeSutter, chair; Bob Hemesath, vice chair; Deb Gangwish, board liaison.

Pennsylvania Farmer Named America’s Pig Farmer of the Year

Chris Hoffman, a pig farmer from McAlisterville, Pennsylvania, is America’s Pig Farmer of the YearSM for 2019-2020 after netting the highest combined score in third-party judging and online voting. The award recognizes the pig farmers in the U.S. that exemplify industry leadership, a demonstrated focus in raising pigs following the We CareSM ethical principles and a commitment to connecting consumers with the farmers who raise the pork they consume.

“Chris is both a strong advocate for our industry as well as the embodiment of a responsible, progressive producer,” said National Pork Board President David Newman. “He will do a great job in leading pig farmers as we all work to demonstrate to our consumers that we aspire to ethically raise the safest, most wholesome protein supply in the world.”

Though he originally aspired to work in law enforcement, Hoffman found himself in the business of raising pigs and discovered it to be his ideal career. He’s faced challenges unique to being a first-generation pig farmer, but with a progressive yet realistic philosophy, he’s been able to gradually grow and evolve his Lazy Hog Farm to integrate the next generation and secure a bright future.

“For me, it’s been slow and steady, and we’ve evolved over a period of time,” Hoffman said. “When my son comes in a few years from now, he will hopefully have a lot of opportunities to think outside the box and try new things.”

Hoffman was named America’s Pig Farmer of the Year after an on-farm audit of animal health, safety and management practices, a series of personal interviews and an online vote. Since being named to the position, Hoffman said he’s excited to lead discussions with consumers and food retailers in order to help promote pig farming and demonstrate farmers’ commitment to always doing the right thing for their animals, the environment and the families who consume their product.

“While I’ll begin the year by discussing our business with consumers and food retailers, my ultimate goal is to appear on regional and national television and radio programs to talk about how we raise pigs in this country. I want to meet with our nation’s leaders, including the president, and show them that we are an integral part of our food supply and the nation’s workforce,” Hoffman said. “Farmers do a great job at raising pigs the right way, and now it’s my turn to help show the rest of the country how passionate we are about what we do and whom we do it for.”

The panel of expert judges who met with finalists in August, were Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane; Jayson Lusk, department head and distinguished professor, Agricultural Economics, Purdue University; Kari Underly, a third-generation butcher, author and principal of Range®, Inc., a meat marketing and education firm; Jessie Kreke, senior marketing manager, Culver’s Franchising System; and Patrick Bane, the 2018 America’s Pig Farmer of the Year.

Learn more about Hoffman and the America’s Pig Farmer of the Year Award at

Dairy Field Days to Spotlight Forage Management and Crossbreeding

The I-29 Moo University will host two on-farm dairy field days in November. Topics will include managing forages and silage, crossbreeding, housing and parlor setup.

The field days are free to attend. Each will start at 12:30 p.m. and conclude around 3:30 p.m.

Summit Dairy, Nov. 13. Location: 5564 390th St., Primghar, Iowa.

Dairyman John Westra will lead participants through his Summit Dairy milking parlor, cattle housing, the commodity and mixing building, and also discuss the farm’s breeding program.

Westra and his family purchased Summit Dairy in 2012. They moved from California and immediately began caring for the 400 cows. Over the years, the Westras expanded the dairy to over 800 cows. The cows are housed in free-stalls and milked three times a day. As part of the expansion, Westra built a commodity and feed mixing building, which allows feed to be loaded and mixed indoors, which reduces waste and decreases moisture variability in the feedstuffs.

Hugo Ramirez, assistant professor and extension dairy specialist at Iowa State University, will discuss feeding this year’s silage, feeding issues he is seeing, and pile management.

Tri Cross Dairy, Nov. 20. Location: 45144 289th St., Viborg, S.D.

Owners Tom Koolhaas and Wes Bylsma, and farm manager Kris Vander Kooy will lead a tour of this 4,000-cow operation that includes a 1,200-foot cross-ventilated free-stall barn, and a 100-head rotary milking parlor.

The tour guides will share their experiences using crossbreeding within dairy to create a durable and productive cow herd. Amy Hazel, researcher with the University of Minnesota, will discuss reasons that interest in crossbreeding in dairy cattle is growing globally, explain the basics of rotational crossbreeding for dairy cattle, and present the detailed results of a 10-year study in high-performance Minnesota dairy herds where ProCROSS cows were found to be more profitable than their Holstein herd mates.

Brother-in-laws Wes Blysma and Tom Koolhaas founded Tri Cross Dairy in 2017. They both grew up on California dairies and wanted to expand their farms and landed in the I-29 Dairy Corridor, near Viborg, South Dakota. The dairy is named for its Tri-crossed, or Pro Cross breed of cattle, which are a combination of Holstein, Montbeliarde, and Swedish or Viking Red.

Registration details

Register for one or both field days at Light refreshments and South Dakota State University ice cream will be served.

For more information, contact Jim Salfer at, 612-360-4506, Fred Hall, 712-737-4230, or Tracey Erickson at, 605-882-5140.

The field days are hosted by I-29 Moo University, a collaboration of South Dakota State University, University of Minnesota, Iowa State University, North Dakota State, and University of Nebraska Extension Services; Iowa State Dairy Association; South Dakota Dairy Producers Association; Nebraska State Dairy Association and the MN Milk Producers Association.

USDA Fats and Oils: Oilseed Crushings, Production, Consumption and Stocks

Soybeans crushed for crude oil was 5.33 million tons (178 million bushels) in August 2019, compared with 5.38 million tons (179 million bushels) in July 2019 and 5.09 million tons (170 million bushels) in August 2018. Crude oil produced was 2.05 billion pounds down 2 percent from July 2019 but up 5 percent from August 2018. Soybean once refined oil production at 1.52 billion pounds during August 2019 increased slightly from July 2019 and increased 5 percent from August 2018.

Canola seeds crushed for crude oil was 156,132 tons in August 2019, compared with 145,547 tons in July 2019 and 170,472 tons in August 2018. Canola crude oil produced was 126 million pounds, up 4 percent from July 2019 but down 9 percent from August 2018. Canola once refined oil production, at 72.8 million pounds during August 2019, was down 29 percent from July 2019 and down 34 percent from August 2018.

Cottonseed once refined oil production, at 39.6 million pounds during August 2019, was up 16 percent from July 2019 but down 13 percent from August 2018.

Edible tallow production was 87.2 million pounds during August 2019, up 8 percent from July 2019 but down 5 percent from August 2018. Inedible tallow production was 315 million pounds during August 2019, up 1 percent from July 2019 but down 5 percent from August 2018. Technical tallow production was 118.6 million pounds during August 2019, up 33 percent from July 2019 but down 1 percent from August 2018. Choice white grease production, at 107 million pounds during August 2019, increased 15 percent from July 2019 but decreased 5 percent from August 2018.

Grain Crushings and Co-Products Production

Total corn consumed for alcohol and other uses was 508 million bushels in August 2019. Total corn consumption was up slightly from July 2019 but down 6 percent from August 2018. August 2019 usage included 91.4 percent for alcohol and 8.6 percent for other purposes. Corn consumed for beverage alcohol totaled 3.34 million bushels, down 35 percent from July 2019 and down 6 percent from August 2018. Corn for fuel alcohol, at 455 million bushels, was up 1 percent from July 2019 but down 6 percent from August 2018. Corn consumed in August 2019 for dry milling fuel production and wet milling fuel production was 90.3 percent and 9.7 percent, respectively.

Dry mill co-product production of distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) was 2.01 million tons during August 2019, up 1 percent from July 2019 but down 8 percent from August 2018. Distillers wet grains (DWG) 65 percent or more moisture was 1.28 million tons in August 2019, up 7 percent from July 2019 but down 2 percent from August 2018.

Wet mill corn gluten feed production was 306,375 tons during August 2019, up 2 percent from July 2019 but down 6 percent from August 2018. Wet corn gluten feed 40 to 60 percent moisture was 261,243 tons in August 2019, up 4 percent from July 2019 and up 2 percent from August 2018.

Agriculture Groups Urge USDA to Quickly Establish Foot-and-Mouth Disease Vaccine Bank

Representatives of the National Pork Producers Council, the National Milk Producers Federation, the National Corn Growers Association and Iowa State University today called on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to move as quickly as possible to establish a Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) vaccine bank.

At a press conference today, these groups recognized the steps USDA has taken to establish the bank, but called for expedient use of mandatory funding included in the 2018 Farm Bill to purchase the volume of vaccines required to effectively contain and eradicate an FMD outbreak. Currently, the USDA, which has prescribed vaccination for dealing with an FMD outbreak, does not have access to enough vaccine to avoid devastating economic consequences to the U.S. economy, should an outbreak occur.

FMD is an infectious viral disease that affects cloven-hooved animals, including cattle, pigs and sheep; it is not a food safety or human health threat. The disease is endemic in many parts of the world and would have widespread, long-term fallout for livestock and crop agriculture, including the immediate loss of export markets. According to Iowa State University research, an outbreak would result in $128 billion in losses for the beef and pork sectors, $44 billion and $25 billion, respectively, to the corn and soybean farmers, and job losses of more than 1.5 million across U.S. agriculture over 10 years.

"If the U.S. had a large outbreak of FMD, it may be impossible to control without the rapid availability of adequate supplies of vaccine," said Dr. James Roth, a professor in the department of Veterinary Microbiology and Preventative Medicine at Iowa State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, during today's press conference.  "The U.S. vaccine bank is our best insurance policy to respond to an FMD outbreak in the United States. As with most insurance policies, we hope to never use it, but it's paramount that we have fast access to enough vaccine if we ever need it. The funding provided in the 2018 Farm Bill provides a good start toward building up a more robust FMD vaccine stockpile to help protect American agriculture," he added.

"U.S. pork producers and other farmers are currently faced with a wide range of challenges, including export market uncertainties, flooding and other weather events," said NPPC Chief Veterinarian Liz Wagstrom. "Unlike challenges beyond our control, a solution for FMD preparedness is in our grasp. We urge USDA to move as quickly as possible to establish the bank."

"Livestock is a very important customer for U.S. corn farmers and each is crucial to the success of the other," said Sarah McKay, director of Market Development at the National Corn Growers Association. "A foreign animal disease outbreak would have an estimated $4 billion a year impact on corn farmers, which would be disastrous on top of current market conditions. In addition, an outbreak may also impact exports of animal ag products. On average, pork exports contribute 28 cents a bushel to the price of corn, so the control of infectious diseases via a vaccine bank is important not only to livestock producers but corn growers as well."

"The time to build a best-in-class FMD Vaccine Bank is now," said Jamie Jonker, Ph.D., vice president for Sustainability & Scientific Affairs at the National Milk Producers Federation. "NMPF has been active in informing our members and the dairy community of the importance of preparation, and a vaccine bank is a crucial element of protection for the entire livestock industry. We are excited to work with other stakeholders and with USDA to reach this goal."

Origin of Livestock Proposed Rule Comment Period — Open Now

On October 1, 2019, the National Organic Program (NOP) reopened the public comment period for the Origin of Livestock proposed rule originally published in 2015. The comment period is open for 60 days: October 1 - December 2, 2019.

The proposed rule would change the requirements related to origin of livestock under the USDA organic regulations. NOP received 1,580 public comments during the original comment period in 2015. USDA will consider all public comments in developing a final rule. This includes public comments from 2015 and from this new comment period.

You do not need to resubmit public comments provided on the 2015 proposed rule. However, they will welcome new or updated comments.

Reopening the public comment period gives people a chance to submit comments who did not do so in 2015. It also allows people to submit updated information, if needed, to inform USDA's development of a final rule.

Organic Farm Commodity Sales Doubled Between 2012 & 2017

Although the total value of U.S. agricultural sales remained relatively flat between 2012 and 2017, U.S. organic sales more than doubled to $7.3 billion. Growth in the U.S. organic sector has accelerated since the early 2010s as retailers, food manufacturers, and livestock producers have increased demand for organic food and inputs.

Agricultural sales averaged $400,603 for organic operations in 2017, more than double the average agricultural sales for all farms ($190,245).

The organic share of U.S. agricultural sales doubled to 2 percent between 2012 and 2017, and was over 6 percent in some States.

California was the top State in both organic and overall agricultural sales. Most other top organic States were in the Pacific Northwest (a major grower of organic produce), Upper Midwest (a major producer of organic milk), and Northeast (which has many small-scale organic farms).

Pennsylvania and North Carolina were among the States with the fastest growth between 2012 and 2017, with organic sales up ten- and eight-fold, respectively.

In contrast, Iowa ranked second in overall agricultural sales and twelfth in organic sales, reflecting the low adoption of organic systems for U.S. grain production.

NCFC To Celebrate Co-op Month Throughout October

The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives joins cooperatives across the nation to recognize October as National Co-op Month and honor the important role farmer-owned cooperatives play in strengthening the economy, providing jobs and improving life in local communities.

“Co-op Month is a great time to share the farmer co-op story and discuss how America’s farmer-owned businesses allow individual farmers across the country the opportunity to truly participate in the food and agriculture system,” said NCFC President and CEO Chuck Conner.  “I’m excited to dedicate this month to co-ops, and showcase how farmer co-ops directly support rural America and help provide consumers with a safe, affordable and abundant food, fiber and fuel supply.”

For more than 100 years, farmer-owned co-ops have given individual farmers a fair chance to compete and succeed in the global marketplace. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), 2.2 million farmers own the nearly 2,000 farmer cooperatives in the nation. The farmer-owned cooperatives generate around $200 billion annually in economic activity and generate about 300,000 full-time, part-time and seasonal jobs.

Throughout the month, NCFC plans to highlight the role that farmer-owned co-ops play in improving economic opportunity and the quality of life in rural America.

Doug Keesling Joins NSP Board of Directors, Three Re-Appointed and Officers Elected

The National Sorghum Producers board of directors recently elected Doug Keesling of Chase, Kansas, and re-elected three board members who will serve a three-year term respectively beginning Oct.1. Officers were also elected.

Keesling is a fifth-generation farmer from central Kansas where he grows sorghum, wheat, corn, soybeans and livestock. He also owns Keesling Seed Farms, a comprehensive farm input supplier. Keesling has previous experience with state and national wheat grower organizations, the Trump Agriculture Advisory Committee, International Grains Program and many others.

“Doug Keesling brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the NSP board of directors,” said Dan Atkisson, NSP chairman and sorghum farmer from Stockton, Kansas. “We look forward to the insight he will bring as we tackle ongoing issues like trade and other policy initiatives that are important to U.S. sorghum farmers.”

Kody Carson of Olton, Texas, was re-elected to the board along with Bobby Nedbalek of Sinton, Texas, and Larry Richardson of Vega, Texas. The NSP board also recognized outgoing director Larry Earnest, a sorghum farmer from Star City, Arkansas, for his leadership and dedication to the sorghum industry.

"We are incredibly grateful for the contributions Larry has made to the NSP board," Atkisson said. "Larry has been composed and stable voice for the industry as we have worked toward valuable improvements for sorghum producers."

NSP Chairman Dan Atkisson and Vice Chairman Kody Carson were re-elected to their respective officer positions. Don Bloss of Pawnee City, Nebraska, remains as past chairman.

USDA Appoints Members to New and Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Advisory Committee

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced the appointment of 20 members to serve on the Advisory Committee for New and Beginning Farmers and Ranchers (ACBFR). The newly appointed members serve terms of up to two years through 2021.

Members newly appointed to serve two-year terms are:
    Davon L. Goodwin, Raeford, N.C.
    Katie R. Carpenter, Attica, N.Y.
    Casey Spradley, Cuba, N.M.
    Jacob W. Handsaker, Radcliffe, Iowa

    Adam M. Brown, Decatur, Ill.
    Amanda Jo Carey, Morley, Mich.
    Paul Bickford, Ridgeway, Wisc.
    Jason Brand, Honolulu, Hawaii
    Jeffry R. Gittins, Smithfield, Utah
    Denis Ebodaghe (USDA NIFA)
    Latrice Hill (USDA FSA)
    R. Alan Hoskins, Evansville, Ind.
    Tony Gudajtes, Minto, N.D.
    Juli Obudzinski, Washington, D.C.
    John Bailey, Ukiah, Calif.
    Elicia L. Chaverest, Madison, Ala.
    Shelby Swain Myers, Crawfordsville, Ind.
    Liya Schwartzman, Sacramento, Calif.
    Anusuya Rangarajan, Freeville, N.Y.
    James Carl Hafer, Colstrip, Mont. is re-appointed to serve a one-year term.

“USDA welcomes the voices of this new advisory team,” said Secretary Perdue. “The Committee’s recommendations have been, and will continue to be, thoughtful and representative of feedback from America’s farmers, ranchers, and stakeholders served by the Department. New and beginning farmers are the future of American agriculture, and we must ensure they are successful.”

The Committee is made up of 20 members, including representatives for: state beginning farming programs; commercial lenders; private nonprofit organizations with active beginning farmer or rancher programs, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture; the Farm Service Agency; community colleges or other educational institutions with demonstrated experience in training beginning farmers and ranchers, and other entities or persons providing lending or technical assistance for qualified beginning farmers and ranchers. Congress authorized the Committee in 1992 and since its inception, the ACBFR has been an important part of the USDA strategy to engage, support and service new and beginning farmers. The Committee is funded by the Farm Service Agency. USDA’s Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement (OPPE) provides oversight which ensures fiscal accountability and program integrity.

Bayer committed to shaping a more sustainable food system

Bayer welcomed farmers, academics, leading global industry experts, journalists and other stakeholders for its 2019 Future of Farming Dialogue, to engage in a collaborative discussion on the future of agriculture.

“Agriculture needs to feed a growing world without starving the planet”, said Liam Condon, member of the Bayer Board of Management and president of the Crop Science Division. “Breakthrough innovations are needed so that farmers can grow enough food for a growing world population while preserving natural resources.”

Under the theme “Tomorrow belongs to all of us” the event gathers speakers and participants from around 40 countries for two days of robust panel discussions, talks and interviews on issues and opportunitites facing the industry. Topics discussed include the need to find a balance between production of food and preservation of our planet; consumer demands to have a healthy diet with no negative impact on the environment; and the importance of crop protection tools for sustainable agriculture.

“As an agriculture leader, we have the opportunity and responsibility to address the global challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss and food security to help create a better tomorrow for our planet,” Condon said.

During today’s event, Condon shared that Bayer is introducing three ambitious commitments to address some of the most pressing challenges our world is currently facing by 2030:

1. Reduce the environmental impact of crop protection by 30 percent by developing new technologies that help farmers to scale down crop protection product volumes and enable a more precise application.
2. Reduce field greenhouse gases emissions from the most emitting crops systems in the regions Bayer serves by 30 percent.
3. Empower 100 million smallholder farmers in developing countries around the world by providing more access to sustainable agricultural solutions.

“By combining agricultural innovation with a business model that has sustainability at its core, we can in line with our purpose contribute to a truly better life”, Condon summarized in his keynote presentation, pointing out that investment in tomorrow’s breakthroughs will require collaboration and engagement with scientists, innovators, regulators, farmers and consumers to build trust and gain societal acceptance. Condon explained that the long-term success of Crop Science lies not in selling more products, but in providing farmers with personalized solutions, enabling them to achieve better harvests more sustainably using less resources such as water, land, inputs and energy.

Today’s progress, tomorrow’s possibilities

Last year Bayer invested 2.3 billion euros in Crop Science R&D on a pro forma basis – more than any other competitor in the industry and this figure is expected to rise to over 25 billion euros accumulated over the next 10 years. Some 7,300 scientists are working in over 35 R&D sites and more than 175 breeding stations to deliver innovation. The division’s combined breeding, biotech, crop protection and environmental science pipelines have the potential to deliver up to 30 billion euros in peak sales, with 17 billion euros expected to come from recent and near-term launches alone.

“Many of today’s innovations are the result of both continous improvement and disruptive innovation, as we use the power of human ingenuity to drive scientific advances in health and nutrition to improve our world”, said Bob Reiter, Head of Research and Development for the Crop Science Division.

Last month, Bayer further demonstrated its research capabilities with the launch of an innovative fungicide, marketed under the iblon™ technology brand. Based on the active ingredient isoflucypram, the new wheat fungicide provides excellent disease control across cereal crops to deliver healthier crops and consistently higher yields compared to currently available market standards.

Continued investments in data science and new technologies

Data science and innovative digital tools also enable Bayer to sustainably improve the efficiency of its business operations while, at the same time, empowering farmers to make better decisions about how to grow crops. Combining Bayer’s leading germplasm libraries in corn, soybean, cotton and vegetables, next-generation traits, its strong discovery platform for small molecules and thousands of microbes with the largest seeds performance database, means that Bayer has beyond the current pipeline also the highest innovation potential in agriculture as well.

Last year, Bayer signed more than 60 new collaborations or extensions to existing collaborations. Most recently, the company finalized an agreement with biopharmaceutical research company Arvinas to create a joint venture – newly named Oerth Bio (pronounced “Earth”) – and explore how molecular-degrading proteins found in plants and animals can protect crops against threatening pests and diseases. The outcomes of this partnership not only have significant implications for agriculture but could potentially provide significant benefits to human health through Bayer’s Pharmaceutical Division. As of today, John Dombrosky is named the chief executive officer of Oerth Bio. He previously served as CEO of the AgTech Accelerator, which sourced, formed, and developed emerging big-vision agtech startups.

“We are very proud of our leading R&D pipeline with 75 projects in seed & traits, crop protection and Digital Ag pipelines”, added Reiter. “With hundreds of new hybrids and varieties commercialized annually, we are best-positioned to discover, combine and tailor solutions for growers around the world.”

Increasing productivity with digital farming tools

Today, Bayer provides farmers across millions of acres globally the leading platform in the digital ag space. “Through the combination of Bayer’s world-class product and technology portfolio, R&D pipeline, and the integration of robust data insights delivered through our FieldView™ platform, the future of agriculture has never been more exciting”, said Sam Eathington, Chief Science Officer at The Climate Corporation. FieldView is available in the U.S., Canada, Brazil, Argentina and 15 countries in Europe, including key markets such as Germany, France, Spain, Italy and Ukraine. In 2018, Climate also launched a digital solution for smallholder farmers called FarmRise™, providing key agronomic information to farmers through their mobile devices to help improve their operations.

“Digital farming is enabling individual, personalized solutions, tailored to each farm’s needs: Eathington added. In 2018, FieldView was on more than 60 million paid acres globally. This year, the company is currently on track to achieve its target of 90 million paid acres. The platform enables farmers to easily collect and visualize field data, analyze and evaluate crop performance and manage their field variability through customized fertility and seeding plans, to optimize crop productivity. “We see a one-billion-acre opportunity where our digital technologies can be used to positively and sustainably improve the world’s food system”, said Eathington. “Our over-arching goal is to lead in innovation and pioneer the digital transformation to help implement new standards of sustainable agriculture.”

To learn more about Bayer’s vision of modern agriculture visit here:

More about Bayer’s sustainability initiatives online at:

Monday September 30 Ag News


For the week ending September 29, 2019, there were 5.5 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 1 percent very short, 13 short, 79 adequate, and 7 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 1 percent very short, 9 short, 83 adequate, and 7 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn condition rated 2 percent very poor, 5 poor, 20 fair, 56 good, and 17 excellent. Corn dented was 95 percent, near 99 last year and 98 for the five-year average. Mature was 52 percent, well behind 82 last year and 72 average. Harvested was 8 percent, behind 16 last year, and near 11 average.

Soybean condition rated 1 percent very poor, 4 poor, 20 fair, 62 good, and 13 excellent. Soybeans dropping leaves was 75 percent, behind 91 last year and 84 average. Harvested was 6 percent, behind 25 last year and 17 average.

Winter wheat planted was 71 percent, near 69 last year and 73 average. Emerged was 23 percent, behind 28 last year and 38 average.

Sorghum condition rated 1 percent very poor, 2 poor, 14 fair, 70 good, and 13 excellent. Sorghum coloring was 98 percent, near 97 last year, and equal to average. Mature was 38 percent, well behind 68 last year and 66 average. Harvested was 2 percent, behind 15 last year and 11 average.

Dry edible bean condition rated 1 percent very poor, 8 poor, 27 fair, 57 good, and 7 excellent. Dry edible beans dropping leaves was 95 percent. Harvested was 71 percent.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 1 percent very poor, 3 poor, 14 fair, 62 good, and 20 excellent.


Iowa farmers experienced wet field conditions as rain continued to fall throughout the State, limiting farmers to 3.3 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending September 29, 2019 according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Field work activities included seeding cover crops; chopping silage; and harvesting hay, seed corn, soybeans and corn for grain.

Topsoil moisture condition was rated 0 percent very short, 4 percent short, 74 percent adequate and 22 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture condition was rated 1 percent very short, 5 percent short, 79 percent adequate and 15 percent surplus.

Ninety percent of the corn crop has reached the dented stage or beyond, 17 days behind last year and nearly 2 weeks behind the 5-year average. Thirty-six percent of the crop reached maturity, 18 days behind last year and 2 weeks behind average. Two percent of corn has been harvested for grain, 11 days behind average. Corn condition rated 65 percent good to excellent.

Eighty-three percent of the soybean crop has begun coloring or beyond, nearly 2 weeks behind last year and 9 days behind average. Forty-nine percent of the crop has begun dropping leaves, 2 weeks behind last year and 9 days behind average. Three percent of soybeans have been harvested, 8 days behind average. Soybean condition rated 63 percent good to excellent.

The third cutting of alfalfa hay reached 89 percent, nearly 2 weeks behind average. Pasture condition rated 45 percent good to excellent. Feedlots remain muddy.

Less Than Half of US Corn Crop Mature at End of September

With average freeze dates for much of the U.S. just weeks away, less than half of the corn crop and just over half of soybeans had reached maturity as of Sunday, Sept. 29, according to USDA NASS' latest Crop Progress report released Monday.

As of Sunday, corn dented was estimated at 88%, 10 percentage points behind the five-year average of 98%. Forty-three percent of corn was estimated as mature, still far behind 84% at the same time last year and 30 percentage points behind the five-year average of 73%. The percentage of the crop that has reached maturity slipped further behind average than the previous week, when maturity was running 28 percentage points behind average.

Nationwide, corn harvest progressed 4 percentage points to reach 11% as of Sunday, behind last year's 25% and 8 percentage points behind the five-year average of 19%.

The condition of corn still in fields was estimated at 57% good to excellent, unchanged from the previous week, and still the lowest good-to-excellent rating for the crop at this time of year since 2013. The poor-to-very-poor category moved up 1 percentage point to 14%.

Soybeans dropping leaves reached 55% as of Sunday, 21 percentage points behind the five-year average of 76% -- a slight improvement from the previous week when the percent of soybeans dropping leaves was running 25 percentage points behind average.

In its first soybean harvest report of the season, NASS estimated that 7% of the crop was harvested, 13 percentage points behind the five-year average of 20%.

Soybean condition improved 1 percentage point from the previous week to reach 55% good to excellent as of Sunday. As with corn, that remains the lowest good-to-excellent rating in six years.

Spring wheat harvest inched ahead another 3 percentage points to reach 90% as of Sunday, 9 percentage points behind the five-year average of 99%.

Winter wheat planting progress pulled slightly ahead of the average pace, reaching 39% as of Sunday compared to 38% for the five-year average. Winter wheat emerged was estimated at 11%, also near last year's 12% and the five-year average of 13%.

Sorghum coloring was estimated at 95%, equal to the five-year average. Sorghum mature was estimated at 54%, behind the average of 63%. Sorghum harvested reached 30%, behind the five-year average of 35%. Barley harvested reached 96%, behind the average of 100%.

Cotton bolls opening was estimated at 77%, ahead of the average of 67%. Cotton harvested was estimated at 16%, slightly ahead of the five-year average of 16%. Rice harvested was 68%, slightly behind the average of 71%.


Nebraska corn stocks in all positions on September 1, 2019 totaled 233 million bushels, up 11 percent from 2018, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Of the total, 79.0 million bushels are stored on farms, up 30 percent from a year ago. Off-farm stocks, at 154 million bushels, are up 3 percent from last year.

Soybeans stored in all positions totaled 64.1 million bushels, up 57 percent from last year. On-farm stocks of 10.5 million bushels are up 91 percent from a year ago, and off-farm stocks, at 53.6 million bushels, are up 51 percent from 2018.

Wheat stored in all positions totaled 71.5 million bushels, down 1 percent from a year ago. On-farm stocks of 8.60 million bushels are up 48 percent from 2018 but off-farm stocks of 62.9 million bushels are down 5 percent from last year.

Sorghum stored in all positions totaled 2.92 million bushels, up 66 percent from 2018. On-farm stocks of 170,000 bushels are up 17 percent from a year ago, and off-farm holdings, at 2.75 million bushels, are up 70 percent from last year.

On-farm oat stocks totaled 1.00 million bushels, up 67 percent from 2018.


Corn stored in all positions in Iowa on September 1, 2019, totaled 396 million bushels, down 17 percent from September 1, 2018, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Grain Stocks report. Of the total stocks, 33 percent were stored on-farm. The June-August 2019 indicated disappearance totaled 598 million bushels, 4 percent below the 623 million bushels from the same period last year.

Soybeans stored in all positions in Iowa on September 1, 2019, totaled 159 million bushels, 81 percent above the 87.9 million bushels on hand September 1, 2018. This is the highest September 1 total stocks on record, 856 thousand above the previous record of 158 million bushels set in 1986. Of the total stocks, 28 percent were stored on-farm. Indicated disappearance for June-August 2019 is 142 million bushels, 8 percent above the 132 million bushels from the same quarter last year.

Oats stored on-farm in Iowa on September 1, 2019, totaled 2.80 million bushels, up 33 percent from September 1, 2018.

Corn Stocks Down 1 Percent from September 2018

Soybean Stocks Up 108 Percent
All Wheat Stocks Down Slightly

Old crop corn stocks in all positions on September 1, 2019 totaled 2.11 billion bushels, down 1 percent from September 1, 2018. Of the total stocks, 753 million bushels are stored on farms, up 22 percent from a year earlier. Off-farm stocks, at 1.36 billion bushels, are down 10 percent from a year ago. The June - August 2019 indicated disappearance is 3.09 billion bushels, compared with 3.16 billion bushels during the same period last year.

Old crop soybeans stored in all positions on September 1, 2019 totaled 913 million bushels, up 108 percent from September 1, 2018. Soybean stocks stored on farms totaled 265 million bushels, up 162 percent from a year ago. Off-farm stocks, at 648 million bushels, are up 92 percent from last September. Indicated disappearance for June - August 2019 totaled 870 million bushels, up 11 percent from the same period a year earlier.

Based on an analysis of end-of-marketing year stock estimates, disappearance data for exports and crushings, and farm program administrative data, the 2018 soybean production is revised down 116 million bushels from the previous estimate. Planted area is revised to 89.2 million acres, and harvested area is revised to 87.6 million acres. The 2018 yield, at 50.6 bushels per acre, is down 1.0 bushel from the previous estimate. A table with 2018 acreage, yield, and production estimates by States is included on page 17 of this report.

All wheat stored in all positions on September 1, 2019 totaled 2.38 billion bushels, down slightly from a year ago. On-farm stocks are estimated at 776 million bushels, up 23 percent from last September. Off-farm stocks, at 1.61 billion bushels, are down 8 percent from a year ago. The June - August 2019 indicated disappearance is 657 million bushels, up 11 percent from the same period a year earlier.


Winter wheat production is estimated at 55.3 million bushels, up 12 percent from last year, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. The area harvested for grain totaled 970,000 acres, down 4 percent from 2018. Planted acreage totaled a record low 1.07 million, down 3 percent from a year earlier. The yield is a record high 57.0 bushels per acre, up 8 bushels from last year.

Oat production is estimated at 1.13 million bushels, down 25 percent from 2018. Area harvested for grain, at 18,000 acres, is down 18 percent from last year. Planted acreage totaled 120,000, down 4 percent from a year earlier. Average yield is 63.0 bushels per acre, down 6 bushels from 2018.


Oat production is estimated at 4.00 million bushels, up 92 percent from last year, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Small Grains 2019 Summary. Oats planted, at 215,000 acres, is up 59 percent from last year. Harvested area for grain is 69,000 acres, more than double the number of harvested acres in 2018. Oat yield, at 58.0 bushels per acre, is down 5.0 bushels from last year.

U.S. Small Grains 2019 Summary

All wheat production totaled 1.96 billion bushels in 2019, up 4 percent from the revised 2018 total of 1.89 billion bushels. Area harvested for grain totaled 38.1 million acres, down 4 percent from the previous year. The United States yield was estimated at 51.6 bushels per acre, up 4.0 bushels from the previous year. The levels of production and changes from 2018 by type were: winter wheat, 1.30 billion bushels, up 10 percent; other spring wheat, 600 million bushels, down 4 percent; and Durum wheat, 57.7 million bushels, down 26 percent.

Oat production was estimated at 54.2 million bushels, up 1 percent from 2018 for comparable States. Yield was estimated at 64.4 bushels per acre, down 0.9 bushel from the previous year for comparable States. Harvested area, at 842,000 acres, was 2 percent above last year for comparable States.

Barley production was estimated at 171 million bushels, up 12 percent from the revised 2018 total of 154 million bushels. The average yield per acre, at 77.4 bushels, was down 0.1 bushel from the previous year. Producers seeded 2.72 million acres in 2019, up 7 percent from last year. Harvested area, at 2.21 million acres, was up 12 percent from 2018.


Stalk Quality Concerns Widespread in Areas of Nebraska

Tamra Jackson-Ziems, NE Extension Plant Pathologist

Extremely stressful growing conditions occurred during much of 2019 in Nebraska, including wet conditions early that delayed planting, record rainfall during July and August, and continued wet conditions into September. Stressful growing conditions anytime during the season can lead to poor plant health and subsequent impacts on late season stalk quality. Corn plants in many areas are showing poor stalk quality that may indicate a need to scout fields to determine which may need to be harvested first or earlier than planned to avoid losses due to lodged corn.

Stalk rot and lodging was evident as early as August in some York, Seward, Clay, and Nuckolls county cornfields, particularly in those along waterways that experienced flooding earlier in the season. In Boone, Nance, and Platte counties, weak stalks and stalk rot was confirmed to some extent in 90% of cornfields surveyed recently. This number indicates the presence of weak stalks/stalk rot, but does not indicate the severity within the field. This would need to be categorized by completing the push test.

Flooding and wet conditions in the spring delayed planting for many producers across the state. Late planting generally reduces corn yield, but, it can also impact plant height, leaf number, ear height, stem diameter, and other plant characteristics.

The effects of late planting potentially causing thinner stalks with ears set higher on plants puts them at greater risk for lodging. In addition, corn diseases, such as those in recent samples submitted to the UNL Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic from across Nebraska, will contribute to stalk problems. Many of the diseases developing in Nebraska cornfields are stalk rot diseases, caused by common fungal pathogens decaying the internal pith tissue inside the stalks.

Stalk rot diseases occur every year in cornfields. Stalk rot disease can prematurely kill plants causing direct impacts to yield. Greater incidence and severity of stalk rot diseases can also have a serious impact at harvest as plants may lodge, falling to the ground out of reach of combine heads during harvest.

The risk of stalk rot diseases is increased in some fields, especially when:
    Leaf diseases, such as gray leaf spot, southern rust, Physoderma brown spot, and others, are severe. Loss of leaf area can lead to stalk cannibalization as the plant fills grain.
    Plants were in standing water.
    Stalks were wounded due to hail and/or insect damage, allowing for infection by some pathogens.
    Susceptible hybrids were planted.
    Soil fertility challenges – too much or (especially) too little nitrogen that may have leached away during  wet conditions.
    Higher than recommended plant populations.
    Fields have a history of stalk diseases, especially in continuous corn with carryover fungal inoculum from the previous season(s).


Today, Senator Bruce Bostelman of Brainard announced he will seek reelection to the Nebraska Legislature in District 23. District 23 includes Butler and Saunders Counties as well as most of Colfax County.

“Over the past three years, I have been fighting for you in the Legislature,” said Sen. Bostelman. “From Second Amendment issues to helping protect unborn life, I have been putting my conservative principles to work. It would be an honor to continue to serve District 23. In my second term, I will continue to fight for meaningful property tax relief and to bring consistent conservative leadership to the Nebraska Unicameral.”

During his first term in office, Sen. Bostelman has built a conservative voting record:
    Property Tax Relief: Successfully worked to increase the Property Tax Credit Relief Fund by 23% for $275 million in relief annually, and voted to deliver meaningful property tax relief for ag producers.
    Pro-Life: Championed efforts to end taxpayer funding of abortion in Nebraska, and voted to help pass three other pro-life bills, including the Compassion and Care for Medically Challenging Pregnancies Act.
    Second Amendment: Successfully led efforts to pass the only pro-Second Amendment bill in the Legislature in the last three years with LB 902, a bill to protect the private information of gun owners when it is held by a public agency.
    Veterans: Worked with the American Legion and VFW to pass multiple pro-veteran and pro-military bills, including legislation that cut red tape and unified two state agencies under the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
    Death Penalty: Voted to stop a new attempt to repeal the death penalty this year, which would have effectively overturned the will of the people of Nebraska, who voted to keep the death penalty in 2016.
    Human Trafficking: Supported measures to strengthen state laws against human trafficking, including LB 519, which eliminated the statute of limitations for sex trafficking of a minor and labor trafficking of a minor.

The Bostelmans live on their family farm near Brainard. Sen. Bostelman has been active in serving his country and community. He enlisted in the United States Air Force after high school in 1980 and retired from the USAF in 2000. In 2002, Bostelman received his bachelor's degree in Business Management from Bellevue University. He has since partnered in research with the University of Nebraska in several areas of agriculture.

Growing up in rural Nebraska, Bostelman has deep roots in agriculture and is a graduate of the University of Nebraska's LEAD XXVII class. He has been active in helping others in their small business ventures as an Advisory Board Member to the UNL Nebraska Cooperative Development Center, Board Member Nebraska Woody Florals Nonstock Cooperative and Heartland Nuts’N More as well as a member of the Nebraska Winery and Grape Growers Association. Bostelman is a member of Rejda Post 273 of the American Legion and has served one year as the Post Adjutant. He also served as a youth coach for the Oak Creek 4H Trap team and youth baseball.

Sen. Bostelman has the endorsement of Governor Pete Ricketts and Lt. Governor Mike Foley as well as former Governors Dave Heineman and Kay Orr. He also has the endorsement of many State Senators including Senator Joni Albrecht, Senator John Arch, Senator Tom Brewer, Senator Tom Briese, Senator Rob Clements, Senator Steve Erdman, Senator Curt Friesen, Senator Suzanne Geist, Senator Tim Gragert, Senator Mike Groene, Senator Steve Halloran, Senator Ben Hansen, Senator Mike Hilgers, Senator Dan Hughes, Senator Mark Kolterman, Senator Andrew La Grone, Senator Lou Ann Linehan, Senator John Lowe, Senator Mike Moser, Senator Dave Murman, Speaker Jim Scheer, Senator Julie Slama, and Senator John Stinner. Sen. Bostelman has received the sole endorsement of the Nebraska Republican Party.

In the Legislature, Senator Bostelman serves as Vice Chairman on the Natural Resources Committee and serves on the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee. He is also a member of State of Nebraska Broadband Task Force that is working to connect schools, libraries, and communities.

Bruce has been married to his wife, Jan, for 27 years. They are the proud parents of a son, daughter, and three grandchildren.

Choose American Ethanol to Fuel the Cure for Breast Cancer

Throughout October, drivers can help Fuel the Cure for breast cancer by choosing American Ethanol at the pump. More than 30 Nebraska gas stations will donate 3 cents for every gallon of higher ethanol blends – E15 to flex fuel E85 – sold between October 1­‑­October 31. All donations will support cancer research at the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center in Omaha.

Why support this important cause?

Chemicals in gasoline are known to cause cancer. Higher blends of biofuels dilute the toxicity and helps reduce cancer-causing emissions. Last year’s campaign raised more than $6,000.

”Cancer touches the lives of nearly everyone in some way,” said Ashley Christensen, Director of Development, Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer. “We appreciate that Nebraska fuel retailers are joining forces to empower drivers to support cancer research at the Fred and Pamela Buffett Cancer Center, which provides life-saving care to people throughout our state. With donors like yourself, we are able to fund researchers working on new treatments each and every day.”

For a complete list of participating fuel retailers, please visit Drivers will be able to identify which retailers are supporting this important cause by looking for pink signage at the pump, on the windows, and at the counter.

E15 (15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline), also called Unleaded 88, is approved for use in all passenger vehicles 2001 and newer. Ethanol blends higher than 15 percent are approved for use in flex fuel vehicles. One in seven Nebraskans are driving a flex fuel vehicle, which can run on any blend of American Ethanol up to E85 (85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline). Drivers can check their owner’s manual to see if they’re driving a flex fuel vehicle. The vehicle might also have a flex fuel badge on the trunk or tailgate — or a yellow gas cap.

“The Fuel the Cure program has been a tremendous partnership between Nebraska’s ethanol industry and the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center,” said David Bruntz, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board and farmer from Friend. “Ethanol blends already help clean up our air from toxic, cancer-causing chemicals emitted from burning traditional gasoline, but throughout the month, you can make an even bigger impact by using higher ethanol blends to support breast cancer research. Ethanol benefits our health, our environment, our engines and our wallets.”

The Nebraska Corn Board and Nebraska Ethanol Board, along with Renewable Fuels Nebraska, sponsor Fuel the Cure in conjunction with retail stations.

Preparing Grain Bins and Equipment for Harvest

Amy Timmerman – NE Extension Educator

With harvest approaching, it’s time to prepare grain bins and harvesting equipment to help ensure that grain going into storage will remain in good condition. Don't wait until the middle of harvest to discover that a bin foundation is severely cracked, or find even later that insects from grain that was left in the combine last fall have severely infested a bin of new grain. Proper bin and equipment preparation is a key to preserving stored grain quality.

Cleaning and treating grain bins, as well as the surrounding area, can reduce pest and rodent problems in stored grain.

The key to good grain storage is to put the highest quality grain into the bin, or bring it to the proper moisture condition as quickly as possible. Overall quality of stored grain always deteriorates, it is just a matter of how fast. Having a good marketing plan and selling as much as possible before the grain heats up next spring is the best way to have quality stored grain. It is never as good as the day it is put into the bin. Storing the grain longer than next spring requires much more vigilance in management.

Harvesting Equipment

Remove all traces of old grain from combines, truck beds, grain carts, augers, and any other equipment used for harvesting, transporting, and handling grain. Even small amounts of moldy or insect-infested grain left in equipment can contaminate a bin of new grain.

Adjust combines according to the manufacturer's specifications to minimize grain damage and to maximize removal of fines and other foreign material.

Proper cleaning and bin preparation will help assure that grain going into storage will remain in good condition.

Bins and Other System Components

Check the bin site, and remove any items or debris that would interfere with safe, unobstructed movement around the bin. Remove any spilled grain and mow the site to reduce the chances of insect or rodent infestation. If necessary, re-grade the site so that water readily drains away from bin foundations.

Inspect bins and foundations for structural problems. Uneven settlement of foundations can cause gaps between the foundation and bottom edge of the bin. This can result in grain spills and provide entry points for water, insects, and rodents. If perforated floors are used, a gap between the foundation and bin will allow air that would normally be forced through the grain to escape from the bin. Small gaps can usually be filled with a high quality caulking compound. If deterioration is extensive, the mastic seal may need to be replaced. Be sure all anchor bolts are tight and not damaged.

Inspect the bin roof and sides, inside and out, for leaks, loose or sheared bolts, rust or other corrosion, etc. Check the roof vents and access hatch, and caulk any cracks at the roofline. Be sure the access ladder is complete and securely fastened to the bin. Repair or replace any deteriorated components.

Wiring for fans and other electrical components should be inspected for corrosion and cracked, frayed, or broken insulation. Exposed wiring should be run through waterproof, dust-tight conduit. Avoid kinking the conduit, and make sure all connections are secure.

Check fans, heaters, transitions, and ducts for corrosion and damage. Remove any accumulated dust and dirt that will reduce the operating efficiency. Be sure that all connections are tight.

Ensure Bins Are Clean

Remove any old grain with brooms and vacuum cleaners. Never put new grain on top of old. Also, clean bins not being used for storage this year to keep insects from migrating to other bins.

Apply Insecticides

If you think there is any chance you might hold grain in the bin into May or later, it would be prudent to apply residual insecticides to the empty bin after thoroughly cleaning it. You may also apply certain insecticides onto the grain as it is being augered into the bin. A surface application is often recommended to prevent Indian meal moths from infesting the top surface of the grain.

If the bin has a raised drying floor and was known to be infested with grain storage insects last season, consider hiring a professional pest control operator to fumigate the empty bin prior to filling with new grain.


National Corn Growers Association Corn Board member Deb Gangwish, who farms in Shelton, Nebraska, brought her experiences and insights as a farmer to a group of 850 industry professionals during the Women in Agribusiness Summit this morning. During a panel discussion, Gangwish, CommonGround Minnesota volunteer Katie Brenny and poultry producer Amy Syester shared their ideas, concerns and perspectives with the rest of the supply chain.

Moderated by Successful Farming Agronomy and Technology Editor Megan Vollstedt, the farmers delved into topics such as the adoption of technology, sustainability and the importance of markets. The discussion emphasized the importance of working as a team to make change possible and farming profitable.

Gangwish highlighted the need to focus on the many goals shared by all in the industry.

“I respect every farmer every acre no matter their production method,” she said. “There aren’t enough of us to focus on our differences or work against one another.”

The perspectives shared played a unique role in the Summit, which focuses largely on the issues facing the industry from a corporate point of view. Strong attendance and engaged participation from the audience demonstrated a strong desire to find new or improved ways to work with farmers for mutually beneficial outcomes.

Midwest Dairy Names Molly Pelzer as Next CEO

Midwest Dairy, the organization representing 7,000 dairy families across the Midwest, announced that the Corporate Board of Directors has chosen Molly Pelzer as the organization’s next chief executive officer. Pelzer, who currently serves as Midwest Dairy’s chief experience officer, succeeds outgoing CEO Lucas Lentsch and will assume the role October 1.

“Given her leadership experience and longstanding commitment to dairy farmers and the dairy checkoff program, Molly embodies everything we want in Midwest Dairy’s next leader,” said Allen Merrill, chairman of Midwest Dairy’s board of directors. “We’re excited to see how she leads our organization as we fulfill our vision and mission to bring dairy to life and give consumers an excellent dairy experience.”

Pelzer joined Midwest Dairy in 1984 and has held various executive leadership roles. In her most recent position as chief experience officer, Pelzer led the development of the organization’s strategic priorities. Prior to Midwest Dairy, she worked with the Midland Dairy Association, as well as Dairy Council, Inc., both former checkoff organizations that are now part of the Midwest Dairy region. A registered dietitian, Pelzer graduated from the University of Missouri – Columbia.

Pelzer is the organization’s third CEO in its 19 years of dairy history. Her proven experience in developing programs and resources comes at an exciting time as the organization continues its focus on consumer-centric goals to drive sales and enhance consumer trust for dairy.

“I am proud and humbled to represent dairy farmers and Midwest Dairy staff as we continue to work with our partners to increase sales and trust in dairy and reinforce the importance of dairy foods and dairy farming to our communities” said Pelzer. “I am eager to continue to build strong relationships with dairy farmers, industry leaders and partners as we continue to maximize the investment dairy farmers make in their checkoff organization.”

Pelzer succeeds Lucas Lentsch, who is leaving Midwest Dairy for a leadership role with Dairy Management, Inc.

ICGA Announces 60-Day Harvest Weight Proclamation Starting Tomorrow, October 1

During harvest to support the haul of this year’s crop, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed today a proclamation granting a temporary 60-day weight limit exemption for trucks operating on Iowa roads. The proclamation will be effective as of Tuesday, October 1. The 2019 Harvest Weight Proclamation specifically increases the weight allowable for shipment of corn, soybeans, hay, straw, and stover, by 12.5 percent per axle (up to a maximum of 90,000 pounds) without the need for an oversize/overweight permit.

The 2019 proclamation again applies to loads transported on all highways within Iowa, excluding the federal interstate system. Trucks cannot exceed the truck’s regular maximum by more than 12.5 percent per axle and must obey the posted limits on all roads and bridges.

“On behalf of Iowa’s farmers, we extend a big thanks to Governor Reynolds for approval of this proclamation as it provides tremendous help to us as we work to efficiently transport this year’s crop,” said Iowa Corn Growers Association President Jim Greif, a farmer from Monticello. “Governor Reynolds made the decision to grant the petition as requested by Iowa Corn, it is not a right by law.”

ICGA made the request to Governor Reynolds in August and worked with the Governor’s office to ensure the proclamation moved forward to benefit Iowa’s farmers in time for harvest. The proclamation directs the Iowa Department of Transportation to monitor the operation of the proclamation and assure the public’s safety by facilitating the movement of the trucks involved. Farmers who are transporting grain are also required to follow their vehicle safety standards on axle weights.

The exemption will be granted for 60 days beginning October 1, 2019.

Crop Insurance Discounts Available for Farmers Who Plant Cover Crops

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig announced today that farmers who plant cover crops this fall may be eligible for a $5 per acre reduction on their spring 2020 cash crop insurance premiums. To qualify, the cover crop acres cannot be enrolled in other state or federal cover crop cost share programs. Farmers who received prevent plant payments in 2019 are still eligible for the discounted insurance premiums. 

“All Iowans have a role to play in improving water quality in our state and downstream,” said Secretary Naig. “Cover crops are proven to reduce nutrient loads and improve soil health. As part of the Nutrient Reduction Strategy, our goal is to have at least 14 million acres of cover crops planted in the state of Iowa. This program represents just one of many funding sources available to help farmers add conservation practices to their fields.”

Planting rye or oat cover crops helps improve the health of the soil and prevents erosion, especially during high-intensity rainfalls. 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 a joint, three-year demonstration project administered by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA). It is intended to increase the use of cover crops in Iowa. More than 1,200 farmers have applied for this program and planted 300,000 acres of cover crops in the past two years.

Farmers can sign up for the cover crop – crop insurance premium reduction program at beginning on Oct. 1, 2019. Applications will be accepted through Jan. 15, 2020.

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 agency to maintain eligibility.

Farmers are encouraged to visit their local USDA service center offices to learn more about other cost share funding available to support the implementation of conservation practices.

Crawford Livestock Market LLC to host World Livestock Auctioneer Championship qualifier October 11

Crawford Livestock Market, LLC, 100 W Beech St., will host the first of three regional qualifying events for the World Livestock Auctioneer Championship (WLAC). The western regional qualifying event will be October 11. Opening ceremonies will commence at 10:00 a.m. (MDT) with the awards ceremony to follow. A total of 36 contestants will compete for a top 10 placing, granting them a spot in the semi-finals for the 2020 WLAC at Dickson Regional Livestock Center, LLC, in Dickson, Tenn.

Each qualifying event is a live sale where each contestant auctions 8 drafts of livestock (traditionally cattle) to actual bidders. Contestants are judged on the clarity of their auction chant, professionalism and their ability to conduct the sale while catching bids.

Contestants competing are Jared Anstine, Holden, Mo.; Zach Ballard, Mitchell, S.D.; Ted Baum, Elgin, Neb.; Andy Baumeister, Mullin, Texas; Neil Bouray, Webber, Kan.; Chuck Bradley, Rockford, Ala.; Spencer Cline, Kingston, Ark.; Eric Drees, Caldwell, Idaho; Dean Edge, Rimbey, Alb.; Will Epperly, Dunlap, Iowa; Brandon Frey, Ft. Collins, Colo.; Collin Gibbs, Miles City, Mont.; Steven Goedert, Dillon, Mont.; Brandon Hamel, Damar, Kan.; Jacob Hills, Ridgeway, Wis.; Travis Holck, Ruthton, Minn.; Jake Hopwood, Valentine, Neb.; Jase Hubert, Olpe, Kan.; Lynn Langvardt, Chapman, Kan.; Josh Larson, Haxtun, Colo.; Kyle Layman, North Platte, Neb.; Curt Littau, Carter, S.D.; Jalen Mathis, Hutton, Texas; Gregg Matney, Lusk, Wyo.; Justin Mebane, Bakersfield, Calif.; Jeremy Miller, Fairland, Okla.; Terry Moe, Watford City, N.D; Drake Morrow, Opp, Ala.; Lander Nicodemus, Cheyenne, Wyo.; Larry Nisly, Quaker City, Ohio; Mark Oberholtzer, Loyal, Wis.; Kirk Otte, Rushville, Neb.; Sixto Paiz, Portales, N.M.; Ethan Schuette, Washington, Kan.; Dustin Smith, Jay, Okla.; and Curtis Wetovick, Fullerton, Neb.

The public may attend the livestock auction and competition free of charge. It will also be streamed live on

The remaining qualifying events are balanced regionally across the LMA Membership. The eastern regional will be held at Farmers Livestock Exchange, Inc. Winchester, Va. on November 18. The midwestern regional will be held at Stockmen’s Livestock, Inc. Yankton, S.D. on January 8, 2020.

NBB, ASA Ask Commerce Secretary Ross for Meeting Before Final Decision on Argentine Biodiesel Duty Rates

Today, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) and American Soybean Association (ASA) sent a letter to Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, requesting he meet with the groups before the U.S. Department of Commerce finalizes its review of countervailing duties on biodiesel imports from Argentina. The letter notes that Ross met with the Government of Argentina after issuing a preliminary decision in the review but has not yet met directly with U.S. biodiesel producers.

"Since Commerce issued the preliminary results in the review on July 9, our multiple requests to schedule a meeting with you have gone unanswered," the groups write. "We still hope that you can provide us the same courtesy that you provided to representatives of the government of Argentina and meet with us."

Commerce finalized countervailing duty rates on Argentine biodiesel imports in January 2018, following a lengthy investigation that found U.S. biodiesel producers were harmed by Argentina's unfair trade practices. Then in November 2018, Commerce granted Argentina's unprecedented request for a "changed circumstances" review, based on the Argentine government's claims that it had changed its tax structure. In July 2019, Commerce issued a preliminary decision that would virtually eliminate countervailing duties for Argentina's biodiesel producers.

"It remains unclear why Commerce is rushing to issue final results when recent developments in Argentina suggest a likely change in leadership and tax policy," the letter continues. "It seems clear that Argentina's tax policies are likely to continue to change, as they have on numerous occasions in recent years. It is far more important for Commerce to make the right decision in this review, rather than a quick decision."

Argentina is holding the first round of a presidential election on October 27. A runoff, if necessary, would occur on November 24.

Kurt Kovarik, Vice President of Federal Affairs with NBB, added, "The administration's rush to provide a boost to Argentina's farmers and biodiesel producers is difficult to understand. This year, U.S. farmers are earning half what they did five years ago because of trade disputes. And nine U.S. biodiesel producers have been forced to cut production, close facilities, and lay off workers because of the administration's favors to the oil industry. Opening the door to a resumption of unfairly priced biodiesel imports will only do more harm to the U.S. biodiesel industry and U.S. farmers."

NIHC & Farm Bureau Submit Comment to EPA

Last week, the National Industrial Hemp Council (NIHC) was joined by the American Farm Bureau Federation, in submitting a comment letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding adding hemp to the labeling of currently registered pesticide products. EPA requested comments regarding the ten applications that it received seeking to add hemp to the labels of products registered under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). We thank EPA for providing an opportunity to submit comments on this important first set of applications following the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill.

The letter calls for EPA to approve these and additional applications in order to expand the range of approved pesticides and provide our members with lawful options for pest control. It goes on to state that "in order for hemp to reach its full potential, it is essential that EPA take a leadership role in consistent review of applications for use on hemp, to facilitate a consistent and equal playing field to the degree possible across state jurisdictions."

The NIHC and Farm Bureau joint letter urges the EPA to promptly approve these ten applications to provide for use during the 2020 growing season and beyond.

Friday September 27 Hogs & Pigs Report + Ag News


Nebraska inventory of all hogs and pigs on September 1, 2019, was 3.75 million head, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. This was up 9 percent from September 1, 2018, and up 1 percent from June 1, 2019.

Breeding hog inventory, at 450,000 head, was up 5 percent from September 1, 2018, but down 2 percent from last quarter. Market hog inventory, at 3.30 million head, was up 9 percent from last year, and up 2 percent from last quarter.

The June - August 2019 Nebraska pig crop, at 2.21 million head, was up 6 percent from 2018. Sows farrowed during the period totaled 190,000 head, up 3 percent from last year. The average pigs saved per litter was 11.65 for the June - August period, compared to 11.30 last year.

Nebraska hog producers intend to farrow 205,000 sows during the September - November 2019 quarter, up 8 percent from the actual farrowings during the same period a year ago. Intended farrowings for December 2019 - February 2020 are 200,000 sows, up 8 percent from the actual farrowings during the same period a year ago.

Iowa Hogs & Pigs Report

On September 1, 2019, there were 24.9 million hogs and pigs on Iowa farms, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Hogs and Pigs report. This is the highest inventory on record, up 6 percent from the previous year.

The June-August 2019 quarterly pig crop was 6.13 million head, up 3 percent from the previous quarter but 6 percent below last year. A total of 540,000 sows farrowed during this quarter. The average pigs saved per litter was 11.35 for the June-August quarter, down 0.10 head from last quarter.

As of September 1, producers planned to farrow 530,000 sows and gilts in the September-November quarter and 520,000 head during the December 2019-February 2020 quarter.

United States Hog Inventory Up 3 Percent

United States inventory of all hogs and pigs on September 1, 2019 was 77.7 million head. This was up 3 percent from September 1, 2018, and up 3 percent from June 1, 2019. This is the highest September 1 inventory of all hogs and pigs since the estimates began in 1988. 

Breeding inventory, at 6.43 million head, was up 2 percent from last year, and up slightly from the previous quarter.

Market hog inventory, at 71.2 million head, was up 4 percent from last year, and up 3 percent from last quarter. This is the highest September 1 market hog inventory since the estimates began in 1988.

By State                (1,000 hd  -  % Sept 1 '18)

Iowa .................:        24,900     106 
North Carolina ..:         9,500     102 
Minnesota ........:          9,000     105 
Illinois ..............:         5,300       97 
Indiana .............:         4,300      102 
Nebraska ..........:         3,750      109 
Missouri ...........:         3,600       96 
Kansas ..............:         2,080     102 
South Dakota ....:         2,000     116 

The June-August 2019 pig crop, at 35.3 million head, was up 3 percent from 2018. This is the largest June-August pig crop since estimates began in 1970. Sows farrowing during this period totaled 3.18 million head, down 1 percent from 2018. The sows farrowed during this quarter represented 50 percent of the breeding herd. The average pigs saved per litter was a record high of 11.11 for the June-August period, compared to 10.72 last year.

United States hog producers intend to have 3.16 million sows farrow during the September-November 2019 quarter, down 1 percent from the actual farrowings during the same period in 2018, but up 2 percent from 2017. Intended farrowings for December 2019-February 2020, at 3.11 million sows, are down slightly from 2019, but up 2 percent from 2018.

The total number of hogs under contract owned by operations with over 5,000 head, but raised by contractees, accounted for 48 percent of the total United States hog inventory, unchanged from the previous year.

Nebraska Corn thanks Hastings farmer Lynn Chrisp for his national service to the industry

The Nebraska Corn Board and the Nebraska Corn Growers Association extend their appreciation to Lynn Chrisp for serving as the president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA). Chrisp, a corn farmer from Hastings, spent the last year in the leadership role, which concludes Sept. 30.

“It’s always great to see a farmer from Nebraska at the helm of a national organization,” said Dan Nerud, president of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association and farmer from Dorchester. “Lynn not only served our state’s farmers well during his year as president, but he also was a powerful advocate for all American corn growers.”

Throughout his term, Chrisp dealt with many difficult issues including trade tariffs, challenges with the Renewable Fuel Standard, small refinery waivers and misleading corn syrup advertisements from Anheuser-Busch. He traveled through corn country, Washington, D.C. and around the world advocating for American corn farmers.

“From leading us through the Super Bowl response to visiting the White House on two different occasions, Lynn had the reins during one of the most interesting years in my time at NCGA,” said Jon Doggett, CEO of NCGA. “We’re grateful for his leadership and thankful for the difference he made for corn farmers through it all. Congratulations, on a job well done.”

“While serving in leadership roles often go without recognition, Lynn deserves so much more,” said David Bruntz, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board and farmer from Friend. “Serving as the NCGA president meant Lynn was often away from his family, friends and from the farm, but he served to improve the corn industry for all farmers. We need more farmers like Lynn willing to engage in key leadership roles. Hats off to Lynn for a job well-done!”

On Oct. 1, Chrisp will advance to NCGA’s chairman position. Kevin Ross, farmer from Underwood, Iowa, will replace Chrisp as president at that time.

State Corn Grower Leaders to Trump: Uphold Commitment to Farmers and RFS

State leaders of corn grower organizations in 23 states today sent a letter to President Trump, calling on him to follow the law and keep the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) whole. The letter to the President comes on the heels of the Trump Administration’s most recent approval of 31 new RFS waivers to big oil companies. The 85 total waivers approved under the Trump Administration amount to 4.04 billion gallons, resulting in reduced corn demand due to lower ethanol blending and consumption and a rising number of ethanol producers slowing or idling production.

The state corn grower leaders urge the President to stop the harm caused by waivers and restore integrity to the RFS by directing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to account for projected waivers beginning with the pending 2020 RFS volume rule.

Full text of the letter is below.

President Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Trump,

We are writing on behalf of the more than 300,000 corn farmers across the country who are being negatively impacted by a perfect storm of challenges in rural America. The 31 new Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) waivers to big oil companies, recently approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and bringing total waivers issued under your Administration to 85, could not have come at a worse time for agriculture.

Ethanol plants in several states, including Iowa, Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Minnesota and Mississippi have closed or idled. These closures have cost 2,700 rural jobs and impacted demand for more than 300 million bushels of corn. Corn farmers are beginning harvest and continuing to lose markets to deliver their corn. Frustration in the countryside is growing.

Corn farmers are not asking for a special deal. We are simply asking, as we have been for the past two years, that your EPA uphold the law.

To effectively stop the harm caused by RFS waivers, EPA needs to account for projected waivers beginning with the pending 2020 RFS volume rule. Accounting for waivers in the annual RFS volume process restores integrity to the RFS. It also allows your Administration to continue granting waivers, as allowed by the law, while keeping the RFS whole.

While adding gallons and improving market access for higher blends of ethanol are all policies farmers appreciate and support, future waivers will continue to minimize the RFS, unless your Administration acts to account for waivers beginning this coming year first.

We were pleased to see press reports indicating that, following a meeting with farm-state lawmakers, an agreement had been reached to address the harm caused by waivers. With more than 4 billion gallons waived out of the RFS, we appreciate you listening to our elected representatives about what is needed to restore meaning to the RFS. Farmers across the country are anxiously awaiting the release of more details about this agreement. Ethanol plants will continue to close if you don’t act soon, creating a rippling effect throughout the rural economy.

Corn farmers are appreciative of your past support for agriculture and ethanol. We especially appreciate your efforts to remove the barrier to year-round sales of E15, but EPA’s current use of waivers undermines growth potential for higher blends of ethanol, reduces demand, lowers the value of our crop, and puts the outlook for the rural economy in jeopardy.

Mr. President, we firmly ask that you uphold your commitment to America’s farmers and the RFS.

Dan Nerud, President, Nebraska Corn Growers Association
Jim Greif, President, Iowa Corn Growers Association

Steve Rome, President, Kansas Corn Growers Association
Doug Noem, President, South Dakota Corn Growers Association
Brian Thalmann, President, Minnesota Corn Growers Association
Jeremy Wilson, President, Alabama Soybean and Corn Association
Dave Eckhardt, President, Colorado Corn Growers Association
Rodney Harrell, President, Georgia Corn Growers Association
Ted Mottaz, President, Illinois Corn Growers Association
Sarah Delbecq, President, Indiana Corn Growers Association
Mark Roberts, President, Kentucky Corn Growers Association
Jason Condrey, President, Louisiana Cotton and Grain Association
Lenny Evan Miles, Jr., President, Maryland Grain Producers Association
Matt Frostic, President, Michigan Corn Growers Association
Mike Pannell, President, Mississippi Corn Growers Association
Mark Scott, President, Missouri Corn Growers Association
Jason Swede, President, New York Corn and Soybean Growers Association
Alex Jordan, President, Corn Growers Association of North Carolina
Randy Melvin, President, North Dakota Corn Growers Association
Jon Miller, President, Ohio Corn and Wheat
Elizabeth Hinkel, President, Pennsylvania Corn Growers Association
Wesley Spurlock, President, Texas Corn Producers Association
Doug Rebout, President, Wisconsin Corn Growers Association

ELD Mandate Update

NE Cattlemen Newsletter

Previously, livestock haulers were exempt from ELDs through September 30, 2019 (our ELD delay “policy rider” is contained within the government funding bill). Congress has now officially passed a short term spending bill to keep the government open until November 21, 2019. As such, the ELD delay for livestock haulers now runs until November 21, 2019. This delay will buy some needed time as we continue to work on our ultimate Hours of Service fix. The plan going forward is to keep the pressure on Congress to continue delaying the ELD mandate until HOS finally works for hauling livestock.


On Tuesday, U.S. Reps. Filemon Vela (D-Texas), Cindy Axne (D-Iowa), Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), Vincente Gonsalez (D-Texas), Jim Costa (D-Calif.) and Salud Carbajal (D-Calif.) introduced the Protecting America's Food & Agricultural Act (H.R. 4482), which would authorize U.S. Customs and Border Protection to hire more agriculture inspectors in order to prevent an outbreak of African swine fever in the U.S. The bill is a companion to Senate legislation introduced in July by Sens. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.).

Western Iowa Energy’s Brad Wilson elected to lead Iowa Biodiesel Board

Brad Wilson, president and general manager of Western Iowa Energy, has been elected by his peers to serve as the new chair of the Iowa Biodiesel Board.

The board of directors elected Wilson during the Iowa Biodiesel Board and National Biodiesel Board Regional Annual Meeting, September 18 – 19 in Des Moines.

“I look forward to playing an active role in leading the Iowa Biodiesel Board for many reasons, but the most important is the organization’s focus on bringing additional value up and down the entire supply chain, from the farmers and feedstock suppliers through the end user,” he said.

“Iowa is not only the top biodiesel producing state, but a strong leader in driving critical federal policy like the Renewable Fuel Standard and biodiesel tax credit,” Wilson said. “I look forward to stepping up to the challenge this position brings.” 

Wilson, who previously served as IBB’s vice chair, replaces Tom Brooks, general manager of biodiesel producer Western Dubuque Biodiesel in Farley, Iowa. He stepped down after serving as chair for three years.

The full slate of officers for the organization is now as follows:
    Chair: Brad Wilson, Western Iowa Energy
    Vice Chair: Doug Lenhart, REG
    Secretary: Reed Herzig, Bayer
    Treasurer: Courtney Lawrenson, AGP

Wilson became president and general manager of WIE in 2016. The multi-feedstock plant recently grew its capacity from 30 to 45 million gallons per year. It employs about 30 people, many with young families in Wall Lake, Iowa, a town of about 800 residents.

Iowa's First Biodiesel Plant Shuttered

The unknown future of the biodiesel tax credit and the endless granting of small refinery waivers has forced one Iowa biodiesel plant to close. W2 Fuel announced earlier this week that it would be shuttering two of its biodiesel plants in Crawfordsville, Iowa and in Adrian, Michigan.

Nearly 50 employees have lost their jobs and demand for millions of bushels of soybeans has been destroyed.

"This is one more example of how the federal policies have an impact on real peoples' lives," said Grant Kimberley, executive director of the Iowa Biodiesel Board and director of market development for the Iowa Soybean Association.

At full capacity, the Crawfordsville plant produced nearly 10 million gallons of biodiesel. The Adrian plant produced about 15 million gallons per year. That's now a lost market for roughly 16.67 million bushels of soybeans.

"And there's no end in sight until these issues are resolved," Kimberley said.

W2 Fuel CEO Roy Strom testified before the EPA in March, warning the agency and the Trump administration of the harm caused by granting small refinery exemptions.

"To succeed, the biodiesel industry needs signals that allow us to forecast market demand. While the RVO (renewable volume obligation) should be the forecast, the current practice of granting retroactive small refinery exemptions undermines that signal," he said on the record.

Now, almost six months after his testimony, Strom is directing cleanup crews before turning the lights off for good.

"I think if the biodiesel tax credit came back, I would need to see it include 2020 to make a go of it again," Strom said.

The ultimate fix would be a reallocation of lost gallons as a result of the small refinery exemptions and an extension of the federal $1-per-gallon biodiesel tax credit to producers which blend biodiesel with petroleum.

Only the White House and the EPA can change the demand at this point. And it's up to Congress to pass the biodiesel tax credit extension.

"When the tax credit is up in the air, you're just gambling. Do I want to bet on the tax credit or not? It makes it very difficult to run a business," Strom said.

The biodiesel industry is now running 21 months without the biodiesel tax credit. It's clearly hurting the industry, said Brad Wilson, president and general manager of Western Iowa Energy and the newly-elected chair of the Iowa Biodiesel Board.

Iowa Participates in USDA’s Multi-State Foreign Animal Disease Functional Exercises

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship participated in a four-day simulation led by USDA APHIS to test current foreign animal disease response plans. The Department was joined by USDA representatives, state organizations and industry leaders to walk through plans that would be put into action in the event of a real foreign animal disease outbreak.

This four-day workshop focused on an African Swine Fever outbreak, which affects feral, production and pet pigs. The top 14 swine producing states (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and Texas) participated in a series of exercises and drills specific to African Swine Fever.

“An African Swine Fever outbreak does not represent a human health or food safety threat but it could be devastating to Iowa’s farmers and economy,” said Secretary Mike Naig. “Our first goal is to prevent a foreign animal disease from entering the U.S. and this workshop is one of many steps the Department has taken to prepare. Over the last four days, we’ve worked with USDA, state agencies, legislators, pork industry representatives and 14 other states to test our plans. I want to thank everyone who participated in the exercise. I am pleased with the outcome, we’ve discovered what works well and identified a few scenarios we still need to talk through so we can respond quickly if a real outbreak occurs.”

Each day of the exercise focused on different tactics deployed during an outbreak — detection, containment, eradication and cleaning and disinfection. This allowed the USDA, the Iowa Department of Agriculture, state agencies, industry representatives and producers to put response plans into action to make sure they could be executed quickly and effectively.

African Swine Fever is a highly infectious disease that causes high mortality rates in pig populations. Currently, there is no treatment or vaccine available for pigs. The virus has been detected in countries across Asia, Africa and Europe. The disease has not been found in North America at this time.

The disease is not a threat to human health and is not a food safety issue. The pork industry provides over 140,000 jobs and contributes $36.7 billion to Iowa’s economy.

To learn more about African Swine Fever visit

Corteva Agriscience Sponsors SDSU Precision Ag Facility Expansion

South Dakota State University is the first land-grant university to offer a precision agriculture major, a precision agriculture minor and an engineering for precision agriculture minor, as part of their curriculum. Corteva Agriscience is donating $600,000 to help expand facilities for student learning and engagement with precision ag tools.

“The launch of a precision ag-focused major is a big opportunity for the future of agriculture and can help make a difference in the lives of farmers everywhere,” said Jamie Williamson, Corteva Agriscience Area Leader – Northern Plains. “Precision agriculture is just one in a long list of innovations that help us find the solutions needed to solve the problems of today and anticipate tomorrow’s challenges. Corteva Agriscience is focused on providing farmers with complete solutions, and digital agriculture is a key component to meet the needs of farmers.”

Corteva will receive the naming rights to the Student Atrium of the new Raven Precision Agricultural Building. The hallway will have two naming plates, one at each end, a Corteva logo, as well as a Corteva branded digital display with events and calendars for students.

The Raven Precision Agricultural Building is funded by internal university funds, private support, state appropriations and an approved bond. The effort is part of a $46.1 million precision ag facility expansion designed to support the educational needs of agriculture-related majors.

“This facility will help us continue to create the high-quality workforce that will enable South Dakota State University and Corteva Agriscience to continue leading with a tradition of excellence in agriculture, food and environmental sciences,” said John Killefer, South Dakota Corn Utilization Council Endowed Dean – College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences.

“We understand there are increasing needs of precision ag education,” Williamson said. “As a champion of responsible agriculture and an industry-leader in digital technology, we look forward to what these capable students and this historic university can accomplish going forward.”

USDA Seeking Comments on Conservation Reserve Program Environmental Assessment

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) today announced the availability of a Programmatic Environmental Assessment for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). The 2018 Farm Bill made changes to CRP, and the assessment evaluates those changes as they relate to the National Environmental Policy Act. The assessment only covers programmatic changes that have not been evaluated previously.

The environmental assessment is available to the public for review, and FSA is requesting comments on the proposed alternatives and their potential impacts on the human environment. FSA will incorporate the feedback into the final assessment, as appropriate, prior to a decision.

The assessment can be accessed at: FSA will consider comments received by October 27, 2019 . Comments received after that date will be considered to the extent possible.

Comments may be submitted:
-    By mail at Conservation Reserve Program PEA Comments, c/o Cardno-GS, 2496 Old Ivy Road, Suite 300, Charlottesville, VA, 22903
-    Electronically at

McDonalds Testing Beyond Meat in Canada

McDonald's Corp. is getting on the plant-based bandwagon.

The world's biggest fast-food company by revenue said Thursday it is testing Beyond Meat Inc. patties at restaurants in Canada for 12 weeks. Dubbed the "P.L.T." for plant, lettuce and tomato, the sandwich will be on sale at 28 restaurants in southwestern Ontario starting Monday.

Many of McDonald's rivals have already introduced meat substitutes made by Beyond Meat or rival Impossible Foods Inc. Sales of plant-based burgers and other meats from those companies have surged this year.

A few months ago, McDonald's executives said they were watching whether the trend would last and those companies could maintain supply before deciding to add meatless products to the chain's menu.

The small 12-week test in Canada will allow McDonald's to better understand customer demand and the impact on restaurant operations, said Ann Wahlgren, McDonald's vice president of global menu strategy. Beyond Meat honed a patty recipe specifically for the chain, McDonald's said.

Tim Hortons, the coffee-and-doughnut chain owned by Restaurant Brands Inc., introduced Beyond Meat sausage breakfast patties and burgers in Canada this summer. The chain cut back the plant-based burger offering earlier this month, saying demand was better for real beef.

McDonald's has served vegetarian offerings for some time in other markets, including the McAloo Tikki, made of potatoes and peas, in India. It tested a vegetarian burger made by Nestle SA earlier this year in Germany.

In Canada, the P.L.T. will be priced at 6.49 Canadian dollars (US$4.90), McDonald's said. That compares with a retail price at Tim Hortons of C$5.69 (US$4.36).

Thursday September 26 Ag News

U.S. Drought Monitor celebrates its 20th year
Cory Matteson, National Drought Mitigation Center at the School of Natural Resources

In the late 1990s, National Drought Mitigation Center founding director Don Wilhite assigned Mark Svoboda to find every drought-related index, indicator and tool that existed, and request access to the data that was used to create them. Unfortunately, Google didn't debut until after he began his search.

“There wasn’t a whole lot out there, and I remember the response to my request for operational data was getting a hard copy map in the mail of the Palmer Drought Severity Index from the National Climatic Data Center,” Svoboda said. “That wasn’t even delivered digitally at the time.”

With scarcity of information in mind, Svoboda presented on drought mapping at the 1998 American Meteorological Society annual meeting. Another presenter at the session, Douglas Le Comte of the Climate Prediction Center, was interested in combining various drought indices into one map. The two talked after the meeting about joining forces.

“That’s where the idea was born to make a higher resolution map made from combining several indicators together that shows where drought is and how severe it is,” said Svoboda, who is now the NDMC director.

Their collaboration spearheaded the creation of the U.S. Drought Monitor, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. Every week since the Drought Monitor was unveiled at a White House press conference on Aug. 11, 1999, the NDMC, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have teamed up to release an update of the USDM.

An extensive network from an array of agencies has contributed data and on-the-ground observations to produce more than 1,000 maps, and the USDM has grown to include all U.S. states and territories, including the additions of the U.S.-affiliated Pacific Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands in 2019. It has triggered billions of dollars in federal aid and low interest loans. Federal, state, tribal, local and basin-level decision makers use it to detect emerging droughts.

And it all started as a map made with CorelDRAW 8.

“I think I have a curled-up map that actually shows one of the original drafts of the Drought Monitor,” Le Comte, now retired from the CPC, recently said from his Arlington, Virginia, home. A few minutes later, he found the map.

Dated July 13, 1999, the prototype features some classifications familiar to those who have used the USDM over its 20-year existence. Yellow blobs indicating abnormally dry areas covered much of the Southwest and Northeast. Encircled in red were portions of the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, Hawaii, the Northeast and the Mid-Atlantic, including all of Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C. These were the only two colors on the draft, though, with red being an all-encompassing indicator of drought. (Each level of drought now has its own designated color.) Arrows specified the class and types of drought in those locales, with one pointed directly at our nation’s capital. That drought, the USDM’s early authors believe, helped provide the project with a big green light.

“Serendipity is the word,” Le Comte said.

Not long after creating that mid-July map, a secretarial briefing regarding the USDM was held at the White House. The USDM’s proponents told officials that it could help heighten awareness of drought as an environmental hazard, provide the public and decision-makers vital information about the creeping disaster and decrease response lags to drought, like the rare one building in the Northeast in the summer of ‘99.

“The Palmer wasn’t showing that drought evolving nearly fast enough,” said Svoboda, who was a USDM author for 17 years. “Our new prototype showed potential to pick up the signal earlier given we weren’t solely relying on any one drought indicator in particular. So they informed us that this new prototype drought indicator was going to go operational this summer. After production of the first operational map in early August, the very next week, the experimental label was off the map. So I think that might be the shortest experimental product in government history. That drought is really what made it all happen, in a way. So we quickly ramped up from two authors to six authors in the span of just a few months.”

The first six USDM authors were Svoboda and Michael Hayes from the NDMC, Le Comte and Rich Tinker from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC), and Brad Rippey and David Miskus, who was on assignment from the CPC at the USDA, where he joined Rippey. Nearly 30 authors have taken two-week shifts creating the map over its 20-year history. Since late 2000, once the map is released each Thursday at, the author’s name has been included alongside it. Tinker (135 shifts), Miskus (122) and Rippey (96) have authored the most so far.

The map is now created with GIS software, and authors consider data from more than 50 sources, including precipitation, temperature, evapotranspiration, the Palmer Drought Severity Index, the Standardized Precipitation Index, soil moisture indicators, hydrologic data, snowpack data, satellite-based assessments of vegetation health, land-data assimilation models and many more. Some of those sources have been vital to the map’s creation since its early stages, when the final drought report was essentially hand-drawn onto the maps utilizing late-’90s graphic design software.

“Maps all over my desk,” Svoboda recalled. “Maps on the floor. And you’re trying to piece them together in your head. That’s hard to do for 50 states in just over two days. Once you get into GIS, everything’s digital. You can overlay those together and make a much quicker assessment of the situation. You really start to see the patterns and determine where they agree or disagree. And the subject matter expertise is vitally important when those areas diverge to determine which indicators are going to be the best ones telling the story.”

Le Comte said he realized early on that the map was going to be a vital tool when he saw versions of it broadcast on the Weather Channel and reprinted in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post and elsewhere.

“It is really something I enjoyed doing,” Le Comte said. “I felt like a little bit of a pioneer doing this, because it was a feeling that this is something important, and that probably would be widely used if done correctly.”

Rippey saw the first sign that the weekly publication could be a vital aid trigger in late 2002, when then-USDA Chief Economist Keith Collins invited him to his office in the midst of a drought in the High Plains.

“They said we’ve got this drought going on, and we’ve got some nonfat dry milk to give away to these drought-ravaged producers,” Rippey recalled. Rather than base the program eligibility on state-level pasture condition reports, as had happened previously, Collins authorized the USDM to trigger aid for livestock producers with the 2003 Surplus Non-fat Dry Milk Sales for Feed Program.

“And that was the first time that anybody in a position to make high-level decisions had come to me as an author and asked if we should use the Drought Monitor (as a trigger), and I said yes,” Rippey said.

In the summer of 2006, with nearly half of the U.S. experiencing drought, attention once again turned to the USDM’s drought designations as a trigger for aid in the form of $50 million in state block grants for livestock producers. The USDM has been written into the Farm Bill since 2008 as a trigger for drought relief under the Livestock Forage Disaster Program, and after widespread drought in 2012, it became a trigger for fast-track Secretarial Disaster Designations. As of 2019, the USDM had been used to distribute approximately $7.2 billion in aid to livestock producers. The USDM helps producers receive aid faster, said Brian Fuchs, NDMC Monitoring Coordinator and USDM author since 2006.

“Back in the early days when USDA would try to have these different aid programs, a lot of times it was tied to the Palmer Drought Severity Index, and that’s a monthly tool at that,” Fuchs said. “With the Drought Monitor being this consolidation of evidence, you’re getting that signal and the information is coming through more rapidly because of all the different tools that we’re using, and you’re getting the best of all the indicators and not relying on a single indicator.”

Along with multiple datasets, USDM authors have come to rely on the team of local, state and regional experts on the Drought Monitor network listserv, where climatologists and evaluators provide updates from their locations and also respond to drafts of the map as publication dates near. They often also share news stories about experiences of drought, like a village in Alaska that recently ran out of stored water as the state grappled with persistent drought throughout 2019.

“I think if the Alaska drought that is going on now had happened 20 years ago, we might have missed it,” Rippey said. “There's no drought that's going to happen anymore without somebody knowing about it. And that’s a good thing.”

Svoboda said that as computing evolves and allows for further combination of drought indicators using deep learning, that will add to the Drought Monitor process, but not override it.

“I think we have a process called the Drought Monitor,” he said. “It also involves ownership of people on the ground, those 420 or so evaluators that are now part of the Drought Monitor network. Once they felt that they have a voice, and they have ownership, then we had the buy-in and credibility on the ground, and no single indicator or model integrated validation on the ground better than the USDM.”

Added Fuchs: “It’s this process of data and people coming together, and the end result is the map.”

Producers to Receive Automatic Prevented Planting ‘Top-Up’ Payments

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today that producers currently participating in federal crop insurance who had in 2019 a payable prevented planting indemnity related to flooding, excess moisture or causes other than drought will automatically receive a “top-up” payment. Producers will receive the payment from their Approved Insurance Providers (AIPs) starting in mid-October.

Producers with Yield Protection and Revenue Protection with Harvest Price Exclusion will receive a 10 percent top-up payment, while producers with Revenue Protection will receive 15 percent. They do not need to sign up to receive payments; all producers with a 2019 prevented planting indemnity will receive the top-up.

“It was a challenging planting season for many of our farmers,” said Bill Northey, USDA’s Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation. “We are doing everything we can to ensure producers receive the help they need.

“USDA is working with AIPs so that producers can receive additional payments as soon as possible,” Northey added, “and we appreciate the AIPs for helping us help America’s farmers.”

The crop insurance industry will deliver the payments as part of the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act of 2019. After the initial payment, additional payments will be made in the middle of each month as more prevented planting claims are processed.

“Crop insurance is an important program for many producers to help them manage their production and price risks,” said Martin Barbre, Administrator of USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA). “We’re leveraging that system to efficiently and effectively deliver much needed support to our farmers.”

RMA received commitments from all 14 AIPs to deliver the top-up payments:
    ACE Property and Casualty (Rain and Hail) Insurance Company
    American Agri-Business Insurance Company
    American Agricultural Insurance Company
    CGB Insurance Company
    Church Mutual Insurance Company
    Country Mutual Insurance Company
    Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Company
    Great American Insurance Company
    Hudson Insurance Company
    NAU Country Insurance Company
    Producers Agricultural Insurance Company
    Rural Community Insurance Company
    Stratford Insurance Company
    XL Reinsurance America Inc.

The prevented planting top-up payments are different from the Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+) payments. (For more information on WHIP+, visit

Starting Mid-October, Nebraska Producers Will Receive Automatic ‘Top-Up’ Payments for Prevented Planting Due to Flooding

U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, released the following statement today after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that producers participating in federal crop insurance who had a payable prevented planting indemnity related to flooding in 2019 will automatically receive a “top-up” payment from their Approved Insurance Providers (AIPs) starting mid-October:

“With wet fields from the severe flooding, many of our farmers lost planting acreage this year. Because of our work to include Nebraska in the disaster relief bill, our state’s producers who are enrolled in crop insurance can access these ‘top-up’ payments through their insurance provider. These additional resources will be of assistance as families and businesses recover from a rough year.”

More information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture:

The crop insurance industry will deliver the payments as part of the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act of 2019. After the initial payment, additional payments will be made in the middle of each month as more prevented planting claims are processed.

Producers with Yield Protection and Revenue Protection with Harvest Price Exclusion will receive a 10 percent top-up payment, while producers with Revenue Protection will receive 15 percent.

Chairman Peterson Statement on Delivery of Prevented Planting Assistance

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin C. Peterson of Minnesota issued a statement Thursday in response to news out of the U.S. Department of Agriculture on the delivery of additional prevented planting assistance, as authorized by the Disaster Relief Act of 2019.

“As weather continues to throw wrenches into farmers’ plans, both in Western Minnesota and across the country, I appreciate USDA and crop insurance providers moving forward in delivering the prevented planting plus-up that Congress provided,” said Peterson. “This will provide direct help to farmers without additional paperwork, and allow them to focus on the range of other challenges they face.”

According to a corrected announcement from USDA, “producers with Yield Protection and Revenue Protection with Harvest Price Exclusion will receive a 10 percent top-up payment, while producers with Revenue Protection will receive 15 percent.”

Iowa State University Enrollment Reflects Land-Grant Mission

Iowa State University's fall enrollment of 33,391 reflects the state's largest freshman class and more Iowa undergraduate students than any other university.

"We have one of the most beautiful campuses in the world located in the nation's best college town," said Iowa State University President Wendy Wintersteen. "At ISU we have a 95 percent post-graduation placement rate, which speaks to how we empower students to reach their full potential through exceptional teaching and research programs and a growing culture of innovation and entrepreneurship."

The largest freshman class in the state (5,597) is part of 28,294 undergraduates on campus. The number of first-year students from Iowa high schools is up slightly from last year, 3,380 compared to 3,362. Nearly 60 percent of undergraduate students -- 16,865 -- are from Iowa. With both undergraduate and graduate levels, there are 18,341 students from Iowa.

A record 6,892 undergraduates earned degrees in 2019, surpassing an all-time high set the previous year. The four-year graduation rate is also a record, with the average time to degree for all students at 4.4 years. Laura Doering, associate vice president for enrollment management and student success, says record graduating classes are a factor in Iowa State's changing enrollment.

Demographic shifts in the number of students going to college, fewer international students attending U.S. universities and more prospective students entering the workforce directly out of high school also have affected enrollment. Fall enrollment is down 1,601 or around 4.5 percent from 2018.

Iowa State's freshman class set a record for average high school rank (77.68), average GPA (3.68) and percentage in the top 10 percent of their high school class (28.4 percent). The student body represents all 99 Iowa counties and all 50 U.S. states (plus Washington, D.C.; Guam; Puerto Rico; the Virgin Islands and Mariana Islands), as well as 115 countries. It's also more diverse -- 15.3 percent of undergrads are multicultural students. There are fewer international students on campus this fall -- 3,189 compared to 3,671 in 2018.

Doering says ISU students are actively engaged. In fact, the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education 2020 College Rankings recently ranked Iowa State in the top 50 for student engagement. More than 41 percent of undergraduates participate in two or more high-impact experiences during their time on campus including 6,176 in learning communities, 440 in the first-year Honors program and 400 in undergraduate research, annually. An additional 1,800 students study abroad each year and 10,528 compete in intramural sports.

Fall 2019 enrollment by college
- Agriculture and Life Sciences 4,821
- Business 4,820
- Design 1,905
- Engineering 8,778
- Human Sciences 4,124
- Liberal Arts & Sciences 7,876
- Veterinary Medicine 599 professional, 149 graduate
- Interdepartmental units and graduate undeclared 319

"Our students have so many opportunities in the classroom as well as learning that happens outside of the classroom," Doering said. "They have an amazing experience here at Iowa State and then go on to have great success with the next steps in their lives."

U.S. Pork Producers Seeking Expanded Export Opportunities

The U.S. pork industry ships more product to the 20 countries covered by free-trade agreements than we do the rest of the world combined. Therefore, expanding export opportunities through trade agreements remains a top priority for U.S. pork producers, National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) Director of International Affairs Maria Zieba said today at a Global Business Dialogue event in Washington, D.C.

NPPC was very pleased this week when the U.S. and Japan signed a trade agreement, returning U.S. pork to a level playing field in one of its most important export markets. With a trade deal in place with Japan, NPPC is focusing on trade agreements with numerous other countries, Zieba said at the event, sponsored by NPPC and held at the National Press Club.

One of NPPC's most pressing priorities is rapid congressional ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) agreement, securing long-term zero-duty access to two of its largest export markets, Zieba explained. Last year, more than 40 percent of U.S. pork exported went to Canada and Mexico. USMCA will strengthen the strong economic ties with our North American neighbors and ensure tariff-free trade with the two countries, Zieba explained.

Unfortunately, the trade situation with China remains frustrating, Zieba said. The trade dispute with China has cost U.S. pork producers $8 per animal, or $1 billion on an annualized basis. "While recent Chinese media reports have suggested tariff relief for U.S. pork, we need to remove market access uncertainty and gain permanent, competitive access to China," she said.

U.S. pork producers are seeking the elimination of tariff and non-tariff barriers in a variety of other export markets promising significant growth opportunities, said Zieba. For instance, a trade deal with India, the second-most populous nation in the world, would provide a tremendous opportunity for U.S. producers to provide safe, wholesome, and nutritious pork products to consumers in that country.

NPPC is also working to expand other export markets as well, including Jamaica, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Australia, South Africa and Brazil.

"Pork is one of our country's most competitive export products and we will continue to fight for the chance to meet the rising global demand for the world's most popular protein," Zieba concluded.

NCBA Grants Itself $27 Million of Your Beef Checkoff Funds

Organization for Competative Markets press release

Last week the Beef Checkoff Program budget for 2020 was released, outlining how cattle producers’ $40,900,000 in research and promotion funds will be spent in the coming year. The Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB) Beef Promotion Operating Committee (BPOC) named seven organizations as contractors that will be granted the beef checkoff funds. Once again, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) won the top award, of $27,383,347 beef checkoff dollars.

More than half of NCBA’s annual budget is made up of checkoff dollars, and the trade and lobbying group uses those funds to build their influence to push pro-packer policies. NCBA has used its ill-gotten influence to end mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) and to hinder Packers and Stockyards Act rules that would stop predatory market practices against cattle producers. NCBA does this while claiming to be the voice of U.S. cattle producers, while only 4% of U.S. cattle producers are actually NCBA members. Since the NCBA has been administering the lion’s share of the beef checkoff funds, the U.S. has lost nearly half of its cattle producers, beef consumption has declined by 30%, and the four largest meatpacking corporations control 82% of the market.

How does NCBA come out every year as the number one contractor receiving the bulk of the annual budget? They maintain this top spot through a rigged system where one of their own divisions selects half of the members of the BPOC, which then chooses the beef checkoff contractors.

Here is how the beef checkoff contracting process works:
The federal Beef Promotion and Research Act, established in 1985, requires a “federation” be formed with membership consisting of representatives from the USDA-designated Qualified State Beef Councils (QSBC). QSBCs are the state-based organizations that are authorized by USDA to collect the mandatory $1.00 per head beef checkoff assessments from the cattle producers. The purpose of this federation of QSBCs is to give cattle producers from across the country a voice in how their mandatory checkoff dollars are being administered and spent at the national level.

The Beef Promotion and Research Act grants the “federation” the authority to pick 10 members of the BPOC, while the CBB picks the other 10. The 20-member BPOC has the sole authority to choose which organizations receive beef checkoff funding. By having the power to select half of the members of the committee, the “federation” is a critical and powerful organization within the beef checkoff contracting process. Following the passage of the Beef Promotion and Research Act, USDA named the Beef Industry Council as the “federation” and everything worked as planned.

Here’s where it went wrong: In 1996, in order to seize control of the beef checkoff funds, NCBA acquired the Beef Industry Council. NCBA then organized the “federation” as a division within its own organizational structure and not as a separate entity organized to be the voice of all U.S. cattle producers.

What does that mean? NCBA’s Federation Division is operating with the authority to select 50% of the members of the BPOC. Since only BPOC-selected contractors can be considered to receive funding, this means NCBA controls who receives beef checkoff contracts and funds. And guess what? NCBA chooses NCBA every time to get the lion’s share of the beef checkoff funds. What a surprise.

What adds fuel to the fire of this scandal is the fact that NCBA has set up a pay-to-play scheme for federation membership. The Beef Promotion and Research Act states the federation is to be made up of the SQBCs. NCBA’s “federation” is made up of SQBCs, but NCBA requires a SQBC to pay for each board seat on the federation, and they can buy as many seats as they want. It is a pure pay-to-play scheme: the more you want to play the more you pay. Who is the biggest buyer of these seats? NCBA state affiliates like the Kansas Livestock Association (KLA), who in 2018 bought nine seats. In 2016, KLA paid over $2,000,000 for its nine seats. So much for giving cattle producers from across the country a say in how their checkoff dollars are being administered and spent at the national level.

Where do the NCBA affiliates get their money to buy the seats? Well of course, from another scam. They keep fifty cents of every beef checkoff dollar they collect from the sale of cattle in their state, even though the law doesn’t allow for it. This scheme guarantees NCBA control of the CBB beef checkoff contracting process while funneling an additional $10,000,000 a year of beef checkoff funds into NCBA’s coffers.

But it is time to stop the charade. Farm organizations, journalists and cattle producers need to stop referring to “The Federation of State Beef Councils” as if it is some independent group of cattle producers, as this article does. The federation is a division of NCBA. NCBA says so on their website. So call it for what it is: NCBA’s Federation.

Here is what we should say: “Once again, NCBA is the big winner because the whole system is rigged from the state level all the way to the top. The fact is, NCBA’s Federation Division chose NCBA as the 2020 primary contractor for beef checkoff funding. Under the law, the CBB does not have the authority to pick any organization that the NCBA Federation doesn’t recommend. It is all rigged.”

It is time to clean this mess up and restore the U.S. cattle producers’ voice within the beef checkoff program by stripping NCBA of the federation. The NCBA’s gravy train should be derailed.

Response:  Smear Campaigns

Colin Woodall, CEO, National Cattlemen's Beef Association

The activist-funded Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) has again resorted to half-truths and smear tactics to pit beef producers against one another. It’s clear that their allies at the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) have taught the staff some new tricks to help tear the beef industry apart from the inside. It should come as no surprise that they’ve chosen a time when the industry is struggling with market-related challenges and producer unrest to fire their latest shot.

OCM/HSUS would like you to think our industry is weak, when in fact, beef demand is strong and has been climbing for many years both in the United States and overseas. Much of that strength is a result of programs funded by the Beef Checkoff. The folks at HSUS know and understand this, and because they oppose the consumption of animals, they have partnered with OCM to organize and fund this ongoing smear campaign.

Discrediting the Beef Checkoff and the work being done by contracting organizations allows OCM, HSUS and their bedfellows at R-CALF to build their own membership ranks. These organizations also depend on members, and they’re loudest when conditions are at their worst. By accepting the help of activists (OCM has widely acknowledged their close ties with HSUS and it’s well known that R-CALF is working closely with attorneys at Public Justice, a group that works closely with PETA and organizations such as the Animal Legal Defense Fund to attack and divide the beef industry) these groups are able to capitalize on the unrest in our industry and divide beef producers. Ultimately, twin campaigns by OCM/HSUS and R-CALF will tear the industry apart and cause irreparable harm unless producers speak up.

That’s the point of my response. I’ve had enough and it’s time to set the record straight. Let’s begin with the OCM/HSUS claims about funding for NCBA’s Beef Checkoff authorization requests. About the only information that’s correct is the dollar figure. NCBA was awarded $27.3 million in contracts for work related to promotion, research, consumer information and industry information. NCBA was one of eight contractors who received funding for proposals brought forward for consideration.

The groups which had proposals funded include:
    National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (five proposals for $27,383,347)
    U.S. Meat Export Federation, a subcontractor to NCBA (one proposal for $8,279,846)
    North American Meat Institute (four proposals for $1,953,345)
    Cattlemen’s Beef Board (one proposal for $1,645,993)
    American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture (one proposal for $698,300)
    Meat Import Council of America (one proposal for $498,786)
    United States Cattlemen’s Association (one proposal for $359,126)
    National Livestock Producers Association (one proposal for $99,757)

It’s important to note that United States Cattlemen’s Association is a new contractor to the process and is an outstanding example of the fact that many industry organizations can bring forward proposals and receive funding for work that falls within the scope of the Beef Promotion and Research Act of 1985. NCBA’s critics would like you to believe that the association has the ability, or even the desire, to control the Beef Checkoff and its funding mechanism.

Contrary to the headline of the OCM/HSUS release, NCBA did not “grant” itself any funding. NCBA submitted authorization requests into the same competitive process to which each of the eight contractors were subjected. Submitted authorization requests were evaluated, scored and then reviewed by the Beef Promotion Operating Committee (BPOC). The 20 members of the BPOC then made funding decisions based on the merits of those proposals. It should be noted that there are 14 votes required to pass a budget, so even though 10 members of the BPOC are cattlemen and cattlewomen appointed by the Federation of State Beef Councils, NCBA does not, and cannot, control the process or the funding decisions made by the BPOC.

OCM/HSUS has gone out of its way to smear the Federation of State Beef Councils. The men and women who make up the Federation are volunteer cattle producers. They offer up their time freely because they believe it’s important to represent the industry, to build beef demand and combat lies about the products we produce. The more than 700 cattlemen and cattlewomen who serve on state beef council boards are working on your behalf. These volunteers are your voice and they help determine how investments in the checkoff are directed. These volunteers deserve a nod of thanks for their service and time spent away from their operations. They don’t deserve to be attacked by activists disguised as cattle producers.

Now that we’ve discussed the funding process, and how it actually works, rather than the OCM/HSUS version, let’s turn to some of the other smears, lies and half-truths contained in the piece.

NCBA is a membership organization. Yes, we lobby every day on the issues our members identify as priorities, to ensure their voices are heard in Washington, D.C., and we’re damn good at it. No, we won’t apologize for doing the job our members pay us to do. But on this point, let me be crystal clear: WE DO NOT USE CHECKOFF FUNDS FOR ANY POLICY OR LOBBYING WORK. First, using checkoff funds for lobbying and policy work is illegal. Secondly, our members believe in the work we’re doing on their behalf and they willingly fund that work with their membership dues. We’ve had some big wins to benefit our members this year and we’re proud of that work. We had two victories in September alone, including the announcement of a trade agreement with Japan that lowers tariffs on U.S. beef and a rollback of Waters of the United States (WOTUS) regulations that would have cost producers dearly. Our members feel that kind of work is worth the investment.

Ultimately, this division in the industry will drive beef producers to a breaking point, serving no one but our adversaries. It’s discouraging that the animal rights activists have partnered with a small band of vocal producers to give them a foothold in the industry. If we stand silently and allow the attacks and smears to continue, the only winners will be the activists who pit cattlemen and cattlewomen against each other in the first place.

Ag Deputy Secretary Censky To Keynote Global Ethanol Summit In Washington, D.C.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed late Wednesday that Deputy Secretary Steve Censky will speak at the Global Ethanol Summit (GES) in Washington, D.C., scheduled for Oct. 14-15.

The Summit, sponsored jointly by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), Growth Energy, and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), is planned to engage a broad array of global ethanol leaders about the benefits of expanding ethanol use. Censky’s comments will focus on delivering U.S. ethanol potential through collaboration and trade.

“We are very pleased Deputy Secretary Censky has agreed to be with us during this important event,” said Ryan LeGrand, USGC president and CEO. “We are encouraged that ethanol means as much to the administration as it does to us and to American corn farmers dedicated to making our country and many others around the world environmentally safer for generations to come.”

More than 300 ministerial-level officials and senior-level industry leaders, ethanol producers and refiners from more than 60 countries have been invited to attend.

With informative general sessions, networking and dedicated business-to-business meetings, the GES will provide attendees direct access to thought leaders on the future of global ethanol use and the opportunity to build partnerships with industry leaders.

First-day conference highlights include discussions about ethanol trade policy, global decarbonization of fuel and the environmental benefits of ethanol, air quality and human health implications of ethanol, opportunities for ethanol expansion in the bio-economy and industrial uses of the product.

“We look forward to welcoming Deputy Secretary Censky to the event, which will feature presentations from the industry’s foremost experts, insightful discussions and unparalleled networking opportunities,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “U.S. ethanol isn’t just an important part of the economy in America’s rural communities, it is driving economic development and environmental benefits around the world. Bringing together so many leaders and decision-makers from so many places is an important part of our work in raising awareness about the benefits of U.S. ethanol, so we all can breathe easier with a high-octane, low-carbon, affordable fuel solution.”

The second day of the meeting will focus on delivering on ethanol’s potential through collaboration, trade and global use. Sessions planned include discussions about octane economics, vehicle compatibility with ethanol and handling and logistics of ethanol use.

“The Global Ethanol Summit will bring together some of the biggest players in the industry, and we are fortunate to have one of the U.S.’ most invaluable biofuel supporters, USDA Deputy Secretary Censky, be part of this conversation,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “We look forward to a robust discussion on building the global market, as well as the opportunity to hear from industry experts on how critical fostering stable trade relationships will continue to be for future growth. We look forward to joining our partners and USDA Deputy Secretary Censky at this one-of-a-kind event in October.”

The meeting will end by looking at future opportunities for ethanol, its expanded use potential and the outlook for developing and cultivating new markets around the world.

The GES follows two previous regional ethanol summits – the Ethanol Summit of the Americas held in October 2017 and the Ethanol Summit of the Asia-Pacific held in May 2018. Additional funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Trade Promotion (ATP) program and other sponsors will support the expanded focus of the GES.

The GES will also feature a U.S. sales component that builds on current ethanol trade. For the last 10 years, ethanol has been the fastest-growing U.S. agricultural export, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA’s FAS).

Following the Summit, the Council and its members will organize specialized tours of U.S. ethanol production facilities and terminals for international Summit attendees.

Interested domestic ethanol industry leaders and other members of the ethanol value chain can register for the event at

RFA Corrects EPA Misstatements About Ethanol Demand and SREs in House Testimony

In a letter sent today to the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Renewable Fuels Association noted several misstatements in testimony offered recently to the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology and provided background information to help the Agency better understand the real impacts of small refinery exemptions (SREs).

Today’s note follows a letter sent to EPA in August after the Agency asserted there was “zero evidence” that SREs are negatively impacting ethanol producers.

“In light of our August letter and the further deterioration of ethanol market conditions that has subsequently occurred, we were disappointed to hear you repeat similar claims about the impact of SREs on ethanol producers during your testimony,” wrote RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper in the letter to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Several statements made during the hearing about ethanol supply and demand are inconsistent with government data and market intelligence. I write today to challenge several of your statements and provide additional information regarding the very real impact of SREs on the ethanol industry.”

Specifically, RFA questioned the accuracy of EPA statements regarding recent trends in ethanol production and use. Specifically, Administrator Wheeler told the Committee that ethanol production and consumption is on the rise, when data from the Department of Energy and EPA itself indicate otherwise.

“We encourage you and your staff to more carefully and more thoroughly analyze the actual marketplace implications of retroactive SREs,” Cooper concluded. “EPA statements suggesting there has been no negative economic impact from SREs are an insult to the thousands of biofuel industry workers and farmers who are experiencing very real pain today because of EPA decisions.”

FARM Animal Care Program Announces Version 4.0 Changes for 2020

The National Milk Producers Federation, with support from Dairy Management Inc., today announced updates to animal care standards under the National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management, or FARM, Animal Care program after a rigorous 16-month stakeholder review.

The fourth iteration of the FARM Animal Care Program’s standards supports closer farmer-veterinarian relationships, requires continuing education for all employees and adds a new standard for pain management when disbudding animals. As with previous versions of FARM Animal Care, a robust suite of materials that include templates, FAQs, continuing education videos and other resource tools will be made available to help producers meet the outlined standards. These resources are available to producers through their cooperative or processor and can be found on the FARM Resources web page. Hard copy resources are also available upon request.

“FARM’s Animal Care Program 4.0 underscores the dairy community’s commitment to continually improving animal care and incorporating the latest animal-welfare research, demonstrating to consumers that dairy is a leader in the humane and ethical care of our animals,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “We are committed to ensuring that farms are prepared to meet the updated standards and that the supply chain – from farm to fork -- has full transparency as well as high-quality dairy products.”

FARM Animal Care is updated once every three years to ensure relevance to current industry best management practices and scientific research related to on-farm animal care. Farmers nationwide, dairy veterinarians and animal-welfare experts and dairy-industry leaders are all represented in drafting and approving new standards received 370 submissions that guided final decisions made on Version 4.0.

Significant changes going into effect beginning Jan. 1 include:
-    If tail docking is found to have continued to occur, immediate action must be taken to cease the practice.
-    Standards that generate a Mandatory Corrective Action Plan -- ranging from veterinarian engagement (Veterinarian-Client-Patient-Relationship and herd health plan review), calf care, non-ambulatory, euthanasia and fitness to transport management practices, and disbudding prior to 8 weeks of age -- will need to be addressed within nine months of the evaluation. For additional specifics around the standards updates, please visit this site.

FARM staff will be attending and exhibiting at the World Dairy Expo from Oct. 1-5 at booth EH4508. FARM is also hosting a lunch at Expo on Thursday, Oct. 3rd at noon CT to more broadly discuss current initiatives within FARM. RSVP is required and can be completed by emailing the FARM Inbox at

IGC Raises Grain Stockpile Forecast

The world will carry over more grain into next season than previously expected, the International Grains Council said on Thursday, a factor that could put pressure on food prices in the coming months.

In a monthly report, the IGC revised up its forecast for global grain inventories at the end of the 2019-20 season by 3 million tons, to 601 million tons.

The change stems from a tweak to the IGC's estimate of grain stores at the start of the season, rather than revisions to its production and consumption forecasts.

The IGC cut its forecast for grain production in Australia by 3 million tons, to 31 million tons, as a result of hot and dry weather.

The European Union's recently completed harvest was the largest in four years, the IGC said, producing 326.2 million tons of grain.

President and CEO of Land O’Lakes, Inc. Beth Ford joins FFAR Board of Directors

The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) is thrilled to announce that Beth Ford, President and CEO of Land O’Lakes, Inc. is joining the Board of Directors.

Ford leads one of the country’s largest food and agricultural cooperatives. Since joining Land O’Lakes in 2011, she has led record performance and growth at the company as Chief Operating Officer of Land O’Lakes business, in addition to holding other executive positions at the Fortune 500 Company. Ford brings more than 20 years’ experience in technology and R&D in executive operations management and supply chain roles at International Flavors and Fragrances, Mobil Corporation, PepsiCo and Pepsi Bottling Company and Scholastic.

“Beth Ford brings corporate leadership and a deep understanding of research and development to the table, making her a perfect fit for FFAR’s Board of Directors,” noted FFAR Chairman of the Board and President of Mississippi State University Dr. Mark Keenum. “Ford’s experience and leadership will be much valued as we guide FFAR towards even greater success in generating actionable science to solve food and agriculture’s most pressing challenges.”

Ford is changing the face of agricultural leadership. She is only one of 33 women leading Fortune 500 company and Land O’ Lakes’ first female CEO, a position to which she was promoted by an all-male board. FFAR similarly takes an audacious, collaborative approach to fill research gaps and seeks to energize the agricultural research field. The Foundation is excited to add Ford’s pioneering spirit to the FFAR Board of Directors.

“We are honored to have one of our country’s most dynamic business leaders join our Board of Directors,” said FFAR’s Executive Director Dr. Sally Rockey. “Our Board has been instrumental in helping us become the innovative organization we are today. We look forward to working with Ford to continue achieving FFAR’s goals.”

Rep. Kind Introduces the 'CURD Act' to Protects Quality of Cheese

Wisconsin Congressman Ron Kind introduced the bipartisan Codifying Useful Regulatory Definitions, or CURD Act, which would create a formal definition of 'natural cheese to ensure consumers are fully informed when purchasing cheese.

The La Crosse Democrat says the term natural cheese is historically used to identify cheeses made directly from milk and distinguish those products from process cheeses.

"Folks here in Wisconsin are proud of the high quality, international award-winning, delicious cheese made in the state," Kind said. "Ensuring Wisconsin cheese can continue to be labeled as 'natural cheese' will give customers the information they need to continue buying the quality Wisconsin cheese their families have used for generations."

Wednesday September 25 Ag News

Developing rural communities goal of Nexus campaign co-chair

Developing rural communities is one of the strongest arguments in support of building new agriculture facilities at Northeast Community College. That’s according to Russ Vering, one of the co-chairs of the Nexus capital campaign for the project.

Vering is co-owner of Central Plains Milling in Howells and Columbus and vice president of nutrition for the newly merged Frontier/Midwest Cooperative. He is a past president of the Nebraska Pork Producers Association and a current member of the National Pork Producers Association Board of Directors. Vering and Jeanne Reigle, of Madison, are spearheading the Nexus campaign to raise the funds to relocate the Northeast college farm and build a new veterinary technology clinic and classroom building near the Chuck M. Pohlman Ag Complex.

Vering said that an investment in the Nexus program at Northeast serves local communities.

“The importance of investing in this program really helps build our communities, helps educate our children, brings them back to our communities and helps build our populations in northeast Nebraska,” he said. “It’s going to bring more ideas to the farm; it’s going to bring more ideas back to our businesses.”

Vering has hosted Northeast student interns at Central Plains Milling, and has several Northeast graduates as employees.

“I was so surprised when Northeast staff approached me and asked how they could help my business. They seem to understand the need for more, better trained workers in agriculture and are trying to meet that need.”

Dr. Tracy Kruse, associate vice president for development and external affairs at Northeast and executive director of the Northeast Community College Foundation, said it would not be possible to find better co-chairs than Vering and Reigle.

“They represent different facets of agriculture and agri-business, and understand that the demand for trained employees is a drag on the rural economy,” she said. “With their help in this fundraising effort, Northeast will be better able to meet the need for workers with highly technical skills and a passion for agriculture.”

Vering said the support of businesses across the state for the Nexus program demonstrates the need to develop agriculture in Nebraska.

“They realize that there is a need for educated students,” he said. “There’s a need for ag education; there’s a need for row crop education; there’s a need for lhighly qualified employees in northeast Nebraska.”

Funding for the $23 million Agriculture & Water Center for Excellence project is currently being solicited to enhance and expand the agriculture facilities at Northeast Community College. In addition to the College’s commitment of $10 million, Northeast is seeking at least $13 million in private funds to begin the initial phase of construction, which includes a new farm site with a large animal handling facility and other farm structures for livestock operations, a new veterinary technology clinic and classrooms, and a farm office and storage. The new facilities will be located near the Chuck M. Pohlman Agriculture Complex on E. Benjamin Ave. in Norfolk.

In August, the Acklie Charitable Foundation (ACF) announced a $5 million lead gift to the Nexus project. ACF was founded by the late Duane Acklie and Phyllis Acklie, both Madison County natives and graduates of Norfolk Junior College, a predecessor institution of Northeast Community College.

 NRCS Offering More Than $4 Million to Restore Flood-Prone Lands in Nebraska

In response to flooding in Nebraska, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is announcing the availability of over $4 million to fund conservation easements in Nebraska counties damaged by flooding and other natural disasters.

Funds are available through the floodplain easement component of the Emergency Watershed Protection Program – Floodplain Easements. NRCS field offices are accepting applications through Oct. 31, 2019.

Through the Floodplain Easement Program, eligible applicants voluntarily agree to sell a permanent conservation easement to the United States through NRCS. Compensation is based on the value of the easement as determined by an appraisal or market analysis. These easements may occur on private agricultural land damaged by flooding and natural disasters. NRCS will work to restore the easement to its natural floodplain condition.

“Landowners across Nebraska have faced - and continue to face - significant challenges from flooding and natural disasters,” said Nebraska NRCS State Conservationist Craig Derickson. “To provide relief and assist agricultural landowners during this difficult time, this easement program offers an option that alleviates the stress of operating in a floodplain while still retaining ownership of their property.”

Nebraska landowners are encouraged to contact their local NRCS field offices to apply or learn more about floodplain easement opportunities. Visit the Floodplain Easement Program website at for more information.

Nebraska Water Center Conference set for Oct. 9 and 10 in Norfolk

Building a clean water future in northeast Nebraska is the theme for the Nebraska Water Center’s annual conference Oct. 9 and 10 at the Divots Conference Center in Norfolk, Neb.

“Our center has a long tradition of working within our state on water quality issues. What’s different about this year’s conference is the specific focus on northeast Nebraska and locally-based solutions to their challenges,” said Chittaranjan Ray, director of the Nebraska Water Center, part of the Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute at the University of Nebraska.

The conference is based around three pillars – water quality and public health, innovative solutions to current problems and community engagement. More than 40 speakers, including producers, policymakers, non-profit professionals, university researchers, agency experts and high school students and teachers will share what they are doing to ensure a clean water future.

Day one begins with a “State of the State’s Water Quality” overview featuring a slate of state, university and local water managers. A lunch keynote follows featuring USDA National Water Quality Initiative Coordinator Dee Carlson. That afternoon, the focus will move into the field with two sessions on innovative farming solutions. Sessions on policy and stakeholder engagement close out the day portion. The evening will feature area high school students and teachers presenting their work on citizen science and water quality monitoring.

The second day kicks off with a discussion of the public health impacts of water quality. On its heels, several University of Nebraska-Lincoln researchers will present innovative treatment options for water contamination. The second to last session discusses how best to engage stakeholders. Lastly, a closing panel comprised of members of the university’s Water Resources Advisory Panel (WRAP) will reflect on key messages and actionable next steps.

Information and registration details for both events are available here...

92nd AKSARBEN STOCK SHOW, SEPT 26-29, 2019

A big event is coming to Grand Island, Nebraska featuring agricultural youth ages 9 to 19 years from a 14-state region including Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming showing cattle, sheep, swine, goats and poultry. Here are some highlights:
-    Over 900 exhibitors are entered. The furthest participating states are Arkansas, Montana, Indiana and Wisconsin.
-    The barns (cattle, swine, sheep, goat and broiler) numbers are pushing 2,700 animals.
-    The Quiz Bowl presented by Bank of the West has 18 teams entered.
-    The Livestock Judging Contest presented by American Foods Group has four divisions – Youth, Jr. College Freshman, Jr. College Sophomore and Sr. College.
-    The Livestock Judging Contest (470 students from 21 states) with teams from as far away as Texas, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
-    The western market and vendor trade show expanded and in now located in the Pinnacle Bank Expo Center.
-        Thursday - Grand Island Chamber Business After Hours from 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
    The Barn Bar (open to the public) will also be the host site for two alumni and friends’ functions.
-        Thursday - UNL CASNR from 6-8 p.m.
-        Friday - South Dakota State University from 6-8 p.m.
-    The Purple Ribbon Auction moved to Saturday evening – The VIP Purple Ribbon Reception presented by Five Points Bank begins at 5pm in the loft (tickets available at the door for purchase); The auction begins at 7 p.m. and is open to the public.
-    Livestock shows are Friday, Saturday and Sunday

For more information visit The complete show schedule and vendors attending with hours of operation are listed under the Exhibitor tab and Sponsor tab.

Women Managing Agricultural Land Conference Dec. 11

Female agriculture landowners, farmers and ranchers looking to increase their business management skills are encouraged to register for the 2019 Women Managing Agricultural Land conference. The conference will be held Dec. 11 at Nebraska Innovation Campus, 2021 Transformation Drive in Lincoln.

The Women Managing Agricultural Land Conference will allow women to build relationships with each other, attend workshops and gain valuable knowledge. Three keynote speakers and 12 workshops will focus on helping Nebraska farmland owners and tenants navigate the challenges they face.

Participants will have the opportunity to hear from leading experts in land values, Nebraska property taxes, cash rental rates, and cultivating landlord tenant relationships. Jim Jansen, co-author of the Nebraska Farm Real Estate survey, will discuss trends in Nebraska land values. Mykel Taylor, Kansas State University, will share resources related to negotiations and communication between landowners and tenants. Cathy Anderson from the Nebraska USDA Farm Service Agency will discuss the 2018 Farm Bill and its implications for Nebraska agriculture.

Registration will open Nov. 1 and available online at Registration is $45 per person. The registration fee includes conference materials, meals and breaks.

The conference is hosted by Nebraska Extension and is inspired by Annie's Project. In Nebraska, Annie's Project is supported by Farm Credit Services of America. For more information about the Women Managing Agriculture Land conference, go to

Ricketts Announces Taiwan Companies’ Intent to Buy Nebraska Ag Commodities

On Tuesday evening, Governor Pete Ricketts and representatives from Nebraska’s corn and soybean boards signed letters of intent (LOIs) with company officials from Taiwan.  The LOIs outline Taiwan’s agreement to purchase more than $2.1 billion in U.S. soybeans, corn, and distillers grains.  Members of the 2019 Taiwan Agricultural Trade Goodwill Mission visited Lincoln to show their continued willingness to buy U.S. agricultural products.

“The United States supplies more than one-quarter of Taiwan’s major agricultural imports, and Nebraska has been a key supplier to the country for decades,” said Gov. Ricketts.  “Signing these letters of intent builds on Nebraska’s existing trade relationship with Taiwan.  It also positions us to grow the market for our quality agricultural products in Taiwan.”

“Nebraska is one of the country’s top corn and soybean producing states, making it vital for us to continue to increase international demand for our products,” said Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) Director Steve Wellman.  “Taiwanese officials have signed similar agreements in past years that have resulted in millions of dollars of purchases of Nebraska agricultural products.”

Two letters of intent were signed this week.  One outlines the Taiwan Feed Industry Association’s intent to purchase 197 million bushels of U.S. corn and 0.5 million metric tons of U.S. distillers grains with solubles in 2020 and 2021.  These products are valued at approximately $1.1 billion.  According to USDA’s Foreign Ag Service, in 2018, Taiwan was Nebraska’s fifth largest export market for corn.  Out of Nebraska’s total corn export value of nearly $1.5 billion for 2018, Nebraska sent $70.2 million worth of corn to Taiwan.  David Bruntz, Chair of the Nebraska Corn Board, was on hand Tuesday night to sign the letter of intent on behalf of Nebraska corn farmers.

A second letter outlines the Taiwan Vegetable Oil Manufacturers Association’s intent to purchase between 96 million and 97 million bushels of U.S. soybeans over the next two years.  That purchase represents an estimated value of $1.0 to $1.1 billion.  Eugene Goering, Vice Chair of the Nebraska Soybean Board, signed the letter of intent representing soybean farmers in the state.

Signed by commodity officials and Gov. Ricketts, these letters of intent pledge the purchase of crops through negotiations between importers and private suppliers.

“The signing of these agreements with our Taiwanese partners is of critical importance,” said Gov. Ricketts.  “The international marketplace is vital to growing opportunities for the quality commodities produced here in our state.  We will continue to work to open up new markets for the food our farm and ranch families grow to feed the world.”

Timmerman family receives CAB honors

Miranda Reiman, Certified Angus Beef

They were raising children with diverse skillsets and diverging dreams.
Veteran cattle feeders Norm and Sharon Timmerman, of McCook, Neb., encouraged their children to follow their own passions, and they did. After college, Jason started with Timmerman Feeding near Omaha, while CPA Kristin ran her own accounting firm and Ryan pursued a degree in business management with a sports and recreation option.
Today, they have all returned to the family business that now includes, Jason and Wendy, Kristin and husband Jeff Stagemeyer, and later Ryan and wife Nicole.
“It’s nice to be that good of friends with your family members, who like to work together,” Norm says. “It all fell into place.”
The family brings a shared trust and camaraderie to the work they do for the feeding company they jointly own: NA Timmerman Inc. They started in 2012 with yards at Indianola, Neb., and McDonald and Colby, Kan., now also including locations near Holyoke and Sterling, Colo., with a one-time feeding capacity of 80,000 head. 
For their dedication to grid marketing, feeding premium cattle and a call to doing the best job every time, the Norm Timmerman family received the 2019 Feedyard Commitment to Excellence Award from the Certified Angus Beef ® (CAB®) brand.

The quality kind

“There are a lot of small feedlots that specialize in the high-quality type, but larger feeders don’t always have the benefit of picking and choosing what cattle they feed. They need to keep the pens full and often feed a wide variety,” says Paul Dykstra, beef cattle specialist for the brand. “They’ve really evolved over the last 20 years or so, under Jason’s vision, to procure cattle that will do well on a grid.”
In 2005, the Timmermans tested grid marketing with sales of 2,100 head on a Cargill formula. Today that number is closer to 150,000 annually. It’s changed their procurement and it’s changed their harvest targets.
“We keep the feedyard full and we manage our risk and we try to maximize our performance to the best of the ability of our cattle,” he says, “versus the old cash system: hurry and sell, or wait and make them too big. When they’re ready, they’re ready, we just keep rolling and just manage the risk on the other side of it.”
Despite a difficult winter and early spring for Great Plains cattle feeding, the Timmerman marketings still hit 38% CAB and Prime for a three-month average into this summer. In recent years with more cooperation from Mother Nature, their branded quality numbers have been significantly higher across the board.
Jason and Jeff have extensively used artificial insemination on the 700-head cow herd they own together, which shows them the impact of genetics on the final results. Three years of feedyard data on the progeny reveals more than half of make CAB and Prime.
“When we get a pen of high-grading cattle that have a lot of CABs, it directly affects us,” Jason says, “because it’s money in our pocket.”

Extra effort

“Hard work will give you a lot of luck,” Norm says.
Pen maintenance, feed delivery and cattle health monitoring—they all add up.
“There is no room for error. It’s a sole responsibility,” Ryan says. “The job we do at the feedlot impacts our customers. There’s a lot of money involved…it’s their livelihood.”
It’s not like a Timmerman to let people down.
“These are the things that are important to the Timmerman family: their faith, being a good family member, working hard at what you’re doing,” Kristin says.
She and Jeff bring a fresh perspective to the finances, giving purchasing advice and making insurance decisions.
“My dad and I knew the outside very well, but needed someone in the back that could complement us--luckily we had family that could do that,” Jason says.

Leo’s legacy

They had a good example of seeing partnership in action. Timmerman Feeding of Springfield, Neb., started by Leo Timmerman, was into the hands of the next generation, brothers Gerald, James, Ronnie and Norm, when they expanded to Indianola, some 250 miles west.
“This was a farm and we built it from scratch. The office started in our trailer house, where we lived,” Norm says, giving credit to Sharon. She kept the books there by day and made it a home by night.
By this decade, with the third generation involved, it was a natural time to let each Timmerman branch individually exercise their entrepreneurial spirit.
They gave their children the opportunity Leo Timmerman gave them.
“It evolved to where I was doing more, more and more,” Jason says, noting the risk management shifted to him through the years. “Then it’s how do you keep it organized? Trial and error. Mistakes, mistakes, mistakes.”
Years like 2014 remind them it’s fun to make money. Years like 2015 keep them humble.
“I don’t think it will ever be easy. You’re in an environment dealing with people, dealing with Mother Nature. You’ve got the element of risk,” Jason says. “It will never be easy, it’s just about how you manage your way through it.”
History says they’ll do it. Being a Timmerman means they’ll do it well.

Perdue Statement on Signing of US-Japan Trade Agreement

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today issued the following statement regarding the signing of the new United States-Japan Trade Agreement:

“This agreement between the United States and Japan is a better deal for the entire U.S. economy, but is a particularly big win for our farmers and ranchers. When I visited Japan in May for the G20, I made it clear that the U.S. is Japan’s best customer and we felt that relationship was not reciprocal. This agreement helps level the playing field. I thank President Trump and Ambassador Lighthizer for delivering on their promise to open markets around the world for America’s farmers and ranchers.”

The U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement will provide America’s farmers and ranchers enhanced market access in our third largest agricultural export market. When implemented, this Agreement will enable American producers to compete more effectively with countries that currently have preferential tariffs in the Japanese market. The deal President Trump is delivering will provide our farmers, ranchers, and agribusinesses with market access for high quality U.S. food and agricultural products to 127 million Japanese consumers.

In the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement, Japan has committed to provide substantial market access to American food and agricultural products by eliminating tariffs, enacting meaningful tariff reductions, or allowing a specific quantity of imports at a low duty (generally zero).  Importantly, the tariff treatment for the products covered in this agreement will match the tariffs that Japan provides preferentially to countries in the CP-TPP agreement.

Out of the $14.1 billion in U.S. food and agricultural products imported by Japan in 2018, $5.2 billion were already duty free. Under this first-stage initial tariff agreement, Japan will eliminate or reduce tariffs on an additional $7.2 billion of U.S. food and agricultural products.

Tariff Reduction: For products valued at $2.9 billion, Japan will reduce tariffs in stages. Among the products benefitting from this enhanced access will be:
-    fresh beef
-    frozen beef
-    fresh pork
-    frozen pork

Tariff Elimination: Tariffs will be eliminated immediately on over $1.3 billion of U.S. farm products including, for example:
-    almonds
-    blueberries
-    cranberries
-    walnuts
-    sweet corn
-    grain sorghum
-    food supplements
-    broccoli
-    prunes

Other products valued at $3.0 billion will benefit from staged tariff elimination. This group of products includes, for example:
-    wine
-    cheese and whey
-    ethanol
-    frozen poultry
-    processed pork
-    fresh cherries
-    beef offal
-    frozen potatoes
-    oranges
-    egg products
-    tomato paste

Country Specific Quotas (CSQs): For some products, preferential market access will be provided through the creation of CSQs, which provide access for a specified quantity of imports from the United States at a preferential tariff rate, generally zero. CSQ access will cover:
-    wheat
-    wheat products
-    malt
-    glucose
-    fructose
-    corn starch
-    potato starch
-    inulin

Mark Up: Exports to Japan of wheat and barley will benefit from a reduction to Japan’s “mark up” on those products. Japan’s imports of U.S. wheat and barley were valued at more than $800 million in 2018.

Safeguards: This agreement provides for the limited use of safeguards by Japan for surges in imports of beef, pork, whey, oranges, and race horses, which will be phased out over time.

The United States will provide tariff elimination or reduction on 42 tariff lines for agricultural imports from Japan valued at $40 million in 2018. Products include:
-    certain perennial plants and cut flowers
-    persimmons
-    green tea
-    chewing gum
-    certain confectionary products
-    soy sauce

The United States has also agreed to modify its global WTO tariff rate quota for imports of Japanese beef, enabling Japanese beef producers to compete for a larger share of the global TRQ quantity.

Ricketts Applauds President Trump’s Trade Agreement with Japan

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts issued a statement following news that President Donald J. Trump had signed a new trade agreement with Prime Minister Shinzō Abe of Japan.

“The agreement signed today is a big win for the Beef State,” said Gov. Ricketts.  “For four years now, we have been working to get a trade deal done with Japan because it is Nebraska’s largest export market for ag exports including our beef, pork, and eggs.  Thank you to President Trump for the personal attention he’s paid to working with our Japanese friends to get this deal done.  This agreement will help ensure that our quality ag products remain affordable to our Japanese customers for years to come.”

Gov. Ricketts recently returned from his third trade mission to Japan where he encouraged Japanese officials to work with the Trump Administration to finalize this trade agreement.


Background provided by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative:

·       The United States and Japan have reached an agreement in which Japan will eliminate or lower tariffs for certain U.S. agricultural products.  For other agricultural goods, Japan will provide preferential U.S.-specific quotas.   
·       Once this agreement is implemented, over 90 percent of U.S. food and agricultural products imported into Japan will either be duty free or receive preferential tariff access. For example, under the agreement, Japan will:
o  Reduce tariffs on products such as fresh and frozen beef and pork.
o  Provide a country-specific quota for wheat and wheat products.
o  Reduce the mark-up on imported U.S. wheat and barley.
o  Immediately eliminate tariffs for almonds, walnuts, blueberries, cranberries, sweet corn, grain sorghum, broccoli, and more.
o  Provide staged tariff elimination for products such as cheeses, processed pork, poultry, beef offal, ethanol, wine, frozen potatoes, oranges, fresh cherries, egg products, and tomato paste.
·       This agreement provides for the limited use of safeguards by Japan for surges in imports of beef, pork, whey, oranges, and race horses, which will be phased out over time.
·       When the agreement is implemented by Japan, American farmers and ranchers will have the same advantage as CP-TPP countries selling into the Japanese market.
·       The United States will provide tariff elimination or reduction on 42 tariff lines for agricultural imports from Japan valued at $40 million in 2018, including products such as certain perennial plants and cut flowers, persimmons, green tea, chewing gum, and soy sauce.
·       The United States will also reduce or eliminate tariffs on certain industrial goods from Japan such as certain machine tools, fasteners, steam turbines, bicycles, bicycle parts, and musical instruments.

Sasse Statement on US-Japan Trade Deal

U.S. Senator Ben Sasse, a strong advocate for Nebraska agriculture and increased trade, released the following statement after it was announced that the U.S. and Japan reached a trade deal.

“There’s still more work to do, but this is really great news for Nebraska’s producers. We need more trade deals in the Pacific because they are great for business in Nebraska and it helps build allies as we turn up the pressure on China to stop their constant cheating.”

Smith Statement on U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement

Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) released the following statement regarding the completion of “Phase One” of a trade agreement between the United States and Japan.

“This agreement is a huge win for U.S. agriculture, bringing Japanese tariff rates on U.S. agriculture in line with our competitors and relieving a burden for our farmers and producers. I thank President Trump and Prime Minister Abe for their dedication to furthering U.S.-Japanese relations and trade. As the Co-chair of the U.S. Japan Caucus, I am excited for the future of U.S.-Japan relations, and look forward to seeing the benefits and successes from this relationship."

These tariff adjustments, along with the executive agreement on digital standards, are referred to as “Phase One” of a two-part process. The tariff changes are expected to take effect by the first of the year.

Nebraska Cattlemen Issue Statement Supporting Recent Trade Agreement with Japan

Nebraska Cattlemen President Mike Drinnin issued the following statement regarding today's announcement that tariffs on U.S. beef exports to Japan will be significantly reduced:

"Year after year, Nebraska's beef producers have seen demand for our product continue to grow in Japan's market. Unfortunately, these gains have been offset by Japan's massive 38.5% tariff attached to U.S. beef. Today's announcement means that Nebraska's livestock industry will finally be at a level playing field with our biggest competitors in our number one export market. Given the current volatility in the cattle market, crippling floods, and a devastating fire at the Tyson plant in Holcomb, KS, Nebraska's cattle industry desperately needed a win. Today, we have it, and we thank the Administration for delivering this key victory."

Statement by Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau President, Regarding Trade Deal with Japan

“Today’s announced trade deal between the United States and Japan is great news for Nebraska’s farm and ranch families. From the beginning of the Trump administration, Nebraska Farm Bureau (NEFB) has strongly urged the President to work to finalize an agreement with Japan so that Nebraska agriculture would not be left behind following the decision to pull out of the now CP-TPP agreement.”

“U.S. beef is king in Japan, and Nebraska exported more than $253 million of beef products in 2017 to Japan. Japan is Nebraska’s fourth largest trading partner overall with total agricultural sales at more than $552 billion in 2017, this agreement is big news for Nebraska’s economy.”

“With this vital agreement now checked off the ‘Trade To-Do’ list, the passage of the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and reaching a deal with China must be next.”

“It is time to send a clear message to the rest of the world: The United States is open for business.”

Iowa Cattlemen Statement on Trade Deal with Japan

President Trump and Prime Minister Abe of Japan made another step towards a bilateral trade agreement that is expected to greatly benefit the U.S. cattle industry. The agreement will include significant tariff reductions for U.S. beef imported into Japan.

"This bilateral trade agreement with Japan is significant for two reasons. First, Japan is our number one export market by value, and the Japanese are hungry for U.S. beef," says Matt Deppe, CEO of the Iowa Cattlemen's Association. "Second, a positive advancement on the trade front is good news for all of Iowa agriculture. Hopefully, this momentum will carry forward to the ratification of USMCA and trade talks with China."

International trade adds over $300 to the value of every head of cattle in the state of Iowa, and approximately one-quarter of that value is due to exports to Japan. Currently, U.S. beef faces a 38.5% tariff while competitors from other countries like Australia, New Zealand and Canada have a tariff rate of only 26.6%.

Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, together with NCBA, will continue to lobby for increased export opportunities for U.S. beef.

Naig Says U.S.-Japan Trade Deal Creates New Opportunities for Iowa Farmers

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig was in New York City today as President Trump signed a trade deal with Japan’s Prime Minister Abe. Secretary Naig, along with other agricultural leaders, participated in a signing ceremony recognizing the bi-lateral trade agreement.

“Japan is one of Iowa’s most important trading partners,” said Secretary Naig. “Today’s agreement is a win for agriculture and welcome news as our farmers gear up for harvest. By lowering tariffs on agricultural products, Iowa producers can be more competitive in the Japanese market. This deal helps build the momentum we need to ratify USMCA and reach a long-term trade agreement with China. Thank you, President Trump, for getting this trade agreement done.”

Secretary Naig remains focused on expanding markets and trade for Iowa agriculture. He will be joining Iowa Governor Reynolds on a trade mission to Japan in November.

Export Statistics
    Iowa exported $135 million of beef to Japan in 2018.
    Japan is the largest export market for Iowa beef producers.
    U.S. producers sold $2 billion of beef to Japan in 2018, one-fourth of total U.S. beef exports.
    The U.S. exported 330,217 metric tons of beef to Japan in 2018.
    U.S. beef sales to Japan could increase by 7-10 percent ($200 million a year).

    Iowa exported almost $370 million of pork to Japan in 2018.
    Japan was the largest export market by value for Iowa pork producers in 2018.
    U.S. producers sold $1.6 billion of pork to Japan in 2018.
    The U.S. exported 394,300 metric tons of pork to Japan in 2018.

    Iowa exported $491 million of corn to Japan in 2018.
    Japan was the second largest export market (behind Mexico) for Iowa corn growers in 2018.
    Japan purchased 11.5 million metric tons of corn from the U.S. in 2018.
    Japan purchased $2 billion of corn from the U.S. in 2018.

    Iowa exported $122 million of soybeans to Japan in 2018.
    The U.S. exported $947 million of soybeans to Japan in 2018.

NPPC Officers Join President Trump for Japan Trade Pact Signing Ceremony

President Trump and Japanese Prime Minster Abe today signed a trade agreement that will once again allow U.S. pork producers to compete on a level playing field in Japan. NPPC President David Herring and President-Elect Howard "A.V." Roth joined President Trump for the signing of the agreement in New York during the United Nations General Assembly meeting.

"I am honored to represent U.S. pork producers today at a signing ceremony so important to my fellow hog farmers around the country," said Herring, a pork producer from Lillington, North Carolina. "We've seen market share declines in Japan, historically our largest value export market, since the start of the year when international competitors gained more favorable access through new trade agreements. Once implemented, the agreement signed today puts U.S. pork back on a level playing field with our competitors in Japan."

Dr. Dermot Hayes, an economist at Iowa State University, estimates exports to Japan could grow from $1.6 billion in 2018 to more than $2.2 billion over the next 15 years under market access terms included in the agreement.

U.S. pork is highly dependent on exports, shipping more than 25 percent of total production to foreign markets. Other NPPC trade priorities include ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) agreement, which preserves zero-tariff pork trade in North America, and resolving trade disputes with China that will enable U.S. pork producers to capitalize on an unprecedented sales opportunity with the world's largest pork-consuming nation.

NCBA Praises Important Step Forward in Trade with Japan

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President Jennifer Houston today issued the following statement in support of a bilateral trade agreement between the United States and Japan that will lower Japan’s massive tariffs on U.S. beef:

“Japan is the number one export market for U.S. beef, accounting for one quarter of our exports. The only way for U.S. beef producers to remain competitive in our leading export market is to remove trade barriers through a bilateral trade agreement with Japan. NCBA thanks President Trump for his continued support in removing trade barriers on U.S. beef, and we encourage the United States and Japan to sign and implement the bilateral trade agreement as soon as possible.” 

Houston hailed today’s announcement as an important step forward for the U.S. beef industry. “For the past few years, U.S. beef producers have benefitted greatly from growing demand for U.S. beef in Japan. While Japanese consumers enjoy high quality U.S. beef, they unfortunately pay a higher price for U.S. beef due to the massive 38.5 percent tariff. Removing that tariff allows more Japanese consumers to enjoy more U.S. beef at a more competitive price. Today’s announcement is welcome news for American families who produce U.S. beef and Japanese families who purchase it.”

Houston praised the Trump Administration for prioritizing trade negotiations with Japan. “President Trump answered the call and took on the difficult task of expanding access to Japan for U.S. beef exports. America’s ranchers are incredibly thankful for the leadership of President Trump and the yeoman’s work of Ambassador Lighthizer and his team whose diligent work and tough negotiating will benefit generations of U.S. beef producers.”

In 2018, Japanese consumers purchased $2.07 billion of U.S. beef. Currently, U.S. beef faces a massive 38.5 percent tariff in Japan, while our competitors from Australia, Canada, Mexico, and New Zealand face a 26.6 percent tariff. Leveling the playing field in Japan is a top priority for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

USMEF Statement on U.S.-Japan Trade Announcement

Today President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced completion of an agreement that will greatly improve access for U.S. red meat in Japan. Key provisions are outlined in this fact sheet from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.  U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) President and CEO Dan Halstrom issued this statement:

With Japan being the largest value destination for U.S. pork and beef exports (combined export value in 2018 was $3.7 billion), there is no market more critical to the profitability and prosperity of the U.S. red meat industry. It is therefore imperative that we achieve a level playing field for U.S. pork and beef in Japan, so that the U.S. industry can further expand its customer base in this increasingly competitive market. Today's announcement is not only excellent news for U.S. farmers and ranchers, but also for Japanese consumers who will have greater access to U.S. pork and beef products.

USMEF thanks the Trump administration for prioritizing trade negotiations with Japan and for securing this agreement, which is a major step forward for the U.S. pork and beef industries and for all of U.S. agriculture.

NCGA: U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement Bright Spot for Agriculture

The National Corn Growers Association today welcomed the news of a trade agreement between the United States and Japan that will increase market access for American agriculture products in Japan. NCGA President Lynn Chrisp made the following statement.

“Japan has been a strong trading partner and friend for American agriculture, now the second-largest purchaser of U.S. corn. NCGA has long-advocated for an agreement with Japan and, with many farmers struggling amid challenging times in agriculture, this is very welcome news. While we await further details, it seems this phase one agreement will deliver for corn farmers and build upon our successful partnership with Japan.”

Soy Growers: Japan Trade Deal Positive for Ag

The American Soybean Association (ASA) supports a strong global marketplace and is pleased the White House has finalized a trade agreement with Japan, a top 10 export market for soybeans.

Davie Stephens, president of ASA and grower from Clinton, Kentucky, spoke on behalf of the association, “Japan has long been a valued and reliable trading partner for soybeans, and we appreciate that the agriculture component of this deal will assure continued market access for our beans and other ag products. As we go through the details of the agreement, we extend a thank you to the Administration for finalizing this deal.”

With a 63% market share, the United States is the largest soybean supplier to Japan, with exports totaling $976 million in 2017. ASA looks forward to working with the Administration on the next steps towards reaching a comprehensive free trade agreement.

U.S. Grains Council Statement on U.S.-Japan Agreement

The U.S.-Japan agreement announced by the President will solidify our longstanding partnership for the future and create a platform for growth into new sales and new sectors, including the potential for sales of U.S. ethanol.

Japan is one of the largest and most loyal U.S. corn customers, having bought more than $2 billion of U.S. corn in the most recent marketing year. It is an important market for food and feed barley and sorghum. And as a country looking to improve the environmental impact of its fuel, it is an important future market for U.S. ethanol products.

The details revealed today about the trade agreement between the U.S. and Japan show that this pact would bring commodities the U.S. Grains Council represents largely back in line with the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) and put these commodities on equal footing with other current Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) countries. This access is welcomed by our members in the U.S. grains production and exports sectors, and we look forward to rapid implementation of the new agreement.

While this is the first in several rounds of agreements yet to come and we hope to see continued improvement in the ethanol sector, this is a good first step. We encourage the administration to pursue broader access for all of agriculture and we move forward with our partner, Japan.

U.S. Dairy Industry Encouraged by Interim Japan Trade Deal, Urges U.S. to Complete the Job in Negotiations to Come

The U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) today thanked the U.S. government for its work to reach an interim agreement with Japan that will deliver improvements in market access for the U.S. dairy industry, while noting that the work to secure a sufficient competitive landscape in Japan for dairy is not finished.

NMPF and USDEC look forward to reviewing with their members the details of this first stage of a trade agreement with Japan to take advantage of the new opportunities it will provide on a near-term basis while continuing to work with the Administration to secure the additional elements that are still needed to ensure a strong final dairy package in a comprehensive agreement.

“This enhanced access into the Japanese market is welcome news. Japan represents a rapidly growing market, and without a trade deal, our competitors are poised to seize valuable market share from U.S. dairy,” said Tom Vilsack, president and CEO of USDEC. “This first stage of a US-Japan agreement will improve upon today’s status quo, which has been unsatisfactory ever since Japan’s treaties with the CPTPP nations and the EU went into effect. To continue that progress toward closing the competitiveness gap with both CPTPP and EU suppliers, it’s essential that the U.S. secure further market openings and assurances in the second stage of negotiations with Japan to best position the U.S. to compete against all of our major competitors in Japan.”

“This interim trade agreement with Japan is welcome news for farmers across the U.S. who have seen their incomes damaged by trade disputes,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “Today’s news is not the end of the road though; it’s the first leg of the journey. We thank America’s trade negotiators for their pursuit of a deal aimed at benefiting our dairy farmers and expanding international markets for their high-quality milk. To reap those full rewards and ensure the U.S. is able to best compete in the Japanese market, the subsequent stage of negotiations must secure further inroads into Japan, building upon what our key competitors – the European Union and New Zealand – have secured there.”

NMPF and USDEC agree with what Ambassador Lighthizer told the House Ways and Means Committee during his testimony in June: “You cannot treat your best customer worse than you treat people from all these other countries in Europe and all the other TPP countries.”

Last month, USDEC and NMPF coordinated a letter signed by 70 dairy companies, farmer-owned cooperatives, and associations to the United States Trade Representative and the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture asking the U.S. government to move swiftly to finalize a strong trade deal with Japan and secure critical market access for the U.S. dairy industry. The objectives outlined in that letter remain the industry’s expectation for a comprehensive agreement with Japan.

The U.S. exported $270 million in dairy products to Japan in 2018 with room for further growth. However, without a strong trade agreement that addresses the inequalities in market access granted to our competitors by the Japan-EU and CPTPP agreements, a 2019 USDEC study found that the U.S. risked losing $1.3 billion in exports over a decade, costing dairy farmers $1.7 billion in farm income.

U.S.-Japan Tariff Agreement is a Good Deal for Wheat Farmers and Their Customers

The tariff agreement signed today by U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe is a most welcome deal that will keep exports of U.S. wheat flowing to a very large and crucial market for U.S. farmers.

  “This agreement puts U.S. wheat back on equal footing with wheat from Canada and Australia that currently have a tariff advantage under a separate trade deal,” said U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) Chairman and Paulding, Ohio, farmer Doug Goyings. “We applaud the negotiators from both countries who worked very hard to reach an agreement that is so important to wheat farmers and to their flour milling customers in Japan.”

  “Resolving trade issues like this and building new opportunities for our wheat and other agricultural products is absolutely needed at a time when wheat farmers are dealing with another year of low prices and a depressed farm economy,” said National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) President and Lavon, Tex., farmer Ben Scholz. “We are very grateful for the efforts that the staff and leaders at USTR and USDA put in to reach this agreement.”

When the tariff agreement is implemented, Japan’s effective tariff on imported U.S. wheat will drop to the same level Japanese flour millers now pay for Canadian and Australian wheat. Since the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) agreement entered into force last December, market factors have kept U.S. wheat competitive. Without this new agreement, however, U.S. wheat imports would have become less and less cost competitive to the point that Japan’s flour millers would have no other choice than to buy more of the lower cost wheat from the CPTPP member countries.

In addition to matching the Canadian and Australian tariff schedule for U.S. wheat, Japan has agreed to open country specific quotas for U.S. wheat and wheat product imports.

In 1949, the Administrator of the Oregon Wheat Commission, Mr. E. J. Bell, and two other wheat representatives first traveled to Japan to learn more about this potential market. Over 70 years, U.S. wheat farmers continued to build a relationship with the Japanese milling and wheat foods processing industry. Today, the industry relies on U.S. soft white wheat to produce the highest quality cakes and pastries, and hard red spring and hard red winter wheat classes to produce dozens of different bread products demanded by Japan’s discerning consumers.

U.S. wheat represents about 50 percent of all the wheat Japan imports each year, currently valued at more than $600 million. That volume represents more than 10 percent of total annual U.S. wheat exports, generally benefiting all U.S. wheat farmers and specifically farmers from the Pacific Northwest to the Northern and Central Plains states.

Farmers Commend Agreement on Japanese Trade Deal

The United States and Japan today announced they reached an agreement on a trade deal that further opens markets for both countries. Agriculture is among the biggest beneficiaries. The following statement may be attributed to American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall:

“Today’s announcement that the two countries have reached an agreement and have completed agricultural negotiations is a positive step for America’s farmers and ranchers.

“Japan is American agriculture’s fourth-largest export destination and vital to the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of farms and the families who live on them. We export nearly $13 billion a year in agricultural products to Japan, even as we continue to face steep tariffs on many exports.

“This agreement, once signed, will lower tariffs and put U.S. farmers and ranchers on a level playing field to compete in Japan with countries that participate in the Trans-Pacific Partnership. That’s good news.

“The time for trade wars has come and gone. We are thankful the administration has reached this deal and we urge trade negotiators to achieve many more like it. Farmers and ranchers need to get back to doing what they do best: feeding a hungry world that needs what they produce.”

The US and Japan have reached an agreement on agricultural and industrial tariffs and digital commerce.  While the agreement itself is not yet finished, a statement explaining the agreement was signed Sept. 25, 2019.

Under the agreement, Japan will place the same level of agricultural tariffs on U.S. goods as it places on CPTPP countries and the EU. By way of example, the 38.5% tariff on U.S. beef will fall to the 26% placed on beef from Australia, Canada and the EU. Some other foods such as duck, geese, turkey peaches, melons and more would enter duty-free.

The Japanese Parliament is expected to approve the agreement later this fall. It may take effect as early as Jan. 1, 2020.

There is no action by the U.S. Congress necessary, as this is not a full trade agreement that involves substantive changes to existing U.S. law.

Many other issues, contained in a “Phase 2” negotiation, will be dealt with in future talks with Japan.

U.S. Pork Industry Facing Headwinds, Iowa Pork Producers President Tells Congress

The U.S. pork industry is facing serious headwinds both at home and abroad that need to be addressed to ensure the industry remains competitive, allowing for expanded production, greater job growth and continued contribution to rural communities across the country, Iowa Pork Producers President Trent Thiele testified this morning before the Senate Agriculture Committee.

U.S. pork producers need trade certainty and ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement is one of the industry's top priorities, said Thiele, a hog farmer from Howard County, Iowa, testifying on behalf of the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC). Last year, more than 40 percent of U.S. pork exported went to Canada and Mexico. "USMCA will strengthen the strong economic ties with our North American neighbors, and help ensure tariff-free trade on pork remains in place for the long term.... U.S. pork producers urge Congress to ratify USMCA, providing much-needed certainty in two of our largest export markets," he told the committee.

Trade certainty is also critical in Japan, the largest value export market for U.S. pork, Thiele told the committee. The U.S. pork industry was pleased that a trade agreement with Japan was agreed in principle last month and, once implemented, will place it back on a level playing field with international competitors. We urge the administration to quickly ratify the agreement in one of our most important markets, Thiele said.

However, U.S. pork producers continue to seek an end to the trade dispute with China, Thiele highlighted. Affordable pork is in short supply in China because African swine fever has ravaged the Chinese hog herd and significantly reduced the production of pork. Yet the U.S. is missing out "on an unprecedented sales opportunity" in China due to punitive tariffs that have cost U.S. producers $8 per animal, or $1 billion on an annualized, industry-wide basis over the last year, he said. "While recent Chinese media reports have suggested tariff relief for U.S. pork, we need to remove market access uncertainty and level the playing field in the world's largest pork-consuming nation," he added.

In addition to trade issues, U.S. pork producers are working to prevent the spread of foreign animal diseases, including African swine fever, an animal disease affecting only pigs and with no human health or food safety risks, Thiele explained. The U.S. pork industry is urging Congress to add 600 additional agricultural inspectors at our borders and ports.

In his testimony, Thiele also highlighted several other priorities for U.S. pork producers, including:
-    Visa reform to address a serious labor shortage that could lead to farms and packing plants closing operations. NPPC supports visa system reform that provides agricultural employers with sustained access to year-round labor.
-    The right regulatory framework for gene-edited livestock, an innovation that promises to strengthen U.S. pork's competitive position globally. Through its "Keep America First in Agriculture" campaign, NPPC is aggressively working to establish oversight within the U.S. Department of Agriculture where it belongs, not with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which has claimed jurisdiction.

NCBA President Jennifer Houston Testifies on State of Cattle Industry

Jennifer Houston, President of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, today testified about the current state of the cattle industry before the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.

Topics ranged from the effects of the recent fire at a Tyson beef processing facility in Kansas to the pending reauthorization of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and Mandatory Price Reporting to implementation of the 2018 Farm Bill.

“I want to start by thanking you, Chairman (Pat) Roberts and other members of the committee who have been helpful over the last few weeks as we have dealt with the recent fire at the Tyson plant in Holcomb, Kansas,” Houston said. “We also support the work of (Agriculture) Secretary (Sonny) Perdue and look forward to the results of the USDA investigation.”

Houston also stressed the importance of foreign trade, better access to lucrative foreign markets like Japan and China, and the need for Congress to approve the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

"The future success of the U.S. beef industry relies on competitive market access to a growing consumer base in Asia," Houston testified. "In 2018, we sold over $8 billion of U.S. beef to foreign consumers, with one-quarter of those sales coming from Japan. We also still need Congress to ratify the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement as soon as possible to send a message to the rest of the world that the United States is open for business."

Houston concluded her oral testimony with a pledge to keep doing the hard work that’s necessary to help improve prospects for America’s cattle producers.

"I’m proud to lead and represent the members of NCBA, as we fight tirelessly to improve the lives and business prospects of every single member of the cattle industry," Houston said. "As Henry Ford said, 'Don’t find fault – find a remedy.' That’s exactly what NCBA will continue to do."

Weekly Ethanol Production for 9/20/2019

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending Sept. 20, ethanol production swung sharply lower, dropping 61,000 b/d or 6.1% (the second-largest weekly downturn since statistics have been reported) to 943,000 barrels per day (b/d)—equivalent to 39.61 million gallons daily. This represents the smallest production rate since April 2016, with output 9.0% below year-ago volumes and 5.3% below the same week two years ago. The four-week average ethanol production rate slowed 2.3% to a 24-week low of 996,000 b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 15.27 billion gallons.

Ethanol stocks scaled back 3.2% to 22.5 million barrels. Stocks fell across all PADDs except the Gulf Coast (PADD 3).

Imports of ethanol into the West Coast were a near-record 113,000 b/d, or 33.22 million gallons for the week—equivalent to more than 10% of the total ethanol supplied for the week. This was the fourth time in five weeks that ethanol was imported. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of July 2019.)

The volume of gasoline supplied rebounded from the prior week’s slump, increasing 4.6% to 9.346 million b/d (392.5 million gallons per day, or
143.27 bg annualized). Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol rose 3.3% to 935,000 b/d, equivalent to 14.33 bg annualized.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production shrank to a two-year low of 10.09%.

World Beef Expo About to Kick-Off in Milwaukee

World Beef Expo is opening its gates Friday morning for its 27th run at Wisconsin State Fair Park near Milwaukee.

The Open Show will begin at 8:00 a.m., with the Elite Cattle Show being held the following day.

The event's trade show runs from 5 to 7 p.m. inside the Wisconsin Products Pavilion. And educational seminars will also be held throughout the weekend.  Details are here...

Last year, over 500 exhibitors from 18 states attended the expo with 1,100 entries being judged in 2018. Nearly half of those cattle were exhibited by junior participants.

Tuesday September 24 Ag News

Cuming County Youth Compete at 70th Annual Norfolk Beef Expo

The Agri-Business Council of the Norfolk Area Chamber of Commerce hosts the annual Norfolk Beef Expo, a live market calf show and auction, every September, at the Northeast Community College Ag Complex.

This event is open to youth throughout Nebraska between the ages of 8 & 19 as of January 1. The Beef Expo is a tradition for many families and celebrated its 70th year this year.

Cuming County 4-H members Evie Schlickbernd, Jaleigh Hallsted, Trevor Steffen, and Josie Ritter competed at this year’s Expo.

Results from Norfolk Beef Expo …

In the Class 1 Division 1 Market Heifer class, Evie Schlickbernd received a blue ribbon.
In the Class 2 Division 2 Market Heifer class, Jaleigh Hallsted received a purple ribbon.
In the Class 3 Division 1 Market Steer class, Trevor Steffen received a blue ribbon.
In the Class 2 Division 2 Market Steer class, Josie Ritter received first and second purple ribbons.
In the Class 3 Division 2 Market Steer class, Jaleigh Hallsted received a purple ribbon.
In the Class 1 Division 3 Market Steer class, Evie Schlickbernd received a blue ribbon.
Josie Ritter was Division 2 Market Steer GRAND CHAMPION and she also was the Division 2 Market Steer RESERVE CHAMPION.


Trevor Steffen competed in Junior Showmanship and Jaleigh Hallsted and Josie Ritter competed in Intermediate Showmanship.

Hundreds of Tailgaters Enjoy Free Breakfast, Conversation with Nebraska Farmers at the “Game Day Approved Tailgate Party” September 21

Pleasant late summer weather, the feel of college football in the air, and the promise of a free breakfast drew over 300 hungry people to the official “Game Day Approved Tailgate Party with Nebraska Farmers and Ranchers” Saturday, September 21. Russ’s Market at 33rd and Highway 2 hosted the event.

The tailgate breakfast, organized by the Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska (AFAN), provided an opportunity for consumers to visit with the state’s farmers and ranchers about how they produce our food and care for their animals and land in a safe, sustainable way.

Tailgaters were invited to visit information booths staffed by farm organizations to learn more about Nebraska agriculture. Each attendee received a “Farm Land” card they were to get stamped at each booth they visited. Those who got their cards stamped at every booth could return their cards to the AFAN booth to receive a Russ’s Market $5 OFF $50 coupon for use at the store, and were entered in the drawing for the grand prize. Heather Osnes of Lincoln was the grand prize winner, a Nebraska Agriculture gift basket filled with products provided by agriculture commodity organizations and the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation, and a $50 Russ’s Market gift card.

“The event combined fun, a good breakfast and a chance for consumers to talk to farmers and ranchers about how their food is produced,” said Steve Martin, executive director of AFAN, “and to clarify such hot button topics as the use of GMOs, herbicides and antibiotics in row crop and livestock production. Thanks to our producers and tailgaters who made this a great event.”

Tailgaters took advantage of the opportunity to talk directly to food producers about the importance of agriculture to the state.

“It was a fun, interactive and I learned a lot about Nebraska agriculture,” said Caren Hansen of Lincoln. “I learned that we are responsible for a lot more ethanol that I realized, and about the global role that Nebraska has in our world.”

“Game Day Approved Tailgate Party” sponsors included the Nebraska Pork Producers Association; Nebraska Poultry Industries; AFAN; Nebraska Corn Board; Nebraska Soybean Board; Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation; Nebraska Wheat Growers Association; CommonGround Nebraska; Nebraska Cattlemen; Midwest Dairy; Nebraska Grain Sorghum Board; the Nebraska Hop Growers Association; and Russ’s Market.

ICON urges cattle producers to rally in Omaha

Cattlemen are invited to attend a rally in Omaha on Wednesday, Oct. 2, to protest the relatively low prices of cattle, compared to the high prices of retail beef.

During the week of Sept. 23-27, cattle producers were losing more than $200 per head while meatpackers were making more than $400 per head, based on USDA price information.

The cattle producers’ share of the retail price of beef has been as high as 70% in the past, but based on USDA price reports of live cattle and retail beef, today the cattle producer’s share is just 38.5%.

Farmers and ranchers own and care for cattle 365 days a year and are going broke, while the “Big Four” packers/processors own the cattle for about a week and get rich.

The Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska and the Organization for Competitive Markets call on President Donald Trump and USDA Sec. Sonny Perdue to take charge and take action. They recommend six points of action, emphasizing the importance of “Buying American” and shielding U.S. farmers and ranchers from what has become a global meatpacking monopoly.

The goal of the rally is to pressure Perdue and Trump to redress some of the wrongs. A large turnout in Omaha will help apply that pressure.

"Packer concentration and price manipulation are gutting rural Nebraska's farm and ranch families,” ICON President Jim Dinklage said. “Farm foreclosures are at their highest in decades and calls to the Farm Crisis Hotline are higher than they have been since the 1980s. We're hoping a large crowd in Omaha will send the message to D.C. that rural America is in crisis and intervention is urgently needed.”

OCM is hosting a rally and meeting called Stop the Stealin’ in Omaha from 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. on Oct. 2 at the Ramada Inn at 3321 South 72nd.

Among the slated speakers are OCM vice-president Vaughn Meyer, former Nebraska state senator Al Davis of Hyannis, cattle market analyst Corbitt Wall and Bill Bullard of R-CALF.

For more information, see the OCM website,

$65,000 Awarded Through Local Chapter Grant Program

Thirteen Nebraska FFA chapters or FFA members were awarded funds through the Nebraska FFA Foundation local chapter grant program.

This program, in its third year, supports Nebraska agricultural education classrooms, FFA programs and individual student entrepreneurship Supervised Agricultural Experiences. Funds are provided by the Nebraska FFA Foundation and its general fund donors.

The grant recipients for 2019 are:
    Bayard: Greenhouse
    Franklin: Plasma Table
    Bishop Neumann: SawStop Table Saw
    Sutton: Greenhouse Repairs
    Minatare: Plasma Cutter and TIG Welder
    Wood River: Greenhouse
    Axtell: Greenhouse
    Norris: Welder Replacement
    Chase County: Welding Updates
    McCool Junction: Animal Learning Barn Supplies- Camera and Generator
    Waverly FFA Member: Audrey Sorensen: Pond Improvement SAE Project
    Rock County: Welding Updates
    Sutherland: Greenhouse

“Our board worked many years to develop sustainable funding to provide this program. The board knew that there were many programs in need of more financial support to develop career-ready students in agriculture, and awarding $65,000 will give students in these schools some of the resources necessary to reach their full potential,” said Stacey Agnew, Nebraska FFA Foundation Executive Director.

Many of these grant recipients will be showcased on the Nebraska FFA Foundation website and social media throughout the next couple years. Applications for the 2020 Local Chapter Grant Program will open in April.

Nebraska Beef Council September zoom meeting

The Nebraska Beef Council Board of Directors will have a conference call at the NBC office in Kearney located at 1319 Central Ave. on Monday, September 30th,  2019 beginning at 11:00 a.m. CDT. The NBC Board of Directors will review a draft of the FY 2019-2020 Marketing Plan.  For more information, please contact Pam Esslinger at 

Determine Cow Herd Productivity with New Weaning Weight Adjustment Tool

As beef cattle producers turn their attention to weaning, the Iowa Beef Center encourages producers to consider using its 205-day weight calculator. This free spreadsheet is a tool beef producers can use in calculating Standardized 205-day weaning weights. Producers enter calf identification, birth date, weaning date, weaning weight and cow age, and the Excel-based tool will calculate weaning weights to an adjusted 205-day weight.

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach beef specialist Denise Schwab said adjusting weaning weights to a common calf age is important for comparing cows based on the performance of the calves they produce. Weaning weights are used to evaluate differences in growth potential of calves and the milking ability of dams.

"In order to evaluate differences in weaning weights, individual calf records must be adjusted to a standard basis. The Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) recommends that weaning weights be standardized to 205 days-of-age and a mature age-of-dam basis," she said. "These adjusted weights can then be used to rank the cow herd based on their productivity and sell low producing cows."

This tool is available on the calculators page of the IBC website, For more information on the calculator or how to use it in your operation, contact an extension beef specialist or the Iowa Beef Center at

Fertilizer Prices Drop for Sixth Week in a Row

Average retail fertilizer prices were lower the third week of September 2019, marking the sixth consecutive week prices have declined, according to fertilizer retailers surveyed by DTN.

Prices for all eight of the major fertilizers were lower compared to the previous month, but unlike in recent weeks, none were down a significant amount, which DTN considers 5% or more.

DAP had an average price of $480 per ton, down $11 from last month; MAP $478/ton, down $17; potash $384/ton, down $3; urea $404/ton, down $9; 10-34-0 $471/ton, down $4; anhydrous $509/ton, down $21; UAN28 $254/ton, down $3; and UAN32 $289/ton, down $2.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.43/lb.N, anhydrous $0.31/lb.N, UAN28 $0.45/lb.N and UAN32 $0.45/lb.N.

As prices have moved lower in recent weeks, two fertilizers are now cheaper than they were a year ago. MAP is now 8% less expensive, and DAP is 3% lower from last year at this time.

The remaining six major fertilizers continue to be higher compared to last year. Anhydrous is 3% more expensive, UAN32 is 4% higher, both urea and 10-34-0 are 5% more expensive, while both potash and UAN28 are 6% higher compared to last year.

Soy-Based Products Are on the Leading Edge of Sustainable Housing

Higher performance, increased sustainability and lower cost — these are just a few of the demands that today’s modern customers expect from the home improvement industry. For companies relying on petroleum or formaldehyde in their products, this can seem like a challenging ask. But many find their sustainable solution in soy.

“Choosing soy is a win-win,” said Lee Walko, biobased business developer and technical advisor to the United Soybean Board. “Corporate sustainability initiatives and consumer demand for safe products drive soy technology development to replace petrochemicals and other additives.”

Although several biobased ingredients can appear as suitable replacements for petrochemicals, manufacturers need the most cost-effective and highest-performing ingredients — which in many cases presents an opportunity for soy. Not only is soybean oil traditionally more affordable than canola or sunflower oil, its abundance of C-18 links (linolenic acid, etc.) and its fatty-acid profile make soybean oil very versatile. These qualities have allowed countless leading industrial product makers to successfully introduce soy, replacing chemicals based in petroleum while reducing volatile organic compounds.

Soy has already proven successful in this segment, and many of the success stories can be found in and around the home. A growing list of large and small companies already implement soy in their products and reap the benefits of how effective it can be. In fact, there are more than 1,000 soy-based products currently on the market, from flooring and roofing products to candles and carpets. 

Several leading biobased home products using soybeans include:

Plywood: PureBond®

A decade ago, the International Agency for Cancer Research reclassified formaldehyde from a suspect carcinogen to a known carcinogen. Plywood producers who used formaldehyde to bond wood needed an alternative. With the support of USB, researchers developed a soy-based, formaldehyde-free resin that bonds wood naturally and tightly. Since 2005, the technology has spurred production of more than 100 million formaldehyde-free plywood panels at a price comparable to urea-formaldehyde panels.

“Our customers want to know what they’re buying, how it was made, what it was made with and where it’s from,” said Todd Vogelsinger, with Columbia Forest Products, which is a business utilizing soy in their PureBond plywood products. “We’re proud to say we shrank our environmental footprint with U.S. soy.”

Roofing Products: Roof Maxx®

Roof Maxx is the first soy-based, roof-rejuvenating spray treatment, developed by Battelle Labs, that is formulated with natural soybean oil to penetrate roof materials. This application restores a roof’s flexibility and waterproofing protection, extending the life of a roof by up to 15 years and reducing both the waste created from disposing of an old roof and the waste generated by manufacturing new roof shingles. Due to its incorporation of soy, Roof Maxx provides a safe option for people, pets, property and the environment.

“Today, with all the environmental concerns, it only makes sense to look at renewable resources [like soy] to extend the life of anything,” said Roof Maxx Technologies CEO Mike Feazel.

Wood Stains: Rust-Oleum®

Long used by the coating industry, soybean oil is now a hit in wood stains and finishes, including those produced by Rust-Oleum. Rust-Oleum’s Varathane® wood stains deliver in both sustainability and performance. The soy-based stain line has seen their products penetrate wood twice as deep as other products on the market due to the properties soybean oil brings to the stain. Soy’s hydrophobic nature also increases the water resistance of wood stains, making it a great option for outdoor applications.

“From a marketing standpoint, our products give a beautiful finish, which is a byproduct of the soybean oil,” says Jessica Bahn, brand manager at Rust-Oleum. “The soybean oil is like the secret sauce. It gives a beautiful end result, and it’s easy to apply due to the viscosity.”

Sealers: Acri-Soy™

Soy-based sealers have a superior ability to penetrate and protect a variety of porous substrate surfaces such as concrete, wood and grout. Biobased sealers create an integral bond and seal that allow the substrate to breathe while providing outstanding repellency. Because these sealers are nontoxic and high performing, they meet both consumer and producer needs.

Insulation: Demilec Heatlok Soy 200 Plus®

Environmentally friendly and energy-efficient insulation is possible with the introduction of soy. Demilec Inc.’s closed-cell spray foam polyurethane insulation contains 14% renewable and recycled materials, which is appealing to homeowners. The insulation also provides multiple control layers into a single application, saving both time and money in construction costs.

“Environmental regulations and consumer demands are only going to grow stronger in the coming years,” Walko said. “So, it’s worthwhile for companies to get ahead of the curve now and invest in biobased solutions for their products.”

U.S. Biofuels Help Drive Environmental Progress

Growth Energy, the nation’s largest association of biofuel producers, released a new report examining the potential impact of a growing role for U.S. biofuels in America’s clean energy future. The report was authored by Ramboll, a global research and management firm specializing in sustainable development, at the request of Growth Energy. It presents the latest data on U.S. agricultural innovation, provides a detailed review of recent studies and illuminates gaps in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) understanding of U.S. biofuel production.

“The tremendous success of the Renewable Fuel Standard fueled America’s rise as the world’s top producer of affordable, low-carbon biofuels,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “From the lab to the farm, new innovations have allowed us to ramp up production year after year, without expanding our environmental footprint. That track record of environmental progress is supported by a wide body of research from public, private, and academic sources. Today’s report will help regulators in Washington wade through misinformation and make decisions about the future growth of biofuels based on sound science.”

The report has been submitted to the EPA as the agency crafts regulations under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Among other issues, it examines factors raised in the agency’s 2018 Second Triennial Report to Congress, underlying literature relied upon by EPA, and an updated review of scientific literature. The report identifies fundamental flaws in studies purporting to show a causal link between the RFS and land use conversion, and debunks the narrative that increased ethanol production cannot be accomplished without environmental impacts.

“The key conclusion of this report is that there are no proven adverse impacts to land and water associated with increased corn ethanol production under the RFS,” note the Ramboll authors. “Accordingly, EPA could decide to reset renewable volumes in a manner that would incentivize greater production and consumption of conventional corn ethanol in U.S. transportation fuel without discernible adverse environmental impacts to land and water, to the extent any exist. The major factors supporting this conclusion are that continued improvements in agricultural practices and technology indicate that increased demand for corn grown for ethanol in the United States can be met without the need for additional acres of corn planted, while at the same time, reducing potential impacts to water quality or water supplies.”

Other notable excerpts:

-    Increases in corn yield and decreases in land use: “Acres planted in corn across the United States has remained close to or below the total acres planted in the early 1930s, despite increases in demand for corn as human food, animal feed, and biofuels over this nearly 90-year period. The increase in demand has largely been met by an approximately 7-fold increase in yield (bushels per acre) … Efforts in better crop management, improved fertilizer use, and precision agriculture are all likely contributors to improved yields.” (pages 1-3)
-    Improvements in agricultural practices: “The timing for increasing corn production and reduced potential environmental impacts due to precision agriculture coincides with increased biofuel demand, and the coincidence of these trends will benefit both producers and the environment into the future.” (page 3)
-    Water resource availability: “Advancements in technology and water management techniques have continued to increase the efficiency in water resource management by stabilizing, and potentially reducing, the overall volume of water necessary for corn growth … Additionally, the USDA has shown that irrigation for all crops, including corn, has decreased even as the farming acreage has essentially been stable over the past 35 years.” (page 6)
-    Water quality: “Advances in sustainable farm management, including substantial improvements in nutrient formulation and use, and technological improvements in pesticide and fertilizer application, will continue to reduce the potential for impacts to water quality in regional watersheds near corn growing areas regardless of the cause of historical water quality impacts.” (page 7)

Ramboll authors also note the impacts of biofuel production should not be examined in a vacuum.,. They write, “Spills of petroleum, gasoline, and a wide range of other fluids used in the exploration, production, and refining processes as well as land use change to support those activities all have adverse effect on water quality, ecosystems (including wetlands), and wildlife. Additionally, both conventional and unconventional oil and gas extraction place demands on water supply. Failure to address impacts associated with gasoline production relative to impacts from ethanol production does not present a balanced view of alternative energy sources and casts a negative bias on ethanol production.”

Consumer Group: Fake Meat is Factory Food

Today, the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) is running a full-page ad in USA Today exposing the highly processed nature of fake, “plant-based” bacon. Roughly one-third of consumers believe “plant-based” is equivalent to “minimally processed.” The ingredient list of “plant-based” bacon, which can include tertiary butylhydroquinone and disodium inosinate, reveals this is far from true. 

According to the NOVA classification system, ultra-processed foods are “formulations of ingredients, mostly of exclusive industrial use, typically created by series of industrial techniques and processes.” A recent National Institutes of Health study found that ultra-processed foods cause weight gain.

This ad is the latest in an educational campaign to demystify the “plant-based” craze. CCF has previously placed ads on fake meat in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post. In addition to the ads, provides consumers with a transparent look at fake meat as well as informational blog posts and other helpful tools. 

CCF managing director Will Coggin commented: “Consumers should be aware that ‘plant-based’ is a euphemism for ‘ultra-processed.’ Fake meat doesn’t grow on vines—it’s made in factories.”

Anuvia Plant Nutrients to Reopen Mosaic Plant City Facility as Second Florida Location

Anuvia Plant Nutrients has entered into a long-term strategic relationship with The Mosaic Company to help meet the increased demand for its biobased sustainable and environmentally friendly plant nutrients.

The companies have signed a long-term lease arrangement which provides significant benefits to both parties and the surrounding community. Anuvia will utilize a portion of Mosaic’s shuttered Plant City phosphate production facility and repurpose existing infrastructure to increase its production capacity to up to 1.2 million tons.  Currently, Anuvia’s Zellwood facility produces 80,000 tons annually.

In addition, as production increases, the company plans to add approximately 135 new employees with an average salary of $70,000. It will be the Zellwood-based company’s second Florida location and is expected to be operational by second quarter 2020.

This expansion is in response to increased demand for Anuvia’s biobased sustainable and environmentally friendly plant nutrients. “In the three years since the Zellwood plant went online, the market has been receptive to our products and its unique benefits,” says Anuvia Plant Nutrients CEO Amy Yoder.  “And now in response to the increased demand, we are increasing our production capacity. It is gratifying that farmers are realizing the performance and environmental benefits Anuvia products bring to crop production.”

“Mosaic has been looking to partner with successful, innovative companies and this arrangement which includes an equity position is an excellent fit for us,” says Walt Precourt, Mosaic Senior Vice President, Strategy and Growth. “Both companies are committed to operating safely and sustainably while providing customers with high quality crop nutrient solutions.  We look forward to exploring opportunities to further expand our relationship.”

In agriculture, Anuvia products stand out because of their ability to help farmers increase productivity as well as the far-reaching environmental benefits which include improving soil quality, reducing nutrient loss and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

Research and extensive use indicates a positive yield increase which allows farmers to produce more food in a less intensive manner. Anuvia’s innovative products address a key issue of our time—how to meet future food demand in a sustainable way.

Their products offer benefits for both end-users and the planet with little to no barriers to implementation. Anuvia’s plant nutrients products are a plug-and-play technology primed for fast adoption. Their products work within current user practices and technologies, making their use a turnkey part of achieving sustainable goals.

Anuvia's products include SymTRX™ for the agricultural sector, GreenTRX™ for the turf industry and ANUGREEN for the consumer residential lawn market.

BASF launches Operation Weed Eradication to help growers eradicate weeds

BASF launched a new industry-wide initiative to eliminate on-farm weeds. Operation Weed Eradication calls on growers and partners to take action against troublesome weeds in their fields, through cultural practices, chemical control and enhanced diligence.

Research by Stratus Ag shows that nearly 75 percent of growers nationwide are dealing with glyphosate-resistant weeds in their fields and today’s management practices are not sustainable for long-term control of problem weeds such as pigweed.

“Our approach to on-farm eradication will uproot problem weeds and help secure a sustainable farming future that builds a successful legacy for seasons and generations to come,” said Scott Kay, Vice President U.S. Crop, BASF Agricultural Solutions. “Weed eradication will be a personalized, tailored journey for each grower with different start and end points. BASF will support growers with expertise and continuous innovation to support this journey.”

Operation Weed Eradication takes a balanced approach of utilizing cultural practices such as conventional tillage, chemical control such as rotating chemistries, and eradication diligence such as hand weeding to help growers eradicating troublesome on-farm weeds.

In the coming months, BASF will assemble a coalition of industry leaders, develop a specific eradication customer offering and launch an educational initiative to support its efforts with Operation Weed Eradication.

Monday September 23 Ag News


For the week ending September 22, 2019, there were 5.4 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 1 percent very short, 12 short, 76 adequate, and 11 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 1 percent very short, 10 short, 82 adequate, and 7 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn condition rated 3 percent very poor, 6 poor, 20 fair, 55 good, and 16 excellent. Corn dented was 91 percent, behind 97 last year and 96 for the five-year average. Mature was 37 percent, well behind 65 last year, and behind 56 average. Harvested was 3 percent, behind 8 last year, and near 6 average.

Soybean condition rated 1 percent very poor, 5 poor, 20 fair, 62 good, and 12 excellent. Soybeans dropping leaves was 55 percent, well behind 81 last year, and behind 69 average.

Winter wheat planted was 51 percent, near 49 last year and 53 average.

Sorghum condition rated 3 percent very poor, 4 poor, 14 fair, 69 good, and 10 excellent. Sorghum coloring was 93 percent, near 94 last year and 96 average. Mature was 22 percent, well behind 45 last year and 43 average.

Dry edible bean condition rated 15 percent very poor, 18 poor, 22 fair, 41 good, and 4 excellent. Dry edible beans dropping leaves was 84 percent. Harvested was 37 percent.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 1 percent very poor, 3 poor, 20 fair, 61 good, and 15 excellent.


Another week of heavy rainfall across Iowa allowed just 3.3 days suitable for fieldwork statewide during the week ending September 22, 2019, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Fieldwork activities included harvesting hay and seed corn, chopping silage, and seeding cover crops.

Topsoil moisture condition was rated 1 percent very short, 7 percent short, 75 percent adequate and 17 percent surplus. Precipitation this past week helped increase topsoil moisture levels in all districts; however, the Southeast District remains the driest with a topsoil moisture rating of 36 percent short to very short. Subsoil moisture condition was rated 2 percent very short, 9 percent short, 79 percent adequate and 10 percent surplus.

Nearly all of the corn crop was in or beyond the dough stage at 97 percent complete statewide, over 2 weeks behind the 5-year average. Eighty-two percent of the crop has reached the dented stage or beyond, 17 days behind last year and 12 days behind average. Eighteen percent of corn reached maturity, 19 days behind last year and 2 weeks behind average. There were a few reports of farmers in the central Iowa district that harvested corn for grain this past week. Corn condition rated 65 percent good to excellent.

Sixty-five percent of the soybean crop has begun coloring or beyond, 11 days behind last year and 8 days behind average. Twenty-two percent of the crop has begun dropping leaves, 12 days behind last year and 9 days behind average. There were also a few reports of soybeans being harvested in the west central and central Iowa districts. Soybean condition rated 62 percent good to excellent.

The third cutting of alfalfa hay reached 87 percent, just over a week behind average. Pasture condition rated 43 percent good to excellent. Continuous rainfall this past week caused feedlots to become muddy.

U.S. Corn Condition Up 2 Percentage Points; Soybean Condition Unchanged

The percentage of U.S. corn and soybeans that has reached maturity fell further behind the five-year average last week, according to USDA NASS' latest Crop Progress report released Monday.

As of Sunday, 29% of corn was estimated as mature, well behind 69% at the same time last year and 28 percentage points behind the five-year average of 57%. Corn dented was 79%, 15 percentage points behind the five-year average of 94%.  Nationwide, corn harvest progressed 3 percentage points to reach 7% as of Sunday, behind last year 15% and 4 percentage points behind the five-year average of 11%.  The condition of corn still in fields was estimated at 57% good to excellent, up 2 percentage points from the previous week, but still the lowest good-to-excellent rating for the crop at this time of year since 2013.

Like corn, the percentage of soybeans reaching maturity fell further behind the average pace last week. NASS estimated that, as of Sunday, 34% of soybeans were dropping leaves, 25 percentage points behind the five-year average of 59%. Soybean condition held steady at 54% good to excellent.

Spring wheat harvest maintained its slow but steady progress last week, reaching 87% as of Sunday, 10 percentage points behind the five-year average of 97%.   Winter wheat planting progress, on the other hand, remained near the average pace at 22% complete as of Sunday, compared to the five-year average of 24%.

Sorghum coloring was estimated at 90%, equal to the five-year average. Sorghum mature was estimated at 42%, behind the average of 53%. Sorghum harvested reached 26%, behind the five-year average of 31%. Barley harvested reached 92%, behind the average of 99%. Oats were 96% harvested, also behind the average of 99%.

Cotton bolls opening was estimated at 64%, ahead of the average of 57%. Cotton harvested was estimated at 11%, equal to the five-year average. Cotton condition -- for the portion of the crop still in fields -- was rated 39% good to excellent, down 2 percentage points from the previous week's 41% good-to-excellent rating. Rice harvested was 58%, slightly behind the average of 61%.

Ricketts Submits Comments on Federal Labor Rule Regarding Detasseling

Recently, Governor Pete Ricketts submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Labor on pending changes to rules governing the Temporary Agricultural Employment of H-2A Nonimmigrants in the United States.

“Much of the seasonal farm work done for a seed company with fields in Nebraska is performed by a separate company (harvest company) that contracted with the seed company,” wrote Governor Ricketts in his comments.  “The seed company is the beneficiary of the work performed by the H-2A worker, but they are not the employer of the H-2A worker.  The contracted harvest company often comes in from other states.  The employer from out of state does not have the networking connections or known reputation to find available Nebraska workers.  Meanwhile, there are Nebraska harvest companies that have the workers available to perform the work.  In 2019, Nebraska detasseling (harvest) companies had 710 employees wait listed, but certifications were still granted for H-2A workers to perform detasseling.”

Recently, some companies have been using the H-2A program to hire outside labor to detassel seed corn while hundreds of Nebraskans ready to do the work remain on wait lists.  In his comments, Governor Ricketts recommends adding a new labor availability check to the H-2A program to protect the program’s integrity.  This additional verification would ensure that Nebraskans willing to detassel get the opportunity before companies bring in other labor.

“The State of Nebraska recommends that the petitioning harvest company be required to include with its petition a certification from the benefiting seed company that it solicited bids for the work and no bids were available that did not utilize H-2A workers,” wrote the Governor.

Each summer, more than 7,000 Nebraskans work as detasselers, performing indispensable seasonal labor for seed companies.  They rise early to work in the cornfields and spend long hours in the summer heat to ensure that the cross-pollinating process yields a pure seed.  For students and schoolteachers, detasseling is a welcome source of summer employment and a great way to earn income.  For many Nebraskans, detasseling is their first job and serves as a formative, character-building experience.  Detasselers learn the value of hard work, the importance of teamwork, and skills in leadership.  Detasseling also connects the residents of small towns and cities with Nebraska’s farmers, helping more Nebraskans build ties to the state’s #1 economic industry—agriculture.

Healthy Soils Task Force to Meet Wednesday

Keith Berns, chair, has scheduled a meeting of the Healthy Soils Task Force for Sept. 25. The meeting will begin at 1 p.m. at the Upper Big Blue Natural Resources District office at 319 E 25th Street, York.

The Task Force will review objectives and discuss research regarding healthy soils activities in other states. The next steps in developing a state healthy soil initiative and action plan will also be discussed.

For more details, call the Nebraska Department of Agriculture at (402) 471-2341.

Who has the Hunting Rights for Leased Land?

J. David Aiken – Extension Water and Agricultural Law Specialist

A written cropland or pasture lease can specify who has hunting rights. If the written lease does not reserve hunting rights to the landlord directly or indirectly, the hunting rights would go to the tenant for the duration of the lease. This surprises most folks who wrongly believe that the landlord automatically retains many property rights that in fact go to the tenant during the period of the lease term (unless the lease specifies otherwise). A lease written by an attorney would normally address hunting rights (typically reserving them to the landlord), but a lease written by a non-attorney might overlook that issue. I would advise tenants who want to keep their leases to discuss hunting rights with the landlord if those rights are not clear and to not take any action that could cost the tenant the lease when it is up for renewal.

If the cropland lease is unwritten, the tenant would have the hunting rights unless the parties have a different agreement. This is under the general notion that in the absence of explicit limitations (as would be included in a well-written lease), the tenant has full rights to use the land to the exclusion of all others, including the landlord, during the term of the lease. 

For a May 1-October 1 pasture lease, the same rule would likely apply but only during the May 1-October 1 period. That is, the tenant might have the hunting rights from May 1 to October 1, but not outside that period without the express permission of the landlord. This may seem like a peculiar result but is how I think Nebraska courts would rule on the issue in the absence of a written lease.

Farm Bureau Developing Relationships with Food Companies

Farm Bureau is increasing engagement with companies along the food supply chain to build strategic partnerships. Those relationships are yielding benefits for American famers.

Sarah Brown Dirkes, is in her fifth year with the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) as the Executive Director of Industry Relations. She is passionate about working to build strategic partnerships between farmers and ranchers and the companies who deal directly with consumers. Dirkes spoke to the Nebraska Farm Bureau Board of Directors about the importance of farmers having open and tough discussions with supply chain companies across the country.

“Every time I go home to my family’s apple farm in upstate New York, I see something new that we are implementing to improve our operation and to grow a better product for the consumer. My brother and I are the eighth generation on our farm and change is imperative for growth and to sustain generational family farm operations. We need to have tough conversations and identify where we can collaborate with food industry partners to pave the way for success for American farmers and ranchers in light of the competitive marketplace in which food companies operate.”

As we look ahead, companies on each end of the supply chain will want to stay competitive and continue to seek marketing opportunities to differentiate their products. As this happens, Farm Bureau will continue to foster relationships to help companies make these decisions in a way that also work for farmers.

Dirkes says food companies are now coming to talk to Farm Bureau about sustainability, animal welfare, and labor standards because of the relationships that have been formed and incubated over the past several years. “This is the dream and we hope this continues as we work to amplify the voice of America’s farm and ranch families.” Dirkes said.

Lending and farm program resource guide for veterans released by Center for Rural Affairs

With the average age of a U.S. farmer at nearly 60 years, and millions of acres expected to change hands over the next few years, many Americans are thinking about who the next generation of producers will be. Veterans could step in to fill the need, according to a white paper released today by the Center for Rural Affairs.

“Saluting Service: A Guide to Lending and Farm Program Resources for Veterans,” authored by Cora Fox, highlights the needs of America’s next generation of producers, which includes individuals who served their country and who are now pursuing a second career in agriculture.

“Awareness of U.S. Department of Agriculture farm programs and key provisions, particularly with regard to lending, is important for veterans transitioning from the military to a second career in agriculture,” said Anna Johnson, policy manager with the Center for Rural Affairs. “Veterans must know what programs are available, and how to utilize them to fit the needs of their farming operations.”

The white paper outlines farm programs that specifically target beginning and veteran farmers and ranchers, including Farm Service Agency loan programs and Natural Resources Conservation Service programs. Additionally, the author mentions programs and provisions that were added in the 2018 farm bill to help beginning farmers and ranchers.

“The impact of these programmatic changes is to be determined, but we recognize these changes reflect positive progress toward the removal of barriers for the next generation of producers,” Johnson said.

For more information and to view “Saluting Service: A Guide to Lending and Farm Program Resources for Veterans,” visit

Cowboys to Rally, Call on Trump Administration to Save American Cattle Rancher

Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) is hosting a rally and meeting to call on President Trump and U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Perdue to take action to ensure fair prices for cattle farmers and ranchers. If they fail to take swift action, America’s farmers and ranchers will go broke.

Organizers say, "We’re mad as hell and not gonna take it anymore. Since the repeal of mandatory Country of Origin Labeling for beef and pork in 2015, farmers and ranchers have seen the price they are paid for their cattle continually erode while meatpacking giants get rich. To make matters worse, following an August 2019 fire at a Tyson meatpacking plant, the Big Four meatpackers that control over 80% of the beef market have been gouging farmers and ranchers who now have even fewer options for selling their cattle. This past week, farmers and ranchers were losing over $200 per head while the monopoly meatpackers were making over $400.

"Rural America helped get President Trump elected, and rural America needs the Administration's help. It is time for President Trump and Secretary Perdue to take charge and take action. OCM calls on President Trump and Secretary Perdue to take six actions that they have the power and authority to take without an act of Congress. These actions are in line with the Administration’s priorities to “Buy American” and drain the swamp of corporate monopoly power."

Featured speakers:
    Corbitt Wall, journalist, agriculture market specialist, Cattle Market Summary
    Vaughn Meyer, Organization for Competitive Markets vice president and North Dakota cattle rancher
    Bill Bullard, Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund United Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF USA) Chief Executive Officer
    Wes Shoemyer, Family Farm Action board member and Missouri cattle farmer

The event is sponsored by the Organization for Competitive Markets, R-CALF USA, Family Farm Action, Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska, Ameican Grassfed Association.  It will be on Wednesday, October 2, 2019 from 9:30 AM to 4:00 PM CT at the Ramada Inn Ballroom, 3321 South 72nd Street, Omaha, NE 68124. 

Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) is a membership-based public policy research and advocacy organization headquartered in Lincoln, Nebraska. The mission of OCM is to work for transparent, fair and truly competitive agricultural and food markets.


All layers in Nebraska during August 2019 totaled 9.22 million, up from 7.85 million the previous year, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Nebraska egg production during August totaled 239 million eggs, up from 204 million in 2018. August egg production per 100 layers was 2,587 eggs, compared to 2,599 eggs in 2018.


Iowa egg production during August 2019 was 1.43 billion eggs, up 1 percent from last month and 2 percent from last year, according to the latest Chickens and Eggs report from the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

The average number of all layers on hand during August 2019 was 57.2 million, up slightly last month but down 2 percent from last year. Eggs per 100 layers for August were 2,502, up slightly from last month and up 4 percent from last year.

August Egg Production Up 2 Percent

United States egg production totaled 9.45 billion during August 2019, up 2 percent from last year. Production included 8.25 billion table eggs, and 1.20 billion hatching eggs, of which 1.12 billion were broiler-type and 82.8 million were egg-type. The average number of layers during August 2019 totaled 392 million, up slightly from last year. August egg production per 100 layers was 2,413 eggs, up 1 percent from August 2018.
All layers in the United States on September 1, 2019 totaled 393 million, up slightly from last year. The 393 million layers consisted of 331 million layers producing table or market type eggs, 58.5 million layers producing broiler-type hatching eggs, and 3.29 million layers producing egg-type hatching eggs. Rate of lay per day on September 1, 2019, averaged 77.8 eggs per 100 layers, up 1 percent from September 1, 2018.

Iowa Farm Income Appears Higher, but Farm Values Decline

The “2018 Iowa Farm Costs and Returns” analysis is now available, and despite a slight increase in net farm income last year, farmers saw another year of tight margins and a decrease in total farm assets and net farm worth.

The average accrual net farm income (adjusted for inventory changes and accrued expenses) increased by 6% in 2018, to $58,832.

“It wasn’t a huge increase in income, but at least we didn’t see a decline,” said Alejandro Plastina, assistant professor and extension economist at Iowa State University. “However, the rate of return on assets remains very low, compared to historical averages.”

The average value of total farm assets declined by $147,471 (6%), and the average value of farm net worth declined by $121,876 (7%), according to the report, which is available in the September edition of Ag Decision Maker, a monthly newsletter of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

About 600 farmers provided income and expense data for this year’s report, which is organized through a collaboration of ISU Extension and Outreach and the Iowa Farm Business Association.

Kent Vickre, state coordinator with the Iowa Farm Business Association, said the data definitely reflects farmers’ struggles with profitability.

“I think there are only so many years farmers can kind of borrow from their net worth,” Vickre said.

The average debt to asset ratio remained stable in 2018, at 24%, but is also the highest level since 2009. The average current asset-to-debt ratio increased for the first time since 2012, to 3.14 in 2018, but is still below the 10-year average of 4.21.

In addition to yearly comparisons, the report also compares farms based on total value of gross sales, and by their degree of profitability. The report was limited to farms with sales of $100,000 or more.

Surprisingly, perhaps, is the decline in farm size, with the average farm size declining by 21 acres – the lowest since 2013, to an average farm size of 668 acres.

Vickre said he’s not sure why farms may have decreased in acreage, unless some operators gave up some ground deemed unprofitable. He said it’s also possible some operators were frustrated and did not report their full acreage farmed.

Because the data is delayed by one year, the report does not contain 2019 information. The current year saw severe flooding and planting delays that could delay harvest and reduce yields.

Vickre said crop conditions vary widely across the state in 2019, depending on location, and if and when a crop was planted.

Financial assistance will also play into the profitability of 2019, according to Plastina. Various forms of disaster assistance have already been made available, and farmers are compensating part of their trade war losses with the Market Facilitation Program.

USDA August 2019 Cold Storage Highlights

Total red meat supplies in freezers on August 31, 2019 were up 1 percent from the previous month but down 1 percent from last year. Total pounds of beef in freezers were up 4 percent from the previous month but down 6 percent from last year. Frozen pork supplies were down 1 percent from the previous month but up 4 percent from last year. Stocks of pork bellies were down 14 percent from last month but up 30 percent from last year.

Total frozen poultry supplies on August 31, 2019 were up 4 percent from the previous month but down 5 percent from a year ago. Total stocks of chicken were up 6 percent from the previous month but down 3 percent from last year. Total pounds of turkey in freezers were up 1 percent from last month but down 7 percent from August 31, 2018.

Total natural cheese stocks in refrigerated warehouses on August 31, 2019 were up slightly from the previous month and up slightly from August 31, 2018.  Butter stocks were down 7 percent from last month but up 5 percent from a year ago.

Total frozen fruit stocks on August 31, 2019 were up 12 percent from last month but down 11 percent from a year ago.  Total frozen vegetable stocks were up 21 percent from last month but down 3 percent from a year ago.

USDA Cattle on Feed Report for September

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

The USDA NASS Cattle on Feed report for September was released last Friday. My take on the report is that it is reasonably bullish. The fear and panic that impact cattle markets after the news of the fire at, and temporary closure of, the Tyson Finney County Plant has not much abated over the past 6 weeks. The Cattle on Feed report communicates that the market is adapting to the situation and it appears to me that there is no overwhelming bad news in the report - or other supporting USDA reports.

Cattle on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 head or more head totaled 10.982 million head on September 1, 2019. The inventory was 1.3% below September 1, 2018. This is modestly fewer cattle than were anticipated prior to the report but well within the range of estimates by traders and analysts. Cattle on feed over 90 days and over 120 days were well above last year, and are uncomfortably large, but both appear to be following the typical seasonal declines.

Marketings of fed cattle during August totaled 1.953 million head, 1.5% below 2018. These are strong marketing as the numbers in 2018 was huge. Expectations were for a decrease of 1.7% below the prior year so the marketings were very modestly better than expected but well within the range of expectations. Placements in feedlots during August totaled 1.884 million head, 9 percent above 2018. Pre-report expectations were for placements to be modest and 5.7% below the prior year. Actual placements were more modest than expected and at the low of the range.

Feedlots marketed reasonably aggressively and placed very modestly through August. From the cattlemen's perspective, this is exactly what was needed. We'll see how the futures and cash markets react through the trading week. The weekly Livestock Slaughter reports confirm one of the big concerns: steer and heifer carcass weights have increased 15-20 pound per head over the past 6 weeks. This increase is typical during the late summer, but weights are still below last year and do not appear to have been too exacerbated by the plant closure. Much will be said about packer margins for August and the remainder of 2019. The live-to-cutout spread jumped to just below $500 per head. This is well above the very strong May-June peaks during 2018 that were close to $400 per head. The plants that are open and running are making exceptional money. (As are likely the employees getting paid bonuses and overtime.) Saturday slaughter volumes are rather high and will likely remain so through October. Which reminds me, we still have October to go to get through this beef tonnage.

Grain Barge Movements Up 36% Compared to Last Year

For the week ending Sept. 14, barge grain movements totaled 735,777 tons, a 106% increase from the previous week and 36% more than the same period last year. For the week ending Sept. 14, 473 grain barges moved down river. This is 252 more barges than the previous week. There were 374 grain barges unloaded in New Orleans, 45% fewer than the previous week.

For the week ending Sept. 12, total inspections of grain (corn, wheat, and soybeans) for export from all major U.S. export regions reached 1.60 million metric tons (mmt). Inspections are down 23% from the previous week, down 31% from last year, and 38% below the three-year average.

Total inspections were the lowest since the middle of July, with corn inspections dropping 31% from the previous week and soybeans decreasing 32% for the same period. Wheat inspections, however, were up 11% from the previous week. Mississippi Gulf grain inspections decreased 45% from the past week, while Pacific Northwest inspections increased 40%.

For the week ending Sept. 5, unshipped balances of wheat, corn, and soybeans totaled 21 mmt. This indicates a 40% decrease in outstanding sales, compared to the same time last year. Net corn export sales reached .499 mmt for the beginning of the new marketing year; up significantly from the past week. Net soybean export sales were 1.17 mmt, also up noticeably from the previous week. Net weekly wheat export sales reached .611 mmt, up 96% from the from the previous week.

For the week ending Sept. 12, 30 ocean-going grain vessels were loaded in the Gulf, 9% fewer than the same period last year.

RFA Thanks Lawmakers for Letter to EPA on Restoration of Waived RFS Volumes

The Renewable Fuels Association today thanked a bipartisan group of 25 members of the U.S. House of Representatives for asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to prospectively restore RFS volumes lost to small refinery exemptions.

In a letter to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, the House group also asked the Agency to stop the practice of “rubber-stamping” requests for exemptions, and to update its analysis on the benefits of renewable fuels on greenhouse gas emissions, the farm economy, and transportation fuel markets.

“We appreciate Chairman Peterson and the other members of the Biofuels Caucus for their continued support of American farmers and ethanol producers, and for recognizing EPA’s legal obligation to account for the impact of refinery waivers in determining annual renewable volume obligations,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “These elected leaders understand that the Renewable Fuel Standard is an important tool for economic growth, energy security and greenhouse gas reduction. They also know that for these benefits to be enjoyed, EPA must faithfully enforce the law as written.”

Proposed Rule Would Make Millions Vulnerable to Food Insecurity

A proposed rule to change the eligibility guidelines for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) would erode food security in the United States, according to the Alliance to End Hunger. If the rule is implemented, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that 3.1 million hungry Americans would lose food assistance through SNAP, and more than 500,000 children from affected families would also lose automatic eligibility for free and reduced-price school meals.

As a member of the Alliance to End Hunger, National Farmers Union (NFU) advocates policies that decrease hunger by improving access to safe, nutritious, and affordable food. Because the rule would achieve just the opposite, NFU President Roger Johnson reiterated the Alliance’s earlier opposition and emphasized the importance of the nutrition safety net. 

“Too many Americans don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Last year, about one in nine families experienced food insecurity. That number is still far too high, but it’s at its lowest level in over a decade – thanks in large part to SNAP and other nutrition assistance programs. Though there’s abounding evidence that the nutrition safety net works, this administration seems determined to limit its effectiveness and its reach. This latest proposal would remove one of the last lines of defense and leave millions of Americans – including hundreds of thousands of children - more vulnerable to hunger. We urge USDA to protect this critical program and ensure that all Americans are able to put food on their tables.”

Friday September 20 Cattle on Feed + Ag News


Nebraska feedlots, with capacities of 1,000 or more head, contained 2.16 million cattle on feed on September 1, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This inventory was down 7 percent from last year. Placements during August totaled 445,000 head, down 7 percent from 2018. Fed cattle marketings for the month of August totaled 460,000 head, down 2 percent from last year. Other disappearance during August totaled 15,000 head, up 5,000 head 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 630,000 head on September 1, 2019, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Cattle on Feed report. This was unchanged from August 1, 2019, but down 7 percent from September 1, 2018. Iowa feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head had 480,000 head on feed, down 6 percent from last month and down 8 percent from last year. Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in all Iowa feedlots totaled 1,110,000 head, down 3 percent from last month and down 7 percent from last year.

Placements of cattle and calves in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during August totaled 71,000 head, up 16 percent from July but down 13 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head placed 51,000 head, up 21 percent from July but down 7 percent from last year. Placements for all feedlots in Iowa totaled 122,000 head, up 18 percent from July but down 11 percent from last year.

Marketings of fed cattle from Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during August totaled 69,000 head, down 10 percent from July and down 31 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head marketed 77,000 head, down 17 percent from July but up 5 percent from last year. Marketings for all feedlots in Iowa were 146,000 head, down 14 percent from July and down 16 percent from last year. Other disappearance from all feedlots in Iowa totaled 6,000 head.

United States Cattle on Feed Down 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 11.0 million head on September 1, 2019. The inventory was 1 percent below September 1, 2018.

On Feed by State   (1,000 hd   -   % Sept 1 '18)

Colorado .......:                  930             103               
Iowa .............:                   630              93              
Kansas ..........:                 2,340           101               
Nebraska ......:                 2,160            93              
Texas ............:                 2,730           102               

Placements in feedlots during August totaled 1.88 million head, 9 percent below 2018. Net placements were 1.82 million head. During August, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 385,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 300,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 424,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 440,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 230,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 105,000 head.

Placements by State   (1,000 hd   -   % Aug '18)

Colorado .......:                         170            83           
Iowa .............:                           71            87          
Kansas ..........:                          440            85            
Nebraska ......:                          445            93           
Texas ............:                          435           105          

Marketings of fed cattle during August totaled 1.95 million head, 2 percent below 2018.  Other disappearance totaled 61,000 head during August, 11 percent above 2018.

Marketings by State   (1,000 hd   -   % Aug '18)

Colorado .......:                         205           108            
Iowa .............:                          69            69               
Kansas ..........:                         430           100                
Nebraska ......:                         460            98                
Texas ............:                         450           102             

Crop Residue Exchange Updated and Available for Listings

Mary Drewnoski - NE Extension Beef Systems Specialist

New updates make the Crop Residue Exchange even easier to use to link cattle producers and available grazing resources. Crop producers who have listed residue available for grazing in the past are encouraged to log in and update their listings on the Exchange for the fall and winter grazing season.

Recent updates to the Exchange have expanded its geographical reach to include large portions of the states that surround Nebraska. Crop producers in much of Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, and South Dakota can now list fields they have available for grazing.

Another update allows livestock producers to save their searches and receive an email notification when a crop producer lists something matching their criteria. There is a lot more searching going on than we have listings. If a crop producr creates a new listing, odds are pretty good that in the near future several livestock producers will be receiving an email letting them know about it.

In addition to providing a winter feed resource, grazing corn residue can increase the amount and rate of corn residue breakdown. When grazed at proper stocking rates, small but positive impacts on subsequent crop production after grazing have been observed. University of Nebraska-Lincoln recommendations for establishing corn residue stocking rates are based on 50% utilization of leaves and husks (8 pounds per bushel or 20% of the total corn residue). Some additional corn residue disappears through trampling and wind loss, but there has been no increased erosion risks when only 40% to 50% of the corn residue was removed through grazing.

Getting Started with the Crop Residue Exchange

After establishing a log-in account on the Crop Residue Exchange, producers can draw out the plot of land available for grazing by using an interactive map and entering basic information about the type of residue, fencing situation, water availability, and dates available. They also need to provide their preferred contact information. The land available for grazing can be described as a “Residue Type” (corn, wheat, sorghum, other) or pasture. Pricing can be listed as a cost per acre or a cost per head per day. Livestock producers can search the Crop Residue Exchange database for grazing available within a radius for the location of interest. Livestock producers must be logged in to view the contact information attached to each listing.

The Crop Residue Exchange came online in August 2017. To date 281 registered users have posted 45 listings for grazing. Over 6,000 searches for grazing resources have been conducted on the Exchange and almost 600 views of contact information for available listings have occurred. The Exchange continues to expand in usage as well as features available to better connect livestock producers with forage resources.

Thistle Control in October

Bruce Anderson - NE Extension Forage Specialist

As October starts to arrive, our thoughts naturally turn toward crop harvest, but don't forget this is the optimal timeto control thistles. They can be hard to see at this time, but that means they're small enough to provide for more successful control.

Timing is everything. That's particularly true with thistle control and the time from October to early November is one of the best times to use herbicides.

Walk out into areas where you know you had thistles this year. Look close and you're likely to find many thistle seedlings. Most thistle seedlings this fall will be small, in a flat rosette growth form. At this growth stage they are very sensitive to certain herbicides.

Several herbicides are effective and recommended for thistle control.  Several newer herbicides like ForeFront, Milestone, and Chaparral work very well.  Two other very effective herbicides are Tordon 22K and Grazon.  Be careful with all these herbicides, but especially Tordon and Grazon, since they also can kill woody plants, including trees you might want to keep.  Applications of 2,4-D work well while it’s warm, but you will get better thistle control by using a little less 2,4-D and adding a small amount of dicamba to the mix.

Other herbicides such as Redeem, Cimarron, and Curtail also can control thistles in pastures. No matter which weed killer you use, though, be sure to read and follow label instructions and spray on time.  

Next year, avoid overgrazing your pastures so your grass stands get thicker and compete with any new weeds or thistle seedlings.

Controlling thistle this fall can help provide a clearner pasture next spring.

Nebraska State Grange Annual Session 2019

The Nebraska State Grange held their 131st Annual Session at the Ramada Inn in Grand Island, NE September 13-15.  Roger Steele, Mayor of Grand Island, welcomed our group on Saturday morning. State Grange President Kevin Cooksley read the letter of greeting that National Grange President, Betsy Huber sent to the Nebraska State Grange.

Shannon Cooksley, Weissert Ne., presented the Grange Deaf Awareness Scholarship to Mira Liebig from Columbus, NE. Mira is presently attending UNL and pursuing a degree in Deaf Education.

Walt Dietz, from Broken Bow, NE was reelected to the Nebraska State Grange Executive Committee.

State Grange President, Kevin Cooksley Weissert NE, in his report, mentioned that the Grange again participated in the efforts to bring about much needed property tax relief through the actions of the coalition we belong to (Nebraskans United). In last year's legislative session our group's efforts fell short, due mostly to the opposition by the Governor, of our revenue-production plan.  The politicians say they want property tax relief, but most will not consent to increasing state revenue in order to offset property tax cuts. The Nebraskans United coalition has been making adjustments to their plan, and will be making another effort at property tax relief in the upcoming legislative session.

Resolutions adopted included:

1. Pressuring the USDA to become more proactive in assuming its role in the current agricultural environment. This pertains particularly to the CFTC and its role in Futures Trading, and the UDSA Monthly Reports.

2. Forcing the EPA to follow the federal law so as to ensure that the full amount of ethanol mandated by law to be blended with gasoline be met.

3. Requiring that all Halal products having the Halal logo be labeled in such a way that is truthful and easily recognizable, so that customers can make an informed purchasing decision and know that some proceeds from certification is being used to fund various Muslim groups.

Vernon Waldren, of Omaha was named the recipient of the 2019 Nebraska State Grange Distinguished Service Award.  “For his service to Nebraska farm and ranch families and 4-H youth through his leadership in the Extension Service, for bridging the divide and uniting the efforts between rural and urban patrons”. Vernon was also inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame in 2018.

The 2020 State Session will return to Grand Island.

Free Ag Law and Farm Finance Clinics this October

Free legal and financial clinics are being offered for farmers and ranchers at seven sites across the state in October. 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.

Clinic Sites and Dates
    Norfolk — Wednesday, October 2
    Grand Island — Thursday, October 3
    North Platte — Thursday, October 10
    Lexington — Thursday, October 17
    Fairbury — Wednesday, October 23
    Valentine — Tuesday, October 29
    Norfolk — Wednesday, October 30

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, Legal Aid of Nebraska, North Central Extension Risk Management Education Center, and the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Siouxland Agricultural Lenders Seminar Nov. 7 near Orange City

Agricultural lenders will receive useful, research-based information during the Siouxland Agricultural Lender’s Seminar Nov. 7 at The Triple Box, near Orange City.

The seminar will present current information to assist lenders and farm financial advisers in their portfolio management, which is especially important in this era of continued market variability.

Lenders who serve agricultural clients – especially those who work with dairy producers – in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota are encouraged to attend, as the seminar will focus on market outlooks for livestock, grains and dairy, along with the issues of farm technology, new record data and reporting, plus tax laws affecting agriculture.

“Ag lenders know that price risk management continues to be a major variable for profitability in ag enterprises,” said Fred Hall, northwest Iowa dairy specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. “For that reason, understanding the current market trends and risks is a necessary part of farm management assistance. Lenders and consultants working with dairymen have the additional necessity of understanding a complex system of milk marketing, labor inputs and federal policy implications.”

Seminar presentations and registration
On-site registration begins at 8:45 a.m. and the forum runs from 9 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. The list of nationally recognized presenters includes:
-    Doug Johnson, Moody’s Analytics: “Convergence of the Big Three in Agriculture: Ag Economy, Ag Technology and Ag Experience.”
-    Nathan Hulinksy, University of Minnesota: “Combining FINBIN and DHIA Data to Predict Expansion Success.”
-    Mark Stephenson, University of Wisconsin-Madison: “Dairy Market Outlook.”
-    Chad Hart, associate professor in economics and extension grain markets specialist with Iowa State University: “Agriculture Market Outlook.”
-    Tom Thaden, Iowa Farm Business Association: “Agriculture Tax Law Changes.”
-    Gary Vande Vegte, CPA, CMA, Van Bruggen & Vande Vegte CPAs and Financial Advisors: “How Dairies are Ramping Up Their Financial Reporting.”

The Siouxland Ag Lenders Seminar is hosted through a partnership between the ISU Extension and Outreach Dairy Team, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation and the Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota Bankers Associations.

“This local seminar has proven itself in assisting Siouxland lenders and financial advisors with current information, which they can use as they help producers manage risk,” Hall said.

Registration is $85 for the first person from a business, and $60 for each additional person who has registered by Oct. 25. To register, use the online registration form  or download the flyer with mail-in form. After Oct. 25, all registrations, including at the door, will be $100 and will not guarantee lunch. For more information, contact Fred Hall at 712-737-4230 or 

The Triple Box is located at 4758 Ironwood Ave., Orange City, Iowa.  Here is the link for more information...


On Thursday, the House approved a stopgap funding bill to keep the government funded through Nov. 21. Contained in that bill is flexibility on the $30 billion Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), which funds the Market Facilitation Program, or trade aid, for farmers in response to trade retaliation.

Some lawmakers, including House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), sought to not include extension of the CCC funds in the short-term funding, calling for increased transparency on the program. As a compromise, language was included directing USDA to send information to Congress on CCC expenditures, including calculations for estimating trade dispute-related damage to farmers.

The Senate is expected to approve the overall funding measure next week.

US Ethanol Plant Run Rate at 93.8% YTD

The utilization rate of U.S. ethanol plants averaged 93.8% in 2019 through mid-September, with the June-to-August run rate at 95.6% of capacity.

The run rate is based off 1.1 million barrels per day (bpd) in installed capacity as of Jan. 1 reported by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, reflecting a 2%, or 300 million gallon, year-on-year increase in 2018 to 16.9 billion gallons. In 2018, ethanol production capacity expanded by more than 700 million gallons.

In its Fuel Ethanol Plant Production Capacity report, EIA data showed nameplate capacity in the Midwest PADD 2 jumped almost 3%, or more than 400 gallons a year in 2018 to 15.5 billion gallons.


On Monday, President Trump sent a letter to Congress, saying his administration "has reached an initial trade agreement regarding tariff barriers with Japan" and intends to enter into the agreement in the coming weeks. Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Abe may sign a trade agreement at next week's United Nations meeting in New York. An agreement in principle was announced on Aug. 25 at the G7 summit in France.

The National Pork Proudcers Council, a leading advocate for the agreement, celebrated the deal that, once implemented, will place it back on a level playing field with international competitors in a critical export market. U.S. pork producers had been losing market share in Japan because international competitors entered into trade agreements with the country, including the EU and the CPTPP. Japan is the largest value market and the second volume market for U.S. pork exports.

Dr. Dermot Hayes, an economist at Iowa State University, estimates exports to Japan will grow from $1.6 billion in 2018 to more than $2.2 billion over the next 15 years as a result of the United States pork industry getting market access in Japan as favorable as its competitors.


In a letter sent Friday, NPPC urged U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue to work with Jamaica for greater U.S. pork market access. "U.S. pork is exported to over 100 nations in any given year and the U.S. typically is the world's largest exporter of pork, but the barriers in Jamaica prohibit virtually all U.S. pork," the letter explained, noting that Jamaica imposes restrictions based on unwarranted claims about the pseudorabies virus (PRV).

The U.S. hog herd has been free of PRV since 2003, and there is no scientific evidence to support Jamaica's claim that the disease can be transmitted to hogs through raw pork. No other country imposes PRV-related import restrictions on U.S. pork, the letter noted.

"President Trump has called for reciprocity in our trading relationships. We strongly agree. We find it infuriating that Jamaica, the second-largest recipient of benefits from the Caribbean Basin Initiative program, continues to stonewall the United States on this matter. We urge you to break the logjam and open the Jamaican market to U.S. pork," the letter added.


U.S. and Indian officials continue discussions on a possible trade deal. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer's team is aiming to conclude negotiations about a preliminary agreement by the end of this week. On Sunday, Sept. 22, President Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will participate in a public event in Houston, aimed at discussing ways to deepen their energy and trade relationship. Meantime, the two world leaders will be together at next week's United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Earlier this week, 44 members of Congress urged Lighthizer to restore trade concessions to India. In June, President Trump terminated India's participation in the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program, which provides developing countries beneficial access to the U.S. market. India has a population of 1.26 billion and the potential market opportunity of a trade agreement with India would be significant for U.S. agriculture.

Secretary Perdue Statement on Administrative Actions to Streamline H-2A Process

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued the following statement highlighting actions announced by the Department of Labor (DOL) which will modernize the burdensome H2A visa process. First, DOL published a common-sense rule that eliminates the requirement to advertise a job opening in print newspapers instead shifting to advertising on the DOL and State Workforce Agency websites, which are further reaching and more cost effective. Also, DOL’s Office of Foreign Labor Certification announced updates to the pertinent H-2A forms and online filing process for the H-2A temporary agricultural program. These two actions will ease regulatory burdens on our farmers and ranchers, making it easier for them to follow the law and hire farm workers through the H-2A program.

“Both of these actions by DOL are critical changes the Administration is making to improve the H-2A application process,” Secretary Perdue said. “President Trump is committed to ensuring our farmers and producers have access to a stable, legal agricultural workforce. By streamlining these processes, DOL is bringing the H-2A process into the 21st Century allowing farmers to be able to better and cost-effectively advertise for workers they need and fill out the required forms faster and more efficiently, because no one should have to hire a lawyer to hire a farm worker. I commend President Trump for his continued support of America’s farmers, ranchers and producers.”

In addition to making it easier for Americans to find and fill open jobs, the Final Rule will reduce regulatory burdens like the requirement that all employers advertise in a print newspaper of general circulation in the area of intended employment as the method of recruitment. Department of Labor’s system updates increase ease of use for farmers and producers who apply for H-2A employees. As any employer knows, hiring forms, applications and rules are cumbersome, time intensive, and duplicative that lack flexibility and common sense. These changes demonstrate the Trump Administration’s commitment to releasing the regulatory burden from our agricultural producers, making it easier for them to hire a stable and legal workforce. The more time a farmer spends on paperwork, the less productive they are, hurting their business and way of life.

DOL’s new labor application process modernizes two forms by making them electronic forms, removing time intensive paper applications that require delivery via mailing. The Department of Labor will continue to accept online submissions of the current Form ETA-9142A (and job orders uploaded using the current Form ETA-790, Agricultural and Food Processing Clearance Order) through the iCERT System until October 16, 2019. Beginning October 1, an employer seeking to employ emergency, H-2A workers or those starting on or after December 15, 2019 must submit a job order using the new form ETA-790/790A (and corresponding addendums) and an H-2A application using the new form ETA-9142A (and corresponding appendices) in the FLAG System.For more information, visit DOL’sForeign Labor Application Gateway(FLAG) page.

DOL’s Electronic Recruitment Rule rescinds the requirements to advertise a job opening in the newspaper, expands and enhances electronic job register, and utilizes State Workforce Agencies to promote job openings.

Thursday September 19 Ag News

Northeast Nexus campaign receives $250,000 contribution from CVA

One of the Midwest’s largest farmer-owned cooperatives has announced a donation to the Nexus campaign to improve agriculture facilities at Northeast Community College.

Central Valley Ag (CVA) President and CEO Carl Dickinson said the cooperative board of directors has approved a $250,000 investment in the Agriculture and Water Center of Excellence at Northeast.

“Having a college in our community that’s drawing from the right type of people with rural backgrounds, getting them trained up and getting them started and bringing them to us is vital,” Dickinson said. “Not everyone needs a four-year degree,” he continued. “We need people that are trained in trades. We’ve been extremely happy with the students we’re getting out of Northeast.”

CVA, headquartered in York, is a farmer-owned cooperative with locations in Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska. It provides products and services in grain, agronomy, feed, and energy. CVA has more than 900 employees at its 72 locations, and Dickinson says approximately 20 percent of them were trained at Northeast Community College.

“All of the students that come out of Northeast today come more advanced,” said Chris Carlson, of Wausa, CVA director of sales and a 1997 Northeast graduate. “They’re ready to hit the field. They’ve got a jumpstart on other individuals. They’re more prepared and have a better idea of what’s happening in agriculture today.”

Ed Burbach, of Randolph, the fertilizer operations lead for CVA and a 2013 Northeast graduate, said, “If you are looking to be in agriculture, Northeast is the place to go – and CVA is looking to hire.”

Dr. Tracy Kruse, associate vice president of development and external affairs at Northeast and the executive director of the College Foundation, said CVA has joined a growing list of companies and agriculture organizations investing in the future of agriculture at Northeast.

“CVA is a long-time partner on the College farm,” Kruse said. “They interact with students, bringing real world knowledge to the classroom and the farm field.”

CVA also provides paid internships for many Northeast ag students, Kruse explained.

Funding for the $23 million Agriculture & Water Center for Excellence project is currently being solicited to enhance and expand the agriculture facilities at Northeast Community College.

In addition to the College’s commitment of $10 million, Northeast is seeking at least $13 million in private funds to begin the initial phase of construction, which includes a new farm site with a farm office and storage, a large animal handling facility and other farm structures for livestock operations, and a new veterinary technology clinic and classrooms. The new facilities will be located near the Chuck M. Pohlman Agriculture Complex on E. Benjamin Ave. in Norfolk.

In August, the Acklie Charitable Foundation (ACF) announced a $5 million lead gift to the Nexus project. ACF was founded by the late Duane Acklie and Phyllis Acklie, both Madison County natives and graduates of Norfolk Junior College, a predecessor institution of Northeast Community College.

September Rural Mainstreet Index Bounces Back Above Growth Neutral:  Four of 10 Bankers Report Recessionary Conditions

The Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI) for September climbed above growth neutral according to the monthly survey of bank CEOs in rural areas of a 10-state region dependent on agriculture and/or energy.     

Overall: The overall index rose to 50.1 from 46.5 in August. This marks the third time in the past five months that the overall index has risen above growth neutral.

The trade war with China and the lack of passage of the USMCA (NAFTA’s replacement) are driving confidence and growth lower for most areas of the region.

“Despite a $16 billion federal government support package this year and somewhat stronger grain prices, more than four in 10 bankers are reporting that their local economy is in a recession,” said Ernie Goss, PhD, Jack A. MacAllister Chair in Regional Economics at Creighton University’s Heider College of Business. 

As reported by Dale L. Leighty, chairman and CEO at First National Bank of Las Animas, Colorado, “Grain prices are (still) a big negative for our customers.”

Farming and ranching: The farmland and ranchland-price index for September slumped to a weak 43.1 from August’s 46.3. This is the 70th straight month the index has remained below growth neutral 50.0. 

The September farm equipment-sales index improved to 35.9 from August’s 30.3. This marks the 73rd month that reading has remained below growth neutral 50.0. “This month bank CEOs were asked to project farm equipment sales in their area. On average bankers expected farm equipment sales to decline by another 7.4% in the next 12 months,” said Goss.

Below are the state reports:

Nebraska: The Nebraska RMI for September rose to 47.6 from August’s 44.4. The state’s farmland-price index slipped to 42.3 from last month’s 43.5. Nebraska’s new-hiring index slumped to 45.2 from August’s 46.8. Over the past 12 months rural areas in Nebraska have lost jobs at a rate of minus 1.4% compared to a stronger 1.6% for urban areas of the state.   Jim Stanosheck, CEO of State Bank in Odell, said, “It doesn't look like Trump's tariffs are going to save the ag economy.”

Iowa: The September RMI for Iowa increased to 48.7 from August’s 46.2. Iowa’s farmland-price index improved to 47.4 from August’s 46.1. Iowa’s new-hiring index for September expanded to 55.5 from 51.8 in August. Over the past 12 months rural areas in Iowa have experienced job additions with a gain of 0.4% compared to a much stronger increase of 1.4% for urban areas of the state.

Each month, community bank presidents and CEOs in nonurban agriculturally and energy-dependent portions of a 10-state area are surveyed regarding current economic conditions in their communities and their projected economic outlooks six months down the road. Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming are included.  

This survey represents an early snapshot of the economy of rural agriculturally and energy-dependent portions of the nation. The Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI) is a unique index covering 10 regional states, focusing on approximately 200 rural communities with an average population of 1,300. It gives the most current real-time analysis of the rural economy. Goss and Bill McQuillan, former chairman of the Independent Community Banks of America, created the monthly economic survey in 2005.

August Red Meat Production Down from Last Year

Commercial red meat production for the United States totaled 4.65 billion pounds in August, down 2 percent from the 4.77 billion pounds produced in August 2018.

Prod by State  (mil. lbs.    -    % Aug '18)

Nebraska .....:     739.1            100 
Iowa ............:     723.5            106      
Kansas .........:     462.7             87      

Beef production, at 2.37 billion pounds, was 2 percent below the previous year. Cattle slaughter totaled 2.93 million head, down 2 percent from August 2018. The average live weight was down 6 pounds from the previous year, at 1,338 pounds.

Veal production totaled 6.0 million pounds, 9 percent below August a year ago. Calf slaughter totaled 50,900 head, down 3 percent from August 2018. The average live weight was down 11 pounds from last year, at 205 pounds.

Pork production totaled 2.26 billion pounds, down 3 percent from the previous year. Hog slaughter totaled 10.9 million head, down 3 percent from August 2018. The average live weight was up 1 pound from the previous year, at 279 pounds.

Lamb and mutton production, at 12.6 million pounds, was down 6 percent from August 2018. Sheep slaughter totaled 201,500 head, 2 percent below last year. The average live weight was 126 pounds, down 5 pounds from August a year ago.

January to August 2019 commercial red meat production was 36.0 billion pounds, up 2 percent from 2018. Accumulated beef production was up 1 percent from last year, veal was down 2 percent, pork was up 4 percent from last year, and lamb and mutton production was down 1 percent.

Iowa grocery shoppers strongly support real meat over imitation meat

For the 6th consecutive year, the Iowa Farm Bureau Food and Farm Index® finds that Iowans have a strong affinity for meat and dairy products with more than 9 in 10 (99 percent) saying their households eat meat, eggs or dairy at least weekly. Additionally, only a minority of Iowa grocery shoppers would be likely to buy imitation meat over the real thing, even if presented the opportunity.

The 6th annual survey, conducted online by The Harris Poll, among 502 Iowans ages 20 to 60, with primary or shared household grocery shopping responsibilities, shows which choices and issues may be motivating them to make their food purchasing decisions.

Although plant-based imitation meat options have grown over the years, 94 percent of shoppers still feel real meat is a healthy option, compared to 74 percent who say the same of plant-based imitation meat. Nearly three-fourths (73 percent) of Iowa grocery shoppers say they would not be likely to buy plant-based imitation meat over real meat and two-thirds (68 percent) of respondents don’t think plant-based imitation meat should be able to use “meat” on its label.  After learning more information about the benefits of animal protein in the human diet, three-quarters (72 percent) of grocery shoppers say they are likely to eat even more meat, eggs, and dairy.

That news comes as no surprise to Iowa State University food scientist, Ruth MacDonald, RD, PhD. “Animal protein continues to be important because it is a high-quality or ‘complete’ protein containing all the essential amino acids. Pork, for example, contains one of the highest amounts of protein per serving and provides needed minerals like selenium, zinc, and iron and vitamins B12, B6, thiamin and niacin,” says MacDonald, chair of the ISU Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition.

The strong consumption of Iowa meat, milk and eggs has remained consistent over the last six years of the survey.  More than 8 in 10 grocery shoppers say their households eat beef (86 percent), chicken (83 percent), or eggs (84 percent) at least weekly, 6 in 10 (59 percent) eat pork at least weekly, and more than 9 in 10 (97 percent) consume dairy – cheese (93 percent), milk (87 percent), or yogurt (58 percent) at least weekly.  

The survey also indicates that a small minority of shoppers showing an interest in imitation meat is due to perceived environmental impact. Among those likely to purchase plant-based imitation meat, only a third (34 percent) say this is due to environmental impact. Dr. Frank Mitloehner, an animal science professor at UC Davis, challenges the misinformation about the carbon footprint of livestock in the United States.

“According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which looks at emissions for the U.S. across all sectors of society including transportation, power production and use, and agriculture, 30 percent of all greenhouse gases are due to electricity production and use, followed by transportation at about 27 percent, and animal agriculture at less than 4 percent,” says Mitloehner. “So all of livestock in the United States accounts for 4 percent.”  Additionally, the National Academies of Sciences found that eliminating all livestock in the U.S. would only reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2.6 percent.

Iowans Trust Farmers to Care for the Land, Animals and Trusted Source on Food Safety

The survey also shows more than 9 in 10 (92 percent) of Iowa grocery shoppers continue to place trust in Iowa farmers.  Nearly 9 in 10 (87 percent) are confident that Iowa farmers care for their animals responsibly. More than three-quarters (78 percent) say they are confident that Iowa farmers care for the environment responsibly, and 71 percent say they are confident that Iowa farmers are taking on the challenge of improving water quality.

Support for GMOs

The Iowa Farm Bureau Food and Farm Index® again shows positive sentiment towards GMOs with nearly 7 in 10 (69 percent) saying they will continue to eat food they normally do knowing it contains GMOs.  Large majorities of Iowa grocery shoppers say certain GMO benefits would influence their decision to purchase GMO foods: produce food with better nutritional value (74 percent), help feed more people around the world (72 percent), use less herbicide and other pesticides (71 percent), produce food that is scientifically proven over 20 years to be as safe as food produced from conventional and organic crops (66 percent), produce food with better texture or flavor (64 percent), produce better yields to make more efficient use of land (63 percent), and produce food with longer shelf life, to reduce food waste (60 percent).


The July 11-July 25, 2019, Iowa Farm Bureau Food and Farm Index® was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of the IFBF among 502 adults aged 20-60, residing in Iowa who have primary or shared responsibility for household grocery shopping. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

Former Agriculture Secretaries Announce Support for USMCA

Today, all former U.S. Secretaries of Agriculture since President Reagan’s Administration announced support for the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). In a letter to Congressional leaders, former Secretaries John Block (Reagan), Mike Espy (Clinton), Dan Glickman (Clinton), Ann Veneman (W. Bush), Mike Johanns (W. Bush), Ed Shafer (W. Bush), and Tom Vilsack (Obama) underscored the importance of passing USMCA saying, “We need a strong and reliable trade deal with our top two customers for U.S. agriculture products. USMCA will provide certainty in the North American market for the U.S. farm sector and rural economy. We strongly support ratification of USMCA.” Following the announcement, Secretary Perdue issued this statement:

“President Trump has fulfilled a promise, which many said couldn’t be done, to renegotiate NAFTA and improve the standing of the entire American economy, including the agriculture sector,” said Secretary Perdue. “Support for USMCA crosses all political parties, specifically when it comes to the agriculture community, and I am proud to stand side by side with former agriculture secretaries who agree USMCA is good news for American farmers. I commend President Trump and Ambassador Lighthizer, for their perseverance, leadership, and hard work to get USMCA across the finish line.”

Former Secretaries Vilsack, Glickman, and Block joined Secretary Perdue at USDA today for a press conference to reiterate their support for USMCA. You may watch the press conference by visiting the USDA Facebook page.

To see the letter from Secretaries John Block (Reagan), Mike Espy (Clinton), Dan Glickman (Clinton), Ann Veneman (W. Bush), Mike Johanns (W. Bush), Ed Shafer (W. Bush), and Tom Vilsack (Obama) to Congressional leadership, view the USDA Former Secretaries USMCA Letter.


USMCA will advance United States agricultural interests in two of the most important markets for American farmers, ranchers, and agribusinesses. This high-standard agreement builds upon our existing markets to expand United States food and agricultural exports and support food processing and rural jobs.

Canada and Mexico are our first and second largest export markets for United States food and agricultural products, totaling more than $39.7 billion food and agricultural exports in 2018. These exports support more than 325,000 American jobs.

All food and agricultural products that have zero tariffs under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) will remain at zero tariffs. Since the original NAFTA did not eliminate all tariffs on agricultural trade between the United States and Canada, the USMCA will create new market access opportunities for United States exports to Canada of dairy, poultry, and eggs, and in exchange the United States will provide new access to Canada for some dairy, peanut, and a limited amount of sugar and sugar-containing products.

Key Provision: Increasing Dairy Market Access
    America’s dairy farmers will have expanded market opportunities in Canada for a wide variety of dairy products. Canada agreed to eliminate the unfair Class 6 and 7 milk pricing programs that allowed their farmers to undersell U.S. producers.

Key Provision: Biotechnology
    For the first time, the agreement specifically addresses agricultural biotechnology – including new technologies such as gene editing – to support innovation and reduce trade-distorting policies.

Key Provision: Geographical Indications
    The agreement institutes a more rigorous process for establishing geographical indicators and lays out additional factors to be considered in determining whether a term is a common name.

Key Provision: Sanitary/Phytosanitary Measures
    The three countries agree to strengthen disciplines for science-based measures that protect human, animal, and plant health while improving the flow of trade.

Key Provision: Poultry and Eggs
    U.S. poultry producers will have expanded access to Canada for chicken, turkey, and eggs.

Key Provision: Wheat
    Canada agrees to terminate its discriminatory wheat grading system, enabling U.S. growers to be more competitive.

Key Provision: Wine and Spirits
    The three countries agree to avoid technical barriers to trade through non-discrimination and transparency regarding sale, distribution, labeling, and certification of wine and distilled spirits.

More Time Provided for Dairy Producers to Enroll in DMC Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today extended the deadline to September 27 for dairy producers to enroll in the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program for 2019. The deadline had been September 20.

Authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill and available through USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), the program 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.

“More than 21,200 dairy operations have already signed up for DMC, but we’re providing an additional week to help ensure interested producers have time to come into the office,” said Bill Northey, USDA Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation. “With smaller margins and increased feed costs, DMC has resulted in almost $230 million in payments disbursed. I know that some farmers may still be cautious given their experiences with former dairy support programs, but producers who have not signed up yet should come into a local office to learn how much money the program can put into their pockets.”

Almost half of the producers who have signed up so far are taking advantage of the 25 percent premium discount by locking in for five years of margin protection coverage. FSA has launched a new web visualization of the DMC data, which is available here.

Margin payments have triggered for each month from January through July. Dairy producers who elect higher coverage levels could be eligible for payments for all seven months. Under certain levels, the amount paid to dairy farmers will exceed the cost of the premium.

For example, a dairy operation that chooses to enroll for 2019 with an established production history of 3 million pounds (30,000 cwt.) and elects the $9.50 coverage level on 95 percent of production will pay $4,275 in total premium payments for all of 2019 and receive $15,437.50 in DMC payments for all margin payments announced to date. Additional payments will be made if calculated margins remain below the $9.50/cwt. level for any remaining months of 2019.

“My message to those dairy producers who are hurting out there: Don’t leave this kind of financial assistance on the table,” said Northey, who announced the deadline extension today as part of a hearing in front of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture. “Producers across the country have told us that DMC is a great risk management tool that works well, and it can work for you, too.”

NMPF Urges Dairy Farmers to Take Advantage of Dairy Margin Coverage Signup Extension

The National Milk Producers Federation is urging farmers to take advantage of a one-week extension in the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program signup deadline to Sept. 27, announced by USDA today.

“Dairy farmers have much to gain by signing up for this program, and another week to take advantage of this benefit can be nothing but helpful for them,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “We urge producers to take advantage of this added opportunity to sign up.”

The USDA said Thursday that more than 21,000 dairy farms have signed up for the new program, the main risk-protection tool for dairy farmers enacted in the 2018 Farm Bill, nearing the level that participated last year in the Margin Protection Program, which DMC replaced. DMC is guaranteed to pay all producers enrolled at the maximum $9.50/cwt. coverage level for every month of production through July, according to USDA data. DMC improvements from the MPP include:
-    Affordable higher coverage levels that permit all dairy producers to insure margins up to $9.50/cwt. on their Tier 1 (first five million pounds) production history, a higher level than previous programs.
-    A 25 percent premium discount for farmers who lock in coverage for the full five years of the program.
-    Affordable $5.00 coverage that lowers premium costs by roughly 88 percent. This creates more meaningful catastrophic-type coverage at a reasonable cost for larger producers without distorting the market signals needed to balance supply with demand.
-    An improved feed-cost formula to better reflect the true cost of feeding dairy cows.

Peterson Credits House Democratic Leadership for Resolving Trade Aid Issue within Continuing Resolution

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson of Minnesota issued a statement Wednesday thanking House Democratic leadership for resolving outstanding issues related to funding available through the Commodity Credit Corporation to aid farmers impacted by the Administration’s ongoing trade war.

“Thanks to the Speaker and the rest of House Democratic leadership for ensuring that farmers can have the certainty this assistance will continue. The call for more transparency in this program is a good one, and I appreciate their willingness to ensure that help gets out the door in a timely manner to the farmers who need it, while at the same time enabling the taxpayer to see where those funds are going.”

Conaway Commends Republican Leaders for Stopping Democrats from Imposing Devastating Cuts to Farmers, Ranchers, Rural America

House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member K. Michael Conaway (TX-11) made the following statement concerning legislation released yesterday evening to keep the government open and requiring that USDA’s CCC be replenished, just as Republicans and a handful of Democrats demanded:

“It’s ironic that as news was released about the budget deal some are implying that House Democratic leadership is somehow to be thanked, apparently for failing to follow through on the threat to do serious harm to rural America. That’s akin to Texans thanking Santa Anna for making Texas a Republic. The good news is the Democrats failed in their effort to use our hard-working farm and ranch families as pawns in their obsessive vendetta against the president."

CHS expands soybean crush and production capacity

CHS Inc. today announced plans for a significant renovation at its Fairmont, Minn., soybean processing plant. The expansion will increase market access for regional soybean growers and return value to its owners through increased production of high-demand soy-based food and feed ingredients.

"CHS is always looking for ways to expand market access for farmers' crops and improve operational efficiencies. This renovation project will deliver value on several fronts," says Scott Erdal, director, risk management and business development. "The processing expansion and improvements will allow CHS to grow market access, add value to our owners, capitalize on consumer demand for protein and ensure continued safe operations for our employees and the communities where CHS does business."

The operational and safety improvements will increase the Fairmont plant's soybean crush and soybean oil production capacity, enhance product quality and optimize production at the CHS soybean refinery at Mankato, Minn.

Soybeans grown by area farmers are processed into oil at the Fairmont facility and transported to the Mankato processing plant for further refining. CHS Processing and Food Ingredients serves food and feed ingredient companies across the U.S. and many export destinations.

"Regional livestock expansion has created new demand for quality soybean meal. This project will increase crush capacity at Fairmont and help us optimize our Mankato soy crush and refining platform," Erdal says.

Construction is underway, and completion is expected by fall 2021.

Farm Foundation Announces New President and CEO

Farm Foundation is pleased to announce that Shari Rogge-Fidler will be joining the organization as president and CEO. Rogge-Fidler brings a breadth of executive, academic and managerial experience in production agriculture, business management, national and international finance, conservation and soil health issues. These skills align well with the varied and important work of the Farm Foundation. "We are very excited to have Shari join the Farm Foundation in this leadership role," says Farm Foundation Board of Directors Chair Larkin Martin. "Her track record of strong leadership, combined with her deep agricultural knowledge makes Shari uniquely qualified to lead the Farm Foundation into the future."

Rogge-Fidler is a fifth-generation farm owner from Nebraska, who began her career in London in financial services and then with the Boston Consulting Group. She and her family launched and grew a branded gourmet organic food company, where she was vice president of sales and marketing. She was president of Cambium Strategies, LLC, a company focused on helping food and agriculture organizations navigate secondary growth. At Cambium Strategies, she led diverse teams working on projects with ag-tech firms, as well as a multi-crop supply chain project in Ethiopia and a soil health strategy for large global NGOs. She was also interim CEO at Applied GeoSolutions, LLC, focusing on commercializing its geospatial decision tools for agriculture and soil health purposes. Most recently, Rogge-Fidler was CEO of Family Farms, LLC, serving approximately 1,000 farms across the U.S. and Canada.

"I'm thrilled to be joining the Farm Foundation," says Rogge-Fidler. "I have a real passion for food and agriculture. I look forward to the opportunity to help Farm Foundation grow-and to join an organization that does important work in the agriculture and food sectors, convening diverse groups of experts to work on important issues facing a wide variety of stakeholders."

Rogge-Fidler received her MBA from Harvard Business School and her Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from the University of Kansas, with an emphasis on international finance. She will assume the Farm Foundation role on Sept. 30 and will be based out of the Chicago office.

"Shari is a talented executive and thoughtful leader. It's exciting to have someone with her wide range of experiences joining the Farm Foundation team. We look forward to a bright future for the organization under her leadership," says Martin.

New Study Stresses Ethanol’s Benefits for Energy Security

A new study shows that the Renewable Fuel Standard not only saves drivers money at the gas pump every day, but also enhances energy security by greatly reducing or even eliminating the blow to our nation’s drivers when global oil production is disrupted. The analysis confirms that the growing supply of ethanol significantly helps dampen gasoline price shocks that result from sudden oil market disruptions. If renewable fuels were removed from the fuel supply, gas prices would be more than $1 per gallon higher, the study found.

With gas prices now rising because of the recent attacks on Saudi oilfields, this research is especially relevant today, noted Geoff Cooper, President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association.

“This research underscores what should be common sense: We need a diverse domestic fuel supply for real U.S. energy security,” Cooper said. “We can avoid unnecessary price spikes at the pump by incorporating more renewable fuels into the nation’s fuel supply and ensuring that healthy competition exists in the marketplace.”

The study, by independent economist and energy expert Dr. Philip K. Verleger, Jr., looks at oil market disruptions over nearly 50 years and provides an example in which the availability of ethanol avoids a significant impact to U.S. gasoline prices from a supply disruption.

“Retail prices would today be above $4 per gallon, not $2.90, were renewable supplies removed from the supply mix,” Verleger writes. “The lower gasoline prices, in turn, allowed consumers to spend more on the things they wanted rather than motor fuels. ... The economic benefit of lower gasoline prices that is directly attributable to the availability of renewable fuels adds one to two percentage points to the U.S. GDP every year.”

Dr. Verleger catalogs various crises and their impacts on the oil supply, from the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo to ongoing political and economic challenges in Venezuela. This week’s attack on Saudi Arabia, which took place after this report was prepared, are estimated to affect 5 percent of the daily global oil supply. When it comes to crises such as these, Verleger asserts that even “a modest amount of renewable fuels can significantly moderate the price impact of market disruptions.”

The study incorporates and builds upon a May report by Dr. Verleger that found the RFS lowered gas prices by an average of 22 cents per gallon from 2015-2018, saving the typical American household $250 annually.

Finally, Verleger looks at how the competition in the fuel marketing sector, together with the availability of renewable fuels, acts as a counterbalance to the impact of refinery consolidation on supply and pricing. “Consumers would likely pay even higher prices if the mergers that created the large oligopolistic independent refiners had not been accompanied by a second trend: the creation of an aggressive, competitive petroleum marketing sector,” Verleger writes.

Taiwan Goodwill Mission Signs Letter of Intent for U.S. Wheat Purchases

Representatives from the Taiwan Flour Millers Association (TFMA) signed letters of intent to purchase wheat and other U.S. grown commodities over the next two years Sept. 18, 2019, at the U.S. Capitol. The millers are part of a biennial Taiwan Agricultural Trade Goodwill Mission demonstrating Taiwanese consumer preferences for high quality U.S. agricultural products. The wheat delegation members first stopped in Portland, Ore., Seattle and Idaho before travelling to Washington, D.C., for events. They will also visit Oklahoma and South Dakota to meet with farmers, grain handlers and state officials.

Mr. Yi-Chuen “Tony” Shu, Executive Director of TFMA and President of Formosa Oilseed Processing Co., Ltd., the parent company of Top Foods Flour Mills, signed the wheat letter of intent along with U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) President Vince Peterson. The letter states that TFMA intends to purchase a total of 1.8 million metric tons (equivalent to 66.1 million bushels) of U.S. wheat between 2020 and 2021. The value of these purchases is estimated to be around $576 million.

“We have long had mutually beneficial trade relations with the Taiwan milling and flour products industry,” Peterson said. “U.S. wheat farmers pioneered the market more than 60 years ago by meeting with members of the developing flour milling industry. One innovative plan involved those flour millers donating the equivalent of $1.00 for every one metric ton of imported U.S. wheat to a wheat foods foundation that eventually established what is today the China Grain Products Research & Development Institute. The members of TFMA continue to be reliable trading partners that fully recognize the value of purchasing quality U.S. grown wheat.”

The Republic of China, known as Taiwan, is on average the eighth largest market for U.S. wheat. TFMA imports wheat on behalf of all 20 Taiwanese flour mills and has imported far more wheat from the United States compared to other origins. 

Today, the Taiwanese people consume more wheat flour per capita than rice. Significant hard red spring (HRS) imports reflect a need for strong gluten flour for breads, rolls and frozen dough products as well as for blending with hard red winter (HRW) to make traditional Chinese flour foods and noodles. Year-to-date sales to Taiwan in marketing year 2018/19 (June to May) are up 11% from 2017/18. Imports of soft white (SW), including Western White (a blend of SW and up to 20% club), help meet growing demand for cake, cookie and pastry flours.

USW and its legacy organization Western Wheat Associates have maintained an office in Taipei for 53 years.

Wednesday September 18 Ag News

Cuming County Farm Bureau Annual Meeting
    Monday, September 23
    6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Join our Cuming County Annual Meeting at the Indian Trails Country Club (1128 County River Rd, Beemer, NE 68716).  Guest Speaker will be Bruce Rieker, NeFB VP of Gov't Relations.

Knox County Farm Bureau Annual Meeting

    Sunday, October 6
    6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Join our Knox County Annual Meeting at the Z's Lindy Country Club (53891 890 Way S, Bloomfield, NE 68718).

Dodge County Farm Bureau Annual Meeting

    Thursday, October 24
    6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Join our Dodge County Annual Meeting at  the Office Bar & Grill (121 N Main St, Hooper, NE 68031).

Fertilizer Prices Still Trending Lower

Fertilizer prices continue to erode, but the pace of decline slowed, according to retailers tracked by DTN for the second week of September 2019. It's the fifth consecutive week that the price of all eight fertilizers fell.

One difference, however, is that only one price dropped significantly, which DTN considers a price change of 5% or more.  The price of anhydrous was down 5% from last month's price at $516/ton, a $27 decline.  MAP prices dropped 4%, to $482/ton, a decline of $21/ton.

The remaining six fertilizers were all lower in price than last month, but their moves were fairly slight. DAP had an average price of $486/ton, down $7; potash $385, down $2; urea $407/ton, down $6; 10-34-0 $471/ton, down $4; UAN28 $253/ton, down $5; and UAN32 $289/ton, down $6.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.44/lb.N, anhydrous $0.31/lb.N, UAN28 $0.45/lb.N and UAN32 $0.45/lb.N.

With prices significantly lower in recent weeks, the price of two fertilizers fell below last year's prices. MAP is now 7% less expensive and DAP is 1% lower from last year at this time.

The remaining six major fertilizers continue to be higher compared to last year. UAN32 is 4% more expensive; 10-34-0 is 5% higher; potash, anhydrous and UAN28 are all 6% more expensive; and urea is 7% higher compared to last year.

NCBA Announces Leadership Changes

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) announced two significant leadership changes today.

The NCBA Executive Committee of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association confirmed Colin Woodall to serve as the association’s new Chief Executive Officer. Woodall, who was named this morning after an exhaustive national search, managed NCBA’s efforts in Washington, D.C., for more than a decade. Since joining NCBA in 2004, Woodall has been instrumental in ensuring the interests of NCBA members and the beef community, are well represented in the nation’s capital.

“Colin has served NCBA members for 15 years, and in that time, he has done a great deal for beef producers everywhere. Much of his work and many of the victories registered by NCBA in Washington, D.C., is the result of his ability to build coalitions and bring people together across political divides,” said NCBA president Jennifer Houston.

Houston expressed confidence that the same talents that made Woodall a success in the nation’s capital will translate to Woodall’s responsibility to lead NCBA’s work as a contractor to the Beef Checkoff Program.

“In his new role as NCBA CEO, there is no doubt that Colin will be an outstanding advocate for the Beef Checkoff and the essential work being done to build consumer demand,” said Houston. “Colin’s passion for the beef community has made him one of the most effective advocates in American agriculture and I’m excited that he will now be applying that same passion to the work NCBA is conducting on behalf of the Beef Checkoff.”

Originally from Big Spring, Texas, Woodall graduated from Texas A&M University. Following graduation, he worked both as a grain elevator manager and sales manager for Cargill at several locations in western Kansas and the Oklahoma panhandle before moving to Washington, D.C., to work on Capitol Hill. 

“I am very thankful for the opportunity to lead NCBA and to serve the beef community as the next CEO of the association. American beef producers are the best people I know and although our industry faces many challenges, I am confident we can overcome them,” said Woodall.

Ethan Lane was also named today to serve in the role of Vice President, Government Affairs. In his new role, Lane will guide NCBA’s policy efforts in Washington, D.C., where he has extensive experience advocating on behalf of cattle producers. Lane has been serving as Executive Director of the Public Lands Council and NCBA Federal Lands. In that role, Lane has been a driving force in many of NCBA’s most important policy wins. His leadership skills and extensive political experience make him an effective choice to lead NCBA’s Washington, D.C., office and the association’s ongoing policy efforts.

“I am looking forward to the opportunity to lead NCBA’s office in Washington, D.C., and I’m fully committed to representing the policy priorities of NCBA members across the nation” said Lane. “By standing together, cattle producers have shown they can push back the burdensome impacts of government over-regulation and protect the interests of NCBA members for future generations.”

Lane, is a fifth-generation Arizonan, with 18 years of experience in natural resource and land use issues. Prior to his tenure with PLC and NCBA, he owned and operated a consulting firm specializing in natural resource issues.  


National Corn Growers Association State Executives, representing eleven state associations travelled to Washington, D.C. this week to urge members of Congress to pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and continue the education effort on NCGA’s Low Carbon/High Octane proposal. The State Executives also pressed lawmakers to use their influence with President Trump regarding potential Administrative actions to mitigate the effects of RFS waivers.

“Having representatives of NCGA’s state affiliates in Washington provides lawmakers and their staffs with a first-hand account of the importance of USMCA and ethanol policy to corn farmers,” said NCGA Vice President of Public Policy Brooke Appleton. “This week was also an opportunity for the State Executives to meet with members of Congress who may not have corn farmers in their district but whose votes will be needed to get USMCA across the finish line.”

Passage of USMCA remains NCGA’s top legislative priority for 2019. USMCA will solidify a $4.56 billion export market and provide some certainty to farmers facing a perfect storm of challenges. Ratifying USMCA will also instill confidence in other nations that the U.S. is a reliable partner and supplier, ensuring U.S. agriculture remains competitive for generations to come.

Taiwan Goodwill Mission Members Sign Agreement To Continue Purchases of U.S. Corn, DDGS in 2020/2021

Members of the 2019 Taiwan Agricultural Goodwill Mission visited Washington, DC, this week as part of their biennial pledge to continue purchasing U.S. corn and U.S. distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) between 2020 and 2021.

Taiwan signed a memorandum of understanding Wednesday committing to purchase 5 million metric tons (197 million bushels) of U.S. corn and 500,000 tons of U.S. distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS), extending their stable buying commitment for another two years. The signing ceremony was held at the U.S. Capitol.

The members of the Goodwill Mission also signed letters of intent to purchase soybeans and wheat. The team is part of a long-term effort to maintain economic ties between Taiwan and the United States.

Taiwan has grown into a top 10 market for U.S. corn, a goal achieved with the support of the U.S. Grains Council’s (USGC’s) work with the feed and livestock industries there since 1973.

The Goodwill Mission has been organized by the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) every other year since 1998 and allows Taiwanese participants to gain familiarity with U.S. coarse grains’ yield, production and quality. The Goodwill Mission also provides education on the advantages of U.S. coarse grains and co-products as well as reconfirms the commitment by the United States to serve as a long-term, reliable supplier for Taiwan.

“The recurring Goodwill Mission continues to demonstrate the commitment the two partners have to continued purchases and heightened confidence in U.S. agricultural products,” said USGC Chairman Darren Armstrong. “The programs we’ve worked on together have allowed the Council and our partners in Taiwan to develop the agricultural industries and improve the lives of all our citizens. We are very thankful to continue this healthy trading relationship with Taiwan.”

Armstrong participated in the Wednesday signing ceremony on behalf of the Council and U.S. corn and DDGS producers.

The Taiwanese delegation was also honored Tuesday at a reception in Washington with government officials and representatives of the agriculture industry, sponsored jointly by the Council, U.S. Wheat Associates, the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) and other agricultural trade associations.

While in the United States, the Taiwanese representatives will visit Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi and Nebraska they will sign additional purchasing memoranda with each state. During their travels, participants will tour farms and elevators, meet with local producers, agriculture groups and policymakers and learn about the U.S. agricultural value chain.

Taiwan is the eighth largest market for U.S. agricultural products, led by U.S. grains, with a total value of $4.3 billion dollars in 2018. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service, Taiwan purchased 3.21 million metric tons (126 million bushels) of U.S. corn at a value of $593 million in 2018, with U.S. corn holding a 76 percent market share.

Weekly Ethanol Production for 9/13/2019

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending Sept. 13, ethanol production averaged 1.003 million barrels per day (b/d)—equivalent to 42.13 million gallons daily. Output receded by 20,000 b/d (-2.0%), from the previous week and was 48,000 b/d (4.6%) below the same week last year. The four-week average ethanol production rate slowed 0.5% to 1.019 million b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 15.62 billion gallons. This was a 21-week low and 3.6% below the average at the same time last year.

In contrast, ethanol stocks grew 3.3% to 23.2 million barrels. A large majority of the increased stocks occurred on the East Coast (PADD 1), where stocks had been running a sizable deficit to 2018 for the past three weeks.

Imports of ethanol into the West Coast were 11,000 b/d, or 3.23 million gallons for the week. This was the third time in four weeks that ethanol was imported. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of July 2019.)

The volume of gasoline supplied slumped by 8.9% to 8.939 million b/d (375.4 million gallons per day, or 137.03 bg annualized), the lowest level since mid-February. Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol reduced by 2.7% to 905,000 b/d, equivalent to 13.87 bg annualized and the lowest volume in 28 weeks.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production increased to 11.22%.

August Milk Production in the United States up 0.2 Percent

Milk production in the United States during August totaled 18.3 billion pounds, up 0.2 percent from August 2018. Production per cow in the United States averaged 1,962 pounds for August, 19 pounds above August 2018. The number of milk cows on farms in the United States was 9.32 million head,
71,000 head less than August 2018, and 2,000 head less than July 2019.

IOWA:  Milk production in Iowa during August 2019 totaled 435 million pounds, down 1 percent from the previous August according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Milk Production report. The average number of milk cows during August, at 216,000 head, was the same as last month but down 4,000 from last year. Monthly production per cow averaged 2,015 pounds, up 20 pounds from last August.

Conaway Calls on Pelosi, House Democrats to Stop Blocking Trade Aid for Struggling Farmers, Ranchers

House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member K. Michael Conaway (TX-11) made the following statement concerning House Democrats’ attempts to deny USDA the funds necessary to make Market Facilitation Program (MFP) and Farm Bill payments to farmers and ranchers via the CCC:
“House Democratic leaders are not listening to their own rank and file members and continue to hold vital aid for our farmers and ranchers hostage by blocking replenishment of the CCC. I had not waded into this issue publicly because I had hoped that cooler heads would prevail. They have not. I call on Speaker Pelosi and Chairwoman Lowey to stop using our nation’s farmers and ranchers and rural communities as pawns in your fight with the president. Fully fund USDA so it can do its job. It is no surprise that China would try to hold our farmers and ranchers hostage so it could continue to cheat on its trade commitments, but we should not expect the leaders of the United States House of Representatives to use rural America as a bargaining chip.”

Saturday, The Washington Post reported that House Democrats were proposing to strip USDA of funding needed to pay trade aid to U.S. farmers and ranchers hit by unjustified retaliatory tariffs by China. The Continuing Resolution to keep the government open is delayed right now because House Democrats have been playing games with USDA’s ability to make trade aid and Farm Bill payments. As The Washington Post article reports, House Democrats planned to deny any new funding for USDA to do its work, which would not only prevent USDA from paying trade aid but also Farm Bill support. After House and Senate Republicans strongly objected to this tactic, House Democrats shifted gears to try and sharply cut funding for USDA and attach so many strings that USDA could not do its job. Yesterday, Republican Members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, including the Senate Majority Leader, wrote to Speaker Pelosi and House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey calling on them to fully fund USDA as Congress has always done. House Republicans fully agree with their Senate colleagues. House Democratic leadership should abandon their efforts to inflict undue harm on America’s farmers and ranchers.

Roberts, Stabenow Announce Livestock and Poultry Hearing

U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Chairman Pat Roberts and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow Tuesday announced the Committee will hold a hearing titled, "Perspectives on the Livestock and Poultry Sectors."

It will take place Sept. 25 beginning at 10 a.m. in 106 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C.

Those expected to testify at the hearing include:
- Jennifer Houston, president, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, and East Tennessee Livestock Center, Sweetwater, Tenn.
- Ron Kardel, vice chairman, National Turkey Federation, and West Liberty Foods grower, Walcott, Iowa
- Dr. Jayson Lusk, Distinguished Professor and head, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind.
- Burton Pfliger, past president, American Sheep Industry Association, and Roselawn Legacy Hampshires, Bismarck, N.D.
- Trent Thiele, president, Iowa Pork Producers Association, and KMAX Farms, LLC, Elma, Iowa
- Shane Eaton, Member, United States Cattlemen's Association, and Eaton Charolais, Lindsay, Mont.

The hearing will be webcast live on

USDA Must End NRCS Abuses

Farmers and ranchers are being denied due process as part of an abuse of discretion by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, according to a scathing ruling by the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. The ruling is highlighted in a letter from the American Farm Bureau Federation calling on Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to enact much-needed reforms in the agency.

The letter focuses on the case of an Indiana farm owned by David and Rita Boucher, and Mrs. Boucher’s 17-year saga of unfair treatment at the hands of the NRCS staff. The Bouchers removed nine trees on 2.8 acres and NRCS, in turn, demanded they plant 300 trees per acre as compensation.

The court found that NRCS wrongly accused the Bouchers of harming a non-existent wetland on their property but made no effort to correct the record even after the accusations were shown to be groundless. The NRCS judgment made the farm ineligible for a wide variety of government programs, creating a roadblock for the Bouchers to obtain the loans and crop insurance necessary to stay in operation.

“The USDA repeatedly failed to follow applicable law and agency standards,” the court wrote. “It disregarded compelling evidence showing that the acreage in question never qualified as wetlands that could have been converted illegally into croplands. And the agency has kept shifting its explanations for treating the acreage as converted wetlands. The USDA’s treatment of the Bouchers’ acreage as converted wetlands easily qualifies as arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion.”

The Bouchers are not the only victims of NRCS regulatory abuse, as noted in the letter and as previously conveyed to USDA by AFBF.

“The wrongs identified by the Seventh Circuit are systemic throughout NRCS and representative of the experience of countless farmers,” AFBF wrote. “We hope that you find this case as shocking and troubling as does the Seventh Circuit.

“USDA’s implementation of its conservation compliance programs transcends politics: the Bouchers’ battle began in the beginning of the Bush presidency and continued through the Obama and Trump administrations. The unanimous judges on the Seventh Circuit were appointed by Presidents Reagan, Clinton, and Obama. And the actions by USDA were not limited to a few individuals, but were endemic through all levels of review and appeal.”

AFBF is calling on Secretary Perdue to accept the Seventh Circuit decision and compensate Mrs. Boucher for costs incurred in her fight against the federal government. More broadly, the letter urges USDA to view its finalization of the Interim Final Rule as an opportunity to correct the problems identified in the ruling.

The letter explains, “In reality, affected farmers typically have been unable to challenge the agency’s decisions because they simply cannot afford to lose eligibility or the costs of a fruitless appeal. Generally, farmers follow the direction of the agency to avoid ineligibility instead of appealing.”

Additionally, AFBF is asking USDA to:
-    Retrain National Appeals Division judges and agency directors in how to provide a fair and balanced hearing;
-    Require USDA to provide the entire record or decisional documentation to the farmers at the time of alleged compliance violation;
-    Allow the farmer and his or her counsel to call NRCS technical staff as witnesses in the appeal;
-    Accept evidence provided by the farmer as true, absent substantial evidence to the contrary; and
-    Compensate the farmer for legal fees when the farmer wins an appeal – i.e., when the farmer is forced to incur costs as a result of an incorrect decision from NRCS.

Tuesday September 17 Ag News

Fall Application Deadlines Near for Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP)

USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) in Nebraska reminds producers of approaching application deadlines for purchasing risk coverage for some crops through the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP).

NAP covers losses from natural disasters on crops for which no permanent federal crop insurance program is available, including forage and grazing crops, fruits, vegetables, floriculture, ornamental nursery, aquaculture, turf grass and more. Coverage varies by county and by crop, so producers who are interested should contact their FSA county office for more information.

Upcoming application deadlines for NAP coverage for the 2020 production season in Nebraska, include:
    Rye, triticale and wheat: Sept. 30, 2019
    Alfalfa, mixed forages and grass: Nov. 15, 2019
    Apples, aronia berries and grapes: Nov. 20, 2019

“Natural disasters that are considered eligible causes of loss for NAP include floods, drought, freeze, hail, and excessive moisture, among others,” said FSA State Executive Director Nancy Johner. “Given the variability of weather in Nebraska, we want to remind producers of the availability of NAP as a potential tool for risk management in 2020.”

NAP basic coverage is available at 55 percent of the average market price for crop losses that exceed 50 percent of expected production. Buy-up coverage is available in some cases. NAP can protect against losses associated with lower yields, destroyed crops or prevented planting. The 2018 Farm Bill allows for buy-up levels of NAP coverage from 50 to 65 percent of expected production in 5 percent increments, at 100 percent of the average market price. Buy-up coverage is not available for crops intended for grazing.

For all coverage levels, the NAP service fee is the lesser of $325 per crop or $825 per producer per county, not to exceed a total of $1,950 for a producer with farming interests in multiple counties. Premiums apply for buy-up coverage.

Producers qualifying as beginning, underserved, or limited resource farmers or those who can meet eligibility requirements as a military veteran are eligible for the basic level of NAP coverage at no cost and have the potential for reduction in the cost of buy-up premiums.

To learn more about NAP visit or contact your local USDA Service Center. To find your local USDA Service Center, visit

Iowans should prepare for propane needs this fall

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig encouraged ag businesses, farmers, rural residents and other Iowans that use propane to consider taking steps to ensure adequate propane supplies this fall and winter.

“As of the first week of September, propane inventories were significantly higher than what they were at this time last year and just shy of the five-year average high,” Naig said. “Due to the late planting season across the state, Iowans need to be aware of the length of time and amount of propane that will be needed this fall.”

According to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service’s Iowa Crop Progress and Conditions report on September 8, 60 percent of the corn crop has reached the dent stage or beyond with four percent mature, 11 days behind the five-year average.  These figures were 87 and 28 percent, respectively, a year ago.  The later crop maturity in large portions of the state will likely mean a steady demand for propane use for grain drying throughout the fall months.

Actions that farmers and other propane users can take now in order to prepare for this fall and winter include:
      • Confirm propane supplies for grain drying, livestock facilities, homes and machine sheds are full going into the fall season.
      • Take advantage of early buy/booking programs
      • Consider expanding on-site capacity at facilities and homes
      • Communicate early and regularly with propane suppliers

Propane production has continued to increase across the country over the summer months and exports were down in August. Those two factors have helped to boost late summer supplies. It is estimated that just over a million more barrels of propane is currently being stored in the Midwest and about 21 million barrels more in the Gulf Coast region compared to this time last year.

The increase in supply means prices have decreased since last year. The latest average for propane in Iowa is $1.11 per gallon, down 15-cents from fall 2018. Nevertheless, it is important for users to be prepared as fall and early winter weather patterns approach. With the chance of export pressures to increase this fall, ensuring adequate supplies on hand now can help avoid any possible unforeseen spikes in demand later this year.

As of September 6, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports propane stocks in the Midwest “PADD 2” region at 26.9 million barrels. That is up from 25.8 million barrels a year ago. EIA reports that U.S. propane stocks as of that same date at 97.8 million barrels compared to 74.6 million barrels a year ago. Higher supply levels are attributed primarily to increased production levels and lower August export pressures.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship continues to work with a number of Iowa agriculture organizations and the Iowa Propane Gas Association (IPGA).  The IPGA and the state propane suppliers work towards communicating the supply and demand for this vital agricultural energy resource.

USDA Modernizes Swine Slaughter Inspection for the First Time in Over 50 Years

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced a final rule to modernize swine slaughter inspection and bring it into the 21st century. For the first time in more than five decades, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is modernizing inspection at market hog slaughter establishments with a goal of protecting public health while allowing for food safety innovations.

“This regulatory change allows us to ensure food safety while eliminating outdated rules and allowing for companies to innovate,” Secretary Sonny Perdue said. “The final rule is the culmination of a science-based and data-driven rule making process which builds on the food safety improvements made in 1997, when USDA introduced a system of preventive controls for industry. With this rule, FSIS will finally begin full implementation of that program in swine establishments.”


The final rule has new requirements for microbial testing that apply to all swine slaughterhouses to demonstrate that they are controlling for pathogens throughout the slaughter system. Additionally, FSIS is amending its meat inspection regulations to establish a new inspection system for market hog establishments called the New Swine Slaughter Inspection System (NSIS).

In the final rule, FSIS amends the regulations to require all swine slaughter establishments to develop written sanitary dressing plans and implement microbial sampling to monitor process control for enteric pathogens that can cause foodborne illness. The final rule also allows market hog establishments to choose if they will operate under NSIS or continue to operate under traditional inspection.

FSIS will continue to conduct 100% inspection of animals before slaughter and 100% carcass-by-carcass inspection, as mandated by Congress. FSIS inspectors will also retain the authority to stop or slow the line as necessary to ensure that food safety and inspection are achieved. Under the NSIS, FSIS offline inspectors will conduct more food safety and humane handling verification tasks to protect the food supply and animal welfare.

NPPC Welcomes New Swine Inspection System, 'Reflecting a 21st Century Industry'

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) finalized today its New Swine Inspection System (NSIS).

"We applaud the USDA for introducing a new inspection system that incentivizes investment in new technologies while ensuring a safe supply of wholesome American pork," said National Pork Producers Council President David Herring, a producer from Lillington, N.C. "The U.S. pork production system is the envy of the world because we continuously adopt new practices and technologies, while enhancing safety, quality and consistency. This new inspection system codifies the advancements we have made into law, reflecting a 21st century industry."

The NSIS, which has been piloted at five pork processing plants, was developed over many years of research and evaluation and recently received the endorsement of the National Association of Federal Veterinarians, highlighting the strong science-based approach used in designing the program.

"The U.S. industry has long been a global leader in offering the highest quality, safest and most affordable pork to consumers here at home and abroad. We are proud of our record and welcome this program to further modernize our production process," added Herring. 

Taiwan Prepares to Buy U.S. Ag Products

The U.S. ag industry could expand its relationship with another Asian trading partner while the Chinese and American governments try to work out a deal.

Taiwanese officials, led by Deputy Minister of Agriculture Chen Junne-Jih, will be in the United States this week to meet with representatives from the U.S. grain and meat industries. The Taiwanese representatives will sign a letter of intent to purchase $3.6 billion of American ag goods.

Soybeans, corn, wheat and beef will be included in the trade package, reports indicate.

Taiwan is using the diplomatic landscape between the U.S. and China to secure more trade.

"Undeniably, the U.S.-China trade dispute has affected U.S. agricultural exports, and the deal (with Taiwan) is beneficial not only to U.S. farmers, but also to Taiwan, as our nation is now in a better bargaining position in terms of prices," Chen said, the Taipei Times reported.

The U.S. has seen an uptick in the amount of ag exports to Taiwan.

Between 2008 and 2018, ag trade to Taiwan has increased by 15 percent from US$3.4 billion to US$3.9 billion annually, the USDA says. And the country ranks ninth among U.S. ag export markets.

Whether the US$3.6 billion in ag exports is in addition to the 2018 figure is unknown at this point.

Taiwan hopes to position itself as a reliable trading partner for the U.S. ag sector.

Drought Causing Planting Delays for Brazil's Corn, Soybean Crops

Brazil's soybean planting season for the 2019-20 harvest is officially underway, but there might not be too many planters out in the fields just yet as conditions are extremely dry.

Weather forecasts call for practically bone-dry conditions in most of Brazil's growing regions for at least the next two weeks, and this stands to threaten not only the soybean crop but the heavily exported second corn harvest, as well.

The farmers in the top soybean and corn producing state in the country's Center-West, Mato Grosso, cannot start planting soybeans until Sunday. But down south, No. 2 grower Parana's soybean planting window opened on Wednesday.

Brazil is the world's top exporter of soybeans, and most of those shipments go to China, the largest buyer. Beijing has been keeping an extra close watch on Brazil's soybean market ever since the U.S.-China trade war began last year.

But the timely sowing of soybeans in Brazil may be even more important for the second-crop corn, or safrinha, which is planted immediately after the beans are harvested. More than 70% of Brazil's total corn is safrinha and it is primarily used for export, while the first-crop corn is consumed domestically.

Brazil's safrinha corn competes directly with the United States for export competition, and the recent record Brazilian harvest priced the U.S. product out of the global market. Brazil's corn exports hit record levels in the last two months, while U.S. shipments slid to six-year lows for the period.

Farm Bureau Marks National Farm Safety and Health Week

The American Farm Bureau is reminding everyone in agricultural communities about their role in staying safe on the farm and ranch during National Farm Safety and Health Week (Sept. 15-21).

The theme of the week is “Shift Farm Safety into High Gear.”

“The Farm Bureau Safety and Health Network will be sharing resources with county and state Farm Bureaus and joining the conversation about farm safety and health on social media throughout the week,” said Maggie Good, assistant director of member engagement at AFBF.

Resources include a series of free webinars coordinated by the AgriSafe Network on topics such as tractor safety, ergonomic safety for farm women, opioid use, safeguarding children and youth, and preventing agricultural injuries. Visit for details and to register.

Additional information, including a social media kit, is available on the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety website,