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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 July 7 Ag News
2020-07-08T11:11

NE Ethanol Board Hosts Webinar on Carbon Capture

The Battelle Memorial Institute and the Great Plains Institute invite you to attend the second webinar of this series, on July 21, 2020, at 10:30 AM CDT, focused on carbon capture, utilization, and storage opportunities in Nebraska. This three-part webinar series will dive into:
-    Basics about carbon capture technology
-    Specific applications for carbon capture, including ethanol, power plants and other industrial sources
-    Technical and economic considerations for different projects
-    Geology of Nebraska and prospects for geological storage of carbon dioxide (CO₂) and enhanced oil recovery
-    National and regional infrastructure planning initiatives to improve the transportation of CO₂ and better connect Nebraska CO₂ sources, sinks, and markets
-    Policy drivers for carbon capture, including clean fuels policies, the federal 45Q tax credit, and national infrastructure policy
-    Stakeholder-led carbon capture initiatives in other states

The webinar series is co-hosted by the Nebraska Conservation and Survey Division, Nebraska Ethanol Board, Nebraska Public Power District, Regional Deployment Initiative, and Renewable Fuels Nebraska.

Carbon capture, utilization, and storage presents numerous economic and environmental benefits for Nebraska. For ethanol plants, it offers economic value for a waste product and additional value in clean fuels markets. For power plants, it can aid in decarbonization efforts and offer grid assets as the energy system transforms over time. Through carbon capture, Nebraska can spur the development of new industries including carbon dioxide (CO₂) enhanced oil recovery, direct air capture, and synthetic fuels and products from CO₂. As our country shifts focus toward economic recovery from COVID-19 in the coming weeks and months, these economic opportunities are more important than ever before.
 
Webinar #2: Case Studies

Webinar #2 dives deeper into carbon capture opportunities in Nebraska, highlighting economics and specific case studies. Specific topics include:
    Overview of carbon capture economics
    Case study | Carbon capture at Nebraska Public Power District
    Case study | Carbon capture at ethanol facilities
    Case study | Infrastructure for carbon capture
    Case study | Carbon capture at CVR Energy

You will hear from the following industry members on this webinar:
    Ben Grove, Battelle
    John Swanson, Nebraska Public Power District
    Keith Tracy, Nebraska producer
    Al Collins, Occidental Petroleum
    Neal Barkley, CVR Energy

Register here: https://gpisd.webex.com/mw3300/mywebex/default.do?service=1&siteurl=gpisd&nomenu=true&main_url=%2Fmc3300%2Fe.do%3Fsiteurl%3Dgpisd%26AT%3DMI%26EventID%3D1016491787%26UID%3D0%26Host%3DQUhTSwAAAARmf7YjzfoGcPVj7Yy6Zj7sWasx5YZb0evEdlbNWKga5vP5XtsnJMSVXkRkq1pc7quPwma9DVWPbN-t7jnsRB1s0%26RG%3D1%26FrameSet%3D2%26RGID%3Dr4acc661a8481da30c0d13dee1b2246f3.

Webinar #3: Geology

Webinar #3 will focus on Nebraska’s unique geological formations and what they mean for carbon capture. Specific topics include:
    Prospects for carbon capture
    Prospects for enhanced oil recovery

Not able to attend but interested in subsequent webinars? Submit the Webinar #2 registration form, and you’ll be automatically invited to Webinar #3. Webinars will recorded and made available to registrants.

For any questions regarding Webinar #1 or the webinar series, or if you have trouble registering, please contact Hannah Haas at hhaas@gpisd.net.



Former UNL Professor and NE LEAD Director Allen Blezek Passess


Allen Blezek, an emeritus professor in the Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications Department at UNL, was a member of both the Agriculture Builders of Nebraska and the Nebraska Hall of Agricultural Achievement has died after a battle with cancer. He served as the director of the Nebraska LEAD program for nearly 25 years and was instrumental in building the LEAD program that we have today. He was involved in many, many other organizations over the course of his life, including the Nebraska Association of County Extension Boards, which awarded Allen with the statewide Outstanding Volunteer award earlier this year.

Allen was passionate about agriculture, agricultural education, and service to others. He left an indelible mark on the many organizations he served, including the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. We were lucky to know him, we will miss him deeply, and we are grateful for his decades of leadership and service. 



United States and State of Nebraska Reach Settlement with Henningsen Foods Inc. for Alleged Clean Water Act Violations


The United States and the state of Nebraska have reached a settlement with Henningsen Foods Inc. to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Water Act at the company’s egg processing facility in David City, Nebraska.

Under the terms of the settlement, the company will spend about $2 million in upgrades to reduce the amount of pollutants the facility sends to the David City wastewater treatment system. The company also agreed to pay a $827,500 civil penalty.

“We are encouraged by Henningsen’s willingness to upgrade its own facility and assist with upgrades to the David City wastewater treatment system,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Jim Gulliford. “These actions will protect the residents of David City and Nebraska waters.”

Henningsen processes approximately 1.2 million eggs per day and is one of the largest egg processors in the state. The facility is subject to Clean Water Act regulations that prevent industries from overloading municipal wastewater treatment systems with industrial pollutants.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), high loads of egg-processing waste and cleaning solution generated by Henningsen are sent to the David City wastewater treatment facility. Since at least 2014, this waste has caused both Henningsen and David City to violate the Clean Water Act on multiple occasions by discharging pollutants in excess of state and federal limits to Keysor Creek, which flows into the North Fork Big Blue River. These pollutants included ammonia and oxygen-depleting substances that are toxic to aquatic life and potentially harmful to people. Further, EPA alleges that Henningsen repeatedly failed to submit timely and accurate pollutant monitoring information required by law.

As a result of this enforcement action, Henningsen has installed pretreatment equipment at its facility and agreed to operate and maintain it in order to reduce pollutants before they reach the David City wastewater treatment facility. The company will also continue to pay for its share of upgrades to the David City wastewater treatment facility to adequately treat Henningsen’s wastewater, and will increase the frequency of its pollutant monitoring and reporting.

The settlement is detailed in a Consent Decree that was filed with the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska on July 7, 2020, and will be subject to a 30-day public comment period before final court approval.



RUSLE2 Soil Loss Workshop Sessions Will Be Offered Online


Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, in collaboration with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and Iowa Department of Natural Resources, has scheduled a workshop to train livestock producers and service providers on how to use the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation 2 (RUSLE2) and the Iowa Phosphorus Index in nutrient management and manure management plans. RUSLE2 software calculates soil loss for a given field, which is needed to figure out the Iowa Phosphorus Index. 

The RUSLE2 workshop will be held online from Aug. 10-14. Each day, one session will be held from 2:30-4 p.m. using Zoom. Participants will need to pre-install the freely available Zoom Software Application to participate. A web link will be sent daily to the participants to join the zoom session online.

The sessions of this introductory level workshop will provide hands-on software orientation for RUSLE2, including an introduction to the operating parameters, selection of input values, and developing and saving management operations.

Additionally, real field examples will be used in the sessions to determine risk calculations of the Iowa Phosphorus Index and how to incorporate these numbers into manure and nutrient management planning requirements. Manure management planning, soil sampling requirements, common errors and the IDNR’s review process also will be discussed. An orientation into the new soil loss calculation software, WEPP – Water Erosion Prediction Project, will also be provided.

The workshop sessions will be taught by Don Corrington, U.S. Department of Agriculture-NRCS; Kapil Arora and Dan Andersen, agricultural and biosystems engineering specialists with ISU Extension and Outreach; and Jeremy Klatt, Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

“Nutrient and manure management plans require updated RULSE2 and P-Index calculations every four years, and these online sessions will be a great refresher for those producers who develop their own plans or for consultants who are new to this planning process,” said Arora.

Cost of the five workshop sessions is $150 if registered by Aug. 5, and $175 after that date. Participants must have an MS Windows compatible laptop or desktop computer equipped with camera and audio speakers; Microsoft Excel software; and the administrator password to the computer in order to install software.

Workshop coordinators will work with the registered participants prior to the workshop to pre-install the needed software. The workshop is limited to 15 participants and all participants must pre-register. Crop Advisor Credits (6 SW, 1 NM) are available for this workshop.

The agenda for different daily sessions and registration instructions, and additional workshop details are available on the RUSLE2 Workshop website. Participants interested in attending the workshop can register online.



CHS Reports $97.6 Million in Third Quarter Fiscal 2020 Net Income


CHS Inc. (NASDAQ: CHSCP), the nation's leading agribusiness cooperative, today reported net income of $97.6 million for the third quarter of fiscal year 2020 that ended May 31, 2020. This represents a 78.8 percent increase compared to net income of $54.6 million in the third quarter of fiscal year 2019.

The results for the third quarter of fiscal year 2020 reflect:
-    Revenues of $7.2 billion compared to revenues of $8.5 billion for the third quarter of fiscal year 2019.
-    Improved margins and volumes across much of the Ag segment as a result of more favorable weather conditions for spring planting compared to third quarter of fiscal year 2019.
-    Improved trade relations between the United States and foreign trading partners.
-    Decreased selling prices and volumes for refined fuels driven by global market conditions including the impact of COVID-19, which has depressed demand for energy products.
-    A $42.0 million noncash charge to reduce our refined fuels inventory to its market value.

"We continue to adapt how we do business to ensure the safety of our employees and our customers. A successfully managed supply chain helped our owners get the products and services they and their customers need to grow their crops. That focus also helped us deliver value to our customers around the world," said Jay Debertin, president and CEO of CHS Inc. "Improved trade relations benefited us, and, in turn, our owners, and we are eager for that to continue. We are not immune to the market pressures caused by COVID-19, and we will continue to adjust to best serve our owners and customers."

Third Quarter Fiscal 2020 Business Segment Results

The following segment results were reported for the third quarter of fiscal year 2020 compared to the third quarter of fiscal year 2019.

Energy
Pretax loss of $54.8 million in the third quarter of fiscal year 2020 compared to $1.3 million in pretax earnings for the third quarter of fiscal year 2019 reflects:
-    Lower margins due to less advantageous market conditions compared to the third quarter of fiscal year 2019. Those lower margins were the result of decreased refining margins, which were partially offset by improved crude oil differentials for heavy Canadian crude oil processed by our refineries and by improved propane margins.
-    Decreased selling prices and volumes for refined fuels driven by global market conditions including the impact of COVID-19 and product mix, which has depressed demand for energy products.
-    A $42.0 million noncash charge to reduce our refined fuels inventory to its market value.

Ag
Pretax earnings of $95.4 million in the third quarter of fiscal year 2020 compared to pretax earnings of $21.1 million in the third quarter of fiscal year 2019 reflect:
-    Improved trade between the United States and foreign trading partners.
-    Improved margins across much of the Ag segment as a result of more favorable weather conditions for spring planting compared to third quarter of fiscal year 2019, which were partially offset by decreased margins and volumes in our renewable fuels and processing and food ingredients businesses. Those decreases are attributable to COVID-19-related demand shocks in food service and transportation sectors.
-    Impact of additional loan loss reserves established in the third quarter of fiscal year 2019 that did not reoccur in the third quarter of fiscal year 2020.

Nitrogen Production
Pretax earnings of $23.5 million compared to pretax earnings of $20.2 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2019 reflect:
-    Decreased interest expense associated with our CF Nitrogen investment.

Corporate and Other
Pretax earnings of $6.3 million compared to pretax earnings of $19.0 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2019 reflect:
-    Lower earnings from our investment in Ventura Foods resulting from decreased demand due to COVID-19-related demand shocks in the food service sector.



May Margin Triggers Dairy Margin Coverage Program Payment


The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) today announced that the May 2020 income over feed cost margin was $5.37 per hundredweight (cwt.), triggering the third payment of 2020 for dairy producers who purchased the appropriate level of coverage under the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program.

“This payment comes at a critical time for many dairy producers,” said FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce. “DMC has proved to be a worthwhile risk management tool, providing dairy producers with much- needed financial support when markets are most volatile.”

To date, FSA has issued more than $176 million in program benefits to dairy producers who purchased DMC coverage for 2020.

Authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill, DMC is a voluntary risk management program that offers protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all-milk price and the average feed price (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer. Over 13,000 operations enrolled in the program for the 2020 calendar year.

Although DMC enrollment for 2020 coverage has closed, signup for 2021 coverage will begin October 13 and will run through December 11, 2020.



USFRA Changes Its Name to U.S. Farmers & Ranchers in Action


The U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance is changing its company name to U.S. Farmers & Ranchers in Action to reflect the new organization's status as a 501c3.

During a board meeting last fall, the USFRA board voted to move the organization's activities from the prior 501c6 to a 501c3 charitable organization. This required USFRA to rebrand itself to avoid confusion between the two organizations. In March, the board of directors adopted the 501c3 organization's new name - U.S. Farmers & Ranchers in Action.

The new name allows USFRA to keep its well-known acronym, and further emphasizes the organization's belief that the actions of farmers and ranchers are crucial in building sustainable food systems of the future. The new name will be announce externally on July 8, along with the announcement of the new website.



Research Enhances Understanding of the Nutritional and Economic Differences in Soybean Meal from Different Origins


A new meta-analytical study reinforces U.S. Soy’s reputation for being a global leader in quality and nutrient-density. The study, entitled, “Chemical composition, protein quality and nutritive value of commercial soybean meals produced from beans from different countries,” demonstrates that not all soybean meals are created equal and that meal from different countries of origin should be treated individually when formulating swine and poultry diets. The data from this study were then processed by the Nutrient Value Calculator (NVC), a software tool constructed by Genesis Feed Technologies, a company built to bring visibility into feed costs. This cost analysis supported the economic benefits of U.S. soybean meal relative to meal from other origins as a key ingredient in poultry rations.

Dr. Gonzalo Mateos, Professor of Animal Science at the University of Madrid in Spain and study co-author, first presented findings from the meta-analysis at the U.S. Soybean Export Council’s (USSEC) Asia Trade Exchange to 850 U.S. Soy customers and soybean industry representatives. This pioneering compilation of research is the most comprehensive quality review of soybean meal that has ever been conducted, and it gives customers greater clarity around soybean meal quality from different countries of origin. The meta-analysis looked at 18 different studies and 1,944 samples to quantify the relationship between country of origin of the bean and the chemical composition and nutritive value of the soybean meal. Soybeans from the following origins were analyzed: Argentina (ARG), Brazil (BRA), USA (USA) and India (IND).

“One of the main points from the study, is that customers should be using different matrices for the evaluation of the nutritional value of soybean meals of different origins,” said Dr. Gonzalo Mateos, Professor of Animal Science at the University of Madrid, Spain. “If they buy only based on protein or vegetable sucrose content, they may buy a product that is actually lower quality. Therefore, it is important to check all of the values that are related to the nutritive value of the soybean meal before making purchase decisions, which this study addresses.”

The data in this meta-analysis forms a new key pillar of the economic evaluation of soybean meal in global markets. Using the Nutrient Value Calculator from Genesis Feed Technologies, the economic value of U.S. soybean meal can be evaluated in global markets using formulas representative of the regional feed manufacturers. Nutrient values and prices of all the other components of the diet are also used in this calculation. The NVC indicates that U.S. soybean meal is the leading contributor to cost reduction in broiler diets.

“Our company was thrilled to participate in this groundbreaking research conducted by the U.S. Soybean Export Council,” said Peter Schott, CEO and Co-Founder of Genesis Feed Technologies. “We hope that buyers take note of the results, purchase more U.S. soy and see a significant reduction in their feed costs. This NVC analyzes economic nutritional value of soybean meals from different origins to give traders and buyers a platform to connect with nutritionists directly to better inform their feed investments.”

When comparing cost reductions with incorporation of data from the aforementioned meta-analytical study, premiums of U.S. soybean meal range from $14.57 to $23.24 per tonne over Argentine soybean meal and range from $2.48 to $10.26 per tonne over Brazilian soybean meal.

“U.S. soy and soybean meal products offer a price advantage and rank first on a number of important nutritional attributes when compared to other origins, including remarkable amino acid and energy profiles,” said Paul Burke, USSEC’s Senior Director for U.S. Soy Marketing. “This will continue to ensure we deliver a valuable, consistent and more economical product that our customers can count on.”

Soybean meal is an important source of protein for the global feed industry, where it is used in livestock, poultry and aquaculture diets. To meet this demand for animal feed, the farmers that grow sustainable U.S. soy not only care about being a reliable supplier but take pride in providing a high-quality product to their international customers.

“The world’s need for a high-quality protein product like U.S. soybean meal will be critical as our population continues to grow. And U.S. farmers around the country are ready and willing to meet that need,” said Monte Peterson, Chairman of USSEC, board member of the American Soybean Association and soybean farmer in Valley City, N.D. “Our soybean farmers provide a consistent, nutritious and efficient source of protein for both the food and feed sectors. This meta-analysis is important because it shows how U.S. soy is the most high-quality and best economic choice, backed by science.”



Judge Casts Doubt on Roundup Settlement


Bayer stock tumbled on Tuesday, after a district judge hinted he would reject part of the company's $10.9 billion plan to settle lawsuits claiming Roundup causes cancer.

The German chemicals giant announced at the end of June it had agreed to pay up to $10.9 billion to settle close to 100,000 lawsuits claiming Roundup had caused cancer. The company acquired the weed killer when it bought U.S. agribusiness Monsanto for $63 billion in 2018, inheriting its legal liabilities. Bayer has lost three jury trials in recent years totaling more than $2 billion in damages, all of which are being appealed and aren't covered by the settlement. The company has consistently denied allegations of a link between the herbicide and cancer.

Bayer said the settlement brought closure to 75% of the 125,000 filed and unfiled cases against the company and around 95% of those set for trial.

The proposed settlement also includes a $1.25 billion payment designed to address all future claims regarding the weed killer. Under this part of the plan, an independent panel of scientists would determine whether Roundup can cause cancer and, if so, at what minimum exposure. This "futures class action" requires court approval, which will be decided on a preliminary basis on Jul. 24.

However, a pretrial order published on Monday cast doubt over such an approval, as a district judge outlined the court's concerns.

"The Court is skeptical of the propriety and fairness of the proposed settlement, and is tentatively inclined to deny the motion," U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria said in a filing with the United States District Court, Northern District of California. He added it was "questionable whether it would be constitutional."

"In an area where the science may be evolving, how could it be appropriate to lock in a decision from a panel of scientists for all future cases?" his filing added.

A spokesperson for Bayer said: "We appreciate the Judge's order raising his preliminary concerns with the proposed settlement, which we take seriously and will address at the preliminary approval hearing on July 24." 

Bayer has also faced legal troubles over its dicamba weed killer, amid claims from Midwestern farmers it has damaged crops. In February, a jury ordered Bayer and its peer BASF to pay $265 million to a Missouri peach farmer, who claimed the herbicide had damaged thousands of his fruit trees after drifting from neighboring cotton fields. More than 140 similar cases were due to be heard but a $400 million settlement to resolve pending dicamba lawsuits between 2015 and 2020 was also announced last month.



Monday July 6 Crop Progress & Condition Report + Ag News
2020-07-07T03:41

NEBRASKA CROP PROGRESS AND CONDITION

For the week ending July 5, 2020, there were 6.1 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 16% very short, 34% short, 49% adequate, and 1% surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 11% very short, 28% short, 60% adequate, and 1% surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn condition rated 1% very poor, 5% poor, 20% fair, 52% good, and 22% excellent. Corn silking was 4%, near 1% last year, but behind 11% for the five-year average.

Soybean condition rated 1% very poor, 4% poor, 19% fair, 56% good, and 20% excellent. Soybeans blooming was 41%, well ahead of 7% last year, and ahead of 27% average. Setting pods was 4%.

Winter wheat condition rated 4% very poor, 14% poor, 32% fair, 47% good, and 3% excellent. Winter wheat harvested was 16%, ahead of 1% last year, but near 19% average.

Sorghum condition rated 1% very poor, 3% poor, 28% fair, 57% good, and 11% excellent. Sorghum headed was 7%, near 10% last year and 5% average.

Oats condition rated 2% very poor, 11% poor, 30% fair, 52% good, and 5% excellent. Oats headed was 97%, ahead of 86% last year, and near 95% average.

Dry edible bean condition rated 0% very poor, 1% poor, 27% fair, 65% good, and 7% excellent. Dry edible beans blooming was 8%.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 5% very poor, 9% poor, 23% fair, 59% good, and 4% excellent.



IOWA CROP PROGRESS REPORT


 Little to no precipitation for much of Iowa allowed farmers 6.0 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending July 5, 2020, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Fieldwork activities included applying fertilizer, spraying, harvesting hay and hauling grain.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 3% very short, 19% short, 76% adequate and 2% surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 2% very short, 14% short, 81% adequate and 3% surplus.

There were reports of corn silking across much of the State with an average of 5%, almost 1 week ahead of the previous year but 2 days behind the 5-year average. Corn condition rated 85% good to excellent.

Soybean blooming reached 37%, almost 2 weeks ahead of last year and 6 days ahead of average. There were scattered reports of soybeans beginning to set pods. Soybean condition rated 84% good to excellent.

Oats headed progressed to 94%, 5 days ahead of last year. Oats turning color reached 36%, 4 days ahead of last year but 2 days behind the average. Oat condition rated 85% good to excellent.

Alfalfa hay second cutting reached 38%, 11 days ahead of last year and 2 days ahead of the average. Hay condition rated 77% good to excellent.

Pasture condition rated 69% good to excellent. There were reports of heat stress affecting cattle as well as continuing issues of pinkeye for cow/calf producers.



EXTENSION WEBINAR TO OFFER STRATEGIES FOR CASH FLOW PLANNING AMID PANDEMIC


COVID-19 has impacted the finances and business plans of agricultural producers across the state. An upcoming Nebraska Extension webinar will focus on cash flow strategies and available tools as farmers and ranchers plan for the rest of the year.

“Cash Flowing to the Other Side of COVID-19” will be presented on Thursday at noon, by Robert Tigner, an extension educator and agricultural systems economist in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Department of Agricultural Economics. It is part of a weekly webinar series produced by the department’s extension Farm and Ranch Management team.

“Cash Flow in 2020 is even more important due to the economic shocks caused by the pandemic,” Tigner said.

The webinar will suggest changes that can be made to cash flow that has yet to occur this year and highlight planning resources available to farmers and ranchers.

It will be held live on Zoom for approximately one hour, including time for questions from participants. Registration is open to everyone at farm.unl.edu. Additional information, a schedule of other upcoming webinars and recordings of all sessions in the webinar series are available as well.



U.S. Corn, Soybeans Both Rated 71% Good to Excellent


Good-to-excellent condition ratings were the same for both U.S. corn and soybeans last week -- a slight drop for corn but steady for soybeans, USDA NASS said in its weekly Crop Progress report on Monday.

NASS estimated that 71% of the corn crop was in good-to-excellent condition as of Sunday, July 5, down 2 percentage points from 73% the previous week but still well above 57% at the same time a year ago.  Corn silking continued to run behind the average pace last week. NASS estimated that 10% of corn was silking, 6 percentage points behind the five-year average of 16%.

Soybean development, on the other hand, was near to slightly ahead of normal last week. Soybeans blooming was estimated at 31%, 7 percentage points ahead of the five-year average of 24%, while soybeans setting pods was estimated at 2%, near the five-year average of 4%.  The national soybean condition rating came in the same as the corn crop: 71% good to excellent. That was unchanged from the previous week and still well ahead of 53% at the same time last year.

Meanwhile, winter wheat harvest moved ahead 15 percentage points last week to reach 56% complete as of Sunday, 1 percentage point ahead of the five-year average of 55%.  Winter wheat condition -- for the portion of the crop still in fields -- was rated 51% good to excellent, down 1 percentage point from 52% from the previous week. Sixty-one percent of North Dakota's winter wheat crop was rated good-to-excellent.

The percentage of spring wheat headed jumped 27 percentage points last week to reach 63% as of Sunday, 5 percentage points behind the average of 68%.  Spring wheat condition was estimated at 70% good to excellent, up 1 percentage point from 69% the previous week.

----

Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation Announces Retail Value Steer Challenge Winners


The Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation (NCF) Retail Value Steer Challenge (RVSC) is the primary fundraiser for the NC Foundation with money raised supporting youth & adult educational programs, scholarships, research & infrastructure projects, history preservation and judging teams at colleges in Nebraska. The 21st Retail Value Steer Challenge began at Darr Feedlot in November 2019 and concluded in early June 2020. Winners in three categories - Average Daily Gain, Carcass Value, and Overall Total Value - were recognized for their steer’s performance.

First place in the Average Daily Gain category was awarded to the steer owned by Shotkoski Hay Company of Lexington, second place went to a steer owned by AL Ranch from Halsey and the third place was awarded to the steer owned by Imperial Beef. In the Carcass Value category, Scott & Karen Langemeier of Stromsburg owned the winning steer, Platte Valley Companies of Scottsbluff received second place and Esch Cattle Company of Unadilla received the third place honors. First place in the Total Value Category was a steer owned by Power Genetics of Arapahoe, second place went to the steer owned by FNBO – North Platte and third place went to West Point Implement & Design.

The NC Foundation would like to recognize the support of Darr Feedlot, Cozad, for administration and feeding of the steers that were entered into this year’s challenge. The Foundation also appreciates Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. and Bill’s Volume Sales, Inc. for their sponsorship of the Retail Value Steer Challenge and thanks the many donors who delivered or purchased steers for the RVSC. Their support and participation allow the Foundation to fund the many projects and scholarships that benefit our industry.

The Foundation will soon be recruiting for the 22nd Retail Value Steer Challenge and your involvement ensures these programs succeed. Donors receive complete carcass data on their steer or steers and the chance to win prize money. NCF welcomes steer donations by individuals, businesses, groups of individuals or businesses and NC affiliates and participants can donate their own steer or purchase a steer from the Foundation. For more information concerning the Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation, contact Lee Weide, Nebraska Cattlemen Vice President of Operations at 402/475-2333 or Jana Jensen, NCF Fundraising Coordinator at 308/588-6299.



Ricketts, Fellow Governors Call on EPA to Reject Oil Refineries’ Attempts to Avoid Renewable Fuel Obligations


Governor Pete Ricketts recently joined the governors of Iowa, Minnesota, and South Dakota to write a letter to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler.  The four governors expressed their concern over the EPA’s willingness to consider 52 applications for retroactive small refinery exemptions (SREs).

“Even before the coronavirus pandemic, the misuse of small refinery waivers under the RFS caused a significant number of plants to partially or fully shut down,” the Governors wrote.  “The resulting job losses, decreases in commodity purchases and prices, and shortages of co-products affect rural America every day.  Your approval of these SRE ‘gap filings’ would only worsen the unprecedented economic challenges facing the renewable fuels industry and rural communities.”

Under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), refiners must meet renewable volume obligations by blending renewable fuels into their gasoline or by purchasing credits equivalent to the required amount of renewable fuel.  Oil refineries have repeatedly sought exemptions to avoid fulfilling their obligations.

Since 2017, the EPA has granted 85 SREs.  In total, these SREs have depressed demand for ethanol and other biofuels by over four billion gallons.  In January, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the EPA had improperly granted SREs in some cases.  Even so, the EPA continues to consider new waiver requests by small oil refineries.  Approval of the 52 pending applications would cause the market loss of another two billion gallons of biofuel blending requirements. 



Nebraska Corn Board Grant Supports Higher Ethanol Blends in Hildreth


Cooperative Producers, Inc. (CPI) in Hildreth is one of the latest fueling stations to offer higher blends of ethanol. At their location at 201 Nelson Street, motorists have the option to fill with E15 (a 15% ethanol blend), E30 (a 30% ethanol blend) or E85 (an 85% ethanol blend). E15 is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency to be used in all vehicles 2001 and newer, while the higher blends can only be used in flex fuel vehicles. The blender pump was funded and installed in part by a grant project sponsored by the Nebraska Corn Board.

To celebrate the high octane, cleaner burning options, CPI is hosting a grand opening promotion at the location on July 17. From 11:00 a.m. through 2:00 p.m., motorists can enjoy steep discounts on higher blends of ethanol. During this time, E85 will be sold for 85 cents per gallon, while E15 and E30 will be discounted 15 cents per gallon. Additionally, staff will be on hand to help pump fuel, answer questions relating to Nebraska’s ethanol industry and serve complimentary hot dogs and soda.
Each year, NCB provides grant funds to fuel retailers wanting to upgrade to blender pumps.



Center applauds bipartisan leadership for carbon market legislation


On June 26, U.S. Reps. Don Bacon (R-NE) and Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), members of the House Agriculture Committee, introduced a companion bill to the Growing Climate Solutions Act, H.R. 7393. The Senate bill, S. 3894, was introduced by Sens. Mike Braun (R-IN) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) in early June.

The bill would standardize the agricultural carbon market, and was referred to the House Committee on Agriculture.

“These bills come at a critical time for both the agriculture industry and the environment,” said Kayla Bergman, policy associate for the Center of Rural Affairs. “They also solidify the important role agriculture plays in addressing climate change by providing a good path forward for carbon markets.”

Bergman applauded the work Bacon and Spanberger did to introduce the legislation in the House.

“Their unity showcases the bipartisan nature of this legislation,” she said. “The leadership Reps. Bacon and Spanberger has shown on the Growing Climate Solutions Act will benefit farmers across rural America in a tough economic time.”

Bacon’s Republican colleague from Nebraska, Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, joined four Republicans and five Democrats in the House in cosponsoring the bill.

The House and Senate bills seek to establish a certification program through the U.S. Department of Agriculture for private parties who work with producers to receive payments for carbon sequestration.

Right now, there are many barriers to entry in the voluntary credit marketplace for our nation’s farmers and ranchers, Bacon told Center staff.

“We hope this bill will help educate and provide help to farmers who are unsure about entering the marketplace or even where to begin,” the congressman said. “The addition of the certification program is important because it gives legitimacy to the farmers, the market, and the overall process. With a certified program, both the farmers producing the credits and those that buy the credits will trust that the market is legitimate and recognizable.”

Spangerger said she’s proud to introduce the legislation alongside Bacon.

“Central Virginia farmers and producers have a long record of successful participation in USDA’s voluntary conservation programs,” she said. “They truly understand the complex ecosystems they inhabit, and they’re proud to be stewards of the land. At the federal level, we can do more to support them as they embrace practices that both boost yields and contribute to sustainable, climate-friendly farming practices.”

In addition to bringing legitimacy to carbon trading, Bergman said the bill would make the enrollment process less cumbersome. The program has already generated interest among farmers and companies, she said.

“By providing a streamlined process, the Growing Climate Solutions Act would raise the excitement even more, giving farmers the opportunity to earn additional revenue while protecting the environment,” Bergman said.



Managing Cows through Dry Conditions

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


Hot, dry conditions in early summer have taken a toll on grass growth in much of the Great Plains this year. There are several options cattle producers may want to consider to conserve grass in these dry areas. Every producer should have a drought plan that includes trigger dates and a culling strategy, but once those top cuts are made, what feeding options are there for the core herd?

Can I just supplement the cows on pasture and save grass that way?
Yes and no. Providing a protein supplement such as range cubes or distillers grains will certainly help the cows maintain body condition, but supplying a protein supplement will actually allow the cows to digest low quality forage better and therefore, increase forage consumption, which is the exact opposite of the goal.

However, research has shown that mixing wet distillers and poor quality forage or crop residues can replace some grass consumption, but will likely not result in a pound for pound intake replacement of grass. Most ethanol plants are back to operating at full or near full capacity, so wet distillers grains may be readily available for some producers. For more information on forage replacement on pasture see NebGuide 2099, Crop Residues or Low Quality Hay Combined with Byproducts as a Forage Substitute.

What are my options for feeding in confinement?

If a producer has February/March born calves, early weaning may be an option. This allows the producer to put the calves on a high quality diet so that the desired rate of gain is maintained, and the now dry cows will have a much lower energy requirement with the cessation of lactation, making them very easy to maintain on a limit fed diet in confinement. NebGuide G2047, Management of Early Weaned Calves, may be helpful if calves are early weaned.

If a producer has April/May born calves or simply prefers not to early wean, then pairs can be maintained in confinement, but several management issues need to be considered. Cow-calf pairs can be confined on pivot corners or fallow ground or a winter feed ground if desired. Calves will need to have access to feed as well, so supplying 2 feet of feeding space for the cows and 1 foot for the calves is important. Cows can be limit fed an energy dense diet mixed with poor quality forages but the diet needs to meet the demands of lactation. Producers can visit with their Extension personnel to develop a diet to meet the cow’s requirements. Unfortunately, poor quality residues are more difficult to digest for the young calf, so producers may want to consider a creep area for the calves where they are allowed to graze or are fed a diet higher in digestibility that is off limits to the cows. All calves need access to a water source which is important for hydration and rumen development even if the calf is nursing. Calves born in confinement in July and August might also benefit from a source of shade. For more information on managing production cows in confinement, see NebGuide 2237, Management Considerations for Beef Cows in Confinement.

Should I be concerned about the breeding season for my late spring calving cows?
Research has shown that cows breed back best on an increasing plane of nutrition. Therefore, if hot dry conditions produce grass that is mature a month ahead of schedule and grass availability is limited, then cows grazing in July and August could be experiencing a declining plane of nutrition, which could be detrimental to conception rates. Supplemental feed could be warranted, especially for the young cows nursing their first calf.

Very few cattle management decisions are easy. Culling decisions can often be clouded with emotion during difficult times. It is very important to evaluate the cost of feeding the cows as opposed to culling the cows to make the best long term management decision.



Conference on Pig Survivability Postponed until October 2021


The International Conference on Pig Survivability, originally set for Oct. 28-29, has been postponed a year. Improving Pig Survivability Project leaders said the decision was necessary due to ongoing concerns with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Conference planning chair Joel DeRouchey, extension program leader at Kansas State University, said the new dates for the conference are Oct. 27-28, 2021, and the location will remain at the Hilton Omaha, in Omaha, Neb.

“We are disappointed that we’re not able to hold this conference this fall, yet we know the decision is the right one for our attendees and our presenters,” DeRouchey said. “We’re looking forward to being able to share even more information with attendees in 2021 about how they can use current information to improve survivability rates in their operations.”

Project leader Jason Ross, who is also director of the Iowa Pork Industry Center at Iowa State University, said conference organizers took seriously their decision to postpone the conference.

“As we looked at the unknowns in terms of allowable travel by companies, businesses and universities, and other factors affecting return to normal business function due to COVID-19, our organizing committee chose to alleviate the potential risk of negative impact on the industry by postponing the conference,” Ross said.

The Improving Pig Survivability project has two primary objectives: to identify factors contributing to swine mortality in commercial production, and to develop strategies and information to reduce mortality and maximize pig survivability. Read more about the project and its progress on the website https://piglivability.org/.

“The 2021 conference objectives are to facilitate the discussion and dissemination of the most current information relative to sow, litter, weaned pig and grow-finish mortality,” Ross said. “We want to bring the industry together to motivate change while providing the tools and resources to do it.”

DeRouchey said people should look forward to continued distribution of project information.

“While the conference will remain an important component of our overall project, other avenues of information distribution such as podcasts, fact sheets, webinars and other digital media, will continue as planned,” DeRouchey said. “We are developing a strong, nationally effective extension and outreach effort coupled with innovative applied research for this project and are confident this conference will be a major piece of that effort in 2021.”

Those who have already registered for the now-postponed conference will receive a refund. Please check the conference website for more information https://www.regcytes.extension.iastate.edu/survivability/



Extension Specialists to Continue Essential Row Crop Management Series


Extension specialists from Iowa State University and the University of Minnesota are collaborating to provide another series of webinars for farmers, ag professionals, extension personnel and other interested parties on Tuesdays and Thursdays for two weeks in July.

The theme will be “Essential Row Crop Management for Summer 2020,” with a focus on pest management topics for late summer.

The webinars are free and open to all, thanks to sponsorship by the Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa Corn Growers Association, Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council, and the Minnesota Corn Growers Association.

“Each webinar will be limited to 10-15 minutes with lots of time for questions and answers because we know peoples’ time is limited and want to be sure questions are addressed,” said Meaghan Anderson, field agronomist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

Webinars will start at 1 p.m. on July 14, 16, 21 and 23. Topics and presenters include:
    July 14, 1 p.m. Tar spot identification and in-season management with Alison Robertson, professor and extension plant pathologist, Iowa State University.
    July 16, 1 p.m. Soybean aphid IPM with Erin Hodgson, professor and extension entomologist, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.
    July 21, 1 p.m. Corn rootworm management with Ken Ostlie, professor and extension entomologist, University of Minnesota.
    July 23, 1 p.m. Soybean gall midge update with Justin McMechan, professor and extension crop protection and cropping systems specialist, University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

“Each webinar will be recorded for those that want to participate, but can’t join the live webinar,” said Lisa Behnken, regional extension educator with the University of Minnesota. Additional resources will be provided via a publicly accessible file-sharing system.

Information about this series can be found at https://extension.umn.edu/courses-and-events/essential-row-crop-management-online.

Recorded sessions and additional resources can be found in a CyBox account at https://iastate.box.com/s/wq3excfepau72nyj9pog2powqqux936v.



Production Challenges, Economic Headwinds Slow Red Meat Exports in May


U.S. beef and pork exports trended lower in May, due in part to interruptions in slaughter and processing, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Beef exports dropped well below year-ago levels and recorded the lowest monthly volume in 10 years. Pork exports remained higher than a year ago but were the lowest since October 2019.

"As protective measures related to COVID-19 were being implemented, plant disruptions peaked in early May with a corresponding temporary slowdown in exports," said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. "Unfortunately the impact was quite severe, especially on the beef side. Exports also faced some significant economic headwinds, especially in our Western Hemisphere markets, as stay-at-home orders were implemented in key destinations and several trading partners dealt with slumping currencies."

Halstrom noted that the recent rebound in beef and pork production will help exports regain momentum in the second half of 2020. The global economic outlook is challenging, but he looks for export volumes to recover quickly in most markets as U.S. red meat remains an important staple, not only in the United States but for many international consumers as well.

"In what has been a remarkably turbulent year, consumer demand for U.S. red meat has proven very resilient," he said. "Now that production has substantially recovered, the U.S. industry is better able to meet the needs of both domestic and international customers. While the foodservice and hospitality sectors face enormous challenges, they are on the path to recovery in some markets while retail demand remains strong. Retail sales have also been bolstered by a surge in e-commerce and innovations in home meal replacement, as convenience remains paramount."

May beef exports were down 33% from a year ago to 79,280 metric tons (mt), with value falling 34% to $480.1 million, as shipments were higher than a year ago to Hong Kong and China but trended lower to most other markets. For January through May, beef exports fell 3% below last year's pace in volume (512,596 mt) and 5% lower in value ($3.14 billion).

May pork exports totaled 243,823 mt, 12% above a year ago but down 13% from the monthly average for the first quarter of 2020. Export value was $620.9 million, up 9% year-over-year but 16% below the first quarter monthly average. May exports increased year-over-year to China/Hong Kong, Taiwan and Vietnam, but trended lower to Mexico, Japan, Canada and South Korea. For January through May, exports were 30% ahead of last year's pace in volume (1.35 million mt) and 37% higher in value ($3.53 billion).



Veterinary researcher demonstrates how additives can help mitigate risk of African swine fever transmission through feed


New research at Kansas State University is demonstrating that the risk of spreading a deadly animal virus through feed can be effectively reduced through the use of different feed additives.

African swine fever, or ASF, is a rapidly spreading and emerging transboundary animal disease that threatens pork production and human food security worldwide. Although African swine fever virus does not affect humans, it has reduced pork availability in some countries with afflicted pigs.

The K-State research team, headed by Megan Niederwerder, assistant professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology in the College of Veterinary Medicine, has just published a new study, "Mitigating the risk of African swine fever virus in feed with antiviral chemical additives," in the scientific journal Transboundary and Emerging Diseases. This study provides the first evidence that feed additives may be effective tools against African swine fever.

"Over the last two years, ASF is estimated to be responsible for the death of at least 25% of the world's pig population due to the emergence of the virus within China and subsequent spread to over 10 other Asian countries," Niederwerder said. "In 2019, we published the first report of African swine fever virus, or ASFV, transmission through the natural consumption of plant-based feed. Our subsequent work has focused on mitigation of ASFV in feed through the use of chemical feed additives and heat treatment."

Although feed additives have historically been used to reduce the risk of bacterial contamination in feed, research thus far has not reported efficacy for the inactivation of African swine fever virus in feed ingredients. Niederwerder said there are currently no commercially available vaccines and no effective treatments that can be administered to pigs for ameliorating disease caused by the virus. Thus, control of African swine fever is focused on biosecurity measures to prevent the introduction of the virus into negative countries or negative farms and regions within a positive country. The other method of containment would involve large-scale culling of infected or high-risk animals to contain the spread of the virus.

"Our new research reports novel data evaluating the efficacy of feed additives on inactivating ASFV in an in vitro cell culture model and a feed ingredient transoceanic shipment model," Niederwerder said. "This will provide valuable information to the swine industry with regards to mitigating the risk of potential routes for introduction and transmission of ASFV through feed and ingredients."

Niederwerder and her team examined two different classes of liquid feed additives, including a medium-chain fatty acid-based additive and a formaldehyde-based additive, for efficacy against African swine fever virus in cell culture and in feed ingredients. In general, both chemical additives demonstrated evidence of reducing the virus infectivity, with data supporting dose-dependent efficacy.

This study was funded by a grant from the Swine Health Information Center and the State of Kansas National Bio and Agro-defense Facility Fund.

While the results of the study are promising, Niederwerder emphasized the need for a multifaceted approach to reducing the risk of African swine fever virus in feed, including sourcing ingredients from countries without the virus when possible, applying holding times to high-risk ingredients, and implementing consistent biosecurity protocols at the feed mill.



Livestock Risk Protection Changes

Matthew Diersen, Risk & Business Mgt Sp., South Dakota State University


July 1 marked the beginning of a new commodity year for Livestock Risk Protection (LRP), a price insurance product that functions similar to buying put options. As such, LRP is designed for the seller of cattle facing downside price risk. An LRP policy has endorsements for fed cattle and feeder cattle, the latter with adjustment factors (built in basis levels) for certain weights and classes. Two major changes were implemented for LRP, the premium subsidy was again increased and the premium payment date was moved from the time of purchase until the end of the coverage.

The LRP subsidy was substantially increased a year ago, with limited impacts in terms of volume of cattle covered. For Fed Cattle, there was an increase in the number of head covered in the 2020 commodity year to 8,098 head across 62 paid policies. However, that low aggregate volume implies that the premium has not been a driving factor in the use of LRP by feedlots. For Feeder Cattle, there was a decrease in the number of head covered from the prior year, down to 79,846 head across 393 paid policies. Sales volume continues to be steady for feeder cattle, especially from South Dakota down to Texas. The higher volatility in 2020 has resulted in sharply higher premium levels, so the subsidy is more relevant at this time.

A common question is how costs compare if considering buying LRP versus buying a put option. Before the subsidy changes, costs were often similar when comparing the alternatives on a per-cwt level. Consider a cost comparison from July 2, 2020 under the current subsidy structure. LRP on feeder cattle for the standard weight class had premium quotes for an October 29, 2020 end date. The highest coverage level available was $136 per cwt at a full premium cost of $6.82 per cwt. The subsidy (25% for this coverage level) would reduce the cost to $5.12 per cwt. A $136 strike price October put option on the same date settled at a premium of $6.00 per cwt. The premium would not include any commission costs, which could add $0.15 per cwt. As a settlement price, it does not reflect the bid-ask spread or how much may have to be included to get an order to fill. Note that the fixed size of option contracts may give LRP an additional cost advantage as it is purchased on a per-head level. The take-home message is that the subsidy would give a solid cost advantage to LRP.

Changing the time the LRP premium is payable, is more subtle, but still relevant. When buying options, having to pay the premium can use a substantial amount of financial capital. Lenders are often willing to lend the necessary capital, but then interest will add to the expense. In some cases, borrowing may use valuable credit reserves. Interest rates are generally low at this time, so explicit interest expense or the opportunity cost of capital are likely low at this time. Regardless, the change would again give a cost advantage to LRP compared to buying put options.

For more insights, see https://extension.sdstate.edu/livestock-risk-protection-cattle



RESEARCH ENHANCES UNDERSTANDING OF THE NUTRITIONAL AND ECONOMIC DIFFERENCES IN SOYBEAN MEAL FROM DIFFERENT ORIGINS


A new meta-analytical study reinforces U.S. Soy’s reputation for being a global leader in quality and nutrient-density. The study, entitled, “Chemical composition, protein quality and nutritive value of commercial soybean meals produced from beans from different countries,” demonstrates that not all soybean meals are created equal and that meal from different countries of origin should be treated individually when formulating swine and poultry diets. The data from this study were then processed by the Nutrient Value Calculator (NVC), a software tool constructed by Genesis Feed Technologies, a company built to bring visibility into feed costs. This cost analysis supported the economic benefits of U.S. soybean meal relative to meal from other origins as a key ingredient in poultry rations.

Dr. Gonzalo Mateos, Professor of Animal Science at the University of Madrid in Spain and study co-author, first presented findings from the meta-analysis at the U.S. Soybean Export Council’s (USSEC) Asia Trade Exchange to 850 U.S. Soy customers and soybean industry representatives. This pioneering compilation of research is the most comprehensive quality review of soybean meal that has ever been conducted, and it gives customers greater clarity around soybean meal quality from different countries of origin. The meta-analysis looked at 18 different studies and 1,944 samples to quantify the relationship between country of origin of the bean and the chemical composition and nutritive value of the soybean meal. Soybeans from the following origins were analyzed: Argentina (ARG), Brazil (BRA), USA (USA) and India (IND).

“One of the main points from the study, is that customers should be using different matrices for the evaluation of the nutritional value of soybean meals of different origins,” said Dr. Gonzalo Mateos, Professor of Animal Science at the University of Madrid, Spain. “If they buy only based on protein or vegetable sucrose content, they may buy a product that is actually lower quality. Therefore, it is important to check all of the values that are related to the nutritive value of the soybean meal before making purchase decisions, which this study addresses.”

The data in this meta-analysis forms a new key pillar of the economic evaluation of soybean meal in global markets. Using the Nutrient Value Calculator from Genesis Feed Technologies, the economic value of U.S. soybean meal can be evaluated in global markets using formulas representative of the regional feed manufacturers. Nutrient values and prices of all the other components of the diet are also used in this calculation. The NVC indicates that U.S. soybean meal is the leading contributor to cost reduction in broiler diets.

“Our company was thrilled to participate in this groundbreaking research conducted by the U.S. Soybean Export Council,” said Peter Schott, CEO and Co-Founder of Genesis Feed Technologies. “We hope that buyers take note of the results, purchase more U.S. soy and see a significant reduction in their feed costs. This NVC analyzes economic nutritional value of soybean meals from different origins to give traders and buyers a platform to connect with nutritionists directly to better inform their feed investments.”

When comparing cost reductions with incorporation of data from the aforementioned meta-analytical study, premiums of U.S. soybean meal range from $14.57 to $23.24 per tonne over Argentine soybean meal and range from $2.48 to $10.26 per tonne over Brazilian soybean meal.

“U.S. soy and soybean meal products offer a price advantage and rank first on a number of important nutritional attributes when compared to other origins, including remarkable amino acid and energy profiles,” said Paul Burke, USSEC’s Senior Director for U.S. Soy Marketing. “This will continue to ensure we deliver a valuable, consistent and more economical product that our customers can count on.”

Soybean meal is an important source of protein for the global feed industry, where it is used in livestock, poultry and aquaculture diets. To meet this demand for animal feed, the farmers that grow sustainable U.S. soy not only care about being a reliable supplier but take pride in providing a high-quality product to their international customers.

“The world’s need for a high-quality protein product like U.S. soybean meal will be critical as our population continues to grow. And U.S. farmers around the country are ready and willing to meet that need,” said Monte Peterson, Chairman of USSEC, board member of the American Soybean Association and soybean farmer in Valley City, N.D. “Our soybean farmers provide a consistent, nutritious and efficient source of protein for both the food and feed sectors. This meta-analysis is important because it shows how U.S. soy is the most high-quality and best economic choice, backed by science.”



COVID-19 Pandemic Reveals USDA Is Not Buying RFID Cattle Eartags from American Manufacturers   


R-CALF USA has learned that the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted foreign shipments of millions of radio frequency identification (RFID) cattle eartags the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) had purchased from foreign manufacturers. The USDA had planned to distribute the millions of foreign-made RFID eartags free-of-charge to American cattlemen to entice them to begin using the foreign-made RFID eartags on American cattle.

R-CALF USA Animal Identification Committee Chair Kenny Fox said his organization finds this news disturbing, particularly in light of the Executive Order issued by President Trump in April 2017 that directs federal agencies to “Buy American and Hire American.”

“The USDA is contributing to the weakened state of our U.S. economy by bypassing domestic supply chains, particularly domestic manufacturers, in its blind pursuit of attempting to force expensive and foreign RFID technology on America’s cattle producers,” he said.

Today, the USDA published a proposal in the Federal Register wherein APHIS would only approve RFID tags as the “official” eartag for any livestock sold or moved across state lines. The purpose of this proposal is to entirely phase out the use of any other type of eartag, and force producers to convert to the RFID technology.

The USDA purports that such a mandate does not alter current law, and the agency indicates it does not intend to change current law by amending its regulations.

However, R-CALF USA states that the USDA’s actions contradict current law that expressly allows cattle producers to choose among various identification devices, including metal eartags, as well as backtags, brands, tattoos, and group lot identification.

“This is yet another end-run around the 2013 regulation that allows producers to use a variety of identification and traceability techniques,” Fox said. He also pointed out that an agency policy such as this cannot trump existing regulations and the USDA appears to be on a fishing expedition to force the cattle industry to expend unnecessary resources to fight a proposal that the agency has no authority to implement.

In October 2019, R-CALF USA represented by Harriet Hageman of the New Civil Liberties Alliance, filed a lawsuit that successfully blocked the USDA’s first attempt to unlawfully mandate the exclusive use of RFID eartags.

“The agency is completely out of touch with the needs of America’s cattle producers who are experiencing perhaps the worst economic cost-price squeeze in history, which has been greatly exacerbated by the COVID-19 Pandemic,” Fox commented.

“This is certainly not a time the USDA should be imposing significant added production costs on the U.S. cattle industry and not the time to be enriching foreign manufacturers at the expense of domestic manufacturers while the entire domestic cattle and beef supply chains are reeling from the effects of the pandemic,” he added.

Fox said his group is urging every cattle producer to submit comments to the USDA before the October 5, 2020 deadline to inform the USDA that it cannot force expensive RFID technology upon the industry without amending current law.

Interested persons can comment on the USDA’s proposal by going to the Federal eRulemaking Portal at https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=APHIS-2020-0022-0001.



Signup for 2021 DMC Coverage to Begin Oct. 12


The USDA's Farm Service Agency announces that Dairy Margin Coverage safety-net signup for 2021 coverage will begin Oct. 12 and will run through Dec. 11. Due to the impact of COVID-19, the program has already triggered payments for two months for producers who signed up for 2020 coverage.

As of June 15, FSA has issued more than $100 million in much-needed program benefits to dairy producers who purchased DMC coverage for this year.

Authorized by the 2018 farm bill, DMC is a voluntary risk management program that offers protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all-milk price and the average feed price falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer. Over 13,000 operations enrolled in the program for 2020.

For more information, visit farmers.gov DMC website or contact your local USDA service center.



Friday July 3 Ag News - Independence Day Edition!
2020-07-03T01:16

NE Extension Soybean Gall Midge Alert

On July 1st, soybean gall midge adults were collected from this year’s soybean fields in Saunders County, NE indicating the start of the 1st generation of soybean gall midge. Adults are still emerging from last year’s soybean fields (overwintering generation) at a number of locations across the network. Capturing adults from both fields indicates that we have an overlap in the overwintering and 1st generation. Wilted and dying plants from soybean gall midge have been noted at some locations late last week in Saunders County, Nebraska, and this week in Rock County, Minnesota.

We currently don’t have any recommendations for applying insecticides against 1st generation adults. Adults emerging from this year’s soybean will likely continue to spread to the interior portion of the field. However, now is a good time to scout fields and document the presence or plant injury from soybean gall midge in your fields for future management.

For updates on adult emergence see soybeangallmidge.org.



NE FSA Reminds Producers to Complete Crop Acreage Reports by July 15 Deadline


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) reminds Nebraska producers to complete crop acreage reports by the upcoming July 15, 2020, deadline.

“To make sure you’re eligible for many USDA programs, you need to file an accurate crop acreage report by the applicable deadline,” said Nancy Johner, State Executive Director in Nebraska. “Our FSA staff is standing by to help you with your acreage reports, including providing maps.”

The July 15 acreage reporting deadline applies to common spring-planted crops, such as corn, soybeans and grain sorghum, as well as hay and Conservation Reserve Program acres.

Due to the pandemic, FSA has implemented acreage reporting flexibilities. FSA can work with producers to file timely acreage reports by phone, email, online tools and virtual meetings. Some county FSA offices are open for in-person appointments, but customers first must call to schedule an appointment.

FSA offices also are using Microsoft Teams software to virtually meet with producers to review maps and documents for certification. Producers who want to schedule a virtual appointment can download the Microsoft Teams app on their smart phone or tablet and call the FSA office for an appointment. Producers also can use Microsoft Teams from their personal computer without downloading software.

Johner said acreage certification plans may vary between county offices, but in general customers can assist FSA by paying close attention to email or mail from their county FSA office that outlines the process put in place for 2020 certification, and then follow the requested steps. Offices are using a variety of tools to receive completed maps and other certification documents, including drop boxes, mail, email or through commercially available free and secure online tools such as Box for file sharing and OneSpan for eSignature solutions.

The following exceptions apply to acreage reporting dates:
    If the crop has not been planted by the acreage reporting date, the acreage must be reported no later than 15 calendar days after planting is completed.

    If a producer has not timely filed an acreage report, the producer may file the acreage report within 30 days of the acreage reporting date. Because of the pandemic, late fees will be waived if filed within the 30 days.

FSA is also providing additional flexibilities for producers to file on acres with failed crops or crops that were prevented from planting because of extreme weather events. For insured crops, producers who timely filed a prevented planted claim with the reinsurance company but filed a Notice of Loss (CCC-576) form after the deadline will be considered timely filed for FSA purposes. For uninsured crops, producers may start a Notice of Loss by calling their FSA county office.

Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) policy holders should note that the acreage reporting date for NAP-covered crops is the earlier of the dates listed above or 15 calendar days before grazing or harvesting of the crop begins.

Other Programs

When producers are working with FSA staff – either in-person or virtually – they also can take care of applications for other FSA programs, including the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. A CFAP Call Center is available for producers who would like additional one-on-one support with the CFAP application process. Please call 877-508-8364 to speak directly with a USDA employee ready to offer assistance. The CFAP Call Center can provide service to non-English speaking customers. Customers will select 1 for English and 2 to speak with a Spanish speaking employee. For other languages, customers select 1 and indicate their language to the Call Center staff. Another resource for customers to learn about the program is the farmers.gov/cfap website.

Applications also can be submitted for the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+) for 2018 and 2019, as well as other disaster assistance programs that may be able to assist producers at this time.



Nebraska Extension dean and director announces retirement


Nebraska Extension Dean and Director Chuck Hibberd, a Lexington native who fostered a spirit of innovation and collaboration within the organization, will retire on June 30.

Hibberd spent seven years at the helm of Nebraska Extension. Under his leadership, Nebraska Extension, housed within the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, has moved toward a new way of thinking about the role of Extension, one that’s less about providing answers to questions and more about working with farmers, ranchers, community leaders and families to learn from each other and solve problems together.

“There is so much indigenous knowledge in Nebraska,” Hibberd said. “We’re not going to solve the most vexing problems in this state if we don’t gather information from all sources and use that collective knowledge to create robust solutions.”

Hibberd’s professional path started at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he received his bachelor’s degree in animal science. It was his fourth major, but the first one that stuck, thanks in large part to a professor who helped him figure out how to make the courses from his first three majors count toward an animal science degree. That same professor, Merlyn Nielsen, also encouraged him to attend graduate school.

Hibberd received his master’s and doctorate degrees from Oklahoma State University, and upon graduation, he joined the faculty there. His expertise was in beef cattle nutrition and management, and he quickly became involved in Extension programs across Oklahoma, sharing his own research of how beef cows might benefit from various nutritional and management strategies. Hibberd holds two patents from his work at Oklahoma State University.

Hibberd loved the teaching opportunities Extension provided and the opportunity to work with producers and allied industry partners. He also quickly came to love teaching students, eventually chairing a university-wide committee on first-year student success and winning the top teaching award at OSU for his work.

He worked at Oklahoma for 12 years then moved with his family to Scottsbluff to lead the Panhandle Research and Education Center. Among the most memorable projects Hibberd worked on was positioning western Nebraska as a hotbed for the production of chicory, which can be roasted, ground, and combined with or used in place of coffee. Panhandle Research and Education Center faculty and staff, local business leaders, and community members all worked together to start a chicory processing plant in Scottsbluff that kicked off a local chicory industry.

“The community helped fund that project,” Hibberd said. “We couldn’t have done it without them, and they couldn’t have done it without us, a great example of a public/private partnership that worked.”

After nearly 13 years in Scottsbluff, Hibberd moved with his family to Indiana, where he became the director for Purdue Extension. Five years later, when the Extension dean and director position opened at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, he returned to his home state, drawn by Nebraska Extension’s reputation for excellence and creativity.

“I didn’t come back to Nebraska because I’m from Nebraska,” Hibberd said. “I didn’t come back because I wanted to work for the University of Nebraska. I came back because I really thought that Nebraska Extension was in a place to continue to grow and evolve in ways that would be fun and exciting and valuable for Nebraskans.”

Over the seven-plus years Hibberd has served as dean and director of Nebraska Extension, he has found that to be true.

During his tenure at the university, more than 100 Extension professionals at all 83 county offices responded to the worst natural disaster in recent Nebraska history during the floods and blizzard in March of 2019. Immediately, Extension professionals jumped to action to coordinate volunteers from across the state and country who came to help, to assist producers with myriad issues related to livestock, crops and equipment, and to help homeowners and neighborhoods deal with flood water. A year later, Hibberd fostered Nebraska Extension’s efforts to provide resources to producers dealing with market disruptions, parents trying to balance working with suddenly homeschooling their children, rural Nebraskans struggling with their mental health and more during the state’s response to COVID-19.

Nebraska’s 4-H program, which has always been strong, has grown to 142,000 participants statewide — that’s one in three Nebraska youth between the ages of 8 and 18, including over 40,000 4-Hers in Omaha and Lincoln. It’s the highest participation rate in the country.

Under Hibberd, Nebraska Extension also shifted to a new model of service. Extension professionals across the state have continued to serve local producers, communities, businesses and families, but they also work in interdisciplinary teams designed to take on statewide issues important to Nebraskans, such as integrated crop and livestock systems, irrigation efficiency, food access and early childhood development.

“Nebraska has a strong tradition of excellence in Extension, and under Chuck’s leadership, Extension has become even stronger and better equipped to serve all Nebraskans,” said Mike Boehm, University of Nebraska vice president and Harlan Vice Chancellor for the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. “He is strategic, extremely collaborative and he has empowered Extension professionals all across Nebraska to deepen their relationships with community leaders, producers, gardeners, parents, educators and many others across the state. His commitment to county-based partnering and his impacts across Nebraska and beyond will be felt for years to come.”

Dave Varner, associate dean and director of Nebraska Extension, will serve as interim dean and director until a permanent replacement is found via a national search.

Varner began his extension career with a college internship in 1986. Since then, he has served as an Extension assistant, educator, associate district director, and held interim director positions at the Southeast Research and Extension Center and the Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center, both located near Mead. He also has co-led the Nebraska Extension disaster response and recovery team. He has served as associate dean and director since January 2017.

“Extension professionals care so deeply about the well-being of Nebraskans and make a difference in the lives of Nebraskans every day,” Varner said. “Nebraska Extension is deeply committed to the residents of our state and always ready for the next challenge. That’s what I love about the organization.”

In his retirement, Hibberd plans to stay involved with the university as a volunteer, as well as spend time with his family. Beyond that, he plans to continue to learn and teach, as he has his entire life.

And he’ll continue to draw inspiration from his experiences in Nebraska.

“I’ve never seen a place where people get stuff done like they do here. And that spirit of accomplishment is delivered in ways that aren’t just valuable for them, but they’re truly valuable for other people, their communities and their state,” Hibberd said. “That spirit of can-do, that spirit of generosity…I think that’s pretty unique to Nebraska, and that’s why it’s been really special not only to grow up here, but also to finish my career in this amazing place.”



NE Cattlemen Webinar Series: July 7


The Nebraska Cattlemen, Minnesota State Cattlemen and Kentucky Cattlemen are presenting the next Producer Education webinar on Tuesday, July 7, at 7:00 pm cdt. 

Local Beef Processing - Inspection, Marketing and Branding.   Join them to learn more about the options that you have to selling your beef locally.  What you can expect when you work with small processors to harvest and retail beef products. 

Dr. Ryan Cox with the University of Minnesota will be moderating our panel.  Ryan sits on the board Minnesota Association of Meat Processor and works with several local meat processors. He oversees the meat lab at the U of M so knows the ins and outs of inspection and running a small locker.

A few of our speakers will talk about:
    Kentucky Cattlemen's Ground Beef - a  Kentucky ground beef product sold in Kroger stores in Kentucky, Tennesse, Indiana.
    Nebraska Dept of Ag and custom exempt lockers
    Nebraska Beef in Schools
   
Register today https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_97_ihQmzRR6LYsAw6_0I1Q.

For more information and to register:  https://nebraskacattlemen.org/event/webinar-local-beef-processing-inspection-marketing-and-branding.

Catch up on our past webinar series.  https://nebraskacattlemen.org/coronavirus/.
You can also listen to the four webinars on podcast via Herd it Here with Nebraska Cattlemen.    https://anchor.fm/nebraska-cattlemen/. 

Mark your calendar:  They will be hosting a webinar each first Tuesday of the month. 
   



 Large family-owned pork producer invests in Northeast’s Nexus project


One of the largest family-owned pork producers in the nation is investing $50,000 in the Nexus project at Northeast Community College.

“At Christensen Farms, we are fully committed to supporting agriculture education as well as the communities we operate in,” said Glenn Stolt, Christensen Farms CEO. “Now more than ever before, it is critically important to build and maintain robust education institutes and programs like Nexus providing the next generation of leaders with the education and skills needed to support and sustain our noble mission in agriculture, which is feeding our communities, across the nation and around the world.”

Christensen Farms is based in Sleepy Eye, Minn. and has pork production, truck wash and feed mill operations located in northeast Nebraska. In this region, it employs more than 100 people, who all help to support and achieve the mission of Christensen Farms.

Stolt said, “Recent events have highlighted the essential, albeit often overlooked, role agriculture plays in our daily lives; from food to fiber and fuel. While agriculture has evolved, it has been, and continues to be the foundation upon which our local and global economies are built,” he said. “We are excited to see the opportunities the Nexus project will generate. Yes, opportunities for future generations who will be joining the workforce, but also, for the long-term viability and sustainability of our rural communities and businesses.”

Christensen Farms markets more than three-million hogs per year. The company operates throughout the Midwest with facilities in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, and South Dakota. Christensen Farms owns three feed mills, manages 148,000 sows on 44 farms, and oversees more than 350 nurseries and grow finish sites. The company employs nearly 1,000 people and maintains 1,500 contract partnerships.

“The pork industry is a rapidly growing sector of the agriculture economy of Nebraska,” said Dr. Tracy Kruse, associate vice president of development and external affairs and executive director of the Northeast Foundation. “The new facilities planned at Northeast will support that growth, training both the next generation of employees as well as future farmers and ranchers.”

“We are pleased to have Christensen Farms join other agricultural firms, financial institutions and area foundations as partners in the Nexus project,” Kruse said. “Their generous contribution will help provide the modern classroom and lab space needed to teach 21st century agricultural skills.”

The initial phase of construction of new agriculture facilities at the College includes a new veterinary technology clinic and classrooms, a new farm site with a large animal handling facility and other farm structures for livestock operations, a farm office and storage. The new facilities will be located near the Chuck M. Pohlman Agriculture Complex on E. Benjamin Ave. in Norfolk. Site work began in April and construction should be completed by the Fall of 2021.

The funding for the agriculture facilities will come from the College’s commitment of $10 million, as well as external fundraising to fill the gap. With a total project cost of $22.3 million, the College has raised enough funds to begin construction; however, fundraising for the Nexus campaign will continue, as more is needed for equipment, technology and furnishings.

In August 2019, 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 tracyk@northeast.edu, or call (402) 844-7056. Online donations may be made through agwaternexus.com. Checks may also be mailed to Nexus Campaign, Northeast Community College Foundation, P.O. Box 469, Norfolk, NE 68702-0469.



Iowa Cattlemen's Association Requests Senate Agriculture Committee Hearing


The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association continues efforts to reform cattle marketing, echoing Senator Grassley’s request for a Senate Agriculture committee hearing regarding the issue.

“For years, ICA leaders and members have worked towards solutions to level the playing field and bring producers more leverage in the fed cattle markets,” says Cora Fox, ICA’s Director of Government Relations. “Senator Grassley has been a strong supporter of our efforts and we are completely on board with his recently-introduced cattle marketing bill. However, not all congressional representatives and members of the Senate Agriculture Committee are treating the issue with the same urgency. A hearing would help bring attention to the issues and possible solutions.”

Senator Grassley’s bill, which is co-sponsored by Sens. Tester (D-MT), Ernst (R-IA), Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Rounds (R-SD), Smith (D-MN), and Daines (R-MT), would mandate a minimum of 50 percent cash trade by each large packing plant, and also require a maximum 14 day delivery period. Currently, cash trade accounts for approximately 25 percent of fed cattle sales and is unbalanced across regions of the United States, which has led to decreased price discovery.

Earlier in June, Sen. Grassley requested the hearing. The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association sent a letter shortly after to Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), saying, “These problems have plagued our industry for nearly two decades, and have been exacerbated with the two most recent ‘black swan’ events—the Holcomb, Kan. plant fire and COVID-19. Both of these events, marked by a rapid price increase in the boxed beef market and the paradoxical decline in the live cattle market, have highlighted the instability within our markets. Our greatest fear—the fear that our industry will no longer remain independent and a source of viable income for farm families—is being realized.”

Livestock Mandatory Reporting is scheduled to be reauthorized by September 30, 2020. Many stakeholders are advocating for cattle marketing changes to be included in the reauthorization.



Iowa Farmer Elected As USGC Representative To MAIZALL


Deb Keller, a past U.S. Grains Council (USGC) chairman and farmer from Iowa, assumed the role of the Council’s representative to MAIZALL - the international maize alliance - on July 1, following her election by the USGC Board of Directors earlier this summer.

“My role as a MAIZALL director is to help deliver the message that advanced crop improvement technologies - whether biotechnology or the use of CRISPR - are environmentally friendly, economically crucial tools to deliver a safe, reliable product and help ensure nutrition and stability to all countries,” Keller said. “Together, we can accomplish more than working independently.”

Keller is a full-time farmer from Clarion, Iowa, with more than 25 years of experience in production agriculture that have allowed her to learn firsthand the value of biotechnology to more predictability and higher yields. She served as USGC chairman in 2017-2018, having previously served as the leader of the Rest of the World Advisory Team. Keller is also a former chairwoman of the Iowa Corn Promotion Board.

“We welcome Deb into the MAIZALL family,” said Ryan LeGrand, USGC president and chief executive officer. “Deb will continue to build upon the legacy built by the MAIZALL founders and help us continue MAIZALL’s advocacy into the future.”

MAIZALL was established in 2013 by leaders from the Council, the National Corn Growers Association, BRAMILHO (Brazilian Association of Corn Producers) and MAIZAR (the Argentine corn and sorghum federation). Growers in all three countries work to resolve shared problems with non-tariff barriers in global markets, primarily related to biotechnology, even though they are serious competitors.

“By representing 70 percent of the export market, farmers in Argentina, Brazil and the United States can speak with a loud voice through MAIZALL,” Keller said. “Farmers everywhere face many of the same challenges - weather, margins, a reliable workforce and transportation. It is crucial to focus on those things that unite us, and that includes the need for biotechnology.”

Keller assumed the MAIZALL role following the retirement of Julius Schaaf, a fellow past USGC chairman and a founder of MAIZALL.

“The originators of MAIZALL laid the groundwork. I believe in its structure and am supportive of the efforts that have gone into making this project successful thus far,” Keller said. “MAIZALL will illustrating how successful teamwork between our three countries communicates the need for advanced crop breeding techniques.”



NPPC Supports Senate Bill to Bolster Hog Farmers in Crisis


The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) strongly supports the Responding to Epidemic Losses and Investing in the Economic Future (RELIEF) for Producers Act of 2020, introduced today by Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.).

The bill would:
     Compensate hog and poultry producers who are forced to euthanize or donate animals that can't be processed into the food supply due to COVID-related packing plant capacity reductions;
    Increase funding for animal health surveillance and laboratories, which have appropriately assisted and shared resources with their public health partners; and
    Revise the Commodity Credit Corporation charter so a pandemic-driven national emergency qualifies for funding.

"We thank Senators Inhofe, Burr, Ernst, Grassley and Tillis for their support of U.S. hog farmers who urgently need federal assistance to address this unprecedented crisis," said NPPC President Howard "A.V." Roth, a producer from Wauzeka, Wisconsin. "While plant capacity has improved, millions of hogs remain backed up on farms due to the COVID-created bottleneck, one that could have a lasting impact on hog farmers. The RELIEF for Producers Act provides a much-needed lifeline to thousands of farmers who could otherwise go out of business, leading to consolidation and contraction of the U.S. pork industry. We urge Congress to work together to quickly pass much-needed legislation addressing this crisis."

"Farmers and ranchers across the country are working to operate in these unprecedented times," said Senator Inhofe. "When I spoke with members of the Oklahoma Pork Council in May, we discussed the strain COVID-19 has put on their production cycles and their need for relief moving forward. That is why I am glad to introduce the Relief for Producers Act to provide a framework for producers and ease some of the burden brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. This legislation will help livestock and poultry farmers more easily and efficiently navigate a path forward as we battle this crisis. I want to thank the National Pork Producers Council and the Oklahoma Pork Council for their input on this bill and their continued collaboration to ensure Oklahoma pork producers' interests are advanced in Congress."

The impact of COVID-19 has caused hog values to plummet, creating a financial disaster for pork producers nationwide who face a collective $5 billion loss for the remainder of the year. Additionally, U.S. pork producers face staggering costs for the millions of hogs that may be euthanized as pigs back up on farms due to ongoing bottlenecks in the pork supply chain. For more information on U.S. pork industry's response to COVID-related challenges, please visit http://nppc.org/issues/issue/your-food-is-our-priority/.



RAMP-UP Act Will Help Meat and Poultry Processors Access Inspection to Meet Demand


House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson of Minnesota and former Chairman Frank Lucas of Oklahoma, joined Reps. Sanford Bishop of Georgia, Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska, Chellie Pingree of Maine, G.T. Thompson of Pennsylvania, Jim Costa of California, David Rouzer of North Carolina, Angie Craig of Minnesota and Robert Aderholt of Alabama, today to introduce the Requiring Assistance to Meat Processors for Upgrading Plants (RAMP-UP) Act.

This legislation would establish a program to make facility upgrade and planning grants to existing meat and poultry processors to help them move to Federal Inspection and be able to sell their products across state lines. The legislation will also require USDA to work with States and report on ways to improve the existing Cooperative Interstate Shipment program.

“We have seen the importance of having meat and poultry processors of all sizes in Minnesota and across the country over the past few months,” said Chairman Peterson. “The RAMP-UP Act will provide grants to help these rural small businesses meet that demand, wherever their customers live.”

“Right now, America’s meat producers and processors are facing unprecedented market challenges. At a time when producers are experiencing increased demand for high-quality meat, meat processors across the United States are racing to increase their capacity to meet the demands of consumers and producers,” said Rep. Lucas. “The RAMP-UP Act gives processors the tools to become federally inspected facilities, which widens their customer base while maintaining strong inspection standards. I’m proud to join my friend and Agriculture Committee Chairman, Congressman Collin Peterson in expanding the opportunities for not only Oklahoma’s processing facilities but meat processors across the United States.”

"I am pleased to help lead the RAMP-UP Act, an exciting bill that helps smaller meat processors upgrade their plants and ship product interstate,” said Rep. Fortenberry. “This is a localized solution that helps diversify the meatpacking industry to create a public good."

“During the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve seen how disruptions in just a few meat and poultry facilities can create ripple effects throughout the entire supply chain. We must shift towards a more diversified and resilient processing model,” said Rep. Pingree. “The RAMP-UP Act would help defray the costs of attaining federal inspection for meat and poultry processing facilities, which will give local producers more options to get food to their customers. I’m proud to join as an original cosponsor of this legislation that will help get local foods on our constituents’ plates.”

“COVID-19 has shed light on the incredible importance of a strong food supply chain,” said Rep. Thompson. “The RAMP-UP Act will ease the strain on our meat and poultry industry by cutting red tape for processors and get food on the tables of every American family more quickly.”

“This legislation reduces the burdens associated with attaining Federal inspection without jeopardizing food safety standards,” said Rep. Bishop. “This will assist smaller processing facilities in obtaining a larger commercial presence while helping meet consumer demand, which has been recently impacted by COVID-19.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the need to strengthen our food supply chains to prevent disruptions in moving product to the marketplace,” said Rep. Rouzer. “This bill would help small processors increase their capacity and thereby provide more options for livestock producers to get their product to market.  This is a worthy bipartisan effort that will benefit agriculture and the consumer."

“The RAMP-UP Act represents important investment in the resiliency of our food system, by helping processors of all sizes to participate in Federal inspection and meet the full range of consumer demand, wherever it may be,” said Rep. Costa. “It will help to ensure grocery stores stay stocked with meat and poultry products, and as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture, I am happy to cosponsor this bill.”

“Disruptions to meat processing this spring showed that our current system needs greater flexibility. I am an original cosponsor of this legislation because increased competition and capacity in the meat processing sector is good for farmers and the American consumer,” said Rep. Aderholt. “The Ramp Up Act will help address the current backlog of livestock and build a stronger industry for the future.”

“Amidst disruptions in the food supply chain due to COVID-19, our farmers and local processors have continued to innovate to get safe food on the table for millions of Americans,” said Rep. Craig. “By continuing to support our local meat processors, we are safeguarding our food supply and stimulating rural economies. I am proud to work with Chairman Peterson on this critical legislation.”

The RAMP-UP Act has the added support of a broad range of livestock, farm and agricultural associations.

“The livestock and processing sectors faced severe impacts amidst the COVID-19 outbreak. The RAMP-UP Act addresses some of the most urgent needs, and I am grateful that it reflects the feedback I heard from state agricultural leaders across the country. Now is the time to act swiftly on the evolution of the processing industry,” said Blayne Arthur, Secretary of Agriculture of Oklahoma, and Chair of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture’s Animal Agriculture Committee

“I thank Chairman Peterson and all the co-sponsors of the RAMP-UP Act for recognizing a critical and timely need to expand meat processing capacity across the country,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Agriculture Thom Petersen. “Minnesota livestock producers have seen the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, and they are counting on new approaches like this to accelerate the recovery of this critical industry.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic caused unprecedented disruptions to beef processing which were devastating to cattle producers. The RAMP UP Act addresses these supply chain issues by ensuring cattle ranchers and farmers have robust access to new markets regardless of where their livestock is processed,” said Don Schiefelbein, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Vice President. “We’re grateful to Chairman Peterson and Rep. Lucas for their leadership and attention to this critical issue.”

“Over the past several decades, we have come to rely on fewer and larger facilities to process all of our meat,” said National Farmers Union President Rob Larew. “This system, though efficient, is particularly vulnerable to disruptions - a fact that has become impossible to ignore as coronavirus outbreaks at just a handful of plants have backed up the entire supply chain. Small and medium sized plants can ensure greater resilience and food security in times of crisis, as well as flexibility in marketing for farmers and ranchers. By helping meat processing plants cover the often prohibitive cost of federal inspections, the RAMP UP Act will bolster a strong and reliable meat supply chain for farmers and consumers alike.”

“As Congress looks at ways to make our food system more resilient for farmers and ranchers and for consumers, the American Farm Bureau Federation appreciates Chairman Peterson and Reps. Lucas and Fortenberry and others for introducing this bill to increase meat and poultry processing capacity,” said American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall. “At the same time as this bill will help more processing facilities attain federal inspection status and ensure producers have a market for their poultry and livestock, it also ensures the safety and abundance of the food supply.

“Previous COVID-related harvest facility disruptions created a lasting bottleneck on farms where millions of hogs remain backed-up,” said National Pork Producers Council President Howard A.V. Roth. “As a result, we face mounting financial losses and a severe emotional strain. We thank Congressmen Peterson, Fortenberry and Lucas for taking steps to expand harvest capacity and bring much-needed relief to American hog farmers.”

“For America’s sheep producers, finding new markets and meeting demand for lamb is critical to our ability to thrive in a quickly changing environment,” said American Sheep Industry Association President Benny Cox. “Chairman Peterson and Rep. Lucas’s legislation is tremendously welcome to help break down barriers for smaller processors to compete nationwide.  These grants will ensure our local establishments can meet our stringent food safety inspection system requirements and open a world of opportunity for sheep producers.”

"By providing assistance to help small meat and poultry establishments attain federal inspection status without sacrificing critical food safety standards, the RAMP-UP Act represents a suitable approach in expanding capacity during times of food supply disruptions. Consumer Reports commends Chairman Peterson for his work on this bill,” said Brian Ronholm, Director of Food Policy at Consumer Reports.



Cattlemen Welcome Legislation to Improve Meat Processing Capacity


Today, a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced the Requiring Assistance to Meat Processors for Upgrading Plants (RAMP UP) Act, which provides federal incentives to improve beef processing capacity.

Introduced by House Agriculture Committee Chairman Colin Peterson (D-MN), Reps. Frank Lucas (R-OK), Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Glenn Thompson (R-PA), Sanford Bishop (D-GA), David Rouzer (R-NC), Jim Costa (D-CA), Robert Aderholt (R-AL), and Angie Craig (D-MN), the RAMP UP Act will bolster market access for cattle producers and keep store shelves across the country stocked with wholesome and nutritious beef products.

“The COVID-19 pandemic caused unprecedented disruptions to beef processing which were devastating to cattle producers,” said NCBA Vice President and Minnesota Cattlemen’s Association past president Don Schiefelbein. “The RAMP UP Act addresses these supply chain issues by ensuring cattle ranchers and farmers have robust access to new markets regardless of where their livestock is processed. We are grateful to Chairman Peterson and Rep. Lucas for their leadership and attention to this critical issue.”

The RAMP UP Act authorizes federal grants up to $100,000 for existing meat processors to become federally inspected. Currently, state inspected and custom exempt processors cannot sell meat in interstate commerce and the process to become compliant with, and inspected by, the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is expensive and daunting. If enacted, the RAMP UP Act would ease this burden on processors and benefit cattle producers by opening new markets for the beef they produce.



NCBA Webinar: Mineral Nutrition 101: Beef Cattle Basics

July 8, 2020 @ 7:00 p.m. Central

We all know mineral nutrition can be a complicated subject and producers have lots of questions. What minerals do cattle need? How much and from what source should minerals be provided to cattle? In this presentation Dr. Stephanie Hansen will break down the basics of mineral nutrition with the goal of helping producers understand why minerals are an essential component of cattle nutrition and how to be strategic with supplementation.

Stephanie Hansen is a Professor in Feedlot Nutrition in the Dept of Animal Science at Iowa State University. She has received early career awards in research from Iowa State University, the Midwest section of ASAS, and ASAS. With over 50 peer-reviewed publications in the area of mineral nutrition and over 9 million dollars in funding as Co-PI or PI she has established an original and impactful research program for beef cattle. A major focus of her program is the refinement of mineral requirements to make mineral supplementation more strategic. Graduates of her program are serving industry and academia. Dr. Hansen teaches courses in animal nutrition, ruminant nutrition, and micronutrient metabolism. In her free time she enjoys hiking, photography, and writing.

Register Here:  https://www.ncba.org/cattlemenswebinarseries.aspx

Future Webinars:

  - Mineral Tags: Reading Between the Lines - July 15, 2020 - 7:00 p.m. CDT
          + Steve Stafford M.S., Provimi
Producers having a better understanding of what exactly the mineral tag telling them is vital. Join Steve Stafford M.S. as he walks producers through reading mineral tags, managing consumption to meet mineral requirements, and matching minerals to the current environment (i.e. can you feed the same mineral year-round).

  - Enhancing Beef Cow Reproduction Through Mineral Supplementation - July 22, 2020 - 7:00 p.m. CDT
          + Reinaldo Cooke, Ph.D., Texas A&M University
Join Dr. Reinaldo Cooke as he discusses the importance of macro and trace minerals on reproductive function on beef females, and also recent advances in trace mineral supplementation to enhance reproductive efficiency in beef cowherds.

  - Trace Minerals and Their Role on the Immune Response to Vaccination in Cattle - July 29, 2020 - 7:00 p.m. CDT
          + Roberto A. Palomares, DVM, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia
Bovine respiratory disease (BRD) and neonatal calf diarrhea (NCD) have major impact on the profitability of the cattle industry in North America, resulting in substantial economic losses. Research has shown how trace minerals are crucial for the development of an adequate immune response in cattle, especially in stressed animals when they are more susceptible to BRD and NCD. Join Dr. Palomares as he discusses how strategic supplementation with Se, Cu, Mn and Zn within the herd is associated with enhanced cattle immune response and protection elicited by vaccination against BRD and NCD.



May DMC Margin Falls to Lowest Since 2013; Historic Rebound Expected

National Milk Producers Federation

The Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program margin for May was $5.37 per cwt., the lowest since July 2013 and $0.65 per cwt. lower than the margin for April. Still, projections show that June’s margin may see the highest jump since 2000, with a strong recovery in prices that should buoy margins through the rest of the year.

The April to May drop in the DMC margin was due to an $0.80 per cwt. lower all-milk price, offset by a $0.15 per cwt. lower calculated feed cost. The May margin will generate a payment of $4.13 per cwt. that month for producers enrolled in the program this year at the $9.50 per cwt. margin coverage level and smaller payments for producers enrolled all the way down to $5.50 per cwt.

The current USDA forecast for the June margin is $10.86 per cwt., $5.49 per cwt. higher than the May margin and by far the largest one-month increase in the MPP/DMC margin since at least January 2000, the earliest margin data available.”

The USDA/FSA Decision Tool’s current forecast for the remainder of the year, shown below, indicates the margin will peak in July at almost $13 per cwt., then drop back toward $9.50 per cwt. during the remainder of the year.

June CWT-Assisted Export Sales Contracts 3.2 Million Pounds of Dairy Products

CWT assisted member cooperatives in securing 17 contracts to sell 1.014 million pounds of American-type cheeses, 1.543 million pounds of whole milk powder, and 672,410 pounds of cream cheese. The products will go to customers in Asia, and South America. The product will be shipped during the months of June through November 2020

These contracts bring the 2020 total of the CWT-assisted product sales contracts to 21.859 million pounds of cheese, 6.246 million pounds of butter, 18.450 million pounds of whole milk powder, 3.606 million pounds of cream cheese and 1.960 million pounds of anhydrous milkfat. These transactions will move the equivalent of 558.444 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis overseas.



NMPF Calls for Full Review of Fats in New Guidelines


The National Milk Produers Federationcontinued its advocacy as the next edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans advances toward adoption, urging the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) in June to consider the full range of scientific studies on the role of different types of dairy fats in a healthy diet.

The guidelines, which shape USDA nutrition programs, are set every five years; draft guidance for this year’s update largely preserve recommendations that are positive for dairy.

NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern, along with Michael Dykes, president and CEO of the International Dairy Foods Association, sent the letter on June 15 to Dr. Barbara Schneeman, DGAC Chairperson, and the secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture and of Health and Human Services “to reiterate our strong view, as explained more fully in previous comments to the DGAC, that a body of science in recent years has found that dairy foods, regardless of fat level, appear to have either neutral or beneficial effects on chronic disease risks.”

The DGAC is approaching the reporting phase of its recommendations for the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Currently it does not appear to have explored the full breadth of peer-reviewed literature investigating dairy’s relationship to beneficial or neutral outcomes for cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and other conditions.

The NMPF-IDFA joint message calls on the committee “to complete its review by including all relevant scientific studies that bear on these questions and, if the findings so indicate, recommend Americans incorporate dairy foods in all forms as an integral part of all dietary patterns,” noting failure to examine the validity of existing dietary advice “will represent a lost opportunity to share newer science with consumers, health professionals and policy makers and contribute to ongoing confusion about the healthfulness of dairy.”

The committee is finalizing its draft conclusions, with a final report of recommendations to be released on or around July 15. The final 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines are expected by the end of the year.

Final Meeting Positive for Dairy

At the committee’s last public meeting, held via webinar June 17, it discussed updated draft conclusions and the final report, going through each chapter of the Diet and Health Evidence section of the final report which will be organized by life stage.  The committee stated that a consistent dietary pattern associated with beneficial outcomes includes higher intake of vegetables, fruit, legumes, whole grains, low- or non-fat dairy, lean meat, seafood, nuts and unsaturated vegetable oil; low consumption of red and processed meats, sugar sweetened foods and drinks and  refined grains. Key takeaways for dairy include:
    Dairy is still recommended in all three healthy eating patterns;
    Low-fat and fat-free dairy are still recommended;
    The saturated fat recommendation remains at less than 10% of total energy per day; and
    Yogurt and cheese were recognized as complementary feeding options for infants 6-12 months, and dairy foods were included in the healthy eating patterns for toddlers 12-24 months

This is the first time that the committee has looked at the science and made recommendations for children birth to 24 months of age. The nutrients of public health concern for ages 2 and above are added sugars, calcium, dietary fiber, potassium, saturated fat, sodium, and vitamin D. Dairy, specifically milk, continues to be a key source of three of those nutrients. The committee also noted that a majority of Americans don’t follow the dietary guidelines and would benefit from shifting from current choices to healthy, nutrient-dense choices across food groups.  For example, the proportion of children consuming milk steadily declines with age. To crack down on added sugars, the committee also recommended changing the daily allowance from 10 percent to 6 percent of calories.



Global Sales of U.S. Ethanol and DDGS Contract in May

Ann Lewis, Senior Analyst, Renewable Fuels Association

   
U.S. ethanol exports were 67.5 million gallons (mg) in May, a decline of 31.9 mg, or 32%. This is the smallest monthly volume in four years, with slumping sales to Brazil (1.7 mg—down from 23.8 mg) responsible for the bulk of that dip. Exports to India softened 6% in May, yet sales of 14.9 mg rendered it the top global market for U.S. ethanol. Shipments picked up to Canada as 14.5 mg crossed the border (+34%), although tracking at a volume roughly half of recent norms. Export sales slowed to Mexico (9.0 mg, -35% from a surge in April) and South Korea (4.9 mg, -61%), but lifted to the Netherlands (6.7 mg), United Kingdom (4.2 mg), and Nigeria (3.1 mg). An annualized export pace of 1.57 billion gallons would be implied by prorating year-to-date sales, but seasonal factors and the lingering impact of the COVID-19 pandemic could result in 2020 exports being below this level.

U.S. undenatured fuel ethanol shipments in May dropped 53% to 29.7 mg. However, exports rallied to India—the destination for half of global sales—with 14.9 mg (+16%) marking its largest volume this year. Sales to Mexico were 25% lower although still robust at 6.7 mg. France (1.6 mg) and South Korea (1.5 mg) were other large markets for U.S. undenatured fuel ethanol.

May U.S. denatured fuel ethanol exports expanded 5% to 28.3 mg. Shipments to chief customer Canada regained some ground that was lost in April, rising 45% to 12.0 mg (accounting for 42% of total exported product). Other larger markets were the Netherlands (5.7 mg), United Kingdom (3.8 mg), South Korea (2.7 mg), and Colombia (2.3 mg). Notably, India was absent from the market after purchasing 48 mg the first four months of the year.

Exports of U.S. ethanol for non-fuel, non-beverage purposes climbed 8% to 9.5 mg. Nigeria (3.1 mg), Mexico (2.3 mg), and Canada (2.3 mg) were our largest customers.

There were no U.S. imports of ethanol recorded in May. However, Brazil has shipped 36.0 mg of sugarcane-based ethanol to the West Coast this calendar year.

U.S. exports of dried distillers grains (DDGS)—the animal feed co-product generated by dry-mill ethanol plants—declined by 21% in May to 601,029 metric tons (mt), more fully reflecting the decline in ethanol industry capacity utilization that took place due to COVID-19 restrictions. Shippers trimmed exports to Mexico by 6% to 119,699 mt (a fifth of worldwide sales), the lowest volume in more than three years. Vietnam imports were halved to 68,380 mt, thereby surrendering its one-month lead as our top customer. May U.S. DDGS exports perked up to Indonesia (63,083 mt, +31%), Turkey (47,767 mt, up from zero), and New Zealand (28,955 mt, +16%), but lost ground in South Korea (52,042 mt, -44%) and Thailand (24,138 mt, -72%). Worldwide U.S. DDGS sales for the first five months of the year imply an annualized export volume of 9.83 million mt.



Fertilizer Prices Continue Downward Trend


The prices of all eight major fertilizers are lower for the third consecutive week, according to retail prices tracked by DTN for the fourth week of June 2020.

One fertilizer was significantly lower, which DTN designates as 5% or more, and that was urea. The price of the nitrogen fertilizer dropped $18/ton, or 5%, from last month with an average price of $359/ton.

The remaining seven fertilizers were all just slightly lower. DAP had an average price of $404/ton, down $6; MAP $429/ton, down $5; potash $363/ton, down $2; 10-34-0 $468/ton, down less than $1; anhydrous $463/ton, down $15; UAN28 $233/ton, down $3; and UAN32 $273/ton, down $6.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.39/lb.N, anhydrous $0.28/lb.N, UAN28 $0.42/lb.N and UAN32 $0.43/lb.N.

Retail fertilizers are all lower in price from a year ago. Anhydrous is 21% lower, MAP is 19% less expensive, DAP is 18% lower, urea is 16% less expensive, both UAN28 and UAN32 are 14% lower, potash is 8% less expensive and 10-34-0 is 4% lower from last year at this time.



U.S. Grains Council Releases 2019/2020 Sorghum Quality Report


The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) has published its 2019/2020 Sorghum Quality Report touting an average grade well above the necessary requirements for U.S. No. 1 sorghum.

“We are very pleased to offer this report as a guide so foreign buyers and industry stakeholders can make more informed purchasing decisions about U.S. sorghum,” said USGC Chairman Darren Armstrong, a farmer from North Carolina. “We are confident this report will help further global food security and mutual economic benefits through trade.”

The report, funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA’s FAS) Agricultural Trade Promotion (ATP) program, provides international customers and other interested parties accurate, unbiased information about the 2019 U.S. sorghum crop.

To generate the report's findings, a total of 62 samples were collected from outbound shipments of U.S. country elevators and analyzed for the grade factors established by USDA as well as chemical composition and other quality characteristics not reported elsewhere.

The report pulled samples from the two largest and most comprehensive growing areas in the United States, including the growing areas in Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, South Dakota, Colorado, New Mexico and Mississippi. Sorghum samples were collected from individual outbound rail or truck shipments at participating elevators across the two regions, then sent to Texas A&M University for chemical composition and physical factor analysis. Scientists there calculated averages and standard deviations for each quality factor tested and reported results for the U.S. aggregate.

Total sorghum damage came in at just 0.2 percent, and broken kernel and foreign material (BNFM) was only 1.7 percent, highlighting how hard the grain is and how well it holds up during handling and storage.

Non-detectable tannins are important because they signify the U.S. sorghum crop is a good feedstuff option, something competitors, especially in Argentina, cannot claim. The 2019/2020 crop also fared well on this measure.

“We were very pleased to share that both broken kernel and foreign material rates were very low, and tannins were undetectable in every sample tested in this year’s sorghum crop,” Armstrong said. “These quality characteristics offer great benefits over our global sorghum competitors.”

This report is the first since the 2016/2017 sorghum crop. The Council plans to roll out the information through webinar distribution around the world and will also present the information during a virtual sorghum conference for the Chinese market in early July.

“This report is helping fulfill the Council’s mission to help make something happen for U.S. grains around the world,” said Armstrong. “We hope the 2019/2020 Sorghum Quality Report provides valuable information about the quality of U.S. sorghum and shows our valued trade partners that the United States is a trusted supplier.”



NBB Thanks Biofuel Caucus for Urging President to Reject “Gap” SRE Petitions


The National Biodiesel Board thanks the bipartisan group of 32 Representatives who today urged President Donald Trump to direct his Environmental Protection Agency to reject "gap" small refinery exemptions. The letter expresses concern that the "gap" petitions undermine a U.S. Court of Appeals decision, Congress' intent for the Renewable Fuel Standard, and EPA's legal obligation to consider exemptions in a timely manner.

Kurt Kovarik, NBB's VP of Federal Affairs, states, "EPA must immediately reject these petitions for small refinery exemptions going back nearly a decade. The sole purpose of the petitions is to challenge the authority of the 10th Circuit Court's decision and sow uncertainty about the RFS program. EPA's continued delay in rejecting these petitions will only exacerbate the economic challenges facing biodiesel and renewable diesel producers as well as soybean farmers during the national economic emergency."

NBB thanks Reps. Rodney Davis (R-IL), Collin Peterson (D-MN), Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-KS), and Dave Loebsack (D-IA) as leaders of the Biofuel Caucus letter.



Growth Energy Welcomes House Opposition to Retroactive Biofuel Exemptions


Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor today welcomed a letter from 32 House lawmakers calling on the White House to direct the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reject retroactive oil industry exemptions from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). 

“Rural communities are done playing regulatory games with the oil industry,” said Emily Skor. “We’ve seen too many plants shut down, too many jobs lost, and too many farmers deprived of vital markets at a time when we should be rebuilding the agricultural supply chain. These gap-year exemption requests are a brazen attempt to circumvent a court decision restoring integrity to the nation’s biofuel blending targets. They should be rejected without delay. We’re deeply grateful to our House champions who are rallying alongside governors and Senate leaders to demand this administration to do the right thing.”

Led by Congressional Biofuels Caucus Co-Chairs Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa), and Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), the letter notes “there is no reasonable scenario in which an existing refinery can claim it is entitled to an exemption that it did not previously seek or receive … Setting this dangerous precedent would ultimately devastate the rural economy.”  



RFA Thanks House Members for Opposing Gap-Year Refinery Waivers


The Renewable Fuels Association today thanked a bipartisan group of 32 Members of the U.S. House of Representatives for calling on President Trump to reject so-called “gap-year” refinery exemptions under the Renewable Fuel Standard.

“The Trump Administration has now heard from Members of the House, Senators and Governors on this important issue for rural America,” said RFA president and CEO Geoff Cooper. “Even the Environmental Protection Agency itself has noted there are significant ‘issues’ with these waivers, and we urge a speedy denial of these attempts by the oil industry to circumvent federal law and the recent court decision limiting waivers to extensions of ones previously received.”

Cooper noted that, on June 25, a bipartisan group of 16 U.S. Senators called on EPA to reject the waivers, and on June 29, members of the Governors’ Biofuels Coalition urged EPA to do the same.

The idea of retroactive refinery exemptions follows a recent decision by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals that rejected a set of waivers granted by EPA that were not simple extensions of prior waivers. The lawsuit was brought against EPA by RFA, the National Corn Growers Association, National Farmers Union and the American Coalition for Ethanol.

Seeking to circumvent this court decision, several refineries have now applied for retroactive waivers for years in which they did not originally request or receive waivers. On June 18, EPA disclosed that 52 new petitions had been received, covering the compliance years 2011 through 2018. In late May, RFA was the first to urge Wheeler to deny any gap-year waivers that came forward.

“The RFS has been a tremendous success, providing a critical value-added market for our farmers, lowering the price of fuel for consumers, and improving air quality across the nation,” the Members of the House wrote in today’s letter. “The EPA’s repeated efforts to undermine the RFS with waivers, SREs, and tepid annual volume requirements continue to undermine the future potential of our local farmers and biofuels producers.”



ACE’s Request to Raise 2020 RVO Added to the List of Missed Opportunities for EPA to Do Right by Rural America


The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings today expressed his disappointment in the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for taking no action to follow through on ACE’s request to issue an interim final rule by July 1 to increase the Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) for 2020 to the percentage necessary to ensure that the full 20.09 billion gallons required by the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) are used due to the unanticipated drop in ethanol blending as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

This was one of three immediate steps Jennings outlined in an April 3 letter to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler that also urged the Agency to restore the 500 million gallons of remanded volume as ordered by the DC District Court in 2017 and nationally apply the Tenth Circuit Court precedent regarding small refinery exemptions by denying most of the pending waivers for the 2019 RFS compliance year. The Agency not only has the authority to take these steps but must take them to avoid being in violation of the RFS statute which specifically instructs EPA to set the total RVO at a level that ‘ensures the requirements’ of the statutory obligations are met. Jennings issued the statement below following ACE’s July 1 requested deadline:

“When I wrote EPA in early April, it was evident ethanol demand was heading for trouble, so we spelled out three immediate steps existing law or court decisions allowed EPA to take to help cushion the blow. Nearly three months have passed on our requests and it appears the only action EPA has taken is to entertain 52 ‘new’ retroactive waiver requests for refiners suddenly claiming economic hardship dating back nearly a decade in RFS compliance years.

“We can add this to the list of letdowns coming from the Agency with so many opportunities at its disposal to get the RFS back on track.”



Growth Energy Urges EPA to Combat Particulate Emissions with Low-Carbon Ethanol


This week, Growth Energy Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Chris Bliley submitted comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on the agency’s review of the national ambient air quality standards for particulate matter (PM NAAQS).

In his comments, Bliley noted that, "Through multiple rulemakings at EPA over the last decade including those on greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles and the Tier 3 fuel regulation, Growth Energy has submitted a wealth of data to further support the conclusion that ethanol decreases harmful particulate emissions... We think this is a critical opportunity for the agency to review this data as it reviews the PM NAAQS standards."

This brief letter to EPA reiterates previous comments submitted by Growth Energy to EPA in May, urging their Science Advisory Board to examine the impact of toxic gasoline additives on respiratory health, as well as the potential benefits offered by bio-based alternatives like ethanol.



Dairy Supply Chains Will Need to Adjust as Consumer Behavior Changes 


COVID-19 is dramatically affecting consumer habits and dairy supply chains as food service demand plummets and grocery sales surge. Consumers struggling with job losses and economic uncertainty quickly returned to buying basic dairy products like fluid milk, commodity cheese and butter.

A new report from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange indicates that consumer behavior will be different for the next 12 to 18 months than it was pre-pandemic, and as that behavior takes root, dairy supply chains will need to adjust from farm to fork.

“The dairy industry is coping with some new realities, largely driven by the decrease in food service demand and restaurant sales,” said Tanner Ehmke, manager of CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange. “The challenge for dairy supply chains will be adapting to focus on meeting demand trends based on evolving consumer behavior as we navigate through an uneven reopening.”

As consumers heeded the stay-at-home advisories, they increased purchases of products that in recent years had fallen out of favor. Processed cheese sales increased by nearly 20% during the eight weeks ending May 31. White milk sales gained more than 10% during the same period. Cereal is also doing well with sales up almost 15%.

Even as restrictions have begun lifting, polling has shown widespread reluctance among consumers about immediately returning to normal activities like restaurant dining and business travel. In late April, a Business Insider poll found just 9% of Americans believed they would resume their routine exactly as it was before the lockdowns, with only 16% saying they would resume “almost all” of their activities.

At a minimum, it will take some time for sit-down restaurant traffic to look anything like it did before the pandemic. Forecasts from Open Table suggest that the U.S. could lose up to 25% of its restaurants.

Any structural reduction in restaurant sales has potential product mix implications for dairy processors and converters. For instance, firms that specialize in making or packaging products for food service accounts will need to retool, making different types of cheese or filling different-sized sour cream containers for at-home consumption.

Much of the price volatility experienced over the past 90 days has more to do with massive supply chain disruptions than major changes to aggregate demand and supply. Perishability played a big role in the upheaval. As demand spun toward retail, food service operators disposed of fresh products that now have to be replenished for reopening.

Some buyers are asking if suppliers can develop and provide extended shelf life alternatives. Movement in that direction would presumably help on the supply side, giving manufacturers and dairy farmers more supply cushion.

A world with more extended shelf life manufacturing options might mean less dumping of milk than took place in April. Business models may also be readjusted from just in time inventory practices to having more inventory stored in warehouses.

Grocers are also cutting down on product selection to enhance operational efficiency. Published reports say that the popular Wegman’s supermarket chain, for example, has cut its offerings from about 52,000 products to 30,000 products.

Data from Nielsen shows that for the four weeks ending June 13, supermarkets carried nearly 7% fewer dairy items than the year prior. For dairy companies and other food marketers, that could mean fewer line extensions, fewer opportunities to differentiate, fewer chances to test new concepts.

As the economy reopens, potential changes in consumer habits, the level of social distancing that remains in place, and the level of disposable income will again reshape dairy supply chains long term.

Read the report, “Dairy Supply Chains Adapt as Consumers React to COVID-19,” at cobank.com. 



USDA Announces Flexibilities for Producers Filing ‘Notice of Loss’ for Failed, Prevented Planted Acres


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is providing additional flexibilities for producers to file on acres with failed crops or crops that were prevented from planting because of extreme weather events. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) is adding these flexibilities for Notice of Loss on both insured and uninsured crops to enable Service Centers to best assist producers. 

“With many program deadlines approaching, our Service Centers are working hard to accommodate as many producer appointments as possible,” said FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce. “By providing flexibilities to our Notice of Loss policy, we can ensure we provide the best customer service.”

Filing for Prevented Planted Acres

For insured crops, producers who timely filed a prevented planted claim with the reinsurance company but filed a Notice of Loss (CCC-576) form after the deadline will be considered timely filed for FSA purposes. FSA can use data from the Risk Management Agency (RMA) for accepting the report of prevented planting with FSA. If the information is not available through RMA, the producer may also provide proper evidence to FSA that the prevented planted claim was timely filed with the reinsurance company.

For uninsured crops, producers may start a Notice of Loss (CCC-576) by calling their FSA county office, or they may print and complete the Notice of Loss (CCC‑576) form from home and send to their county office. For prevented planted acreage, Notice of Loss forms mailed to the FSA office must be postmarked by the final acreage reporting date in the county to be considered timely filed. For all prevented planted cases, the Report of Acreage (FSA-578) form and the completed and signed Notice of Loss (CCC-576) must be filed by the applicable acreage reporting date.

Filing for Failed Acres

For failed acreage of uninsured crops, the Notice of Loss (CCC-576) must be completed, signed and verified before the disposition of the crop.

When to File a ‘Notice of Loss’

A Notice of Loss cannot be filed for a crop before the final planting date, but it can be filed before completing the crop acreage report.

More Information

Producers who miss FSA’s July 15 acreage reporting deadline will not face a late filing fee if filed within a month of the deadline.



Wednesday July 1 Ag News
2020-07-02T11:57

2020 Nebraska Farm Real Estate Report
Jim Jansen, NE Extension Educator


The statewide all-land average value for the year ending Feb. 1, 2020, averaged $2,725 per acre, or about a 3% ($80 per acre) increase to the prior year’s value of $2,645 per acre. This marks the first year-to-year increase since land values in the state peaked at $3,315 per acre in 2014.

Many cash rental rates in Nebraska were set prior to the economic shocks caused by COVID-19. The survey collection period for the Nebraska Farm Real Estate Report may partially reflect these rates and not account for possible adjustments. Landlords and tenants might consider amending contractual agreements to account for these shocks or consider the use of alternative lease arrangements.

Webinar
A webinar covering Nebraska agricultural land values, trends and outlook, will be held on July 16.
Register here... https://unl.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_LKMkxtTlSe2yjS8fjRukRA

Highlights
    Northeast district average $5730/acre, up 3%
    East Central district average $6495/acre, up 5%
    The North, Northeast, Central, East, and Southeast Districts reported the highest rates of increase, ranging from 3% to 5% for the all-land average. These regions trended close to the improvement in value for the statewide average.
    Western regions of Nebraska, including the Northwest, Southwest, and Southern Districts, reported small regional average changes.
    Gravity and center pivot irrigated cropland noted smaller increases of 1% and 3% for the state-wide average, at $5,755 and $6,125 per acre.
    Dryland cropland having no irrigation potential and with irrigation potential average $3,165 and $4,140 per acre or 4% and 3% higher than the prior year.
    Grazing land, including tillable or non-tillable, noted 5% and 4% increases for state-wide averages of $1,240 and $830 per acre.
    In 2020, panel members noted 1031 tax exchanges, non-farmer investor interest in land purchases, and current interest rate levels as forces guiding higher market values. These forces were reported as slightly positive on impacting future land prior to the domestic outbreak of COVID-19.

View the full report here... https://agecon.unl.edu/2020-nebraska-farm-real-estate-report


 
NDA ENCOURAGES RABBIT OWNERS TO WATCH FOR HEMORRHAGIC DISEASE


The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) is warning rabbit owners in Nebraska to be aware of a serious and highly contagious viral disease of rabbits that has recently been identified in multiple states. Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV) has been diagnosed as the cause of death in wild and domestic rabbits in New Mexico, Arizona, Texas and Colorado, as well as domestic rabbits in Nevada and Utah and wild rabbits in California. To date, the virus has not been found in Nebraska.
“It is important that rabbit owners know about this disease so they can more closely monitor the health of their rabbits, particularly ones that may be comingling with other animals,” said NDA State Veterinarian Dr. Dennis Hughes.

Symptoms of RHDV include fever, anorexia, wasting, diarrhea and respiratory illness. RHDV can also cause sudden death in rabbits. The virus is spread directly between rabbits and can survive for weeks in contaminated environments. Currently, there are no approved vaccines licensed in the United States for RHDV, although a foreign-produced vaccine is being made available in states where the virus has already been identified. RHDV does not infect humans, livestock or non-rabbit household pets.

Enhanced biosecurity helps prevent the introduction and spread of viruses and diseases including RHDV. In addition to thorough cleaning and sanitation practices, rabbit owners should consider restricting visitors to their rabbitries, and isolating new rabbit additions for 30 days.

RHDV is a notifiable Foreign Animal Disease, and practitioners who suspect RHDV should contact the Nebraska Department of Agriculture at 402-471-2351. Individuals who have concerns about unusual deaths of wild rabbit and hare populations are encouraged to contact Nebraska Game and Parks at 308-763-2940.

All rabbits entering Nebraska must be accompanied by a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI, or health certificate). If you are considering moving an animal into Nebraska from an affected state, please call 402-471-2351 to learn more. Additional information on Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV) can be found on NDA’s website at: nda.nebraska.gov/animal/diseases/rhd/index.html



NeCGA Reaffirms Priorities of E15, Value Added Demand


The Nebraska Corn Growers Association (NeCGA) met recently to finalize upcoming fiscal year budgets and reaffirm priorities and programs around key issues. Priorities include expanding statewide E15, expanding demand through livestock and trade, and reduction of property taxes.

In late May of 2019, the EPA approved the year-round usage of E15, a blend of 15 percent ethanol in vehicles 2001 and newer. While E15 has expanded across the state, Nebraska still has a large potential in the broad adoption of the blend.

“We felt this upcoming year provides a number of great opportunities for the expansion of E15 and even higher-level ethanol blends,” stated Dan Nerud, a farmer from Dorchester and president of NeCGA. “There are a number of grant opportunities for retailers, residents are beginning to travel following various COVID limitations, and it supports Nebraska’s renewable biofuels industry.”

In partnership with the Nebraska Corn Board, the Association will assist in various communication and promotion opportunities to consumers. These programs will assist in promoting the usage of E15 and creating conversations regarding the positive health aspects for consumers and the renewable nature of ethanol.

In addition to ethanol, the Association continues to work through key partnerships to encourage increased corn usage through trade opportunities and livestock expansion. The Association continues to work with and support cooperators such as the U.S. Grains Council and Alliance for the Future of Agriculture.

Regarding state policy priorities, NeCGA continues to highlight the need for meaningful property tax relief. 

“With the agricultural industry in a dire economic situation and losses from coronavirus increasing for Nebraska’s corn farmers, it is imperative the relief in the form of lower property taxes is passed by the Legislature,” added Nerud.



Weekly Ethanol Production for 6/26/2020


According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending June 26, ethanol production rose 0.8%, or 7,000 barrels per day (b/d), to 900,000 b/d—equivalent to 37.80 million gallons daily. Production remains tempered due to COVID-19 disruptions, coming in 16.7% below the same week in 2019. The four-week average ethanol production rate rose 4.1% to 868,000 b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 13.31 billion gallons.

Ethanol stocks diminished for the tenth consecutive week, down 4.1% to 20.2 million barrels and 11.7% below year-ago volumes. Inventories tightened across all regions and are at their lowest level since the first week of 2017.

The volume of gasoline supplied to the U.S. market, a measure of implied demand, softened 0.5% to 8.561 million b/d (131.24 bg annualized). Gasoline demand was 9.8% lower than a year ago.

Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol ticked 0.2% lower to 829,000 b/d, equivalent to 12.71 bg annualized and 12.5% below the year-earlier level.

There were no imports of ethanol recorded for the sixteenth consecutive week. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of April 2020.)



 ASA to EPA: Approving Gap SRE Waivers Would Deal ‘Devastating Blow to Soybean Farmers’


The American Soybean Association (ASA) this week urged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to immediately reject the pending retroactive small refinery exemption (SRE) petitions listed on the agency website and stand with U.S. soybean growers in support of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

In a letter to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, ASA calls on EPA to apply the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit's ruling on exemptions to small refineries whose temporary exemptions had lapsed earlier, to all pending SRE petitions—including the 52 retroactive SREs recently posted to its dashboard that date back as far as 2011.

“The approval of these gap filings would deal a devastating blow to soybean farmers and biodiesel producers by stifling demand for biodiesel,” ASA President Bill Gordon, a soybean grower from Worthington, Minnesota states in the letter. “Simply put, protecting the RFS is a priority of our organization. We urge you to consider the perspective of the soybean farmer as EPA addresses this gap filing issue.”

Biodiesel is an important market for soybean farmers, providing value for surplus soy oil that is a coproduct of soybean protein meal. The RFS is critical to revitalizing struggling farm economies and further diversifying the U.S. fuel supply. Prolonged SRE uncertainty continues to stifle investment in American biofuels, destabilize agriculture markets and hurt U.S. soy growers, who are already grappling with supply chain disruptions due to COVID-19, the U.S.- China trade war, and other causes of instability.

“As soybean producers face continued uncertainty in export markets, it is more critical than ever to provide our domestic markets a path toward success,” Gordon states. “The RFS does just that—creating stability for biodiesel producers and blenders through annual renewable volume obligations.”

ASA appreciates EPA’s transparency in listing gap year petitions on its dashboard, but moving forward, urges the petitions be denied, as they remain an existential threat to the biodiesel industry and soy growers who rely on the certainty of the RFS to sell their soy oil to biodiesel producers.

 

Nutrient Reduction Strategy Annual Report Shows Record Conservation Engagement by Iowans


The 2018-2019 Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy (INRS) annual report was released today by Iowa State University, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. The findings reveal increased farmer, landowner and community engagement, use of conservation practices, and funding invested in soil health and water quality projects.

The data also shows that the growing number of installed conservation practices reduced phosphorous losses by an estimated 18.5 percent during the 2006-2010 time period, compared to the 1980-1996 baseline of the INRS. The state has continuously made progress on reducing phosphorous losses from farm fields because of the increased adoption of soil conservation practices, including no-till and conservation tillage, cover crops and terraces, over the last two decades. During the same timeframe, modeled nitrogen loads increased by an estimated 5 percent, characterizing the ongoing challenges related to nutrient reduction.

“Efforts to improve water quality and soil health are happening all over Iowa. We have more partners and landowners engaged in conservation projects than ever before,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. “These efforts are resulting in progress being made, especially towards the state’s phosphorous-reduction goals. We acknowledge more nitrogen-reducing conservation practices are needed. By tracking comprehensively, it helps us better allocate resources, and develop new approaches to guide the implementation of nutrient-reducing practices in priority watersheds around the state.”

“Everyone has a role to play in helping improve Iowa’s water quality. Cities and industries across the state are committing to achieve significant nutrient reductions at their wastewater plants in the coming years and several are already doing so,” said Kayla Lyon, Director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. “These improvements don’t happen overnight and it’s gratifying to see the persistence of Iowans to keep moving forward in difficult times.”

2018-2019 INRS Highlights

    An estimated $560 million was invested in education and outreach, research, practice implementation and water monitoring during the 2018-2019 reporting period. This is an increase from $512 million during the 2017-2018 reporting period.
    A total of 540 outreach events were conducted in 98 counties by partner organizations (public, private, and NGO), with a total attendance of 50,800 attendees. Total events increased from 511 in 2018, and total attendance increased from 46,000.
    Iowa is planting at least 973,000 acres of cover crops according to the 2017 USDA Census of Agriculture, which reduces annual nitrogen losses by 4,300 tons and annual phosphorus losses by 330 tons. Estimated cover crop usage is even higher according to survey data collected by the Iowa Nutrient Research and Education Council (INREC).
    There are at least 27 bioreactors and 13 saturated buffers in Iowa, which reduced nitrogen losses by 12 tons in 2018.
    The state has constructed 86 nitrate-removal wetlands. An additional 30 wetlands are under development and are expected to be completed within the next 24 months.
    No-till acreage increased from 6.9 million acres in 2012 to 8.2 million in 2017, according to the USDA Census of Agriculture.
    The NRS establishes a target of reducing total nitrogen and total phosphorus from point sources by 66 percent and 75 percent, respectively. In 2018, 20 municipalities and 22 industries met one or both of these targets.

Emerging Research and Data

The Iowa Nutrient Research Center (INRC) pursues science-based approaches to evaluating the performance of current and emerging conservation practices. INRC also investigates innovative methods to implement and develop new practices. This information is reviewed by the Nutrient Reduction Strategy Science Team, a group of university and public agency researchers, who develop recommendations for including new practices in the Nutrient Reduction Strategy. As technology and practices advance, new data is submitted for consideration in the NRS report.

Multi-purpose oxbows are an example of the emerging conservation practices added as a documented practice in the NRS, based on research showing that targeted restoration of oxbows can reduce nitrate levels by 35 to 54 percent. This practice also creates habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife.

Getting Involved

All Iowans are encouraged to take an active role in the state’s conservation efforts. There are state and federal funding sources available to help farmers, landowners and communities offset the costs of urban and rural water quality improvement projects. Iowans can learn more about grants, cost-share programs, and how to get involved by contacting their local Soil and Water Conservation District office.

To read the 2018-2019 Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy annual report in its entirety, visit nutrientstrategy.iastate.edu.



Grain Crushings and Co-Products Production


Total corn consumed for alcohol and other uses was 354 million bushels in May 2020. Total corn consumption was up 18 percent from April 2020 but down 31 percent from May 2019. May 2020 usage included 89.4 percent for alcohol and 10.6 percent for other purposes. Corn consumed for beverage alcohol totaled 3.99 million bushels, down 4 percent from April 2020 but up 20 percent from May 2019. Corn for fuel alcohol, at 300 million bushels, was up 22 percent from April 2020 but down 35 percent from May 2019. Corn consumed in May 2020 for dry milling fuel production and wet milling fuel production was 85.2 percent and 14.8 percent, respectively.

Dry mill co-product production of distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) was 1.23 million tons during May 2020, up 22 percent from April 2020 but down 37 percent from May 2019. Distillers wet grains (DWG) 65 percent or more moisture was 696,152 tons in May 2020, down slightly from April 2020 and down 49 percent from May 2019.

Wet mill corn gluten feed production was 291,064 tons during May 2020, up 26 percent from April 2020 but down 2 percent from May 2019. Wet corn gluten feed 40 to 60 percent moisture was 224,695 tons in May 2020, up 19 percent from April 2020 but down 17 percent from May 2019.

Fats and Oils: Oilseed Crushings, Production, Consumption and Stocks

Soybeans crushed for crude oil was 5.39 million tons (180 million bushels) in May 2020, compared with 5.50 million tons (183 million bushels) in April 2020 and 4.96 million tons (165 million bushels) in May 2019. Crude oil produced was 2.06 billion pounds down 2 percent from April 2020 but up 7 percent from May 2019. Soybean once refined oil production at 1.46 billion pounds during May 2020 increased 19 percent from April 2020 but decreased 3 percent from May 2019.



USDA Reminds Producers to Complete Crop Acreage Reports


Agricultural producers who have not yet completed their crop acreage reports after spring planting should make an appointment with their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office before the applicable deadline. July 15 is a major deadline for most crops, but acreage reporting deadlines vary by county and by crop. Contact your FSA county office for acreage reporting deadlines that are specific to your county.

“The first step to become eligible for many USDA programs is to file an accurate crop acreage report,” said FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce. “To file your acreage report, call your local FSA office to make an appointment. Your local staff is standing by to help you.”

Due to the pandemic, FSA has implemented acreage reporting flexibilities. FSA can work with producers to file timely acreage reports by phone, email, online tools and virtual meetings. Some FSA offices are open for in-person appointments, but you must call first to make an appointment.

Many FSA offices are using Microsoft Teams software to virtually meet with producers to review maps and documents for certification. Producers who want to schedule a virtual appointment can download the Microsoft Teams app on their smart phone or tablet and call the FSA office for an appointment. You may also use Microsoft Teams from your personal computer without downloading software.

County offices can provide producers with maps along with instructions for completing and returning the maps through either mail, email or through commercially available free and secure online tools such as Box for file sharing and OneSpan for eSignature solutions. After planting is complete, producers should return completed maps and the acreage reporting sheet by the applicable deadline.

After completed maps and all acreage reporting information is received, FSA will make software updates and send producers the completed Report of Acreage form (FSA-578) to sign. Producers must return the signed form certifying their acreage report to the FSA office through mail, email or the Box and OneSpan tools by the applicable deadline.

The following exceptions apply to acreage reporting dates:
    If the crop has not been planted by the acreage reporting date, the acreage must be reported no later than 15 calendar days after planting is completed.
    If a producer has not timely filed an acreage report, the producer may file the acreage report within 30 days of the acreage reporting date. Because of the pandemic, late fees will be waived if filed within the 30 days.

FSA is also providing additional flexibilities for producers to file on acres with failed crops or crops that were prevented from planting because of extreme weather events. For insured crops, producers who timely filed a prevented planted claim with the reinsurance company but filed a Notice of Loss (CCC-576) form after the deadline will be considered timely filed for FSA purposes. For uninsured crops, producers may start a Notice of Loss by calling their FSA county office.

Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) policy holders should note that the acreage reporting date for NAP-covered crops is the earlier of the dates listed above or 15 calendar days before grazing or harvesting of the crop begins.

When producers are working with FSA staff – either in-person or virtually – they can also take care of applications for other FSA programs, including the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). A CFAP Call Center is available for producers who would like additional one-on-one support with the CFAP application process. Please call 877-508-8364 to speak directly with a USDA employee ready to offer assistance. The CFAP Call Center can provide service to non-English speaking customers. Customers will select 1 for English and 2 to speak with a Spanish-speaking employee. For other languages, customers select 1 and indicate their language to the Call Center staff.

Applications can also be submitted for the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus for 2018 and 2019 as well as other disaster assistance programs that may be able to assist producers at this time.

For questions, please call your FSA county office.



USDA Announces Commodity Credit Corporation Lending Rates for July 2020


The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Commodity Credit Corporation today announced interest rates for July 2020, which are effective July 1-July 31, 2020.

The Commodity Credit Corporation borrowing rate-based charge for July is 0.125 percent, same as in June.

The interest rate for crop year commodity loans of less than one year, disbursed during July, is 1.125 percent, same as in June.

Interest rates for Farm Storage Facility Loans approved for July are as follows:
    0.250 percent with three-year loan terms, same as in June;
    0.375 percent with five-year loan terms, same as in June;
    0.625 percent with seven-year loan terms, same as in June;
    0.750 percent with 10-year loan terms up from 0.625 percent in June; and
    0.875 percent with 12-year loan terms up from 0.750 as in June.



USDA Dairy Products May 2020 Production Highlights


Total cheese output (excluding cottage cheese) was 1.10 billion pounds, 0.7 percent below May 2019 but 3.2 percent above April 2020. Italian type cheese production totaled 482 million pounds, 1.5 percent above May 2019 and 6.8 percent above April 2020. American type cheese production totaled 443 million pounds, 0.2 percent below May 2019 and 1.0 percent below April 2020. Butter production was 178 million pounds, 4.9 percent above May 2019 but 18.0 percent below April 2020.

Dry milk products (comparisons in percentage with May 2019)
Nonfat dry milk, human - 158 million pounds, down 9.2 percent.
Skim milk powder - 47.1 million pounds, up 76.9 percent.

Whey products (comparisons in percentage with May 2019)
Dry whey, total - 86.2 million pounds, up 8.9 percent.
Lactose, human and animal - 93.3 million pounds, down 14.9 percent.
Whey protein concentrate, total - 39.9 million pounds, down 4.9 percent.

Frozen products (comparisons in percentage with May 2019)
Ice cream, regular (hard) - 64.1 million gallons, down 4.9 percent.
Ice cream, lowfat (total) - 42.3 million gallons, down 11.7 percent.
Sherbet (hard) - 2.64 million gallons, down 17.2 percent.
Frozen yogurt (total) - 6.01 million gallons, down 7.4 percent.



Smith Statement on USMCA Implementation


Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE), released the following statement after the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) went into effect on July 1, 2020. The USMCA improves upon the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which was signed more than 25 years ago, while the benefits of NAFTA to Nebraska agriculture remain intact for a future generation.

Canada and Mexico represented more than $3.5 billion in trade exports from Nebraska in 2018 and almost a third of all U.S. farm and food exports went to our North American neighbors. According to National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, the USMCA will lead to $450 million in expanded market access for U.S. agricultural exports.

“After years of negotiating, legislating and implementing, today we see the fruits of our labor. This groundbreaking agreement with Canada and Mexico – who are not just our neighbors, but our two best customers – will bring benefits for Nebraska’s farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, and consumers for years to come.

However, our work is not done.  Kenya, the UK, and Japan all provide outstanding opportunities to develop first-rate trade agreements, and I look forward to working with the administration to continue finding new customers for Nebraska’s world-class production.”

Smith, a senior member of the Committee on Ways and Means, which has jurisdiction over trade, travelled to Ottawa and Mexico City to attend USMCA negotiations and served on the Republican whip team supporting USMCA enactment when it passed the House in December.



Sasse Statement on USMCA Implementation


U.S. Senator Ben Sasse, a leading advocate for Nebraska agriculture and increased trade, released the following statement as the USMCA trade deal went into effect today.

"Today is a win for Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers: USMCA is officially on the books. NAFTA did a lot of good, but this new agreement modernizes our trading relationships with Mexico and Canada and increases business for Nebraska ag. There are more and better trade deals to fight for around the world, and we’ll do that work — but, for today, we should celebrate USMCA as good news for our state.”



Statement by Steve Nelson, President, Regarding USMCA Trade Deal Commencing


“International trade is critical to Nebraska farm and ranch families as the value of Nebraska agricultural exports equates to roughly 30 percent of Nebraska’s total agriculture receipts. The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) going into effect is a critical long-term step in securing relations with two of our key trade partners.”

“The deal ensures continued access to Mexico, which is the number one purchaser of U.S. corn and the third largest purchaser of U.S. soybeans. Wheat growers also gain as USMCA requires Canada to eliminate its discriminatory wheat grading system. Our state’s beef and pork producers will continue to maintain access to these markets, which is particularly important to pork producers as Mexico and Canada are two of the largest consumers of U.S. pork. In addition, USMCA is a win for our dairy producers as Mexico is the largest export market for U.S. dairy products. USMCA expands on that relationship and makes reforms to Canada’s trade-distorting dairy pricing policies.”

“It’s important to note that USMCA makes progress in several other key areas including recognizing biotechnology with provisions to support innovation and reduce trade-distorting policies. USMCA also strengthens disciplines for science-based measures that protect human, animal, and plant health while improving the flow of trade.”

Mexico and Canada are major buyers of Nebraska’s agriculture commodities collectively purchasing:
82% of Nebraska’s distillers grains exports
80% of Nebraska’s dairy product exports
69% of Nebraska’s prepared and processed food exports
30% of Nebraska’s corn exports
29% of Nebraska’s ethanol exports
21% of Nebraska’s total agricultural products exports
17% of Nebraska’s beef exports
16% of Nebraska’s pork exports



Nebraska Corn Statement: USCMA Takes Effect


The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) takes effect today, which provides Nebraska’s corn farmers with trade stability following years of uncertainty. A modernized trade agreement with Canada and Mexico has been a top priority of Nebraska’s corn industry after President Trump threatened to withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) early on in his presidency.

Today, the Nebraska Corn Board (NCB) and the Nebraska Corn Growers Association (NeCGA) issued statements praising the newly implemented trade agreement. 

“It’s been a rough couple of years for farmers economically, but the implementation of USMCA is something that will benefit us for years to come,” said Dan Nerud, president of NeCGA and farmer from Dorchester. “This isn’t something that just benefits corn farmers, but rather it supports all Nebraska agriculture. The state’s total ag exports to Canada and Mexico is nearly $1.5 billion. That’s substantial.”

“Through USMCA, Nebraska’s corn farmers and ethanol producers will have access to two of our top and most reliable customers,” said David Bruntz, chairman of NCB and farmer from Friend. “We’re appreciative for everyone that helped get this trade deal to the finish line, from our farmers and our local politicians all the way up to the governing bodies and leaders of each of the three nations.”

According to the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, Nebraska’s total ag exports to Canada and Mexico equate to $1.46 billion, with corn exports totaling over $402 million, ethanol at $96 million and distillers grains at $27 million. Mexico leads the way as the single country that imports the most U.S. corn and distillers grains. Canada is the No. 2 customer for ethanol and distillers grains. 



 Secretary Perdue: President Trump delivers USMCA, a huge win for U.S. agriculture


Today, The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) enters into force, replacing the decades-old NAFTA. USMCA is a better deal for America’s farmers, consumers and workers that will set them up for success for decades to come. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue penned an oped in the North Carolina Fayetteville Observer saying, “USMCA creates more market access for farmers from across our nation to sell their wholesome and nutritious products to our closest neighbors. This is a better deal for America that will grow our economy and put more money in the pockets of American families.”

More here from Secretary Perdue’s oped:

“On my first day as Secretary of Agriculture, President Trump promised he’d fight for better deals for American farmers. That is why the president renegotiated the decades-old NAFTA and modernized it into a better deal for America’s farmers, consumers and workers that will set them up for success for decades to come…

“We are shown once again that President Trump has the backs of America’s farmers and thank him on the delivery of this much better deal…

“USMCA helps all of America’s diverse agricultural industries. This new and improved deal secures greater access to markets and lowers barriers for our agricultural products…

“USMCA eliminates Canada’s unfair Class 7 milk pricing scheme that was creatively developed to allow unfairly low-priced Canadian dairy products to undersell U.S. products in Canada and in third-country markets. United States poultry and egg producers will also see expanded access to Canada’s market, directly benefiting American producers in states like Iowa, Georgia, Arkansas and California…

“It includes rules to address all agricultural biotechnology, including gene editing, in support of 21st century innovations in agriculture. The agreement also improves the flow of trade with new and enforceable rules to ensure that sanitary and phytosanitary measures to protect human, animal, or plant life or health are science-based and transparent…

“USMCA also updates the rules of origin for processed fruits to ensure preferences benefit U.S. producers. Most importantly, the new agreement maintains the tariff-free access for nearly all U.S. agricultural commodities shipped into Mexico and Canada, providing America’s farmers and ranchers continued market access…

“The implementation of this deal sends a strong signal to other important export markets such as the United Kingdom and the European Union that President Trump and Congress are serious about pursuing and enacting future agreements that create better economic opportunities for all parties involved. The United States is open for business, and our farmers are ready to export more of their wholesome and nutritious products to consumers around the world…”




It’s Official: USMCA Enters into Force Today


The United States-Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) is officially the law of the land, replacing the 25 year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Today’s action is the culmination of nearly two years of negotiations and ratification between the three countries. Following the initial signing November 30, 2018, the United States ratified USMCA on January 29, 2020, followed by Canada on March 13 and Mexico on April 3.

The National Corn Growers Association endorsed USMCA at Commodity Classic 2019 and declared the trade deal the organization’s top legislative priority for the year. Corn farmers submitted over 1300 comments in support of USMCA.

Mexico and Canada are the U.S. corn industry’s largest, most reliable market. Since NAFTA, U.S. ag exports have tripled to Canada and quintupled to Mexico. In 2018, 21.4 million metric tons of corn and corn co-products, valued at $4.56 billion, were exported to Mexico and Canada. Mexico is the top buyer of U.S. corn and DDGs.

These exports have a significant economic impact, producing $5.79 billion in economic activity, supporting 36,480 jobs and 300,000 farms. USMCA is a big win for America’s farmers, rural communities, and the American economy as a whole.

NCGA thanks the Trump Administration, members of Congress, leaders in Mexico and Canada, and corn farmers across the country for their commitment to seeing USMCA enter into force.

USMCA can serve as a template for future trade agreements and NCGA will continue to advocate for new trade agreements that offer new growth opportunities for U.S. corn and corn products.



ASA Applauds as USMCA Takes Effect


After nearly a year of advocating on the Hill and online for a new North American free trade deal, the American Soybean Association (ASA) cheers the implementation of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

Mexico is the #2 market for whole beans, meal and oil, and Canada is the #4 buyer of meal and #7 buyer of oil for U.S. soybean farmers, making the trade agreement essential to sustaining the growth realized in those two countries under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Under NAFTA, U.S. soybean sales to Mexico quadrupled and to Canada doubled.

ASA expresses its strong appreciation to the Administration and Congress for coming together on this bipartisan effort to ratify the agreement, which was signed into law by President Trump in January 2020.

“USMCA is a win for U.S. soybean farmers and the American economy, as it restores certainty and stability to two important export markets for our farmers and lays a foundation for future growth,” said ASA President Bill Gordon, a soybean grower from Worthington, Minnesota. “In addition to securing the Mexican market as the second largest importer of U.S. soybeans, the terms agreed to by Canada will increase U.S. poultry and dairy exports, which is another positive for the ag industry.”

Gordon, who attended the USMCA signing in January at the White House, expressed gratitude to lawmakers and the Administration for seeing the trade deal through, as well as the soy growers who pushed tirelessly every step of the way.

“On behalf of ASA, I thank the Administration and Congress for making USMCA a priority, and the soy growers who took time from their fields to advocate, whether in-person or online, to make this agreement a reality,” said the farmer.

USMCA replaces NAFTA, maintaining zero tariffs on U.S. soybeans, improving transparency, support for biotechnology and innovation, and creates a rapid response mechanism to respond to trade challenges.



U.S. Grains Council Celebrates U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement As It Enters Into Force


Today, the U.S-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) officially enters into force, a culmination of years of work to update and improve the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), offering partners improved agricultural market access and freer, fairer trade between the countries.

“This agreement solidifies our country’s most important and strategic trade relationships with our best customers and promises further economic growth in tandem with our most-valued partners – Mexico and Canada,” said Darren Armstrong, U.S. Grains Council (USGC) chairman. “We appreciate the administration’s hard-won efforts to deliver and implement an agreement that includes significant improvements and offers more modern approaches to trade and we thank our partners in both Canada and Mexico whose efforts have been equally appreciated and fruitful.”

From negotiations to ratification, the Council worked and continues to work within the industry and with Canadian and Mexican corn, sorghum, barley, co-products and ethanol customers to ensure the needs of the U.S. grains sector are met and USMCA will build on the success the U.S. experienced under NAFTA.

“We often hosted Mexican buyers to the United States, sent U.S. farmers on missions to Mexico and have continued to market the importance of our trade relationships with our stakeholders in both countries,” said Armstrong. “Both the Council’s leaders and members are very pleased to see USMCA enter into force today and look forward to many prosperous years for our country’s farmers and those in Mexico and Canada.”



NCBA Celebrates Implementation of USMCA Trade Deal


The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) today celebrated the successful implementation of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) by sending a joint letter of thanks to the leaders of all three nations. The letter was sent to President Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. It was signed by NCBA President Marty Smith, Canadian Cattlemen’s Association President Bob Lowe, and CNOG President Oswaldo Chazaro Montalvo.

“Together, our organizations worked in unified support of USMCA because it protects market-based principles while making improvements in other sectors to reflect the needs of a modern North American economy,” the leaders of the three cattlemen’s organizations wrote. “We are the envy of many countries because of the marketplace freedom USMCA will continue to provide both producers and consumers.

“International trade is fundamental to the success of North American farmers and ranchers and the full value of the products we sell can only be achieved when we have access to the markets that most value them,” the letter continued. “In the face of the economic hardships of COVID-19, it is timely and welcome that USMCA enters into force, providing a foundation of economic stability for our rural communities and food systems.”

Congress last winter overwhelmingly approved the new USMCA deal, with the Senate voting 89-10 in support of it a few weeks after the U.S. House of Representatives passed it with a strong bipartisan vote of 385-41. NCBA worked hard to build support for USMCA on Capitol Hill, and then-NCBA-President Jennifer Houston led a delegation of more than a dozen members to the White House to attend the official signing ceremony on Jan. 29. 

“We believe that our economies and our countries will be stronger together through USMCA,” the letter concluded.



U.S. Dairy Industry Commends Administration and Members of Congress as USMCA Enters into Force


The U.S. dairy industry celebrates the U.S. Trade Representative’s office and Congress for the strides made in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) as it enters into force today. At the same time, the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) also noted that harvesting the full benefit of those hard-fought wins now relies on robust enforcement of the agreement.

The modernized trade deal is a testament to the tremendous bipartisan effort from both the Administration and members of Congress to improve trade rules. USMCA is designed to usher in significant changes to U.S.-Canadian dairy trade, restore certainty to U.S.-Mexico trade relations and establish important protections for common name cheeses.

Given the importance of these reforms to the growth of U.S. exports and economic health of the dairy industry, it is critical that the U.S. Trade Representative and U.S. Department of Agriculture utilize USMCA’s stringent enforcement measures to ensure Canada and Mexico are held accountable to their trade commitments.

This is of particular importance given that Canada’s recently announced TRQ allocations run counter to USCMA commitments crafted to expand access to the Canadian dairy market. In the next few months, Canada will finalize its plans for future TRQ allocations and the elimination of its Class 6 &7 pricing programs, making it incumbent upon the U.S. to insist on full alignment with USMCA obligations.

“As USMCA enters into force, America’s dairy farmers and cooperatives are looking forward to a brighter future built on the foundation of this modernized trade agreement. Dairy is counting on this trade agreement, carefully crafted by USTR and with strong bipartisan support, to deliver tangible benefits to our industry during an uncertain time when our farmers need additional export markets and trade opportunities more than ever. To fulfill the promises of USMCA, the U.S. government can’t take its eyes off the goal of ensuring that this deal is fully enforced and implemented as intended,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF.

USMCA also strengthens the relationship between Mexico and the U.S. and establishes new protections for products that rely on common cheese names, such as parmesan and feta. It is critical that Mexico abide by these new requirements and refrain from introducing new trade mandates, such as product conformity assessments, that place a larger burden on U.S. exporters than on Mexican companies.

“After years of hard work by the Administration and Congress to bring this new agreement to fruition, the U.S. dairy industry is pleased to celebrate USMCA as it enters into force, mandating new access into Canada’s restrictive markets and establishing groundbreaking protections for American-made cheeses in Mexico,” said Tom Vilsack, president and CEO of USDEC. “If implemented in good faith and diligently enforced, USMCA will deliver positive benefits to dairy, and all of agriculture, as it facilitates the smooth flow of trade in North America. The implementation of USMCA’s provisions is
not the end of our work, it’s simply the beginning as we continue our efforts to break down global barriers to fair dairy trade and to ensure this agreement is fully enforced.”

According to the International Trade Commission, if USMCA is implemented as negotiated, U.S. dairy exports are projected to increase by more than $314 million a year. These dairy sales will have a positive effect on American farmers, bolstering dairy farm revenue by an additional $548 million over the first six years of implementation, according to industry estimates.




U.S. Wheat Organizations Welcome USMCA Entry into Force


The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) is set to cross its final hurdle to entry today as the three countries certify the agreement’s “entry into force.” This final step means that all required legislative and regulatory changes needed to implement the agreement have been put into place or are scheduled to take effect.

  “A completed USMCA finally gets us past the uncertainty and that is welcome news to U.S. wheat growers,” said U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) Chairman and Paulding, Ohio, wheat farmer Doug Goyings. “Especially as we now see an opportunity for U.S. negotiators to take this as a gold standard agreement and launch negotiations with other countries, where U.S. wheat growers face tariff and non-tariff barriers.”

  “After years of hard work, we are excited to see USMCA be put into action. USMCA is not only vital for farmers but essential to help grow the rural economy,” stated NAWG President and Cass City, Mich., farmer Dave Milligan. “The wheat industry thanks Congress and the Administration for helping to put this trade deal into effect.”

  While there will be little direct change for U.S. wheat exports headed to Mexico, the agreement’s entry into force is a prime example of no news being an indicator of good news. The new agreement tightens coordination over sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) rules and other non-tariff trade issues, but most importantly it places certainty back in the trading relationship with USW’s largest export market. In the marketing year 2019/20, which ended May 31, 2020, Mexico purchased more than 3.87 million metric tons (MMT) of U.S. wheat valued at $881 million.

  On the other side of the continent, Canada published the new rules for U.S. farmers hoping to deliver wheat into the Canadian grain handling system. Those new rules, allowing U.S. grown wheat brought across the border to Canadian grain elevators to be graded on a level playing field, are a significant step in furthering equal trade between the countries’ wheat growers. U.S. farmers wishing to take advantage of this new provision will need to grow wheat varieties registered in Canada’s Variety Registration System. 



NGFA commends, congratulates U.S., Mexico and Canada on entry-into-force of USMCA


The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) said the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which enters into force today, is a model 21st century trade accord that will contribute to growing, robust North American trade and serve as a strong foundation for the next generation of trade agreements.

NGFA commended and congratulated the U.S., Mexican and Canadian governments for negotiating a modernized North American trade agreement, as well as the legislative chambers in all three countries that ratified it by strong, bipartisan votes. For grains, oilseeds and their derived products, as well as animal food, the USMCA “preserves and strengthens market access while providing effective new mechanisms and safeguards to resolve sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) issues that in the past periodically have disrupted trade,” said NGFA President and CEO Randy Gordon. “But the accord’s longest-lasting and most important impact may well be the solid framework it provides for the United States to negotiate significant new trade agreements with other countries, including Japan, Vietnam, the United Kingdom, Kenya and other nations on the African continent.”

NGFA noted that in addition to maintaining a tariff-free environment for most agricultural products, USMCA will help address non-tariff barriers, which are among the biggest challenges that distort and disrupt cross-border trade flows. Among other benefits, USMCA contains provisions that provide for: greater levels of regulatory coherence and cooperation; expediting resolution of adverse import checks; reducing the likelihood of trade disruptions in products of agricultural biotechnology; providing for expedited technical consultations to resolve SPS disputes; and requiring that SPS standards be grounded in science, based on proper risk assessments and implemented using prudent risk-management techniques.

NGFA will be working with its member companies and the U.S. government to monitor compliance with the agreement.



Tuesday June 30 Acreage/Grain Stocks + Ag News
2020-06-30T09:11

2020 NEBRASKA ACREAGE

Nebraska producers planted 9.80 million acres of corn for all purposes, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. This is down 3% from last year. Of the total acres, 94% were planted with biotechnology varieties, down 2 percentage points from 2019. Area to be harvested for grain is estimated at 9.45 million acres, down 4% from a year ago.

Soybean planted acreage is estimated at 5.00 million acres, up 2% from last year. Of these, 96% were planted with genetically modified, herbicide resistant seed, up 1 percentage point from 2019. Producers expect to harvest 4.95 million acres, up 2% from a year ago.

Winter wheat planted in the fall of 2019 is estimated at a record low 920,000 acres, down 14% from last year. Harvested area is expected to total 850,000 acres, down 12% from a year ago.

Alfalfa acreage to be harvested for dry hay is estimated at 970,000 acres, up 2% from last year. Other hay acreage to be cut for dry hay is estimated at 1.70 million acres, up 13% from a year ago.

Sorghum planted for all purposes is estimated at 170,000 acres, down 15% from the previous year. Area to be harvested for grain is estimated at 120,000 acres, down 8% from last year.

Oats planted for all purposes is estimated at 140,000 acres, up 17% from last year. Area to be harvested for grain is estimated at 20,000 acres up 11% from last year.

Dry edible bean planted acreage is estimated at 150,000 acres, up 25% from last year. Harvested acres are estimated at 135,000 acres, up 39% from the previous year.

Proso millet planted, at 95,000 acres is down 17% from a year ago.

Sugarbeet planted acres, at 46,300 acres, are up 5% from last year. Harvested area is forecast at 45,800 acres, up 9% from a year ago.

Oil sunflower planted area is estimated at 30,000 acres, up 7% from last year. Harvested area is estimated at 28,000 acres, up 8% from a year ago. Non-oil sunflower planted area is estimated at 10,000 acres, up 11% from the previous year. Harvested area is estimated at 9,000 acres, up 6% from the previous year.

Dry edible pea planted acres are estimated at 36,000 acres, up 16% from last year. Harvested acres are estimated at 34,000 acres, up 17% from the previous year.

Potato planted acreage is estimated at 20,000 acres, unchanged from last year. Harvested acreage is forecasted at 19,800 acres, up 1% from a year ago. Percent planted by type of potato is: 48% white, 49% russet, 1% red and 2% yellow.

The estimates of planted and harvested acreages in this news release are based primarily on surveys conducted during the first two weeks of June.



2020 IOWA ACREAGE REPORT


Corn planted for all purposes in Iowa is estimated at 14.0 million acres, down 100,000 from the March intentions, but up 500,000 acres from 2019 according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Acreage report. Corn to be harvested for grain is forecast at 13.6 million acres. Producers reported planting biotechnology varieties on 90 percent of their 2020 corn acres. The percent of corn acreage planted to insect resistant (Bt) varieties is estimated at 3 percent, herbicide resistant only varieties were planted on 8 percent of the acres, and stacked gene varieties were planted on 79 percent of the acres.

Soybean acreage planted is estimated at 9.40 million acres, up 100,000 acres from the March intentions and up 200,000 acres from the 2019 planted acreage. Soybean acreage to be harvested is forecast at 9.32 million acres. Based on reports from producers, 93 percent of the soybean acres were planted with herbicide resistant varieties.

Total dry hay expected to be harvested for 2020 is forecast at 1.06 million acres, down 140,000 acres from the March forecast, but up 40,000 acres from 2019. Of the total, 730,000 acres of alfalfa and 330,000 acres of other hay are expected to be harvested for dry hay.

Acreage seeded to oats is estimated at 240,000 acres, unchanged from the March intentions, but up 25,000 acres from last year. Oat acreage expected to be harvested for grain is forecast at 80,000 acres, up 11,000 acres from 2019.



U.S. Corn Planted Acreage Up 3 Percent from 2019, Soybean Acreage Up 10 Percent


Corn planted area for all purposes in 2020 is estimated at 92.0 million acres, up 3 percent or 2.31 million acres from last year. Compared with last year, planted acreage is expected to be up or unchanged in 28 of the 48 estimating States. Area harvested for grain, at 84.0 million acres, is up 3 percent from last year.

Soybean planted area for 2020 is estimated at 83.8 million acres, up 10 percent from last year. Compared with last year, planted acreage is up or unchanged in 24 of the 29 estimating States.

All wheat planted area for 2020 is estimated at 44.3 million acres, down 2 percent from 2019. This represents the lowest all wheat planted area since records began in 1919. The 2020 winter wheat planted area, at 30.6 million acres, is down 2 percent from last year and down 1 percent from the previous estimate. Of this total, about 21.5 million acres are Hard Red Winter, 5.63 million acres are Soft Red Winter, and 3.42 million acres are White Winter. Area expected to be planted to other spring wheat for 2020 is estimated at 12.2 million acres, down 4 percent from 2019. Of this total, about 11.5 million acres are Hard Red Spring wheat. Durum planted area for 2020 is expected to total 1.50 million acres, up 12 percent from the previous year.

All cotton planted area for 2020 is estimated at 12.2 million acres, down 11 percent from last year. Upland area is estimated at 12.0 million acres, down 11 percent from 2019. American Pima area is estimated at 195,000 acres, down 15 percent from 2019.



NEBRASKA JUNE 1, 2020 GRAIN STOCKS


Nebraska corn stocks in all positions on June 1, 2020 totaled 597 million bushels, up 4% from 2019, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Of the total, 330 million bushels are stored on farms, up 6% from a year ago. Off-farm stocks, at 267 million bushels, are up 2% from last year.

Soybeans stored in all positions totaled 110 million bushels, down 11% from last year. On-farm stocks of 36.5 million bushels are up 3% from a year ago, but off-farm stocks, at 73.7 million bushels, are down 17% from 2019.

Wheat stored in all positions totaled 34.9 million bushels, down 3% from a year ago. On-farm stocks of 2.70 million bushels are up 309% from 2019, but off-farm stocks of 32.2 million bushels are down 9% from last year.

Sorghum stored in all positions totaled 2.86 million bushels, down 49% from 2019. On-farm stocks of 160,000 bushels are down 72% from a year ago and off-farm holdings of 2.70 million bushels are down 47% from last year.

On-farm oat stocks totaled 270,000 bushels, unchanged from 2019.



2020 IOWA JUNE 1 GRAIN STOCKS REPORT


Corn stored in all positions in Iowa on June 1, 2020, totaled 1.09 billion bushels, up 9% from June 1, 2019, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Grain Stocks report. Of the total stocks, 61% were stored on-farm. The March-May 2020 indicated disappearance totaled 431 million bushels, 25% below the 572 million bushels from the same period last year.

Soybeans stored in all positions in Iowa on June 1, 2019, totaled 281 million bushels, 7% below the 302 million bushels on hand June 1, 2019. Of the total stocks, 50% were stored on-farm. Indicated disappearance for March-May 2020 is 122 million bushels, 3% above the 119 million bushels from the same quarter last year.

Oats stored on-farm in Iowa on June 1, 2020, totaled 700 thousand bushels, up 27% from June 1, 2019.



U.S. Corn Stocks Up Less Than 1 Percent from June 2019, Soybean Stocks Down 22 Percent


Corn stocks in all positions on June 1, 2020 totaled 5.22 billion bushels, up less than 1 percent from June 1, 2019. Of the total stocks, 3.03 billion bushels are stored on farms, up 3 percent from a year earlier. Off-farm stocks, at 2.20 billion bushels, are down 2 percent from a year ago. The March - May 2020 indicated disappearance is 2.73 billion bushels, compared with 3.41 billion bushels during the same period last year.

Soybeans stored in all positions on June 1, 2020 totaled 1.39 billion bushels, down 22 percent from June 1, 2019. On-farm stocks totaled 633 million bushels, down 13 percent from a year ago. Off-farm stocks, at 753 million bushels, are down 28 percent from a year ago. Indicated disappearance for the March - May 2020 quarter totaled 869 million bushels, down 8 percent from the same period a year earlier.

Old crop all wheat stored in all positions on June 1, 2020 totaled 1.04 billion bushels, down 3 percent from a year ago. On-farm stocks are estimated at 232 million bushels, up 12 percent from last year. Off-farm stocks, at 812 million bushels, are down 7 percent from a year ago. The March - May 2020 indicated disappearance is 372 million bushels, down 28 percent from the same period a year earlier.

Grain sorghum stored in all positions on June 1, 2020 totaled 72.5 million bushels, down 38 percent from a year ago. On-farm stocks, at 8.36 million bushels, are down 12 percent from last year. Off-farm stocks, at 64.2 million bushels, are down 41 percent from June 1, 2019. The March - May 2020 indicated disappearance from all positions is 92.4 million bushels, up 23 percent from the same period last year.



2020 Star City BaconFest Canceled


Due to the COVID-19 virus and the complications it presents for large gatherings, the 2020 Star City BaconFest has been canceled. The Nebraska Pork Producers Assn. along with the Nebraska Restaurant Association are disappointed in this outcome but feel that not only for the event audience, but also the 20+ participating restaurant vendors, it is the responsible path to follow.

They look forward to selecting a new date for some time in April of 2021 and hope attendees will consider joining them for this fun (and delicious) event at that time.



2020 Nebraska State Fair is a Go – Showcasing 4-H and FFA Youth


The Nebraska State Fair Board voted to hold a 2020 State Fair showcasing 4-H and FFA competitions and exhibitions. While the Fair will look different than it has in the past, providing an opportunity for young people to showcase the work they have been doing throughout the year as it is important to the State Fair and to the future of our state. The 2020 State Fair will include 4-H and FFA livestock competitions, contests, presentations, and static exhibits.

“All events and activities will follow the most up-to-date directive health measures,” said Beth Smith, board chair for Nebraska State Fair. “We hold the youth and families involved in 4-H and FFA near and dear to us. 4-H and FFA youth have been hard at work for months preparing their exhibits and livestock, and this gives them the opportunity to showcase those efforts.”

“Nebraskans have always been supportive of the education of our young people,” said the Nebraska 4-H and the FFA Board of Directors. “The focus of the 2020 Nebraska State Fair on 4-H and FFA is another example of our state looking toward the future by celebrating the success of our youth. We are thrilled to have the to opportunity showcase the work of Nebraska’s next generation of leaders.”

In addition to the youth events, visitors can partake in Raising Nebraska, an interactive space dedicated to the food and the families that grow it as well as a variety of Nebraska Game and Parks activities. Depending on Grand Island’s phase progress, there is the potential to include more concessions, amusement rides, motor sport activities, and taverns. Stay tuned to statefair.org for additional announcements.

“We are excited to announce that gate admission will be free,” said Smith. “This year has been difficult, so we see this as an opportunity for our community to come together and enjoy a part of Nebraska history and culture.”

The health and safety of the community is and always will be the highest priority in producing the annual Fair. In the interest of public health, the State Fair will provide additional $30,000 to manage cleaning and sanitizing throughout the event. At the present moment, restrooms will be cleaned at minimum once every two hours with full-time restroom attendants present. The frequency and number of attendants will adjust to the crowd size.

Nebraska State Fair continues to work closely on public health issues with a variety of local and national public health agencies, including the Nebraska Governor, Department of Health and Human Services, Nebraska Department of Agriculture, Central District Health Department and City of Grand Island. Fair organizers will continue to collaborate with these expert partners, watching for any new developments around COVID-19 that would impact the Fair operation, and make modifications accordingly.

Concerts

Nebraska State Fair has canceled large concerts including, Jon Pardi on Sept. 3, Dustin Lynch on Sept. 4, the dual show of Clay Walker and Clint Black on Sept. 6. In addition, the tour canceled the Big Rock Summer Tour featuring Ratt, Skid Row and Quiet Riot. Many performers and musicians share the safety concerns of Nebraskans’. While they want to be with their fans, they know it isn’t an option at this time. We look forward to welcoming talented musicians to the 2021 Nebraska State Fair. Advanced sales of concert and/or gate admission tickets will be refunded through Etix. Questions regarding refunds should be directed to Etix at www.etix.com.

Nebraska State Fair will be releasing additional information as it becomes available ahead of the event. Dates will be available as well as answers to questions at statefair.org. For more information on the Aksarben Stock Show, visit aksarbenstockshow.com.



Nebraska State Fair to focus on youth development, including 4-H events


The Nebraska State Fair Board voted Tuesday to shift the focus of the 2020 Nebraska State Fair to emphasize youth development opportunities, with some other exhibits, activities, concerts and other events cancelled in light of concerns about COVID-19. Specifically, 4-H and FFA events will be the focus of the 2020 fair, which is scheduled to take place Aug. 28 through Sept. 7 in Grand Island.

Nebraska 4-H and Nebraska State FFA issued a joint statement praising the decision:
“Nebraskans have always been supportive of the education of our young people.  The focus of the 2020 Nebraska State Fair on 4-H and FFA is another example of our state looking toward the future by celebrating the success of our youth. We are thrilled to have the opportunity showcase the work of Nebraska’s next generation of leaders.”

Nebraska Extension began adapting 2020 4-H programming to virtual formats back in March, when social distancing and other directed health measures were first put in place. At the same time, Extension professionals began planning for the possibility of adapting events for both county fairs and the Nebraska State Fair to adhere to health directives.

While many details have yet to be finalized, some decisions about what 4-H and FFA events will look like at the 2020 Nebraska State Fair have been made. These include:
    4-H and FFA livestock shows will take place on separate weekends, with the 4-H shows taking place the first weekend of the fair and FFA shows Labor Day weekend.
    Youth dairy events will be held jointly on Labor Day weekend.
    Entry quotas for livestock will remain the same.
    All livestock will be released upon completion of showing.
    Static exhibits will be on display for the public to view and will also be shown virtually.
    There will not be an admission fee for the 2020 Nebraska State Fair.

Extension professionals and partner groups are still working out the details of what livestock shows, public speaking and other live events, and static exhibits will look at this year’s fair. Nebraska Extension will continue to work with the City of Grand Island, the State Fair Board, the district health department, and other partners leading up to the fair. More information may be found at 4h.unl.edu.

“We’ve got an opportunity to showcase youth in an amazing way, and we are thrilled that our youth have the support of our fair board and our governor,” said Kathleen Lodl, Nebraska 4-H program leader. “Nebraska families are going to get an amazing 2020 State Fair.”

Nebraska has one of the highest 4-H participation rates in the nation, with one in three – a total of over 140,000 – youth engaged in the program statewide.

“Youth who participate in 4-H develop independence, problem-solving skills, leadership skills and lasting friendships,” Lodl said. “4-H helps shape our future generations in a multitude of positive ways, and today’s decision shows that Nebraska recognizes the value of this amazing program.”



More on this Story: Farm Progress Show and Husker Harvest Days cancelled for 2020


For more than 65 years, farmers have turned to the Farm Progress Show and Husker Harvest Days for the latest information about new products and tools they can use to boost productivity and profit for their operations. However, for the first time in its history, the show won't go on. In the best interest of our visitors, exhibitors, partners and staff, Farm Progress has made the difficult decision to cancel both shows in 2020 due to rapidly changing conditions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Show management had confirmed earlier that the two shows would be operated differently with physical distancing a requirement, along with other health and safety changes to the events.

While state and local officials had expressed support for both shows, Don Tourte, Senior Vice President, Farm Progress said that in a very short time it became apparent that the situation across the US had rapidly changed.

"We have been working with officials in Iowa and Nebraska for our shows, and we appreciate the support they expressed for us to hold the events," Tourte says. "They are critical partners to us, and we are all disappointed to not host the events this year, but feel confident that this is the right decision for our community.”

One of the key features of both shows is their attraction to visitors from across the country, and across the globe.

"Within days of our commitment to hold both farm shows, more than half the United States saw a significant spike in new cases of COVID-19. We have a multi-generational audience that travels from all across the country and around the world to attend the shows and based on that we felt it better to reconsider the traditional show for 2020 to prioritize the safety of all. Our community’s safety is our priority, always,” said Matt Jungmann, Events Manager, Farm Progress.

"Within the next two weeks tents and other work would be underway on site. We had to make a decision based on the current landscape so that our exhibitors and suppliers wouldn’t potentially waste valuable time and resources,” said Jungmann.  “While we are hopeful that case numbers throughout the country will decrease soon, we felt compelled to  make a proactive decision on our community’s behalf, given the information we have today.”

A virtual experience was already being planned as an extension to the live event. Jungmann explains that while a virtual event won't give growers the true "tire kicking" experience of being at the show, the events team is gearing up to deliver a robust and dynamic digital experience.  

"Market factors are changing fast, and we'll have more information in the coming weeks about how our virtual experience will be expanded," Jungmann says. "We have 400 acres of corn at two sites that have to be harvested. Ground that must be tilled. We're looking at all of our options to ensure we keep our community connected and engaged."



EXTENSION WEBINAR TO FOCUS ON FORAGE PRODUCTION RISK


An upcoming Nebraska Extension webinar will provide an overview of resources available to mitigate weather risk for forage production as farmers prepare for the July 15 sign-up deadline for the USDA’s Annual Forage Insurance Plan.

“Insurance Tools for Managing Forage Production Risk” will be presented on Thursday at noon, by Jay Parsons, an extension farm and ranch management specialist and professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics. It is part of a weekly webinar series produced by the department’s extension Farm and Ranch Management team.

Soil moisture and precipitation present some of the biggest risks for the approximately 60 million acres of forage that are harvested each year in the U.S. Production can vary greatly from one season to the next, depending on the weather. The webinar will cover a number of risk management tools, with an emphasis on the Annual Forage Insurance Plan, which insures annual crops planted for use as livestock feed or fodder against low precipitation.

It will be held live on Zoom for approximately one hour, including time for questions from participants. Registration is open to everyone at https://go.unl.edu/manage2020. Additional information, a schedule of other upcoming webinars and recordings of all sessions in the webinar series are available as well.



Weekly Weed Watch Videos Help Producers Scout


The Weekly Weed Watch is on, and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach specialists, along with the Integrated Pest Management program, are providing a new video series on scouting and identifying different common weeds farmers find in their fields.

“Anyone involved in managing weeds, or just curious about these villains of the plant world, should watch this series to learn the keys to differentiate the many weed species that infest Iowa’s fields, lawns and other areas,” said Bob Hartzler, professor in agronomy and extension weed specialist at Iowa State University.

This series not only helps Iowans identify different weed species, but it also helps with comparing similar species, as well as explaining out how they are different from each other, according to Meaghan Anderson, field agronomist with ISU Extension and Outreach.

The first two videos in the series are:
    Common Lambsquarters
    Woolly Cupgrass and Foxtail

The videos can be found on the Field Extension Education Laboratory Vlog playlist on the Iowa State University IPM YouTube page.



STAR Energy FS and GROWMARK FS to merge


STAR Energy FS, headquartered in Manson, Iowa, and GROWMARK FS, headquartered in Hartley, Iowa, are merging into one. The new company, named GROWMARK FS, will offer its farmer customers with a full line of agronomy, energy, and grain marketing needs.

“I’m excited about the opportunities that will come from the combination of these two organizations,” said STAR Energy FS General Manager Jeff Manthei. “Our farmer customers have long trusted FS for all of their farming needs and now they’ll be able to do so with one FS company.”

The new company will be headquartered in Manson, with Jeff Manthei serving as the general manager. Current GROWMARK FS General Manager Tim Berkland, will continue as the agronomy department manager of the new organization.

“Our two companies have served many of the same farms and farmers,” said Berkland. “By merging together, those farmers will now be able to get reliable supply of fuels and lubricants as well as the latest science and research-backed prescriptive nutrient recommendations for their specific operations.”

The merger is effective September 1, 2020. The new GROWMARK FS will have more than 90 employees.

STAR Energy FS is a full-service provider of refined and renewable fuels, lubricants and propane to farm and non-farm customers. STAR Energy FS also provides industry-leading technical services, information, and training to help manage customer fuel and lubricant needs. More information is available at starenergyfs.com.

GROWMARK FS is headquartered in Hartley, Iowa with branches across Northwest Iowa and Southeast South Dakota. GROWMARK FS Midwest employs approximately 60 individuals (including seasonal workers) and serves approximately 1,500 customers. GROWMARK FS Midwest offers agronomy, agri-finance, precision agriculture, nutrient management, energy, feed, grain, and turf products and services. More information is available at growmarkfs.com/midwest.



Sanitizer Donated for Distribution at RFA Special Events

   
Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy (SIRE), an ethanol plant in Council Bluffs, Iowa, has donated 1,000 bottles of its proprietary SIREtizer hand sanitizer to the Renewable Fuels Association, for free distribution at upcoming events—among which is the famous Sturgis motorcycle rally this summer in South Dakota, where RFA has had a presence for more than a decade.

“Like so many others in our industry, SIRE was able to step-up and help during this pandemic,” said SIRE CEO Mike Jerke. “We are pleased to be part of RFA's educational efforts and demonstrate that ethanol is not only cleaning our air but is also vital in fighting this pandemic.”

“SIREtizer is more than just a label, it has become a source of trust for the community, especially in the fight against COVID-19,” said Justin Schultz, SIRE’s Regulatory Manager. “Our team at SIRE is happy to support the RFA and we hope our product will continue to put minds at ease.”

In addition to Sturgis, RFA plans for the travel-size bottles—sporting RFA’s popular “Ethanol: Fueled with Pride” shield—to be available at upcoming Crappie Masters tournaments, special events where the Kenny Hauk-RFA Flex Fuel E85 Jeep Wrangler is displayed, and races involving the RFA Sponsored Tidd Racing E85 Can-Am. Also, on Capitol Hill, bottles will be distributed to offices of Iowa’s federal elected officials.

“We’re very grateful to Mike, Justin and the rest of the team at SIRE for this donation,” said Robert White, RFA Vice President for Industry Relations. “We want to ensure that people stay safe and healthy this summer, while enjoying the great outdoors, and we also hope this can help educate the public about one of the many unsung benefits of ethanol: It’s not just a great low-carbon fuel for our environment, it can help save lives. The CDC acknowledges that alcohol-based hand rubs like this one from SIRE are preferable to soap and water in fighting the COVID-19 virus.”



Providing Much Needed Boost to Beleaguered Biofuels Producers, Governor Reynolds Signs Biofuel Tax Differential Extension into Law


Today in front of dozens of biofuel supporters at Pine Lake Corn Processors ethanol plant, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed Senate File 2403 into law, extending Iowa’s biofuel tax differentials to June 30, 2026.

The bill unanimously passed both of Iowa’s legislative chambers earlier this June. It extends and modernizes fuel tax differentials for E15 and higher ethanol blends and B11 and higher biodiesel blends, which would have expired today, June 30, 2020.

“At today’s bill signing we say thank you to Governor Kim Reynolds for her leadership and strong support for Iowa biofuels,” said Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Policy Director Nathan Hohnstein. “Reauthorization of the biofuel tax differentials will continue to expand Iowans’ access to cleaner-burning, home-grown biofuel blends like E15 and B11, supporting Iowa’s environment and economy at a time when it is much needed.

“We also thank Iowa’s legislative leaders for prioritizing this important bill for a vote during this truncated legislative session. Finally, we must thank Senator Randy Feenstra and Representative Louis Zumbach for managing the bill through to passage. Without such dedicated support by Iowa’s elected officials, today’s celebration would not have been possible.”

Reynolds also announced at the ceremony her intention to use $7 million of Iowa’s federal CARES Act funding to expand the Iowa Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program, which provides fuel retailers with cost-share grants to upgrade fueling infrastructure to offer higher blends of biofuels.

“The Governor’s intention to boost funding for Iowa’s biofuel infrastructure grant program is a terrific and welcome surprise,” Hohnstein said. “Iowa’s biofuels producers have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic as travel has declined and fuel demand has plummeted. This additional funding will go a long way to increasing consumer access to higher biofuel blends and boosting biofuel demand!”  

Since the first fuel tax differential bill was passed, E10 and higher ethanol blends and B11 and higher biodiesel blends have grown to make up roughly 90% and 57% of sales in 2019, respectively. The new fuel tax differential modernizes the ethanol differential by applying it only to E15 and higher blends.



Naig: Investment in Renewable Fuels is an Investment in Iowa


Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig issued the following statement today in response to Gov. Kim Reynolds’ signing Senate File 2403 into law, extending Iowa’s biofuel tax differentials to June 30, 2026.

“At a time of unprecedented challenges facing our renewable fuels industry, today is welcome news. The renewable fuels industry benefits Iowa farmers, supports jobs in rural communities and gives consumers access to affordable, cleaner-burning fuels,” said Secretary Naig. “Reauthorization of the biofuel tax differentials program will continue to boost biofuel demand. Gov. Reynolds’ commitment of an additional $7 million in funding for the RFIP program will allow us to further assist fuel marketers and retailers in building renewable fuels infrastructure, giving Iowans increased choices and savings at the pump. An investment in renewable fuels is an investment in Iowa."

Senate File 2403, a priority of Secretary Naig’s, extends and modernizes fuel tax differentials for E15 and higher ethanol blends and B11 and higher biodiesel blends, which are set to expire today on June 30, 2020. Since the first fuel tax differential bill was passed, E10 and higher ethanol blends and B11 and higher biodiesel blends, have grown to make up about 90 percent and 57 percent of sales in 2019, respectively. The new fuel tax differential modernizes the ethanol differential by applying it only to E15 and higher blends.

Iowa is one of a handful of states with a standing appropriation for a Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program (RFIP). The RFIP helps the operators of motor fuel dispensing sites or fueling stations to convert their equipment to allow the expanded use of renewable fuels in Iowa. Since its inception, the RFIP program has distributed or obligated more than $36 million to help fund 335 E85 dispensers/blenders, 54 E15 projects, 343 biodiesel dispensers/blenders and 141 biodiesel terminals across Iowa. Fuel marketers and retailers have responded by investing over $200 million in these same projects.



Growth Energy Applauds Update to Iowa Tax Differential for Biofuel Blends


Growth Energy, the nation’s largest ethanol association, today welcomed enactment of legislation extending and modernizing Iowa tax incentives for higher biofuel blends. Signed today by Governor Kim Reynolds, the new law reduces the per-gallon excise tax on E15 and higher ethanol blends and B11 and higher biodiesel blends through 2026.

“The tax update offers a welcome source of market certainty for Iowa biofuel producers and our farm suppliers, who have faced unprecedented economic challenges in the wake of COVID-19,” said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy. “We applaud Iowa lawmakers for crafting bipartisan legislation that can serve as an example for lawmakers nationwide seeking to support rural communities, save motorists money at the pump, and promote low-carbon fuels that keep our air clean. Smart tax policies like these are a proven strategy for accelerating infrastructure investments, creating rural jobs, and expanding consumer access to E15 and other higher biofuel blends.”



NCBA Applauds Introduction Of DIRECT Act


The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) today applauded the introduction of the bipartisan legislation to create new direct-to-consumer options for beef producers, processors and small meat markets without compromising federal food safety standards or market access under existing trade agreements.

Introduced by U.S. Representatives Dusty Johnson (R - At-Large, SD) and Henry Cuellar (D - 28th Dist., TX), the Direct Interstate Retail Exemption for Certain Transactions (DIRECT) Act of 2020 would amend retail exemptions under current law to allow meat processed under state-inspected establishments to be sold across state lines through e-commerce, providing beef producers and local processors alike with more options to market direct-to-consumers.

“Over the past few months, more Americans looked to e-commerce to purchase essential goods like beef and an already booming online marketplace further evolved to facilitate purchases and meet consumer demands," said NCBA President Marty Smith, a family cow-calf operator from Wacahoota, Fla. "The American beef supply chain must evolve to keep up with the speed of commerce and the demands of modern-day consumers. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association supports the DIRECT Act because it helps make it easier for the American cattle producer to meet the growing demand of the American consumer to purchase safe and delicious U.S. beef.”

Currently, many states such as South Dakota and Texas have State Meat and Poultry Inspection (MPI) programs approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA FSIS) as “at least equal to” standards set under the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) and Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA). Under the existing framework however, state-inspected products can only be sold interstate if approved to do so under the Cooperative Interstate Shipping Program (CIS).

The DIRECT Act would amend the retail exemption under the FMIA and PPIA to allow processors, butchers or other retailers to sell normal retail quantities (300 lbs. of beef, 100 lbs. of pork, 27.5 lbs. of lamb) of MPI State Inspected Meat online to consumers across state lines. Because DIRECT Act sales are in e-commerce, sales are traceable and could easily be recalled. The proposal also includes clear prohibitions on export, keeping our equivalency agreements with trading partners intact. The DIRECT Act will allow states operating under the CIS system to ship and label as they are currently.



NCBA Responds to Congressional Climate Report


National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Vice President, Government Affairs, Ethan Lane today released the following statement in response to a new Congressional report on climate change:

 "The report released today by the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis is unfortunately the product of partisan discussions that failed to encompass important constituent communities across the country. NCBA is committed to working with Congress to find real solutions that set us on a path toward long-term environmental and economic sustainability.

"All segments of the beef supply chain – ranchers, feeders, haulers, processors, and retailers – play a necessary role in ensuring that beef consumption is a climate solution. Every cattle producer plays a role in cattle’s positive climate impact. Pasture-based operations cultivate healthy soil to improve carbon storage, grazing reduces fine fuels that contribute to catastrophic wildfire that causes significant air pollution and long-term damage to soil and water health, and advancements in feed efficiency directly reduce methane emissions. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, methane from beef cattle accounts for only 2% of the United States’ greenhouse gas emissions while providing a host of opportunities for improved carbon storage in landscapes across the country.

"NCBA will continue working to ensure that all segments of the beef supply chain are recognized for their beneficial contributions and do not face punitive measures that unfairly or inaccurately target domestic food and fiber production. Voluntary, inventive-based conservation is the most fruitful path to conserving America’s agricultural land through increased adoption of sustainable management practices. Consistent, achievable conservation goals ensure that all farmers and ranchers, regardless of size or segment, have the necessary resources to continue producing the world’s safest beef."



NCBA Helps Lead Coalition to Close $630 Million Shortfall for Inspections of Agricultural Products


The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) today helped lead a coalition of more than 150 agricultural organizations in urging Congressional appropriators to close an estimated $630 million funding shortfall for the Customs and Border Protection’s (CPB’s) Agriculture Quarantine Inspection (AQI) at U.S. ports of entry. The coalition stated its case in a letter to members of the U.S. House and Senate Appropriations Committees.

CPB Agriculture Specialists, Technicians, and Canine Teams inspect ag imports to prevent the entry of foreign plant and animal pests and diseases such as Food and Mouth Disease. The inspections are ordinarily funded by AQI user fees that are collected by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), but those user fees have dropped dramatically as international travel and cargo imports have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. The shortfall in funding for AQI at ports of entry through the end of fiscal year 2021 is estimated to be $630 million.

“We urge Congress to ensure that the essential work of CBP agriculture inspectors continues uninterrupted throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” the coalition’s letter said. “We depend on AQI to ensure that America’s agriculture sector remains safe from foreign animal and plant pests and diseases. It is inconceivable that Congress would risk widespread damage to U.S. agriculture and the overall economy by not funding these inspections.”

“The pandemic has already had a devastating impact on our nation’s citizens and on our economy,” said NCBA Executive Director, Government Affairs, Allison Rivera.  “We need to continue to fund our CBP Ag Inspectors and give them the resources they need so that they may continue to be vigilant at our ports of entry in order to keep out foreign animal diseases and pests. 



 Seeking Applicants for the 2021 ASA Corteva Agriscience Young Leader Program


The American Soybean Association (ASA) and Corteva Agriscience are seeking applicants for the 2021 ASA Corteva Agriscience Young Leader Program.

The Young Leader Program, sponsored by Corteva Agriscience and ASA, is a two-phase educational program for actively farming individuals and couples who are passionate about the future possibilities of agriculture. The women and men who participate in this program will be the leaders that shape the future of agriculture.

“The ASA Corteva Agriscience Young Leader Program is a phenomenal opportunity for any person or couple who is interested. It is so much more than just a few days of leadership training in a classroom. During the training we were able to interact with people involved in multiple aspects of the soybean industry. We got updates on everything from government regulation, to seed and chemical updates, to trade information, and even a look at trends into the future. The insight we received from these industry leaders was truly amazing,” Lucas and Becky Miller, Class of 2020.

Phase I of the 2021 ASA Corteva Agriscience Young Leader Program will take place Dec. 1 – 4, 2020 at Corteva’s Global Business Center in Johnston, Iowa. The program continues March 2 – 6, 2021 in San Antonio, Texas in conjunction with the annual Commodity Classic Convention and Trade Show.

“The Young Leader program has had a tremendous impact on the soybean industry. Many of the leaders at the state and national level got their start in this program, including me,” ASA President Bill Gordon said. “The Young Leader program is special because it focuses on the grower’s potential while helping them creating meaningful and lifelong relationships with growers from across the U.S. and Canada. This is extremely important as we work to ensure growers have the tools, they need to be profitable. The program also includes both partners in the operation which builds both the business and the industry. We are grateful to Corteva Agriscience for continuing to invest in the future of agriculture.”

Soybean grower couples and individuals are encouraged to apply for the program, which focuses on leadership and communication, the latest agricultural information, and the development of a strong peer network. Spouses, even those not employed full-time on farm, are encouraged to attend and will be active participants in all elements of the program.

ASA, its 26 state affiliates, the Grain Farmers of Ontario and Corteva Agriscience, will work together to identify the top producers to represent their state as part of this program.

“America’s farmers provide the strongest voice for, not only agriculture, but also for rural America. We are proud to support the young leader program, which is developing the next generation of grower leaders and advocates for U.S. agriculture,” said Matt Rekeweg, U.S. Industry Affairs Leader, Corteva Agriscience.

Applications are being accepted online now. Interested applicants should click here https://soygrowers.com/education-resources/grower-education/leadership-development-programs/young-leader-program/ for additional program information and to apply.



Cull Cow Market Dynamics

Josh Maples, Extension Economist, Mississippi State University


No segment of the cattle industry has been spared from the uncertainty and turmoil driven by COVID-19. However, the dynamics for the slaughter cow market have been a little different than those for the live cattle coming from feedlots that have garnered the most discussion due to plant disruptions.

Slaughter cow prices have been one of the few bright spots for cattle producers over the past few months. Slaughter cow prices in the Southern Plains averaged $57.84 over the past 6 weeks of available data which is 19.5 percent above the same period in 2019. Generally, cull cow markets are most directly related with ground beef demand.

Cull cow slaughter comes from both beef and dairy cows. In 2019, the split for total federally inspected cow slaughter was about 50/50 between beef and dairy cows. But the seasonal patterns of beef and dairy cow slaughter are a little different. Dairy cow slaughter typically declines from the first of the year to a seasonal low in June/July. Beef cow slaughter varies too with production cycles and declines in the summer but is typically a little more consistent than dairy through the spring and summer months before peaking as the winter months approach.

A look at the processing changes during the worst months of plant labor disruptions shows that beef and dairy cow slaughter faced different reductions. The worst week for beef cow slaughter capacity compared to 2019 was in late April when beef cow slaughter was 19.5 percent below the same week a year ago. Total dairy cow slaughter didn't show the same level of reductions compared to a year ago. Dairy cow slaughter declined from week-to-week for most of the Spring but that occurred alongside the typical seasonal decline.

The number of beef cows processed increased through May and into June. For the first two weeks of June, beef cow slaughter is up 6.7 percent compared to the same two weeks a year ago. Similar to what occurred in calf and feeder cattle sales, at least some of this increase may likely be due to sales delays caused by producers' decisions to wait or by auction slowdowns. The relatively strong prices combined with the low beef cow slaughter in April provides rationale for the increase in beef cow slaughter in June.

For the year, beef cow slaughter is up about 2 percent while dairy cow slaughter is down 2 percent. Together, year-to-date total cow slaughter is about the same as compared to a year ago. Lower calf prices could drive increased beef cow culling later in the year. Dairy slaughter is near the seasonal low point and milk prices have rebounded which may likely prevent significant dairy cow culling. While the supply picture is becoming a little clearer, ground beef demand will continue be key for support of beef cow cull prices.



USDA’s Tips for a Food Safe July 4th


Many Americans will be celebrating the Fourth of July outdoors this year, with celebrations including barbecues, picnics and fireworks. No matter how you’re celebrating the Fourth of July, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) encourages you to make food safety a part of the celebrations.

“Foodborne illness can increase during summer because of the warmer temperatures and time spent outside,” said Dr. Mindy Brashears, the USDA’s Under Secretary for Food Safety. “As we gather with family and friends to celebrate this Fourth of July holiday, I encourage consumers to remember and use food safety steps to reduce their risk of illness.”

Follow these tips from USDA to ensure a food safe Fourth of July:


Don’t Cross-Contaminate

Always keep raw meat and their juices from touching other foods. Avoid using the same utensils that can come into contact with raw meat or poultry while grilling with ready-to-eat foods. Wash and sanitize all surfaces and utensils after they touch raw items. A recent USDA survey showed that 34 percent of respondents do not use a different utensil to take food off the grill. Bring enough tools to keep your raw meat and poultry away from any cooked or ready-to-eat foods and have extra cleaning and sanitizing supplies ready for your surfaces, plates and utensils.

Use a Food Thermometer

Some grill masters may say they know their food is done just by looking at its color when it comes off the grill. That’s not possible and shouldn’t be relied upon. This is where a food thermometer comes in.

“More than 25 percent of burgers can turn brown inside before they are fully cooked,” says FSIS Administrator Paul Kiecker. “Although your grilled foods may look done, foodborne illness causing bacteria are not killed until the safe internal temperature has been reached. Using a food thermometer is the only way to know your food is done and safe to eat.”

The USDA recommended safe minimum internal temperatures are:
    Beef, pork, lamb and veal (steaks, roasts and chops): 145°F with a three-minute rest time
    Fish: 145°F
    Ground meats (beef, pork, lamb and veal): 160°F
    Whole poultry, poultry breasts and ground poultry: 165°F

Keep Foods at a Safe Temperature

Perishable food items should not be left outside for more than two hours, and only one hour if the temperature is at or above 90°F. Keep your food at or below 40°F, in coolers or containers with a cold source, such as ice or frozen gel packs. This includes any leftovers from the grill, cold salads and even cut fruits and vegetables. Leftovers should be refrigerated or placed back in the cooler within 2 hours of being placed outside (1 hour if temperatures are at or above 90°F). If you are not sure how long food has been sitting out, throw it out immediately.

If you have questions about these tips, or any other food safety topics, call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) or chat live at ask.usda.gov from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.



RFA Welcomes Inclusion of Low Carbon Fuel Standard in Select Committee Recommendations


Today, Democrats on the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis unveiled a comprehensive action plan to promote a clean energy economy and combat climate change. The report, which lays out a series of policy recommendations for Congress aimed at significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the decades ahead, highlights renewable fuels like ethanol as one key piece of the strategy. Among the report’s many recommendations are development of a Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), broad deployment of carbon capture and storage (CCS) and incentivizing increased agricultural carbon sequestration.

“RFA continues to analyze the report, but at first blush we are highly encouraged by the Select Committee’s acknowledgement that renewable fuels like ethanol can play an important role in reducing the carbon impacts of our nation’s transportation sector in the future,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “RFA agrees with the Committee that widespread use of liquid fuels and internal combustion engines will continue for decades to come, and we welcome the recommendation to create a nationwide technology- and feedstock-neutral Low Carbon Fuel Standard. The Committee correctly points out that the LCFS policy model already has a proven track record and that renewable fuels have played a crucial role in achieving the objectives of the California LCFS. We also concur with the Committee’s position that high-octane, low-carbon fuels could deliver substantial carbon benefits at a low cost in the years ahead.”

“Finally, we are very pleased to see the Committee recognize the efforts of a broad coalition of stakeholders—including RFA—who recently developed a framework and set of guiding principles for a Midwest LCFS program. RFA served on the steering committee for the Midwest LCFS coalition, and we prioritized the inclusion of approaches that would reward farmers for reducing the carbon intensity of agricultural practices; we were happy to see the Committee recommend including incentives for lower-carbon farming practices in a national LCFS program.”

While the report offers only broad recommendations, Cooper underscored that the yet-to-be-developed details surrounding potential implementation of the recommendations will be crucially important. “The big picture presented in the report is promising, but the devil is always in the details—and those details won’t be hammered out until the committees of jurisdiction begin crafting legislation based on these recommendations,” he said. Cooper cited lifecycle assessment methods, the carbon intensity reduction curve, land use measures, and the interaction of a national LCFS with state programs and the Renewable Fuel Standard as examples of “details that matter.”

Overall, however, RFA views the report as a crucial step forward in the discussion surrounding decarbonization of the nation’s transportation sector. “RFA looks forward to continuing its engagement and interaction with the Select Committee and other committees as the next steps are taken toward addressing carbon emissions and climate change,” Cooper said.



ACE Commends House Climate Committee for Report Acknowledging Ethanol is Part of the Solution to Reduce GHG Emissions


Today, the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on the Climate Crisis released its report providing recommendations for future legislation in Congress to tackle climate change. American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings issued the following statement:

“ACE commends the Select Committee for including a recommendation in its report that Congress should develop a technology-neutral Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) which would reward farmers and biofuel producers for using climate-smart practices. It is gratifying so many in Congress are recognizing that increasing the use of ethanol is part of the solution to further reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Properly crafted low carbon fuel policy built on top of the Renewable Fuel Standard’s success in beginning to break our country’s reliance on petroleum is one of the most meaningful things Congress can do to address climate change.

“The Select Committee’s recommendation for a new LCFS follows the strategic spade work ACE has been doing to leverage ethanol’s low carbon benefits in the market. In 2018 we issued a white paper “The Case for Properly Valuing the Low Carbon Benefits of Corn Ethanol,” illustrating how lifecycle modeling needs to better reflect modern-day farming practices and ethanol production technologies and why increasing ethanol use is part of the solution to further reduce GHG emissions. In 2019 ACE helped lead a diverse set of stakeholders in developing a framework to encourage new low carbon fuel markets in the Midwest. Our January 2020 report, “A Clean Fuels Policy for the Midwest,” describes how properly crafted policy can spur low carbon fuels, reduce costs to consumers, and provide meaningful economic benefits to farmers and biofuel producers.

“The Select Committee’s report not only cites our Midwest Clean Fuel Policy framework as a positive example of progress, it also mirrors our recommendations to reflect the best-available science for lifecycle assessments and reward farmers and biofuel producers using climate-smart practices that reduce carbon emissions, store soil carbon, and reduce nitrous oxide emissions.

“While the Select Committee also recommends what it describes as a ‘zero-emission vehicle’ standard, we believe a new vehicle program needs to be technology-neutral and include production of more Flexible Fuel Vehicles (FFVs) that can take full advantage of carbon-negative ethanol fuels.

“We appreciate the collaborative nature of the Congressional process so far and look forward to constructively engaging in supporting solutions that benefit our climate, drivers, and our rural economy.”



House Climate Action Report Recognizes Biofuels as a Solution to Decarbonizing Transportation Sector


Today, the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on the Climate Crisis issued an action plan to build a clean energy economy in the U.S. Growth Energy appreciates the Committee’s inclusion of biofuels as an important component of a comprehensive plan to decarbonize the transportation sector.

"The evidence is clear that biofuels offer an immediate path toward decarbonization, while replacing toxic fuel additives that poison our air, " said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. "Federal data show that U.S. ethanol cuts carbon emissions by 39 percent or more – and that’s only a floor – with the potential to achieve much more thanks to innovations in agriculture and ethanol production. In fact, biofuels are responsible for nearly 80 percent of all the carbon reductions credited under California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), with the recorded carbon intensity of ethanol declining nearly 33 percent since 2011.

"We appreciate the hard work of lawmakers seeking to accelerate our progress toward a healthy climate and are pleased that this report recognizes that a zero carbon future must include all clean transportation solutions—from ethanol to electric vehicles. We stand ready to explore policies and opportunities which showcase low-carbon, liquid fuels’ role in reducing emissions and pollution, and driving innovation for low-to-zero carbon renewable fuels."



Monday June 29 Ag News
2020-06-30T11:21

NEBRASKA CROP PROGRESS AND CONDITION

For the week ending June 28, 2020, there were 6.0 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 11% very short, 32% short, 55% adequate, and 2% surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 7% very short, 24% short, 67% adequate, and 2% surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn condition rated 1% very poor, 4% poor, 19% fair, 55% good, and 21% excellent. Corn silking was 1%, near 3% for the five-year average.

Soybean condition rated 1% very poor, 4% poor, 20% fair, 58% good, and 17% excellent. Soybeans blooming was 27%, ahead of 12% average. Setting pods was 1%.

Winter wheat condition rated 3% very poor, 12% poor, 29% fair, 52% good, and 4% excellent. Winter wheat harvested was 1%, near 4% average.

Sorghum condition rated 0% very poor, 2% poor, 27% fair, 62% good, and 9% excellent. Sorghum headed was 6%, near 8% last year and 3% average.

Oats condition rated 1% very poor, 7% poor, 35% fair, 49% good, and 8% excellent. Oats headed was 90%, well ahead of 69% last year, and equal to average.

Dry edible bean condition rated 0% very poor, 0% poor, 26% fair, 67% good, and 7% excellent. Dry edible beans emerged was 95%, well ahead of 69% last year. Blooming was 3%.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 4% very poor, 8% poor, 22% fair, 62% good, and 4% excellent.



IOWA CROP PROGRESS & CONDITION REPORT


 Precipitation limited Iowa farmers to 4.5 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending June 28, 2020, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Northeast Iowa saw the highest rainfall and some severe weather. Fieldwork activities included applying fertilizer, spraying, harvesting hay and hauling grain.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 2% very short, 9% short, 81% adequate and 8% surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 1% very short, 7% short, 85% adequate and 7% surplus.

There were scattered reports of corn beginning to silk in the State. Corn condition rated 85% good to excellent.

Soybean emergence reached 98%, over 2 weeks ahead of last year and 5 days ahead of the 5-year average. Soybean blooming reached 16%, almost 2 weeks ahead of last year and 5 days ahead of average. Soybean condition rated 83% good to excellent.

Oats headed progressed to 86%, 6 days ahead of last year. Oat condition rated 82% good to excellent.

Ninety-seven percent of the first cutting of alfalfa hay has been completed. Alfalfa hay second cutting reached 9%, 1 week ahead of last year but 4 days behind the average. Hay condition rated 75% good to excellent.

Pasture condition rated 69% good to excellent. Some cow/calf operations reported pinkeye issues with insect pressure also mentioned.



USDA:  Corn Rated 73% Good to Excellent, Soybeans 71% Good to Excellent


Corn and soybean conditions rose slightly last week and remain among the highest of the past decade, USDA NASS said in its weekly Crop Progress report on Monday.

NASS estimated that 73% of the corn crop was in good-to-excellent condition as of Sunday, June 28, up 1 percentage point from 72% the previous week and well above 56% at the same time a year ago.  NASS estimated that 4% of corn was silking, slightly ahead of 2% last year and slightly behind the five-year average of 7%.

Soybean emergence was estimated at 95% as of Sunday, 15 percentage points ahead of last year's 80% and 4 percentage points ahead of the five-year average of 91%. Soybeans blooming was estimated at 14%, 3 percentage points ahead of the five-year average of 11%.  NASS estimated national soybean crop condition at 71% good to excellent, also up 1 percentage points from 70% the previous week.

Winter wheat harvest moved ahead 12 percentage points last week to reach 41% complete as of Sunday, equal to the five-year average.  Winter wheat condition -- for the portion of the crop still in fields -- was rated 52% good to excellent, unchanged from the previous week.

Spring wheat headed was estimated at 36%, 9 percentage points behind the average of 45%. Spring wheat condition was estimated at 69% good to excellent, down 6 percentage points from 75% the previous week.



Farm Progress Show, Husker Harvest Days Canceled After All


For more than 65 years, farmers have turned to the Farm Progress Show and Husker Harvest Days for the latest information about new products and tools they can use to boost productivity and profit for their operations. However, for the first time in its history, the show won't go on. In the best interest of our visitors, exhibitors, partners and staff, Farm Progress has made the difficult decision to cancel both shows in 2020 due to rapidly changing conditions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Show management had confirmed earlier that the two shows would be operated differently with physical distancing a requirement, along with other health and safety changes to the events.

While state and local officials had expressed support for both shows, Don Tourte, Senior Vice President, Farm Progress said that in a very short time it became apparent that the situation across the US had rapidly changed.

"We have been working with officials in Iowa and Nebraska for our shows, and we appreciate the support they expressed for us to hold the events," Tourte says. "They are critical partners to us, and we are all disappointed to not host the events this year, but feel confident that this is the right decision for our community." Rising concerns

One of the key features of both shows is their attraction to visitors from across the country, and across the globe.

"Within days of our commitment to hold both farm shows, more than half the United States saw a significant spike in new cases of COVID-19. We have a multi-generational audience that travels from all across the country and around the world to attend the shows and based on that we felt it better to reconsider the traditional show for 2020 to prioritize the safety of all. Our community's safety is our priority, always," said Matt Jungmann, Events Manager, Farm Progress.

A virtual experience was already being planned as an extension to the live event. Jungmann explains that while a virtual event won't give growers the true "tire kicking" experience of being at the show, the events team is gearing up to deliver a robust and dynamic digital experience.


LENRD board votes to repair damages caused from flooding at Willow Creek


At their June board meeting, the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) Board of Directors voted to repair the damages at the Willow Creek State Recreation Area (SRA) southwest of Pierce.  The 2019 flood caused an estimated $229,400 worth of damages to the recreation area.  The LENRD owns the property and is in a lease agreement with the Nebraska Game & Parks Commission (NGPC) for the management of the area.  The NGPC is requesting assistance for only a portion of the damages that were not covered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  The LENRD board agreed to pay 50%, up to $24,000, to repair the damaged fishing decks, lake crossing, fishing piers, and hiking/biking trail at the Willow Creek SRA.

In other action, the board approved the Interlocal Agreement with the City of Clarkson for their levee project.  The term of the agreement is 3 years and enables the LENRD to assist the City in obtaining accreditation by FEMA for their flood control levee.  Accreditation will show that the levee provides protection from a 100-year storm.

The board also approved the recommended changes to the Agroforestry Program, the water well decommissioning program, and the Conservation Cost-share Program.  The Agroforestry program will increase to a maximum payment per job/landowner to $20,000 per year for renovations or establishments.  The Conservation Cost-Share program will add variable rate irrigation systems.  The water well decommissioning program will also increase to a maximum payment per well to $1,000 for hand dug wells and $700 for all other wells.

The LENRD staff are working proactively with landowners and farm operators to achieve 100% compliance with the Phase 2 & 3 reporting forms in the Groundwater Management Areas.  The board directed staff to issue notices of violation, as deemed necessary, to the producers who have yet to submit their reports.

The board also directed staff to proceed with a NRCS Watershed Flood Prevention Operations (WFPO) application for the North Fork Elkhorn Watershed.  If approved, the funding would be used to evaluate potential flood prevention, watershed protection, and agricultural water management projects in the area which includes the communities of Plainview, Foster, Osmond, Wausa, McLean, and Pierce.

In other business, the board approved the 2020 Master Plan.  This plan is required by state statute every 10 years and includes updates and responses to the district’s goals and 12 responsibilities.

The board also approved the salary allowance adjustment of 1.483% and the step and grade changes for the staff for Fiscal Year 2021.

The LENRD board & staff meet each month to develop and implement management plans to protect our natural resources for the future.  The next LENRD board meeting will be Thursday, July 23rd at 7:30 p.m.  Watch for further updates and stay connected with the LENRD by subscribing to their monthly emails at www.lenrd.org.



ANDERSON RETIRING AFTER NEARLY 30 YEARS OF HAY AND FORAGE MINUTE


Bruce Anderson has been making hay with the Hay and Forage Minute radio program, which airs on stations across Nebraska, since February 1991. Over nearly 30 years, Anderson, a Nebraska Extension forage specialist, has written and recorded more than 3,000 radio shows on warm-season grasses, forage quality for hay and pasture systems, and forage-livestock systems. 

Anderson, who grew up on a small dairy farm in south-central Minnesota, started his first job out of college at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln on Sept. 7, 1979. He never left.

“I never saw any opportunities that would provide me something that I could accomplish more there than I could here,” Anderson said.

When the Hay and Forage Minute first started, it aired only on KRVN, which soon found a sponsor for the program.

“It became a no-brainer after a while,” Anderson said. “I knew it was something that could really fit and nobody else was doing it.”

In its second year, the program expanded from the KRVN station in Lexington to stations in West Point and Grand Island. Since then, as many as 50 Nebraska radio stations pick up the program weekly.

Anderson is set to retire on June 30, during National Forage Week.

He said his work on the program has been rewarding.  

“I think that it’s easy to discuss challenges that producers have — Nebraskans are good at asking questions,” Anderson said. “They recognize that there’s nothing to be ashamed of about talking about things that aren’t going well or that they want to try. I think I’ve been able to effectively encourage them to do so and be comfortable in the discussions. That has been the rewarding thing about the whole business.”

The foundation and following Anderson has built will continue in a slightly modified program called the Pasture and Forage Minute, a Nebraska Extension production.

Daren Redfearn, Nebraska Extension forage systems specialist, who began his graduate program at Nebraska in the early ’90s when Anderson first kicked off the Hay and Forage Minute, is one of four extension professionals who will succeed Anderson.

“We wanted this to continue with the primary forage flavor, if you will,” Redfearn said. “When we need to step across the discipline lines, we are able to do that, as well. We hope to not leave anybody out, and we hope to draw some new folks in.”

The other voices of the Pasture and Forage Minute will be Ben Beckman, beef systems educator; Megan Taylor, cropping systems specialist; and Brad Schick, beef systems educator. Along with Redfearn, they will produce three Pasture and Forage Minute programs per week.

In Nebraska, the forage, pasture and grassland industry is worth $2 billion annually.

The Pasture and Forage Minute will continue with its well-known radio spots but will expand to include an in-depth podcast to reach agricultural businesses, producers who are livestock-based with some forages, and crop producers who raise forages without livestock.

“The thing that makes Nebraska unique is that we’ve got an awful lot of grassland in the state, in addition to alfalfa and grass hay production,” Redfearn said. “I think that’s going to open up our audience quite a bit just because of the diversity of forage management systems that we have in Nebraska.”

As for Anderson, he will custom graze cow-calf pairs on the farm this summer and garden.



Nebraska Pork Expo Webinar Set for Wednesday, July 8.


Anyone involved or interested in pork production is urged to attend the virtual Nebraska Pork Expo on Wednesday, July 8th.

The program will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. online. This is a free webinar, but registration is required to get the link to join. Register online prior to July 8th at becomeafan.org. Again, registration is required.

Whether large, small, contract, independent or just learning about the industry, attendees will hear sessions including nutrient management, county zoning regulations and permitting processes, financial considerations, and secure pork supply. The day includes panel discussions covering workforce, niche pig production, and integrated pork production. Carrie Horezeck, Innovation and Foresight Consultant, will round out the day with a conversation on Generation Z and how younger generations view pork protein.

This event is sponsored by the Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska (AFAN), the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, and the Nebraska Pork Producers Association.

“The pork industry in Nebraska continues to grow and there are many great options for farmers depending on your operation and goals.  There are opportunities in direct to user sales, working as an independent producer for a niche market as well as several types of integrated models.  Adding a pork component to a farming operation increases cash flow and provides valuable nutrients that can offset commercial fertilizer costs.”  Said Steve Martin, Executive Director of AFAN.

To register visit www.becomeafan.org.            



Summer Fly Control in Feedlots

Steve Niemeyer – NE Extension Educator


Key Takeaways

Flies not only are an annoyance, they can reduce performance and worsen heat stress.
Successful control strategies start with sanitation.
Sprays, biological controls, or feed additives may also help reduce fly pressure in feedlots.
Just as longer days mark the beginning of summer, so does the arrival of increased number of flies in feedlots.
Stable flies and house flies are the most common pests of cattle in feedlots. Of the two species, stable flies cause the greatest economic loss. As few as five stable flies per leg can reduce ADG by 3 to 20% during a summer. Most of that lost performance results from the indirect effects of flies, such as bunching and increased heat stress, along with the energy losses from flighting flies. Flies also act as disease vectors and can lead to poorer relations between feedlots and their neighbors.

Sanitation is Key

Controlling feedlot flies starts with sanitation. Without this key step, any of the other mitigation strategies will likely be disappointments. Stable flies breed in mixtures of spilled feed and manure, especially around feeding aprons, under feed bunks, feed storage areas, and under fences. Any wet or stagnant area where with combinations of organic matter, manure and soil can be a potential trouble spot. Removing feed and manure from these areas promptly deprives the flies of potential breeding areas, which in turns helps prevent explosive increases in fly populations.
Stable flies are most active between 10 A.M. and 4 P.M., after that they seek shaded areas to roost. Eliminating weedy areas around the edges of pens, near feed storage areas, or along the edges of manure containment facilities reduces the number of “safe spaces” for flies which should help keep populations in check.
The life cycle of a stable fly lasts about 2 to 3 weeks, so scraping pens every 14 days reduces the opportunities for the flies to reproduce. Hoof action also disrupts the life cycle, so keeping pens fully stocked will help to reduce fly numbers, if mud issues can be avoided.

What About Chemical Control?

Chemical controls can be a part of a fly control plan in conjunction with sanitation efforts. Stable flies prefer to feed on the front legs of cattle, meaning that getting good spray coverage for this pest is difficult. Spraying the animals directly would only provide short-term relief but could still be useful as a quick “knock-down” to reduce pressure while implementing other practices. Premise sprays may be more effective, especially in areas where the flies rest such as vegetation or on shady sides of structures.

Biological Control Strategies

Biological control using parasitic wasps is another option to consider. Parasitic wasps lay eggs in the pupae of flies. These wasps can reduce the number of adult flies in a feedlot and delay the peak in population if the parasite population is high enough during the fly breeding season. This strategy is not a “quick fix”, but rather a part of a longer-term strategy to reduce fly pressure.
Finding a reputable supplier who can provide the right species and manage the release is a key factor to successfully implement a biological control strategy s for optimal results. Periodic releases throughout the fly season are more effective than one massive release.
Sanitation is still critically important with biological control programs. If the fly breeding areas are too large, the flies will simply overwhelm the ability of the parasitic wasps resulting in little to no effect on cattle performance or overall fly populations. Reducing the number of breeding areas will concentrate the flies and help make the parasite control more effective. It is important to remember not to use chemical control in all the breeding areas when using parasitic wasps. The parasite requires live pupae to reproduce.

How About Feed Additives?

Several feed additives have been developed for use with pasture cattle, particularly for face and horn flies. If a feeder is considering using either an insect growth regulator (IGR) or larvicide product, make certain that they are labeled as being effective against stable flies and house flies.
Adding garlic to mineral mixtures at a rate of 2% has been promoted as a potential fly repellent. The amount of research data on this strategy is limited. One published study from Canada reported reduced fly numbers in grazing cattle when garlic was added to the mineral. While this is only one study and it was not conducted in a feedlot setting, this could still be worth considering as a component of a multi-faceted control strategy, particularly if the costs were reasonable.



Nebraska Farm Bureau Urges President to Use “Full Powers” to Enforce Phase One China Deal


As Nebraska farmers and ranchers continue to suffer the negative economic and market effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Nebraska Farm Bureau is urging President Trump to use the “full powers” of his office to enforce the Phase One China trade deal. Provisions of the agreement obligate China to make $36.5 billion in U.S. agriculture purchases in 2020.

“While some agricultural purchases have been made, China is woefully behind in terms of meeting the agriculture targets outlined in the in the Phase One deal,” said Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president. “In order to reach the $36.5 billion in imports China agreed to, purchases must drastically increase, and that must start today.”

In a letter to President Trump, Nelson pointed out that as of the end of April, China had imported approximately $4.6 billion worth of agricultural goods. The amount falls far short of the pace set back in 2017 of $7.1 billion; the last year of normal trade relations between the two countries.

China has been a vital market for Nebraska farmers and rancher, serving as a consistent top three market for Nebraska agriculture products year in and year out. Prior to 2018, Nebraska agriculture exports to China ranged from $936 million to more than $1 billion, equating to 15 percent of Nebraska’s total agriculture exports. The value of exports to China during that time equated to roughly $19,300 per farm in Nebraska.

“For more than two years, Nebraska’s farm and ranch families have felt the economic consequences of the trade war with China…a war they both understand and largely support. However, that support is based on the promise of more export markets and a better deal for farmers and ranchers when the dust settles. Now is the time to ensure China fully complies and meets their agricultural import targets as part of this historic agreement,” said Nelson.



Governors to EPA: Drop the Gap-Year Waivers


Members of the Governors’ Biofuels Coalition today urged U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler to drop the 52 retroactive “gap-year” RFS waivers requested recently by oil refiners. The Renewable Fuels Association thanked them for their effort.

"These governors have witnessed first-hand the significant effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the U.S. ethanol industry and know that now is not the time for EPA to give in to oil-industry demands and harm the rural American economy further,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “The governors know the value of our members’ work in creating jobs and economic opportunity throughout the American heartland, and we thank them for their passion for this cause.”

The idea of retroactive refinery exemptions follows a recent decision by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals that rejected a set of waivers granted by EPA that were not simple extensions of prior waivers. The lawsuit was brought against EPA by RFA, the National Corn Growers Association, National Farmers Union and the American Coalition for Ethanol.

Seeking to get around this court decision, several refineries have now applied for retroactive waivers for years in which they did not originally ask for, or receive, a waiver. On June 18, EPA disclosed that 52 new petitions had been received, covering the compliance years 2011 through 2018. In late May, RFA was the first to urge Wheeler to deny any gap-year waivers that came forward. Last week, a bipartisan group of 16 U.S. senators called on Wheeler to reject the waivers. Now, RFA noted, it’s good to see the governors agree on the urgency of the matter.

Representing the governors' coalition on this effort are Govs. Kristi Noem of South Dakota, Tim Walz of Minnesota, Kim Reynolds of Iowa and Pete Ricketts of Nebraska.

“Even before the coronavirus pandemic,” the governors wrote, “the misuse of small refinery waivers under the RFS caused a significant number of plants to partially or fully shut down. The resulting job losses, decreases in commodity purchases and prices, and shortages of co-products affect rural America every day. Your approval of these SRE ‘gap filings’ would only worsen unprecedented economic challenges facing the renewable fuels industry and rural communities.”



Growth Energy Cheers Governors’ Biofuels Coalition Opposition to Gap Year Exemptions


Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor today thanked the Governors’ Biofuels Coalition, which issued a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) opposing retroactive small refinery exemptions (SREs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The governors noted, “Approving prior-year SREs in this manner ignores the court’s decision and congressional intent and will severely impact farmers and rural communities that support the biofuels industry.” The letter was signed by coalition co-chairs South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem and Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, as well as Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts. It echoes last week’s call by Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), who warned the agency that, “Our producers need certainty; until we get that, no EPA nominee is getting my vote.”

“We’re grateful to Governors Noem, Walz, Reynolds, and Ricketts for standing up against this latest scheme to steal markets from struggling farmers and biofuel workers,” said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy. “From state capitols to the U.S. senate, rural champions are putting their foot down because there is no excuse for allowing these regulatory games to hold back the rural recovery. The last thing farm states need right now is another legal battle driving uncertainty in the market and undermining efforts to rebuild the agricultural supply chain.”



Ernst to Join Iowa Farmers Union Members for Q&A Forum


Iowa Famers Union is working to elevate the collective voice of farmers in their membership by hosting a question and answer forum with Senator Joni Ernst. This event aims to provide IFU members with the opportunity to ask Ernst crucial questions on the current state of the agriculture industry.

Iowa Farmers Union members and others are invited to attend the virtual discussion with Ernst on June 30 starting at 2:30 p.m. CT.

"Farmers are facing extremely difficult challenges," said IFU President Aaron Lehman. "We are excited to give our members the opportunity to ask Senator Ernst about the tough issues faced by family-scale farmers and rural Iowans."

IFU encourages all members to show up for this important discussion.

To learn more or to register for the discussion with Senator Ernst, visit https://bit.ly/2NDL9ud



Naig Announces “Pack the Pantry” Program to Support Food Pantries, Boost Availability of Iowa Ag Products


Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig today announced the “Pack the Pantry” grant program to help Iowa food pantries meet increasing food demands due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Through “Pack the Pantry,” food pantries can apply for grants to increase their refrigeration capacity, which allows them to offer more perishable, locally-grown foods.

The program is made possible by CARES Act funding and is an initiative of Gov. Reynolds’ Feeding Iowans Task Force led by Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg. Iowa Egg Council is also contributing resources to support the effort.

Through “Pack the Pantry,” the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship will award local food pantries up to $10,000 to install refrigeration and cooler units. To apply, pantry directors should fill out the application found here. The application will be open until July 17, 2020, at 11:59 p.m.

“In Iowa, we have seen our producers, business owners, and families step up to help those in need,” said Gov. Reynolds. “Today’s announcement is a great next step to address food insecurity. The ‘Pack the Pantry’ grant program will provide our food pantries with the tools they need to help even more Iowans have access to nutritious food.”

“Food pantries are the first, local line of defense against hunger in communities across Iowa. More refrigeration at food pantries means more Iowa eggs, dairy, produce and meat can get on plates where it’s needed most. I’m grateful that our farmers can be part of that solution,” said Secretary Naig.

“Refrigeration capacity is a barrier which limits the ability of food pantries to provide their clients with fresh protein and dairy products, and this issue is especially acute in rural Iowa,” said Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg, Chair of the Feeding Iowans Task Force. “With demand for food assistance at record highs, these dollars will go a long way in expanding food pantry capacity.”

“This program will help ensure the health of our communities by addressing food insecurity and increasing access to fresh, locally grown food for residents,” said Tom Mahoney, Chairman of  the Board of ITA Group Holdings and Board Chair of the Greater Des Moines Partnership. “Pack the Pantry is an example of what we can accomplish when Iowans work together to help those in need.”

A summary of food resources available to those in need is available at coronavirus.iowa.gov.



FFAR Grant to Accelerate Crop Development


To meet the growing global food demand, plant breeding technology must increase crop yields in less time. The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) awarded a $748,548 Seeding Solutions grant to Iowa State University of Science and Technology to accelerate crop development. Iowa State University, KWS SAAT SE & Co, Beck’s Superior Hybrids, BASF, SAATEN-UNION BIOTEC and RAGT are providing matching funds for a total $1,497,097 investment.

The global demand for food, feed and fiber is projected to double by 2050. Currently, it takes ten years, on average, for plant breeders to develop a new crop. Farmers need enhanced varieties sooner to meet future food production demands.

Iowa State University researchers are developing breeding methods that apply to multiple crop species, to accelerate the plant breeding process. These breeding techniques will deliver improved crop varieties – with greater yields – into the hands of farmers sooner. Researchers are developing and validating a rapid cycling cell culture-based selection system, using corn as the model. In lay terms, researchers are accelerating breeding in the lab, rather than in the fields. Field trials only produce one generation of crops a year, whereas this research method can produce multiple generations in a year, which is a more efficient way to create new crop varieties.

Principal investigator Thomas Lubberstedt is the founder of the Doubled Haploid Facility at Iowa State University, providing service to public and private maize breeders for accelerated inbred line development since 2010. “The novel FFAR project takes this technology to the next level, including isolation of genes controlling spontaneous haploid genome doubling,” said Lubberstedt.

“Developing cutting edge plant breeding technology ensures that farmers are able to provide more nutritious crops more efficiently,” said FFAR’s Executive Director Dr. Sally Rockey. “Translating this research from the lab onto farms is key to meeting food production challenges and staying competitive in this next frontier of agricultural innovation.”

FFAR’s Seeding Solutions Grant Program is an open call for bold ideas that address a pressing food and agriculture issues in one of the Foundation’s Challenge Areas. Iowa State University’s research supports FFAR’s  Next Generation Crops Area. FFAR’s work in this area supports the advancement of novel, nutritious, profitable and resilient farm crops.



Beef Checkoff Celebrates Americans’ Love of Grilling with “United We Steak” Campaign


Funded by beef farmers and ranchers, Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner., is launching “United We Steak,” a new summer grilling campaign showcasing 50 steaks and all 50 states. “United We Steak” celebrates not only a shared tradition of grilling delicious steaks, but also what makes each state unique when it comes to this beloved pastime. The idea comes to life at UnitedWeSteak.com with an interactive map of the United States made from 50 hand-cut state-shaped steaks. The interactive map is packed full of grilling spirit and state-specific recipes and fun facts that can help consumers nationwide “beef up” grilling season this summer. 

Underpinning the campaign is a recognition that across all 50 states and a million tastes, there is a universal love of beef sizzling on a summer grill. According to research conducted by Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner., which is managed by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, nearly one-third of consumers say that they plan to grill more this summer than they have in the past.

“The great taste of beef has brought families together for generations and is a must-have for the summer grilling season,” said Buck Wehrbein, Federation Division chair at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff. “‘United We Steak’ celebrates not only a universal love of steak and grilling, whether for a special occasion or an everyday meal, but also the beef farmers and ranchers who work hard every day to raise high-quality beef.”

As part of the campaign, the state and U.S.-shaped steaks will be featured in national advertisements, including still images and videos that will be shared on digital and social media platforms. The advertisements will also be shared on video platforms including YouTube and Connected TV in an effort to inspire Americans to grill up their favorite beef meal no matter where they live. Each state is getting in on the fun too with localized advertisements that will reach proud grill masters in their local markets.

The campaign follows the kickoff of summer grilling season, which Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. marked with a new video released Memorial Day Weekend showcasing the dedication of farmers and ranchers to raising safe, sustainable and nutritious beef. It concludes with the simple declaration: “Summer Grilling Season Brought To You By Beef Farmers and Ranchers.”

More beef grilling inspiration and information can be found at UnitedWeSteak.com. and BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com.



Announcing Farm Foundation's Young Agri-Food Leaders and Young Farmer Accelerators


Farm Foundation is pleased to announce its new Young Agri-Food Leaders and Young Farmer Accelerator Network cohorts for 2020-2021. Each of these new programs were established to engage and connect outstanding young leaders in agriculture from across the country and arise from Farm Foundation's vision to build a future for farmers, our communities and our world.

The Young Agri-Food Leaders Network is comprised of 10 highly accomplished young leaders in the agri-food and agri-business sector selected to participate in a year-long series of interactive learning and networking experiences, focused on gaining a deeper understanding of the food and agriculture value chain. This program aims to help young professionals build a strong, enduring network of peers in business, farming and government through sponsored attendance at events, virtual conversations, and participation in exclusive learning and networking opportunities.

We welcome:
Andrew Uden, Lincoln, Nebraska: Co-Founder and President, AgVision International

Emily Hennessee, Washington, DC: Policy Coordinator, The Good Food Institute
Emily Zakowski, Sacramento, California: Environmental Scientist, California Department of Food and Agriculture
Erin FitzPatrick, St. Louis, Missouri: Vice President, Rabo Agrifinance
Fabiola Perez, Moline, Illinois: High Value Crop Specialist, John Deere
Michael Zorger, Washington, DC: Senior Associate, The Cohen Group
Nicole Ledoux, Boston, Massachusetts: Co-Founder and CEO, 88 Acres
Stephanie Westhelle, Washington, DC: Development Manager, Sustainability & Partnerships, Fairtrade America
Sylvester Miller, II, Memphis, Tennessee: Sr. Supply Chain Program Manager, Indigo Ag
Tristan Hudak, Sacramento, California: Vice President, Ag BioTech Inc. and Director of New Business Development, Ag Ploutos, Co. Ltd.

We are also pleased to announce that 15 young farmers, from a diversity of operations, have been selected for Farm Foundation's Young Farmer Accelerator program. This program, aimed at helping young farmers grow their knowledge, experience and network, will help to accelerate their careers and contacts through interactive learning and networking experiences, focused on gaining a deeper understanding of a wide variety of agriculture, agribusiness and government issues.

We welcome:
Aaron Clark, Warren County, Indiana: Caretaker, Cloverleaf Farm
Alexis Mena, Brooklyn, New York: Co-Founder, Lead Farmer, Universe City
Brad Stinson, San Jose, California: West Coast QA/QC Field Supervisor, Duda Farm Fresh Foods, Inc.
Erin Galloway, Campbell County, Wyoming: Owner of Our Wyoming Life and Co-Director and Co-Founder of Edible Prairie Project
Erin Hargrove, Henry County, Kentucky: Co-Manager and Farmer, Boxcar Acres
Georgina Sarpong, Providence, Rhode Island: Co-Owner and Farmer, Abundance Farm
Gracie Danner, Muscatine County, Iowa- Co-Owner/Manager, Danner Family Grain
Jess Daily, Fulton County, Indiana: Operations Manager, Mainstay Farming Partnership
Larna Schnitker, Montgomery County, Missouri: Farmer, Schnitker Farms
Luke Gosse, Black Hawk County, Iowa: Chief Operating Officer, Blue Diamond Farming Company
Michael Hill, Lake County, Florida: CEO/Owner, H&A Farms
Stan Usery, Jr., Limestone County, Alabama: Owner, Usery Consulting, Inc.
Tiffany Bailey, Sarasota and Manatee Counties, Florida: President and Owner, Bayside Sod Inc. and Honeyside Farms

In living out our vision to build a future for farmers, our communities and our world, Farm Foundation offers a suite of multi-stakeholder and intergenerational programs to accelerate the next generation of agricultural leaders. Farm Foundation's most established program is our Round Table, an invitation only group of established leaders across the food and agriculture sector. The Young Farmer Accelerator Network and Young-Agri Food Leaders complement our Round Table program and expand our suite of next generation programs, including our Cultivator, Agricultural Scholars and Congressional Fellows programs. Farm Foundation is excited to provide a space for leaders in food and agriculture to connect and accelerate practical solutions for agriculture. To learn more, visit www.farmfoundation.org.



FMC Corporation Collaborates with Cyclica to Improve Research Efficiency Using Artificial Intelligence


FMC Corporation (NYSE: FMC) has entered into a collaboration with Cyclica Inc, a leading biotechnology company specializing in artificial intelligence (AI) and computational biophysics, to accelerate and improve the efficiency of discovering new crop protection chemistry.  This is among the first of several new technology collaborations and approaches that FMC is pursuing to expand its research of novel active ingredients that protect crops from diseases and destructive pests.

"Today we have an award-winning pipeline of more than 25 promising new molecules," said Dr. Kathleen Shelton, vice president and chief technology officer of FMC. "Discovering a new molecule with the right efficacy, mode of action and sustainability profile is a complex, multi-year process requiring hundreds of researchers testing tens of thousands of compounds annually.  Augmenting our traditional research and screening processes with the power of artificial intelligence will help us identify and assess more molecules faster and with greater precision."

FMC will use Ligand Design™ and Ligand Express™, Cyclica's proprietary AI platforms, to optimize the discovery of novel compounds at a pace that far exceeds typical chemistry discovery research programs. Powered by MatchMaker™, a deep learning proteome screening technology, and POEM™, a machine learning technology for predicting molecular properties, Ligand Design™ and Ligand Express™ will assess millions of chemical structures, providing FMC researchers with a greater volume of high-quality molecule predictions that are specific to the pesticidal target of interest.  A similar AI-augmented approach to discovery research has been used successfully for years in industries that require extensive data analysis, significant investments and lengthy development timelines, such as pharmaceuticals and healthcare.

"We are excited to partner with FMC scientists in their quest to innovate novel molecules that control pests and diseases in agriculture," says Naheed Kurji, cofounder, president and CEO of Cyclica. "Ligand Design™ and Ligand Express™ have been instrumental in the design and screening of new medicines, and we look forward to applying those learnings in support of FMC's global discovery research programs."

FMC's R&D team of more than 800 scientists and associates are guiding one of the most robust discovery and development pipelines in the agricultural industry at 22 innovation centers and field stations around the world. The company's global R&D is headquartered at the FMC Stine Research Center in Newark, Delaware, and its biologicals research is conducted at the FMC European Innovation Center in Hørsholm, Denmark.

Terms of the collaboration with Cyclica are not disclosed.



Syngenta puts emerging technology into the hands of growers


Growers who work with Phytech and Sound Agriculture — two companies in the Syngenta Ventures portfolio — are increasing potential yields while preserving valuable natural resources. Most notably, technologies coming from these companies are helping growers make yield advances possible on marginal land.

Phytech enables better, smarter irrigation
Phytech, an Israel-based company, offers a high-tech solution for irrigation planning. It uses a dendrometer to measure the contraction and expansion of the plant’s trunk, and an app that collects that data and layers it with information about the climate to provide growers with color-coded irrigation recommendations.

Mark Sherfy, the water resource manager for D & J Farm Management in Bakersfield, California, credits the technology with increasing yields and revolutionizing the way his farm irrigates.

“Back in the day, everyone would do furrow irrigation — flooding a crop row about once a week,” he said. “The problem is you waste water because you get standing water that the trees can’t use, and the water evaporates.”

Instead of furrow irrigation, Phytech recommended daily watering — “and it told us exactly how much our plants needed,” said Sherfy. This year, he’s planning a trial run with the business’s table grapes — “not to just save water, but to fully utilize 100% of the water I put out,” he said.

Sound Agriculture unlocks yield potential
Sound Agriculture also is working to help maximize profitability in yield-limited environments. With its new Source™ product, launched last December for use during the 2020 growing season, Sound Agriculture is helping growers increase yields by tapping into the nutrients already present in their soil.

Steve Pitstick, who grows corn and soybeans near Maple Park, Illinois, can speak to the product’s impact. In 2019, he used Source, an easy-to-use foliar spray, for the first time. The results were immediate and striking: an average 17.1-bushel-per-acre increase in yield — across multiple soil types. The spike has encouraged him to make Source a key part of his plans moving forward.

“Based on the results of that small-scale testing, I’m planning to purchase Source for use next year and increase my Source testing in different fields,” he said.

Eric Davidson, Ph.D., CEO of Sound Agriculture, is confident that Source can have a dramatic impact on yield potential. “Source mimics plant-to-microbe signals, unlocking the nitrogen and phosphorus that already exist in the field,” he said. “On average, we see around a 9-bushel-per-acre yield increase for corn, with some soil types seeing 20- to 30-bushel increases over untreated areas.”

Syngenta Ventures’ investments in both companies are representative of the team’s mission to support solutions that help growers farm sustainably. That mission ties into the Syngenta Good Growth Plan — a plan that lays out the commitments the company is making to secure the future of agriculture and our planet’s ecosystems. For more information about Syngenta Ventures, one of the world’s first venture capital teams dedicated to agriculture, visit https://www.syngentaventures.com. Join the conversation online – connect with Syngenta at Syngenta-us.com/social.



Groups Petition U.S. Department of Agriculture to Ban Mass Burial, On-Site Incineration of Factory-Farmed Animals During Pandemic

Press Release

Conservation, environmental-justice and public-health groups filed a legal petition today calling for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to ban dangerous on-site incineration and unlined burial of millions of industrially raised farm animals killed during the COVID-19 emergency.

The legal action seeks to compel the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to protect communities and the environment from dangerous pollution resulting from under-regulated and poorly monitored animal disposal during the pandemic. The petition was prompted by the meat industry’s rush to kill millions of animals that cannot be processed into food following slaughterhouse closures and slowdowns due to the spread of coronavirus.

The petition was filed by Earthjustice, NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) and the Center for Biological Diversity on behalf of 14 organizations. Petitioners also urge the USDA to create a publicly accessible, online database that tracks federal assistance for mass carcass disposal and provides people living near carcass-disposal locations with the information they need to protect themselves from pollution.

“It’s horrific that when slaughterhouses temporarily cut production, industrial farming operations simply kill and discard millions of pigs and chickens,” said Hannah Connor, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “There are real risks to people here, as well as the environment, from the disposal of these animals. Burying or burning animals on this scale pollutes our air and threatens rural water supplies.”

The USDA has acknowledged that burial in unlined pits and on-site incineration pose significant threats to air and water quality and to the safety of surrounding communities. Mass burial can contaminate the surrounding environment with pollutants, including nitrates, ammonia and chloride, as well as disease-causing agents and pharmaceuticals fed to the animals just before death. Burning animal carcasses releases air pollution and potentially contaminated ash.

“The way industrial operations are discarding millions of dead animals in the midst of this health crisis shocks the conscience,” said Valerie Baron, a senior attorney at NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). “These disposal methods are among the most dangerous for human health and severely threaten drinking water safety — yet there’s zero transparency when it comes to where these mass burials or incinerations happen. With hurricane, flood and fire seasons exacerbating the dangers of these unfettered operations, it’s even more urgent for the USDA to step up and take action to protect people, instead of Big Ag.”

Since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared a public-health emergency in March 2020, slaughterhouses have faced chronic labor shortages and other supply-chain disruptions, leading to reduced slaughter capacity. The meat industry has responded to this reduced capacity by killing millions of industrially raised farm animals that are ready for slaughter but cannot be economically processed into food.

An estimated 10 million hens have already been killed, and more than 10 million pigs could be killed by September. Similar mass “depopulation” approaches are being utilized in other animal-production sectors.

“The USDA is already assisting with the disposal of animal carcasses during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Alexis Andiman, an attorney with Earthjustice. “We’re sympathetic to livestock producers, but the big corporations that control this industry can afford to do better. It’s up to the USDA to make sure that taxpayer dollars protect communities and the environment instead of putting vulnerable people at greater risk.”

Banning on-site incineration is especially vital given growing evidence that particulate air pollution worsens COVID-19 outbreaks and contributes to increased COVID-19 deaths. On-site incineration of pig carcasses generates approximately three pounds of particulate air pollution per animal, compounding the potential health risks faced especially by communities of color, which are disproportionately harmed by both air pollution and COVID-19.

Other groups joining the petition include: Animal Legal Defense Fund, Association of Irritated Residents, Cape Fear River Water, Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation, Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment, Coastal Carolina Riverwatch, Environmental Working Group, Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, MountainTrue, Sound Rivers and Waterkeeper Alliance.

A separate petition, filed earlier this month, requests that the Food and Drug Administration suspend uses of the dangerous pharmaceutical ractopamine in farm animals during the pandemic.



Weekend Ag News Roundup - June 28
2020-06-29T04:00

NDA CONFIRMS VESICULAR STOMATITIS CASE IN HORSE

The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) has confirmed a case of Vesicular Stomatitis (VS) in a horse in Buffalo County. The horses on the infected premises have been quarantined. At present time, one additional horse on the premises is also exhibiting VS symptoms. All animals on the infected premises will be quarantined for at least 14 days after the onset of lesions in the last affected animal.

VS is a viral disease which primarily affects horses and cattle, but can also affect sheep, goats and swine. The disease is characterized by fever and the formation of blister-like lesions in the mouth and on the dental pad, tongue, lips, nostrils, hooves and teats. When the blisters break, there is usually salivation and nasal discharge. As a result of these painful lesions, infected animals may refuse to eat and drink, which can lead to weight loss. There are currently no USDA-approved vaccines for VS.

“Vesicular Stomatitis is primarily transmitted through the bite of infected black flies, sand flies and midges,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Dennis Hughes. “There are things livestock owners can do to reduce flies and other insects where animals are housed, but, until freezing temperatures move in and kill the insects that spread the virus, VS will continue to be a threat in Nebraska.”

Hughes went on to say, “Since VS can also spread by contact between animals and by shared equipment, like tools or tack, we want livestock owners to be aware and practice good biosecurity measures with their animals, particularly with animals that may comingle with others.”

To help prevent the spread of the disease, Nebraska has import restrictions for livestock coming into the state from states that have confirmed VS cases. If you are considering moving an animal into Nebraska from an affected state, please call 402-471-2351 to learn more about the importation order.

VS also affects exports. Individuals from Nebraska transporting animals and animal products to other states and countries should contact the destination state/country to learn about their import requirements before transporting animals.

“The virus itself usually runs its course in five to seven days, and it can take up to an additional seven days for an infected animal to recover from the symptoms,” said Hughes.

Although humans can become infected when handling the affected animals, it rarely occurs. To avoid human exposure, people should use personal protective measures when handling affected animals.

VS is a notifiable disease. Individuals or practitioners who suspect or have concerns about VS should contact NDA at 402-471-2351.  For more information on VS, visit: http://www.nda.nebraska.gov/animal/diseases/vs/index.html.



Japanese Beetles Emerging; Scout Corn and Soybean Fields

Robert Wright - NE Extension Entomologist

Japanese beetle adults are beginning to emerge in eastern Nebraska. Their distribution has been increasing in Nebraska the last few years and they are being seen in corn and soybeans more frequently, in addition to feeding on landscape trees and shrubs. They will continue to emerge for the next few weeks. First identified in counties along the state's eastern border several years ago, the beetles were found as far west as Scottsbluff County in 2019.

Japanese beetles have one generation per year. They often feed in clusters due to an attraction to the female sex pheromone and an attraction to volatile chemicals produced by damaged plants.

Japanese beetles (Popillia japonica Newman) can contribute to defoliation in soybeans, along with a complex of other insects, such as bean leaf beetles, grasshoppers, and several caterpillar species. They feed by skeletonizing the leaves, leaving only the leaf veins. They feed primarily in the upper canopy, making the damage very visible. In soybeans insecticide treatment is recommended when insects are present and damage is expected to exceed 30% defoliation in vegetative stage and 20% in reproductive stage soybeans. For more information see Managing Soybean Defoliators, NebGuide G2259.

Similar to corn rootworm beetles, Japanese beetles will scrape off the green surface tissue on corn leaves before silks emerge, but prefer silks once they are available. Japanese beetles feed on corn silks, and may interfere with pollination if abundant enough to severely clip silks before pollination. University of Illinois Extension recommends: "An insecticidal treatment should be considered during the silking period if:
-    there are three or more Japanese beetles per ear,
-    silks have been clipped to less than ½ inch, AND
-    pollination is less than 50% complete."

Be aware that Japanese beetle numbers are often highest on field margins, so scout across the whole field before making a treatment decision. Japanese beetle adults are about ½ inch long and have a metallic green head and thorax. A key characteristic is a series of white tufts of hair on each side of the abdomen.

A variety of insecticides labelled on corn and soybeans would be expected to provide control of Japanese beetles. See product labels or the "Insecticides for Field Crops" section from Nebraska Extension EC130 for rates and restrictions.

In some cases people have mistaken the Japanese beetle for its look-alike, the false Japanese beetle, or sand chafer, Strigoderma arboricola, which is a native Nebraska insect found across most of the state. Sand chafers are commonly found along the Platte River valley and other river valleys in Nebraska. False Japanese beetle adults are about the same size as Japanese beetles, but do not have a metallic green head. They may vary in color from coppery brown to black. They may have some white hairs on the side of the abdomen but they are not organized into tufts of hair.

Sand chafers are often noticed because they have a habit of landing on people and seem to be attracted to people wearing light-colored clothing. They have not been reported to cause economic damage to crops as adults, although the immature white grub has been reported to cause damage to potato tubers.



Grasshoppers Return ― It’s Time to Scout Field Borders

Justin McMechan - NE Extension Crop Protection and Cropping Systems Specialist


Populations of immature grasshoppers are being reported in areas bordering crop fields in several parts of Nebraska. If these grasshopper species are one of the four major species that are likely to infest cropland, control may be warranted if high numbers are present. These insects will likely continue to be a present for the rest of the summer.

If they are abundant, it's best to try to control grasshoppers while they are concentrated in the border areas before they spread into the crops and before they become adults and become harder to control.

Only four of the more than 100 species of grasshoppers found in Nebraska normally damage field crops. These species are the
-    twostriped,
-    redlegged,
-    differential, and
-    migratory grasshoppers.

(For a detailed guide on identifying these four species see Grasshopper Identification Guide for Cropland Grasshoppers Summer Feeding Species, EC1569.) These species feed on a wide range of plants and are most often found in mixed habitats that include broadleaf weeds.

Because grasshoppers move into cropland generally from untilled areas surrounding crop fields, scout and, if necessary, treat these adjacent untilled areas first. Sometimes grasshoppers may hatch out from eggs laid in no-till crop fields as well. If grasshoppers have already invaded the field, also sample field areas to determine if control is warranted. The grasshoppers are most likely to move from these areas to adjoining crops when their food supply in these borders dries up or the borders are mowed.

Scouting

Estimating grasshopper densities is difficult and can only be done accurately with some practice. The best method for estimating grasshoppers in field borders or hatching areas is the square-foot method.

Randomly select an area several feet away and visualize a one square-foot area around that spot. Walk toward this spot while watching this square foot area and count the number of grasshoppers you see in or jumping out of this area. Repeat this procedure 18 times and divide the total number of grasshoppers by two. This will give you the number of grasshoppers per square yard (9 square feet). Counting sites should be chosen at random and include varied vegetation.

To sample for grasshopper densities within fields — where grasshopper density will be lower — use the same method except visualize and count the hoppers in a square yard area. Because of the difficulty of seeing hoppers in this larger area, counts will be somewhat less accurate. Take 18 samples. Average these estimates to get the number of grasshoppers per square yard. When the number of grasshoppers per square yard has been estimated, use Table 1 to determine the potential need for treatment.

Control Measures

Grasshoppers are easiest to control before they become adults and have fully developed wings. Numerous insecticides are labeled and effective for grasshopper control on various crops. (See the Insecticide Table for the respective crop, from Nebraska Extension EC130.) After grasshoppers become adults control success will be much more variable. If a range of rates is listed for a given insecticide, generally it's best to use the higher rates once adults are present. Always follow the recommended label rates, application directions, and restrictions.

Because grasshoppers do not like to enter dense plant canopies, most damage will be limited to field edges. Border treatments often are used to protect cropland from grasshoppers. A border spray should be effective for at least 7-14 days, depending on re-infestation pressure. Also, the residual activity of the treatments will vary with chemical and environmental conditions. It is important to monitor the border areas and crop margins after treatment to make sure grasshoppers do not reenter the field. Be sure to read and follow harvest and grazing restrictions when spraying borders adjoining cropland.

When treating borders, it is often necessary to treat the edge of the crop to reduce hopper numbers that have already moved into the field margin. One of the biggest problems with these treatments is that only a few insecticides are labeled for both crops and the surrounding areas (rangeland/pasture or non-crop areas).

Insecticides

Malathion and carbaryl are labeled on most crops along with range/pasture and non-crop areas, but these products are less effective on mature grasshoppers. Acephate (e.g., Orthene) is labeled for non-crop use, but the only common Nebraska crops it is labeled for are soybean and dry beans. Dimilin is labeled for range/pasture and non-crop use, but it's only additional label is on soybeans, and it is only active against immature grasshoppers. One advantage of Dimilin as a border spray would be the lowered impact on natural enemies, especially those effective on spider mites.

Perhaps the best products for this type of treatment are esfenvalerate (e.g., Asana) and lambda-cyhalothrin (e.g., Warrior II), because they are labeled for non-crop use and for use on several crops (corn, soybeans, sugar beets, dry beans, sunflowers, potatoes). Mustang MAX is labeled for grass forage/fodder/hay crops and also can be used on field corn, seed corn, popcorn, alfalfa, sunflower, sorghum, soybeans and wheat. Numerous other products are specifically labeled for grasshopper control on various crops (EC 130).



Field to Market 2020 Farmer Spotlight Honoree, Andy Jobman

   
The Nebraska Corn Growers Association is proud to announce that Nebraska farmer Andy Jobman of Gothenberg has been recognized as one of Field to Market’s 2020 Farmer Spotlight Honorees! NeCGA works to support farmers such as Andy to improve environmental outcomes and advance sustainable solutions across the value chain. Field to Market recognized Andy Jobman on June 24 during its annual Plenary and General Assembly Meeting, recognizing his outstanding leadership in implementing innovative approaches to environmental stewardship on his farm.

NeCGA is dedicated to engaging with farmers to advance continuous improvements in sustainable outcomes across the food and agriculture value chain. Congratulations to Andy for his accomplishments in delivering sustainable outcomes for U.S. commodity agriculture.



UNL to co-host 2020 Silage for Beef Webinar Series


The University of Nebraska-Lincoln will join the Iowa Beef Center, and Lallemand Animal Nutrition to host the 2020 Silage for Beef Webinar Series.  Times are 12:30 to 1:30 p.m., Central time. Dates are July 7, July 14, July 28 and August 4.

Topics and speakers are as follows:
    July 7, Silage Production and the impacts of dry weather and limited water,
    Jourdan Bell, PhD, Asst. Professor & Agronomist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and Research

    July 14, Making silage under adverse conditions,
    Renato Schmidt, PhD, Technical Services – Forage, Lallemand Animal Nutrition

    July 28, Tips & tricks for silage pile construction,
    Becky Arnold, Territory Business Manager, Lallemand Animal Nutrition

    August 4, Silage feeding and management for beef cattle in the current environment,
    Galen Erickson, PhD, Professor, University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Webinars will be recorded and will be available online.  Those who wish to register for the webinar may do so online at https://bit.ly/2Nqpw0A.  



Save The Date: Farm Bureau Member Appreciation Nights


Reconnect with neighbors and friends at one of Nebraska Farm Bureau’s upcoming “Member Appreciation” nights this August. Full details coming soon! Be sure to get the dates in your calendar...
Aug. 4 – Upland, NE
Aug. 12 – Chapman, NE
Aug. 18 – Alliance, NE
Aug. 19 – Taylor, NE
Aug. 20 – Enders, NE
Aug. 21 – West Point, NE
Aug. 31 – Ceresco, NE



Nebraska Promise for free tuition at NCTA


The University of Nebraska is providing $50,000 for its on-campus classes in Curtis, Nebraska this fall.

The pledge through “Nebraska Promise” enables tuition-free college classes to fulltime students who are new, transfers or returning Aggies to the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis.

Nebraska residents with family income of less than $60,000 per year are eligible.

“This scholarship of $3,336 to $5,000 per year for 24 to 36 hours of coursework can be a difference-maker to some students,” said Larry Gossen, NCTA dean. “An eligible student can enroll now and start their college program here at NCTA, with in-person classes when the fall semester begins August 24.”

“I was notified this week by University President Ted Carter of the Nebraska Promise assistance to NCTA, so that we can ensure faculty, staff and academic resources for all eligible Aggie students,” said Dean Gossen.

The tuition-free pledge was announced in April by NU President Ted Carter for use at any NU campus. It ensures full-time resident undergraduates whose families have an adjusted gross income of $60,000 or less or who quality for the federal Pell Grant can attend college this fall.

Nebraska Promise criteria:
    Must be a Nebraska resident who applied for FAFSA (federal aid) by June 1.
    Take at least 12 credit hours each semester
    Family income of $60,000 or less (adjusted gross income) or be Pell Grant eligible
    Maintain a 2.5 GPA

NCTA is unique, and a one-of-a-kind campus within the NU system, Gossen said, with its hands-on programs in agriculture education, agribusiness, ag mechanics, ag production and animal health (veterinary technicians).  

“Our New Student Enrollment for students coming to NCTA this fall is at campus on July 7,” Gossen said. “I look forward to meeting students and their families.”

Tuition at NCTA is $139 per credit hour, and is the same for Nebraska residents and out-of-state students. Housing and other costs are not included in the Nebraska Promise.

For details on applying to NCTA, see https://ncta.unl.edu/apply-now or call Gaylene Stinman, enrollment associate at 308-367-5267.  



Learn to Optimize Corn Yield Following a Cereal Rye Cover Crop

Iowa Learning Farms will host a webinar on Wednesday, July 1, at noon about the effect of a cereal rye cover crop on corn yield.

Alison Robertson, professor and extension specialist in plant pathology and microbiology at Iowa State University, will share results from one of her research projects, which investigates the effect of planting green on corn growth and development, and seedling disease.

It is recommended that rye cover crops be terminated at least 10 days before planting corn to reduce potential yield drag in corn. However, in some years this is not possible, due to conditions at planting, or when a farmer would prefer to let the cover crop grow as long as possible for soil health and environmental benefits. This webinar will explore the benefits or disadvantages of this practice.

“Starting to incorporate cover crops on a farm may seem daunting, so our research seeks to better understand the system and provide management options to ensure new adopters are successful,” said Robertson, whose research lab focuses on seedling diseases of corn and soybean caused by oomycetes (water molds), particularly in corn and soybean planted after cover crops. “The benefits of cover crops far outweigh the disadvantages; and there are ways to manage the disadvantages.”

To participate in the live webinar, shortly before 12 p.m. CDT on July 1, click the following URL, or type this web address into your internet browser: https://iastate.zoom.us/j/364284172.

Or, go to https://iastate.zoom.us/join and enter meeting ID: 364 284 172. Or, join from a dial-in phone line by dialing  +1 312 626 6799 or +1 646 876 9923; meeting ID: 364 284 172.

The webinar will also be recorded and archived on the ILF website, so that it can be watched at any time. Archived webinars are available at https://www.iowalearningfarms.org/page/webinars.

A Certified Crop Adviser board-approved continuing education unit has been applied for, for those who are able to participate in the live webinar. Information about how to apply to receive the credit (if approved) will be provided at the end of the live webinar.



Iowa Pork Crawl Rewards Customers for Supporting Eateries


As Iowa restaurants reopen following loosened coronavirus-related restrictions, the Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA) is rewarding customers for supporting them---while eating pork, of course!

Today IPPA kicked off the Iowa Pork Crawl Freestyle, a summer promotion that encourages customers to enjoy pork at eateries around the state. Participants can dine in, carry out or have their meal delivered, then share photos of their food on social media channels for a chance to win prizes. The contest runs through Aug. 30.

Rules are simple: Order an entree featuring pork from your choice of five different Iowa food establishments, including restaurants, vendors and food trucks. Pork must be the main ingredient, such as a pork chop, a breaded pork tenderloin, pork tacos, a BLT or pork ribs.

To be entered for prizes, snap a photo of yourself with each of the five dishes, and share all five photos in a post on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Tag @Iowa Pork, tag or list the five restaurants you visited, and use the hashtag #IowaPorkCrawl. For every five pork entrees and restaurants visited, participants can post again for more chances to win.

"Iowa Pork values our relationships with foodservice entities across the state, and it has been a tough couple months for both them and our farmers," said Kelsey Sutter, IPPA's marketing and programs director. "This program is aimed to celebrate the resilience and perseverance of both."

Bars and restaurants have seen a dramatic hit in business because of COVID-19, and some have permanently closed. In March, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds---like leaders in many other states---ordered a mandatory shutdown of public dining areas to help slow the virus's spread across the U.S.

According to Jim Murray, national channel marketing and innovation manager with the National Pork Board, nearly every state has since reopened their foodservice operations in some capacity, though customers may experience limited or simplified menu options.

"We are excited about this summer program, as it benefits all Iowa restaurants that offer pork, it's simple and the prizes are fun," Sutter said.

The first 25 individuals who correctly share a completed Iowa Pork Crawl will win a pork swag bag that includes a T-shirt, a meat thermometer, an Iowa Pork can koozie and $10 in Pork Cash that can be redeemed for fresh pork products at most major Iowa grocery retailers.

Once the crawl ends, two participants will be randomly selected to each win a grand prize valued at $500. One package features a catered party for up to 20 guests, with pork among the meat offerings, while a YETI explorer package includes a YETI cooler, two YETI Rambler® Tumblers, $100 in Pork Cash and a $25 gas card.

All prize winners must be Iowa residents. For complete rules and details, visit https://www.iowapork.org/iowa-pork-crawl-freestyle/.



NPPC SIGNALS ALARM ABOUT AGRICULTURE INSPECTION FUNDING SHORTFALL

NPPC Newsletter

The National Pork Producers Council is leading a coalition of agriculture, trade and related groups to highlight the massive COVID-19-related funding shortfall for the Agricultural Quarantine Inspection (AQI), which plays a critical role in protecting U.S. agriculture and the environment from plant and animal pests and diseases. USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) collects the AQI user fees that pay for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture inspections. These fees have fallen off dramatically due to the impacts of the COVID-19 global pandemic on international travel and cargo shipments.

As user fee collections are not expected to rebound for the foreseeable future, it is estimated that APHIS' AQI user fee reserve will only last through the end of FY 2020 and that FY 2021 funding will be short approximately $630 million. To ensure the country is able to respond to animal health threats, such as African swine fever, NPPC is leading efforts to garner congressional support to ensure these vital agricultural inspections are fully funded and U.S. agriculture is protected.

USDA REPORT FLAGS CONCERN WITH WORKER SAFETY DATA IN NEW SWINE INSPECTION SYSTEM

On Thursday, USDA's Inspector General issued a report on the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety Inspection Service's (FSIS) New Swine Inspection System (NSIS), which went into effect in October 2019. The report concluded that FSIS didn't fully disclose sources for its analysis on how the rule would affect worker safety. NSIS is a voluntary program that is designed to increase efficiency and effectiveness of the federal inspection process and to provide more flexibility for adopting new food-safety technologies.

In its response, FSIS stated that the worker safety analysis was not used as a basis for the NSIS rulemaking, and the agency feels the inspector general has placed distorted emphasis on minor omissions in the NSIS proposal text, including a website citation and a typo in a table. The response also reinforced the responsibility that Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), not FSIS, holds for regulating employee safety.



FFA to Host Virtual National FFA Convention & Expo in October; Extends Contract With Indianapolis


The National FFA Organization announced today that the 2020 National FFA Convention & Expo will be held virtually. The organization also extended its contract with the host city of Indianapolis from 2031 to 2033.

“We wanted to ensure that our members and guests had the full convention experience. After a discussion with the National FFA Board of Directors, the decision was made to move forward with a virtual experience for 2020,” said Mark Poeschl, CEO of National FFA. “As we continued to plan for our national convention, it became clear that travel restrictions and public health concerns, among many other pandemic-related challenges, made hosting our in-person event impossible in 2020.”

The decision to hold a virtual event in place of in-person was recommended by National FFA staff and affirmed by the board of directors.

“The safety of our members and stakeholders is always top of mind,” said Dr. James Woodard, the organization’s national advisor and chair of the board of directors. “While the event might look a little different this year, rest assured that we will continue to be celebrating agriculture’s future leaders and conducting the organization’s official business.”

This year’s event will still be hosted by the 2019-20 National FFA Officer Team and continue the tradition of celebrating and inspiring the hundreds of thousands of FFA members who are becoming the next generation of leaders.

“While convention will look a little different this year than what we are used to, FFA members around the country have proven their willingness the past few months to not only adapt but create meaningful experiences while celebrating FFA and agricultural education,“ said Kolesen McCoy, 2019-20 National FFA president.  “Our officer team is humbled to share this fantastic experience with more members than ever before.”

National FFA looks forward to returning to Indianapolis with an in-person convention in 2021 as part of its long-term hosting partnership that will now run through 2033. The organization and the governing board of the board of directors also decided to extend the city of Indianapolis’ contract for two more years.

“We are grateful to our hosts and partners in Indianapolis and the state of Indiana for their support while making this difficult decision regarding an in-person event,” Poeschl said. “We plan to return to Indianapolis in 2021 as we continue our long-term relationship with the city. FFA as an organization is also committed to making a difference in the city this fall through contributions and service activities that support the people, places and organizations that have always offered their well-known brand of Hoosier Hospitality to our guests. We are pleased to extend our contract with this city that our FFA members and supporters have come to know and love.”

The year’s convention will allow FFA members, advisors, alumni, supporters, sponsors and exhibitors to connect more than ever before through online events, activities and competitions. The convention will occur virtually during the week of Oct. 28, as previously planned.



ASA Now Seeking Nominations for Annual Soy Recognition Awards


The American Soybean Association (ASA) wants to recognize exceptional soy volunteers and leaders—and we need your help. During ASA’s annual awards banquet, individuals will be recognized and honored for state association volunteerism, distinguished leadership achievements and long-term, significant contributions to the soybean industry. The nomination period is open through Oct. 24, 2020.

The Recognition Awards categories are:
• 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.

For more information and to submit nominations, click here... https://soygrowers.com/about/awards/asa-recognition-awards/

All nominations must be received online, no later than Monday, Oct. 24, 2020. No nominations by telephone, email or fax will be accepted. A judging committee will be assigned to make the final selections.

Recipients will receive their awards at the ASA Awards Banquet on Friday, March 05. 2021, in San Antonio, Texas at Commodity Classic.



Thursday June 25 Hogs & Pigs Report + Ag News
2020-06-25T09:19

NEBRASKA HOG INVENTORY UP 3%

Nebraska inventory of all hogs and pigs on June 1, 2020, was 3.85 million head, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. This was up 3% from June 1, 2019, and up 1% from March 1, 2020.

Breeding hog inventory, at 440,000 head, was down 4% from June 1, 2019, but unchanged from last quarter. Market hog inventory, at 3.41 million head, was up 4% from last year, and up 1% from last quarter.

The March - May 2020 Nebraska pig crop, at 2.22 million head, was down 3% from 2019. Sows farrowed during the period totaled 200,000 head, unchanged from last year. The average pigs saved per litter was 11.10 for the March - May period, compared to 11.50 last year.

Nebraska hog producers intend to farrow 185,000 sows during the June - August 2020 quarter, down 5% from the actual farrowings during the same period a year ago. Intended farrowings for September - November 2020 are 185,000 sows, down 5% from the actual farrowings during the same period a year ago.



IOWA HOGS & PIGS REPORT


On June 1, 2020, there were 25.2 million hogs and pigs on Iowa farms, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Hogs and Pigs report. Inventory is up 5% from the previous year and is an all-time record high inventory.

The March-May 2020 quarterly pig crop was 5.81 million head, down 1% from the previous quarter and 4% below last year. A total of 510,000 sows farrowed during this quarter. The average pigs saved per litter was 11.40 for the quarter.

As of June 1, producers planned to farrow 520,000 sows and gilts in the June-August 2020 quarter and 510,000 head during the September-November 2020 quarter.



United States Hog Inventory Up 5 Percent


United States inventory of all hogs and pigs on June 1, 2020 was 79.6 million head. This was up 5 percent from June 1, 2019, and up 3 percent from March 1, 2020.  Breeding inventory, at 6.33 million head, was down 1 percent from last year, and down 1 percent from the previous quarter.  Market hog inventory, at 73.3 million head, was up 6 percent from last year, and up 3 percent from last quarter.

The March-May 2020 pig crop, at 34.9 million head, was up 1 percent from 2019. Sows farrowing during this period totaled 3.17 million head, up 1 percent from 2019. The sows farrowed during this quarter represented 50 percent of the breeding herd. The average pigs saved per litter was a record high of 11.01 for the March-May period, compared to 11.00 last year.

United States hog producers intend to have 3.12 million sows farrow during the June-August 2020 quarter, down 5 percent from the actual farrowings during the same period one year earlier, and down 2 percent from the same period two years earlier. Intended farrowings for September-November 2020, at 3.09 million sows, are down 5 percent from the same period one year earlier, and down 4 percent from the same period two years earlier.

The total number of hogs under contract owned by operations with over 5,000 head, but raised by contractees, accounted for 49 percent of the total United States hog inventory, up 2 percent from the previous year.




DED Issues Important Reminder about Applying for COVID-19 Grants for Small Businesses, Livestock Producers


The Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED) wishes to issue an important reminder to those applying for grants under the following programs: Small Business Stabilization, Livestock Producer Stabilization.

Be reminded that there are two major steps to completing an application. After filling out an online eligibility form, those who are eligible will receive a confirmation email containing a confirmation number and a link to the full application. You are not finished applying at this point. You must use the link to then complete a full application. Those who do not complete a full application will not receive a grant.

Remember that there is still time to apply for each of the grant programs listed and described below, which are intended to provide support and assistance to Nebraskans negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit https://getnebraskagrowing.nebraska.gov for more information or to begin the eligibility confirmation and application process. Call the Get Nebraska Growing hotline at 855-264-6858 if you encounter technical difficulties.

-    The Small Business Stabilization Grant Program provides grants to small businesses of 5-49 employees that were impacted by the coronavirus and meet certain eligibility requirements. Applications are due on June 26 at 5:00 p.m. CDT.

-    The Livestock Producer Stabilization Grant Program provides grants to eligible livestock producers of 1-10 employees that have endured revenue or employment losses due to the pandemic. Grants for both programs can be used to cover business operating expenses. Applications are due on July 1 at 5:00 p.m. CDT. 

-    The Workforce Retraining Initiative will provide funds to all of the state’s community colleges for scholarships and workforce training enhancements. In turn, the community colleges will award scholarships to individuals who are unemployed or underemployed due to the coronavirus, in order to prepare them for employment in high-demand career fields. Prospective students will be able to apply for the scholarships online through Nebraska community college websites starting in July. More information is forthcoming.

-    The Rural Broadband Remote Access Grant Program will result in new internet connectivity in communities where work-from-home, tele-education and telehealth opportunities have been limited due to inadequate or non-existent high-speed internet service. Broadband providers, with the support of local community officials, can apply for the grants through July 2, 2020.

-    The Gallup Back to Business Learning Journey will fund admission to a Gallup-led leadership training course for a total of 75-100 leaders from eligible small businesses. The course promotes skills that will help businesses refocus and thrive following the pandemic. Businesses can apply through July 2, 2020.



UNL Ag Econ Webinar Series: COVID-19's Impact on Nebraska Ag


Insurance Tools for Managing Forage Production Risk
Thursday, July 2, noon.
Jay Parsons, professor and extension farm and ranch management specialist, UNL Agricultural Economics.

Forage production can vary greatly from one season to the next depending upon weather. In the last 15 years, several new insurance tools have become available to Nebraska producers to help manage this risk. This presentation will provide an overview of all that is available and provide examples of how they can be used to mitigate weather risk. With a signup deadline of July 15, information specific to the new Annual Forage Insurance Plan will be emphasized.

UPCOMING
-     Thursday, July 2, noon CDT: Insurance Tools for Managing Forage Production Risk

Register and get more information here:  https://farm.unl.edu/webinar-series-covid-19s-impact-nebraska-ag



Open House to be held July 9th for the Battle Creek Watershed Improvement Project


JEO Consulting Group Inc. will facilitate a public Open House regarding the Battle Creek Watershed Improvement Project Work Plan - Environmental Assessment (Plan-EA).  The Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) is partnering with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to complete the work plan.  The Open House will be held virtually through Zoom on July 9, 2020, from 5:00 - 6:30 p.m.  All are welcome.  The meeting will be recorded and a link to the recording will be posted on the LENRD’s website the following day.

The Battle Creek Watershed Improvement Project, located in Madison County, is a potential project with purposes relating to flood prevention, watershed protection, agricultural water management, and public recreation.  The proposed purposes and associated alternatives will be determined as the development of the Plan-EA progresses.  During the July 9th meeting, attendees will be able to learn more about the Plan-EA from project personnel, as well as ask questions and provide feedback.  Written comment will be accepted for up to 14 days after the meeting.

The Plan-EA is being prepared to fulfill National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) responsibilities pertaining to federal financial assistance received through the NRCS’s Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations (WFPO) Program.  Part of this project includes an evaluation of environmental resources and impact considerations, and all information gathered during the public meeting will help guide the planning process.

The Battle Creek Watershed Improvement Project Plan-EA is scheduled to be finalized in 2021, and the LENRD has retained JEO Consulting Group to assist in developing the plan.

Any written comments or requests regarding the project should be submitted to Adam Rupe with JEO at arupe@jeo.com or 402-435-3080. Comments can also be submitted to the JEO Lincoln office at 2700 Fletcher Avenue, Lincoln, NE, 68504.

Refer to the LENRD’s website at www.lenrd.org for the Zoom link and additional information, or contact the office in Norfolk at 402-371-7313.



Liquidity Remains a Concern on Iowa Farms


Despite a higher average income in 2019, Iowa’s mid- to large-size farms actually saw a considerable decrease in farm liquidity and working capital over the past year.

Data from the Iowa Farm Business Association, collected from 401 farms, shows net farm income in 2019 at an average of $77,946 per farm. But that number only tells part of the story, according to Alejandro Plastina, assistant professor and extension economist at Iowa State University.

“A higher average income in 2019 did not translate into an overall improvement in financial liquidity for Iowa farms,” Plastina said. “Not only was the share of farms with vulnerable liquidity larger in December 2019 compared to a year earlier, but their working capital needs were also higher.”

Plastina gives an overview of the Iowa farm liquidity situation in the June edition of Ag Decision Maker, in a featured article called “Mixed liquidity results for Iowa farms in 2019.”

The share of farms with negative working capital increased almost uninterruptedly from 10% in December 2014, to 17% in 2019, while the share of farms with working capital below $250 per acre increased from 23% to 34% over the same period.

Plastina said the liquidity for some farmers is actually improving, but many others are seeing a decline. According to the report, the bottom third of farms (ranked according to annual return to management) have consistently averaged negative accrued net farm income levels since 2015, while the top third has consistently averaged incomes more than twice the state average.

Plastina said farms may be able to sustain a loss in liquidity for a while, but when it occurs year after year, the challenges become more pressing.

“We are concerned with those who are struggling or short on liquidity,” he said. “That means that if anything goes wrong or they don’t get a loan or something to generate more cash, they might need to liquidate some assets or make adjustments to their long-term plan.”

The report explains how liquidity is calculated and offers useful insight and comparisons dating back to 2012.



Red Meat Production Down 18 Percent from Last May


Commercial red meat production for the United States totaled 3.76 billion pounds in May, down 18 percent from the 4.57 billion pounds produced in May 2019.

By State:                 (million lbs  -  % May '19)

Nebraska ........:            462.3             67      
Iowa ...............:            606.8             88      
Kansas ............:            421.9             81      

Beef production, at 1.87 billion pounds, was 20 percent below the previous year. Cattle slaughter totaled 2.28 million head, down 23 percent from May 2019. The average live weight was up 51 pounds from the previous year, at 1,367 pounds.

Veal production totaled 5.2 million pounds, 18 percent below May a year ago. Calf slaughter totaled 32,400 head, down 30 percent from May 2019. The average live weight was up 39 pounds from last year, at 274 pounds.

Pork production totaled 1.88 billion pounds, down 15 percent from the previous year. Hog slaughter totaled 8.59 million head, down 17 percent from May 2019. The average live weight was up 7 pounds from the previous year, at 294 pounds.

Lamb and mutton production, at 12.6 million pounds, was down 7 percent from May 2019. Sheep slaughter totaled 195,300 head, 7 percent below last year. The average live weight was 129 pounds, up 1 pound from May a year ago.

January to May 2020 commercial red meat production was 22.0 billion pounds, down 2 percent from 2019. Accumulated beef production was down 4 percent from last year, veal was down 11 percent, pork was up slightly from last year, and lamb and mutton production was down 11 percent.



Klobuchar, Ernst, Duckworth, Grassley Urge EPA to Reject Retroactive Biofuel Blending Waivers


U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) led a bipartisan letter with Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reject petitions for Small Refinery Exemptions (SREs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for past compliance years. In the letter, the senators warn that granting these petitions would worsen the unprecedented economic challenges facing the biofuels industry and demand that the EPA apply the 10th Circuit decision nationally.

“We urge you to reject these petitions outright and respond in writing to our questions about recent use of SREs under the RFS. These petitions should not even be entertained because they are inconsistent with the Tenth Circuit decision, Congressional intent, the EPA’s own guidance, and – most importantly – the interests of farmers and rural communities who rely on the biofuel industry,” the senators wrote.

“The approval of SREs for past compliance years at this moment would only worsen the unprecedented economic challenges facing the biofuels industry and the rural communities that it supports. EPA must deny these petitions and apply the 10th Circuit decision nationally.”

Klobuchar, Ernst, Duckworth and Grassley were joined by Senators Tina Smith (D-MN), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Gary Peters (D-MI), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), John Thune (R-SD), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Deb Fischer (R-NE).

In January 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit ruled in Renewable Fuels Association v. EPA that EPA had exceeded its authority in granting SREs under the Renewable Fuel Standard to three refineries in 2016 and 2017, and that moving forward, EPA may only issue SREs to refineries that have continuously received exemptions for every compliance year since 2011. Recently, the EPA confirmed that they have received 52 new petitions for retroactive SREs that, if granted, would bring oil refiners into compliance with the Court ruling by allowing them to establish a continuous string of exemptions.

For years, Klobuchar has been a leader in the fight to strengthen the RFS to support American jobs and decrease dependence on foreign oil. Klobuchar has led several letters urging the Administration to cease issuing small refinery waivers and reject changes to the RFS that would upend stability and predictability for small businesses and rural communities.

In December 2019, Klobuchar led a public comment letter to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler expressing concern over the proposed supplemental rule establishing the Renewable Fuel Standard’s (RFS) 2020 Renewable Volume Obligations and 2021 Biomass-Based Diesel Volumes. The senators argued that the proposed rule—which determines how much biofuel is required to be blended into our transportation fuel supply on an annual basis—fails to adequately account for the waivers, including those given to big oil companies. In October 2019, Klobuchar sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue asking the agency to document the impact of small refinery waivers on farm income, commodity prices, and renewable fuel usage.

The full text of today’s letter to Andrew Wheeler, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator, can be found  below:

Dear Administrator Wheeler:

We write with frustration and significant concern about recent reports that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is considering granting over 50 petitions for Small Refinery Exemptions (SREs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for past compliance years. We urge you to reject these petitions outright and respond in writing to our questions about recent use of SREs under the RFS. Granting these petitions would worsen the unprecedented economic challenges facing the biofuels industry and the rural communities that it supports while violating EPA’s own policy on this issue.

On January 24, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit made a ruling in Renewable Fuels Association v. EPA that struck down three small refinery exemptions granted by your agency. In ruling that EPA exceeded its statutory authority, the court determined that the waivers for those refineries had lapsed and that there was no waiver available to extend.

It is for this reason that we are especially alarmed to hear that EPA is considering over 50 petitions for retroactive SREs that are intended to circumvent the Tenth Circuit decision by allowing refineries with lapsed SREs to establish a continuous chain of exemptions. These are refineries who either did not submit petitions or were not granted waivers in past years, meaning they were not experiencing “true economic hardship” to comply at the time. These petitions should not even be entertained because they are inconsistent with the Tenth Circuit decision, Congressional intent, the EPA’s own guidance, and – most importantly – the interests of farmers and rural communities who rely on the biofuel industry.

As you know, Congress passed SREs under the RFS program with the intention of mitigating and eliminating economic harm to small refinery operations. On the EPA’s website, in a document titled “Small Entity Compliance Guide for Changes to Renewable Fuel Standard Program,” an eligible small refinery shall have “no more than 1,500 employees corporate-wide” defined as “for all subsidiary companies, all parent companies.”[1] This guidance also states that companies should apply for small refinery status by July 1, 2010 to be eligible for SREs. That means that under EPA’s own guidance, the majority of SREs EPA has granted would be ineligible for the program.

You previously testified in January 2019 to the Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) that the decision to grant Chevron and Exxon small refinery exemptions under the RFS was made at the refinery level and not at the corporate level. In light of EPA’s guidance and your contradictory statements we hope you will provide complete answers in writing to the following questions:

    Were you aware that your own Agency had determined that Chevron and Exxon were ineligible for SREs when you appeared before EPW in January 2019?

    Do you commit to applying the 10th Circuit decision nationwide now that it has unanimously rejected a petition for a rehearing and abandoning the agency’s misuse of the RFS waiver program once and for all?

    A number of organizations associated with the oil industry have asked you to change the 2020 RFS volumes or waive them for the rest of the year, using the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) as the pretext for doing so despite the fact that the drop in gasoline demand has devastated the biofuels industry. Are you aware that the structure of the RFS already ensures that RVOs are effectively automatically adjusted proportionally based on actual sales of gasoline?

Even before COVID-19, the misuse of small refinery waivers under the RFS had led many biofuel plants to shut down partially or altogether. The further loss of biofuel demand and sales during COVID-19 has resulted in further harm to the industry, with over 100 biofuel processing plants now idled or closed. This has resulted in reductions to the rural workforce, decreases in commodity purchases and prices, and shortages of co-products critical to the agricultural supply chain. Meanwhile, the Administration has taken steps to help the oil industry through purchases for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

The approval of SREs for past compliance years at this moment would only worsen the unprecedented economic challenges facing the biofuels industry and the rural communities that it supports. EPA must deny these petitions and apply the 10th Circuit decision nationally.

Thank you for your consideration of our requests.




Growth Energy Thanks Senate Leaders for Rejecting Retroactive Exemptions


Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor thanked 16 senators, led by Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who drafted a bipartisan letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rejecting retroactive oil industry exemptions from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). In their letter, the senators note, “These petitions should not even be entertained because they are inconsistent with the Tenth Circuit decision, Congressional intent, the EPA’s own guidance, and – most importantly – the interests of farmers and rural communities who rely on the biofuel industry.”

“The sole purpose of these retroactive exemptions is to circumvent the law at the expense of rural families struggling to get back on their feet,” said Skor. “There is no justification for allowing these petitions to hang over the market, injecting uncertainty into America’s agricultural recovery. EPA needs to dismiss the oil industry’s latest attempt to destroy demand for American biofuels and restore integrity to the RFS. We’re very grateful to Senate champions across the farm belt for standing up against this attempt to rewrite years of history, skirt the courts, and torpedo efforts to rebuild America’s agricultural supply chain.”

The letter was signed by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Tammy Baldwin (D- Wis.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), and Deb Fischer (R-Neb.).



Senators Call on EPA to Reject Gap-Year Refinery Waivers ‘Outright’


Echoing the grave concern expressed by the Renewable Fuels Association and others, a bipartisan group of 16 Senators today called on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler to outright reject the 52 retroactive “gap-year” RFS waivers newly requested by oil refiners. Leading the effort were Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA).

“We applaud this bipartisan group of Senators for exposing the absurdity of the oil industry’s latest ploy to undermine the Renewable Fuel Standard,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “We thank them for holding Administrator Wheeler accountable and demanding answers. EPA’s failure to comply with the recent Tenth Circuit Court decision is prolonging uncertainty and exacerbating economic harm in rural America, which was already reeling from the effects of COVID-19 on the agriculture and biofuels sector. RFA agrees with these Senate leaders that granting gap-year small refinery exemptions would not only be illegal, but it would also worsen the demand destruction that renewable fuel producers have already endured at the hands of EPA in recent years. We proudly join these Senators in calling on EPA to immediately deny the gap-year petitions and apply the Tenth Circuit decision nationally.”

The gap-year issue arose after a January decision by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, in Renewable Fuels Association et al. vs. EPA, rejecting a set of waivers granted that were not direct extensions of ones previously granted, as required by law. The case was brought against EPA by RFA, the National Corn Growers Association, National Farmers Union and American Coalition for Ethanol. In an attempt to circumvent the court decision, numerous refineries have now applied for retroactive waivers for years in which they did not originally ask for, or receive, a waiver. On June 18, EPA disclosed that 52 new petitions had been received, covering the compliance years 2011 through 2018. In late May, RFA was the first to urge Wheeler to deny any gap-year waivers that came forward.

“Even before COVID-19, the misuse of small refinery waivers under the RFS had led many biofuel plants to shut down partially or altogether,” the Senators write. “The further loss of biofuel demand and sales during COVID-19 has resulted in further harm to the industry, with over 100 biofuel processing plants now idled or closed. … The approval of SREs for past compliance years at this moment would only worsen the unprecedented economic challenges facing the biofuels industry and the rural communities that it supports.”

The Senators also posed specific questions to the EPA, related to granting of waivers to large companies like Chevron and Exxon, the nationwide application of the recent Tenth Circuit decision rejecting waivers that are not extensions of prior ones, and general waiver requests from the Renewable Fuel Standard due to the COVID-19 pandemic.



NBB Thanks Senators for Urging EPA to Reject "Gap" SRE Petitions


The National Biodiesel Board thanks the bipartisan group of 16 Senators who today urged EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler to immediately reject the 52 recently filed exemption petitions for prior compliance years. The letter expresses the Senators' frustration and alarm that Administrator Wheeler is considering exemptions for refineries that either did not submit petitions or were not granted waivers in past years but are now seeking to circumvent a January 2020 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit.

Kurt Kovarik, NBB's VP of Federal Affairs, states, "Biodiesel producers and soybean farmers across the country are already facing unprecedented economic challenges. A brand-new flood of unlawful small refinery exemptions is guaranteed to compound the damage from the past several years. The Senators are exactly right that EPA should immediately reject these petitions as inconsistent with a federal court decision. We thank Senators Amy Klobuchar and Joni Ernst for their leadership."

The letter is signed by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Charles Grassley (R-IA), Tina Smith (D-MN), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Gary Peters (D-MI), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), John Thune (R-SD), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Deb Fischer (R-NE).



USDA Adds Digital Options for Farmers and Ranchers to Apply for Coronavirus Food Assistance Program


USDA’s Farm Service Agency will now accept applications for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) through an online portal, expanding the options available to producers to apply for this program, which helps offset price declines and additional marketing costs because of the coronavirus pandemic. FSA is also leveraging commercial document storage and e-signature solutions to enable producers to work with local service center staff to complete their applications from home.

“We are doing everything we can to serve our customers and make sure agricultural producers impacted by the pandemic can quickly and securely apply for this relief program,” said FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce. “In addition to working with FSA staff through the phone, email and scheduled in-person appointments, we can now also take applications through the farmers.gov portal, which saves producers and our staff time.”

Through the portal, producers with secure USDA login credentials—known as eAuthentication—can certify eligible commodities online, digitally sign applications and submit directly to the local USDA Service Center. Producers who do not have an eAuthentication account can learn more and begin the enrollment process at farmers.gov/sign-in. Currently, the digital application is only available to sole proprietors or single-member business entities.

USDA Service Centers can also work with producers to complete and securely transmit digitally signed applications through two commercially available tools: Box and OneSpan. Producers who are interested in digitally signing their applications should notify their local service centers when calling to discuss the CFAP application process. You can learn more about these solutions at farmers.gov/mydocs.

USDA has several other options for producers to complete and submit their CFAP applications. These include:

1. Downloading the AD-3114 application form from farmers.gov/cfap and manually completing the form to submit to the local USDA Service Center by mail, electronically or by hand delivery to an office drop box. In some limited cases, the office may be open for in-person business by appointment. Visit farmers.gov/coronavirus/service-center-status to check the status of your local office.

2. Completing the application form using our CFAP Application Generator and Payment Calculator found at farmers.gov/cfap. This Excel workbook allows customers to input information specific to their operation to determine estimated payments and populate the application form, which can be printed, and then signed and submitted to their local USDA Service Center.

Getting Help from FSA

New customers seeking one-on-one support with the CFAP application process can call 877-508-8364 to speak directly with a USDA employee ready to offer general assistance. This is a recommended first step before a producer engages the team at the FSA county office at their local USDA Service Center.

All other eligibility forms, such as those related to adjusted gross income and payment information, can be downloaded from farmers.gov/cfap. For existing FSA customers, these documents are likely already on file.

Producers self-certify their records when applying for CFAP, and that documentation is not submitted with the application. However, producers may be asked for their documentation to support the certification of eligible commodities, so they should retain the information used to complete their application.

More Information

To find the latest information on CFAP, visit farmers.gov/cfap or call 877-508-8364.



NCGA Responds to Glyphosate Developments


The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) responds today to two significant legal developments concerning glyphosate that have occurred this week. First, on Monday, a federal judge in California ruled that glyphosate cannot be labeled as “likely to cause cancer” under California’s Proposition 65, which requires businesses to provide warnings about significant exposures to chemicals that cause cancer. NCGA was a plaintiff in the lawsuit challenging the state’s plans to require all glyphosate products to be labeled with this warning.

Yesterday, Bayer announced that it has decided to settle thousands of lawsuits that accuse a link between glyphosate use and cancer.

Iowa corn farmer and NCGA President Kevin Ross made the following statement in response to these developments:

“Corn farmers rely on glyphosate as an integral and essential part of their weed management, no-till and soil health plans. It has been on the market for more than 40 years and undergone extensive safety reviews in this time. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and numerous other regulatory bodies around the world have not found glyphosate to be carcinogenic, as was pointed out by the federal judge ruling that the product cannot be labeled as such in California. We appreciate and respect the science-based decision making applied in this case.

“Unfortunately, the same science-based rationale has not been applied in the lawsuits and subsequent jury verdicts against Bayer alleging a link between glyphosate use and cancer. We respect Bayer’s decision to settle many of these cases in order to move forward as a company while keeping glyphosate available to the farmers who rely on it. NCGA acknowledges that Bayer has not admitted fault through this decision and continues to reiterate a commitment to the safety of the product.

“Corn farmers work hard every day to produce safe and affordable food, fuel and fiber for the country and the world. Responsible use of products like glyphosate is an important part of our ability to do just that in a long-term, sustainable fashion.”



Farmers Play Important Role In Keeping Treated Seeds Out Of Export Channels


As corn and sorghum pops up in rows across the country, the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and other grain and seed industry partners remind farmers to check the best practices to keep treated seeds out of export channels. Treated seeds are not a widespread problem but do have the attention of agriculture control officials in export markets.

“U.S. farmers are key partners in helping prevent disruption of exports to overseas markets,” said Floyd Gaibler, USGC director of trade policy and biotechnology. “Guarding against the presence of treated seed in commodity shipments requires the due diligence of the entire U.S. grain supply chain.”

Seed treatments are part of the technological toolbox that helps U.S. farmers defend against crop diseases, insects, nematodes and other pests. Treated seeds can be easily detected due to their unnatural color. Blue, pink, red or green are common seed-treatment colors.

U.S. law prohibits the addition of treated seeds to commodities for food or feed channels. As a result, strict adherence to guidelines on how to use these effective tools helps ensure treated seed stays in the field and out of export channels.

The Guide to Seed Treatment Stewardship, produced by the American Seed Trade Association and CropLife America, promotes the safe handling and management of treated seed. The information for farmers and seed companies includes guidelines for managing treated seed effectively. Best practices include using separate and dedicated equipment to handle treated seed and following state and local regulations for disposing of excess treated seed.

“Being mindful of the management practices to prevent treated seed from inadvertently entering export channels maintains the positive U.S. reputation for transparency, reliability and quality,” Gaibler said. “Like farming itself, there is a science to using treated seeds successfully and appropriately.”



Wednesday June 24 Ag News
2020-06-25T10:59

Bacon, Spanberger to Introduce Growing Climate Solutions Act

Congressman Don Bacon (NE-R-02) joined Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger (VA-D-07) to announce plans to introduce the Growing Climate Solutions Act in the House. Introduced in the Senate by Senators Mike Braun (R-IN) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), the bill seeks to help farmers, ranchers and foresters participate in the voluntary carbon market by establishing a Greenhouse Gas Technical Assistance Provider and Third-Party Verifier Certification Program through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Through the Certification Program, USDA will help connect landowners to private sector actors who can monetize their sustainable farming practices. This will allow private landowners the ability to generate purchasable carbon credits and increase their yearly revenues. Through the program, USDA will administer a new website, which will serve as a “one stop shop” of information and resources for producers and foresters who are interested in participating in this marketplace.

“Many of our nation’s farmers and foresters do not know how to implement projects or navigate the current carbon credit marketplace,” said Rep. Bacon. “As a strong supporter of our agriculture and environmental industries, I am pleased to lead this bill in the House and help reduce barriers for our agriculture sector. Nebraska farmers and ranchers take great pride in being good environmental stewards and this bill can help them monetize that.”

“Central Virginia farmers and producers have a long record of successful participation in USDA’s voluntary conservation programs. They truly understand the complex ecosystems they inhabit, and they’re proud to be stewards of the land. At the federal level, we can do more to support them as they embrace practices that both boost yields and contribute to sustainable, climate-friendly farming practices,” said Spanberger. “The Growing Climate Solutions Act is an opportunity to make carbon credits more accessible to our district’s growers, and I’m proud to introduce this legislation alongside my colleague Congressman Bacon. Our legislation would also provide new technical assistance for farmers looking to enroll in the carbon marketplace, and it would support ongoing efforts related to carbon sequestration, grassland management, on-site energy generation, and more. Farmers were our nation’s first conservationists, and with their voices at the table, they’ll be instrumental in tackling the climate challenges of the future.”

This bill will help reduce the barriers to market entry and help our nation’s farmers, ranchers, and foresters promote sustainable farming practices.



NPPC Supports Bill Helping Farmers Participate in Carbon Markets


The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) strongly supports legislation being discussed during a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing today that creates important elements needed to support a private carbon credit offset market. The bill would reward the valuable current and future contributions by pork producers and other sectors of agriculture to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The Growing Climate Solutions Act, introduced by Sens. Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), would direct the U.S. Department of Agriculture to create a program to provide transparency, legitimacy and informal endorsement of third-party verifiers and technical service providers that help private landowners generate carbon credits through a variety of agriculture and forestry related practices.

"U.S. pork producers, who have been at the forefront of environmental sustainability, are committed to the long-term protection of our country's natural resources," said NPPC President Howard "AV" Roth, a hog farmer from Wauzeka, Wisconsin. "Thanks to continuous on-farm improvements in nutrition, genetics and overall pig care, U.S. pork producers are doing more with less. This bipartisan effort will help give the private sector the standards and certifications needed to recognize and reward the important work being done by U.S. hog farmers to reduce our carbon footprint. We thank the senators for their leadership and look forward to passage of this important legislation."

According to recent Environmental Protection Agency findings, the production of U.S. pork is responsible for only 0.3% of all agriculture greenhouse gas emissions in the country. Likewise, according to a 2019 study by the National Pork Board, U.S. pork producers have used 75.9% less land, 25.1% less water and 7% less energy since 1960. This also has resulted in a 7.7% smaller carbon footprint.



Carbon Markets Contribute to Financial and Environmental Sustainability of Family Farm Agriculture


As family farmers grapple with the dual crises of a global pandemic and climate change, carbon markets present a critical solution for both, according to National Farmers Union (NFU) President Rob Larew.

In testimony presented today to the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, Larew highlighted the many challenges the American agriculture industry is currently enduring. “Family farmers and ranchers face an uncertain economic future,” Larew said, citing low commodity prices and unstable export markets, both of which have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, farmers are holding record levels of debt and declaring bankruptcy at the highest rate since 1981.

Though the pandemic has “roiled domestic markets and exposed weaknesses in the food supply chain and farm safety net,” ultimately, it is a relatively short-term problem that will likely be resolved within the next several years. Climate change, on the other hand, “is the single greatest long-term challenge facing family farmers and ranchers, rural communities, and global food security.” Rising average temperatures, shifting precipitation patterns, changing growing seasons, increasingly frequent and severe weather events, and rising sea levels are already making it more difficult to grow crops and raise livestock – difficulties that will only intensify over time.

But the United States isn’t helpless to address the climate crisis; there are ways to adapt to and mitigate climate change, and “farmers and ranchers, if provided the right tools, can be a key part of a solution,” as Larew told the committee. Primarily, they can “reduce greenhouse gas emissions on a meaningful scale” through land management practices that build soil health and sequester atmospheric carbon. Coincidentally, these practices also promote farmland’s resilience to drought and flooding. On top of that, farmers can “contribute to a clean energy future thorough the production of renewable energy and biofuels, which will be key in ensuring the United States’ long-term energy security.”

These efforts, though effective, often require a considerable temporal and monetary investment, as well as technical expertise and labor, all of which may be particularly onerous for farmers to take on as they cope with the economic fallout of the pandemic. That’s where carbon markets come in. By creating “a sustainable revenue stream for farmers as they work to sequester carbon,” carbon markets can contribute to both the financial and environmental sustainability of family farm agriculture.

The Growing Climate Solutions Act, which would create a certification program for technical service providers to work with farmers as they implement practices to sequester carbon and sell the credits, is an important move towards establishing such markets. NFU endorsed the bipartisan bill when it was introduced earlier this month. In today’s testimony, Larew reiterated his support, indicating that that bill is a “sound first step in developing strong bipartisan climate policy for America’s family farmers and ranchers.”

Larew suggested several additions to strengthen the bill, including mechanisms to prevent farm-level consolidation, robust funding for public climate research, and protections for farmers from bad actors or faulty market efforts. “NFU commits to working with the committee to ensure the Growing Climate Solutions Act adequately reflects the needs of family farmers and ranchers,” he said in conclusion. “I look forward to continuing this dialogue about the role of family farmers and ranchers in addressing the climate crisis.”



Growth Energy Submits Comments on Growing Climate Solutions Act


Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor submitted comments to the record for today’s U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry hearing on the Growing Climate Solutions Act, which aims to accelerate innovations in climate-friendly farming.

“With many states and localities increasingly exploring public policy options to lower carbon emissions, the use of biofuels can immediately contribute to lowering greenhouse gas emissions, reduce harmful air toxics, and provide affordable solutions to consumers and lawmakers alike,” wrote Skor. “These benefits are significantly attributed to innovations in agricultural practices like reduced tillage, use of cover crops, and continued ethanol plant innovation.”

Specifically, Skor pointed to the vast trove of public, private, and academic research illustrating  how continuous innovation has elevated ethanol as the single most affordable and abundant low-carbon alterative to toxic additives in the fuel mix.



Newly released white paper addresses crop insurance access


The backbone of rural communities in the Midwest, family farm operations rely on sound risk management options and practices to keep going.

A tool for many farmers to manage risk is federal crop insurance. However, according to a white paper released today by the Center for Rural Affairs, it is not an option used by all farms and ranches.

Authored by Policy Manager Anna Johnson, the white paper “Crop Insurance: Taking a Look at Access in Nebraska and Iowa” outlines the Center’s outreach efforts with underserved producers, which first began in 2017 and expanded in 2019.

Traditional crop insurance is available mostly for corn, wheat, and soybeans, leaving out many organic, small grain, fruit, and vegetable crops and livestock. In outreach efforts, Center staff stressed the value of diversification.

“Diversification can be another important strategy for mitigating risk,” Johnson said. “But, lack of access to reliable crop insurance is one reason many farmers avoid incorporating additional crops into their operation.”

As outlined in the paper, the federal crop insurance product Whole-Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP) may make diversifying easier. Available nationally, WFRP can be purchased along with other standard crop insurance for corn and soybeans, to add protection for third or fourth crops or livestock.

Though a variety of options are available to manage risk, the Center’s outreach efforts indicated there was a general lack of understanding among many diversified farmers about how crop insurance works and its value.

“While they are concerned about risk, many farmers and ranchers of diverse crops and livestock don’t see crop insurance as a viable risk management option,” Johnson said.

To read the full white paper, “Crop Insurance: Taking a Look at Access in Nebraska and Iowa,” visit cfra.org/publications/CropInsuranceAccess.



Joint Statement from USDA and FDA on Food Export Restrictions Pertaining to COVID-19


Today, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, M.D., issued the following statement regarding food export restrictions pertaining to COVID-19:

“The United States understands the concerns of consumers here domestically and around the world who want to know that producers, processors and regulators are taking every necessary precaution to prioritize food safety especially during these challenging times. However, efforts by some countries to restrict global food exports related to COVID-19 transmission are not consistent with the known science of transmission.”

“There is no evidence that people can contract COVID-19 from food or from food packaging. The U.S. food safety system, overseen by our agencies, is the global leader in ensuring the safety of our food products, including product for export.”

Background:

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in conjunction with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), has issued guidance for manufacturing facilities, including food facilities, specific to controlling the spread of COVID-19 between workers. But the COVID-19 guidelines from CDC and OSHA are separate and distinct from the food safety requirements that all U.S. food facilities must follow to ensure food safety. 



Federal Agents Seize Almost 10 Tons of Illegal Meat at California Port


Officials with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) intercepted 19,555 pounds of prohibited pork, chicken, beef and duck products arriving from China at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach (see photo courtesy of CBP). According to an official CBP statement, most of the animal products were mixed in boxes of headphones, door locks, kitchenware, LCD tablets, trash bags, swim fins, cell phone covers, plastic cases and household goods. CBP agriculture specialists identified, examined and seized 12 shipments containing a total of 834 cartons that lacked the required USDA entry documentation.

“Our close collaboration with our USDA strategic partners has resulted in an increased number of prohibited food products interceptions in a relatively short period of time,” said Carlos Martel, CBP director of field operations in Los Angeles. “CBP agriculture specialists remain committed and vigilant of foreign animal disease threats.”

In the first five months of fiscal year 2020, the interception of prohibited meats from China at the LA/Long Beach Seaport has increased 70% compared with the same period a year ago.



Weekly Ethanol Production for 6/19/2020


According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending June 19, ethanol production jumped 6.2%, or 53,000 barrels per day (b/d), to 893,000 b/d—equivalent to 37.51 million gallons daily and a thirteen-week high. However, production remains tempered due to COVID-19 disruptions, coming in 16.7% below the same week in 2019. The four-week average ethanol production rate rose 5.3% to 834,000 b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 12.79 billion gallons.

Ethanol stocks narrowed 1.5% to 21.0 million barrels. Reserves were even with the last week of December and 2.5% below year-ago volumes. Inventories tightened across all regions except the Gulf Coast (PADD 3).

The volume of gasoline supplied to the U.S. market, a measure of implied demand, leapt 9.4% to 8.608 million b/d (131.96 bg annualized). However, gasoline demand was 9.1% lower than a year ago.

Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol increased 5.3% to 831,000 b/d, equivalent to 12.74 bg annualized but 12.6% below the year-earlier level.

There were no imports of ethanol recorded for the fifteenth consecutive week. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of April 2020.)



Wheat Industry Applauds Bipartisanship Around the Grain Standards Reauthorization Act


Today, the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture held a business meeting to markup the United States Grain Standards Reauthorization Act (GSA) of 2020. The National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) and U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) applaud the Committee for their bipartisan work to move the bill forward and reauthorize the GSA through September 30, 2025.

“Thanks in part to the advantage and premium international buyers place on the grain inspection system, U.S. wheat continues to maintain its competitiveness in the international market. Given the current uncertainty in trade agreements and many of the bearish factors working against U.S. wheat exports, it is critical we maintain one of our key advantages,” said National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) President and Cass City, MI farmer Dave Milligan. “To avoid any disruption in inspection services and keep the flow of grain moving NAWG encourages Congress to act quickly to reauthorize the Grain Standards Act before expiration in September.”

The United States Grain Standards Reauthorization Act of 2020, introduced by Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), extends the authorization for the Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to continue providing inspection services and to maintain an official marketing standard for certain grains and oilseeds. On July 31, 2019 Kansas wheat farmer Brian Linin testified to the Senate Committee on Agriculture on behalf of NAWG in support of reauthorization of GSA. Linin also serves on the Kansas Wheat Commission and is a board member of the U.S. Wheat Associates.

“Our exports markets are critical to U.S. wheat farmers’ bottom lines as they see 50 percent of U.S. wheat exported each year,” said U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) Chairman and Paulding, Ohio, wheat farmer Doug Goyings. “The grain inspection system is one of our key advantages over our competitors that has helped wheat and other U.S. commodities grow export markets. Our overseas customers value the independent system in place through the Grain Standards Act.”



U.S. SOY INDUSTRY PIVOTS CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT AMID PANDEMIC TO STRENGTHEN PAN-ASIA RELATIONSHIPS


To continue to proactively market U.S. Soy to international buyers in the COVID-19 global landscape, the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) hosted two digital conferences in June for more than 1,700 customers and soybean industry representatives from the Pan-Asia region. The events, the Pan-Asia Soy Food Summit and Asia Trade Exchange 2020, demonstrated U.S. Soy’s versatility as both food and feed and highlighted how the soy industry has remained reliable and sustainable since the onset of the pandemic.

While COVID-19 has substantially impacted markets around the world, U.S. soybean farmers are meeting market needs through innovative tactics despite the challenges. Reaching key soy importers at each event, U.S. farmers and globally recognized experts discussed world agricultural trends, the 2021 U.S. soybean crop outlook, soybean demand fluctuations, U.S. Soy's deep commitment to sustainable production and more. Participants also heard about the initiatives and long-term investments U.S. Soy has undertaken to ensure that they have access to the most consistent supply of high-quality soybeans on the market.

“Pan-Asia is a significant market region for U.S. Soy. Our farmers are honored to provide a high-quality, nutritious product that contributes so greatly to the cultural fabric of people's lives across the region,” said Jim Sutter, USSEC CEO. “We’ve pivoted to engage customers virtually in new ways and maintain these thriving relationships to reiterate our unwavering dependability and adaptability as a proud supplier of choice.”

The events provided key decision makers and industry participants the opportunity to attend virtual trade shows with U.S. exporters and interact with other conference attendees in real-time. This unique digital convening provided a similar experience to meeting in person, but technology offered the flexibility to watch the sessions (at any time), visit organizations in a virtual exhibit hall or interact one-on-one with other industry professionals, with the benefit of embedded translation to break down language barriers.

“Southeast Asia continues to be a region that holds tremendous potential. The agricultural landscape in this part of the world is diverse with a growing population that consumes large amounts of U.S. Soy and soybean products,” said Tim Loh, USSEC’s Southeast Asia & Oceania Regional Director. “We continue to innovate to reach customers and stakeholders around the world. Many customers in attendance expressed appreciation for the opportunity to hear from experts in the field and network with U.S. and Pan-Asia organizations virtually that have a vested interest in utilizing soy in their products.”

U.S. soybean farmers also had a prominent presence at the Pan-Asia Soy Food Summit and Asia Trade Exchange, sharing their perspective of the 2020 planting season and discussing the sustainability practices that they’ve implemented on their farm.

“While the growing season is keeping us busy, these interactions are table stakes for our farmer leaders. We always hear from our customers that they like the total package provided by U.S. Soy, spanning the quality, consistency, reliability and the logistics superiority of our transportation infrastructure delivering the product,” said Monte Peterson, Chairman of USSEC, board member of the American Soybean Association and soybean farmer in Valley City, N.D. “Aside from the product itself, our importers have appreciated the professionalism and educational sessions that U.S. Soy offers. Looking ahead, it is important that we cultivate our partnerships in this region even further.”

USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue delivered a welcome address to kick off both conferences, in which he spoke on the importance of trade relationships and his confidence in U.S. Soy.

“I'm very proud of the reputation America's farmers have earned on the world stage. Other countries continue to recognize the United States as a reliable supplier of high-quality soybeans and other farm and food products. I'm confident that this virtual conference and trade show will result in even more mutual wins. And my hope is that this event gives suppliers of U.S. Soy an opportunity to connect and reconnect with buyers from across Asia to create new business relationships benefiting us all.”



Settlement Reached in Roundup® Weed Killer Cancer Litigation


Weitz & Luxenberg, and many other plaintiffs’ firms, have reached a settlement with Monsanto on behalf of almost one hundred thousand Americans who have been diagnosed with cancer after exposure to Roundup, the world’s most popular weed killer.

Weitz & Luxenberg was the first law firm to file suit against Monsanto in the fall of 2015, alleging that exposure to their widely used herbicide Roundup was causing Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in tens of thousands of Americans from farmers to landscapers and maintenance workers to homeowners. The firm was also co-lead counsel in the Roundup multi-district products liability litigation in the Northern District of California before the Honorable Vince Chhabria. The settlement comes as Weitz & Luxenberg was preparing for trial dates that had already been set for 33 of those plaintiffs.

“It has been a long journey, but we are very pleased that we’ve achieved justice for the tens of thousands of people who, through no fault of their own, are suffering from Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma after using a product Monsanto assured them was safe,” said Robin Greenwald, Practice Group Chair, Environmental Pollution and Consumer Protection at Weitz & Luxenberg.

Weitz & Luxenberg did not participate in any way in the proposed class settlement for future Roundup claims that Monsanto also announced today. The firm will comment once it has the opportunity to review it.

The settlement between Monsanto and Weitz & Luxenberg is being overseen by court-appointed mediator Kenneth Feinberg.

“I want to thank Ken Feinberg for working with the parties to reach settlement and to help so many victims achieve some level of closure in their case,” said Perry Weitz, managing partner at Weitz & Luxenberg. “With so many claims against Monsanto scheduled to go before courts around the country in the coming year, and the multiple thousands of cases that would never see trial dates, we feel that this settlement is the best way to ensure that victims receive justice.” 



NAWG Responds to Bayer’s Announcement to Settle Pending RoundUp Lawsuits


Today, Bayer issued a statement announcing that it has decided to settle thousands of U.S. lawsuits around the company's Roundup® products.

NAWG President and Michigan farmer Dave Milligan made the following statement in response:

“Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, has been on the market for more than 40 years and has undergone some of the most extensive worldwide human health, safety and environmental scientific reviews.

“The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently concluded its regulatory review of glyphosate, reaffirming that ‘there are no risks of concern to human health when glyphosate is used according to the label and that it is not a carcinogen.’

“Wheat growers work every day to produce a safe, affordable crop that balances crop rotation, input costs, production goals, and improvement of natural resources to protect the long-term sustainability of their farming operation. To achieve this goal, growers need all available tools at their disposal including glyphosate.

“Glyphosate is an exceptional product, relied on by many wheat growers including those working to implement conservation tillage practices and cover crops into their operations.

“NAWG acknowledges that in these settlements, Bayer has not admitted fault and has reiterated that glyphosate is not a carcinogen.”



INTL FCStone Inc. is Changing its Name to StoneX Group Inc.


INTL FCStone Inc. (NASDAQ: INTL) (the “Company”), a leading provider of execution, post-trade settlement, clearing and custody services across asset classes and markets worldwide, today announced that it is rebranding the firm as StoneX Group Inc. (“StoneX”). The StoneX Group name was approved by an overwhelming majority at this morning’s shareholder meeting and effective July 6, 2020 the Company will be traded under the symbol SNEX.

The StoneX Group name and its trade name “StoneX” carries forward the foundation established by Saul Stone in 1924 to today’s modern financial services firm. Today, the StoneX Group provides an institutional-grade financial services ecosystem connecting its clients to 36 derivatives exchanges, 175 foreign exchange markets, nearly every global securities marketplace, and a number of bi-lateral liquidity venues via its network of highly integrated digital platforms and experienced professionals. Our platform delivers support throughout the entire lifecycle of a transaction, from consulting and boots-on-the-ground intelligence, efficient execution, to post-trade clearing, custody and settlement.

Sean O’Connor, CEO, commented on today’s news, “Our firm has experienced transformational growth in recent years – in terms of the breadth and depth of our offering, our technology platforms and our global client base. This re-brand will help us better define and communicate our strategic focus on driving innovation and digitalization in the global markets going forward.”

In 2003, the Company set out to become a leading provider of financial services with the mission to meet the needs of underserved clients in specialized markets. As larger investment banks derisked after the financial crisis by withdrawing from markets, raising their minimums, and narrowing their offerings, the Company was able to occupy the gaps in the marketplace and seize opportunities left behind by these larger firms. Additionally and concurrently, as regulations and capital pressures drove mergers amongst smaller players in the industry, INTL FCStone Inc. became an opportunistic consolidator executing strategic acquisitions across business lines. These acquisitions all served as part of the Company’s transition to a global financial services firm that provides a unified digital platform that offers efficient access and connectivity to all major financial markets around the world. Simultaneously, INTL FCStone Inc. worked with larger institutions to meet their growing need for an institutional-grade partner to help them execute their market strategies and serve their clients.

“Our transition to the StoneX brand signals an exciting new phase for our company and our clients. We owe all of our success to our clients, and we will continue to put them at the center of everything we do as we pursue our goal of becoming recognized as a best in class financial services franchise,” added O’Connor.



Tuesday June 23 Ag News
2020-06-24T11:07

Nebraska Claims Home to the Good Life and Great Steaks!

The Nebraska Beef Council is teaming up with the Rural Radio Network to highlight the pride Nebraskans have for the state’s number one industry while also helping to place beef meals on the tables of those in need.

Using the message of “Good Life. Great Steaks.” the campaign is designed to raise awareness for the importance of the beef industry in Nebraska. As a leader in U.S. beef production, over eight billion pounds of beef from Nebraska are distributed each year across the country and around the world. The emphasis on beef production over the years has even earned Nebraska the nickname of The Beef State.

T-shirts are available for purchase online at www.nebeef.org or through any of the Rural Radio Network stations.

“When people think of Nebraska they think of beef. We’ve been raising cattle in our state for generations and as Nebraskans, we can be proud of that,” said Buck Wehrbein, board chairman for the Nebraska Beef Council. “The farmers and ranchers in our state take a lot of pride in supplying the world with a quality food source.”

Nebraskans can now purchase “Good Life. Great Steaks.” T-shirts to show off their pride for the state’s beef industry. Online order forms will be available at www.nebeef.org starting June 22nd. All proceeds from the shirt sales will go to the food banks in Nebraska helping to supply beef meals to fellow Nebraskans in need.

“Beef is a nutritious, high quality protein that is important to maintaining a healthy diet,” said Mitch Rippe, director of nutrition and education at the Nebraska Beef Council. “Food insecurity often leads to poor eating habits so this campaign will help keep nutritious food on the table for families throughout the state.”



NE Extension: Soybean Gall Midge Alert - 6/23/2020


On Wednesday, June 17th orange and white soybean gall midge larvae were found in soybean plants at the Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center near Mead, NE. Two days later small white larvae were found in Northeastern Nebraska. In addition, clear and white larvae were found in southwest Minnesota. On June 22nd, larvae were also found in plants in Ida County, Iowa and southeastern South Dakota. The occurrence of these larvae in soybean plants roughly corresponds with first adult captures in the area. Specific notes on each site are as follows:

Observations:

Northeast Nebraska: Larvae found on plants are mostly (75%) a mix of clear/whitish with a few that are orange in color.

East-Central Nebraska: Larvae have been found in soybean plants at several sites where adult emergence has occurred. Some orange or 3rd instar larvae are present at most sites. Larvae were often found next to areas with trees or dense vegetation. No signs of wilting in soybean plants.

Iowa: Orange and white larvae with tell-tale signs of infestation. Most of the larvae are white to creamy orange in color. No signs of wilting plants. Larvae have not been detected at some emergence monitoring sites. At least half of the sites in the area have had adult activity within the last few days.

South Dakota: White to clear larvae found in one site today in South Dakota.

Minnesota: Mostly clear to white larvae with some just beginning to turn orange in southwestern Minnesota.

Scouting

If you are scouting for soybean gall midge, you can confine your search to the first few rows of soybean field that are adjacent to a field that was injured the previous year. Carefully fold plants over and look at the base of the plants for a dark discoloration near the soil line. If you find a discolored area on the stem peel it back to determine if white or orange larvae are present.

Management

Many of you may be wondering about management strategies at this point in the season. With only one year of data it’s difficult to provide any strong recommendations. In 2019, insecticide applications in east-central Nebraska that were made 10 days after first adult emergence had a significant yield response. However, with adult activity occurring for more than 10 days and larval presence observed at most of the sites, it is not clear if applications made this late would have an economic return. To stay up-to-date on adult emergence, go to soybeangallmidge.org.



Aksarben announces postponement of 2020 Aksarben Ball to January 9, 2021


After careful consideration, and in light of the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns, the Aksarben Foundation and Aksarben Women’s Ball Committee have decided to postpone the 2020 Aksarben Ball to January 9, 2021.

“Rescheduling this event will enable us to provide the experience that our donors, guests and participants expect and deserve in a safe environment,” Sandra Reding, president of the Aksarben Foundation.

“Deciding to postpone our annual event wasn’t an easy call,” says Sam Hohman, 2020 Aksarben Women’s Ball Committee Chair, “we considered various options but ultimately felt delaying the event until January would be the best way to honor this year’s participants and give us all reason to come together and celebrate the community at the start of the new year.”

The Aksarben Ball is a statewide celebration which, for the past 125 years, has been bringing Nebraska’s civic minded families together to celebrate and recognize the spirit of giving in our state. The Ball format recognizes a number of families for their contributions to their communities and Nebraska. While the event raises money for Aksarben, the purpose of the event is to convene and honor families committed to the wellbeing of Nebraska.

Education is an essential part of workforce development and, for decades, scholarships have been at the core of the Aksarben Foundation mission. Each year, the Aksarben Ball raises funds critical in helping those hard-working students dreaming of a college education, but with critical financial need preventing their dreams from being realized. Thanks to our generous donors – we award over $1 million in scholarships annually. Every scholarship awarded through the Aksarben Foundation is funded entirely by donor dollars and helps these students attend the Nebraska college or university of their choice.

Original Event Date: Saturday, October 17, 2020
New Event Date: Saturday, January 9, 2021
Next Year’s Aksarben Ball: Saturday, October 23, 2021

The Aksarben Ball is held at the CHI Health Center in downtown Omaha.



Virtual Cover Crop Boot Camp Planned for July


An Online Cover Crop Boot Camp will be held in July, provided by Iowa Learning Farms and Practical Farmers of Iowa.  Billed as an event where ag retailers can learn to build a business case for cover crops, the program consists of three online sessions taking place July 8, 15 and 22, all at noon.

The series is designed to efficiently provide actionable agronomic information that can help independent and retail agronomists and crop consultants build their business through recommending and implementing cover crops.

“The needs of agronomists and advisers for information, practices, and business tactics related to cover crops has not been diminished by pandemic-related restrictions,” said Sarah Carlson, strategic initiatives director for PFI. “These webinars will provide ag professionals, who are working with farmers every day, with an opportunity to tune up muscle-memory about cover crops, learn from industry experts, and examine new ways to build their business. And they can join these lunchtime webinars from the convenience of their truck, office or living room.”

The series incorporates speakers from manufacturing, research, services, production and consulting, offering a broad spectrum of perspectives and information.

“In planning the agenda, our core team was focused on providing participants with a well-rounded picture of the economics and mechanics of cover crop implementation,” said Elizabeth Ripley, conservation and cover crop outreach specialist for Iowa Learning Farms. “Research has clearly shown multiple production, conservation and environmental benefits from cover crops. However, it is equally important to prove the business case for both agronomists and farmers. Participants in these webinars should plan to come away with information and tactics that will help them grow or build their conservation-focused line of business.”
Session details

July 8 – The Business of Cover Crops
Matt Carstens (president and CEO, Landus) and Lee Briese, (independent crop consultant with Centrol of Twin Valley)
Topics include: Cover crop benefits to consulting businesses; working with co-ops; client interactions and planning; and business case for conservation agriculture.

July 15 – Setup and Logistics for Cover Crop Success
Bert Strayer (cover crop lead, La Crosse Seed), James Holz (Greene County farmer and co-owner, Iowa Cover Crop), Dean Sponheim (co-owner, Sponheim Seeds and Services), and Nate LeVan (field agronomist, Pioneer)
Topics include: Fall and spring logistics; seeding preparation and process; coordination of services – termination, nutrient management, strip-tillage, crop scouting.

July 22 – Conservation Agronomy of Cover Crops: Start to Finish
Dave Schwartz (executive vice president of sales in plant nutrition for Verdesian Life Sciences), Meaghan Anderson (Iowa State University Extension and Outreach field agronomist), and Eileen Kladivko (professor of agronomy at Purdue University)
Topics include: Managing pests, residuals and herbicides; nitrogen management; and agronomics of cover crop advising.

To register for the webinars, visit https://iastate.zoom.us/j/364284172.

All sessions will be recorded and archived for later viewing. Only attendees of the live events will qualify to receive CCA continuing education credits for participating.

This Cover Crop Boot Camp is based on work supported by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. Additional partners include the Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance and Iowa Soybean Association.

For information, contact Ripley at 515-294-5429, or ejuchems@iastate.edu.



OCM to Hold Series of Online Discussions

First Topic will be Meat Processing and Inspection


The Organization for Competitive Markets has announced that its annual conference, scheduled for August has been cancelled.  In order to provide timely information and discussion of topics important to its members and to the public, OCM will be hosting a series of online events dealing with issues such as market access, consolidation, labeling, and meat imports, among others.

The first online event will be a Facebook Live discussion on the OCM Facebook page on Thursday, June 25th at 7:00pm Central time.  The topic of the event will be “One Size Fits All Food Inspection.”  The guest speaker for the event will be Dr. James Dillon, a veterinarian and military officer who serves as the Director of Meat Safety Assurance for the State of Texas and as a DIMA officer in support of Public Health Activity at Ft. Hood.

OCM Interim Executive Director Ben Gotschall will moderate the discussion, and requests than any questions for Dr. Dillon related to Meat Inspection or Food Safety be emailed to him at bgotschall@competitivemarkets.com prior to the event.

More topics and dates for future events will be posted on the OCM Facebook page and website: www.competitivemarkets.com.



NMPF “Sharing Our Story” Page Amplifies Dairy’s Voice


Supporting the hard work of dairy cooperatives and providing a voice for them on Capitol Hill are core parts of the National Milk Producers Federation’s mission. In conjunction with National Dairy Month, NMPF has developed a new “Sharing Our Story” page on its website highlighting its member dairy-farm families and offering a place where the latest and most compelling arguments on behalf of the dairy community can be found.

Leading the page is a revamped “Farmer Focus” feature, spotlighting the work of NMPF cooperative farmers from across the country. NMPF’s “Dairy Defined” thought-leadership series is also featured, dispelling myths about the industry and offering fact-based views on its current challenges through timely essays and a regular podcast. “CEO’s Corner,” a monthly column on the dairy policy environment from NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern, rounds out the page.

“Dairy has a compelling, and crucial, story to tell readers and listeners from farms and grocery aisles to Capitol Hill. It’s only fitting that we launch an effort to get the word out during National Dairy Month,” Mulhern said. “We hope visitors to Sharing Our Story will better understand all that dairy has to offer and be motivated to become an ally to the important work dairy farmers do every day.” 

The new page is NMPF’s second significant web addition this year, following the establishment of its special page devoted to dairy’s response to coronavirus in March. 



More Farm Households Reporting Off-Farm Income


Nearly half of all family farm operators and their spouses reported having a job off the farm in 2018.

The USDA reports that the majority of households, regardless of farm size, report that they work off the farm because it is more lucrative than farm work, provides more reliable income, and may offer health and retirement benefits.

Households had the option to report more than one reason for working off the farm.

Among small family farms--those with annual gross cash farm income (GCFI) under $350,000--about 88 percent of these households reported working off the farm because it was more reliable and 75 percent because it was more lucrative.

By comparison, among large-scale farm households--those with GCFI of $1 million or more--about 72 percent reported working off the farm because it was more reliable and 51 percent because it was more lucrative.

In addition, about 40 percent of all principal operators or their spouses who work off the farm listed farm-related financial stress, such as low commodity prices or low farm revenue, as a reason for having a job off the farm.



NGFA and NAEGA support U.S. Grain Standards Reauthorization Act of 2020


The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) and North American Export Grain Association (NAEGA) today said they strongly support legislation that would reauthorize and improve the U.S. Grain Standards Act.

The Senate Agriculture Committee will consider the bill reauthorizing the U.S. Grain Standards Reauthorization Act for another five years during a June 24 business meeting.

The Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) establishes official marketing standards for grains and oilseeds under the authorization of the U.S. Grain Standards Act, which was first signed into law in 1916. The existing authorization law, which passed in 2015 and included provisions to ensure uninterrupted export inspections, expires Sept. 30.

“Stakeholders – ranging from producers to grain handlers and processors to end-users and consumers – benefit when (FGIS) and its delegated and designated state and private agencies provide state-of-the-art, market-responsive Official inspection and weighing of bulk grains and oilseeds, and do so in a reliable, uninterrupted, consistent and cost-effective manner,” NGFA and NAEGA said in a June 23 support letter to Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.

NGFA and NAEGA said they support reauthorizing all expiring provisions of the current law for another five years, including: the ability for Congress to appropriate funding for standardization and compliance activities that have broad societal benefits, including to farmers and consumers; authorization for the USDA Grain Inspection Advisory Committee to operate; and the current statutory limitation on the amount of money FGIS can spend on administrative costs not associated with direct inspection and weighing activities.

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

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



Anticipating June 1 Corn Stocks


The USDA releases the June 1 corn stocks estimate on June 30. Typically, the Acreage report published on the same day eclipses the quarterly grain stocks report. While the Acreage report remains crucial for price expectations this year, the grain stocks report looks to hold some essential information on feed and residual levels for the current marketing year, according to University of Illinois agricultural economist Todd Hubbs.

"The drop in ethanol production and severe supply chain issues with livestock markets creates an expectation of expanded feed and residual use during the quarter," Hubbs says. "The following analysis presents an estimate for June 1 corn stocks under current feed and residual use estimates during the marketing year."

The corn supply available as of March 1 is the base for estimating June 1 stocks, Hubbs explains. Corn stocks at the beginning of the quarter totaled 7.953 billion bushels in the March Grain Stocks report. Currently, the Census Bureau estimates for corn imports are only available through April. In the first half of the marketing year, corn imports totaled 14.2 million bushels. Imports for the third quarter might have been around 7 million bushels. By combining imports with the beginning stocks, the total available supply for the second quarter comes in at 7.960 billion bushels.

An estimate of corn exports for the third quarter is based on the cumulative weekly export inspections estimate available for the entire quarter. Cumulative export inspections through May totaled approximately 1.096 billion bushels. During the first eight months of the marketing year, total Census Bureau corn exports came in 74 million bushels above cumulative export inspections.

"Assuming the margin continued through May, corn exports through three quarters of the year equaled 1.214 billion bushels. Since exports in the first half of the marketing year totaled 621.7 million bushels, the estimate for third-quarter corn exports equals 592.3 million bushels," Hubbs says.

The Grain Crushing and Co-Products Production report released on June 1 provided corn used for ethanol and co-product production during March and April. A drop of 26.7% from the previous year showed the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown, Hubbs notes. Corn used for ethanol production over the two months totaled 655.3 million bushels. Weekly estimates of ethanol production provided by the Energy Information Administration indicate ethanol production decreased by 33.7% in May 2020 from the preceding year.

"By calculating the amount of corn used to produce ethanol from these May numbers, corn used for ethanol production in May was approximately 308.3 million bushels if conversion rates remained similar to recent months. Total use for the quarter is estimated at 969 million bushels," Hubbs says.

Corn used to produce other food and industrial products during the marketing year is projected at 1.405 billion bushels by the USDA. According to historical corn use data, around 75% of the final marketing year food and industrial product use occurs in the first three quarters of the marketing year, Hubbs explains.

"If this historical pattern holds and the USDA projection is correct, corn use for the first three quarters of the marketing year totaled 1.054 billion bushels," he adds. "Corn use during the first half equaled 678.39 million bushels, which set the third-quarter use estimate at 376 million bushels."

The current USDA projection for feed and residual use sits at 5.7 billion bushels. An increase in corn use for feed seems possible given the lower distiller's grain production over the quarter, Hubbs notes.

"The historical pattern of feed and residual use in corn may provide some indication of the third-quarter use," he says.

For the five previous marketing years, use during the first three quarters of the marketing year ranged from 87.4% to 90.1% of the marketing year total with an average of 87.6%. Third-quarter feed and residual use ranged from 17.9% to 20.7% of the total use over this time.

"For this analysis, an 88.7% usage rate during the first three quarters is assumed to calculate expected feed and residual use during the third quarter," Hubbs says. "The potential for the percentage exceeding this level is quite strong at the current estimate of 5.7 billion bushels of consumption.

"If the USDA projection is correct, a use level near 1.13 billion bushels is expected in the third quarter. Feed and residual use equaled 3.93 billion bushels in the first half. This analysis indicates feed and residual use during the first three quarters of the marketing year totaled 5.056 billion bushels."

By adding the estimates for exports and domestic uses, the total consumption of corn during the third quarter is estimated at 3.063 billion bushels, Hubbs explains. The total use estimate for the third quarter places June 1 corn stocks at 4.897 billion bushels. At this estimated total, June 1 stocks come in 306 million bushels smaller than in 2019.

"A June 1 corn stocks estimate that supports the USDA projection of 5.7 billion bushels of feed and residual use during the marketing year is considered neutral for corn prices," Hubbs says.

"An estimate of corn stocks near 4.89 billion bushels would indicate that feed and residual use is on the pace estimated by the USDA for the marketing year. A substantial difference from the estimated third-quarter consumption indicates a deviation in feed and residual use estimates for the current marketing year," he concludes.



Develop Standard Operating Procedures to Encourage Farm Safety

Katelyn Hain and Angie Johnson, North Dakota State University Extension


The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the importance of risk prevention measures through universal protocols in everyday life, especially in situations of high risk.

In instances such as COVID-19, reducing the chance of transmission is critical in protecting all employees, but especially individuals who may be considered at high risk of developing illness or live with individuals who are at risk.

“Communicating expectations and having procedures in place helps all employees know what is expected of them and creates an environment that emphasizes worker safety and well-being,” Hain adds. “This is important in situations where there may be a higher risk of disease transmission such as COVID-19, but developing standard operating procedures is a proactive measure for everyday prevention of farm accidents and other biosecurity risks. While you cannot completely mitigate risk, you can take precautions to help lower risk.”

A standard operating procedure that carries beyond a pandemic is frequent cleaning of high-touch surfaces, especially in equipment that is run by more than one person or in shared spaces. Surfaces also should be disinfected in instances of higher disease transmission such as COVID-19.
High-touch surfaces in and on vehicles and tractors include:
    Door handles (inside and out)
    Steering wheels
    Keys
    Gear controls
    Center consoles
    Radio knobs
    Other control panel buttons
    Glove boxes
    Seatbelts

High-touch surfaces in shops and other farm buildings include:
    Door handles and control buttons
    Light switches
    Bathroom surfaces
    Shared tools
    Common meeting areas for employees (table and chairs)
    Kitchenettes (refrigerator door handles, cupboard handles, coffee pot, etc.)

To clean these surfaces, use warm water and soap and a microfiber cloth to remove dust, dirt and grime particles. Rinse with clean water after washing to remove soap residue, which could attract dust.

Be careful when using soap and water near electrical equipment, such as touchscreen monitors. Electrical equipment is sensitive to moisture, especially along monitor edges. Alcohol wipes may be a better option for some screens. Refer to your tractor or vehicle owner’s manual for proper cleaning procedures for electrical units and touchscreen monitors.

Once the dirt, dust and grime is removed, use a household disinfectant to kill bacteria and viruses on the surfaces. Do not use bleach or hydrogen peroxide-based disinfectants in your tractor and vehicle interiors because they can damage upholstery.

Touchscreen monitors should not be disinfected with ammonia-based disinfectants because ammonia can damage the anti-glare and anti-fingerprint coatings.

Follow disinfecting product label instructions for applying the disinfectant. Be sure to wear the proper personal protective equipment when applying the product.

“After you have cleaned and disinfected high-touch surface areas, wash your hands,” advises Angie Johnson, NDSU Extension’s agriculture and natural resources agent in Steele County. “Also, get into the habit of washing your hands before you enter and after you exit your tractor and vehicle.”

The agents recommend producers encourage everyone on the farm to wash their hands and use hand sanitizers when washing is not an option. Stock the farm shop’s wash station with soap and disposable towels, and provide hand sanitizer for employees to carry. Also clean workspaces often, and supply a garbage bag to throw away contaminated materials, such as gloves or wipes that workers can remove easily at the end of each shift or task.

In addition, create a cleaning and sanitizing record sheet. Producers and employees can record the date, time, equipment or tools and how they cleaned or sanitized the items. Keep this paper record in a binder in a high-traffic area in the shop.

Place stickers inside equipment to remind operators to wipe the steering wheel, key/ignition switch, gear shifter. Placing stickers inside equipment to remind operators to wipe the steering wheel, key/ignition switch, gear shift, door handles, radio and climate control knobs, etc. before exiting the equipment also can be helpful, the agents say.



US honeybees are doing better after bad year, survey shows

AP News

American honeybee colonies have bounced back after a bad year, the annual beekeeping survey finds.

Beekeepers only lost 22.2% of their colonies this past winter, from Oct. 1 to March 31, which is lower than the average of 28.6%, according to the Bee Informed Partnership’s annual survey of thousands of beekeepers. It was the second smallest winter loss in the 14 years of surveying done by several different U.S. universities.

Last winter’s loss was considerably less than the previous winter of 2018-2019 when a record 37.7% of colonies died off, the scientists found. After that bad winter, the losses continued through the summer of 2019, when beekeepers reported a 32% loss rate. That’s much higher than the average of 21.6% for summer losses. Those summer losses were driven more by hives of commercial beekeepers than backyard hobbyists, said bee partnership scientific coordinator Nathalie Steinhauer.

While the summer losses are bad, winter deaths are “really the test of colony health,” so the results overall are good news, Steinhauer said. “It turned out to be a very good year.”

Populations tend to be cyclical with good years following bad ones, she said. The scientists surveyed 3,377 commercial beekeepers and backyard enthusiasts in the United States.

“One would hope that a lower winter loss means a better 2020 assuming that the weather cooperates and beekeepers don’t end up skimping on colony management,” said University of Montana bee expert Jerry Bromenshenk, who wasn’t part of the study.

Beekeepers in the U.S. also may be taking more of their colonies indoors in the winter, helping them survive, said University of Georgia entomologist Keith Delaplane. New U.S. Department of Agriculture research suggests putting bees in “cold storage” helps them survive the winter.

For decades scientists have been watching the population of pollinators — crucial to the world’s food supply — shrink. Honeybees, the most easily tracked, are threatened by mites, diseases, pesticides and loss of food.

Loss rates now being seen “are part of the new normal,” Steinhauer said.



USDA Farmers to Families Food Box Program Reaches 20 Million Boxes Distributed


U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced today that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farmers to Families Food Box Program has distributed more than 20 million food boxes in support of American farmers and families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Over the past few weeks, the Farmers to Families Food Box Program has continued to pick up steam, getting food in the hands of more and more Americans while providing much needed support to our agricultural sector,” said Secretary Perdue. “This milestone is a testament that the program is accomplishing what we intended – supporting U.S. farmers and distributors and getting food to those who need it most. It’s a real trifecta, which is why we call it a win-win-win.”

“The Farmers to Families Food Box Program has been an extraordinary success having already delivered 20 million large boxes of farm fresh food to those in need! This administration is proud of the collaborative efforts of farmers, distributors, food banks, non-profits and faith-based communities and their workforces in dispersing fresh produce, protein and dairy to those most in need across the United States,” said Advisor to the President, Ivanka Trump.



Monday June 22 Crop Progress + Ag News
2020-06-23T03:27

NEBRASKA CROP PROGRESS AND CONDITION

For the week ending June 21, 2020, there were 5.6 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 8% very short, 30% short, 59% adequate, and 3% surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 4% very short, 21% short, 72% adequate, and 3% surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn condition rated 1% very poor, 4% poor, 21% fair, 56% good, and 18% excellent.

Soybean condition rated 1% very poor, 3% poor, 19% fair, 61% good, and 16% excellent. Soybeans emerged was 96%, ahead of 82% last year, and near 92% for the five-year average. Blooming was 16%, ahead of 3% average.

Winter wheat condition rated 3% very poor, 10% poor, 25% fair, 58% good, and 4% excellent. Winter wheat headed was 96%, ahead of 91% last year, but near 98% average.

Sorghum condition rated 0% very poor, 2% poor, 18% fair, 73% good, and 7% excellent. Sorghum headed was 2%, near 4% last year and 1% average.

Oats condition rated 1% very poor, 4% poor, 31% fair, 57% good, and 7% excellent. Oats headed was 84%, well ahead of 50% last year, and ahead of 78% average.

Dry edible bean condition rated 0% very poor, 0% poor, 23% fair, 67% good, and 10% excellent. Dry edible beans planted was 95%. Emerged was 82%.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 3% very poor, 6% poor, 20% fair, 66% good, and 5% excellent.



IOWA CROP PROGRESS REPORT


Statewide there were 4.7 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending June 21, 2020, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. There were several reports farmers found it difficult to spray their crops due to constant winds during the week. Fieldwork activities also included finishing up planting, harvesting hay and hauling grain.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 1% very short, 7% short, 83% adequate and 9% surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 1% very short, 6% short, 86% adequate and 7% surplus.

There were only a few reports of corn beginning to silk in parts of the State. Corn condition rated 85% good to excellent.

Soybean emergence reached 96%, 16 days ahead of last year and 1 week ahead of the 5- year average. Soybean condition rated 84% good to excellent.

Oats headed progressed to 71%, 1 week ahead of last year but 1 day behind average. Oat condition rated 83% good to excellent.

Ninety-three percent of the first cutting of alfalfa hay has been completed. A few farmers have begun their second cutting of alfalfa. Hay condition rated 75% good to excellent.

Pasture condition rated 70% good to excellent. No livestock issues were reported for the week.



USDA Weekly Crop Progress:  Good-to-Excellent Ratings at 72% for Corn, 70% for Soybeans


The condition of the nation's corn crop improved slightly last week while soybean conditions dropped slightly, USDA NASS said in its weekly Crop Progress report on Monday.  NASS estimated that 72% of the corn crop was in good-to-excellent condition as of Sunday, up 1 percentage point from 71% the previous week and well above 56% at the same time a year ago.  NASS estimated that 2% of corn was silking, slightly ahead of 1% last year and equal to the five-year average.

Soybean planting continued to inch toward completion last week, reaching 96% complete as of Sunday. That is 13 percentage points ahead of last year's pace and 3 percentage points ahead of the five-year average of 93%.  Soybean emergence was estimated at 89% as of Sunday, 23 percentage points ahead of last year's 66% and 4 percentage points ahead of the five-year average of 85%. Soybeans blooming was estimated at 5%, equal to the five-year average.  NASS estimated national soybean crop condition at 70% good to excellent, down 2 percentage points from 72% the previous week but well above 54% at the same time last year.

Winter wheat was 96% headed at the end of last week compared to 93% last year at the same time and a five-year average of 97%. Winter wheat harvest continued to pick up speed, moving ahead 14 percentage points last week to reach 29% complete as of Sunday, 3 percentage points ahead of the five-year average of 26%. Winter wheat condition was rated 52% good to excellent, up 2 percentage points from 50% the previous week.

Spring wheat headed was estimated at 12%, 10 percentage points behind the average of 22%. Spring wheat condition was estimated at 75% good to excellent, down 6 percentage points from 81% the previous week.

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Statement by Steve Nelson, President, Regarding Court Action Upholding EPA Order Allowing Use of Dicamba Stocks


“Nebraska Farm Bureau welcomes the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision denying an emergency motion that would have effectively overturned EPA orders and stopped farmers from using existing stocks of XtendiMax, Engenia, and FeXapan dicamba products. In response to a June 3, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling vacating the labels for these products, EPA provided regulatory relief to farmers by allowing them to use existing stocks of the products through July 31, 2020 as part of the agency’s cancellation orders. While we continue to review this ruling and other pending legal action related to these dicamba products, this is positive news, particularly for soybean farmers who fully expected to have the ability to use them for weed control this growing season.”



Statement on BASF Motion to Intervene Decision


BASF is pleased that the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit granted BASF’s emergency motion to intervene in the case vacating the registrations of three dicamba-based herbicides, including BASF’s Engenia® herbicide. We are also pleased that the court’s decision will permit the continued use of existing stocks pending further court proceedings.

The EPA’s order, issued on June 8, 2020, allows growers and commercial applicators to continue to apply Engenia in a way that is consistent with the previously approved label until July 31, 2020. The EPA’s decision to allow the use of existing stocks will help to save this year’s crops and save farmers’ millions of dollars in their investment in our product.

However, as the Engenia registration remains vacated as a result of the Court’s original decision, we seek a recall and stay of the Court’s mandate until BASF has the opportunity to challenge that decision. We are committed to pursue all legal remedies available to ensure farmers have access to the safe and effective crop protection solutions they have come to rely on, including Engenia herbicide. BASF will also continue to pursue EPA re-registration of Engenia for the coming seasons.



Judge Rules in Favor of the American Farmer Over California’s Prop 65 Labeling of Glyphosate


The National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG), lead plaintiff of the national agriculture coalition fighting California’s false and misleading Prop 65 labeling requirement for glyphosate, welcomes today’s ruling by U.S. District Court Judge William Shubb for the Eastern District of California. Judge Shubb decided in favor of the Coalition by granting summary judgment and issuing a permanent injunction enjoining the warning requirement of Proposition 65 as to glyphosate. Memorandum and Order Regarding Cross-Motions for Summary Judgment, June 22, 2020 (“June 22, 2020 Order”).

Two years ago Judge Shubb recognized that “virtually all … government agencies and health organizations that have reviewed studies on [glyphosate] have found there was no evidence that it caused cancer,” and on that basis Judge Shubb found that it would be “misleading at best” to force parties to state on glyphosate-containing products that the products were “known to the state to cause cancer.”  Memorandum and Order Regarding Motion for Preliminary Injunction, February 26, 2018, pg. 14 (“February 26, 2018 Order”).

In today’s ruling, Judge Shubb cemented his ruling, noting that developments since then “do not change the court’s conclusion that the Proposition 65 warning requirement for glyphosate is misleading” and that therefore the First Amendment prohibits California from requiring glyphosate-containing products to be so labeled. June 22, 2020 Order, pg. 19.

“From the beginning we made our case based on facts and science and this is a great win for wheat growers and farmers across the United States,” said Dave Milligan, NAWG President and Cass City, Michigan wheat farmer. “Backed by more than forty years of safety data, glyphosate is one of the most studied and closely monitored herbicides in the world.

In his decision, Judge Shubb ruled that the Plaintiffs prevailed on their claim under the First Amendment because a compelled false warning label does not directly advance the state’s interest. This is because “misleading statements about glyphosate’s carcinogenicity . . . do not directly advance that interest [to protect citizens from truly cancerous materials].” June 22, 2020 Order, pg. 30. He concluded once again that “the heavy weight of evidence in the record is that glyphosate is not known to cause cancer.” June 22, 2020 Order, pg. 27.

“In recent years, we have seen a drastic increase in consumer interest around climate change and the public calling on agriculture to use more environmentally friendly practices,” continued Milligan. “Glyphosate is a tool which can help meet these goals. It has become very effective in protecting the soil from erosion, and also improves soil fertility and water quality from increased use of conservation tillage and no-till farming practices.”

Additional plaintiffs include the Agribusiness Association of Iowa, the Agricultural Retailers Association, Associated Industries of Missouri, Iowa Soybean Association, Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, CropLife America, Missouri Farm Bureau, National Corn Growers Association, North Dakota Grain Growers Association, South Dakota Agri-Business Association and United States Durum Growers Association.



National Pollinator Week begins June 22


National Pollinator Week kicks off June 22 and runs through June 28. Since its unanimous approval by the U.S. Senate 13 years ago, the week is designated as a time to not only celebrate pollinators (such as bees, birds, butterflies, bats and beetles), but also a time to address what can be done to protect pollinators and their habitats.

The Nebraska Corn Board (NCB) has a long history of promoting pollinator health. Through key partnerships with local and national organizations, American corn farmers understand the importance of pollinators and are taking active steps to ensure their survival. For example, through its investments with the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), corn farmers across the country are adding milkweed and nectar plants in rural areas through the Farmers for Monarchs initiative. Farmers for Monarchs brings together farmers, ranchers, land owners, conservationists and businesses working along the agricultural supply chain to promote monarchs and their habitat. Additionally, through its investments with NCGA, several Nebraska corn farmers are proactive in implementing pro-pollinator best management practices by working with the Honey Bee Health Coalition and the Environmental Defense Fund.

“As farmers, we need to be good stewards of the land and maintain and promote our ecosystems,” said Brandon Hunnicutt, vice chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board and farmer from Giltner. Brandon also serves as the chairman for Field to Market, a national organization designed to unite the food supply chain to deliver sustainable outcomes for agriculture.

“For the last several years on my farm, we’ve been experimenting with pollinator habitats on the borders of our fields. Corn doesn’t depend on bees for pollination like some crops do, but they’re still an important component of our overall ecosystem. We need to protect all of our ecosystems to ensure the sustainability of our land for years to come.”

Earlier this year, NCB partnered with the Renewable Fuels Association, Renewable Fuels Nebraska, Pheasants Forever and the Nebraska Corn Growers Association to expand pollinator habitats. The pilot program, in collaboration with Field to Market, brings together Nebraska’s ethanol plants and corn farmers with a goal of meeting global ethanol demand without sacrificing wildlife and pollinator habitats.



NEBRASKA EXTENSION WEBINAR ON MANAGING RISK IN THE HOG MARKET THIS THURSDAY


The current pandemic and ongoing trade-related issues are presenting challenges and new opportunities in the hog market. A University of Nebraska-Lincoln webinar will examine available risk management tools and programs that can be utilized to better position hog operations in the global market.

“Managing Risk in the Hog Market” will be held on Thursday at noon CDT. It is part of a weekly webinar series produced by Nebraska Extension’s Farm and Ranch Management team in the Department of Agricultural Economics.

The webinar will be presented by Tim Hughes, who leads the hog margin management team at Chicago-based risk management firm Commodity & Ingredient Hedging, LLC. Additional insight will be provided by moderator Elliott Dennis, assistant professor of livestock marketing and risk management in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Department of Agricultural Economics.

The webinar will be held live on Zoom for approximately one hour, including time for questions from participants. Registration is open to everyone at https://go.unl.edu/manage2020. Additional information, a schedule of other upcoming webinars and recordings of all sessions in the webinar series are available as well.



NEBRASKA CHICKENS AND EGGS


All layers in Nebraska during May 2020 totaled 8.43 million, down from 8.87 million the previous year, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Nebraska egg production during May totaled 166 million eggs, down from 223 million in 2019. May egg production per 100 layers was 1,970 eggs, compared to 2,516 eggs in 2019.

IOWA CHICKENS AND EGGS

Iowa egg production during May 2020 was 1.19 billion eggs, down 3% from last month and down 19% 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 May 2020 was 50.0 million, down 5% from last month and down 15% from last year. Eggs per 100 layers for May were 2,373, up 1% from last month but down 5% from last year.

May U.S. Egg Production Down 5 Percent

United States egg production totaled 9.10 billion during May 2020, down 5 percent from last year. Production included 7.86 billion table eggs, and 1.24 billion hatching eggs, of which 1.15 billion were broiler-type and 85.6 million were egg-type. The average number of layers during May 2020 totaled 386 million, down 4 percent from last year. May egg production per 100 layers was 2,357 eggs, down 2 percent from May 2019.
                                   
Total layers in the United States on June 1, 2020 totaled 384 million, down 3 percent from last year. The 384 million layers consisted of 320 million layers producing table or market type eggs, 60.9 million layers producing broiler-type hatching eggs, and 3.16 million layers producing egg-type hatching eggs. Rate of lay per day on June 1, 2020, averaged 75.6 eggs per 100 layers, down 3 percent from June 1, 2019.

Egg-Type Chicks Hatched Down 13 Percent

Egg-type chicks hatched during May 2020 totaled 52.8 million, down 13 percent from May 2019. Eggs in incubators totaled 49.7 million on June 1, 2020, down 4 percent from a year ago. Domestic placements of egg-type pullet chicks for future hatchery supply flocks by leading breeders totaled 233 thousand during May 2020, up 8 percent from May 2019.

Broiler-Type Chicks Hatched Down 6 Percent

Broiler-type chicks hatched during May 2020 totaled 807 million, down 6 percent from May 2019. Eggs in incubators totaled 699 million on June 1, 2020, down 1 percent from a year ago. Leading breeders placed 8.19 million broiler-type pullet chicks for future domestic hatchery supply flocks during May 2020, down 7 percent from May 2019.



Calving Season Benchmarks

Olivia Amundson – South Dakota State University Extension Cow/Calf Field Specialist


Cows that calve on time are the number one indicator that cattle within that operation fit the managerial program. This happens simply from timely reproduction. Reproductive performance of an operation is important to the overall success and bottom line of that operation. Benchmarking may be beneficial as it can help focus limited management time on critical areas of an individual’s beef cow business. This year may provide opportunity to define an operations bottom line through outlining the calving season. 

Mature Cow Herd

Calving distribution is one way producers can evaluate their herd’s reproductive performance from the previous year. The North Dakota Beef Cattle Improvement Association Cow Herd Appraisal Performance Software program (CHAPS) put out production benchmark data for calving distributions. According to CHAPS, 63% of the mature cow herd should calve within the first 21 days, 87% by 42 days, and 96% by 63 days of the calving season. If cows calving in the first 21 days is less than 60% and cows calving in the second 21 days of the calving season is greater than 25%, re-evaluation of the herd needs to occur.

First Calf Heifers

Heifers are traditionally bred to calve prior to the cowherd. Benchmarks related to first calf heifers include: 42% of heifers calving prior to their scheduled calving date, 76% of heifers by 21 days, and 88% of heifers by 42 days. The one group failing to meet these benchmarks are 3-year-old females. While every other age group has the largest percentage calving in the first 21 days, 3-year-olds have a larger percentage calving in the second 21-day period. 

Breeding back first calf heifers and 3-year-old females can be a challenge and can disrupt the bottom line if those females are open following the breeding season or calve late in the calving season. Correct management of heifers is imperative to maintaining herd longevity. Proper reproductive management of young females may include breeding 2-3 weeks prior to the mature herd to ensure adequate recovery time following calving. Others may challenge their heifers by allowing only a short (30-day) breeding period to push selection pressure on reproduction. Ultimately, young females are still growing and have higher nutrient requirements than mature cows following their first calving. Therefore, it is important to ensure they are receiving the adequate nutrition to meet their nutrient requirements to maintain reproductive success. Remember to separate young females from the mature herd during this time as nutrient requirement of cows is lower and overfeeding the mature herd can become costly.

Importance of Calving Distribution 

If a large majority of the herd fails to calve in the first 21 days of the calving season, those cows fall behind missing the opportunity to re-breed and subsequently, will fail to maintain a 365 day calving interval. Females that fall out of the desired calving window allow opportunity to consider managerial strategies to re-establish the desired calving distribution. It’s important to remain business minded when making decisions regarding the cow herd to ensure success.

So how can calving distribution effect the bottom line? Calf crops more uniform in size and age have market advantages and exceed returns over calves that lack uniformity in both age and weight. Therefore, more calves born earlier in the calving season wean more pounds of calf compared to calves born later in the calving season. At weaning, one day age difference can translate into 2.4lbs of weaning weight lost. If more than 25% of the herd is calving in the second or third calving window this leaves a large amount of pounds unpaid. Furthermore, research shows that females who calve in the first 21 days of the calving season remain in the herd longer.

Reaching Management Goals

Reproduction is the number one indicator of success on any operation. So how can some of these management goals be reached?
 1.    First, remain business minded. While we all have that favorite cow in the herd who may receive two or three breeding chances, it may be time to consider the financial implications she brings.
 2.    Second, set your goals. How do you want to see your herd perform? What benchmarks do you want to follow or set? How can you reach these goals and who can help you get there?
 3.    Third, make a plan. Decide which cows do not meet your production goals and disperse of them. Determine if the remaining females are in the calving benchmarks you desire. If those cows need to move up a cycle, consider using estrus synchronization to move those females back to the desired breeding season. If an estrus synchronization program will be implemented, consult your local Extension Specialist or Veterinarian to help set you up with an appropriate protocol and supplies.
 4.    Fourth, follow through with the plan. Ensure you have enough labor and resources to accomplish the job. Chose a breeding or bull let out day. If using a bull, ensure the amount of time the bull is out with the cows as well as bull/cow ratio is part of your management strategy and goals.
 5.    Fifth, confirm pregnancies in the herd. Once the cows are bred, have your veterinarian come and pregnancy check all the females to get an idea of the distribution you may have. Any females that are open allows that female to be sold as well as starts putting reproductive pressure on the herd.
 6.    Sixth, enjoy a shorter, more defined calving season.



Cattle on Feed Adjustments Continue

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


The cattle feeding part of the industry has been in the midst of dramatic adjustments over the last couple of months, just like the rest of the industry. USDA released its June Cattle on Feed report on Friday, June 19th and it showed some more adjustments, but this time back in the direction of normal.

After 2 months of 20 percent or more year-over-year declines in placements, May placements were down about 1.3 percent from the year before. May is typically a larger month for placements due to cattle coming off wheat pasture and other small winter grains. Its worth remembering the USDA's Cattle inventory report in January indicated 290,000 fewer cattle on small grain pastures this year, compared to last year. Fewer wheat pasture cattle likely contributed to the ability to adjust. Feeder cattle sales did start to pick up as May went on, as cattle previously held back had to move, some drought conditions likely moved some feeders, and some opportunities to favorable place occurred.

Placement weights are also part of continued adjustments. Slightly more placements, 5,000 head, were reported in the lightest, under 600 pound category. Placements were up 31 percent in Colorado, and were higher in every weight category. The increase in Kansas placements were in the over 700 pound categories. USDA reported 10,000 fewer cattle were placed weighing over 1,000 pounds, but that category was 105,000 head.

Marketings reflected packing constraints and came in at 72.5 percent of a year ago. But, May had 2 fewer slaughter days in 2020 compared to 2019 (20 versus 22). As May progressed packing constraints loosened and daily slaughter moved closer to year ago speeds. June 2020 has 22 slaughter days compared to only 20 in June 2019, so the next report's marketings will likely show the dual impact of improving slaughter speeds and 10 percent more work days in the month.

While the report indicated some getting back to normal, there remains a backlog of cattle due to the packing logjam. The calculated number of cattle on feed longer than 120 days is 5.1 million compared to 4.2 million a year ago. Most of that increase in over 120 days on feed are cattle that have been on feed even longer as evidenced by the number of cattle on feed over 150 days. But, cattle on feed between 90 and 120 days totaled about 1.65 million versus 1.79 last year. So, there remains more adjustments to come to work through the impacts of corona virus in the cattle markets.



USDA Cold Storage May 2020 Highlights


Total red meat supplies in freezers on May 31, 2020 were down 18 percent from the previous month and down 13 percent from last year. Total pounds of beef in freezers were down 13 percent from the previous month but up 2 percent from last year. Frozen pork supplies were down 24 percent from the previous month and down 26 percent from last year. Stocks of pork bellies were down 27 percent from last month and down 8 percent from last year.

Total frozen poultry supplies on May 31, 2020 were down 5 percent from the previous month and down 4 percent from a year ago. Total stocks of chicken were down 8 percent from the previous month but up 3 percent from last year. Total pounds of turkey in freezers were up 1 percent from last month but down 15 percent from May 31, 2019.

Total natural cheese stocks in refrigerated warehouses on May 31, 2020 were down 2 percent from the previous month but up 5 percent from May 31, 2019. Butter stocks were up 2 percent from last month and up 21 percent from a year ago.

Total frozen fruit stocks on May 31, 2020 were up 1 percent from last month but down 3 percent from a year ago.  Total frozen vegetable stocks were down 9 percent from last month but up 1 percent from a year ago.



Farmers Challenged to Take Action Against Yield-Robbing Pests and Resistance


Farmers often face detrimental losses when it comes to yield-robbing pests, but the soy checkoff and its partners in the Take Action program released free tools to use this week to mitigate crop damage and stave off resistance. From June 22 through June 26, university experts, weed scientists and advocates will come together for PEST Week (Pest Elimination Strategies and Tactics) to break down the pesticide-resistance challenge into manageable and realistic steps for farmers.

“PEST Week is really a reminder to invest in best management practices now to protect our yields, so we don’t pay for it later at the elevator,” said Tom Oswald, a United Soybean Board (USB) farmer-leader from Cleghorn, Iowa. “The resources that the Take Action program provides are unbiased and backed by the experts across the country and give us, as farmers, the information we need to manage our pests and defend against increasing resistance. After a tough spring, it’s more important than ever to take this seriously.”

Take Action is an industrywide pesticide-resistance management initiative funded in part by the soy checkoff and other endorsing partners including commodity groups, academic institutions and the leading trait and agrochemical companies.

It’s crucial to conduct midseason steps now, such as in-field scouting and using a different site or mode of action from the previous application, to minimize weed competition, disease and insect damage. Pesticide resistance can be even more costly and stems largely from ineffective applications and management — which the Take Action program has vowed to correct.

“It’s getting to the point where if farmers don’t deal with resistance, they will see major losses,” said Christy Sprague, a Michigan State University professor and weed extension specialist for Take Action.

Take Action’s partners compiled all the latest information from weed, insect and disease experts into a ready-to-read kit that farmers can download from the Take Action website or reference on the go in the Take Action app. Every small step farmers take brings large rewards. Every day during PEST Week, a different step in effective and responsible pest management will be showcased across Take Action’s social channels, encouraging farmers to follow along and take the week to level up their management plan.

To get a head start, Take Action identified and included a profile on each of the “Big Four” weeds, highlighting why they can spell trouble along with best management practices farmers can implement this season:

- Waterhemp — Catching waterhemp early is a necessity. That’s why Take Action has a weed ID tool both online and in-app. After it germinates, it can grow over an inch a day and becomes much more difficult to control after reaching 6-8 inches tall. Waterhemp is a high-volume seed producer and can continue to produce into the summer. Being small and light, seeds can be carried by the wind, so dedicated attention to identification and elimination is incredibly important, especially midseason.

- Palmer Amaranth — Palmer amaranth, also called pigweed, presents similar issues to waterhemp, being a high-volume seed producer. Germinating the entire growing season, one Palmer amaranth plant can produce 250,000-500,000 seeds from early May to mid-August, making this weed a high priority to scout for and manage during the season. Effective herbicide application is critical to control this invasive species.

- Giant Ragweed — With a large seed and later germination than other weeds, it is incredibly important to follow up a pre-emergent herbicide with a post-emergent application and different site of action to limit yield loss from giant ragweed in your fields.

- Horseweed — Also called marestail, horseweed has two primary periods of emergence: late March through June, and late summer into fall. This weed competes with soybeans throughout the growing season, reducing yield and interfering with harvest. Like others, it can produce up to 200,000 seeds that are transportable by the wind, which can lead to big problems. Using herbicide treatments in fields where horseweed seedlings are observed or with a history of horseweed control problems is one potent way to manage this pest.

If farmers consistently see large weed populations or weed escapes — i.e., weeds that survive after herbicide applications — they may be managing them ineffectively, which can increase the spread of herbicide-resistant seeds and make matters even worse. Prevalent resistance directly threatens farmer profitability by posing economic challenges, decreasing land values, increasing crop losses and other challenges.

The Take Action program resources are segmented by the specific disease, insect or weed problem that farmers may be facing in addition to providing content on general best practices and common mistakes.

Get the Take Action kit through the website, IWillTakeAction.com/kit, as well as follow the daily steps and tips for responsible management on Take Action’s Facebook and Twitter pages.



DMI Dairy Market Report


The worst of the coronavirus-induced plunge in the dairy economy may be over.

The sharp drop in dairy product prices in April, prompted by the pandemic, has been followed by a strong recovery in cash market prices in May that is continuing into June. Cash cheese prices rebounded dramatically from $1.00 a pound in the first half of April to record levels in less than eight weeks. Cash butter prices, to a lesser extent, have also rebounded from April lows.

This market turnaround has been caused by actions and developments that have reduced milk supply and strengthened dairy product demand. Dairy cooperatives widely implemented temporary base-excess price plans, while dairy farmers changed their feeding and milking practices and culled some additional cows. Government purchases of dairy products expanded substantially as Congress provided billions of dollars in emergency relief to the Department of Agriculture. More recently, food service establishments resumed significant dairy purchases to replenish empty stocks in anticipation of staged reopenings. And retail sales of key dairy products have been above year-earlier levels throughout the pandemic episode, as consumers largely went back to the basics of grocery shopping and home cooking. Dairy-farmer income will also be boosted by federal direct payments of $6.20 per cwt. for first quarter milk production. These developments together have improved the financial outlook for the nation’s dairy farmers markedly from how it first appeared during March’s collapse driven by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Click here to read the full report.... https://www.nmpf.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Dairy-Market-Report-June-2020-1.pdf



Holstein Association USA Virtual Meeting Slated for June 25


The National Holstein Association will host a Virtual Member Update Meeting on Thursday at 1:00 p.m. (EDT) in lieu of the organization's annual convention, which was canceled because of COVID-19.  The online presentation will feature addresses from President Corey Geiger of Wisconsin and the CEO's State of the Association Address.

There will also be a review of the 2019 financial report and various committee updates.  Interested members can take part in the meeting by going to: www.holsteinusa.com.



EPA Administrator Signs Proclamation Marking National Pollinator Week


Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler signed a proclamation designating the week of June 22 as National Pollinator Week. Administrator Wheeler is the first EPA Administrator to sign such a proclamation – joining leadership from the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), all 50 Governors and hundreds of governments and organizations around the world.

“Pollinators like bees and hummingbirds sustain nearly 80 percent of the food in our diets,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “I am proud to join Secretary Perdue, Secretary Bernhardt and our state and local partners in reaffirming our commitment to promoting pollinator health. By doing so, we are protecting human health, the environment and our nation’s food supply.”

Three-fourths of the world’s flowering plants and about 35 percent of the world’s food crops depend on animal pollinators to reproduce. Yet, pollinator populations are on the decline due to many stressors, including pests, poor nutrition due to loss of habitat, unnecessary pesticide exposure, pathogens and viruses.

EPA is leading several efforts to protect bees and other pollinators from pesticide exposure to ensure they can thrive in their habitats. In 2019, the agency updated its bee mortality data table to help farmers and beekeepers estimate how long a specific pesticide may remain toxic to bees and other insect pollinators following application to crops.

EPA is also focused on advancing public awareness of the importance of protecting pollinators. In March 2020, EPA launched a free webinar series highlighting ongoing work to promote pollinator health and habitat, which will continue through September 2020. This week the agency also renewed its memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Pollinator Partnership, a nonprofit organization that facilitates actions that benefit pollinator habitats.

To learn more about what EPA is doing to protect pollinators and what you can do help protect them, visit www.epa.gov/pollinator-protection. More information is also available about how DOI and USDA are celebrating the week.



New Data Shows Significant COVID-19 Impact on Bison Marketplace


The economic disruption impacting nearly all sectors of the U.S. bison business far exceeds the threshold required to qualify bison producers for assistance being offered to agriculture through USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), according to formal comments that the National Bison Association filed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today.

Bison were among the agricultural products excluded from USDA’s first round of CFAP relief in May. At the time, the agency said that insufficient market information existed to demonstrate that bison producers had suffered at least a five percent drop in price and income from the period between mid-January and mid-April.

However, producers excluded from the first round of assistance have until today to submit information documenting losses exceeding five percent. USDA will use that information to determine which agricultural commodities will be eligible for an additional $637 million in assistance.

Based on information compiled from a series of surveys conducted by the bison association over the past month, prices for live bison weighing between 400 – 800 lbs. dropped 37 percent for bulls and 25 percent for heifers in the period between mid-January and mid-April. Producers responding to one on-line survey indicated that feeding costs have increased by 12 percent per animal per day during that same period.

In a separate survey, farm-direct marketers form 24 states echoed the impact cited by the ranchers selling into larger commercial markets. The farm-direct marketers reporting live animal sales as at least 10 percent of their business reported that prices have dropped significantly. Thirty eight percent reported declines between 20-49 percent, while 24 percent of the respondents reported price drops exceeding 50 percent.

The bottleneck in processing capacity is creating significant economic havoc for farm-direct marketers. Even though the survey did not ask about difficulties in getting animals scheduled for processing, nearly one-third of the respondents cited that as a critical factor harming their business.

Farm-direct marketers selling to restaurants and other foodservice outlets reported a sharp drop in sales, with half reporting sales declines exceeding 50 percent. And, 63 percent of the producers participating in farmers’ markets said that they anticipate 2020 sales to be down by more than 20 percent.

The association noted that the criteria established by USDA for determining eligibility for assistance was challenging because most economic activity in the bison business occurs outside the January-April time frame each year. While the producer surveys did provide information documenting a strong impact, “That information also serves as a type of canary in the coal mine, exposing the explosive impacts felt beyond mid-April,” the association’s comments note.



Friday June 19 Cattle on Feed Report + Ag News
2020-06-20T04:26

NEBRASKA CATTLE ON FEED DOWN 1%

Nebraska feedlots, with capacities of 1,000 or more head, contained 2.41 million cattle on feed on June 1, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This inventory was down 1% from last year. Placements during May totaled 410,000 head, down 11% from 2019. Fed cattle marketings for the month of May totaled 355,000 head, down 38% from last year. Other disappearance during May totaled 15,000 head, down 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 640,000 head on June 1, 2020, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Cattle on Feed report. This was up 3% from May but down 3% from June 1, 2019. Iowa feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head had 575,000 head on feed, down 2% from last month and down 3% from last year. Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in all Iowa feedlots totaled 1,215,000 head, up 1% from last month but down 3% from last year.

Placements of cattle and calves in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during May totaled 75,000 head, up 21% from April and up 10% from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head placed 42,000 head, up 56% from April but down 7% from last year. Placements for all feedlots in Iowa totaled 117,000 head, up 31% from April and up 4% from last year.

Marketings of fed cattle from Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during May totaled 52,000 head, down 24% from April and down 39% from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head marketed 48,000 head, up 20% from April but down 31% from last year. Marketings for all feedlots in Iowa were 100,000 head, down 7% from April and down 35% from last year. Other disappearance from all feedlots in Iowa totaled 7,000 head.



United States Cattle on Feed Down Slightly

   
Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 11.7 million head on June 1, 2020. The inventory was slightly below June 1, 2019. This is the second highest June 1 inventory since the series began in 1996.

On Feed - By State (1,000 hd - % June 1 '19)

Colorado .......:              1,010             95               
Iowa .............:                 640               97                
Kansas ..........:              2,430             102               
Nebraska ......:              2,410              99                
Texas ............:              2,930             102              

Placements in feedlots during May totaled 2.04 million head, 1 percent below 2019. Net placements were 1.97 million head. During May, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 375,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 305,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 485,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 532,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 235,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 105,000 head.

Placements by State  (1,000 hd - % May '19

Colorado .......:                 210           131               
Iowa .............:                   75            110                
Kansas ..........:                  485           108               
Nebraska ......:                  410            89                
Texas ............:                  565            98         

Marketings of fed cattle during May totaled 1.50 million head, 28 percent below 2019. Marketings were the lowest for May since the series began in 1996.  Other disappearance totaled 66,000 head during May, 8 percent below 2019.

Marketings by State  (1,000 hd - % May '19)

Colorado .......:                  140            93           
Iowa .............:                    52             61            
Kansas ..........:                   365            83            
Nebraska ......:                   355            62            
Texas ............:                   315            65            



2020 Beef Ambassador Contest Winners


2020 Nebraska Beef Ambassador Contest was held virtually on Monday, June 15. Contestants participated in a media interview and prepared an issue response.  The Nebraska Beef Ambassador Contest provides an opportunity for youth to become spokesperson and future leaders in the beef industry. The winner of each division will receive a custom belt buckle. The Collegiate will be presented with a scholarship from the Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation after completing their term.

Collegiate Division

1st place – Dakota Lovett, Bladen
2nd place – Kaylee Wheeler, Wood Lake
3rd place – Aime Leandre Shimwa Wvuyekure, Lincoln

Senior Division

1st place – Savannah Peterson, Gothenburg
2nd place – Abby Scholz, Loomis
3rd place – Helene Keiser Gothenburg

2019 Nebraska Beef Ambassador Scholarship Winner

Sydni Lienemann from Princeton was presented the 2019 Collegiate Beef Ambassador Scholarship from the NCW and the Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation. Sydni is the daughter of Torri and the late Trevor Lienemann.

Sydni won the 2019 Nebraska Collegiate Beef Ambassador Contest last June and has been promoting beef at several events across Nebraska this past year. She spent many days working at the Nebraska State Fair in the Birthing Pavilion. The NCW Committee would like to congratulate Sydni and thank her for her passion for the beef industry.



25th Northeast Vet Tech class will be the first in new clinic facility


The Northeast Community College veterinary technology program will welcome its 25th class in 2021 with a new facility.

A vet tech clinic and classroom building is one of the components of the first phase of the Nexus campaign to build new agriculture facilities at Northeast. Site work is underway, and construction is expected to be complete by Fall of 2021. Other components of this phase of construction are a large animal handling facility, a farm operations building and office, a feedlot with a manure lagoon, and other structures for livestock and feed storage.

The veterinary technology clinic and classrooms are currently located in a repurposed 1920s era dairy loafing barn located approximately one-mile northeast of the main campus. The new building will be along E. Benjamin Ave., west of the Chuck M. Pohlman Ag Complex.

“We will all be together in one place,” said Dr. Michael Cooper D.V.M, instructor/director of the veterinary technology program at Northeast, when asked about the advantages of the new building. “So, if a student needs help practicing a skill, we’re just feet away versus miles away. If we need to look at an animal, it’s a five-minute job instead of an hour. If we must run lab work, our lab will be on site.”

The new building will also have more storage and dedicated space for specific services and equipment such as ultrasound. It will be near the large animal handling facility on the relocated Acklie Family College Farm site, so vet tech students will have more hands-on opportunities with large animals.

The current structure has served the program well, Cooper said, but it can no longer be retrofitted to allow for enrollment demand or new equipment.

Cooper first saw the building, often referred to as “the old farm,” when he interviewed for a full-time job at Northeast in July 1991. At that time, the College had been offering veterinary assistant training with three Madison County veterinarians serving as part-time faculty. One of those three veterinarians, Dr. Dennis Hughes, is now the Nebraska State Veterinarian. Another, Dr. Paul Sundberg, is executive director of the Swine Health Information Center. The third, Dr. Larry Moenning, continued to serve as an adjunct faculty member for the Northeast vet tech program until 2019.

“By 1994 or so, area veterinarians were asking for licensed veterinary technicians instead of vet assistants,” Cooper said, “and I started having conversations with Ag Dean Chuck Pohlman about making that change.”

The first vet tech students were enrolled in 1996, graduating in 1998. The first class had approximately 12 students, Cooper remembered, and enrollment grew gradually until about five or six years ago, when demand outgrew Northeast’s program. Nearly 50 students now vie for the 24 slots available each year.

“Part of the problem,” he said, “is that several area private vet tech programs have closed. Right now, there is no vet tech training offered in South Dakota and the only other program in Nebraska is the one at the University of Nebraska School of Technical Agriculture in Curtis.”

To meet the student demand and keep up with changes in veterinary science, Cooper has added space to the vet tech clinic. Originally, he had only a small area in the middle of the current clinic. With the help of Northeast building trades and electrical instructors and their students, he was able to remodel the west bay, which was once used to farrow hogs. In 2005, Cooper was successful in getting a $20,000 grant from USDA to reclaim the area on the east side of the clinic.

“That was an old hog finishing floor. When the weather conditions were right, you could see manure running down the wall. With help from the applied tech faculty and students, the manure pit was taken out, concrete was poured, drains were installed, and rooms were framed up for clinic use.”

“At that same time,” Cooper continued, “Faith Regional was taking the surgery equipment out of the old Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital and we were able to get several things from them, including two scrub sinks.”

These improvements have helped Cooper develop a well-respected program. Northeast Community College veterinary technology students are valuable employees of many veterinary practices across the region. Northeast vet tech graduates score well on the Vet Tech National Exam, with an 85.7% pass rate average for the past three years compared with a national average of around 70%.

“One of the things that has helped our program be so successful is the cooperation of area vet clinics,” Cooper said.” They provide internships for our students, often hiring them at the end of their internships. But, the program can’t grow without new facilities and we can’t keep up with modern veterinary medicine without a larger, better designed space.”

Cooper said the new facility will eventually allow the Northeast vet tech program to double in size.

“We will start slow, but when we have grown enough to justify additional faculty, we will be able to offer two classes a year, one starting in August and the other in January, doubling the number of graduates each year.”

The funding for the new veterinary technology building and other agriculture facilities will come from the College’s commitment of $10 million, as well as external fundraising to fill the gap. With a total project cost of $22.3 million, the College has raised enough funds to begin construction; however, fundraising for the Nexus campaign will continue, as more is needed for equipment, technology and furnishings.



Lifelong tie to agriculture leads to Nexus gift at Northeast


A lifelong tie to agriculture was instrumental in Dirk and Jan Petersen’s decision to invest in the Nexus project at Northeast Community College. The Petersens, who live in Norfolk, but own and operate agricultural land in Cuming County, are contributing $30,000 to the capital campaign to update the agriculture facilities at Northeast.

“Our College needs to be a torchbearer, leading the drive for agriculture,” Dirk Petersen said. “The Nexus project lays the foundation for now and into the future.”

Petersen has a degree in Agricultural Engineering from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and said he is the fourth generation of his family to be involved in agriculture in Cuming County, so he understands the importance of the industry to this area.

“Since northeast Nebraska is the agricultural center of the state and nation, both in crop and livestock production,” he noted, “it just makes total sense that we should focus on agriculture at Northeast.”

Petersen, a past general manager at Nucor Steel in Norfolk, has been a member of the Northeast Board of Governors for nine years. He said he has seen the need for modern ag facilities and updated equipment to train Northeast students.

“The Chuck Pohlman Ag Complex is a great building,” Petersen said, “but the rest of our current ag facilities are in severe need of upgrades. It is time for the board and administration to step up to provide 21st century facilities for our students.”

“We sincerely appreciate Dirk and Jan’s contribution to the Nexus project,” said Tracy Kruse, associate vice president of development and external affairs and executive director of the Northeast Foundation. “Dirk has been supportive of the project in his position on the Board of Governors and now personally with a financial donation. He really understands the need for improved facilities for our students, and the value that Northeast students provide throughout Nebraska.”

“Students who attend college here tend to stay here,” Kruse explained. “Northeast agriculture students are the next generation of farmers and ranchers, and the next generation of citizens of Norfolk and rural communities. They will send their children to area schools, shop at Main Street businesses and attend local churches.”

“It is vital that we train young people who want to stay in this area,” Petersen said. “This project fits in with ongoing efforts designed to attract and keep young people in the area. I encourage others to invest in the future of northeast Nebraska and agriculture through the Nexus project at Northeast Community College.”

The initial phase of construction of the project includes a new veterinary technology clinic and classrooms, a new farm site with a large animal handling facility and other farm structures for livestock operations, a farm office and storage. The new facilities will be located near the Chuck M. Pohlman Agriculture Complex on E. Benjamin Ave. in Norfolk. Site work began in April and construction should be completed by the Fall of 2021.

The funding for the new agriculture facilities will come from the College’s commitment of $10 million, as well as external fundraising to fill the gap. With a total project cost of $22.3 million, the College has raised enough funds to begin construction; however, fundraising for the Nexus campaign will continue, as more is needed for equipment, technology and furnishings.

In August 2019, 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 tracyk@northeast.edu, or call (402) 844-7056. Online donations may be made through agwaternexus.com. Checks may also be mailed to Nexus Campaign, Northeast Community College Foundation, P.O. Box 469, Norfolk, NE 68702-0469.



Vegetative Growth Stage Irrigation, Is It Needed This Year?

Steve Melvin - NE Extension Educator - Irrigated Cropping Systems


Late May and June 2020 have brought several days of excess heat and high winds with low humidity resulting in corn and soybeans using more water than normal. Combine that with the low rainfall levels and the crops on many afternoons are looking dry with that silvery look and some leaf rolling (keep in mind the water stress level when corn starts to roll it’s leaves is variety dependent). The result leaves every farmer wondering if they should have all the irrigation systems running or not.

Growers often start their center pivots early to incorporate fertilizer/herbicides or soften a soil crust to aid crop emergence and this year has not been an exception. Others, with furrow-irrigated fields, may make an early application, often before the crop actually needs much water, to consolidate the soil in the furrows so when the need for full irrigation comes the water will more easily run the full length of the furrows.

Aside from these non-irrigation applications, the question is, how much irrigation water will the corn need during the vegetative growth stage to produce optimal yields.

Growth Stage Irrigation Scheduling

Growth Stage Irrigation Scheduling for corn focuses on delaying irrigation and reducing nitrate leaching during the less sensitive vegetative growth period and fully watering during the critical reproductive growth stages. This strategy, called Water Miser, is based on research conducted by the University of Nebraska and elsewhere that shows corn is relatively drought tolerant during the vegetative period, but very sensitive to water stress during silking through early grain fill. Research conducted in the North Platte area has shown that irrigation could be reduced by 1 to 4 inches, compared to a fully irrigated crop, during the vegetative period without a significant yield reduction. Keep in mind that much of the water the corn is using during this growth stage is coming from the roots growing deeper each day into moist soil.

Reducing irrigation cost and lowering pumping are two important reasons to consider allowing moderate moisture stress on vegetative corn. Additional reasons include the possibility of lowering green snap potential and helping set the stage for easier irrigation scheduling. Reports have indicated that corn under moderate moisture stress has suffered less green snap compared to fully irrigated corn right next to it. Research studies have not been conducted to confirm this, but it does make some sense because the corn would be a little shorter and possibly less brittle.

Soil water monitoring data is easier to analyze if the crop has used some of the water in the 16 to 24 inch depth zone. The dryer zone can then be monitored with the sensors to see if the area gets wetter or dryer. If it keeps getting dryer, the irrigation system needs to keep running, however if it starts to get wetter, stop irrigating for a few days. Keep in mind that when irrigation is applied with a center pivot an inch at a time on the soil surface, the top foot will stay very wet all summer. Ideally the dryer zone should slowly expand deeper with the crop using most of the subsoil water by the time the crop matures.

The Water Miser strategy focuses on delaying irrigation until approximately one or two weeks before tassel emergence for corn, unless the soil-water drops to 30% of plant-available water in the active root zone. Once the crop reaches the reproductive growth stage, the plant-available soil water (in the active root zone) should be maintained in a range between field capacity and 60% of plant-available water. Usually the soil is maintained one-half to one inch below field capacity to allow for rain storage. After the hard dough stage, the soil is allowed to dry to 40% of plant-available water to reduce pumping and provide drier fields for harvest.

The past few weeks, leaf rolling during the heat of the afternoon has been common. Nebraska research suggests that some leaf rolling during the afternoons during the vegetative stage will not reduce yield significantly. Corn leaf rolling will often start in areas of soil compaction like field driveways or turn rows. These areas are usually small compared to the whole field, but are evident from the road. The bigger question is what is going on over the majority of the field. Soil water monitoring is an excellent way to know how much water is in the root zone and gives you, the producer, added confidence to delay irrigation.

In summary, research suggests that little irrigation is needed most years on corn during the vegetative stage to produce top yields in the eastern two-thirds of Nebraska on silt loam soils. Sandy soils or shallow alluvial soils with underlying sand, will need more irrigation of course, but keep in mind the research shows moderate moisture stress during the vegetative stage will not usually lower yields much if any. However, fields with lower capacity irrigation systems—especially in combination with sandy soils—will need to start prior to the reproductive stage to assure corn can be fully watered by tassel time. For more information about growth stage irrigation scheduling go to Irrigation Scheduling Strategies for Corn.  



NEBRASKA SOYBEAN BOARD MEETING

July 7, 2020

Meeting Location:
Holthus Convention Center
3130 Holen Ave.
York, NE 68467

Due to the limitations and following CDC guidelines and the Department of Health Services,Nebraska Soybean Board cannotallow gueststo attend the in-person meeting. To comply with theOpen Meeting act, please register to attend through Zoom, click here https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJIvfu2prTopE9Uh99pBl7Wf6MPLEdoxd4My.

Highlights of the agenda:

Financial Report
Committee Meetings - Research, Education/Communication, Domestic Marketing, International Marketing, Domestic Marketing
District Board Member Elections
Soybean Management Field Days Update
NSB At-Large Candidate Interviews

Future Meetings:

September 9-10, 2020 – Lincoln NE
November 23-24,2020 – Lincoln,NE



FMCSA Emergency Decoration on Hours of Service

NE Cattlemen newsletter

On June 8th, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced a modification to its Emergency Declaration that would extend it until July 14. Beginning June 15, the regulatory relief will be limited to motor carriers and truck drivers transporting the following freight:
-    Livestock and finished livestock feed; (Transporters of feed ingredients are ineligible for the relief.)
-    Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19;
-    Supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation, and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19 such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants.

FMCSA has concluded that there is no longer a need for emergency relief for the following items after June 15th:
-    Food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores;
-    Immediate precursor raw materials -- such as paper, plastic or alcohol -- that are required and to be used for the manufacture of certain regulatory relief items;
-    Fuel;
-    Liquefied gases to be used in refrigeration or cooling systems;
-    Equipment, supplies and persons necessary to establish and manage temporary housing, quarantine, and isolation facilities related to COVID-19;
-    Persons designated by Federal, State or local authorities for medical, isolation, or quarantine purposes; and
-    Persons necessary to provide other medical or emergency services, the supply of which may be affected by the COVID-19 response.



Nebraska Farmers Union PAC Announces General Election Endorsements


NEBFARMPAC, the political action committee of Nebraska Farmers Union, Nebraska’s second largest general farm organization with over 4,000 farm and ranch families, announced its general election endorsements today for Congress, the Legislature, Public Service Commission, State Board of Education, Public Power Districts, Natural Resource Districts, and County Commissioners.

Based on their position on family farm and ranch issues with input from county and district officers as well as state office staff, the NEBFARMPAC Board of Directors announced the following Primary endorsements, with NeFU members in bold:

Congress:
1st Congressional District:  Jeff Fortenberry, Kate Bolz
2nd Congressional District:  Kara Eastman

Nebraska Legislature:
Carol Blood, LD3
Mike McDonnell, LD5
Tony Vargas, LD7
Terrell McKinney, LD11
Justin Wayne, LD13
Lynne Walz, LD15
Sheryl Lindau, LD17
Helen Raikes, LD23
Anna Wishart, LD27
Elliot Bostar, LD29
Tim Royers, LD31
Steve Halloran, LD33
Dan Quick, LD35
Tom Briese, LD41
Susan Hester, LD45
Jen Day, LD49

Public Service Commission: District 2: Crystal Rhoades

State Board of Education: District 2: Lisa Fricke

Nebraska Public Power District:
Subdivision 1: Mary Harding
Subdivision 7: Sheila Hubbard
Subdivision 9: Jeff Mulder

Omaha Public Power District:
Subdivision 1: Amanda Bogner
Subdivision 2: Sara Howard

Lower Platte North NRD
Subdistrict 3: Andrew Tonnies
Subdistrict 7: Jeff Burling

Lower Platte South NRD
Subdistrict 5: John Yoakum
Subdistrict 6: Anthony Schutz
Subdistrict 7: Chelsea Johnson

Lower Elkhorn NRD
Subdistrict 7: Randy Ruppert

Papio-Missouri River NRD
Subdistrict 3: Larry Bradley

Upper Elkhorn NRD
Subdistrict 6:  Art Tanderup
Subdistrict 7:  Keith Heithoff

Lancaster County Commissioner
Subdistrict 2: Christa Yoakum

Gage County Supervisor
District 6: Don Schuller



The Iowa Swine Day 2020 is going virtual!


The ninth annual Iowa Swine Day, hosted by Iowa State Extension, will be available this year as a five-part webinar series of select speakers. Each weekly session will run from noon to 2:30 p.m. Central time and feature two speakers from the original lineup. Sessions are on consecutive Thursdays from June 25 to July 23. Thanks to Iowa Swine Day sponsors for the entire series and individual sessions, everyone can attend at no charge. See the updated agenda, list of sponsors and speakers, and registration information on the conference website http://www.aep.iastate.edu/iowaswineday/

Thursday, June 25, 2020 – 12:00 PM CDT - 2:30 PM CDT 
Global influences affecting the outlook for U.S. pork - Christine McCracken, executive director, animal protein, Rabobank
Battling ASFV in China: The challenges, risks, and rewards - Dr. Joseph Yaros, associate veterinarian, Pipestone Veterinary Services, Pipestone, MN

Thursday, July 2, 2020 – 12:00 PM CDT - 2:30 PM CDT 
Prevention and treatment of stress isn't just for pigs - Athena Diesch-Chham, clinical veterinary social worker, University of Minnesota, St Paul, MN
Wild pigs in Canada and what it means for the US - Dr. Ryan Brook, associate professor, Animal and Poultry Science, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK

Thursday, July 9, 2020 – 12:00 PM CDT - 2:30 PM CDT 
Are we going to keep “IT” out? Global status and trends of FADs – prevention, preparedness, and response - Dr. Paul Sundberg, executive director, Swine Health Information Center, Ames, IA
Host genetic response to PRRS vaccination and infection in sows - Dr. Nick Serão, assistant professor, Animal Science, Iowa State University, Ames, IA

Thursday, July 16, 2020 – 12:00 PM CDT - 2:30 PM CDT 
10 ways to reduce wean-to-finish mortality and how to implement them - Drs. Ryan Strobel and Chris Sievers, veterinarians, Swine Vet Center, St Peter, MN
Dietary feed technologies to improve pig performance under stress - Dr. Nick Gabler, associate professor, Animal Science, Iowa State University, Ames, IA

Thursday, July 23, 2020 – 12:00 PM CDT - 2:30 PM CDTRegister
How Iowa is preparing for a foreign animal disease - Jamee Eggers, producer education director, Iowa Pork Producers Association, Clive, IA
Experiences in COVID-19 diagnostics, and their direct application on the US Pork Industry - Dr. Rodger Main, professor and director of operations, Veterinary Diagnostic Lab, Iowa State University, Ames, IA



Master Pork Awards Nominations Due Aug. 1


Nominations for the 2020 Master Pork Producers, Master Pork Partners and Environmental Steward Award are now being accepted by the Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA). The submission deadline is Aug. 1, 2020.

The Master Pork Awards Program is a joint effort between IPPA and Iowa State University (ISU) Extension and Outreach. The program began in 1942 to help stimulate pork and lard production in support of World War II efforts. While program standards have shifted over the years, the awards still serve to promote diversity, efficiency and excellence in pork production in Iowa.

The Master Pork Producer award recognizes outstanding Iowa pork producers. Awardees will be evaluated based on their pork production statistics, and their commitment to We CareSM principles, which outline values in food safety, animal well-being, employee safety and health, community outreach and protection of both the environment and public health.

There are three categories for Master Pork Partner awards, which were first established in 2014 to recognize individuals who are not involved in day-to-day, on-farm duties and management, but demonstrate positive impacts on Iowa pork production through important partnerships with pig farmers. The additional categories are Veterinarian of the Year and Driver of the Year.

The IPPA Environmental Steward Award looks to recognize an individual who demonstrates the positive contributions the pork industry makes to the natural environment. Applications are evaluated on the following criteria: manure/nutrient management, soil and water conservation, air quality, public relations, wildlife habitat and environmental management innovations. The Environmental Steward Award was established in 2007.

The Master Pork Awards Program selection committee is made up of IPPA staff, along with staff from ISU Extension and the Iowa Pork Industry Center at ISU. The IPPA Environmental Committee selection panel will review Environmental Steward Award applications.

All award winners will be honored at the 2021 Iowa Pork Congress in Des Moines in January. The Master Pork Awards Program has honored more than 1,500 Iowa pig farmers over the years, and 13 farm families have received the Environmental Steward Award.

For more information, award nomination forms and instructions, and past award recipients, go to www.iowapork.org/producer-resources/ and click on the information on the left side of the page. You can also contact the IPPA office at 800-372-7675 or email info@iowapork.org.



ASA: Court Decision to Back Existing Stocks Authority is a Solid One


The American Soybean Association (ASA) is pleased that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has chosen to support the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) legal authority and deny a petition that sought to invalidate EPA’s Cancellation and Existing Stocks Order issued June 8. Congress has provided for the certainty needed by growers in critical times – like planting season right now – by equipping EPA with the “existing stocks” authority it exercised in its June 3 guidance to growers.

Additionally, during its series of late-night orders June 19, the Court granted both CropLife America’s and a Grower coalition’s requests to file an amicus brief. The grower request was filed June 16 by ASA, American Farm Bureau Federation, National Cotton Council of America, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Corn Growers Association, and National Sorghum Producers, and supports EPA’s existing stocks decision. That brief highlighted the devastating consequences that would result if the NGO’s request were granted and growers could not use existing stocks.

EPA’s long-established policy and practice under FIFRA provides for an orderly management of the distribution, sale, and use of existing stocks of a formerly registered pesticide product, including – as in this instance – in the context of vacatur. Immediately banning use of existing stocks of Xtendimax, Engenia, and FeXapan would have financially devastating consequences on America’s soybean growers, who have invested an estimated $3.35 billion for soybean seed in 2020 and hundreds of millions of dollars more in herbicides, labor, fertilizer and other costs, expecting that over-the-top applications of dicamba would remain lawful.

American growers and the public are fortunate that a proper administrative and judicial-review framework exists. Farmers use countless FIFRA-regulated pesticide products, including herbicides, insecticides and fungicides. They make planting decisions and significant, up-front financial investments based on the rules and regulations in place at the time plans are made. Soy farmers are dependent on those rules not changing in the middle of the game and are glad the Court got it right in these orders.



NPPC, AFBF FILE PROPOSITION 12 APPEAL


On Wednesday, the National Pork Producers Council and the American Farm Bureau Federation jointly filed an appeal, challenging California's Proposition 12, which imposes arbitrary animal housing standards that reach outside of California's borders to farms across the United States. By attempting to regulate businesses outside of its borders, California's Proposition 12 violates the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution. The appeals challenge, filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, asks the court to strike Proposition 12 as invalid. It is unconstitutional and seeks to allow a single state without any commercial hog production to regulate how farmers across the country operate, imposing prohibitive costs with no benefits.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2022, Proposition 12 prohibits the sale of pork not produced according to California's highly prescriptive production standards. The proposition applies to any uncooked pork sold in the state, whether raised there or outside its borders. Currently, less than one percent of U.S. pork production meets Proposition 12's requirements. To comply with Proposition 12, U.S. hog farmers need to start making investment decisions today to be ready by the implementation date.



USTR OUTLINES TRADE PRIORITIES TO CONGRESS


In testimony before two Congressional hearings on Wednesday, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer outlined a number of trade-related achievements, including agreements with China and Japan, as well as the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) deal which goes into effect on July 1.

On China, Lighthizer said he anticipates the country will meet its phase-one commitments, which includes the purchase of $40 billion in agricultural products, including pork. "I expect them to live up to the agreement. They have indicated they will," he said.

Speaking about the upcoming USMCA agreement, which will provide much-needed certainty for U.S. pork producers, he indicated the United States would take action "early and often" to challenge any violations.

The United States is currently in trade discussions with the UK and the EU, but Lighthizer indicated that deals were not likely before the November election and reiterated a commitment to ensuring U.S. agriculture exports are sold in both regions. "We either have fair access for agriculture, or we won't have a deal with either one of them," he said.

Lighthizer also spoke of upcoming trade talks with Kenya, as well as "phase two" agreements with both China and Japan. 



Thursday June 18 Ag News
2020-06-18T10:32

Rural Mainstreet Index Climbs for June: One-Third of Bankers Report Ethanol Plant Shutdowns

The Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI) increased to a weak level from May’s feeble reading. According to the monthly survey of bank CEOs in rural areas of a 10-state region dependent on agriculture and/or energy, June’s reading represented the third straight month with recessionary economic conditions.    

Overall: The overall index for June climbed to 37.9, well below growth neutral, but up from May’s 12.5 and April’s record low 12.1. The index ranges between 0 and 100 with a reading of 50.0 representing growth neutral.

“Even with a slight recent rebound in prices, farm commodity prices are down by 7.3% over the last 12 months. As a result, and despite the initiation of $16 billion in USDA farm support payments, only 3% of bankers reported positive economic growth,” said Ernie Goss, PhD, Jack A. MacAllister Chair in Regional Economics at Creighton University’s Heider College of Business.

This month bank CEOs were asked the current operation status of ethanol plants in their area. Almost one-third of bankers with local ethanol plants reported current production shutdowns, either permanent and temporary.

Farming and ranching: Farmland prices continue to slide, but at a slower pace, with a June reading of 46.8 up from May’s 39.7. This is the 78th time in the past 79 months the index has been below growth neutral.

The June farm equipment-sales index increased to a weak 32.8 from 21.9 in May. This marks the 81st straight month the reading has remained below growth neutral 50.0.

Banking: Borrowing by farmers expanded for June, but at a slower rate than in May. The borrowing index fell to 63.6 from May’s 72.2. The checking-deposit index declined to 77.3 from May’s 86.1, while the index for certificates of deposit and other savings instruments increased to 51.5 from 48.6 in May.    

More than one-fourth, or 27.3%, of Rural Mainstreet Bank CEOs expect farm loan defaults/foreclosures to be the greatest economic challenge for their area of the next 12 months.
 
Below are the state reports:

Nebraska: The Nebraska RMI for June jumped to 41.8 from 10.0 in May. The state’s farmland-price index rose to 49.1 from last month’s 38.5. Nebraska’s new-hiring index vaulted to 59.4 from May’s 7.2. Compared to 12 months ago, employment in urban areas of the state, was down by 8.6%, while jobs for rural areas of the state were down by 6.5%.

Iowa: The June RMI for Iowa increased to 39.4 from May’s 8.2 Iowa’s farmland-price index grew to 48.3 from May’s 37.9. Iowa’s new-hiring index for June climbed to 51.9 from 19.4 in May.  Compared to 12 months ago, employment in urban areas of the state, was down by 13.2%, while jobs for rural areas of the state were down by 10.9%. According to James Brown, CEO of Hardin County Savings Bank in Eldora, “We are closely monitoring the conditions in the ag sector to be sure we are adequately funded in our loan loss reserve.”

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.



Funding approved for watershed projects across Nebraska


The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced that five Natural Resources Districts in Nebraska received over $4.5 million in Watershed Flood Prevention and Operations (WFPO) funding. This funding will be directed towards developing watershed plans in the following NRDs:  the Upper Niobrara-White NRD in Chadron, the Middle Niobrara NRD in Valentine, the Central Platte NRD in Grand Island, the Lower Big Blue NRD in Beatrice, and the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) in Norfolk.

The LENRD received the WFPO funding to complete the Maple Creek Watershed Plan which will evaluate potential flood prevention, watershed protection, and agricultural water management projects.

Nebraska State Conservationist Craig Derickson said, “We look forward to working with these Natural Resources Districts on these new watershed projects. We saw how established watershed projects sprang into action last spring, following the bomb cyclone, reducing flood damages and protecting natural resources. These new projects plan to provide more benefits to more areas across Nebraska.”

LENRD General Manager, Mike Sousek, said, “This plan aims to reduce overall flood risk potential and support the largely agricultural economy in the Maple Creek Watershed.  With the help of the WFPO funding, this project will surpass previous planning efforts by focusing on the entire area, where previous studies have been smaller in scope.”

Four communities are located within the Maple Creek Watershed:  Leigh, Clarkson, Howells, and Nickerson.  The communities and area farmland have a long history of flood damages resulting from large scale watershed discharges and rainfall events.  This plan will help to further define the need for potential flood reduction projects to protect the watershed.



NeFU Foundation Donates to “Pork Cares” Program


Nebraska Farmers Union Foundation announced today they sent the “Pork Cares” project sponsored by the Nebraska Pork Producers Association a $1,000 donation.

The “Pork Cares” program makes it possible for Nebraska pig farmers to donate their pigs to Nebraska food banks.  The donated pigs are processed by the Loeffel Meat Laboratory at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln on East Campus.  The USDA inspected Laboratory has opened up to process and package 12 donated pigs a week to help meet the growing demand for food banks and food pantries. Nebraska food banks are helping get needed and appreciated pork into the hands of those in need.

The NeFU Foundation donation will be used to help cover the costs for transportation and processing of the donated pork to the food banks and pantries.

“The ‘Pork Cares’ program accomplishes a double benefit. First, it reduces the number of pigs that farmers might otherwise be forced to euthanize because of the decrease in meat processing capacity caused by COVID-19 outbreaks at meat processing plants. Second, it allows those pigs to be donated and processed for food banks that serve people in need across our state.  This program turns two bad outcomes into two good outcomes.  Hogs are not wasted, and hungry people get fed. We thank the Nebraska Pork Producers Association and all their pig producers as well as the University of Nebraska and the Loeffel Meat Laboratory and its staff for making this innovative and positive program possible,” said John Hansen, NeFU Foundation Secretary.

If you would like to donate, go to their website at: https://www.nepork.org/ . Or, you can make your check payable to NPPA - Pork Cares and mail it to:

Nebraska Pork Producers Association
4435 O St, Suite 200
Lincoln, NE 68510

Nebraska Pork Producers Association is a 501(c)5 nonprofit organization and contributions are not tax deductible.



Iowa Beef Producers Launch "Beef Up Iowa" to Help Feed Iowans


Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg and Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig today announced the Beef Up Iowa program to connect Iowa beef producers with food insecure Iowans. The program is a partnership with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa State University and Iowa’s beef producers, and is an initiative of Gov. Reynolds’ Feeding Iowans Task Force led by Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg.

Through Beef Up Iowa, students and staff at Iowa State University will process cattle from Iowa beef producers who have limited processing options due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The meat will be distributed to food bank and food pantry feeding programs across the state. The initial cattle for Beef Up Iowa will be sourced from Iowa 4-H and FFA members.

“From family farms to the grocery store shelves, to our family’s dinner table, our entire food supply chain has been impacted by COVID-19,” said Gov. Reynolds. “Beef Up Iowa brings high quality, nutritious beef to families in need of food security. I want to thank Iowa’s beef producers and generous members of the community who are all stepping up to help Iowans in need.”

“Once again the Feeding Iowans Task Force has found a creative way to help food insecure Iowans by leveraging Iowa’s extensive agricultural ties and developing mini-supply chains,” said Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg. “The Beef Up Iowa program is particularly important to me in light of my family’s ties to the beef industry.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shined a spotlight on the importance of Iowa agriculture and how our agriculture community continues to rise to the challenge of feeding those in need,” said Secretary Naig. “This program is a unique opportunity to deliver beef raised by 4-H and FFA members and processed by Iowa students to feeding programs across the state.”

Beef Up Iowa will officially begin when the first cattle are delivered on July 1. Processing will continue through the summer and for as long as funds remain. The beef will be distributed through the Iowa Food Bank Association and the six Iowa food banks that service the state.

Dr. Dan Thomson, chair of the Department of Animal Science at Iowa State University, said the program is based in service and in line with the university’s land grant mission.

“We are pleased to partner to serve Iowans in need,” said Thomson. “We have faculty, staff, and students involved in the process. A program like this not only allows us to serve our neighbors, it also offers hands-on learning to future meat scientists who may be inspired to open their own processing facilities in the future.”

How to Get Involved

Iowa food banks and food pantries have seen increased demand due to the pandemic while processing options for Iowa beef producers have decreased. Gov. Reynolds has allocated federal CARES Act funds from the state to help cover processing costs and provide beef to food insecure Iowans. However, there are costs associated with purchasing cattle, and the storage, transportation and delivery of the beef to food banks and pantries.

To donate funds to help support this program, visit the Iowa Cattlemen’s Foundation at donorbox.org/beefupiowa.

A summary of food resources available to those in need is available at coronavirus.iowa.gov.



Beef Quality Assurance Trainings Gradually Resume in Northwest Iowa


While COVID-19 has changed many things, major packers still require a current Beef Quality Assurance certificate from feedlot producers selling market-ready cattle. Beth Doran, beef specialist for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, said that’s why a set of certification workshops has been planned for northwest Iowa producers starting in early July.

“Five workshops will be offered in northwest Iowa to help producers renew an expiring certificate or acquire a new certificate,” Doran said. “We want to be sure opportunities are available for producers to be certified.”

The workshops are a collaborative effort of ISU Extension and Outreach, the Iowa Beef Center and the Iowa Beef Industry Council, and are scheduled for the following dates and locations.
    July 9, 7-9 p.m., Spencer, 4-H Exhibits Building, Clay County Fairgrounds; RSVP to 712-262-2264.
    Aug. 4, 1-3 p.m., Orange City, ISU Extension and Outreach Sioux County, Basement Meeting Rooms 2 & 3; RSVP to 712-737-4230.
    Aug. 5, 10 a.m.-noon, Orange City, ISU Extension and Outreach Sioux County, Basement Meeting Rooms 2 & 3; RSVP to 712-737-4230.
    Aug. 11, 10 a.m.-noon, Rock Rapids, Forster Community Center; RSVP to 712-472-2576.
    Aug. 26, 10 a.m.-noon, Le Mars, Convention Center (Lower Level); RSVP to 712-546-7835.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, preregistrations will be taken in the order received until room capacity is reached. Preregister no later than the Friday before the workshop you plan to attend. Walk-ins will not be allowed.

“We will implement extra measures to protect the health of all participants including social distancing, face masks for all, hand sanitizing stations, and materials/refreshments at each chair,” Doran said. “But, we also rely on each participant to evaluate their personal health before attending.”

Participants should not attend if they do not feel well, have COVID-19 symptoms or have been exposed to someone testing positive for COVID-19 within 14 days of the workshop. 

For more information, contact Doran by email at doranb@iastate.edu or phone at 712-737-4230. Registrants will be contacted should COVID-19 modify, change or cancel a workshop.

Those unable to attend an in-person workshop may complete their training online at https://bqa.beeflearningcenter.org/.



Options for Iowa State Fair 4-H Livestock Shows and Events Announced


The Iowa State Fairgrounds will host a Fair Special Edition: Iowa 4-H and FFA Livestock Show this summer, following the postponement of the 2020 Iowa State Fair.

The revised schedule for 4-H livestock shows will be spread out over three weeks and held Thursday through Saturday – Aug. 6-8, 13-15 and 20-22.

Due to safety concerns, there will be no in-person static exhibits or judging held on the Iowa State Fairgrounds this year. Virtual alternatives for those activities are still being considered and details will be released soon.

To limit attendance at livestock shows, youth exhibitors will be allowed to bring only two people with them. All attendees and exhibitors will be required to wear a wristband. The Iowa State Fair will sell wristbands to the public and will cap the number sold at 1,000.

“We can’t thank the Iowa State Fair Board and staff enough for their support and cooperation to provide an exhibition opportunity for our 4-H youth livestock members,” said Debbie Nistler, Iowa 4-H state program leader for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. “The life skills these young people gain from their livestock project experience is invaluable and the Iowa State Fair is the culmination of that experience.”

To protect the health and safety of everyone, this Special Edition show will follow all Iowa Department of Public Health and CDC recommendations for social distancing, handwashing and sanitization.

Information for 4-H families and youth exhibitors can be found on the Iowa State Fair 4-H Livestock page at https://www.extension.iastate.edu/4h/statefair/livestock.

For more information on the Iowa 4-H Youth Development program, please contact your county ISU Extension and Outreach office or visit the Iowa 4-H website at www.extension.iastate.edu/4h.



Growth Energy Condemns Oil Industry Plan to Rewrite History


Under mounting pressure from rural lawmakers and industry champions led by Growth Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today confirmed its consideration of 52 new so-called ‘gap-filing’ exemptions from the nation’s biofuel laws. According to the agency’s newly updated dashboard, oil companies have requested retroactive small refinery exemptions (SREs) covering periods as far back as 2011. The “gap-filings” are designed to reconstitute a continuous string of exemptions in an effort to circumvent court limits on new oil industry handouts at the expense of farmers and biofuel producers.

“This absurd maneuver is a blatant attempt to dodge the law at the expense of rural communities,” said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy. “EPA’s dashboard confirms that the refiners hope to rewrite years of history, just to bypass the 10th Circuit Court and push more biofuels out of the marketplace. It’s an insult to American farmers, biofuel workers, and to rural families struggling to rebuild in the wake of COVID-19 after years of regulatory abuse.
 
“EPA should reject this attempt to game the system. The last thing farm states need is another long legal battle fueling uncertainty in the agricultural supply chain. We agree wholeheartedly with Senator Grassley, who called on regulators to ‘publicly dismiss these ridiculous petitions as soon as possible.’”




EPA Considering 52 “Gap Year” Refinery Waiver Petitions; RFA Responds


In response to rising public outcry for greater transparency, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today disclosed that 52 new petitions have been received from small refineries seeking retroactive exemptions from their Renewable Fuel Standard requirements in 2011-2018. According to the Renewable Fuels Association, refiners are filing these “gap year” waiver petitions as part of a cynical scheme to circumvent the recent Tenth Circuit Court decision. In its January decision, the court overturned three exemptions and set a precedent for significantly curtailing the waivers going forward.

“Just when we thought we’d seen everything, the refiners have come up with another new scam to undermine the RFS. This ‘gap year’ waiver ploy is as surreal as it is appalling, and certainly the courts would frown upon EPA flouting another unequivocal decision,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “It is beyond absurd that refiners who didn’t even ask for an exemption or claim hardship in the past are now asking for waivers dating all the way back to 2011. EPA should swiftly deny these waiver requests and immediately adopt the Tenth Circuit decision nationwide. The agency should stop trying to rewrite history and start trying to follow the law.”

In ruling on a petition filed by the Renewable Fuels Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Farmers Union, and American Coalition for Ethanol, a panel of Tenth Circuit Court judges unanimously found on January 24 that EPA had exceeded its authority in granting certain exemptions. The court ruled that EPA may only consider granting waivers to refiners who have received continuous extensions of their exemptions each compliance year. The judges also said EPA may only grant waivers to refiners who demonstrate the RFS itself is the cause of “hardship,” not some other factor, and noted that EPA’s own analysis shows that refiners pass compliance costs on to their customers. EPA’s own data show that no more than seven small refineries could have possibly received continuous extensions of their exemptions. Yet, EPA has recently granted as many as 35 exemptions in a single year.

Now, in a brazen attempt to get around the court decision, refiners are requesting exemptions for past years so that they may claim they are eligible for future waivers because their exemption was “continuously extended” by EPA. RFA first exposed the “gap year” plot in a letter to Administrator Wheeler on May 22, and called on EPA to reject the secretive waiver requests outright. The Tenth Circuit petitioners—RFA, NCGA, NFU and ACE—and other groups sent another letter to EPA later, requesting specific information about the “gap year” petitions.

Refiners are apparently attempting to justify the “gap year” waivers by suggesting the statute allows them to file a petition “at any time.” However, the Tenth Circuit said the phrase “at any time” does not open the door for EPA to grant a petition regardless of when it is received. The court stated that “even if a small refinery can submit a hardship petition at any time, it does not follow that every single petition can be granted.” The court noted the absurdity of a broader interpretation of “at any time,” explaining that “[b]y that logic, the EPA could grant a 2019 petition seeking a small refinery exemption for calendar year 2009 – more than a decade after the fact.”

Approving “gap year” waiver petitions would also contradict EPA’s long-held position that “…petitions be submitted as soon as possible to enable the EPA to conduct its evaluation and issue a decision prior to the…compliance deadline…”

Cooper said granting the “gap year” waivers “would be akin to a principal changing a high school senior’s freshman biology grade from an ‘F’ to an ‘A’ four years later so the student can get into college. It’s cheating—plain and simple. Farmers and biofuel producers in states throughout the Heartland are likely to view the granting of any ‘gap year’ waivers as the last straw in an increasingly tenuous relationship with the administration.”

He also noted a recent comment by Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, who said “If the EPA ends up accepting these petitions, not only will they lose again in court, they will risk President Trump’s support in Iowa and other Midwestern states.”



NBB Calls on EPA to Reject "Gap" Small Refinery Exemption Petitions


Today, the National Biodiesel Board called on EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler to immediately reject the flood of 52 small refinery exemption petitions for compliance years preceding 2019 disclosed today. NBB renewed its request that EPA apply the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit's ruling in Renewable Fuels Association v. EPA to all pending exemption petitions.

Kurt Kovarik, NBB's VP of Federal Affairs, states, "EPA's consideration of small refinery exemption petitions going back to 2011 flies in the face of the recent 10th Circuit decision. By rolling back the clock, there appears to be no length EPA won't go to help refiners undermine the RFS. Make no mistake – this handout to the oil industry comes at the expense of biodiesel producers and soybean farmers across the country, and particularly the Midwest. Allowing these gap filings renders the program completely unpredictable for renewable fuel producers. The agency must immediately reject these petitions to restore confidence that it will abide by the law in administering the RFS."

In a June 1, 2020 letter to Administrator Wheeler, NBB wrote, "EPA's first step upon receiving any petition for a small refinery exemption should be to evaluate its timeliness and validity before transmitting it to the Department of Energy." The letter makes the case that "gap" petitions or resubmissions of previously rejected petitions are inconsistent with the 10th Circuit's ruling.




NCGA Board Elects Edgington to join Organization’s Leadership


The National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Board elected Chris Edgington to become the organization’s first vice president for the next fiscal year, which begins October 1.

“It is an honor and a privilege to be chosen by respected colleagues to help lead NCGA into the future,” said Edgington, who farms in Iowa. “The landscape facing farmers today is constantly evolving and presents new challenges and opportunities rapidly. Only by working collaboratively with our partners in industry, government, and the public can we grow markets for our growing crop. I am excited to be working with our leadership and our partners to develop new, effective ways to ensure a bright future for U.S. corn farmers.”

Edgington raises corn and soybeans along with his dad, brother and son. Chris and his wife, Vanessa, have two children, Alex and Elizabeth. In addition to his row crop operation, he gains insight into livestock through a small business run by his son.

“NCGA’s success has been deeply rooted in the men and women who have stepped forward and volunteered to take so much time away from their operations to serve as leaders for the good of all farmers. Today, the board voiced their faith that Chris will continue this proud tradition of excellence,” said NCGA President Kevin Ross. “His inquisitive nature and constant dedication will serve the organization well in this new leadership capacity.”

On the national level, Edgington chairs the Finance Committee.

On October 1, Ross, of Iowa, becomes chairman, and the current first vice president, John Linder of Ohio, becomes NCGA president. In October 2021, Linder becomes chairman, and Edgington becomes president.



USDA: May Milk Production in the United States down 1.1 Percent


Milk production in the United States during May totaled 18.8 billion pounds, down 1.1 percent from May 2019. Production per cow in the United States averaged 2,011 pounds for May, 31 pounds below May 2019.  The number of milk cows on farms in the United States was 9.37 million head, 37,000 head more than May 2019, but 11,000 head less than April 2020.

IOWA:  Milk  production in  Iowa  during  May  2020  totaled  451million  pounds,  down  2%  from  the previous  May according  to  the  latest  USDA,  National  Agricultural  Statistics  Service – Milk Production report.  The  average number of milk cows during May, at 217,000head, was down 2,000 from both last month and last year.  Monthly production per cow averaged 2,080 pounds, down 20 pounds from last May.



USDA Dairy Safety-Net Program Signup to Begin October 12 for the 2021 Coverage Period


The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) announces that Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) safety-net signup for 2021 coverage will begin October 12 and will run through December 11, 2020. DMC has already triggered payments for two months for producers who signed up for 2020 coverage.

“If we’ve learned anything in the past six months, it’s to expect the unexpected,” said FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce. “Nobody would have imagined the significant impact that current, unforeseen circumstances have had on an already fragile dairy market. It’s during unprecedented times like these that the importance of offering agricultural producers support through the delivery of Farm Bill safety-net programs such as DMC becomes indisputably apparent.”

The April 2020 income over feed cost margin was $6.03 per hundredweight (cwt.), triggering the second payment of 2020 for dairy producers who purchased the appropriate level of coverage under the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program. The April margin reflects a more than a $3 drop from the March $9.15 cwt. income over feed cost margin.

As of June 15, FSA has issued more than $100 million in much-needed program benefits to dairy producers who purchased DMC coverage for 2020.

Authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill, DMC is a voluntary risk management program that offers protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all-milk price and the average feed price (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer. Over 13,000 operations enrolled in the program for the 2020 calendar year.



Study Shows EU Intervention Program Wreaked Havoc on Global Dairy Prices; U.S. Groups Call for End to EU Dumping of Dairy Products in International Markets


An economic analysis published today shows the serious impact of the European Union’s Skim Milk Powder (SMP) Intervention Program on the U.S. dairy industry—especially to U.S. farm-gate milk prices—in the years 2016-2019.

The report authors conclude that the United States was “economically harmed by the EU’s Intervention program for SMP” in three ways. First, the EU program depressed the global price of SMP, which lowered U.S. milk prices in 2018 and 2019, contributing to a $2.2 billion loss of U.S. dairy-farm income those years. The EU program also artificially inflated its global export market share, resulting in drastically lower market share for U.S. dairy exporters and other SMP exporters and U.S. dairy export losses of $168 million from 2018-2019. Finally, the analysis shows that when the EU unleashed its stockpile of “Intervention SMP” onto the global marketplace, the disposal of the product had harmful effects on the competitiveness of the United States in historically important export markets including Southeast Asia.

In a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, the leading dairy trade associations in the United States—the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), and the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC)—point to this economic analysis as proof that the EU’s SMP Intervention program wreaked havoc on the U.S. dairy industry. In their letter, the groups urge the U.S. government to prevent the EU from using future Intervention practices to effectively dispose of publicly stockpiled EU dairy products at discounted prices in the international markets. In May, dairy groups from across the Americas joined to call for an end to the EU Intervention Program. 

“It is time for the EU to stop dumping government-purchased SMP on the world market and implementing policies that undermine global dairy markets under the guise of protecting its farmers,” said Michael Dykes, D.V.M., president and CEO of IDFA. “The EU program has harmed U.S. dairy export prospects by artificially inflating the EU’s market share and damaging the competitiveness of the United States in historically important export markets.”

“This report puts into hard numbers the bitter truth that U.S. dairy farmers already know: the EU’s dump of intervention stocks onto the world market depressed farm-gate milk prices in the U.S. in 2018 and 2019,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “Now, as farmers and cooperatives are working tirelessly amid a global pandemic to keep an essential food ingredient moving to those markets that need it most, it’s time to do the advance work necessary to ensure we don’t see a repeat of those harmful impacts from EU Intervention policy in the future. The EU SMP Intervention Program needs serious reforms and the Administration should examine the best tools at its disposal to help drive that needed change.”

“Europe’s SMP Intervention Program is just one tool in the EU’s arsenal of destructive trade policies meant to propel their dairy industry forward at the expense of the rest of the world. As the global dairy market reels from unprecedented disruption, and the consequences of the use of this EU policy to disrupt trade have become much clearer, it’s essential to drive forward reform of this program. Looking ahead, if the EU is allowed to again dump government stockpiles on the world market, it will harm U.S. farmers and processors and erode efforts to advance fair trade policies that create greater market access for U.S. dairy,” said Tom Vilsack, president and CEO of USDEC.

The EU tripled the annual ceiling of SMP Intervention purchases in 2016 from 109,000 metric tons (MT) at the beginning of the year to 350,000 MT by June 24, 2016. The EU continued its Intervention Program, accumulating the equivalent of 16 percent of the global market in government storage. As global SMP demand began to improve in 2018, the EU released its stockpile of SMP onto the commercial market. During the 18-month period from January 2018 to June 2019, the EU sold, via a tendering process, 379,453 MT of Intervention product, depressing global prices for SMP below what they otherwise would have been. The EU government implemented no restrictions to prevent the product from entering the global market. The SMP Intervention product entered export channels since the domestic market was not capable of handling this volume without an adverse impact on the domestic price of SMP, and hence the farm-gate milk price. Instead, the negative impacts were felt by others, including U.S. farmers and exporters, in 2018 and 2019.

The economic impact analysis, “Impact of the European Union’s SMP Intervention Program on the United States: 2016-2019,” was written by Kenneth Bailey, Ph.D. and Megan Mao, B.S., from Darigold, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Northwest Dairy Association based in Seattle, Wash.

The United States is now one of the world’s top dairy exporters, shipping high-quality, wholesome, nutritious dairy products to consumers in more than 140 countries. In 2019, U.S. dairy exports were valued at more than $6 billion, according to USDEC, an increase of 8 percent from 2018. U.S. export volumes of SMP/Non-Fat Dry Milk (NFDM) topped 700,000 tons for the second straight year in 2019.

Driven by greater global dairy demand, U.S. dairy exports have nearly tripled since the early 2000s, and the United States is now the world’s third-largest dairy product exporter behind New Zealand and the European Union (EU). As the global population continues to grow and consumers everywhere purchase more delicious dairy products to consume inside and outside of the home, the U.S. dairy industry will continue to advocate for a rules-based system of free trade that provides greater certainty and eliminates barriers for American producers and processors. This report concludes that the United States and other exporters are harmed when publicly stockpiled product accumulates and is disposed of on the global market.



Organic Farmers Association Calls Out USDA for Letting Down Organic Dairies


Today, Organic Farmers Association (OFA) delivered a letter to members of Congress asking them to ensure that the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) comply with the law and finalize the Origin of Livestock rule as soon as possible.

Yesterday, July 17, 2020, was the deadline Congress set for the NOP to finalize the long-awaited Origin of Livestock rule.  This rule is necessary to close a loophole in organic dairy standards that has supported the rapid growth of large organic dairies and consequently put family organic dairy farmers out of business across the country.

The letter, signed by 70 organic farm organizations from across the nation, strongly urged members of Congress, including members of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees, to pressure the USDA to make sure that the NOP complies with Congress’ mandate and finalizes the origin of organic livestock rule as soon as possible.  “The organic community is united in the immediate need for this rule.  We are disappointed this long-awaited deadline has passed without action from the NOP,” says Kate Mendenhall, Director of Organic Farmers Association.

“We have already lost many family organic dairies over the past few years as a result of this loophole and many more are suffering economic hardship.  The new rule won’t save organic family dairies, but it will sure help level the playing field and provide opportunity for a sustainable future,” says Ed Maltby, Executive Director of Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance (NODPA).  “It is past time for the NOP to finalize the rule and provide much-needed clarity requested by the organic community.”

Congress recognized the need to strengthen the organic dairy standards and included language in the FY 2020 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agency Appropriations bill requiring the NOP to issue a final Origin of Livestock rule within 180 days from the date of enactment.

Continued delays in implementing this rule will prolong the dire economics facing organic dairy farmers, as well as jeopardize consumers’ trust in the organic label. The organic community is gravely disappointed at the lack of attention and priority NOP has put on this issue and demand swift rulemaking and implementation.

Organic Farmers Association and the 70 additional organic farm organizations are united in their request of Congress to hold NOP accountable for bringing equity to the organic dairy standards. 



Americans Support COVID-19 Aid to Farmers; Trust Remains High


Trust in America’s farmers and ranchers remains high amid the devastating blow delivered by the COVID-19 pandemic. A new American Farm Bureau Federation poll shows 84% of Americans trust the nation’s farmers and the same overwhelming majority support financial assistance from the government for farmers struggling to keep from going under because of the pandemic.

“The results of the survey indicate a growing understanding of how important a stable food supply is to the health and well-being of our nation,” said American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall. “Shortages at grocery stores and other food supply chain shockwaves caused by the pandemic gave many people a new understanding of the crucial role of America’s farmers and ranchers and the importance of their survival through the COVID-19 economic storm. It is so heartening to know that through it all, the American people’s trust in farmers is unwavering.”

Many struggling farmers were left out of initial federal aid, and some who received assistance are still being hurt by COVID-19 losses. USDA estimates suggest the decline in commodity value alone for 2019, 2020 and 2021 production totals almost $50 billion. This does not include all of agriculture’s losses, which would be billions more.

When the pandemic prompted stay-at-home orders, the market for several crops disappeared almost overnight, causing prices paid to farmers to drop drastically. It came at a time when farmers were already facing economic challenges following two years of trade wars. Farm bankruptcies for the 12-month period ending March 2020 increased 23% from the previous year and are expected to climb higher as a result of the pandemic. Because the pandemic shockwaves continue to cause agricultural losses, the American Farm Bureau Federation is calling on lawmakers to address critical needs that still exist for farmers impacted by COVID-19.

More broadly, the poll also reveals that a majority of Americans, 59%, also believe the federal government should classify U.S. agriculture as a matter of national security to ensure a stable food supply. Addressing agricultural labor shortages, ensuring farm and food worker safety, and protecting trade partnerships to stabilize agricultural markets are all part of prioritizing U.S. agriculture.



ASA Hires Soy Policy Group’s First On-Staff Economist


The American Soybean Association (ASA) is pleased to hire Scott Gerlt, who will be the first person to join the organization in the role of economist. Gerlt, who lives in Missouri, starts July 20 and will be based out of the ASA St. Louis office.

Gerlt is highly regarded within agricultural economist circles for his policy work at the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI), where he has more than 10 years of experience including working with policymakers in drafting the 2014 and 2018 farm bills. In addition to his direct work in economic modeling for FAPRI, Gerlt has led research teams on grant projects and teaches undergraduate courses at the University of Missouri.

ASA CEO Ryan Findlay said, “It is exciting for ASA to find someone with both Scott’s policy experience and enthusiasm for working directly with farmers. Scott clearly believes in ASA’s mission and will be a great addition to our team."

Gerlt* grew up on a diversified farm with both row crops and livestock near Latham, Missouri. His love of math, economics and agriculture has been influential in forming his career path. In his role, Gerlt will provide insight on relevant agricultural economics and analysis of current and future ASA policy. The organization expects this position will also provide clarity to what ASA is requesting of policymakers and how it may impact U.S. soybean farmers and their communities.

Of hiring the association’s first internal economist, Findlay responded, “Having an economist on staff will enrich our internal discussion on issues and strengthen our public arguments for why policymakers need to take action on behalf of U.S. soybean farmers.”



National FFA Organization Celebrate 2020 Graduates Through Forever Blue Network


This spring, the National FFA Organization introduced a new online network to connect former FFA members and its supporters.

The FFA Forever Blue Network, is a professional and personal development platform that allows former FFA members and supporters of FFA to find ways to volunteer, serve as a mentor, post-career opportunities and much more. It enables users to network and share with one another ways in how to connect with local chapters as well as help each other out.

Now, the network is celebrating the newest FFA alumni members – the class of 2020, through the Grad2020 group. This group was designed to recognize this year’s high school and college seniors by sharing messages of support and providing a space for seniors to share their favorite memories of FFA.

Members of the Forever Blue Network can participate in this group and celebrate those graduating in 2020. This year’s graduates can post their senior pictures, pictures with their blue and gold, favorite FFA experiences, favorite FFA friends, favorite memories and more.

“We’re excited to celebrate our members who have graduated this year,” said Joshua Rusk, executive director of National FFA Alumni & Supporters. “Forever Blue Network allows our future leaders to connect with our current leaders within the agricultural industry and beyond and, through the Grad2020 group, we are able to celebrate our graduates while acknowledging their success.”

The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to more than 700,000 student members who belong to one of the more than 8,600 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The organization is also supported by more than 8 million alumni and supporters throughout the U.S.



Wednesday June 17 Ag News
2020-06-18T10:56

Nominations Now Being Accepted for Farm Service Agency County Committee

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Sarah Beck in Cuming County is reminding farmers, ranchers and landowners that nominations are now open for the 2020 FSA County Committee election.

The FSA County Committee candidate nomination period began on June 15, 2020. Nomination forms must be postmarked or received in the Cuming County FSA office by close of business on Aug. 3, 2020.

For election purposes, counties are divided into local administrative areas (LAAs). Each LAA nominates and elects one producer to serve a three-year term on the FSA County Committee. Each year an election is held in an LAA where a committee member’s three-year term is expiring. For 2020, an election will be held in LAA 3, which includes Wisner, Bismarck, Elkhorn, Monterey, and Lincoln Townships.

“Farmers and ranchers in LAA 3 are urged to participate in this year’s county committee elections by nominating candidates by the Aug. 3 deadline,” said Beck. “County committees are unique to FSA and allow producers to have a voice on federal farm program implementation at the local level.”
To be eligible to serve on an FSA County Committee, a person must participate or cooperate in a program administered by FSA, be eligible to vote in a county committee election and reside in the LAA in which the person is a candidate.

Farmers and ranchers may nominate themselves or others. Organizations representing minorities and women also may nominate candidates. To become a candidate, an eligible individual must sign an FSA-669A nomination form. The form and other information about FSA county committee elections is available at fsa.usda.gov/elections. Nomination forms must be postmarked or received in the local USDA service center by close of business on Aug. 3, 2020.

FSA county committees make decisions on disaster and conservation programs, emergency programs, commodity price support loan programs and other agricultural issues. Committees consist of three to 11 members who are elected by eligible producers.

For more information on the FSA County Committee election, contact the Cuming County FSA office at (402) 372-2451.



Aksarben announces the 2020 Aksarben Farm Family Award Recipients for 100 or 150 years of consecutive farm ownership


Each year, Aksarben pays homage to the dedicated and hard-working Nebraskan families who have met the incredible milestone of owning at least forty-acres of farmland within one family for one-hundred or one-hundred and fifty years, respectively.

The Aksarben Foundation, along with Nebraska Farm Bureau and the Nebraska Association of Fair Managers, announces this year’s 122 honorees for the Aksarben Pioneer Farm (100 years) and Aksarben Heritage Farm Awards (150 years).

Aksarben began awarding the Pioneer Award in 1956, and since that time, nearly 10,000 farm families have received the award statewide. The Heritage Award was established in 2014, has been awarded to nearly 100 farm families.

“We’re proud to recognize these Nebraska farm families each year. The dedication and perseverance demonstrated by these families is a testament to the strong Nebraska values that set our state apart and have been making Aksarben proud, for over 120 years,” said Sandra Reding, Aksarben Foundation President.

Due to COVID-19 many County Fairs are still questioning whether to have the fair this year. Instead of handing out the awards at County Fairs, we are working with both Nebraska Farm Bureau and the County Fair managers to get these awards out to our recipients across the state.

“Nebraska Farm Bureau will work with our regional managers, our county Farm Bureau leaders and county fair managers to set up times to deliver these prestigious honors! Nebraska Farm Bureau is proud to help sponsor these farm family awards and are happy to share in this tribute. Nebraska Farm Bureau’s heritage and continuous mission is to serve Nebraska farm and ranch families, and these awards recognize the commitment to preserve and build Nebraska agriculture for future generations,” said Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson.

To commemorate this milestone, each of these families will receive an engraved plaque and gatepost marker at the county fair in the county where their farm is located.

The Aksarben Farm Families for 2020 from eastern Nebraska include:
(** = Heritage Family Farms)
1.    Antelope County
a.    John and Patricia Sehi – Groveside Farm, John Albert Sehi Family, Established 1920
b.    Steven and Annette Rasmussen – Rasmussen Family Farm, Established 1920
c.    Chris Rasmussen – Rasmussen Family Farm, Established 1920                 

2.    Boone County
a.    Joseph and Connie Seier – Seier Family Farm, Established 1920

5.    Burt County
a.    Eugene Chamberlain – Chamberlain Family Farm, Established 1920

6.    Butler County
a.    Tamra Mick, Matthew Otto and Heidi Peeples – Otto Family Farm, Established 1904
b.    Ronald and Katherine Hotovy – Hotovy Family Farm, Established 1918
c.    Doug Gruntorad/Rosedale Acres, Inc. – Gruntorad Family Farm, Established 1917
d.    Lonnie and Kimberly Piitz – Henry Piitz Family Farm, Established 1915
e.    Lee and Mary Jo Fozzard – Fozzard Family Farm, Established 1919
f.     Carol Zimmer – Zimmer Family Farm, Established 1918

7.    Cass County
a.    Peters Family – Otto and Elsie Peters Family Farm, Established 1920
b.    Ellyn Meisinger and Aimee Cooper – Meisinger Family Farm, Established 1870**
c.    James and Michelle Group – John and Mary Group Family Farm, Established 1918

8.    Cedar County
a.    Wanda Philips – Robert Lenton Family Farm, Established 1869**
b.    Lawrence and Mary Ann Zavadil – Zavadil Family Farm, Established April 30, 1900
c.    Martin and Debra Sudbeck – Martin and Debra Sudbeck Family Farm, Established 1869**

10.  Colfax County
a.    Terry and Spring Wendt – Fred and Alma Wendt Family Farm, Established 1919
b.    Rudy and LaVaine Novak – Novak Family Farm, Established 1895

11.  Cuming County
a.    Bill McNamara – McNamara Farms, Established 1869**
b.    Tim and Sarah Rolf, Vincent and Agnes Rolf – Rolf Family Farm, Established 1920
c.    Tamara Sue Wendt Wheeler – Wendt Family Farm, Established 1869**

16.  Dodge County
a.    Bowman Farm, Inc. – Bowman Family Farm, Established 1865**

29.  Holt County
a.    Dan and Jean Roberts – Linza and Bertha Axtell Family Farm, Established 1919
b.    Jerry and Elaine Tasler – Tasler Family Farm, Established 1919

41.  Lancaster County
a.    Marilyn Nichols, Larry Williams, Joyce Britton – Williams Family Farm, Established 1869**
b.    Debra Schneider, Vera Ficke, Duane Burd and Beverly Nuttleman – Burd Family Farm, Established 1920

44.  Madison County
a.    Sherry Flood, Byron Flood, and Sarah Flood – Flood Family Farm, Established 1918
b.    Loren and Ruth Kment – Henry Amen Family Farm, Established 1916
c.    Derek and Jenny Zohner – Zohner Family Farm, Established 1905

46.  Nance County
a.    Elsie Siedlik – Pieczonka Family Farm, Established 1915
b.    Raymond and Betty Hebda – Uzendowski Farm, Established 1915
c.    Raymond and Betty Hebda – Shotkoski Farm, Established 1919

51.  Pierce County
a.    Dal Grooms, Cheryl Gerkins, Lori Gothier, Dawn Doherty and Kelly Hadid – Gerkins Family Farm, Established 1889
b.    The Home Place, LLC – Newton and Lula Lingenfelter Family Farm, Established 1920

52.  Platte County
a.    Larry and Lanette Stec – Stec Family Farm, Established 1904
b.    Mark and Jeanne Brockhaus – Brockhaus Family Farm, Established 1903                 

56.  Sarpy County
a.    Rodney and Maureen Nielsen – Nielsen Family Farm, Established 1920
b.    Elaine Startzer – Startzer Family Farm, Established 1920
c.    Kathlynn Wiese Haubensak – Wiese Family Farm, Established 1920

57.  Saunders County
a.    Louis Vanek – Vanek Family Farm, Established 1877
b.    James Kellner – Kellner Family Farm, Established 1920
c.    David Rezac – Rezac Family Farm, Established 1908

60.  Thurston County
a.    Leonard and Shirley Peters – Leonard and Shirley Peters Family Farm, Established 1919

62.  Washington County
a.    Jason Arp and Jennifer Arp – Arp Family Farm, Established 1920



Nebraska Farm Bureau Warns Imminent Legal Action Could End Use of Dicamba Stocks for Farmers in 2020


Nebraska famers could lose the ability to use previously purchased stocks of dicamba herbicides subject to a June 3, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that vacated the products’ labels. Following the court’s ruling, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued cancellation orders for the products, but in those orders authorized limited and specific circumstances under which existing supplies of the herbicides could be used, including an allowance for farmers and commercial applicators to use existing stocks through July 31, 2020.

On June 11, the Center for Food Safety and the Center for Biological Diversity, which filed the original suit, further filed an emergency motion in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals requesting the court enforce its earlier decision, which if granted, could override the EPA’s order and effectively end farmers ability to use remaining supplies. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is expected to rule on the emergency motion later this week.

“We are extremely concerned about farmers losing access to these dicamba products in the middle of the growing season. Right now, we are in the window in which these products can be applied. While the initial court ruling could not have come at a worse time, EPA’s response provided some relief to farmers who had already purchased these products for use. A ruling later this week impacting EPA’s cancellation order could be damaging to many Nebraska farmers,” said Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president.

Nebraska Farm Bureau has been working to ensure continued access to the product for Nebraska farmers. Tuesday, June 16 the American Farm Bureau filed an amicus brief, arguing farmers should continue to have the ability to utilize existing stocks of these products for the remainder of the growing season.

“Not only are farmers facing a difficult situation, it’s possible many aren’t fully aware of these most recent legal developments that could eliminate the relief EPA provided in the orders allowing utilization through July 31,” said Nelson. “It’s important farmers are aware of the situation so they can act accordingly given the time sensitive nature and limited window for application of these products.”



“Respect EPA’s Dicamba Decision & Protect Farmers’ Livelihoods During Growing Season”


A coalition of national grower trade associations that represents farmers, ranchers, and their families nationwide is urging the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to reject an NGO call to invalidate EPA’s dicamba existing stocks order for three dicamba products whose registrations were immediately vacated by the court earlier this month.

American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, National Cotton Council of America, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Corn Growers Association, and National Sorghum Producers have filed an amicus brief supporting EPA’s position against the NGO petition that seeks to invalidate EPA’s dicamba existing stocks order and hold the agency in contempt, citing the catastrophic consequences that could result if the NGO’s request is granted.

The grower coalition’s brief, filed June 16, makes a case for farmers caught in a highly frustrating and costly situation amid prime planting season and the narrow weed-control window: “Neither a midseason cancellation nor a vacatur unplants a seed, retroactively tills a field, or clears a storehouse of products purchased for lawful use under the prior registration.”

Immediately banning use of existing stocks of Xtendimax, Engenia, and FeXapan would financially devastate America’s soybean and cotton growers, who have invested an estimated $4.28 billion in seed and hundreds of millions on herbicides. An estimated 64 million acres of dicamba-tolerant seed is already in the ground—importantly, with no viable weed control alternative that can realistically be deployed over the next several weeks. Expected yield loss for soy and cotton is as high as 50%, with respective losses estimated at as much as $10 billion and $800 million.

If the court chooses to grant the NGO’s emergency motion, it will add financial insult to sustained injury. The economic damage that would be caused would exacerbate an already tenuous economic situation for America’s farmers, who face depressed market prices and increased uncertainty in commodity markets due to ongoing trade tensions and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Further, granting the petitioners’ requested relief would (1) plunge the agricultural community back into the widespread uncertainty and confusion it experienced in the period between the court’s vacatur and EPA’s Cancellation Order and, even more critical to the long-term viability of the agriculture industry, (2) set a damaging precedent, short circuiting the proper administrative and judicial review framework that Congress prescribed for existing stocks under FIFRA. Farmers use countless FIFRA-regulated pesticide products, including herbicides, insecticides and fungicides. This decision could set a disruptive precedent with profound, long-term consequences for all farmers and ranchers for years to come.

Investments and planting decisions have been made, and most planting has been completed—all based on the realistic expectation that over-the-top application of these dicamba products would be possible through the growing season. The court should respect EPA’s expertise in managing existing stocks of these formerly registered pesticide products and deny the emergency motion pending against EPA.



EPA Administrator Wheeler Appoints New Members from Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas to Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Committee


Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler is announcing the appointment of four new members from Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas to the Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Committee (FRRCC). Established in 2008, the FRRCC is a federal advisory committee that provides independent policy advice, information and recommendations to the EPA administrator on a range of environmental issues and policies that are of importance to agriculture and rural communities.

“One of my priorities for EPA has been to restore trust for our Agency among agricultural stakeholders and rural communities,” Wheeler said. “President Trump has been clear about the administration’s commitment to agriculture and rural America, and as part of that commitment, I am excited to reinstate the Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Committee in 2020 with full membership. This committee will provide valuable input on how EPA’s decisions impact rural America, and I look forward to receiving the committee’s recommendations.”

“Within Region 7, agriculture is our largest industry and predominant land use with more than 286,000 farm operations across Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Jim Gulliford. “EPA strives to deliver innovative environmental solutions that work for rural America, and I am pleased to have voices from our region on the committee to help achieve this goal.”

The new FRRCC members selected from Region 7 states are:
    William (Bill) Couser - Couser Cattle Company; Nevada, Iowa
    Nicholas McCarthy - Central Valley Ag Cooperative; York, Nebraska
    Jesse McCurry - Kansas Grain Sorghum Commission and Kansas Grain Sorghum Producers Association; Colwich, Kansas
    William R. Pracht – Pracht Farms and East Kansas Agri-Energy; Garnett, Kansas

To build a broad and balanced representation of perspectives for the FRRCC, EPA selected 33 members across the nation to represent a variety of relevant sectors from across the U.S., including agricultural stakeholders and allied industries; academia; state, local, and tribal government; and nongovernmental organizations. In selecting committee members, EPA reviewed the quality of applications received between Nov. 7 and Dec. 31, 2019, for nearly 150 nominations and considered qualifications such as: whether candidates have experience in agricultural issues of relevance to EPA programs; are actively engaged in agricultural production; have related leadership experience; demonstrated ability to examine and analyze complex environmental issues with objectivity and integrity; have experience working on issues where building consensus is necessary; and are able to volunteer time to the committee’s activities.

The committee had no current members at the time of solicitation; therefore, these 33 nominees will constitute a new committee and each serve two- or three-year terms beginning on June 15, 2020. The new members of the FRRCC hail from 24 states and one territory in all 10 EPA Regions, with six of the members working in multiple states or at a national capacity. The committee expects to meet approximately twice a year beginning in late summer 2020.

For further information or a full list of all FRRCC members selected:
    Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Committee (FRRCC) website: www.epa.gov/faca/frrcc
    General information on federal advisory committees at EPA: www.epa.gov/faca



Midwest Dairy Takes Dairy Experience Forum Virtual


Midwest Dairy announced registration is now open for the third annual Dairy Experience Forum to be held virtually on July 15. This one-day, online event will take place in three, 90-minute segments, featuring industry experts who will share actionable consumer insights, future forecasting and thought leadership--all to help the dairy supply chain drive demand during today's rapidly changing food and beverage climate. Discussions will address questions such as "How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted food and beverage trends?" and "What's next for dairy?"

"Building on the foundation of the past two Dairy Experience Forum events, we're proud to bring representatives from the entire dairy supply chain together once again, especially given current circumstances and the rapidly changing shopping habits of consumers," said Molly Pelzer, CEO, Midwest Dairy. "During these challenging times, it's crucial we remain at the forefront of inspiring thought provoking conversations that will drive dairy innovation and fuel dairy demand. We're excited to bring this virtual format that will offer people across our 10-state region the opportunity to join these dynamic discussions from the comfort of their own home."

The 2020 Dairy Experience Forum will begin with a live consumer focus group where attendees will hear first-hand from consumers about how they make their purchasing decisions, how their shopping behaviors may have changed due to COVID-19 and their thoughts around dairy products and farming. Following the focus group, there will be virtual small group breakout sessions to discuss the information that was shared and brainstorm how the supply chain can learn from and use these key learnings to continue to connect with consumers and increase demand.

Other presentations will include:
- "The New Normal: Post-COVID-19 and the Dairy Category," presentation from Larry Levin, executive vice president of market and shopper intelligence at IRI. With milk currently one of the top 10 fastest growing e-commerce categories -- it's up 279 percent from one year ago -- and dairy outpacing total store dollar growth since the beginning of the pandemic, Levin will explore areas of opportunity for maintaining the category growth seen in-store and online during the pandemic.

- The Environmental Solutions Panel, comprised of a dairy farmer, cooperative processor and consumer branded product manufacturer will discuss how dairy is the environmental solution when it comes to producing food that is good for consumers and good for the planet, digging into the industry's 2050 Environmental Stewardship Goals.

- Food trend expert Mike Lee will take a deep dive into how the 21st century eater is shaping the future of food and dairy, as consumers disrupt the marketplace and demand that food fulfills their needs at the intersection of health, sustainability and experience.

- "The Secret to Navigating Change," will come from Harris Ill, who will share about how important it is to tell your own story to create clarity and navigate change.

"This annual event provides important insights that spark continued conversations with dairy farmers and the dairy supply chain for months to come. It also provides an opportunity for us to come together and discuss how we can collaborate to build a strong future," said Allen Merrill, corporate board chairman, Midwest Dairy. "I look forward to this year's lineup of experts that are sure to push us outside of our comfort zones and move the dairy community forward together."

Dairy farmers and industry members alike can register by visiting www.dairyexperienceforum.com.



Weekly Ethanol Production for 6/12/2020


According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending June 12, ethanol production rose 0.5%, or 4,000 barrels per day (b/d), to 841,000 b/d—equivalent to 35.32 million gallons daily and a twelve-week high. However, production remains tempered due to COVID-19 disruptions, coming in 22.2% below the same week in 2019. The four-week average ethanol production rate increased 6.0% to 792,000 b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 12.14 billion gallons.

Ethanol stocks declined 2.1% to 21.3 million barrels, the lowest reserves this year and 1.2% below year-ago volumes. Inventories tightened in the East Coast (PADD 1) and Midwest (PADD 2) but increased across the other regions.

The volume of gasoline supplied to the U.S. market, a measure of implied demand, softened by 0.4% to 7.870 million b/d (120.65 bg annualized). Gasoline demand was 20.7% lower than a year ago.

Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol perked up, moving 3.1% higher to 789,000 b/d, equivalent to 12.10 bg annualized but 16.2% below the year-earlier level.

There were no imports of ethanol recorded for the fourteenth consecutive week. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of April 2020.)



Growth Energy Lauds Bill to Streamline Pathways for Low-Carbon Biofuels


Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor thanked U.S. Senators John Thune (R-S.D.) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) for introducing legislation to reduce Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) delays in the approval of applications to produce advanced biofuels under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

“We applaud Senators Thune and Shaheen for working on a bipartisan basis to break the regulatory logjam holding back cellulosic biofuels,” said Skor. “Studies show that advanced biofuels can cut carbon emissions by 100 percent or more while providing a low-cost alternative to petroleum-based aromatics that poison our air and threaten our health.

“For too long, we’ve seen major investments in low-carbon biofuels held hostage by regulatory delays, even as farmers and biofuel producers work hand in hand to harness clean energy from agricultural residue, corn fiber, and waste. By keeping pathways frozen, EPA has put an artificial cap on advanced biofuels, limiting growth under the RFS. This important legislation will help clear the deck on long-overdue approvals and jumpstart growth at a time when revitalizing rural communities has never been more important.”

Introduced today, the bill would set a 90-day deadline for EPA to act on petitions that have been pending for more than six months, and it would fast-track approval for advanced biofuels that have already been certified under state-based low-carbon fuel programs. For example, biofuels are responsible for nearly 80 percent of all the carbon reductions credited under California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), with the recorded carbon intensity of ethanol declining nearly 33 percent since 2011.



ACE thanks Senators Thune, Shaheen for introducing a bill to approve long-stalled RFS pathway applications


The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) thanks Senators John Thune (R-S.D.) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) for introducing bipartisan legislation today that would help approve certain Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) pathway applications, like corn fiber, which help reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. ACE CEO Brian Jennings released the following statement thanking the Senators:

“ACE members are grateful to Senators Thune and Shaheen for their leadership in introducing a bill aimed at cutting the red tape currently holding up certain RFS pathway petitions for advanced biofuel. This legislation will help biofuel producers who continue to innovate and add technology to reduce the carbon intensity of their fuel production processes. The delay in application approvals causes headaches for ethanol producers and the companies poised to work with them on innovations such as corn kernel fiber technology.

“While the marketplace is slowly recovering from the steep and historic disruption caused by COVID-19, the most pressing priority for U.S. ethanol producers is direct aid in order to help recover from the ongoing economic downturn. We will continue to work with our biofuel champions in Congress to ensure the next stimulus package doesn’t again leave producers behind.”



U.S. Dairy Industry Criticizes Canada TRQ Allocations, Urges U.S. Government to Insist on Good Faith Implementation of USMCA


The U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) sharply criticized Canada’s allocation of its tariff-rate quotas (TRQ) under USMCA, released Tuesday, June 15. USDEC and NMPF call attention to the fact that these TRQ allocations undermine the intent of USCMA’s dairy provisions by thwarting the ability of the U.S. dairy industry to make full use of the trade agreement’s market access opportunities.

USDEC and NMPF have repeatedly warned that the full benefits of this carefully negotiated trade agreement will not materialize without careful monitoring and stringent enforcement of Canada’s USMCA commitments. The U.S. dairy industry urges the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to immediately raise this issue with Canada and insist that Canada adheres faithfully not just to the letter of its commitments under USMCA, but to its spirit as well.

“Canada’s administration of previous TRQs under existing free trade agreements gave the U.S. dairy industry ample cause for concern, which has unfortunately been confirmed by the announced TRQ allocations,” said Tom Vilsack, president and CEO of USDEC. “Canada’s actions place the U.S. dairy industry at a disadvantage by discouraging utilization of the full use of the TRQs and limiting the market access granted by USMCA. We urge the U.S. government to act immediately to ensure that these provisions are implemented in good faith so that the U.S. dairy industry is able to reap the full range of benefits negotiated by USTR and its interagency partners at U.S. Department of Agriculture.”

USMCA will enter into force July 1, 2020 and contains important provisions to the U.S. dairy industry that will facilitate the smooth flow of U.S. dairy products throughout North America at a time of critical need and economic uncertainty. However, Canada has announced the distribution of the TRQs in such a way as to discourage high value food service or retail products from entering the market. Most of the TRQs are given to competitors who have no incentive to import products. 

“U.S. dairy farmers and cooperatives are ready to help increase deliveries of high-quality U.S. dairy products to the Canadian market, but Canada’s TRQ allocations fall far short of the full potential of its commitments under USMCA,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “Canada has chosen once again to manipulate its access commitments in order to protect its tightly controlled dairy market and

U.S. farmers will bear much of the brunt of this biased interpretation of USMCA’s dairy provisions. USTR should act quickly to ensure Canada is held strictly responsible for abiding by the intent of USMCA to promote fairer trade between our nations.”



All Fertilizer Prices Decline


Retail fertilizer prices tracked by DTN for the second week of June 2020 are all lower compared to the previous month.

While all fertilizers are lower, only one fertilizer had a significant price move, which DTN designates as anything over 5%. Urea was 6% lower with an average price of $367/ton.

The remaining seven fertilizers were lower in price compared to last month but not substantially. DAP has an average price of $406/ton, down $7; MAP $430/ton, down $3; potash $363/ton, down $7; 10-34-0 $468/ton, down less than $1; anhydrous $472/ton, down $20; UAN28 $235/ton, down $2; and UAN32 $276/ton, down $4.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.40/lb.N, anhydrous $0.29/lb.N, UAN28 $0.42/lb.N and UAN32 $0.43/lb.N.

Retail fertilizers are all lower in price from a year ago. Anhydrous is 20% lower, both DAP and MAP are 18% less expensive, urea is 16% lower, UAN28 is 13% less expensive, UAN32 is 12% lower, potash is 7% less expensive and 10-34-0 is 4% lower from last year at this time.



Farm Progress Show 2020 is a 'GO' in Boone, Iowa


For more than 65 years, farmers have turned to the Farm Progress Show for the latest information about new products and tools they can use to boost productivity and profit for their operations. And that tradition continues for 2020. What attendees will find when they travel to Boone, Iowa, for the show is an important event modified to serve this essential industry during a challenging time.

"We know that the market is dealing with a lot of issues," says Matt Jungmann, events manager, Farm Progress. "But agriculture is a critical business for this country and farmers are seeking ways to be better at what they do. And nowhere is that more possible than the Farm Progress Show."

Important Business Gathering  State fairs across the Midwest have had to make the tough decision to cancel for 2020, often driven by the financial burden of losing key money-making components like concerts and midway carnivals. These are mass gatherings that serve a much different purpose than an Ag tradeshow. Of interest to many is that while the state fairs are canceled, many states and groups are working to hold on to livestock events – further proof that agriculture is essential.

What separates Farm Progress Show from a state fair is that this is an important business event for an essential industry where targeted business is conducted between exhibitors and farmers. And in light of the current crisis, farmers are seeking more information and tools to boost profitability than ever before.

"The Farm Progress Show is not the place you turn to get the latest deep fried anything," adds Jungmann. "We're focused on providing a venue where farmers can see new tools, talk to industry experts and work to enhance the way they farm."

State and Local Support

With support from officials in Iowa, show management is confident that hosting the Farm Progress Show in 2020 is filling an important service. "Farmers are challenged to find better ways to do everything from planting to spraying to harvest," says Don Tourte, senior vice president Farm Progress. "That's not easily done simply by sitting at home attending a virtual event. There's a need to see this equipment up close and gain a better understanding of how it will work in their operations."

Tourte adds that the Farm Progress events staff is working closely with a range of Iowa state agencies to ensure the show is conducted in a way that enhances safety of all those who participate while providing exhibitors the chance to reach key customers.

"Our events team has reviewed every aspect of this event with an eye toward exhibitor and visitor safety," says Tourte. "Long-time visitors to the show will see immediate changes the moment they arrive, from one-way streets to more space for physical distancing."

Health and Safety Commitments

The show staff is working diligently to deliver an impactful and engaging event that prioritizes the health and safety of our visitors and exhibitors. New carefully considered plans for safety precautions and procedures will be introduced for this year’s Farm Progress Show. From easily accessible hand sanitizer stations, to enhanced cleaning procedures for buildings and facilities, changes to the event are working to enhance safety for all participants. The show has a long-time history of safe operation, while offering visitors the most extensive gathering of exhibitors in the country.

Farm Progress parent company, Informa, which annually holds more than 600 in-person and virtual content-driven events, and to continue that effort has worked with a range of industry and event association partners to create AllSecure, a set of enhanced standards and guidelines to provide the highest level of hygiene and safety at all Informa’s events. Farm Progress Show will be organized in accordance with the AllSecure standard, providing visitors and exhibitors with reassurance and confidence they are participating in a safe and controlled environment.

"It's hard to quantify the amount of work that has gone into creation of these standards," says Jungmann. "The key for farmers, exhibitors and all who plan to attend is that your safety is critical at our events. That's really always been true, but AllSecure adds that needed, extra layer during a pandemic. We're excited to host farmers in Boone this year."



Ranchers Criticize Senate for Irresponsible Passage of Land Grab Legislation


The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Executive Director of Natural Resources and the Public Lands Council Executive Director, Kaitlynn Glover, today released the following statement in response to the Senate passage of the Great American Outdoors Act:

"Today’s passage of the Great American Outdoors Act is a disappointment to those who value conservation and active management of our natural resources. By making funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) mandatory, proponents of this bill sentenced existing and future lands and waters to the same fate facing current federal assets – billions of dollars in deferred maintenances. Today is indeed a landmark day – with this legislation, Congress has abdicated their responsibility and privilege to engage in these important conservation decision. I hope they are more prudent in representing their constituents when setting conservation priorities in future legislation.“ 



CLAAS Introduces the LEXION 6000 Series Straw Walker Combines


CLAAS of America today announces the launch of the all-new LEXION 6000 Series straw walker combines. The new technology offers an engineered mix of efficiency, precision and convenience that excels in crops like wheat, canola and grass seed — all in a reliable and easily-maintained package.

With two new models to choose from, the new LEXION straw walker combines are designed to save time and make the job easier for farmers who want efficient separation without over threshing grain or damaging straw.

“LEXION combines have built a reputation for delivering increased harvest efficiency and productivity, saving fuel and grain, and driving down the cost of harvest for more than twenty years,” says Blake McOllough, Product Manager – Combines, CLAAS of America. “Designed with efficiency in mind, the LEXION 6000 Series straw walker combine does that and more with new cutting-edge technology to keep operators harvesting acres in record time.”

Enhanced efficiency for more throughput

With the increased capacity of the new LEXION 6900 and 6800, the new machines provide up to 25 percent more throughput. The APS SYNFLOW WALKER threshing and separation system has the straightest crop flow in the industry and the only combine on the market with an accelerator drum for constant crop acceleration, efficient grain separation and gentle straw handling without having to make any sacrifices. It brings together the accelerated crop flow provided by APS with an additional separator drum after the threshing drum, delivering exceptional, fuel-efficient throughput and the highest straw quality.

Paired with the industry’s largest grain tank and fastest unloading speeds, the new LEXION straw walker combines are built to cut through more acres with zero compromise.

Heightened precision through advanced technology

The LEXION combine gives operators the advantages they’re looking for. The combine is equipped with more in-cab controls and on-the-fly adjustment capabilities, along with the highest-quality machine performance feedback for ensured success. At the peak of precision is the CEMOS AUTOMATIC combine automation system that makes autonomous and automatic real-time, in-field adjustments with more precision and speed than a seasoned operator.

Optimal convenience for minimal downtime

With the industry's fastest transport speed at 25 mph (40 kph), the new LEXION combine not only gets operators through the field faster, but it also gets them to the next field faster. New in-cab conversion capabilities make it simpler and faster to switch between crops when needed — reducing crop conversion time by more than 50 percent. Intuitive cab design enhancements were made for operator comfort. Daily maintenance time is shortened with features like the automatic central lubrication system and DYNAMIC COOLING to increase air filter service intervals by up to two weeks.

“The LEXION is the only combine that can get more done in the same amount of time,” says McOllough. “With exceptional, fuel-efficient throughput; gentler grain handling; and the highest straw quality, the new LEXION 6900 and 6800 combines make no compromises.”



Tuesday June 16 Ag News
2020-06-17T01:01

Application Process Temporarily Paused for Livestock Producer Small Business Stabilization Grants, Application Deadline Extended to July 1

The Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED) has announced a brief pause on the application process for Small Business Stabilization Grants for Livestock Producers. Applications will not be accepted during this pause, which will provide DED necessary time to validate all applicants in a timely manner and avoid potential delays to serving grantees.

Applications will be accepted once again starting Monday, June 22, at 8:00 a.m. CST. To account for the scheduled delay, the application deadline has been extended from June 26 to July 1, 2020, at 5:00 p.m. CST.

Visit www.getnebraskagrowing.nebraska.gov in advance of Monday’s application re-opening for instructions on how to apply for a Small Business Stabilization Livestock Producer Grant. Potential applicants are encouraged to review the application guidelines and eligibility requirements, which are also available online, prior to applying.



SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Advance Program Reopened to All Eligible Small Businesses and Non-Profits Impacted by COVID-19 Pandemic


To further meet the needs of U.S. small businesses and non-profits, the U.S. Small Business Administration reopened the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance program portal to all eligible applicants experiencing economic impacts due to COVID-19 today.

“The SBA is strongly committed to working around the clock, providing dedicated emergency assistance to the small businesses and non-profits that are facing economic disruption due to the COVID-19 impact.  With the reopening of the EIDL assistance and EIDL Advance application portal to all new applicants, additional small businesses and non-profits will be able to receive these long-term, low interest loans and emergency grants – reducing the economic impacts for their businesses, employees and communities they support,” said SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza.  “Since EIDL assistance due to the pandemic first became available to small businesses located in every state and territory, SBA has worked to provide the greatest amount of emergency economic relief possible.  To meet the unprecedented need, the SBA has made numerous improvements to the application and loan closing process, including deploying new technology and automated tools.”

SBA’s EIDL program offers long-term, low interest assistance for a small business or non-profit.  These loans can provide vital economic support to help alleviate temporary loss of revenue.  EIDL assistance can be used to cover payroll and inventory, pay debt or fund other expenses.  Additionally, the EIDL Advance will provide up to $10,000 ($1,000 per employee) of emergency economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing temporary difficulties, and these emergency grants do not have to be repaid.

SBA’s COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance

·         The SBA is offering low interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses and non-profit organizations that are suffering substantial economic injury as a result of COVID-19 in all U.S. states, Washington D.C., and territories.
·         These loans may be used to pay debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact, and that are not already covered by a Paycheck Protection Program loan.  The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses.  The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.
·         To keep payments affordable for small businesses, SBA offers loans with long repayment terms, up to a maximum of 30 years.  Plus, the first payment is deferred for one year.
·         In addition, small businesses and non-profits may request, as part of their loan application, an EIDL Advance of up to $10,000.  The EIDL Advance is designed to provide emergency economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue.  This advance will not have to be repaid, and small businesses may receive an advance even if they are not approved for a loan.
·         SBA’s EIDL and EIDL Advance are just one piece of the expanded focus of the federal government’s coordinated response.
·         The SBA is also assisting small businesses and non-profits with access to the federal forgivable loan program, the Paycheck Protection Program, which is currently accepting applications until June 30, 2020.

For additional information, please visit the SBA disaster assistance website at SBA.gov/Disaster.



Imminent Legal Action Could End Use of Dicamba Stocks for 2020

NE Farm Bureau

On June 11, the Center for Food Safety and Center for Biological Diversity filed an emergency motion in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals requesting the court enforce its June 3 decision to vacate the registration for three dicamba herbicides — Bayer’s Xtendimax, BASF’s Engenia, and Corteva’s FeXapan.

If granted, the action could effectively reverse an order issued June 8, by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which outlined limited and specific circumstances under which existing stocks of the three affected dicamba products could continue to be used through July 31, 2020. A court ruling on the emergency motion is expected as early as the end of this week.

Nebraska Farm Bureau has been extremely active in working to ensure continued access to this product for farmers. Today, the American Farm Bureau filed an amicus brief, arguing farmers should continue to have the ability to utilize existing stocks of these products for the growing season.

In service to our members, we felt it was important to make you aware of these developments so you can act accordingly given the time sensitive nature and limited window for application of these dicamba products.



Farm equipment striking power lines prompts reminder to look up and look around for safety


Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) has seen a rise this spring in the number of power line contacts by farm equipment causing a power outage and raising the potential for electrocution to the operator or damage to the equipment.

NPPD is reminding operators and farmers to look up and around for power lines when operating equipment in the fields. An accident of this nature can result in serious or even fatal injuries.
“It’s fortunate that no one has been injured in any of the incidents our crews have responded to this year,” says NPPD Vice-President of Energy Delivery Art Wiese. “We want everyone to be able to go home safe at the end of the workday, and making sure operators know where powerlines are located along their work area, can make that happen.”

If an operator does hit a power line with their equipment, they should contact their local emergency organization at 911 or NPPD at 1-877-ASK-NPPD. When an energized power line lands on a vehicle it can electrify the surrounding area and should be deenergized by a professional, so that the operator can exit the vehicle safely.

• Each day review all farm activities and work practices that will take place around power lines and remind all workers to take precautions. Start each morning by planning the day’s work during a tailgate safety meeting.
• Know what jobs will happen near power lines and have a plan to keep the assigned workers safe.
• Know the location of power lines, and when setting up the farm equipment, be at least 20 feet away from them.
• Contact your local public power provider if you feel this distance cannot be achieved.
• Be aware of increased height when loading and transporting larger modern tractors with higher antennas.
• Never attempt to raise or move a power line to clear a path. If power lines near your property have sagged over time, call your local public power utility to repair them.

For more information see the safety tips below or check out the spring harvest safety video on NPPD’s YouTube page at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6pqwRQwb-LU



Haskell Ag Lab Science & Ag Family Field Day goes VIRTUAL for 2020


The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Haskell Agricultural Laboratory Family Field Day will be VIRTUAL this year.  Due to the circumstances surrounding COVID-19 and many unknowns in the next months, the committee feels this is the safest approach for this year.  The health and safety of our employees, attendees, and anyone involved in this event is our highest priority. 

Even though we are not having an on-site field day, we are going to be offering several virtual presentations and demonstrations.  The presentations &/or demonstrations will range from cover crops, soybean insects, soil health, ag economics topics, canning and food safety, food labeling, cow milk production versus calf size, manure spreader calibrations, food and nutrition demonstrations, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) and nature for kids, unique trees in the Northeast Arboretum, bee research as well as many others yet to be determined.

Some of these presentations will be available earlier in the summer.  All presentations will be available by August 5, 2020 and will remain available for viewing at any time.

There will be virtual presentations for all ages. For more information, call the Haskell Ag Lab at 402-584-2261 or visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/HALenrec/.



Lincoln Premium Poultry Reports Team Member Loses Battle with Virus


Lincoln Premium Poultry shared that they learned today of the passing of a team member who had contracted COVID-19 and has been battling the virus for several weeks. “We are incredibly saddened to learn that we have lost a valued team member to this virus. We are in communication with the family and will work to support them as they grieve the loss of their loved one,” said Jessica Kolterman, Director of Administration. She continued, “We thank the local health care team who cared for our team member as they were fighting the illness, and we extend our gratitude to them for everything they did.”

Lincoln Premium Poultry continues to have cases each week, but has had over 90 individuals return to work since the beginning of the pandemic.  Their first case was reported on April 13, 2020 and the company continues to execute many interventions to prevent the spread of the virus within their facility.  When they last reported to the media they had documented 88 known cases amongst team members.  Today that number stands at 110, although the company intends to only report numbers once a month going forward.

“Each day we are striving to do everything we can to keep our team members safe,” said Kolterman, “and we have kept the curve flat within our facilities to this point. Although we are trying to ease back into standard operations, we continue to have temp checks, to enforce mask use, social distancing, and continue regular communication on how our team members can work to keep themselves and each other safe. These new policies and procedures will stay in place for the foreseeable future.”

Lincoln Premium Poultry has worked hard on mitigation efforts since the end of February.  They continue to collaborate with Three Rivers Health Department and the University of Nebraska Medical Center Global Center for Health Security. “We are proud of the work we have done to mitigate spread, but we also recognize this is an ongoing effort and we will keep working with our team on improving” said Kolterman. She continued,  “Our new normal means continued use of masks, temp checks, social distancing, and other interventions.”



American Association of Meat Processors Cancels Convention


The American Association of Meat Processor's Board of Directors announced today that they are canceling the 2020 American Convention of Meat Processors and Suppliers' Exhibition scheduled for July 30-August 1 in Des Moines, Iowa. The convention has been canceled due to public health concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold, it's become clear that in the face of an unprecedented situation, we had a tough decision to make," said Rick Reams, AAMP president. "We understand how important the AAMP Convention is to the industry and we know that this will come as a disappointment to those who had planned for months to attend. While it is not the outcome we wanted, the safety of our attendees, exhibitors, sponsors, vendor partners, and our AAMP staff is the most important."

This will mark the first time in 75 years that AAMP has not held an annual convention. The last cancellation took place in 1945 as World War II neared its end. Around 1,200 attendees were anticipated to join the annual convention in Des Moines.

"We recognize the magnitude of this decision for the association and our membership," said Chris Young, AAMP executive director. "The annual convention brings together hundreds of passionate processors and exhibitors every year to celebrate the efforts of our industry. This year, we were especially looking forward to the convention taking place in AAMP's birthplace hometown of Des Moines; however, the well-being of our members, staff, and Iowa hosts has to be the number one concern, and that drove our decision-making."

Young added, "Furthermore, there is fear among public health officials that there will be more waves of the virus in the coming months. Although agency guidance has varied, social distancing efforts will likely remain in effect, making gatherings such as our convention challenging."

The association will be working with convention registrants and exhibitors directly over the coming weeks to discuss refunds and how to proceed going forward.

The 2021 AAMP Convention is scheduled to take place July 15-17, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.



Farmer Partners Share Cover Crop Experiences during Iowa Learning Farms Field Day


Iowa Learning Farms, in partnership with the Iowa Nutrient Research Center, Practical Farmers of Iowa and Conservation Learning Group, is hosting a free virtual cover crop field day on Thursday, June 25 at 1 p.m. with video footage from the field and live interaction with farmers and researchers during the event.

Iowa Learning Farms and Practical Farmers of Iowa recently concluded a ten-year field-scale study of the effects of winter rye cover crops on corn and soybean yields. With consistent results across the full decade of recording and measurements, the final report notes no significant improvement or decline in cash crop yields attributable to the use of cover crops.

Farmer partners Rick Juchems, Rob Stout and George Schaefer; Stefan Gailans, Practical Farmers of Iowa; and Mark Licht, assistant professor and extension cropping systems specialist at Iowa State University, will share their experiences, tips for success and results from one of the longest on-farm cover crop demonstration projects to date.

“Even though we had been no-tilling for 35 years, the previous year crop residue wasn’t holding the ground in place,” said Stout. “We decided we needed to take the next step and add the cover crops. We found that they do a super job for erosion control. We have also found a lot of soil health benefits from cover crops including better infiltration, soil tilth, more earthworms and increased microbial activity.”

Shortly before 1 p.m. on June 25, click this URL to participate in the live event: https://iastate.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJUpduihpj8iE9ZHcjpsenc2DWQILG41wg0D or visit www.iowalearningfarms.org/page/events and click “Join Live Virtual Field Day”.

Or, join from a dial-in phone line by dialing +1 312 626 6799 or +1 646 876 9923. The Meeting ID is 914 1198 4892

The field day will be recorded and archived on the ILF website so that it can be watched at any time. The archive is available at www.iowalearningfarms.org/page/events.



Iowa Leaders Call for Support for State’s Turkey Producers


U.S. Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA), both members of the Senate Agriculture Committee, along with Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig, are calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide assistance, through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), to turkey producers across the state.

In a letter to USDA Secretary Perdue, the Iowa leaders wrote, “Plant closures and reduced flocks remain a growing threat to our turkey growers and food supply chain. Our independent turkey growers stand to lose disproportionately compared to other corporate-owned growers due to increased exposure…There are numerous farmer-owned cooperatives and independent growers who are being left out of assistance in CFAP and we ask that USDA recognize the unique business structure of many turkey operations and help find a solution in order for these producers to receive federal assistance.”

Ernst, Grassley, Reynolds and Naig also said, “We would ask economists at USDA to work to devise a methodology and formula that allows this niche sector of the nation’s poultry industry to have the same opportunities provided to others in the pork, cattle and sheep industry. We are convinced a verifiable formula structure can be developed. USDA already has demonstrated an ability to calculate the value of turkeys when indemnifying for animal disease losses and making Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) payments. Those formulas almost certainly could serve as a basis for calculating lost value.”



USDA Trade Mitigation Purchases to Feed People in Need and Aid American Farmers Surpass $2B


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that it has purchased more than $2.2 billion of meat, fruits, vegetables, specialty crops and dairy products in fiscal years 2019 and 2020 in its ongoing efforts to feed people in need and assist American farmers and ranchers suffering from damage due to unjustified trade retaliation by foreign nations. USDA is on target to reach its fiscal year goal of about $1.4 billion of trade mitigation purchases in the next phase of fiscal year purchasing, which ends Sept. 30. The purchases were made through the Food Purchase and Distribution Program (FPDP), one of USDA’s three programs in its Support Packages for Farmers. Most of the food purchased is provided to states for distribution to nutrition assistance programs such as The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) and child nutrition programs.

“Over the past two years, USDA has issued more than $2 billion in payments to American farmers, ranchers, and producers for U.S.-grown food that is used to help Americans in need,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “Early on, President Trump instructed USDA to make sure our farmers did not bear the brunt of unfair retaliatory tariffs. Our farmers work hard, and are the most productive in the world, and we crafted the FPDP to help protect them. The FPDP represents just one of the many ways USDA is working hard to fulfill its mission to do right and feed everyone.”

More information about the Food Purchase and Distribution Program is available at https://www.ams.usda.gov/selling-food-to-usda/trade-mitigation-programs.
The Food Purchase and Distribution Program was established in fiscal year 2019 to assist U.S. producers by purchasing commodities that have been unfairly targeted. Under the program, USDA buys food products produced on American farms through approved vendors who have proven they can supply U.S.-produced products.
Farmers and vendors can learn about Selling Food to USDA at https://www.ams.usda.gov/selling-food.



Beef Farmers and Ranchers Ensure Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Considers the Science Supporting Beef’s Role in a Healthy Diet


Over the last 13 months, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, has submitted 21 sets of public comments and more than 100 research studies in support of beef’s role in a healthy diet to the 2020 – 2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans Advisory Committee (DGAC).

“Beef is part of a healthy diet for most Americans, and a large body of research supports the flexibility to choose lean beef more often as an important source of high-quality protein and nutrients during all life stages, from birth to older adults,” said Shalene McNeill, Ph.D., R.D., executive director of nutrition research for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff. “We believe it’s imperative that this research is reviewed and considered as part of the DGA process.”

The DGAC is comprised of 20 health and nutrition experts and is responsible for developing recommendations to inform the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as they develop the updated Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs), which are updated every five years. The DGAs are designed to provide Americans with a roadmap for healthy eating. They are the foundation for federal nutrition programs, along with school, military, hospital and nursing home menus, and the basis for many expert nutrition recommendations. The government has encouraged public participation throughout the DGAs process.

Beef supports health at every life stage, and the 21 sets of comments submitted to the DGAC by NCBA on behalf of the Beef Checkoff reviewed the scientific evidence on the following topics, among others:
-    Beef’s critical role in growth and development, especially as a high-quality source of iron for older infants, women and girls.
-    The large body of high-quality evidence consistently showing that lean beef supports heart health as part of a healthy diet.
-    The important role beef plays as a source of high-quality protein and essential nutrition for the aging population.
-    Dispelling the myth that Americans are overconsuming red meat, when in fact, Americans, on average, eat less than two ounces of beef each day[i], which is in line with current DGA recommendations.
-    Best scientific practices for evaluating beef-related research, including accurate meat definitions.
-    Research reinforcing the importance of flexibility in choosing beef in a variety of healthy dietary patterns, including those low in carbohydrates and high in protein.

Recognizing that the forthcoming 2020 – 2025 DGAs will be the first set of guidelines to include recommendations for infants and young children from birth to 24-months of age, NCBA also submitted comments about the critical role of beef in growth and development. Beef is especially important as a high-quality source or iron for pregnant woman, infants, adolescent girls and women of childbearing age.

Included in the 21 sets of comments are numerous gold-standard Randomized Control Trial research studies reinforcing beef as an important source of high-quality protein for Americans of all ages. This includes Beef Checkoff funded research demonstrating how lean beef can be the protein of choice in many healthy dietary patterns, including the popular Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet and Mediterranean Diet. Research was also submitted showing the benefits of low-carbohydrate and higher protein diets, like the BeefWise study that found lean beef, as part of a healthy and higher-protein diet, can help people lose weight while maintaining muscle mass and heart health.

One of the most recent studies contributing to the body of evidence supporting beef’s role in a healthy diet was published in the Journal of Nutrition in May. This research was conducted at Indiana University and found that people can have flexibility to include about six ounces of lean, fresh beef to daily healthy diets - replacing these calories with those from carbs - without increasing heart disease or diabetes risks

Beef farmers and ranchers have a long history of supporting nutrition research with leading scientists at universities and research institutions across the country to better understand beef’s role in health. As traditional sources of research funding, such as government and academic grants, are becoming increasingly limited, farmer- and rancher-supported research helps fill gaps and ensures the body of nutrition knowledge continues to grow. 

The DGAC will share its draft conclusions during a Draft Advisory Report Meeting on June 17. The final DGAC report will be released in mid-July. On August 11, the USDA and HHS will hear oral comments from the public on the DGAC advisory report, with the final DGAs expected at the end of the year.

To view a list of the comments submitted to the DGAC by NCBA, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, visit https://www.beefresearch.org/humannutrition.aspx, and to learn more about beef nutrition, visit https://www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com/nutrition



USSEC CEO EMPHASIZES IMPORTANCE OF SUSTAINABILITY DURING KEYNOTE ADDRESS AT THE INTERNATIONAL GRAINS CONFERENCE


U.S. soybean customers around the world are demanding sustainably produced soybeans, and to uphold that banner, U.S. farmers are constantly adopting innovations to ensure their supply meets and exceeds those expectations, according to Jim Sutter, CEO of the U.S. Soybean Export Council.

Sutter delivered that message to more than 370 international attendees during the annual “International Grains Conference 2020,” a virtual event that assembled experts to discuss the latest market developments in the grains, oilseeds and rice sectors.

During the conference, Sutter gave a keynote address to kick off the “Climate Change and Integration in the Grains Value Chain” panel. The address focused on how sustainable farming practices are foundational to the growth and production of U.S. Soy, and how farmers are doing more with less to help meet the growing food needs for a burgeoning population.

“U.S. soybean farmers are constantly innovating to ensure their supply meets and exceeds the demand by mitigating climate change through safe, sustainable farming practices, and by providing essential protein and nutrition to help feed a growing population,” Sutter said. “Efficiency and conservation practices used by our farmers are not only helping preserve the planet’s resources for future generations but are also helping to make U.S. Soy the preferred choice for food, feed and fuel in a world where consumers across the value chain demand no less.”

U.S. soybean farmers have a long history of creating and participating in programs to help preserve wildlife habitats and improve biodiversity. Always looking to the future, they regularly employ strategies like conservation tillage, crop rotation and cover crops to maintain soil health and maximize the consistent quality of their harvests. Modern tools like moisture sensors, smart irrigation, autonomous and GPS-enabled tractors, drones and satellite imagery help U.S. Soy farmers produce a valuable and reliable harvest while reducing their use of natural resources.

These achievements, according to Sutter, have a clear and quantifiable impact on environmental sustainability. Statistics show that since 1980, U.S. farmers reduced energy use by 42%, and reduced emissions by 41%. The United States has also gained 1.45 million hectares of forest land in the past 100 years, while significantly reducing farmland by 23.9 million hectares over the past 50 years.

The U.S. Soy industry also worked together with a multi-stakeholder group made up of consumers from around the world, non-governmental organizations (NGOS) and famers to jointly develop the independently audited U.S. Soy Sustainability Assurance Protocol (SSAP). SSAP is a certified aggregate approach audited by third parties that verifies sustainable soybean production at a national scale. Customers can refer to the SSAP to help meet their own corporate social responsibility needs and consumer expectations. Because U.S. Soy is verified sustainable under the SSAP, purchasers have a competitive advantage when buying U.S. Soy. For example, it has been positively benchmarked against the European Feed Manufacturers Associations (FEFAC) soy sourcing standards, and it was approved by the Tokyo Olympic Procurement Committee for soy sourcing at the upcoming Olympic games, now planned for 2021.

SSAP guidelines cover today’s regulatory obligations regarding sustainable practices, but they also call for continuous improvement. Every day, U.S. Soy farmers find new ways to be more efficient and environmentally sound. Along those lines, Sutter explained that U.S. Soy has established yield and sustainability goals for the next five years.

Based on benchmarks starting in 2000, by 2025, U.S. soybean producers aim to:
-    Reduce land use impact by 10% (acres per bushel)
-    Reduce soil erosion an additional 25% (acres per bushel)
-    Increase energy use efficiency by 10% (BTUs per year)
-    Reduce total greenhouse gas emissions by 10% (measured by pounds CO2 - equivalent gasses emitted per year)

“The U.S. Soy industry is focused on constantly growing and improving to develop solutions to today’s biggest problems,” Sutter said. “Ultimately, U.S. Soy farmers are focused on helping both people and the planet to prosper – delivering sustainably produced, high-quality protein to fuel nourishment and to help preserve the earth for generations.”

Brent Babb, USSEC’s Regional Director, for Greater Europe and Middle East/North Africa also participated on a panel on Soyabean Market Development. The panel discussed the impact the coronavirus pandemic, African Swine Fever, and other factors are having on soybean supply and demand in 2020/21.



Spring Organic market data provides a glimpse of the year to come


Spring 2020 market data indicates a strong planting season along with the emergence of sharply different import trends, according to the Mercaris Monthly Market Update.

As of May 30, 90% of organic corn and 74% of organic soybeans had been planted in the U.S., far ahead of last year’s pace, when organic corn planting was at 66% and soybeans at 36%.   

“Thus far, the 2020 spring planting season has been much kinder to U.S. farmers particularly compared to the relentlessly cold and wet conditions of 2019. Although this early on there are no sure bets when it comes to yields, a good planting season is the first step towards a much improved 2020 crop,” said Ryan Koory, Director of Economics at Mercaris.

On the imports front, organics are seeing varying effects due to COVID-19. Organic corn has been largely unaffected, and in fact jumped 434% year-over-year during the March-May period. However, organic cracked corn and organic soybean imports were down over the same period 35% and 12%, respectively, consistent with pre-pandemic trends. Organic soybean meal seems to be the exception, with imports showing signs of strain due to COVID-19 and declining 16% over the same period.

“Organic soybean meal has proven to be the most vulnerable link in the U.S. organic import chain. Through May of the 19/20 marketing year, nearly 90% of U.S. organic soybean meal imports were sourced from India. It’s the combination of this heavy dependence on India, and persistent shipping container and labor shortages within the country that leave organic soybean meal imports so exposed to COVID-19,” Koory said.

In livestock production, April’s massive decline in broiler slaughter, which fell 24% year-over-year, returned to pre-pandemic levels by the end of May. However, the decline that occured over April and into May was large enough to reduce the broiler slaughter by 1.3 million head for the three-month period.

“The drop in organic broiler slaughter remains an event we don't fully understand. The reduction suggested by the data is more than significant, but it appears to have been limited to only organic broilers and hasn't been substantiated by other market information sources. Given how important broiler production is to the U.S. organic industry this will be a topic Mercaris will continue monitoring closely, ” Koory said.



Crappie Masters National Tournament Trail in Full Swing


The 2020 Crappie Masters National Tournament Trail is back up and running, after delays from COVID-19. This year, Crappie Masters has grown and expanded their reach by adding state chapters.

Brian Sowers, the voice of Crappie Masters, says that a lot of new anglers have been involved this year, because of the expansion which has allowed them to spread the message of using E10 fuel in marine engines.

“Having chapters in the south is a very vital part of sharing our message,” Sowers said in an interview with the National Corn Growers Association. “The southern part of the U.S. has been an area that hasn’t been as receptive to the message of using E10 fuel in their boats. Having the teams down there, who can have a one-on-one conversation about E10, is important.”

Sowers went on to say the primary message they share with anglers is that E10 fuel is the better choice, it’s cleaner for the environment and water and gives boaters better performance and supports America’s corn farmers.

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), along with the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), is a co-title sponsor of the Crappie Masters National Tournament Trail to engage with anglers on the benefits of using E10 in their boats. Each winning team of the national tournament trail has used ethanol in their boat engines, citing maximum engine performance. Throughout the season, it is estimated that more than 200 million people are reached and educated on ethanol and boating through the tournaments, Crappie Masters TV, social media, additional media interviews, and more.

To see the full Crappie Masters schedule and tournament information, go to crappiemasters.net.



Syngenta site trials showcase new crop management tools to keep growers on the cutting edge


To help growers face another challenging year, Syngenta will share the latest crop management technologies and best practices at Grow More™ Experience and Golden Harvest® Agronomy in Action sites across the United States.

Trials will demonstrate the continued Syngenta commitment to accelerating innovation and finding sustainable solutions for a changing world. New protocols will be implemented at sites to ensure the safety of visitors at in-person sessions.

“As we navigate current societal challenges, we want to assure Grow More Experience and Agronomy in Action event attendees of our commitment to providing personalized, local experiences that boost their knowledge of products and agronomic practices that can help maximize yield and revenue,” says Grant Ozipko, head of technical services at Syngenta. “Our local teams continue to focus on helping area growers produce a better crop while being sensitive to the difficulties they’re experiencing.”

Visitors at Grow More Experience and Agronomy in Action sites can safely see a variety of field trials and other demonstrations of top-tier Syngenta products, such as:
    Saltro® fungicide seed treatment for soybeans, which provides upgraded protection against Sudden Death Syndrome and robust nematode activity without causing early-season stress
    Tavium® Plus VaporGrip® Technology herbicide, the market’s first premix residual dicamba herbicide, with two effective sites of action for use on dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton
    The full lineup of Miravis® brand fungicides, including Miravis, Miravis Ace, Miravis Neo, Miravis Prime and Miravis Top, all of which use the power of Adepidyn® technology for broad and powerful control of diseases in corn, soybeans, wheat, grapes, potatoes, peanuts and other crops
    Acuron® corn herbicide, which controls tough weeds other products miss and out-yields other herbicides by 5-15 more bushels an acre* when applied preemergence at full label rates

New Golden Harvest and NK® corn hybrids and soybean varieties will be tested alongside weed, insect and disease management products at many sites. Customers can see the impact of industry-leading seed innovations, including Agrisure® traits, Enogen® corn hybrids and Enlist E3® soybeans and Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® soybeans which help minimize risk and maximize growers’ return on investment potential regardless of field, soil and weather conditions.

Updates from sites across the country will be posted on KnowMoreGrowMore.com in the Field Trials section.



ASA is Now Accepting Applications for the Conservation Legacy Awards


Share the story of how conservation is part of your farm operation and you could be recognized with a Conservation Legacy Award. The awards recognize farm management practices of U.S. soybean farmers that are both environmentally friendly and profitable.

Are you using a reduced tillage practice on your farm? Do you grow cover crops? Have you taken steps to improve energy efficiency or water quality? These are just a few conservation practices used on some farms today that can help produce sustainable U.S. soybeans. Different regions of the country have their own unique challenges and ways to approach conservation and sustainability. We want to hear your farm’s conservation story!

All U.S. soybean farmers are eligible to enter to win a Conservation Legacy Award. Entries are judged on soil management, water management, input management, conservation, environmental management and sustainability.

The selection process for these awards is divided into four regions – the Midwest, Upper Midwest, the Northeast and the South. One farmer from each of these regions will be recognized at the 2021 Commodity Classic in San Antonio, Texas, and one of these farmers will be named the National Conservation Legacy Award recipient.

Award Winners Receive:
-    An expense paid trip for two to Commodity Classic, March 4-6, 2021, in San Antonio, Texas.
-    A feature story and video on each award winner’s farm and conservation practices.
-    Potential opportunity to apply for a conservation grant to make further improvements to their operation.

The Conservation Legacy Awards are sponsored by the American Soybean Association (ASA), BASF, Bayer, the United Soybean Board/soybean checkoff and Valent U.S.A.

More information on past winners of the award and how to submit your application is available in the “About” section under “Awards” on the ASA website. All applications must be submitted by Sept. 1, 2020.



Monday June 15 Ag News
2020-06-16T11:12

NEBRASKA CROP PROGRESS AND CONDITION

For the week ending June 14, 2020, there were 5.7 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 12% very short, 26% short, 60% adequate, and 2% surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 9% very short, 17% short, 72% adequate, and 2% surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn condition rated 1% very poor, 2% poor, 26% fair, 54% good, and 17% excellent.

Soybean condition rated 1% very poor, 2% poor, 19% fair, 62% good, and 16% excellent. Soybeans emerged was 94%, well ahead of 68% last year, and ahead of 84% for the five-year average. Blooming was 4%.

Winter wheat condition rated 3% very poor, 9% poor, 45% fair, 38% good, and 5% excellent. Winter wheat headed was 85%, ahead of 79% last year, but behind 92% average.

Sorghum condition rated 0% very poor, 1% poor, 44% fair, 51% good, and 4% excellent. Sorghum planted was 97%, well ahead of 73% last year, and ahead of 88% average. Headed was 1%.

Oats condition rated 1% very poor, 15% poor, 29% fair, 50% good, and 5% excellent. Oats headed was 69%, well ahead of 38% last year, and ahead of 62% average.

Dry edible bean condition rated 0% very poor, 0% poor, 26% fair, 66% good, and 8% excellent. Dry edible beans planted was 93%. Emerged was 62%.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 4% very poor, 6% poor, 24% fair, 59% good, and 7% excellent.



IOWA CROP PROGRESS & CONDITION REPORT


While some areas of Iowa saw significant precipitation, statewide there were 4.8 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending June 14, 2020, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Fieldwork activities included planting, harvesting hay, spraying and applying nitrogen.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 1% very short, 6% short, 85% adequate and 8% surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 0% very short, 4% short, 87% adequate and 9% surplus.

Virtually all of the corn crop has emerged. Corn condition rated 83% good to excellent. Although soybeans remain to be planted in southwest Iowa, farmers in the rest of the state have nearly all completed planting. Emergence reached 93%, almost 3 weeks ahead of last year and 9 days ahead of average.

Soybean condition rated 82% good to excellent.

Oats headed progressed to 42%, 3 days ahead of last year but 2 days behind average. Oat condition rated 83% good to excellent.

One-quarter of the first cutting of alfalfa hay was completed during the week ending June 14, 2020, reaching 79 percent complete. Only Southwest Iowa producers have been unable to complete at least three-quarters of their first cutting of alfalfa hay. Hay condition rated 75% good to excellent.

Pasture condition remains at 70% good to excellent. Movement of grain from farm to facilities was noted. No major livestock issues were reported for the week.



USDA Weekly Crop Progress Report: Corn Condition Drops; Soybeans 93% Planted


Corn planting in much of the U.S. had wrapped up by the end of last week, while the condition of the portion of the crop that had emerged fell, USDA NASS said in its weekly Crop Progress report on Monday.  Nationwide, 95% of corn had emerged, 21 percentage points ahead of last year and 3 percentage points ahead of the average pace of 92%.  NASS estimated that 75% of the nation's corn crop was in good-to-excellent condition as of Sunday, down 4 percentage points from last week. That puts this year's current good-to-excellent rating roughly in the middle of the range of the past 10 years.

Soybean planting also moved closer to the finish line last week, gaining 7 percentage points to reach 93% complete as of Sunday. That put this year's current progress 21 percentage points ahead of last year's pace and 5 percentage points ahead of the five-year average of 88%.  Soybean emergence was estimated at 81% as of Sunday, 32 percentage points ahead of last year's 49% and ahead of the five-year average of 75%.  NASS estimated national soybean crop condition at 72% good to excellent, the same as the previous week and the fourth-highest good-to-excellent rating in the most recent 10 years.

Winter wheat was 91% headed at the end of last week compared to 87% last year at the same time and a five-year average of 94%. Winter wheat harvest picked up speed, moving ahead 8 percentage points last week to reach 15% complete as of Sunday, equal to the five-year average.  Winter wheat condition was rated 50% good to excellent, down 1 percentage point from 51% the previous week. The current good-to-excellent rating is below last year's 64%.

NASS reports spring wheat emergence was estimated at 95%, slightly ahead of last year's 92% and just 2 percentage points behind the average of 97%. Spring wheat headed was estimated at 4%, behind the average of 8%.  Spring wheat condition was estimated at 81% good to excellent, down 1 percentage points from 82% the previous week but above last year's 77%.



Ricketts Proclaims “Dairy Month” in Nebraska


Today, at an afternoon press briefing, Governor Pete Ricketts proclaimed June as “Dairy Month” in Nebraska.  Nebraska State Dairy Association President Mike Guenther accepted the official proclamation on behalf of the state’s dairy farmers.

Gov. Ricketts on Dairy Month
·       Dairy Month started out as a way to distribute extra milk during the warm months of summer.
·       Nebraska’s dairy farm families pride themselves on producing wholesome dairy foods that provide great-tasting nourishment.
·       Nebraska has a strong dairy farming heritage, which is evident in the 127 dairies across the state.  100% of these dairies are family owned.
·       Thank you to the dairy farmers who work hard to help us keep our refrigerators stocked with fresh milk and other dairy foods.



Force Majeure Webinar Thursday at Noon


The UNL Dept. of Ag Economics and the Farm and Ranch Managment team will explore the legal issues surrounding agricultural contracts and potential avenues available to all parties during extraordinary events like the ongoing pandemic.

A webinar entitled "Force Majeure: How Extraordinary Events Can Impact Ag Contracts" will be held on Thursday, June 18 at noon CDT.  Register at farm.unl.edu

Many agricultural contracts have an “act of God” clause, which usually provides that, when an unforeseen extraordinary event occurs, neither party is held to the agreement. For contracts that do not have such a clause, other elements of general contract law may relieve one or both parties of liability for not performing under the contract.

Dave Aiken, a professor and agricultural law specialist in the Department of Agricultural Economics, will explore these issues as they might apply to the agriculture industry as a result of the pandemic.



ICON’s 15th Annual Meeting & Convention Rescheduled


The Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska will be postponing their 15th Annual Meeting & Convention from Friday June 19th, 2020 to tentative Friday November 13th, 2020 in Broken Bow, NE due to continued restriction from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Be assured that ICON continues to be on the front line fighting for and working for the Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska. Our focus continues to be on reinstatement of Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling, property tax reform, fair cattle market restructuring and the voice for the Mother Cow in the state of Nebraska.



Planted Non-Bt Corn? Plan to Scout for European Corn Borer

Amy Timmerman – NE Extension Educator

Farmers have enjoyed the benefits of Bt corn since its introduction in 1996, particularly “in the bag” transgenic protection from insect pests and the yield loss they inflict. European corn borer (ECB), Ostrinia nubilalis, was particularly challenging and the target of the first Bt hybrids. The adoption of Bt corn in the U.S. prompted a widespread suppression of ECB. Even so, ECB still shows up in conventional cornfields and can be a devastating pest.

In 2019, approximately 15% of corn in Iowa and 17% of corn in the U.S. did not contain a Bt trait and would be susceptible to ECB infestation. Non-Bt corn hybrids have been of interest recently due to lower seed costs of non-Bt corn amid low crop values. For farmers who opted out of Bt corn this year, scouting for ECB (and other corn pests) will be essential. A comprehensive guide to understanding ECB and its association with other pests is available from the ISU Extension Store and can serve as a management guide.

Scouting for European corn borer in conventional corn

ECB larvae feed on almost any part of the corn plant except the roots. On leaves, feeding can appear as shotholes or a windowpane effect. They can also tunnel into the stalk, midrib of the leaf, or ear shanks. The result of ECB feeding injury is poor ear development, broken stalks, and dropped ears. Reduced grain quality from ear molds can occur due to ear feeding increasing infection by pathogens.

There are typically two generations of ECB in Nebraska, and each generation has unique scouting requirements to ensure effective management. Life stages and behaviors can be predicted based on degree day accumulation from the date when adults are first captured in the spring, which is called the biofix. Therefore, monitoring for adults is essential for timely scouting and treatment decisions.

First generation: scout for larvae

Corn should be scouted for first generation larvae once susceptible plants reach V6 to determine the number of live larvae. Look for feeding injury in the whorl and on the youngest leaves; plants without these symptoms are unlikely to contain larvae. For every 40-50 acres, 20 consecutive plants should be sampled in five areas to obtain a representative sample of 100 plants. If more than one hybrid is planted in the field, consider each hybrid as a separate field for scouting and treatment determination. A cost-benefit analysis table can help determine if an insecticide is economically justified to control an infestation in vegetative corn. Early-planted fields will likely have higher populations of first-generation ECB.

Second generation: scout for egg masses

Adults produced from the first generation begin laying eggs when the corn is around VT-R1, and egg-laying lasts for about 20 days. Degree days can be used to determine when egg-laying begins, and scouting should occur 8-10 days after that date. Eggs are laid primarily on the underside of leaves. Use the same sampling plan as before (20 consecutive plants in five areas of the field) and count egg masses on seven leaves: the ear leaf plus three leaves above and below the ear leaf. After R3, when silks are brown, scouting for new egg masses is unnecessary if the ET was not reached.

To determine if an insecticide is economically justified, use the cost-benefit analysis table for reproductive stage corn. Treatments for second-generation ECB must be timed accurately to be effective. Applications should be made soon after egg hatch but before larvae enter the leaf axil, sheath, collar, ear tip, or before they bore into the stalk or ear shank. Depending on the duration of egg-laying, a second application may be warranted. Fields at VT-R1 and with green silks are most attractive to female moths. Late-planted corn will typically have the largest population of second-generation ECB.



McVey to lead UNL School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences


Dr. David Scott McVey has been selected as the new director of the School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In this role, which he will begin on July 13, he will also serve as the associate dean of the UNL/Iowa State University Professional Program in Veterinary Medicine.

McVey brings a wealth of experience to the position. Over the course of his career he has been involved in teaching, discovery research, translational research, diagnostic medicine, clinical medicine and surgery, biologicals development and organizational leadership within the field of veterinary science.

Most recently, McVey was the director of the USDA Center for Grain and Animal Health Research in Manhattan, Kan. Previously, he has held tenure positions at both Kansas State University and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he served as the director of the Veterinary Diagnostic Center. He has also worked in vaccine research at Pfizer and as a practicing veterinarian.

McVey received his doctorate in veterinary medicine from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and his doctorate in philosophy, veterinary microbiology and immunobiology at Texas A&M University.

“Dr. McVey brings tremendous experience and insight to the position,” said Mike Boehm, vice chancellor for the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and vice president for agriculture and natural resources for the University of Nebraska. “His experience in veterinary research, academia and industry and the multiple perspectives he has attained through the course of this career are tremendously valuable to the future of the school.”

McVey said he was excited to return to UNL, and especially to interact with the faculty, staff and students in the program.

“All of the departments within the school of veterinary medicine and biomedical sciences have a very strong tradition, and they’ve done very well,” McVey said. “This position is an opportunity to make sure the plow stays in the ground and that all the good momentum continues as the school grows to meet the needs of the university and the future of veterinary medicine.”

McVey succeeds Clayton Kelling, who will retire later this year.

The School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences is Nebraska's leading institution for education, research, extension and outreach related to veterinary medicine and veterinary science. The school offers both undergraduate and graduate programs. The Professional Program in Veterinary Medicine allows students complete the first two years of veterinary medicine education at the University of Nebraska, then transfer to the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine for the final two years of study. UNL students who participate in this program pay in-state tuition for all four years.



Nebraska Corn Board seeks director for District 3


The Nebraska Corn Board is seeking petitions for its District 3 Director, which includes Hamilton, Merrick, Polk and York counties. The position was reopened in an effort to seek candidates from the District and allow enough time to gather farmer signatures in the midst of COVID-19. Current director, Brandon Hunnicutt, farmer from Giltner, has indicated he will seek reappointment.

Appointment to the District 3 position will ultimately be made by the Governor of Nebraska. Any candidate for appointment may place his or her name on the candidacy list by filing a petition with the Nebraska Corn Board. Qualified candidates include those individuals who are citizens of Nebraska, are at least 21 years old, have been actively engaged in growing corn in the state for a minimum period of five years, and derive a substantial portionof their income from growing corn.

Petitions may be obtained by mail (Nebraska Corn Board - P.O. Box 95107, Lincoln NE 68509), by phone (800-632-6761) or email (nikki.bentzinger@nebraska.gov). A candidacy petition must carry the signatures of at least 50 corn producers from that district. All petitions must be received by the Nebraska Corn Board no later than 5:00 p.m. CDT on Thursday, July 16, 2020.

The Nebraska Corn Board is funded through a producer checkoff investment of ½-cent-per-bushel checkoff on all corn marketed in the state and is managed by nine farmer directors. The mission of the Nebraska Corn Board is to promote the value of corn by creating opportunities.



USDA FUNDING AVAILABLE TO HELP CONTROL SOIL EROSION ON CROPLAND


Farmers know when they lose soil, they lose profits. Preventing soil erosion is good for the environment and for producers’ bottom line.

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has funding available to help Nebraska’s farmers control erosion on their cropland. This funding is available through the Ephemeral Gully Control Initiative under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program. Eligible producers have until July 13, 2020, to apply.

Controlling erosion is especially important for recipients of USDA program benefits – like federal crop insurance subsidies and conservation program payments. USDA program participants are required to control erosion on all cropland determined to be highly erodible. The funding available through this special initiative can help farmers meet that requirement.

Nebraska State Conservationist Craig Derickson said, “Conservation practices such as cover crops and grassed waterways are good solutions for controlling ephemeral gullies, which is required by conservation compliance provisions.”

According to NRCS, over the last couple decades, there has been a continual decrease in grassed waterways and terraces being used. On some fields, this has led to increased erosion and ephemeral gullies.

Derickson said, “Ephemeral gullies are those rough spots where water concentrates and causes soil to wash away, creating small ditches. While the damage to cropland appears to be small, if not controlled, the negative impacts like loss of inputs, decreased soil health and yields can be significant. Plus, it can cause farmers to be out of compliance with USDA’s Food Security Act requirements.”

For more information, and to apply for funding through this special initiative, contact NRCS before July 13. Due to the on-going COVID-19 public health situation, producers are encouraged to call local offices to set up an appointment with NRCS staff over the phone.



Naig Reflects on 2020 Iowa Legislative Session


As the 88th General Assembly of the Iowa Legislature drew to a close, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig reflected on key policies passed this year.

“This year’s legislative session was unlike any other in the past century due to the pandemic,” said Secretary Naig. “I appreciate the work of the legislature to push several priorities across the finish line with bipartisan support.”

Priority items headed to Gov. Kim Reynolds’ desk include continued funding for water quality projects, renewable fuels infrastructure incentives, and foreign animal disease prevention.

Foreign Animal Disease Preparedness and Response

The Iowa Legislature renewed its commitment to the Department’s foreign animal disease preparedness and response efforts. The Department will receive $500,000 to continue its collaboration among veterinarians, producers, industry representatives and the USDA to prevent, prepare and respond in case of a foreign animal disease outbreak.

These funds will help Iowa livestock producers by providing continued education and resources to increase biosecurity efforts to prevent a disease outbreak. The funding will support emergency response coordination, district veterinarians, and technology to prepare for future foreign animal disease outbreaks that may occur.

“Iowa’s livestock industry is critical to the nation’s food supply. A foreign animal disease outbreak would be devastating to the food supply chain and our state’s economy,” said Secretary Naig. “We are continuously working with our federal and industry partners to prevent an outbreak. We must also be prepared to respond quickly to trace, contain and eradicate the disease if an outbreak occurs within the United States.”

Water Quality Initiative

Secretary Naig requested and received continued funding for the Iowa Water Quality Initiative in fiscal year 2021.

The Water Quality Initiative is intended to accelerate the adoption and implementation of rural and urban soil conservation and water quality projects in priority watersheds. On a cost-share basis, WQI funds help offset the cost of education and outreach, community planning, feasibility assessments and the implementation of conservation practices, which support the goals outlined in Iowa’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy.

“As we continue implementing the Nutrient Reduction Strategy, we need additional funding to build upon successful water quality projects happening across the state,” said Secretary Naig. “We are building nitrogen-reducing wetlands at the fastest pace in our state’s history, and we’ll continue to look for ways to scale up outreach, design, engineering and construction for more projects.”

Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program

The Department will receive $3 million for its Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program, which funds the installation of ethanol dispensers and blenders, biodiesel dispensers and blenders and biodiesel terminals throughout the state.

The program increases the production, distribution, and consumption of homegrown, value-added agricultural products. The ethanol and biodiesel industries provide additional markets for Iowa farmers, high-quality jobs for rural communities, reduced dependence on foreign oil, and additional choices for consumers at the pump.

To date, the program has awarded or obligated more than $36 million to help fund 335 E85 dispensers/blenders, 54 E15 projects, 343 biodiesel dispensers/blenders and 141 biodiesel terminals across Iowa. The private sector has responded by investing over $200 million in these same projects.

“Biofuels are a win for Iowa’s agriculture community, consumers and the environment,” said Secretary Naig. “Our biofuels producers have taken a huge hit during COVID-19. Many renewable fuel facilities have reduced or ceased production because of decreased demand. The Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program helps support the recovery and long-term growth of the renewable fuels industry.”



IRFA Applauds Iowa Legislature for Funding Iowa’s Biofuel Infrastructure Program


Sunday morning the Iowa legislature authorized another year of funding for Iowa’s cost-share biofuel infrastructure program, a move that ensures access to biofuels will continue to grow throughout Iowa.

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program (RFIP) provides Iowa fuel retailers with cost-share grants to add the necessary equipment to their stations to offer higher blends of biofuels. RFIP has led to millions of dollars of private economic investment and hundreds of new stations offering E15, E85, and biodiesel blends at the pump. The program’s funding of $3 million for FY2021 was included in HF 2642, a bill to fund the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund. It passed the Senate 45-3 and passed the House 63-29.

“IRFA members are grateful the Iowa legislature sees the value that ethanol and biodiesel production bring to our state by prioritizing this proven program that helps ensure the growth of biofuels production and use.” said Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) Policy Director Nathan Hohnstein. “This is great news at a time when it was truly needed. Response to the COVID-19 pandemic brought a deep cut to biofuels demand and while the slow climb of recovery has begun, many Iowa ethanol producers are still operating under capacity. Continuing the RFIP program will provide not only a boost in demand as more Iowa retailers add ethanol and biodiesel to their stations, but also increase consumer choice and save Iowans money at the pump.

“While the level of funding is below what we sought this year, we realize the legislature is dealing with tough financial decisions just like we are and we appreciate them maintaining the $3 million funding the program has historically received. We will continue to work with Governor Kim Reynolds, Secretary Mike Naig, and other elected officials to look for nontraditional sources of funding for this vital program. We know that demand for the cost-share grants will be at an all-time high, and given the precarious state of Iowa’s ag economy we cannot afford to run short of funds when they are needed most.”

To date, RFIP has awarded $36 million in grants for over 800 projects statewide that have spurred $200 million in private investment. Reimbursement can be up to 70 percent of the installation costs, up to a maximum of $50,000 per project, with a five-year commitment to sell E15, E85 or biodiesel blends.  



ICA to Host Cattle Market Webinar with Corbitt Wall, Brad Kooima and Jordan Levi


Price discovery and producer leverage are urgent issues affecting cattle producers in Iowa and across the country. The Iowa Cattlemen's Association will host a webinar on Wednesday, June 17 at 7:00 p.m. CST with three industry leaders to discuss the current challenges and possible solutions to the problem.

Join ICA staff member Katie Olthoff as she moderates a panel featuring Corbitt Wall, Brad Kooima and Jordan Levi. The group will discuss fed cattle marketing trends and how they affect price discovery and producer leverage before diving into industry-led initiatives such as Senator Grassley's proposed 50/14 mandate and "Bid the Grid" concept.

About the Panelists: 

Corbitt Wall, DV Auction Livestock Market Analyst
You might recognize his name from the weekly “Feeder Flash” videos reporting 5 days a week on the feeder cattle market. From Corbitt Wall’s early days of taking delivery of country cattle purchases he found a passion in feeder cattle reporting. Corbitt has been a loud voice on many issues in the cattle industry including the need for more cash negotiated trade in the south. 

Brad Kooima, ICA Feedlot Council & NCBA Cattle Marketing Working Group Member from Rock Valley, IA
Brad has been a broker since 1980 and is the President of Kooima Kooima Varilek Trading in Rock Valley, IA. He currently sits on ICA's Feedlot Council and NCBA's Cattle Market Working Group. He's been feeding cattle since 1974 and currently remains engaged in farming with his son. His passion is to work for the independent cattle producer and work towards policy that ensures cattlemen and women have the opportunity to maintain their business and their way of life. 

Jordan Levi, NCBA Cattle Marketing Working Group Member
Jordan is the program manager and founder of Arcadia Asset Management, the investment manager to Arcadia Commodity Opportunity, LLC. Concurrently, he is the founder of the Fed Cattle Exchange which began operations in 2016. In March of 2018, Jordan, his firm and partners facilitated the purchase of Five Rivers Cattle, the world’s largest cattle feeding operation with a onetime capacity of approximately 900k head.  He is a part of the Nebraska Cattlemen's Association and is actively engaged in the NCBA Cattle Marketing Working Group.  

Webinar Details:

Wednesday, June 17, 7:00 p.m.

The webinar will be hosted on Zoom and Facebook Live, and will offer an opportunity for viewers to ask questions to the panelists. Interested parties are encouraged to pre-register at www.iacattlemen.org.

The webinar is sponsored by: AgriVision Equipment Group, Farm Credit Services of America- Sheldon & Red Oak, First National Bank Massena, Frontier Bank, Iowa State Savings Bank, Midwest PMS LLC, Peoples Bank - Lester, Security Savings Bank



Iowa FFA Delegates Elect New State Officers


The Iowa FFA Annual Delegate Meeting was held virtually. The new Iowa FFA Officer team was elected and announced.

These nine leaders will live out their year of service speaking with FFA members from across the state, presenting leadership camps and workshops, and traveling around Iowa and the United States. They will have the opportunity to take part in Iowa FFA Foundation activities, FFA District Leadership Programs, Iowa FFA Legislative Symposium, the National FFA Convention, and a wide variety of FFA Career Development Events. Their largest responsibility will be to coordinate and conduct the 93rd Iowa FFA Leadership Conference for over 6,000 FFA members, advisors, parents, and guests.

The members of the 2020-2021 Iowa FFA Officer Team are:
President: Mickayla McGill, Knoxville FFA, Knoxville
Secretary: Mia Gibson, North Fayette Valley FFA, West Union
Reporter: Blake Van Der Kamp, Diamond Trail FFA, Monroe
NC Vice President: Bronson Forsyth, Charles City FFA, Charles City
SC Vice President: Devin DeVore, Osceola Big Chief FFA, Osceola
NW Vice President: Haley Williams, Lawton-Bronson FFA, Lawton
NE Vice President: Carson Brincks, South Winneshiek FFA, Calmar
SW Vice President: Cory Miller, Denison FFA, Denison
SE Vice President: Kabe Boysen, Wapello FFA, Wapello



Rising Milk Sales Bust ‘Death of Dairy’ Myth


For years, a variation of this sentence has appeared in nearly every news story that touches on fluid milk consumption: “Milk sales are down while plant-beverages are rising.”

It’s easy shorthand to use because while it has been a factually accurate statement in its own limited scope, it can be used toward fantastical ends, such as overhyping the rise of plant-based drinks or crafting a false narrative about dairy trends when dairy, as a whole, is seeing its highest per-capita consumption levels in decades. The assertion will never require a correction in a newspaper, so it persists.

Except … it’s no longer true. The coronavirus crisis appears to be resetting consumer grocery habits, and early signs are that that some of these changes -- including increased milk purchases -- are continuing as the country re-opens. If current trends hold, milk’s revival may finally force a revision of one of the few non-fake talking points the “death of dairy” myth ever had.

This year’s data tells the story. While milk outsells plant-based imitators by a margin more than 10 to 1, 2020 began as another year of slow decline for milk sales in stores. And indeed, as the shorthand would have it, plant-based volumes were increasing.

Then the crisis hit – and behavior changed.

As consumers emptied store shelves, both dairy and plant-based beverages saw gains – but the sizes of those gains were drastically different. While consumers bought 7.9 million more gallons of plant-based beverages during the two peak weeks in March than they did during the same period a year earlier, milk demand exploded by more than 45 million gallons, erasing its year-to-date decline in less than two weeks.

This dramatic turnaround was important for dairy farmers. Literally, retail consumers helped keep dairies in business as food-service orders disappeared and federal disaster assistance hadn’t yet arrived. But after the shock of lockdowns faded and everyone had already stocked up, something interesting happened: People still bought more milk. That five-to-one advantage established in March has stayed steady through May.

When times got tough, consumers seemed to want to return to the comfort of natural, wholesome and nutritious foods like milk, eschewing the marketing hype of plant-based imitators whose taste and nutrition profile stack up poorly against the real thing.

Future retail trends are tough to predict, especially in this environment. When life becomes more “normal” and as restaurants re-open, do consumers bring home as many bottles of milk from the grocery store? When schools return, do parents buy less milk for their children? These are open questions.

What we do know is this: Milk is back in grocery carts, in a big way. Its gains are much greater than its self-proclaimed competitors, and they’re showing signs of sticking. Consumers are navigating new grocery realities – and they are creating them as well. The return of milk may be one that’s built to last. That makes it time to pause the “milk is struggling” stories. And it means even less support for the “death of dairy” myth.



Dietary Guidelines Committee Should Consider Full Range of Studies, NMPF Says


The committee charged with recommending dietary guidelines for Americans needs to consider the full range of studies on different types of fats and their role in a healthy diet when crafting its final report, noting that scientific understanding has evolved, the National Milk Producers Federation said in letters to Dr. Barbara Schneeman, the chairwoman of the committee, as well as the secretaries of Agriculture and of Health and Human Services.

“We would like to reiterate our strong view, as explained more fully in previous comments to the DGAC, that a body of science in recent years has found that dairy foods, regardless of fat level, appear to have either neutral or beneficial effects on chronic disease risks,” NMPF wrote in a letter co-signed with the International Dairy Foods Association sent earlier today. “We are concerned that a number of well-recognized studies appear to have been excluded from consideration.”

Focusing on the need for the most robust review of science possible, the letter asks the committee “to complete its review by including all relevant scientific studies that bear on these questions and, if the findings so indicate, recommend Americans incorporate dairy foods in all forms as an integral part of all dietary patterns.”

If the committee fails to examine the validity of existing dietary advice, “this will represent a lost opportunity to share newer science with consumers, health professionals and policy makers and contribute to ongoing confusion about the healthfulness of dairy,” the letter said.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans Committee is discussing its draft conclusions and the final advisory report Wednesday, with final guidelines expected by the end of the year.



NCGA Launches Farm to Virtual Fair Contest


The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) is kicking-off summer with a new contest, focusing on the benefits of using corn in the feed ration. The contest starts Monday, June 15, 2020, and runs through Monday, November 2, 2020.

“With so many unknowns this year, we wanted to give students participating in their local, county or state 4-H and FFA livestock shows something to look forward to,” said Nebraska farmer and Market Development Action Team Chair Dan Wesely. “That’s why we are calling this the Farm to Virtual Fair contest. Whether you’re able to attend in-person or not, we want to recognize the hard work that goes into caring for and showing livestock.”

To enter the contest, you must follow NCGA (@corngrowers) on Instagram, tag NCGA in the post and use the hashtag #MyCornFedBarn. Participants can enter a photo or video, explaining why they use corn in their feed ration.

“This is an opportunity to engage the next generation of farmers and livestock producers to help them learn the benefits of a corn-fed diet,” said NCGA Market Development Manager Michael Granché. “We are excited to give students something to look forward to and have the chance to win a cash prize for their submission, that they could put towards their future education.”

The first-place winner will win $300, second place will receive $200, and third place will get $100. Winners will be announced by Monday, November 16, 2020. To learn more about the contest, visit www.ncga.com/f2f.



Beef Consumption vs. Demand

Brenda Boetel, Dept of Ag Economics, University of Wisconsin-River Falls


Economic growth projections for the US and the world have been revised downward due to the impacts of COVID-19, with many global growth projections having contractions of nearly 3%. The US is expected to have one of the largest individual country contraction rates and is expected to contract nearly 5.7%. What does this mean for the beef market?

Beef is a perishable product, and consumption typically occurs shortly after production. A consistent relationship between consumption and production exists. Consumption does not reflect consumers' perception of beef in the marketplace, but instead is a function of production. Consumption is calculated as beef production plus imports minus exports and disappearance. The remaining is assumed to have been consumed. For the second quarter of 2020, overall beef consumption is expected to be down 12.5% form 2019.

Even though we eat (i.e., consume) the beef produced, it doesn't mean that beef demand remains in a consistent relationship with production. Beef consumption can increase without an increase in beef demand because beef demand and beef consumption are not the same thing. For example, beef consumption might increase because more beef is produced, but beef demand decreases because consumers are willing to pay less for each pound of beef they do consume.

Beef demand is impacted by several factors including beef prices, as well as prices of alternative proteins such as pork and chicken. Additionally, income is another determining factor in beef demand, as well as other factors such as tastes and preferences. Demand reflects consumers' perceptions of beef in the marketplace and is representative of consumers' willingness to pay for beef. The beef demand index calculated at Kansas State University shows a decrease of almost 18% for choice retail beef for April 2020, compared to April 2019.

Typically, more than half of US beef consumption is through foodservice venues, compared to retail venues. Beef products consumed through foodservice vary from those products consumed through retail. The market saw this disruption and change in where beef is consumed manifest through the narrower spread between round and rib primals. Although this spread has begun returning to pre-COVID levels, it will likely experience volatility until the restaurant industry had recovered.

Given a potential months long economic recession, overall beef demand will likely be down even as sit-down restaurants open across the USA. Consumers will likely see a small decrease in beef consumption due to the expected decrease in 2020 beef production quantities, but the respective beef demand will likely be down more as consumers will be less willing to pay high prices for beef. The return to US consumers spending large amounts on highly valued beef cuts will be slow and largely dependent on macroeconomic growth and sit-down restaurants will find creative ways to entice patrons to return, including menu changes with lower price entrees. As such, overall beef demand will likely be down, while demand for higher-valued primals, typically consumed through foodservice, will be down more than the overall beef demand.

What does this mean for cattle prices? Until sit-down restaurants are operating at levels prior to COVID there will likely be differences in the spread between different primals, no matter the amount of cattle processed. It will take months for the US processing sector to work through the backlog of cattle on feed, but as it does so, the spread between wholesale beef and live cattle prices will return to traditional levels, although at likely lower absolute price levels for both live cattle and beef due to the macroeconomic downturn.



U.S. Soy Shoes Donated to Frontline Workers


U.S. Soy is helping bring comfort to health care professionals who are working tirelessly on the frontlines during COVID-19. Okabashi, an American company that counts on U.S. soy for all its sandals, pledged to donate up to 10,000 pairs of soy-based sandals to health care workers for every order placed through its website or Zappos.

“We’ve already donated over 5,000 pairs so far, and still counting!” said Okabashi President Kim Falkenhayn. “We are sending them all over the country. Now more than ever, we’re all in this together.”

Only 2% of shoe companies operate in the U.S., and Okabashi is proud to source American materials, including U.S.-grown soybean oil. Okabashi committed to producing their footwear with sustainable and renewable materials using soybean oil to displace petroleum. The company’s shoes are approximately 45% U.S. soy by weight. U.S. Soy meets Okabashi’s high standards for performance, offering both strength and softness, as well as qualified them to be recognized as a USDA Certified Biobased Product in the USDA’s BioPreferred Program.

With large-scale soybean production in the U.S. — U.S. soybean farmers produced more than 11 million metric tons of soybean oil in 2018 alone — Okabashi has the reliable supply of materials they need for this large-scale donation.

Customers can purchase a pair of soy sandals for themselves and write a note of encouragement to a health care worker who will receive a pair directly from Okabashi with the personal message. The soy checkoff is proud to recognize a U.S. soy customer that is donating soy-based products to the health care sector. The health care and agriculture industries share a commitment to the safety and security of our communities, while bolstering our economy during these difficult times.

“It’s neat to see the soybeans I grow not only being used in a unique way that supports demand for our product, but also to support frontline workers during this crisis,” said soy checkoff farmer-leader Belinda Burrier. “It’s one of the reasons I’m proud to grow soybeans. It shows the importance of continuing to look for new ways that U.S. Soy and our partners can give back to communities across the country.”

This donation is just one of the many that U.S. Soy is proud to be a part of. With other partners, soybean farmers have helped provide meals of U.S. pork to food-insecure families through the Drive to Feed Kids program and bottles of soy-based hand sanitizer to the New York City Fire Department, facilitated by the National Biodiesel Board. The New York Corn and Soybean Growers and SYNLawn, a company that uses U.S. soy in its artificial grass, also joined NBB and the New York Fire Department Incident Management Team to provide hundreds of meals from New York restaurants to firefighters, dispatchers, mechanics and other essential employees.

“These donations showcase not only the versatility and growing industrial uses the soybean checkoff is working to secure for our farmers, but also the sense of community U.S. Soy has with these partners,” said USB Vice President of Communications and Marketing Strategy Mace Thornton. “We’ve made it a priority to leverage these partnerships and collaborations to expand the use of soybean oil and step up in times of need.”

USB regularly collaborates with companies such as Goodyear on research to learn how to incorporate soy into new technology. Today, there are more than 1,000 different soy-based products available, including everything from turf grass to machinery lubricants to asphalt. USB is committed to continuing its work to research, develop and expand new uses, build demand for U.S. soybean farmers and improve infrastructure to outlast times of crisis. To learn more about these innovations and soy-based products, visit soynewuses.org or unitedsoybean.org.



Corteva Files Motion with Appeals Court Over Dicamba Suit


Corteva, Inc. filed a motion to intervene in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit case challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency registration of the dicamba herbicide marketed as XtendiMax Herbicide with VaporGrip Technology.

Corteva was not a party to the lawsuit, and until June 3, the case appeared to involve only the XtendiMax registration. The Ninth Circuit Court nevertheless vacated in its June 3 decision the EPA's registration of XtendiMax and Enginia herbicides, as well as Corteva's registration for DuPont FeXapan with VaporGrip Technology.

Corteva is seeking to intervene to preserve our rights and to support the rights of customers to use the impacted dicamba weed control technologies.

"We believe dicamba is an effective weed management tool for farmers when used according to the label. We also seek to preserve the role of the U.S. EPA to administer the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide & Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), including granting or cancelling crop protection product registrations, for the benefit of agriculture and society," the corporation said in a release.



Weekend Update: Small Business Stabilization Grants for Livestock Producers
2020-06-15T02:50

https://getnebraskagrowing.nebraska.gov/ag-grants/

Livestock producers across the state have been adversely affected by manufacturing closures and changing consumer demand due to COVID-19. This has translated into dramatic reductions in revenue. The SBS Grant allocates working capital to help cover Nebraska livestock producers’ operating expenses, enabling them to return to stability and profitability.

Who is eligible?

Nebraska livestock producers with 1 to 10 employees that have closed or sustained a loss of revenue or employment since March 13, 2020, are eligible to apply. The following industries are eligible:
       - Beef Cattle Ranching and Farming (NAICS 112111)
       - Dairy Cattle and Milk Production (NAICS 11212)
       - Hog and Pig Farming (NAICS 1122)
       - Poultry and Egg Production (NAICS 1123)
       - Sheep/Goat Farming (NAICS 1124)

Funds Distribution

Nebraska Dept. of Economic Development expects to award individual grants of $12,000 to eligible businesses, for a total of approximately $330,000,000.  Nebraska Livestock producers must have at least 20 animal units.  Two-thirds (2/3) of gross income must come from Farming or Ranching.  The State of Nebraska will be providing transparent reporting on the CARES Act funds and names of recipients will be made public.

How can the grant be used?

Livestock producers can use the SBS grant as working capital to pay for operating expenses, with the purpose of helping the producer maintain or bounce back during the period of economic downturn.

Preparing to apply

A PDF version of the full application can be found here to be used in preparation. Please note that DED will NOT accept PDF applications. You must use the hyperlink in the Eligibility Certification to submit your application.
  - Download the User Guide Here - https://getnebraskagrowing.nebraska.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/2020-Business-Stabilization-Application-Guide.pdf.
  - Download Preparation PDF Here - https://getnebraskagrowing.nebraska.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/NE-Business-Stabilization-Livestock-Application.pdf

See the Application Guidelines for more information on eligibility, the use of funds, instructions on how to apply and the selection process.

Download Application Guidelines PDF Here - https://getnebraskagrowing.nebraska.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Small-Business-Stabilization-Program-Guidelines-for-Businesses-and-Livestock-Producers.pdf

How to apply

If eligibility requirements are met, the grant-seeking livestock producer should submit an electronic Eligibility Certification to DED by the deadline below. The Eligibility Certification will be used to verify that the livestock producer is a Nebraska taxpayer that has employees in the state. If the livestock producer is validated, it will receive an invitation to submit a full application, which must be submitted by the deadline below.

For a business, you will need the following: Business Name, Email, State ID (tax ID).

For an individual (sole proprietorship), you will need the following: Name, Email, Social Security Number, Driver’s License Number, Date issued for DL, Adjusted gross income for most recent tax return

Application deadlines

Eligibility submission opening date - June 15, 2020 at 8 am CT
Eligibility submission deadline - June 26, 2020 at 5 pm CT
Eligibility notification date (via email from the State) - June 15, 2020 – June 26, 2020
Application begin date - June 15, 2020 at 8 am CT
Application deadline - June 26, 2020 at 5 pm CT

Questions?

Contact: 855-264-6858 or click here.... https://getnebraskagrowing.nebraska.gov/ag-grants/




Friday June 12 Ag News
2020-06-12T09:36

Soybean Gall Midge Update: Multiple sites with adult emergence on June 12th

According to the Friday alert from Nebraska Extension, soybean gall midge adults have emerged from multiple sites in eastern Nebraska.  The June 12th update indicates soybean gall midge adults have emerged in monitoring sites in Cuming County (1 adult detected), three sites in Saunders County (1 adult at each), two sites in northern Landcaster County (1 adult at one site, 2 adults at the other site), and in Cass County (2 adults at one site, 3 total adults at a different site). Also, the alert network website shows one soybean gall midge adult has been captured at sites in Cass and Ida counties in Iowa. 

See the alert web site and latest information here:  www.soybeangallmidge.org.

For soybean growers that are near the site with adult activity and that have had issues with soybean gall midge, they may consider making an application in the next week if their soybean fields have reached the V2 stage. Based on last year’s data from Nebraska Extension, soybean plants prior to the V2  stage generally lack the presence of cracks or fissures at the base of the stem. Plants without fissures are not considered to be susceptible to soybean gall midge infestation. If growers have fields at VC or V1, NE Extension Cropping Systems Specialist Justin McMechon recommends waiting until V2 to make an application if they are in a high-risk area and have adult activity occurring.

In 2019, pyrethroid insecticides applied at different timings relative to adult emergence showed a significant yield response in Nebraska when applied up to 10 days after the first adult emergence was detected.  McMechon says it’s important to note that none of those treatments provided complete control of soybean gall midge. In addition, the study was conducted on a field that was planted to soybean the previous year. Since soybean gall midge is a field edge infesting pest, growers may only need to treat the first 60 to 120 feet of a field edge that is directly adjacent to a field that was injured the previous year.



Registration for the 2020 Corn Grower Open Now Open!


Nebraska Corn is excited to be able to host the 2020 Corn Grower Open this year on August 17th at Lochland Country Club in Hastings! Registration is now open and can be completed by filling out this form http://necga.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/2020-CGO-Member-Flier-1.pdf and submitting it to mwrich@necga.org or by calling the Association office at (402) 438-6459. If circumstances change and the tournament has to be cancelled, all sponsorship and registration money will be returned, minus any fees incurred. We look forward to another great year on the course celebrating Nebraska’s corn industry.

If you are interested in sponsoring any part of the tournament, please see this form http://necga.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/2020-CGO-Sponsor-Flier-1.pdf that outlines all of the opportunities we have available.



NE State Fair Audit and Status of 2020 Fair


Today, the Nebraska State Fair Board was provided by its legal counsel the results of a financial investigation report conducted by BKD. The Board is taking seriously the recommendations provided by its legal counsel by instituting financial policies and procedures and hiring an accounting firm to ensure sound accounting practices. Due to other on-going investigations, the Board will not share any further information at this time.

The Nebraska State Fair Board intends to make a decision about producing the 2020 fair by July 1. During today’s board meeting the Covid-19 Task Force mentioned six scenarios are being considered for what the fair may look like depending on the yet to be determined guidelines we will face in August.

The safety and well-being of our guests, participants, partners, sponsors and community always comes first, so we are closely following the directives of local and national health agencies: Central District Health Department, Department of Agriculture, the City of Grand Island, Hall County, and the Nebraska Governor’s Office.



Agricultural Education Students Receive Scholarships


The Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation awarded 10 scholarships to students enrolled in the Agricultural Education Teaching Program at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln (UNL).

“The recipients exemplify a passion for agriculture that will make their classrooms and FFA programs a success,” said Megahn Schafer, executive director of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation. “We are proud to support these future teachers who will develop strong agricultural leaders to ensure a bright future for Nebraska agriculture.”

Each recipient will receive a $1,500 scholarship during his or her student teaching semester at the university. Applicants shared why they wanted to be an agricultural education teacher, professional goals for the future, and what the scholarship would mean to them.

“Nebraska’s demand for quality agricultural education teachers continues to be strong in 198 high schools across the state.  These teachers fill a vital role in the workforce pipeline by attracting young professionals to Nebraska’s largest industry," said Matt Kreifels, associate professor of practice in agricultural education at UNL. "We are grateful for the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation’s dedication to supporting these future teachers.  Through the support of this scholarship program, and with Farm Bureau helping to promote the profession of agricultural education, UNL has seen an increase in the number of students entering this career over the last five years.  Farm Bureau, its members, and the Foundation are helping to ensure a strong foundation for the future of agriculture in this state by investing in these young teachers.”

The 10 recipients of the scholarships are Megahn Christensen, Lincoln; Bailee Daugherty, O’Neill; Kacie Hahn, Johnson; Hannah Lowe, Murray; Dasie Nichols, Miller; Krystin Oborny, Garland; Cal tenBensel, Cambridge; Shelby Wachter, Blair; Hailey Walmsley, Norfolk; Sage Williams, Eddyville.



Suicide Prevention Program for Producers, Responders, Veterans


Certain professions, such as farming, emergency response and military service, have unique challenges and stressors. Such challenges can produce both short-term and long-term impacts. And now, Iowa's communities and families are coping with additional stressors related to the imposed isolation and economic conditions produced by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In response to this additional stress, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will be offering five additional online "Question. Persuade. Refer." programs beginning June 16, said David Brown, behavioral health specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. QPR is a suicide prevention program that teaches participants three steps to help save a life from suicide.

"Just as people trained in CPR and the Heimlich maneuver help save thousands of lives each year, people trained in QPR learn how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to question, persuade and refer someone to help," Brown explained.

ISU Extension and Outreach will offer QPR at a variety of dates to meet the busy schedules of those in these high-risk professions. Each program will last for one hour. Those dates and times are as follows:
- June 16 at 12 p.m.
- June 18 at 12 p.m.
- June 23 at 12 p.m.
- June 25 at 12 p.m.
- June 30 at 12 p.m.

Agribusiness professionals, producers, sheriffs, police officers, firefighters, EMTs, veterans and military members can register at no cost for any of these programs. To register, go to www.extension.iastate.edu/humansciences/QPR. Participants will receive a unique URL prior to the program to access the Zoom hosted program. For more information, feel free to contact David Brown at dnbrown@iastate.edu.



2020 Governor’s Charity Steer Show Will Go On


Plans are underway for the 38th Annual Governor's Charity Steer Show (GCSS) to be held on August 15, 2020. 

 The event, which raises money for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Iowa, would typically be held at the Iowa State Fair. However, with the postponement of the 2020 fair, show organizers are actively making adjustments to plans.

 “The Governor’s Charity Steer Show is a long-standing tradition and benefits a very good cause,” says Tanner Lawton, Iowa Cattlemen’s Association staff member and co-chair of this year’s GCSS. “We’ve known for the past few weeks that the show and auction probably wouldn’t be the same as it has been in years past, but our priority is making sure that we have a successful fundraiser for the Ronald McDonald House Charities in Iowa.”

 This historic philanthropic event has raised over $3.8 million to help provide a home away from home for families of children who are being treated in nearby hospitals. Ronald McDonald Houses are located in Des Moines, Iowa City, and Sioux City. The location for this year's show is yet to be determined, but we should have more information in the coming weeks.

Twenty-five steers from across the state will compete for the championship designation, showmanship honors, and the People’s Choice award. Each of the steers has been raised by an Iowa youth involved in the cattle industry, and celebrities will accompany the young steer owners.

Immediately following the competition, the steers will be sold at auction with proceeds going to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Iowa. Last year’s auction raised more than $284,000.



Emergency Legal Motion Seeks Contempt for EPA Administrator Wheeler for Defying Court Ruling Barring Farmers from Spraying Dicamba Pesticide

Press Release

Farming and conservation groups today asked the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to find Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler in contempt for refusing to abide by a federal court order suspending use of the pesticide dicamba.

In response to last week's court decision holding that the EPA wrongly approved formulations of the drift-prone pesticide that has damaged millions of acres of crops, the EPA issued an order allowing continued spraying through July 31.

In approving ongoing use of dicamba through July, Wheeler cited what he asserted was the harm the court's ruling would have on farmers using dicamba. But the court made clear that by wrongly approving use of the pesticide, the EPA is directly responsible for any harm to farmers—both those using dicamba and those whose crops have been damaged by it.

"Trump's EPA is so rogue it thinks it can blow off a federal court ruling that stops the damaging dicamba spraying in an administrative order," said George Kimbrell, of the Center for Food Safety, lead counsel in the case. "EPA needs a lesson in separation of powers and we're asking the court to give it to them."

Last week, in response to a lawsuit filed by conservation groups and farmers harmed by dicamba drift, the court ruled that the Trump administration's 2018 registration of these pesticide uses was unlawful.

The court said the EPA refused to consider an array of real world harms including the abundant evidence that dicamba damaged millions of acres of crops, groves and gardens.

The ruling highlighted the extensive drift damage that took place in the two summers after the EPA's approval, and that the agency's approval of the drift-prone products made many growers switch to seeds genetically engineered to withstand dicamba simply because they feared it was the only way to protect their crops from the pesticide. The court ordered sale and use to stop immediately on June 3 and the EPA has now in effect attempted unilaterally to extend that by two months.

In today's emergency motion, the groups pointed out that the court could not have been any clearer in last week's ruling. To stop the ongoing harm, the court suspended over-the-top in-season spraying of dicamba, effective immediately. The EPA's subsequent administrative order defied that ruling. The groups asked the court today to enforce its ruling and hold Wheeler in contempt.

"It's mind-boggling to see the EPA blatantly ignore a court ruling, especially one that provides such important protections for farmers and the environment," said Stephanie Parent, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity who is co-counsel in the case. "We're asking this court to restore the rule of law at the Trump EPA."

Background:
Over 25 million pounds of the dicamba was set to be sprayed again this summer using the now-unlawful pesticides.

In last week's ruling the court vacated the EPA's approval of three formulations of the pesticide dicamba—Monsanto's XtendiMax, Corteva's FeXapan, and BASF's Engenia—that EPA first registered for the 2017 season for "new uses" on Monsanto's genetically engineered, dicamba-resistant soybeans and cotton.

In ruling the pesticide approval to be unlawful, the opinion cited "enormous and unprecedented damage" caused by dicamba in the last few years, damage that has "torn apart the social fabric of many farming communities."



Perdue Statement on Dicamba Plaintiffs' Attack on EPA Order


U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today issued the following statement on Secretary Perdue Statement on Dicamba Plaintiffs' Attack on EPA Order:

“USDA supports the actions taken by the EPA to respond responsibly to the decision of the Ninth Circuit regarding Dicamba. At a time when the security of the food supply chain is paramount, the Center for Biological Diversity and its allies seek to cripple American farmers and further limit their ability to feed, fuel, and clothe this nation and the world. The Ninth Circuit should not allow plaintiffs’ hostility against the American farmer to cloud the fact that the EPA’s actions follow both legal precedent and common sense.”

Background:
EPA’s order allowing for the limited use of existing chemical stocks already purchased follows EPA precedents from the Obama and Clinton Administrations when the registrations for other crop protection tools were cancelled.



 BASF files motion to intervene in Ninth Circuit case that vacated dicamba registrations


BASF has filed an emergency motion to intervene following the decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to vacate the federal registrations of three dicamba-based herbicides, including BASF’s Engenia® herbicide. The Court’s June 3, 2020 decision brought BASF’s product into the case for the first time. BASF has now made the request to intervene after careful consideration of the sudden and severe financial impact vacating the registration has had on farmers during this critical application time, when farmers now have less than a month to protect millions of acres under threat from resistant weeds. The Ninth Circuit’s decision has caused immediate chaos among the agricultural community and threatens the livelihood of countless U.S. farmers. Seeking to make matters worse, the challengers have now asked the Ninth Circuit to undo the EPA’s order which implemented the panel’s decision and addressed the uncertainty it caused. BASF must act to protect its interests and those of its customers.

“Taking this action during the height of the application season gives no regard to the significant investments farmers have made in their businesses and leaves them without viable options for the growing season,” said Paul Rea, Senior Vice President, BASF Agricultural Solutions North America. “Farming is difficult even in the best of times and remains challenging. Making this decision now, when weed resistance continues to threaten farming operations, is disastrous for our customers. Farmers have counted on applications of dicamba-based products to control troublesome weeds for decades, and they continue to need these tools now and in the future.”

Since its original registration with the EPA in 2016, on-target applications of Engenia herbicide have helped farmers produce clean fields and robust yields of dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton. And because of BASF’s commitment to stewardship, the company provides customers with a range of practices, equipment, and trainings to make sure they have the tools to get the most out of BASF products, while protecting the environment.

“I have been using Engenia for three years, and it is a critical part of my operation to reduce the threat of resistant weeds and ensure a successful yield each season,” said Brad Kallenbach, a soybean farmer from Jamestown, North Dakota. “My livelihood depends on tools like Engenia to tackle these challenges, and those of us that use it have dedicated a tremendous amount of time to ensure that we are doing it responsibly. The Court’s decision to vacate the Engenia registration leaves me with no good options for this year. It’s a steep cost that no grower under these circumstances was ready to bear.”

The EPA’s approval process for crop protection products is science-based and data-driven. BASF invests in and uses the best science and testing protocols to develop next-generation innovations like Engenia herbicide. BASF scientists have over 50 years of experience in developing and improving dicamba for effective and safe applications.

“Engenia and other dicamba-based herbicides are critical in ensuring the long-term sustainability of agriculture and crop protection products,” continued Rea. “Not only do they play a role in protecting crops, but also in ensuring an abundant, safe and affordable food supply. Continued innovation in crop protection and weed management must continue and be supported to sustain this industry.”

BASF remains committed to meeting the needs of its customers and will continue to work on new dicamba-based innovations to assist farmers with weed control. In addition, BASF will also continue to pursue EPA re-registration of Engenia for the coming seasons.



Ranch Group Welcomes Representative Liz Cheney's Interstate Shipment of State-Inspected Meat Act


Today, Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY) introduced the Expanding Markets for State-Inspected Meat Processors Act of 2020 (H.R. 7162). House co-sponsors include Rep. David McKinley (R-WV) and Rep. Carol Miller (R-WV). The act would amend the Federal Meat Inspection Act by expressly allowing meatpacking plants inspected by state jurisdictions to sell meat in interstate commerce. The act is similar to a bipartisan Senate version filed earlier by Senators Mike Rounds (R-SD), Angus King (I-ME), John Thune (R-SD), Michael Enzi (R-WY), Joe Manchin (D-WV) and John Barrasso (R-WY). However, Cheney's act differs by not including poultry as is included in the Senate version.

According to R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard, state inspected meatpackers have long been discriminated against by the Federal Meat Inspection Act, which he said allows imported meat products produced in foreign plants that only receive periodic inspection by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to nevertheless be shipped to every state in the Union once it enters the United States. But, he said state-inspected meat plants that are regularly inspected by their respective state food inspectors are denied access to all markets outside their state.

"This has effectively prevented robust competition in the U.S. meatpacking industry as market access for state-inspected meat plants is severely constrained, which stymies both new entrants and expansion of existing plants.

"More packing plants competing with existing packing plants for both their cattle inputs and beef sales means more industry-wide competition, and that is exactly what America's cattlemen need right now"

We greatly appreciate Rep. Cheney's leadership in the House to help our industry rebuild its lost competition," Bullard concluded.



August Sale Set for Greeley Lamb Plant

ASI newsletter

Mountain States Rosen, LLC, a lamb meatpacker in Greeley, Colorado that controls a fifth of the American lamb market, could lay off 222 people depending on the outcome of a bankruptcy auction in August.

The plant is expected to be sold in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy sale set for Aug. 11, according to a notification letter sent by the company to state labor officials. However, a subsidiary of Rosen submitted a stalking-horse bid of $10 million for the plant last month, meaning that it could retain control of the plant if it were to win at auction.

Employees of the plant are due to be formally notified on Friday that they may be either laid off and immediately rehired if Rosen’s subsidiary wins the sale, or permanently separated if the company loses.

Rosen’s parent company filed in Wyoming bankruptcy court in April, saying it had been in conversations to restructure $18.18 million in debt from CoBank, a Colorado financial institution that primarily handles agricultural financing. According to affidavits filed in the case, those negotiations fell apart, and widespread job losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic led to a steep drop in sales for high-priced proteins such as lamb. That drop was particularly acute this spring, when lamb sales usually spike during the Easter and Passover season.



Thursday June 11 Ag News
2020-06-12T03:25

Agenda released for NE Pork Expo

The NE Department of Agriculture, the Alliance for the Future of Nebraska, and the NE Pork Producers Association will host the inaugural Nebraska Pork Expo. Even though the expo will be online, attendees will have opportunities to submit questions and interact with speakers in real time. Session lengths allow for plenty of time for questions and answers.

Wednesday July 8 -
9:00 am - 10:00 am Integrator/Contract Production Panel
Swine companies are looking for farmers to partner with them in finishing pigs.  Hear what each company has to offer, their business model and outlook for the coming years.

10:00 am- 11:00 am Finance Panel
Discussion from leading lenders and finance experts on how to pay for a new swine building and how adding a swine component could impact your overall farm income.

11:00 am - 11:10 am Break

11:10 am - 12:00 pm Secure Pork Supply - Dr. Patrick Webb, National Pork Board
The secure pork plan is an overall plan to guard and limit impacts to the swine industry. Disruptions or disease impacts can happen to any size operation so whether you are large or small, understanding this industry-wide initiative is critical to the overall success of the industry.

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm Lunch Break - viewing of sponsor and vendor videos

1:00 pm - 2:00 pm Work Force Panel
Whether you are a large operator or just need part-time help, finding and retaining quality employees can be a challenge. This panel will discuss how they manage their workforce for positive outcomes on all sides.

2:00 pm - 2:30 pm Permitting and local zoning regulations
Regulations and local rules can seem daunting, but they don’t have to be.  Experts will explain the processes and steps to get a new or expanding operation permitted at the state and local level.

2:30 pm - 3:00 pm Deep pit and Nutrient Management
Experts in manure management discuss how the manure in your pit becomes money saving fertilizer on your fields.

3:00 pm - 4:00 pm - Niche Pork Production
Listen to producers who are raising pigs in a variety of innovative ways direct to consumer, into niche markets, and heritage breeding stock.

4:00 pm- 5:00 pm Generation Z: Meeting the Demands of a New Wave of Customers - Carrie Horazeck
As millennials push into middle age, the new class of consumer that will dominate the market are the Generation Z’ers. Who are they and what do they want? Carrie’s years of experience in innovation and foresight planning will help us to better understand what the future holds for the pork industry.

Register ahead of time at www.becomeafan.org



Nebraska Farmers Union Supports Grant to Expand Flex Fuel Blender Pumps


In both written and oral testimony Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) supported grant application 20-137 “Nebraska Renewable Fuels and Air Quality Program” before the Nebraska Environmental Trust which was approved by their board. The grant would be used to assist in funding 15-85% ethanol blender pumps at retail locations across the state.  NeFU President Hansen said this represents an historic opportunity for the state of Nebraska to build flex fuel infrastructure that will improve air quality for years to come.

In their testimony, Hansen cited NeFU’s grassroots-driven policy adopted at their 2019 state convention:

“NeFU supports federal and state efforts to aggressively provide incentives for the building and utilization of ethanol blender pumps which provide auto fuel users with expanded fuel blending buying options.”

Earlier this year NeFU called attention to the fact that based on last year’s data from the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles, there are over 252,500 flex fuel vehicles in Nebraska, and those flex fuel vehicle owners cannot buy higher ethanol blend fuels if those fuels are not available where they buy their fuel.

Hansen noted that NeFU is a long-time supporter of ethanol for both economic and environmental reasons including air quality. He said that the latest and best data on the air quality benefits of E-10 are clear, and that the higher ethanol blends like E-15, E-30 and E-85 are even better for air quality because they dilute the toxicity of the gasoline and also reduces the use of carcinogenic additives.  Their testimony said:

“The latest and best information on air quality emissions is from a study done by USDA, March 25, 2019.  The study said E-10 reduces tailpipe carbon monoxide emissions by as much as 43%, exhaust VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) emissions by 12%, greenhouse gas emissions by 39%, and toxic and carcinogenic particulates such as benzene, toluene, and xylene that are so hazardous to children, senior citizens and those with respiratory issues by 41%. The data clearly says there are substantial improvements in air quality and health from adding higher levels of ethanol blends to our fuels.”

Hansen noted that while Nebraska was the nation’s second largest producer of ethanol, they had less than one fifth of the blender pumps that neighboring Iowa has who is also the nation’s leading ethanol producer. He said that lack of blender pumps deprived Nebraska fuel users of the opportunity to buy home grown higher blend ethanol fuels that burn cleaner and improve air quality. “This one time investment of funds will provide long term air quality benefits,” Hansen said.

NeFU also pointed out that when our nation and state are struggling with the worst medical pandemic in the last century, and since COVID-19 attacks victims with underlying medical conditions, especially people with respiratory issues, and since that air quality directly impacts how many people have respiratory problems, it is appropriate to focus on air quality this year with Nebraska Environmental Trust funding.



Ricketts Proclaims June as “Renewable Fuels Month” in Nebraska


Today, at an afternoon press briefing, Governor Pete Ricketts officially designated June 2020 as Renewable Fuels Month in Nebraska.  The Governor also highlighted three great reasons to use ethanol fuels when filling up a car or truck.  Ethanol saves drivers money at the pump, it cleans up the environment by reducing carbon emissions, and it creates opportunities for Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers.

University of Nebraska President Ted Carter joined the Governor today to celebrate Renewable Fuels Month.  He spoke about the University’s partnership with Green Plains to manufacture hand sanitizers for local businesses, schools, and non-profits in Nebraska communities.

Green Plains President, CEO, and Director Todd Becker also attended the briefing to talk about his company’s program to provide industrial ethanol from its plant in York for use in hand sanitizers.  Additionally, Nebraska Soybean Board Executive Director Scott Ritzman took part in the press event.  He highlighted the economic importance of biodiesels, and the use of soybean oils to produce them.



NeFB Awards Student Project Grants to 4-H and FFA students in Thurston, Chase, and Keith Counties


Nebraska Farm Bureau Student Project Grants, supported by the Charles Marshall Fund at the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation were awarded to four deserving student Farm Bureau members in Thurston, Chase, and Keith Counties. Each student was awarded one thousand dollars to be used to either begin or expand their 4-H project or FFA Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE) project.

“We are proud of the entrepreneurial spirt our student members embrace and are very impressed by the passion they have for each of their projects,” said Audrey Schipporeit, director of generational engagement. “We hope these funds will help them achieve their goals and look forward to watching them continue to bring new ideas and ventures in their communities for years to come.”

These grants are awarded to Nebraska Farm Bureau student members each year. If selected, the student must share how they have used the grant towards starting or growing their 4-H or SAE projects. Winners were selected by a Farm Bureau committee.

Grant recipients are as follows:
    Alexis Bodlak is a member of Thurston County Farm Bureau. As part of her SAE project, Bodlak worked at a greenhouse where she was involved with the business aspect of the operation and the physical management of the greenhouse. Due to her employer scaling back the greenhouse portion of the business, Bodlak is transitioning her SAE project to an entrepreneurship project. She plans to continue to work at the greenhouse but will start growing plants on her own. In order to execute the project, she plans on using the grant money to access a space where she can raise her own plants.

    Morayah Cupp is a member of Chase County Farm Bureau. Cupp has a small business where she rents out mobile chicken coops to families in her community. She currently has six mobile coops with a goal to expand to 10 coops by the end of November. Cupp has a passion for poultry and wants others to share her passion as well.

    Makenna Eisenzimmer is a member of Keith County Farm Bureau. Eisenzimmer’s SAE market swine project expanded to a show pig business this year. Her goal is to raise affordable show pigs for area youth and mentor them on how to properly feed and show a pig. Eisenzimmer built a small farrowing barn on her grandma’s farm and plans to use the grant money for construction costs. Her goal is to farrow at least 16 piglets a year from two gilts that she can sell to area youth for 4-H and FFA show pigs.

    Lindsey Mendenhall is a member of Chase County Farm Bureau. As her SAE project, Mendenhall raises and sells American Kennel Club (AKC) registered golden retrievers. As a 4-H participant, she showed dogs for obedience and showmanship and her dog has passed the AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluation. She plans to use the grant money to buy a Cumberland building, dog food, and pay for vet expenses in the future.

Those interested in applying for the Student Project Grants must meet certain requirements. Applicants must hold a current Nebraska Farm Bureau student membership and be ages 16-23 to participate. To join Nebraska Farm Bureau and learn more, visit www.nefb.org



Midwest Dairy awards six scholarships to Nebraska college students


Midwest Dairy has awarded $4,500 of scholarship funds across six college students in Nebraska who are or will be working towards dairy or agricultural degrees. Scholarship amounts and recipients were selected based on the applicant’s participation as a leader in their community and their knowledge of the dairy and agricultural industries.

Seth Racicky of Elk-Creek Dairy in Mason City is the recipient of a $1500 scholarship towards his tuition at Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture.

Eli Wolfe of Wolfden Dairy in Kearney will receive a $1000 scholarship. He plans to attend Northwest Missouri State University this fall.

Students earning $500 scholarships include: Faith Junck of Junck Dairy in Carroll; Sydney Schildt of Schildt Dairy in Pleasant Dale; Blake Racicky of Elk-Creek Dairy in Mason City; and Sarah Lammers of Jedon Farm LLC in Hartington.

“Being selected as a recipient of the Midwest Dairy Nebraska division scholarship is an honor,” said Racicky. “I will continue to advocate for dairy and be involved in the industry. I am funding my own way through college, so this scholarship is greatly appreciated.”

Midwest Dairy is committed to developing the next generation of dairy leaders through its scholarship programs.

“This group of scholarship recipients has demonstrated their commitment to building up the dairy industry,” said Kris Bousquet manager, Farmer Relations – Nebraska. “It’s a privilege to recognize their achievements, hard work and assist with their schooling.”

To be considered for this scholarship, applicants must be a full-time student at an accredited college and come from a dairy farm family in Nebraska. Next year’s application process for the Midwest Dairy Nebraska division scholarship starts in January 2021. For more information, please visit the Young Dairy Leaders tab on midwestdairy.com.



NCF AND NARD ANNOUNCE NEBRASKA AS HOST OF 2021 NCF-ENVIROTHON


Today, the National Conservation Foundation (NCF) and the Nebraska Association of Resources Districts (NARD) announced that Nebraska will be the host of the 2021 NCF-Envirothon, slated for July 25-31, 2021. Nebraska was slated to host the 2020 NCF-Envirothon competition, but due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, the 2020 competition was canceled to protect the health and safety of the general public and participants and to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The 2021 event will be held at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus and feature the same resource topic and learning objectives as was planned for the 2020 competition, with the current topic of ”Water Resource Management: Local Control and Local Solutions.”

“It was a natural choice to allow Nebraska the opportunity to host the 2021 competition,” NCF Chairman Steve Robinson said. “We recognize and value the hundreds of hours of planning the Nebraska host team and their volunteers have dedicated to the 2020 event, and it felt only right to honor that by giving them the opportunity to put their plan in action in 2021 instead.”

"Although the pandemic delayed our hosting, it hasn't curbed our excitement," said NARD President Jim Eschliman. "We look forward to welcoming attendees to Nebraska in 2021 and sharing more about the unique ways we manage natural resources in the Cornhusker State."

The top priority for the organizers remains the health and safety of students, advisors, volunteers, sponsors and education partners. NCF and the NARD will be working closely with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln over the next year to ensure that any recommended guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are met when the group gathers together in July 2021.

“As always, we thank the participants and volunteers for their ongoing dedication to the program, and we wish them and their families good health through these difficult times,” Robinson said.

To learn more about the NCF-Envirothon or the Nebraska Association of Resources Districts, visit: www.envirothon.org or www.nrdnet.org.



NEBRASKA CROP PRODUCTION REPORT


Based on June 1 conditions, Nebraska's 2020 winter wheat crop is forecast at 44.4 million bushels, down 20% from last year's crop, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Average yield is forecast at 51 bushels per acre, down 6 bushels from last year. Acreage to be harvested for grain is estimated at 870,000 acres, down 100,000 acres from last year. This would be 95% of the planted acres, compared with last year's 91% harvested.

U.S. Winter Wheat Production Up 1 Percent from May Forecast

Winter wheat production is forecast at 1.27 billion bushels, up 1 percent from the May 1 forecast but down 3 percent from 2019. As of June 1, the United States yield is forecast at 52.1 bushels per acre, up 0.4 bushel from last month but down 1.5 bushels from last year's average yield of 53.6 bushels per acre.

Hard Red Winter production, at 743 million bushels, is up 1 percent from last month. Soft Red Winter, at 297 million bushels, is down slightly from the May forecast. White Winter, at 225 million bushels, is up 1 percent from last month. Of the White Winter production, 16.6 million bushels are Hard White and 209 million bushels are Soft White.



Conservation Best Practices Manual the Subject of June 17 Webinar


Iowa Learning Farms will host a webinar on Wednesday, June 17 at noon about the Whole Farm Conservation Best Practices Manual. 

The Whole Farm Conservation Best Practices Manual brought together many experts with the sole purpose of developing best management practices for the successful adoption of cover crops, no-/strip-tillage, diverse rotations and edge-of-field practices. This manual is designed to be a useful tool for farmers and crop advisers.

It includes decision tools that guide operators, landowners or conservation professionals through the decision-making process for adopting and implementing conservation practices.

Mark Licht, assistant professor in agronomy and cropping systems specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, will discuss the manual and how it can be used to guide adoption of conservation practices.

“It is my intention that participants will gain an understanding of what is included in the manual, but also how to use the manual to increase and improve that adoption rate of conservation practices,” said Licht, whose research and extension program are focused on corn and soybean management practices, particularly developing practices for the successful adoption of cover crops.

The full manual is available as a free download from the Iowa State University Extension Store or the Iowa Learning Farms website. Ideas and feedback on the manual will be welcome during the webinar, so participants should consider downloading the manual in advance.

To participate in the live webinar, shortly before noon CDT on June 17, Click the following URL, or type this web address into your internet browser: https://iastate.zoom.us/j/364284172.

Or, go to https://iastate.zoom.us/join and enter meeting ID: 364 284 172. Or, join from a dial-in phone line, dial +1 312 626 6799 or +1 646 876 9923. The meeting ID is: 364 284 172.

The webinar will also be recorded and archived on the ILF website, so that it can be watched at any time. Archived webinars are available at https://www.iowalearningfarms.org/page/webinars.



USDA Announces Improvements to the Livestock Risk Protection Insurance Program This Summer


USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) today announced changes to the Livestock Risk Protection (LRP) insurance program for feeder cattle, fed cattle and swine starting this summer with the 2021 crop year. Changes include moving premium due dates to the end of the endorsement period and increasing premium subsidies to assist producers.

“These changes will make these policies more usable and affordable for livestock producers,” RMA Administrator Martin Barbre said. “We are working to ensure these improvements can be implemented by July 1 so producers can take advantage of these changes.”

Specifically, the changes:
    Allow premiums to be paid at the end of the endorsement period, putting it in line with other policies.
    Increase the premium subsidy for coverage levels above 80 percent. Those with an 80 percent or higher coverage level will get a 5-percentage point subsidy increase.

Producers may buy LRP insurance throughout the year from Approved Insurance Providers (AIPs), with coverage prices ranging from 70 to 100 percent of the expected ending value of their animals. At the end of the insurance period, if the actual ending value is below the coverage price, producers will be paid an indemnity for the difference. Premium rates, coverage prices and actual ending values are posted online daily.

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



June 30 Last Day to Complete Enrollment for 2020 Agriculture Risk Coverage, Price Loss Coverage Programs


Agricultural producers who have not yet enrolled in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs for 2020 must do so by June 30. Although program elections for the 2020 crop year remain the same as elections made for 2019, all producers need to contact their local USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) office to sign a 2020 enrollment contract.

“The Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage programs are critical safety-net programs for farmers, helping producers weather market distortions resulting from natural disasters, trade disruptions and, this year, a pandemic,” said FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce. “Contact your FSA county office today to complete enrollment before June 30. This can be done in concert with filing your acreage report and applying for other FSA programs.”

To date, more than 1.4 million ARC and PLC contracts have been signed for the 2020 crop year. This represents 89 percent of expected enrollment. FSA will send reminder postcards to producers who, according to agency records, have not yet submitted signed contracts for ARC or PLC for the 2020 crop year.

Producers who do not complete enrollment by close of business local time on Tuesday, June 30 will not be enrolled in ARC or PLC for the 2020 crop year and will be ineligible to receive a payment should one trigger for an eligible crop.

ARC and PLC contracts can be mailed or emailed to producers for signature depending on producer preference. Signed contracts can be mailed or emailed back to FSA or, arrangements can be made in advance with FSA to drop off signed contracts at the FSA county office – call ahead for local drop off and other options available for submitting signed contracts electronically.

Producers are eligible to enroll on farms with base acres for the following commodities: 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.

For more information on ARC and PLC including web-based decision tools, visit farmers.gov/arc-plc.



RFA Calls on President to Reject Refinery Waivers

   
In an open letter to President Trump timed to today’s anniversary of his appearance at an Iowa ethanol plant, the Renewable Fuels Association called on him to reject attempts to grant the oil industry more waivers from renewable fuel obligations.

“One year ago today, you visited Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy in Council Bluffs to join us in celebrating a monumental achievement,” wrote RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “At your direction, EPA had just completed regulatory changes finally allowing year-round sales of gasoline containing 15% ethanol—called E15. But E15 growth would have been exponentially larger if not for your EPA continuing to excuse oil refiners from their legal obligations to blend renewable fuels. As we told you a year ago, EPA’s refinery waivers have caused devastating demand losses for ethanol and corn, and they undermine the expansion of E15.”

Cooper also described the impact of more recent crises, such as the Saudi-Russia oil price war that decimated fuel costs and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Mr. President, we need your help,” he concluded. “We ask that you stand up for the Renewable Fuel Standard. Please direct your EPA to abide by the January court ruling and end the abuse of the refinery waiver loophole. You stood by us, farmers, and consumers when you directed EPA to allow year-round E15. Now, we humbly ask that you stand with us again and ensure ethanol demand is not eroded by illegal refinery waivers.”

On Wednesday, a guest essay by Mike Jerke, the CEO of the ethanol plant President Trump visited, appeared in the Des Moines Register titled “A year after Trump visit to Iowa plant, ethanol industry faces unparalleled crises.”



Register Now for the Next NCBA webinar Series!


The National Cattlemen's Beef Association invites you to register for the next webinar in the series... the topic is "Today's Volatile Cattle Market And How To Navigate It," which will be held on June 17, 2020 @ 7:00 p.m. Central time.  The webinar will feature Don Close, senior animal protein analyst with Rabo AgriFinance, who will provide an updated cattle market outlook, and Derrell Peel, PhD, Oklahoma State University Extension Livestock Marketing Specialist who will share strategies for managing risk through turbulent markets with a focus on the cow-calf producer.  Register at https://www.ncba.org/cattlemenswebinarseries.aspx



E10 Flows Into Mexico Following U.S. Ethanol Industry Educational Effort


Taking advantage of the economic benefits and support shared during educational workshops in Mexico, Grupo Topete started importing pre-blended E10 gasoline in May 2020 to its already-built rail track to distribute to independent retail stations.

Five railcars of U.S. gasoline pre-blended at an E10 rate arrived in Guadalajara in May 2020, which will be delivered to retail stations within a four-hour drive of Grupo Topete's terminal in Jalisco.

Five railcars of U.S. gasoline pre-blended at an E10 rate arrived in Guadalajara in May 2020 – 14,500 gallons of ethanol (5,300 bushels in corn equivalent) - a direct success of the U.S. Grains Council’s (USGC’s) collaboration with the Mexican Association of Service Station Providers (AMPES) to demonstrate the economic and environmental benefits of increased ethanol use. The delivery exemplifies the importance of continued engagement in the Mexican market, including an in-country presence, to realizing increased ethanol use.

“The economic benefits keep proving themselves load-by-load,” said Stephan Wittig, USGC director in Mexico. “Despite the adverse conditions due to COVID-19, ethanol is supporting the Mexican environment, gasoline distributors, fuel retailers and most importantly, the Mexican consumer.”

The Council - together with U.S. ethanol industry partners Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and state corn organizations - are providing information to Mexican stakeholders on the benefits of ethanol use, including savings at the pump, improved air quality and a long-term commitment to the environment.

As part of that education effort, the Council developed a strategic partnership with AMPES to offer educational workshops. This series updated Mexican gasoline station owners on developments in fuel regulations, dispelled myths about ethanol use and encouraged distribution companies to ask for quotes on ethanol and how to incorporate ethanol tanks in their facilities. In 2019, the groups – including the Council, AMPES, Growth Energy, RFA and the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) – conducted 11 workshops throughout the country.

Grupo Topete, a family-owned gasoline trader building a fuel terminal in Jalisco near Guadalajara, attended two of these workshops. The Council also connected the company with Petrorack, a fuel retailer in northern Mexico supportive of E10 following USGC programs like the 2019 Global Ethanol Summit.

Taking advantage of the economic benefits and shared support the company learned about during the seminars, Grupo Topete started importing pre-blended E10 gasoline in May 2020 to its already-built rail track to distribute to independent retail stations.

“Despite the steep decrease in gasoline demand in Mexico due to coronavirus restrictions - down 70 percent at the lowest point - ethanol realized competitive advantages in the Mexican market,” Wittig said. “Enough margin was offered to deliver the pre-blended E10 gasoline to retail stations within a four-hour drive of the Grupo Topete terminal in Jalisco.”

While these sales are only a small part of the overall ethanol sales to Mexico, this success demonstrates the effectiveness of the Council’s approach to provide technical education and support within the Mexican fuel industry. Each is a step toward encouraging increased ethanol use through a mix of growing quantities of locally produced ethanol with U.S. ethanol filling in the missing demand.

To accomplish that goal, the Council will continue to help fuel retailers, station equipment installers and local fuel station owners learn more about the advantages of selling ethanol-blended gasoline as Mexico’s transportation fuel sector continues to evolve.



Farmers, Scientists, and Ag Industry to Advance the Science and Practicality of Soil Health During Online Meeting


The non-profit organization’s 5th Annual Meeting July 30 – July 31 will provide the latest information on how soil health influences carbon dynamics, water cycling, soil microbiology, and on-farm economics; all critical components of a regenerative agricultural system.

Research Triangle Park, NC – June 11, 2020 – The Soil Health Institute (SHI), a non-profit organization charged with safeguarding and enhancing the vitality and productivity of soil, today released its 5th Annual Meeting Agenda. Registration is open for Soil Health: The Foundation for Regenerative Agriculture, SHI’s first-ever virtual annual meeting. There is no registration fee; however, registration is required to attend. The online meeting will be held July 30 and 31, 2020.

The annual meeting will host 28 distinguished panelists and speakers, including farmers, soil scientists, food manufacturing leaders, and policy experts. The keynote will be provided by Jay Watson, Sourcing Sustainability Engagement Manager at General Mills, Inc., who leads General Mills, Inc.’s greenhouse gas reduction and regenerative agriculture commitments.

Among the meeting topics:
    Comprehensive Strategy for Advancing Soil Health
    Determining Effective Measurements of Soil Health
    Dimensions of Adoption
    Filling the Economics Gap for Farmers
    Soil Health Policies and Programs in Action

In addition to the plenary sessions, a virtual Video Poster Session will feature up to 80 3-minute video research presentations.

“The level of enthusiasm we have received for Soil Health: The Foundation for Regenerative Agriculture is very inspiring,” said Dr. Wayne Honeycutt, SHI president and CEO. “We are excited at the opportunity for reaching a broad, and hopefully global, audience with the latest information for advancing the science and practicality of soil health.”

For more information and to register for the annual meeting, please visit https://soilhealthinstitute.org/annual-meeting-2020/.

The Soil Health Institute (www.soilhealthinstitute.org) is a non-profit whose mission is to safeguard and enhance the vitality and productivity of soil through scientific research and advancement. The Institute works with its many stakeholders to identify gaps in research and adoption; develop strategies, networks and funding to address those gaps; and ensure beneficial impact of those investments to agriculture, the environment and society.



Wednesday June 10 Ag News
2020-06-10T10:44

Soybean Gall Midge Adults Emerge in Cass County
soybeangallmidge.org

On June 10th, 2020 three soybean gall midge adults were collected south of Louisville in Cass County, Nebraska. This was the only site in the network with soybean gall midge adult activity.

For soybean growers that are near the site with adult activity and that have had issues with soybean gall midge, they can consider making an application in the next week if their soybean fields have reached the V2 stage. Based on last year’s data, soybean plants prior to the V2  stage generally lack the presence of cracks or fissures at the base of the stem. Plants without fissures are not considered to be susceptible to soybean gall midge infestation. If growers have fields at VC or V1, we recommend waiting until V2 to make an application if they are in a high-risk area and have adult activity occurring.

Soybean Gall Midge: Should I Spray Checklist

  - Soybean gall midge adults have emerged in my area
  - My soybean field is at the V2 stage
  - Soybean gall midge injury was noticeable in the adjacent field last year

In 2019, pyrethroid insecticides applied at different timings relative to adult emergence showed a significant yield response in Nebraska when applied up to 10 days after the first adult emergence was detected. It’s important to note that none of those treatments provided complete control of soybean gall midge. In addition, the study was conducted on a field that was planted to soybean the previous year. Since soybean gall midge is a field edge infesting pest, growers may only need to treat the first 60 to 120 feet of a field edge that is directly adjacent to a field that was injured the previous year.



NeFB: Nebraska Agriculture’s COVID-19 Losses Could Approach $3.7 Billion


Analysis conducted by the Nebraska Farm Bureau indicates Nebraska’s agricultural economy could face nearly $3.7 billion in losses due to COVID-19 in 2020 if economic conditions do not improve. The estimate is based on a “snapshot” of revenue losses projected for 2020 commodities that make up the bulk of the state’s agricultural economy including corn, soybeans, wheat, beef cattle, and pork production, as well as dairy and ethanol. 

“To provide some perspective, $3.7 billion is more than 80 percent of the state of Nebraska’s entire budget. We are talking about the potential for major losses. And while the analysis does not account for any financial assistance farmers and ranchers may receive through state and federal COVID-19 relief programs, it clearly demonstrates the magnitude of the financial challenges currently facing farm and ranch families and the potential impacts that could be felt across the broader rural economy,” said Jay Rempe, Nebraska Farm Bureau  senior economist and author of the report.

The analysis shows potential estimated losses in the beef cattle sector alone could reach nearly $1 billion in 2020, with corn and soybean losses combining for another $1.17 billion. Potential losses for the ethanol sector could reach $1.3 billion according to the report, assuming Nebraska’s ethanol plants are unable to run at more than 75 percent of capacity for the remainder of the year. The analysis further pegs potential losses in the pork sector at $166 million, with dairy losses near $66 million, and $8.7 million in COVID-19 related losses for wheat growers.

“As we reach the halfway point of the year, we’re hopeful things will improve between now and December, but this analysis clearly shows how damaging COVID-19 has been to our agricultural economy and what we could be facing moving forward,” said Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president. “We greatly appreciate the fact that our elected leaders have understood the importance and need for financial assistance programs so farmers and ranchers can continue to ensure the food supply for the people of our state, our country, and the world.”

The “COVID-19 and Nebraska Agriculture Potential Estimated Losses” analysis is available on the Nebraska Farm Bureau COVID-19 webpage at www.nefb.org/covid-19.



Rebecca Funk to serve as interim Nebraska Beef Quality Assurance Coordinator


Dr. Rebecca Funk, an assistant professor of practice in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s school of veterinary medicine and biomedical sciences will serve as the interim Nebraska Beef Quality Assurance Coordinator. The role was formerly held by Rob Eirich, who has moved into a new position as an engagement zone coordinator for Nebraska Extension. 

The position is a partnership among UNL, Nebraska Cattlemen, and the Nebraska Beef Council. The Beef Quality Assurance Program provides information and resources to beef producers and consumers related to practices throughout the production process, mainly related to animal health, food safety and product quality.

Funk, who is based at the Great Plains Veterinary Educational Center in Clay Center, teaches elective veterinary student rotations. She also fulfills statewide extension duties in which she works with both producers and veterinarians to utilize sound science-based information to make decisions about animal health programs, husbandry and management protocols, and nutrition. Prior to joining the UNL faculty, Funk was a practicing veterinarian in Rushville.

“Dr. Funk was trained by one of the best bovine health teams in the world,” said Clinton Krehbiel, head of UNL’s department of animal science. “She brings excellent clinical and production experience to this role, and we are excited and very appreciative of her willingness to fill this mission-critical gap.”

Funk will step into the interim beef quality assurance coordinator role effective immediately and may be reached via email at rfunk2@unl.edu. For more information on the Beef Quality Assurance program, visit bqa.unl.edu.



UNL Dairy Store Reopens with Summer Hours


The UNL Dairy Store is open and serving its famous ice cream on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's East Campus.

The Dairy Store, located on the north side of the Food Industry Complex, is open daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. The store offers dine-in service that adheres to social distancing guidelines, as well as curbside pick-up for phone and online orders.

An East Campus mainstay for over 100 years, the UNL Dairy Store sells ice cream, as well as locally made meats, cheese, coffee and more. It temporarily closed to the public amid growing concerns of the spread of COVID-19 on March 20.

For more information about the Dairy Store, to view available flavors or to place an online order, visit dairystore.unl.edu.



IowaBio and Bio Nebraska Announce Virtual Animal Health in the Heartland Symposium


Iowa Biotechnology Association (IowaBio) and Bio Nebraska announced today that their Animal Health in the Heartland symposium will be hosted virtually on Wed., Aug. 18 and Thurs., Aug. 19. The symposium will be held via a Zoom format that will allow attendees to visit Tracks featuring presentations that support the symposium’s focus on whole animal health.

“To ensure the health and safety of our attendees during this time, we are grateful to have the opportunity to host our symposium completely virtually,” said Jessica Hyland, executive director of IowaBio. “While we may not be able to meet in person, the virtual format allowed us to add even more great presenters to our speaker lineup than we have in years past, allowing greater depth to the topic of whole animal health.” 

Animal Health in the Heartland Presentation Tracks:
    Vaccines: Collaborative Development, Manufacturing Strategies and Effective Uses
    Technology on Today's Smart Farm
    Advancements in Probiotics and Animal Feed
    Overcoming Challenges: Regulatory Pathways, Facing Pandemics, and Making Rapid Decisions

Presentation Tracks will be available each morning and attendees can attend presentations from a single track or pick and choose between the various presentation options. In the afternoon of each day, attendees will be invited back to virtually meet with presenters, where they can pose questions and continue discussions of the presentation topics.

“There are extremely important and timely conversations happening in the animal health industry today and we are proud to be working with IowaBio to bring those conversations together in a two-day, virtual event,” said Rob Owen, executive director of Bio Nebraska. “We have included in our line-up a list of exceptional presenters who represent the definition of ‘whole animal health’.”

To get more information or to register for Animal Health in the Heartland, you can visit the event website here... http://www.iowabio.org/index.cfm?NodeID=95701



Iowa 4-H Events to Be Determined after State Fair Postponed


As COVID-19 safety considerations have led to the postponement of the 2020 Iowa State Fair, a decision on 4-H youth learning exhibits is still underway.

“We understand this difficult decision was made to protect the health of everyone, including our youth and families,” said Debbie Nistler, Iowa 4-H state program leader. “We thank the Iowa State Fair Board for their continued support and look forward to continuing to partner with them for many years to come."

4-H staff are currently working with the Iowa State Fair Board on opportunities for youth exhibits and shows and will be releasing more information in the coming weeks.

“4-H gives youth the opportunity to feel physically and emotionally safe while actively engaging in activities,” said Nistler. “This year, safety is especially important to consider as we implement our positive youth development programs.”

For more information on the Iowa 4-H Youth Development program, please contact your ISU Extension and Outreach county office or visit the Iowa 4-H website at www.extension.iastate.edu/4h.



Weekly Ethanol Production for 6/5/2020


According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending June 5, ethanol production jumped 9.4%, or 72,000 barrels per day (b/d), to 837,000 b/d—equivalent to 35.15 million gallons daily and a ten-week high. However, production remains tempered due to COVID-19 disruptions, coming in 23.6% below the same week in 2019. The four-week average ethanol production rate increased 7.9% to 747,000 b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 11.45 billion gallons.

Ethanol stocks drew down by 3.0% to 21.8 million barrels, the lowest reserves this year and even with year-ago volumes. Inventories tightened across all regions except the Midwest (PADD 2).

The volume of gasoline supplied to the U.S. market, a measure of implied demand, built by 4.6% to 7.900 million b/d (121.11 bg annualized). Gasoline demand remained 20.0% lower than a year ago.

Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol stepped up 6.3% to 765,000 b/d, equivalent to 11.73 bg annualized but 19.7% below the year-earlier level.

There were no imports of ethanol recorded for the thirteenth consecutive week. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of April 2020.)



Analysis Projects $89 per Acre Losses for 2020 Corn Crop due to COVID-19


New analysis released by the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) today projects a drastic drop in 2020 revenues as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic with impacts persisting into 2021.

The latest analysis projects a $59 per acre average revenue decline for the 2019 corn crop and an $89 per acre average revenue decline for 2020, compared to pre-COVID-19 projections. If realized, the 2020 crop year revenue would be the lowest corn revenues since 2006. Residual impacts from COVID-19 on corn prices are very likely to persist into 2021 and possibly beyond.

The analysis was conducted by Dr. Gary Schnitkey of the University of Illinois using projections for 2019, 2020, and 2021 for pre-COVID and post-COVID scenarios. It follows previous analysis built on market numbers to date, along with estimates of state-level impacts, conducted as part of NCGA’s efforts to better understand the economic impact of the global pandemic on the corn industry and work to create solutions to help corn farmers and their customers recover from the financial impacts of this crisis.

NCGA President Kevin Ross today shared the analysis with Congressional leaders and urged they use it to aid in the development of future legislative efforts to mitigate the pandemic’s impact and help farmers and their customers recover.

You can learn more about NCGA’s efforts surrounding COVID-19 at ncga.com/covid-19.



Most Retail Fertilizer Prices Lower First Week of June


Average retail fertilizer prices were mostly lower the first week of June 2020, according to retailers surveyed by DTN. However, no prices moved substantially, which DTN designates as 5% in either direction.

Prices for seven fertilizers were slightly lower compared to last month. DAP had an average price of $407 per ton, MAP $431/ton, potash $364/ton, urea $373/ton, anhydrous $475/ton, UAN28 $236/ton and UAN32 $276/ton.

The only fertilizer with a slightly higher average price compared to the prior month was 10-34-0. The starter fertilizer had an average price of $468 per ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.41/lb.N, anhydrous $0.29/lb.N, UAN28 $0.42/lb.N and UAN32 $0.43/lb.N.

Retail fertilizers are all lower in price from a year ago. Anhydrous is 20% lower, both DAP and MAP are 18% less expensive, urea is 14% lower, UAN28 is 13% less expensive, UAN32 is 12% lower, potash is 7% less expensive and 10-34-0 is 4% lower from last year at this same time.



Farm Service Agency County Committee Nominations Open June 15


USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will begin accepting nominations for county committee members on Monday, June 15, 2020. Elections will occur in certain Local Administrative Areas (LAA) for these members who make important decisions about how federal farm programs are administered locally. All nomination forms for the 2020 election must be postmarked or received in the local FSA office by Aug. 1, 2020.

“I encourage America’s farmers, ranchers and forest stewards to nominate candidates to lead, serve and represent their community on their county committee,” FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce said. “There’s an increasing need for diverse representation, including underserved producers, which includes beginning, women and minority farmers and ranchers.”

Agricultural producers who participate or cooperate in an FSA program, and reside in the LAA that is up for election this year, may be nominated for candidacy for the county committee. Individuals may nominate themselves or others, and organizations, including those representing beginning, women and minority producers, also may nominate candidates.

Committee members are vital to how FSA carries out disaster programs, as well as conservation, commodity and price support programs, county office employment and other agricultural issues.

Nationwide, more than 7,700 dedicated members of the agricultural community serve on FSA county committees. The committees are made of three to 11 members and typically meet once a month. Members serve three-year terms. Producers serving on FSA county committees play a critical role in the day-to-day operations of the agency.

Producers should contact their local FSA office today to find out how to get involved in their county’s election. Check with your local USDA service center to see if your LAA is up for election this year. To be considered, a producer must sign an FSA-669A nomination form. The form and other information about FSA county committee elections are available at fsa.usda.gov/elections.

Election ballots will be mailed to eligible voters beginning Nov. 2, 2020.



Export Exchange 2020 Postponed to 2021


A joint statement from U.S. Grains Council President and CEO Ryan LeGrand, Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) President Geoff Cooper regarding the postponement of Export Exchange 2020 to October 6-8, 2021 at the Loews Kansas City:

“As a result of the coronavirus and our concern for the safety of our attendees who travel from around the globe to come to this event, we’ve decided to postpone Export Exchange until the same time next year. Doing so will ensure we will have an event on par with the caliber of the meetings our guests have come to expect - without the specter of COVID-19.”

Export Exchange, the biennial event co-sponsored by the Council, RFA and Growth Energy, is expected to bring together 200 international buyers and end-users of coarse grains and co-products, including distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS), with approximately 300 U.S. suppliers and agribusiness representatives.

More information will be distributed in the coming months to members of the grains industries and will be made available online at www.exportexchange.org.



Cargill to Discontinue Issuing Quarterly Financial Reports


Privately held U.S. agribusiness Cargill Inc. said on Wednesday it will no longer issue public releases on quarterly earnings, halting the disclosures that the company has provided since 1996.

Reuters reports that the company will continue to publicly disclose annual revenue and the percent of operating cash flow that is reinvested back into the company.

The decision to halt the quarterly releases, which provided insight into Cargill's segment-by-segment performance, was made to limit costs and to focus resources on long-term strategic priorities, spokeswoman April Nelson said.

Volatile commodities markets can also skew quarterly results and inaccurately reflect company performance, she said.

The company will continue to regularly report its performance to its lenders and investors, she said.

Cargill canceled its third-quarter earnings release in March amid the worsening coronavirus pandemic, the first time such a release was canceled since the company began reporting quarterly earnings in 1996. The company will disclose annual revenue next month for the latest fiscal year.



Tuesday June 9 Ag News
2020-06-10T03:03

Changing Grid Premiums and Discounts Due to Underlying Changes in the Fed Cattle Industry
Elliott Dennis, Extension Economist, Dept of Ag Econ, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

In recent weeks there has been increased attention given to the role of Alternative Marketing Arrangements, commonly referred to as AMA's, in the fed cattle market. The use of these AMA's varies greatly by region and some of the more common AMA's used include grid and formula pricing. AMA's pay producers premiums and discounts from a 'base price' based on a combination of the yield grade, quality grade, and weight of dressed cattle. It is common for the negotiated cash price to serve as the 'base price' for AMA's using the either the geographical region or the 5-market average. The decline in negotiated cash trade has varied by geographical region causing some market participants to wonder if the 'base price' truly reflects the local demand for cattle. For example, cattle formula priced in Texas using the 5-market average could, in certain weeks, be heavily weighted towards Nebraska and Iowa prices.

However, the current concern surrounding AMA's has more to do with lower cash prices received by producers due to market reactions to COVID-19 than the role of AMA's role in thinly traded markets. In an effort to effectively raise producer received prices, market participants have introduced a series of price and supply control proposals. The U.S. Senate, led by Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Senator Jon Tester (D-MT), have proposed a law that would mandate large-scale packers to procure a minimum of 50 percent of total cattle purchased in the cash market each week - commonly referred to as the '50-14' rule. The hope is that by increasing cash trade transactions it will solve issues with price discovery effectively increasing negotiated cash prices. Supply of fed cattle and demand for wholesale beef determines the price of fed cattle. In order to increase fed cattle prices, the '50-14' rule would either need to reduce the supply of fed cattle or increase the demand for wholesale beef. While the rule would increase negotiated cash transactions helping in price discovery in a given week, it is unlikely to affect the underlying fed cattle market supply and demand conditions to effectively increase cash price levels.

Two other efforts to increase cash transactions, in hopes of increasing cash prices, is 'bid-the-grid' through the Fed Cattle Exchange platform and the 'set aside' program (similar to the one used in Canada). Many details and questions still lack regarding the 'bid-the-grid' process and potential efficacy in increasing regional cash trade. Its aim is to increase prices by having each producer negotiate grid the starting base price. While this may help in price discovery (i.e. arriving at a transaction price for a given quality and quantity of a product at a given time and place) this method once again falls short of fundamentally changing price determination. The 'set aside' program aims to control the number of cattle that enter the market each week that can be processed. Producers would be paid a set amount per day to compensate for the cost of feeding. Who would be willing to pay for the program as well as program start and end dates is likewise uncertain. This may help reduce the backlog due to packing plant closures, cattle will be processed quickly as soon as food service demand increases.

So what has been happening to cattle transactions (i.e. negotiated cash, forward contract, formula, and negotiated grid) during COVID-19? Looking at all cattle in the U.S., formula transactions have largely been replaced by negotiated grid. For example, in April formula trade was 74% of total weekly transactions and negotiated grid was 4%. In May formula trade fell to 48% and negotiated grid was 20%. The past few weeks cattle sold on formula has steadily increased while cattle on the negotiated grid have decreased. There has been little change in the negotiated cash and forward contract trade, on average for the U.S., since January 1, 2020. As in most cases there were significant differences across geographical regions. Formula trade fell in the Texas-Oklahoma-New Mexico region but not below 5-year historical levels. This was offset by trade in the negotiated grid. Formula priced cattle fell from 95% of cattle priced in April to 30% in May. This was replaced entirely by negotiated grid priced cattle. In both the Texas-Oklahoma-New Mexico and Kansas region there was little movement in the negotiated price. Pricing in Nebraska has been somewhat more volatile. Negotiated cash fell a historic low of 2% of transactions in May and entirely offset by increased formula trade. Negotiated grid and forward contract transactions were historically constant.

Since negotiated cattle can be sold either live or dressed final cash payment is always determined by quantity (i.e. lbs. of animal/carcass) times negotiated price. Formula or grid priced cattle rely upon a base price plus discounts or premiums for cattle quality or characteristics. Premiums for quality are paid for carcasses grading Prime or Certified Angus Beef (CAB) or production practices such as 'All Natural' or 'Non Hormone Treated Cattle' (NHTC). Choice is the base quality grade and discounts are applied to carcasses grading select. Since Jan 1, 2020 NHTC and 'All Natural' premiums have remained constant, CAB premiums have increased, Prime premiums have decreased, and Select discounts have increased. The difference between Choice and Select, commonly referred to as the Choice-Select spread, is largely consistent with historical patterns of widening during the first quarter. The deterioration in the premium for Prime and the sharp increase in CAB are abnormal. One reason for the deterioration in the premium for Prime product is likely due to the reduced demand for high end steaks at restaurants from quarantine restrictions accompanied by an increase in supply due to fed cattle being on feed longer as packing plant closed.

Grids or formulas also require cattle carcasses to be within a given weight range, generally between 600-900 lbs. on dressed basis. Cattle that fall outside of these limits are discounted. Cattle slaughter weight has increased as packing plants closed causing reduced packing capacity and cattle to be on feed longer than anticipated. For example, the dressed weight for steers and heifers has increased by about 10 lbs. at a time when dressed weight historically decreases. So how have weight discounts changed since January? Weight discounts were constant for all weights prior to January 1, 2020. After that, the discount for cattle carcasses over 1050 lbs. has decreased. In other words, packers discounted heavy carcasses less than in months and years prior. All other weight discounts have remained unchanged. Seen in the light of historical discounts, this change in grid pricing for heavy cattle is unprecedented. For context, cattle are usually harvested between 1200-1350 lbs. on live weight basis. Given a 63% dressing percentage, cattle are weighing upwards of 1500 lbs. Assuming an ADG of 3 lbs. per day, cattle harvested were on feed approximately 1.5 to 2 months longer. This would align well with the timing of COVID-19 cases in packing plants.

The underlying makeup of cattle transactions the market is seeing, and previously discussed above, is likely more due to a change in the grid premiums and discounts than a fundamental shift in producer preference for the way cattle are transacted. As the grid premiums and discounts have changed, in some cases dramatically, more cattle have once again shifted away from negotiated grid towards formula. As the U.S. come out of the COVID-19 quarantine restrictions, it is likely that share of cattle transactions are likely to normalize to historical levels. Fed cattle cash prices are likely to increase as a result due to an improvement in domestic retail and food service beef and export beef demand. Current proposals to increase the number of cattle transacted through a particular channel is unlikely to affect beef demand derived from consumers and passed along the supply chain down to producers or alter the current supply of fed cattle ready for harvest. While their long-term implications are unknown, creating new transaction prices are unlikely do little to fundamentally change price determination, potentially causing increased costs and reducing profitability for the beef complex. Consistent with the economic theory of derived demand, the economic burden of these policies are likely to largely carried by the cow-calf industry.



Webinar: Farm Survival Marketing Strategies


The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Department of Agricultural Economics’ Farm and Ranch Management team is presenting a series of webinars focusing on COVID-19’s impact on agriculture in Nebraska.

The live webcasts will cover topics related to management and economic issues relevant to producers and communities in the state. They will be presented by experts from across the country and include time for questions and answers.

WEBINAR: Farm Survival Marketing Strategies
Thursday, June 11, noon Central Time.
From the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln:
    Robert Tigner, Agricultural Systems Economist and Extension Educator
    Cory Walters, Associate Professor and Grain Marketing and Insurance Specialist
    Jessica Groskopf, Agricultural Systems Economist and Extension Educator

COVID-19, the oil price collapse and world-wide lockdowns have caused a challenging economic environment for farmers. The marketing challenge may increase as the growing season progresses. Farmers can meet the challenge through a consistent marketing approach that reduces risk and tries to ensure cash flow in 2020. Some marketing strategies reduce risk and others may increase farmer risk. This webinar will help attendees understand which marketing strategies these are.

You must register to access this event at farm.unl.edu



Free Farm and Ag Law Clinics Set for June


Free legal and financial clinics are being offered for farmers and ranchers across the state in June 2020. The clinics are one-on-one meetings with an agricultural law attorney and an agricultural financial counselor. These are not group sessions, and they are confidential.

The attorney and financial advisor specialize in legal and financial issues related to farming and ranching, including financial and business planning, transition planning, farm loan programs, debtor/creditor law, debt structure and cash flow, agricultural disaster programs, and other relevant matters. Here is an opportunity to obtain an independent, outside perspective on issues that may be affecting your farm or ranch.

COVID-19: For the time being the clinics are being conducted as conference calls or as Zoom meetings.  It is therefore possible to attend a clinic from any location in the state. In-person clinics are expected to resume in the near future, at which time locations will be announced.

Clinic Sites and Dates

    Wednesday, June 10th
    Thursday, June 18th
    Wednesday, June 24th

To sign up for a free clinic or to get more information, call the Nebraska Farm Hotline at 1-800-464-0258.  Funding for this work is provided by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, and Legal Aid of Nebraska.



IDALS Expands Disposal Assistance Program to Include Animals Euthanized in May


Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig announced today that the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is extending the financial assistance offered through the Iowa Disposal Assistance Program to pork producers who were forced to euthanize their animals due to COVID-19 supply chain disruptions before the program launched on May 26. Producers can start applying for retroactive funding today, which includes hogs that were euthanized between May 1-25, 2020.

COVID-19-related worker shortages are causing meat processing facilities to reduce production. Iowa State University estimates that, as of mid-May, approximately 600,000 pigs in Iowa were unable to be harvested.

“COVID-19 is causing ongoing disruptions to the food supply chain. Pork producers are going to extraordinary lengths to find solutions but it’s not enough to make up for the backlog happening on farms,” said Secretary Naig. “Euthanasia is a very difficult decision for producers to make and is always used as a last resort. The disposal assistance program just one way the state is trying to help producers during this challenging time.”

The Department is offering producers $40 per approved animal to help cover some of the disposal costs for market-ready hogs (weighing at least 225 pounds). Producers must provide documentation, including proof of proper disposal, and an affidavit from their herd veterinarian confirming impending welfare issues, to receive funding. Each approved applicant may receive funding for up to 30,000 animals per round, depending on the number of applicants.

To qualify for retroactive funding (Round 0), producers must submit their applications to the Iowa Department of Agriculture between June 9-22. Applicants will be notified of approval by June 24. To qualify for Round 0 funding, producers must have euthanized animals between May 1-25. Disposal claims must be received by the Iowa Department of Agriculture by June 29, and proof of proper disposal must be submitted by July 6.

Pork producers can also apply for Round 3 assistance between June 9-22. Applicants will be notified of approval by June 24. To qualify for Round 3 funding, producers must euthanize animals between June 9-26. Disposal claims must be received by the Iowa Department of Agriculture by June 29, and proof of proper disposal must be submitted by July 6.

Questions about the Iowa Disposal Assistance Program can be directed to (515) 281-5321 or IDAP@iowaagriculture.gov.



Iowa Corn Announces $25,000 Matching Grant to the Food Bank of Iowa


Iowa Corn has partnered with the Food Bank of Iowa to raise funds towards feeding and supporting Iowans. Iowa Corn will provide a matching grant up to $25,000 with a goal to raise at least $25,000 and then match those contributions equating to a goal of $50,000 for the Iowa Corn Team. This would provide over 200,000 meals of corn-fed meat, dairy, and eggs to Iowans across the state. We encourage anyone who wants to support those in need of meals as well as farmers to join the Iowa Corn Team and donate.  Food donations are always critical but even more so now during COVID-19. The Food Bank of Iowa is proud to serve hungry Iowans across 55 counties in our state.

“Farmers are dedicated to feeding people. Here in Iowa, we are number one in corn production that goes to livestock feed, ethanol fuel, and over 4,000 everyday products. Iowa Corn farmers want to help feed hungry Iowans, and provide education on all products made from corn,” said Roger Zylstra, Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB) President and farmer from Lynnville. “ICPB works to develop new uses for corn, create market demand for corn in all forms as well as educate consumers about corn and the farmers who grow it. Sharing our farms and creating awareness on food origin is why we are proud to support the Food Bank of Iowa as they continue to combat hunger. Please help to feed our fellow Iowans by donating to the Food Bank of Iowa as part of the Iowa Corn Team.”

In addition to establishing a team, Iowa Corn donated 5,000 shopping bags to the Food Bank of Iowa to assist in safely distributing meals across the state. 

“Corn grown in Iowa benefits our entire state whether it’s feeding livestock and fueling cars or being enjoyed on the tables of our friends and neighbors,” said Michelle Book, president and CEO of Food Bank of Iowa. “We are so grateful for everything Iowa Corn does to support our state and for this generous gift that encourages others to get involved."

To learn more about the Iowa Corn fundraiser and to donate, visit give.foodbankiowa.org/teams/13796-iowa-corn?ref=1&uid=447024



Dig into Soil Health During Virtual Field Day


Iowa Learning Farms, in partnership with the Iowa Nutrient Research Center and Conservation Learning Group, is hosting a free virtual soil health field day on Thursday, June 18 at 1 p.m.

Participants will dig into soil health with Marshall McDaniel, assistant professor in soil-plant interactions at Iowa State University, with video footage from the field and live interaction during the event.

The term soil health has recently become popular due, in large part, to the increased awareness of the importance of soil biology. However, current biological soil health tests are expensive, highly variable and difficult to interpret. McDaniel studies the relationship between soils and plants and how this relationship is affected by management and the environment. The McDaniel Research Group’s goal is to understand what enhances soil-plant interaction, soil health and agroecosystem sustainability.

“Farmers want to be able to monitor changes in their soils,” McDaniel said. “While traditional fertility tests have major limitations when it comes to measuring soil biology, commercially available soil health tests are very expensive. We want to highlight some good do-it-yourself soil health tests that farmers and landowners can implement relatively inexpensively.”

Make plans to join and participate in the live field day. Shortly before 1 p.m. CDT on June 18, click this URL: https://iastate.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJUpduihpj8iE9ZHcjpsenc2DWQILG41wg0D or visit www.iowalearningfarms.org/page/events and click “Join Live Virtual Field Day”.

Or, join from a dial-in phone line by dialing +1 312 626 6799 or +1 646 876 992; meeting ID: 914 1198 4892.

The field day will be recorded and archived on the ILF website so that it can be watched at any time. The archive is available online.

A Certified Crop Adviser board-approved continuing education unit has been applied for, for those who are able to participate in the live webinar. Information about how to apply to receive the credit (if approved) will be provided at the end of the live field day.



America’s Meatpacking Facilities Operating More Than 95% of Capacity Compared to 2019


U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today applauded the safe reopening of critical infrastructure meatpacking facilities across the United States. As of this morning, across the cattle, swine, and broiler sectors, processing facilities are operating more than 95% of their average capacity compared to this time last year. In fact, beef facilities are operating at 98%, pork facilities are operating at 95%, and poultry facilities are operating at 98% of their capacity compared to the same time last year. America’s meatpacking facilities are safely resuming operations following President Trump’s Executive Order directing the facilities to implement the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines specifically created for the meat and poultry sector response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in conjunction with the CDC, OSHA, and state and local health officials have been working around the clock to ensure a safe and stable supply of protein is available for American consumers all while keeping employees safe.

“President Trump took decisive action to ensure America’s meatpacking facilities reopen in a safe way to ensure America’s producers and ranchers will be able to bring their product to market,” said Secretary Perdue. “I want to thank the patriotic and heroic meatpacking facility workers, the companies, and the local authorities for quickly getting their operations back up and running, and for providing a great meat selection once again to the millions of Americans who depend on them for food."
 
Background:

CDC and OSHA have issued guidance for plants to implement to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and ensure employee safety while maintaining operations. USDA will continue to work with the CDC, OSHA, and state and local officials to keep these critical facilities open while maintaining worker safety.



 ARA, NCFC Ask for Further Clarification on EPA Dicamba Order


The Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) and the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) today called on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to further clarify the agency’s cancellation order on use and distribution of dicamba products.

The call came in a letter sent by ARA President and CEO Daren Coppock and NCFC CEO Chuck Conner to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. On June 3, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated three dicamba registrations and yesterday the EPA clarified that under the order farmers or applicators with existing stocks of dicamba may apply the herbicide until July 31.

“While the Agency’s cancellation order provided some guidance to end-users as well as applicators, it failed to address several scenarios where product is in the pipeline at various points in the supply chain,” the groups stated in the letter. “These questions need quick answers during this critical time of the growing season as weeds will not wait for protracted legal analysis.”

One example given is one in which a producer has pre-paid or contracted for the product before June 3 but had not yet had it delivered. The letter also notes that several states allowed sale and distribution of these dicamba products after the court decision; since the order is retroactive to June 3, however, guidance is needed on whether farmers are permitted to use product they purchased between June 3 and June 8.

“[W]e request the Agency issue further clarification following the issuance of the cancellation order for the three dicamba products,” the letter concludes. “Such clarification can come in the form of a ‘frequently asked questions’ section on the Agency’s web site and be updated in a timely manner as issues arise during this critical time.”



Bayer Crop Protection on Court ruling on XtendiMax Herbicide registration

www.roundupreadyxtend.com

On June 8, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued an order in response to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit’s June 3, 2020, ruling that vacated current U.S. registrations of certain low-volatility dicamba products, including XtendiMax® Herbicide with VaporGrip® Technology. The Court ruled in favor of a petition challenging the EPA’s 2018 registration decision. The subsequent action by the EPA provides, among other things, that “growers and commercial applicators may use existing stocks that were in their possession on June 3, 2020, the effective date of the Court decision. Such use must be consistent with the product’s previously-approved label, and may not continue after July 31, 2020.”

The EPA’s order addresses the use, sale, and distribution of existing stocks of XtendiMax herbicide and the other low-volatility dicamba products impacted by the Court’s ruling. Click here for the EPA’s full order – see page 11 for key details.

We welcome the EPA’s swift action to provide that customers who have already invested in XtendiMax and the Roundup Ready® Xtend Crop System can continue to protect their crops from difficult-to-control weeds.

We will keep www.roundupreadyxtend.com/xtendimaxupdates updated with the latest information for our customers. Our top priority is making sure all our customers have the support they need to have a successful season.

The Court’s June 3 ruling pertains specifically to the EPA’s 2018 registration decision, which expires in December 2020. The EPA is currently reviewing a new registration for XtendiMax for the 2021 season and beyond – we hope the EPA completes the review and issues a new registration by this fall.

Know that Bayer stands fully behind XtendiMax herbicide. We are proud of our role in bringing innovations like XtendiMax forward to help growers safely, successfully, and sustainably protect their crops from weeds. We will continue working with the EPA, growers, academics, and others to provide long-term access to this important tool.



Farm Bureau Commends EPA Action on Dicamba Use


The American Farm Bureau Federation commends the swift action by the Environmental Protection Agency to allow farmers who have already purchased dicamba products to use existing stock this season. Last week, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals prohibited the use of three dicamba products, effectively taking them off the market as of June 3, 2020. AFBF President Zippy Duvall wrote a letter to the EPA requesting farmers be allowed to use dicamba this season.

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall:
“Farmers across the country invested in dicamba-resistant seeds based on the EPA’s previous approval. Millions of acres of crops have already been planted and there’s no turning back. The clarity provided by the EPA provides certainty for farmers who were left wondering how they would protect their crops and stock America’s pantries.”



Peterson, Costa, Plaskett, and Vela Highlight CFAP Concerns in Letter to Perdue


In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue Tuesday, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin C. Peterson of Minnesota, and Subcommittee Chairs Jim Costa of California, Stacey E. Plaskett of the Virgin Islands and Filemon Vela of Texas relayed concerns with the implementation of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Highlighting the continued loss in both value and demand for agricultural products related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Members detailed the following concerns in the letter:
-    CFAP does not include commodities under contract, even though several of the most impacted crops are typically grown under contract, including potatoes and malting barley.
-    USDA chose to cover livestock sales between January 15th and April 15th when COVID-19-related livestock market declines did not begin until February 2020 and some of the lowest market prices persisted well beyond April 15th, effectively arbitrarily picking winners and losers based solely on when livestock was sold without regard to actual market conditions.
-    CFAP does not recognize the cost premium of organic crops, by differentiating organic prices for certified organic producers.
-    USDA used data not fully representative of the farmgate value of some specialty crops to determine their eligibility for CFAP and CFAP payment rate.
-    CFAP payments do not distinguish between livestock raised for restaurant or higher value market chains, such as heritage breeds or grass-fed.
-    It remains unclear how producers of products that are not sold in cash markets with publicly reported prices (e.g., commodities that sell primarily to retail, farmers’ markets, fast food, and restaurant markets) and suffered significant market losses will meet the price data requirements of the CFAP Notice of Funding Availability. Impacted sectors include domestic aquaculture, bison, poultry, cut flowers, nursery products, and potatoes.
-    CFAP payments do not distinguish for the higher value given to crops that are marketed directly through restaurants, farmers’ markets, and other alternative markets.

Additionally, the Chairs pointed to lingering concerns over staffing levels and existing workload at Farm Service Agency county offices, and what delays those factors may cause in CFAP-related assistance.



U.S. Farm & Biofuel Leaders Demand Answers on Retroactive EPA Exemptions


In a letter today, America’s top biofuel and farm advocates called on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to offer answers on a new effort to undermine the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). During a Senate hearing last month, administration officials confirmed their consideration of retroactive small refinery exemptions (SREs) covering previous years. The “gap-filings” are designed to reconstitute a continuous string of exemptions for select oil companies “to be consistent with the Tenth Circuit decision,” thus circumventing court limits on new oil industry handouts at the expense of farmers and biofuel producers.

“These ‘gap filings’ appear to be little more than the latest in a string of oil industry tactics designed to subvert the law and sidestep a court order to uphold the RFS,” wrote the Renewable Fuels Association, Growth Energy, the National Biodiesel Board, the National Corn Growers Association, the American Farm Bureau Federation, the American Soybean Association, the National Farmers Union, the American Coalition for Ethanol, and Fuels America.

“The biofuels industry has been hit especially hard by the sharp decline in fuel demand across the country, as residents follow local, state, and federal guidance to practice social distancing and minimize travel,” added biofuel and farm advocates. “Over 100 biofuel plants fully idled or cut production, with ripple effects negatively impacting agricultural commodity prices, farmers, and the food supply chain. EPA inaction on court orders and prolonged SRE uncertainty continue to stifle investment in American biofuels and destabilize agricultural markets. Backfilling SREs to circumvent a court decision would exacerbate market uncertainty at a time when rural communities already face unprecedented economic challenges.”



NGFA, ag groups, urge congressional support of FARM to TABLE Act


The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) and more than 60 other organizations urged members of Congress to support a bill that would help the nation’s agricultural suppliers, producers and transporters by ensuring hours-of-service rules for agricultural haulers are consistent throughout the year and across state lines. 

The “FARM to TABLE Act,” introduced by Rep. John Joyce, R-Pa., would help make the agricultural exception to the federal hours-of-service rules more widely available by making it available year-round and providing clarity with respect to its application to agricultural products, the groups said in a June 9 letter. 

“As COVID-19 clearly has demonstrated, a reliable food and fiber supply chain is critically important to meeting the needs of families across the nation,” the letter stated. “This commonsense legislation will provide relief to agricultural producers and their drivers who have worked tirelessly to feed America during this crisis.”

Federal law currently provides an exception from federal hours-of-service rules for the transportation of agricultural commodities within a 150-air-mile radius from the source of the commodities during planting and harvesting periods, which are determined by each state. While most states have year-round planting and harvesting periods, 15 have chosen to narrowly define their planting and harvesting seasons.

“These varying regulations create confusion as to what rules a driver is operating under at any given time,” the groups said. In addition, “the current narrow definitions unnecessarily inhibit industries, such as dairy, livestock and agricultural inputs, which transport their supplies year-round.”

The “FARM to TABLE Act” would simplify the exception for agricultural commodities by eliminating the state-by-state planting and harvesting period definition and by allowing the exception to apply year-round. Further, the bill also would provide greater clarity of the products included within the definition of an “agricultural commodity” covered by the federal hours-of-service rules exception, such as by adding the term feed ingredients to include soybean meal, distillers grains and other feed ingredients. This is consistent with input provided to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration by more than 100 agricultural and trucking organizations last fall.



Valmont Acquires Majority Stake in Brazil-Based Solar Company


Valmont Industries, Inc., a leading global provider of engineered products and services for infrastructure development and irrigation equipment and services for agriculture, today announced the purchase of a majority stake in Energia Solar do Brasil (Solbras), a leader in the photovoltaic (PV) energy sector. Effective immediately, the company will go to market under the Valley brand.

"As the irrigation industry's worldwide leader, Valmont supplies products that support critical infrastructure, and the Valley brand is the market innovator in irrigation technology," said Len Adams, president of Valley Irrigation. "This acquisition allows us to expand our product offerings to include not only the most durable and advanced pivots available, but also a sustainable, low-cost energy source to provide power to them, with Valmont Solar Solutions."

Solbras was founded in 2013, with locations in São João da Boa Vista (SP) and Goiânia (GO). Geraldo Afonso Dezena da Silva, president of Solbras, believes the acquisition marks an important new phase in their history. "Combining the global strength of Valmont with the market leadership of Solbras, we will be able to expand the presence of solar energy in agri-business and all sectors of the economy."

Solbras operates throughout Brazil; with the acquisition, their services will expand globally through the strength of the industry-leading Valley dealer network. They offer the most advanced solution in photovoltaic solar energy, efficiently converting the sun's rays to clean electric power. Their services include distributed or centralized generation of photovoltaic energy; approval, design, and engineering of detailed technical projects; and consulting on new PV plants focusing on agri-business. In addition, every Valmont Solar installation includes remote monitoring and control capabilities.

"Solar energy is already a fundamental strategy for projects that seek to maximize efficiency and sustainability," said João Rebequi, vice president of Valmont Irrigation -- Latin America. "Combined with the strong presence of Valley equipment in fields around the world and our industry-best dealer network, we will leverage the expertise of Solbras beyond Brazil. This will further our leadership position in all facets of irrigation and agricultural technology."

According to the Brazilian Solar Photovoltaic Energy Association (ABSOLAR), the installed power of solar photovoltaic generation in Brazil grew by around 1 GW between January and May this year. The country's total volume reached 5.5 GW.

Renato Silva, general manager of Valmont Irrigation -- Brazil, adds that photovoltaic energy has several benefits for the automation of irrigation systems, in addition to an important role in reducing environmental impacts. "Growers can optimize the efficiency of their operation, saving on energy expenses and reducing water usage."

Both the positive environmental impacts and the potential to contribute toward developing local economies are exciting, says Adams. "Our market-leading technology is furthering our mission of delivering a complete package of solutions to help growers make smarter decisions and produce greater yields while using fewer resources. Valley, the brand trusted by generations of farmers, is helping reduce their environmental footprint for generations to come."



Elanco Announces EU Approval of Bayer Animal Health


Elanco Animal Health Incorporated Monday announced that the European Commission (EC) has granted approval of Elanco's pending acquisition of Bayer AG's (ETR: BAYN) animal health business. The company continues to progress toward a mid-year closing, anticipated August 3, 2020.

"Approval from the European Commission is an important milestone toward the completion of our acquisition of Bayer Animal Health," said Jeff Simmons, president and CEO of Elanco. "As the transaction edges closer to fruition, we look forward to turning our full attention to delivering innovation and an expanded portfolio of solutions for farmers, veterinarians and pet owners across the globe. The recent months have only underscored the critical work our farmers do in delivering meat, milk, fish and eggs, and the importance of providing pet owners and veterinarians with a variety of solutions in multiple channels from telemedicine and e-commerce to direct home delivery. Combining Bayer Animal Health's leadership in these areas better positions Elanco to deliver on these needs."

The complementary nature of this transaction, combining Elanco's long-standing focus on the veterinarian with Bayer's direct-to-consumer expertise, will strengthen and accelerate the company's Innovation, Portfolio and Productivity strategy. The transaction advances Elanco's portfolio transformation, creating a balance between the farm animal and pet businesses. It will also expand Elanco's omnichannel approach, substantially diversifying its pet health business into the retail and e-commerce channels as Elanco continues to determine the best methods for reaching pet owners and veterinarians.

Elanco previously announced divestiture agreements in the range of $120 million to $140 million of revenue to help advance the needed regulatory reviews. The EC's approval is conditional on several of these proposed divestitures, including:

- Divestiture of the worldwide rights for Osurnia, a treatment for otitis externa in dogs, being sold to Dechra Pharmaceuticals PLC

- Divestiture of the worldwide rights for Vecoxan, used for prevention and treatment of coccidiosis in calves and lambs being sold to Merck Animal Health (also known as MSD Animal Health).

- Divestiture of European Economic Area and UK rights to the Drontal and Profender product families and related pipeline assets from Bayer Animal Health being sold to Vetoquinol SA, a - French pharmaceutical company. These products are broad-spectrum de-wormers for dogs and cats.

In addition to EC approval, Elanco has received antitrust clearance for the transaction in China, Colombia, South Africa, Turkey, Ukraine, Vietnam, and provisional clearance in Brazil. Elanco continues to cooperate with agencies in other jurisdictions. Further, Elanco fully secured financing early in the first quarter of 2020 to complete the transaction through its completed equity issuance and pricing of its Term Loan B, which will fund at deal close.

The transaction remains subject to additional regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions.



Monday June 8 Ag News
2020-06-09T11:09

NEBRASKA CROP PROGRESS AND CONDITION

For the week ending June 7, 2020, there were 5.7 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 3% very short, 19% short, 76% adequate, and 2% surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 2% percent very short, 12% short, 83% adequate, and 3% surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn condition rated 0% very poor, 1% poor, 16% fair, 63% good, and 20% excellent. Corn emerged was 95%, ahead of 76% last year and 89% for the five-year average.

Soybean condition rated 1% very poor, 1% poor, 16% fair, 65% good, and 17% excellent. Soybeans emerged was 85%, well ahead of 50% last year, and ahead of 68% average.

Winter wheat condition rated 2% percent very poor, 10% poor, 22% fair, 59% good, and 7% excellent. Winter wheat headed was 67%, ahead of 62% last year, but behind 82% average.

Sorghum condition rated 0% percent very poor, 1% poor, 9% fair, 86% good, and 4% excellent. Sorghum planted was 93%, well ahead of 49% last year and 72% average. Headed was 1%.

Oats condition rated 0% percent very poor, 6% poor, 25% fair, 63% good, and 6% excellent. Oats emerged was 96%, ahead of 89% last year, but near 97% average. Headed was 37%, ahead of 21% last year, but behind 44% average.

Dry edible beans planted was 81%. Emerged was 49%.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 2% percent very poor, 4% poor, 17% fair, 69% good, and 8% excellent.



IOWA CROP PROGRESS & CONDITION REPORT


Drier weather allowed Iowa farmers 5.1 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending June 7, 2020, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Weather conditions were ideal for farmers to cut hay across much of the state.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 0% very short, 4% short, 85% adequate and 11% surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 0% very short, 3% short, 87% adequate and 10% surplus.

Corn planting was virtually complete with emergence at 97%, over 2 weeks ahead of last year and 10 days ahead of the 5-year average. Corn condition rated 85% good to excellent.

The soybean crop moved to 97% planted, 3 weeks ahead of last year and 12 days ahead of average. Emergence reached 87%, 10 days ahead of average. Soybean condition rated 82% good to excellent.

Oats headed progressed to 18%, 2 days ahead of last year but 5 days behind average. Oat condition rated 81% good to excellent.

Dry weather allowed over one-third of the first cutting of alfalfa hay to be completed during the week ending June 7, 2020, reaching 54 percent complete. Only southwest and south central Iowa producers were unable to complete at least one-third of the first cutting of alfalfa hay during the week. Hay condition rated 75% good to excellent.

Pasture condition improved to 70% good to excellent. There was little stress on livestock reported.



USDA Weekly Crop Progress Report:  Corn 97% Planted; Soybeans 86% Planted


Warmer, drier weather across much of the central U.S. the first week of June allowed farmers to push ahead with planting and also aided crop emergence, USDA NASS said in its weekly Crop Progress report on Monday.

NASS estimated that 97% of the nation's intended corn crop was planted as of Sunday, June 8, a gain of 4 percentage points from the previous week's 93%. This year's current progress is 19 percentage points ahead of last year at the same time and 3 percentage points ahead of the five-year average of 94%.  Eighty-nine percent of corn had emerged, 32 percentage points ahead of last year and 5 percentage points ahead of the average pace of 84%.  NASS estimated that 75% of the nation's corn crop was rated in good-to-excellent condition as of Sunday, up 1 percentage point from the previous week's 74% and 16 percentage points above 59% at the same time last year. The current good-to-excellent rating is the third highest for this time of year in the past 10 years.

Soybean planting also moved ahead significantly last week, gaining 11 percentage points to reach 86% complete as of Sunday. That put this year's current progress 32 percentage points ahead of last year's pace and 7 percentage points ahead of the five-year average of 79%. Soybean emergence was estimated at 67% as of Sunday, well ahead of last year's 30% and also ahead of the five-year average of 61%. NASS estimated national soybean crop condition at 72% good-to-excellent, up 2 percentage points from 70% the previous week.

Meanwhile, 85% of winter wheat was headed at the end of last week compared to 81% last year at the same time and a five-year average of 88%.  Winter wheat harvest moved ahead only 4 percentage points last week to reach 7% done as of Sunday, equal to the five-year average pace. After falling the previous week, winter wheat conditions held steady last week at 51% good to excellent. The current good-to-excellent rating is below last year's 64%.

Spring wheat planting also entered the homestretch last week with an estimated 97% of the crop planted as of Sunday, 1 percentage point ahead of last year and 2 percentage points behind the five-year average of 99%. Spring wheat emergence jumped to 81% last week, slightly ahead of last year's 80% but 10 percentage points behind the average of 91%. Spring wheat condition was estimated at 82% good to excellent, up 2 percentage points from 80% the previous week and the second-highest rating in the past 10 years.



EPA Offers Clarity to Farmers in Light of Recent Court Vacatur of Dicamba Registrations


Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a key order providing farmers with needed clarity following the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ June 3, 2020 vacatur of three dicamba registrations. Today’s cancellation order outlines limited and specific circumstances under which existing stocks of the three affected dicamba products can be used for a limited period of time. EPA’s order will advance protection of public health and the environment by ensuring use of existing stocks follows important application procedures.

“At the height of the growing season, the Court’s decision has threatened the livelihood of our nation’s farmers and the global food supply,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Today’s cancellation and existing stocks order is consistent with EPA’s standard practice following registration invalidation, and is designed to advance compliance, ensure regulatory certainty, and to prevent the misuse of existing stocks.”

EPA’s order will mitigate some of the devastating economic consequences of the Court’s decision for growers, and particularly rural communities, at a time they are experiencing great stress due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Details of the Order
EPA’s order addresses sale, distribution, and use of existing stocks of the three affected dicamba products – XtendiMax with vapor grip technology, Engenia, and FeXapan.
-    Distribution or sale by any person is generally prohibited except for ensuring proper disposal or return to the registrant.
-    Growers and commercial applicators may use existing stocks that were in their possession on June 3, 2020, the effective date of the Court decision. Such use must be consistent with the product’s previously-approved label, and may not continue after July 31, 2020.

Background
On June 3, 2020, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order vacating EPA’s pesticide registrations containing the active ingredient dicamba: Xtendimax with Vaporgrip Technology (EPA Reg. No. 524-617); Engenia – (EPA Reg. No. 7969-345); and FeXapan – (EPA Reg. No. 352-913).

Dicamba is a valuable pest control tool that farmers nationwide planned to use during the 2020 growing season. Since the Court issued its opinion, the agency has been overwhelmed with letters and calls from farmers citing the devastation of this decision on the millions of acres of crops, millions of dollars already invested by farmers, and threat to America’s food supply.



 ARA Seeks Clarification from EPA on Court's Dicamba Decision's Impact on Ag Retailers


The Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) is seeking clarification from Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today after it announced guidance on the limited and specific circumstances under which existing stocks of the three vacated dicamba products can be used for a limited period of time.

“Today’s cancellation and existing stocks order is consistent with EPA’s standard practice following registration invalidation, and is designed to advance compliance, ensure regulatory certainty, and to prevent the misuse of existing stocks,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler.

"ARA is concerned with these details, as it appears inconsistent with EPA’s long-standing existing stocks practice following registration invalidation," said ARA Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Counsel Richard Gupton.

"ARA is seeking clarification on the impact on agricultural retailers that do not provide commercial application services.

"The current order will create confusion, especially since it is being issued at the end of today with the June 3, 2020, cut-off date and after many individual states publicly authorized the continued sale and use of these products over the weekend and through today.

"This EPA announcement does not fully address the continued confusion being created by the Ninth Circuit Court decision."



Steve Nelson, NE Farm Bureau President, Thanking Gov. Ricketts, Director of Agriculture Wellman for Allowing Continued Dicamba Use


“On behalf of Nebraska Farm Bureau members from across the state, I want to publicly thank Governor Pete Ricketts and Nebraska Department of Agriculture Director Steve Wellman for acting over the weekend to clarify that the Department of Agriculture would continue to allow the sale and utilization of dicamba products impacted by a recent Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling vacating the labels for these products. Dicamba is a widely used weed control product utilized by many Nebraska farmers, largely in the protection of soybean fields. The application of dicamba is highly regulated and the timing of such applications are restricted. To say the court’s action was ill-timed would be a major understatement given it was issued right in the middle of the growing season, during the window in which dicamba could be used by Nebraska farmers. The Department of Agriculture’s action to allow the continued sale and use of these products provides much needed relief to farmers until the legal uncertainties, including appeals to the decision and action by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, are clarified. The governor and director’s actions are not only welcomed, but consistent with similar actions in neighboring states.”



Ricketts Announces Appointments to Boards and Commissions


Today, Governor Pete Ricketts announced recent appointments he has made to fill Nebraska’s boards and commissions, including....

Nebraska Dairy Industry Development Board

Michael K. Amen, Norfolk


Thank you to the many Nebraskans that generously give their time and talent to make a difference in our state.  These appointments will provide crucial insight and expertise to their respective boards, committees, and commissions.  To learn about openings and apply to serve on a board or commission, go to https://governor.nebraska.gov/board-comm-req.



Platte Valley Cattlmen Cancells Summer Tour, Golf Tournament is Aug 10

Brandon Groteluschen, Columbus, PVC President

Just a few updates for the summer. We held a directors meeting last week and it was decided with the Covid-19 going on, to postpone the tour until next year as we were planning on traveling this year.

We will be grilling burgers for Platte County 4-H cattle show and plan on grilling for Colfax County show, too, if they decide to have a show. This will only be for families and 4-H kids as the show not will not be open to public.

We are planning to have the golf tournament on August 10th in Humphrey and Leigh again this year. More info to follow.

August 17th will be our Outlook meeting in Clarkson at the Barn.



Understanding Hay Inoculants and Preservatives on ‘Dry’ Hay

Sara Bauder, SDSU Extension Agronomy Field Specalist


As haying season approaches, producers across Nebraska will begin preparing to get out the baler. In recent years, it has been quite difficult for many producers to put up quality, dry hay; this often results in growers considering using inoculants and hay preservatives. These additives do have their place within the hay production system, but it’s important to understand the proper time to consider the use of such products.


Keep in mind that ideal storage moisture ranges for hay depends upon bale size. Small square bales- should be stored at 18-20% moisture, and larger bales should be about 3-5% dryer. When moisture is higher than these ranges, a hay preservative or inoculant may be an appropriate consideration; however according to many sources, if moisture reaches more than 30%, additives and preservatives are not recommended.

Often times, inoculants and preservatives are used with silage and haylage, but there are also ways that these products can be used effectively on hay bales, if particular circumstances are met. When used properly, inoculants and preservatives may allow hay to be baled at higher moisture levels than typically acceptable. High moisture baling often tends to cause heat and mold development and these additives are designed to help avoid such losses.

Bacteria Inoculants
Bacterial inoculants are essentially designed to add more ‘good’ bacteria that aid in fast fermentation and to help reduce dry matter losses in hay by improving aerobic stability (ie: stopping mold growth). Most hay already contains such bacteria, as it is naturally sourced from many forage plants and inoculants simply add an additional amount; common lactic acid producing bacteria include: Lactobacillus, Pediococcus, Streptococcus, and Bacillus. These bacteria may help to reduce mold growth and yeast development within bales.

In order to achieve desired results from these products, careful attention to environmental conditions and application should be taken. Inoculants work best on hay that is wetter than average but less than 25% moisture during mid-summer conditions because plant sugars are high during this time. Inoculants should be applied uniformly (typically at the pick-up) as hay is baled, and before any rain lands on the bale. Generally speaking, they tend to help protect against small moisture changes (3-5% higher moisture than you would typically bale). Avoiding these recommendations can result in ineffective outcomes and uneconomical losses.

Overall advantages of using bacterial inoculants include the opportunity to reduce or stop mold growth, improve hay quality and palatability, and to maintain the hay’s green color. Disadvantages may include investment in application equipment, and inconsistent research results when tested for effectiveness and cost analysis in hay bales versus anaerobic, ensiled feed.

Preservatives and Additives
Hay preservatives are generally applied using an aftermarket spray system mounted near the baler pick-up. They are designed to prevent heating and subsequent dry matter losses of hay baled at higher moistures (18%+) by inhibiting growth of aerobic microbes. Essentially, preservatives allow hay to be baled wetter than recommended, reducing the time it lies in the field exposed to precipitation risk.

Organic acids are the most common form of additives with propionic acid being the most prevalent. Effective application of hay preservatives relies heavily upon using the proper rate (dependent on moisture content and size of bale) and quality of forage. Preservatives containing high amounts of propionic acid are generally accepted as effective in reducing spontaneous heating in moist hay; however the use of ammonium propionate (buffered propionic acid) is often recommended over propionic acid because it is less caustic.

Rates of acid required will vary based upon the moisture content of the hay and should be sprayed using the most uniform application as possible. According to sources cited below, smaller bales ranging from 20-25% moisture should be treated with approximately 0.5% propionic acid (in some cases products may be used at 0.5 ± 0.14% of wet bale weight). Increases in application rate may occur by 1% for hay with 25-30% moisture. Many studies to this point have shown no consistent response to preservatives used on hay over 30% moisture.

Research studies have shown that propionic acid, as well as buffered propionic acid is not harmful to animals, but keep in mind that propionic acid is corrosive and can cause damage to machines and people. Buffered acids and salts of acids have been developed to help overcome some of these issues. Both propionic and buffered forms of this acid will likely cause hay discoloration but may help protect feed value. Overall, many research studies show that the use of propionic acid or buffered acids have somewhat erratic results and are often only shown to be economical in large (not ensiled or plastic wrapped) round bales when used to reduce losses incurred from potential precipitation damage.

Summary
Hay inoculants and preservatives do not increase the quality of hay, but rather are designed help to maintain quality and reduce spoilage. Both methods have mixed cost analysis benefits when used on unwrapped (not ensiled) hay bales, and the value of the hay crop being baled should be considered when determining whether to use any additives.



Congressman Jeff Fortenberry Introduces Great American Outdoors Act


This past week, Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (NE-01) joined a bipartisan group of colleagues in introducing the Great American Outdoors Act. 

“Preservation of our precious natural resources is in Nebraska’s DNA.  Innovative thinking and proactive policy are required to restore wildlife, combat natural challenges, and reform our approach to environmental security.  It is why I am so pleased to be lead cosponsor of the Great American Outdoors Act, which provides critically needed funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund and our national parks and other public lands,” Fortenberry said. 

“National parks and public land are special places of natural beauty that educate, inspire, and fascinate hundreds of millions of visitors each year.  The maintenance of these sites and facilities, however, has not kept pace with their popularity.  This bill’s investment is critical to preserve these national treasures now and into the future as a source of great national pride for all Americans,” Fortenberry added. 

Fortenberry is the Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture and is the sponsor of the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (RAWA), which tackles habitat and species problems before they require the emergency-room interventions of the Endangered Species Act.



Senate Recieves Letter from 48 Livestock and Natural Resource Groups Opposing the Great American Outdoors Act


The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) and the Public Lands Council (PLC) and many other affiliate organizations today wrote Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Energy and Natural Resources Chair Lisa Murkowski, and Energy and Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Joe Manchin urging Congress to retain its role in safeguarding public lands by opposing the Great American Outdoors (GAO) Act (S.3422).

The GAO Act as written creates more than $14 billion in new, mandatory spending and gives federal agencies free rein to spend $360 million per year solely to acquire new private land without any oversight from Congress. This raises concern among the 48 livestock and natural resource groups who signed the joint letter, as the groups point out the blatant conflict by pairing the mounting disrepair of current land under federal control and allowing rampant acquisition without accounting for management of future land acquisitions.

"As introduced, the GAO Act, and every other bill that preceded it that contained similar provisions, is an irresponsible way to fix a very real problem. Currently, land management agencies like the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, and Bureau of Land Management face staggering backlogs of much-needed maintenance...If passed, the GAO Act sentences hundreds of millions of acres of American land and water to a poorly-managed future," the groups wrote.

The Senate is expected to have the first procedural vote on S.3422 this evening. The groups are eager to engage in the process, and encourage Congress to vote 'no' and find a more responsible way to confront conservation challenges.



Growth Energy Thanks House Leaders for Defending U.S. Biofuels


Growth Energy thanked members of the Congressional Biofuels Caucus for combating oil-backed efforts to undermine the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) in the wake of COVID-19. In a letter from the Congressional Biofuels Caucus, led by U.S. Representatives Abby Finkenauer (D-Iowa), Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa), and Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), the lawmakers demanded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reject RFS waivers that would deal “another crippling blow” to biofuel producers and “compound the challenges facing rural America.” 

“Rural America cannot afford another setback, and we’re grateful for the tireless efforts of House leaders to protect our road to recovery by defending the Renewable Fuel Standard,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “Oil industry efforts to waive the RFS would do nothing to reverse the market challenges facing all fuel makers, but they would eliminate a vital economic lifeline for thousands of rural workers, biofuel producers, and farmers who already face unprecedented hardship. It’s past time for the administration to declare these schemes dead on arrival, so we can all get back to rebuilding America’s agricultural supply chain in the wake of COVID-19.”

In support of the call to action by elected leaders, Growth Energy sent a separate letter to the EPA, reminding regulators of urgent appeals that have already flowed in from Midwest governors, senators, mayors, and other rural champions.

“With these conditions, it is absurd to even entertain the thinly veiled attacks of the oil industry on the RFS,” wrote Skor. “Plummeting fuel demand affects everyone in the energy supply chain, and as you know, the RFS volume obligations are percentage calculations that automatically adjust with falling or rising fuel demand.”

“Waiving the 2020 RVO would push more and more biofuel producers to shutdown causing even more damage to a battered agriculture industry,” added Skor.



NBB Thanks Representatives for Defending the RFS

Today, the National Biodiesel Board thanked 44 Members of Congress for urging President Trump to deny recent requests to waive the 2020 Renewable Fuel Standard volumes. Led by Reps. Abby Finkenauer (D-IA), Dave Loebsack (D-IA), Roger Marshall, MD (R-KS), Collin Peterson (D-MN), and Rodney Davis (R-IL), the bipartisan group of lawmakers delivered a letter to the President asking him "to stand with our farmers and rural economies during this challenging time" and work together "on ways to deliver on continued investment and support for biofuels."

Citing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the damage done by EPA's abuse of small refinery exemptions, the Congressmembers wrote, "This pandemic has severely strained the market for biofuels, closing plants and dealing another crippling blow to an industry that is already struggling."

Referring to requests from state governors that EPA waive the 2020 RFS volumes, the Congressional letter goes on to say, "In addition to the economic harm waiving the RFS would cause rural America, these requests are unjustified and run contrary to the EPA's well-established precedents."

Kurt Kovarik, NBB's VP of Federal Affairs, states, "On behalf of biodiesel producers across the country, I'd like to thank Representatives Finkenauer, Loebsack, Marshall, Peterson and Davis and many others who are standing up on behalf of the industry and the RFS. As they've noted, an RFS waiver would be unjustified and simply compound the economic challenges that biodiesel producers and farmers face. Further, it would undercut a successful environmental policy that is transitioning the United States to better, cleaner fuels."

Additional Congressmembers endorsing the letter include Reps. Angie Craig (D-MN), Darin LaHood (R-IL), Cheri Bustos (D-IL), Jim Hagedorn (R-MN), Mike Bost (R-IL), Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), Ann Wagner (R-MO), Don Bacon (R-NE), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Dusty Johnson (R-SD), Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO), Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), Cindy Axne (D-IA), Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), Robin L. Kelly (D-IL), Sam Graves (R-MO), Ron Estes (R-KS), Steve Watkins (R-KS), James Comer (R-KY), Sean Casten (D-IL), Jackie Walorski (R-IN), TJ Cox (D-CA), Adrian Smith (R-NE), Steve King (R-IA), Ron Kind (D-WI), Rick Crawford (R-AR), Jim Baird (R-IN), Jason Smith (R-MO), Jim Himes (D-CT), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Jahana Hayes (D-CT), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Scott Peters (D-CA), John Larson (D-CT), Joe Courtney (D-CT), David Cicilline (D-CT), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH), and David Scott (D-GA).



RFA Thanks Bipartisan Group of 44 Representatives for Defending RFS


The Renewable Fuels Association today thanked 44 members of the House of Representatives for urging President Trump to “stand with our farmers and rural economies during this challenging time and deny any request for blanket statewide or nationwide waivers from the 2020 RFS blending requirements under the Clean Air Act.”

In their letter to President Trump, the diverse coalition of House biofuels supporters underscored that RFS waiver requests recently received by EPA must be rejected because they do not satisfy the rigorous statutory conditions required for a waiver.

“RFA is grateful to this bipartisan group of leaders in the House for standing with consumers, farmers and ethanol producers to uphold the integrity of the Renewable Fuel Standard,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “While refiners are appealing to governors in a callous effort to evade the RFS under the guise of COVID-19 relief, the law requires—and EPA has previously concluded—that waivers can only be granted when any potential hardship is being caused by the RFS, not any other factor. However, in this case, the governors correctly state the harm is caused by plummeting oil prices attributable to an international oil glut and falling demand caused by COVID-19. Those factors are also hurting ethanol. In fact, half of the nation’s ethanol production capacity was shut down over the past several months.

“The rural communities that depend on a thriving renewable fuels industry are fortunate to have such dedicated supporters in Congress protecting the RFS from endless attacks,” Cooper concluded. “These lawmakers understand that caving into the whims of the oil industry and waiving the RFS would not only be illegal, but it would also have devastating impacts on working families and small businesses already reeling from the effects of this terrible pandemic.”

Last month, a bipartisan group of 24 U.S. senators sent a similar letter to President Trump, likewise urging him to uphold the Renewable Fuel Standard and reject oil industry efforts to waive renewable fuel blending obligations.



2021 Commodity Classic Silver Celebration Schedule Announced


Plans for the Silver Celebration of Commodity Classic are well underway as America’s largest farmer-led, farmer-focused agricultural and educational experience celebrates its 25th anniversary March 4-6, 2021, in San Antonio, Texas.

The preliminary schedule for the 2021 Commodity Classic has been posted at CommodityClassic.com.  The schedule outlines the tentative dates and times for the dozens of educational sessions, trade show hours, special events and commodity association meetings.  More details will be posted as they become available.

The trade show floor for 2021 is already sold out with a growing waiting list of exhibitors who are hoping to showcase their products and services in front of thousands of America’s top farmers.  Last year’s Commodity Classic set a record for total farmer attendance and also saw the second-largest total attendance in the show’s history.

Registration and housing for the 2021 Commodity Classic will open in mid-November.  Farmers can sign up now to receive periodic email updates at CommodityClassic.com.

Established in 1996, Commodity Classic is presented annually by the American Soybean Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Sorghum Producers and Association of Equipment Manufacturers.



Holstein Association Planning Virtual Meeting for June 25


Holstein Association USA will host a Virtual Member Update Meeting on June 25 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time. It will feature the President's Address, CEO's State of the Association Address, and the 2019 Financial Report.

The virtual format comes as the traditional face-to-face Annual Meeting has been postponed until 2021, when the National Convention will be held in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. This decision was made by the board of directors because of the unprecedented conditions created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

CEO John Meyer states, "The current environment provides a unique opportunity to update the dairy community on the good things that are happening at the Holstein Association USA. We invite you to join us June 25th."

Details on how to register for the webinar will be posted on www.holsteinusa.com.



Proposed Changes to the National List for Organic Livestock and Handling


The U.S. Department of Agriculture today published a proposed rule in the Federal Register to amend the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List). The proposed changes are based on April 2019 recommendations from the National Organic Standards Board.

This action proposes adding:
-    Oxalic acid dihydrate as a pesticide for organic apiculture.
-    Pullulan as an ingredient for products labeled, “Made with organic (specified ingredients or food group(s)).”
-    Collagen gel casing as a nonorganic ingredient allowed when an organic form is not commercially available.

USDA welcomes comments on the proposed amendments. The 60-day comment period will close on August 7, 2020.



NAFA Releases “Alfalfa: High Quality Hay for Horses”


Known as the “Queen of Forages,” alfalfa has long been accepted as one of the highest quality hays fed to horses. It is a widely-adapted, perennial forage legume which produces more protein per acre than any other crop. To provide a comprehensive overview of the advantages of feeding alfalfa hay to horses, the National Alfalfa & Forage Alliance (NAFA) has recently updated and released, “Alfalfa: High Quality Hay for Horses,” serving as a quick & handy guide to everything horse enthusiasts should know about feeding alfalfa to horses. Some of the publications highlights include:
Ø  Physical Characteristics of High-Quality Alfalfa Hay
Ø  Equine Digestion of Forages
Ø  How Growth Stage Affects Forage Quality
Ø  Nutritional Needs of Horses
Ø  Storing and Feeding Hay

     “When we think of feeding alfalfa hay the first thing that comes to mind is its common use in dairy and beef cow operations,” said Beth Nelson, NAFA President. “But alfalfa is often overlooked as an integral part of a well-managed, nutrient-dense equine diet.”

In addition to discussing the use of alfalfa for mature horses on a maintenance diet, horses used for sport and competition, broodmares, and growing horses, Alfalfa: High Quality Hay for Horses also covers multiple options of bale size, how to assess quality through hay testing and visual inspection, and how the time of the year alfalfa is harvested can influence quality.

The new publication concludes with a valuable Myth vs Fact section which addresses many of the common misconceptions about feeding alfalfa to horses, such as the myth that excess protein in alfalfa hay will damage a horse’s kidneys. In fact, normal healthy horses have no issues metabolizing and excreting extra protein, whether it is consumed from alfalfa hay or lush pasture.

This publication is intended as a resource for both horse owners and hay farmers as a useful educational tool to provide valuable information to their regular customers and to potential buyers. Get your copy today!

Alfalfa: High Quality Hay for Horses is available to order for $2/copy in print form or may be downloaded for free at https://www.alfalfa.org/publications.php.



Weekend Ag News Roundup - June 7
2020-06-08T03:31

Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation Announces Scholarship Recipients

The Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation (NCF) is pleased to announce it has awarded $61,200 in scholarships to students furthering their education goals in the 2020-2021 academic year.

“The Foundation strongly believes in the importance of a sound education for tomorrow’s industry leaders and is pleased to be able to provide this funding to these outstanding students to aid in their academic career,” says Mark Jagels, president of the Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation.  “Due to the generosity of many donors and the success of our Retail Value Steer Challenge fundraising project, the Foundation was able to offer an additional $5,000 in scholarship funds over last years awarded scholarships.”

The 2020 Nebraska Cattlemen Beef State Scholarship was awarded to Renae Sieck of Martell.  This premier scholarship is a $10,000 scholarship that was established in 2014 to support outstanding junior, senior or graduate level Nebraska resident students enrolled in a Nebraska college or university pursuing a beef industry related degree.  Renae is currently working on her Master of Science degree at the University of Nebraska in Animal Breeding and Genetics.

In addition to the Beef State Scholarship, the Foundation awarded 47 additional scholarships to the following students:
    Madison Adam, Alliance – $1,200 Clarence & Lois Jean Hartmann Scholarship
    Lauren Ahlers, Rosalie – $1,000 Retail Value Steer Challenge Scholarship
    Regan Alfs, Shickley – $1,000 Retail Value Steer Challenge Scholarship
    Taylor Cammach, DeWitt – $1,000 Retail Value Steer Challenge Scholarship
    Dana Christen, Steinauer – $1,000 Retail Value Steer Challenge Scholarship
    Lacie Cruise, Genoa – $1,000 Retail Value Steer Challenge Scholarship
    Clay Curtis, Royal – $1,000 Retail Value Steer Challenge Scholarship
    Caitlyn Deal, Sidney – $1,000 Retail Value Steer Challenge Scholarship
    Ashton Erickson, Wallace – $1,200 Ron & Shirley Huss Scholarship
    Jais Ford, Cody – $1,200 Clarence & Lois Jean Hartmann Scholarship
    Olivia Fredrick, Amherst – $1,000 Retail Value Steer Challenge Scholarship
    Kathlyn Hauxwell, McCook – $1,200 Ron & Shirley Huss Scholarship
    Brea Hostert, Atkinson – $1,000 Retail Value Steer Challenge Scholarship
    TaraLee Hudson, Belvidere – $1,200 Bill Briggs Family Memorial Scholarship
    Loyal Johnson, Burr – $1,000 Retail Value Steer Challenge Scholarship
    Elizabeth Karnopp, Oakland – $1,000 Retail Value Steer Challenge Scholarship
    Marissa Kegley, Kearney – $1,200 Robert F. Lute II Memorial Scholarhip
    Felicia Knoerzer, Elwood – $1,000 Retail Value Steer Challenge Scholarship
    Korbin Kudera, Clarkson – $1,200 Bill Pullen Scholarship
    Weston Kunkee, Lexington – $1,200 Frank & Shirley Sibert Scholarship
    George Lee, Elsie – $1,000 Retail Value Steer Challenge Scholarship
    Malina Lindstrom, Elm Creek – $1,200 Vance Uden Memorial Scholaship
    Kelsey Loseke, Blair – $1,000 Retail Value Steer Challenge Scholarshp
    Carsten Loseke, Columbus – $1,200 Col. Melvin Huss Memorial Scholarship

    BaiLee McMillan, Milburn – $1,200 Col. Melvin Huss Memorial Scholarship
    Shalyn Miller, Norfolk – $1,200 Cattlemen’s Open Scholarship
    Katherine Mohr, Genoa – $1,200 Bill Heller Memorial Scholarship
    Taylor Peter, O’Neill – $1,000 Retail Value Steer Challenge Scholarship
    Savannah Peterson, Gothenburg – $1,000 Retail Value Steer Challenge Scholarship
    Bailee Porter, Norfolk – $1,000 Retail Value Steer Challenge Scholarship
    Laura Reiling, Malcolm – $1,000 Retail Value Steer Challenge Scholarship
    Tigh Renken, Bertand – $1,200 Vance Uden Memorial Scholarship
    Grant Reynolds, Ansley – $1,000 Retail Value Steer Challenge Scholarship
    Ralston Ripp, Kearney – $1,200 Donavan Yoachim Memorial Scholarship
    Trevor Ross, Callaway – $1,000 West Central Affiliate Scholarship
    Rebel Sjeklocha, Hayes Center – $1,000 Retail Value Steer Challenge Scholarship
    Joseph Sonderman, Columbus – $1,200 Nebraska Cattlemen Beef Pit Scholarship
    Jace Stagemeyer, Page – $1,200 Robert F. Lute II Memorial Scholarship
    Issac Stallbaumer, Oconto – $1,200 Cattlemen’s Open Scholarship
    Jency Starr, North Platte – $1,000 Retail Value Steer Challenge Scholarship
    Jacqueline Stauffer, Ashland – $1,200 Vance Uden Memorial Scholarship
    Justin Stengel, Shickley – $1,000 Retail Value Steer Challenge Scholarship
    Colton Thompson, Eustis – $1,200 Todd Ricenbaw Memorial Scholarship
    Lauren Trauernicht, Wymore – $1,000 Retail Value Steer Challenge Scholarship
    Wesley Wach, Wauneta – $1,200 Bill Heller Memorial Scholarship
    James Wetovick, Fullerton – $1,000 Retail Value Steer Challenge Scholarship
    Jonathan Wetovick, Fullerton – $1,000 Retail Value Steer Challenge Scholarship




Nebraska Cattlemen is Pleased to Announce Willis as Director of NCIG


Nebraska Cattlemen (NC) announces Jeff Willis as Director of Nebraska Cattlemen Insurance Group (NCIG).

The Nebraska Cattlemen leadership and staff are very excited for the unique opportunity to have Jeff Willis be an active member of the NC team. Being a current employee of Harry A. Koch Company, Jeff will actively work with NC staff focused on marketing NCIG products and promoting Nebraska Cattlemen membership.

Jeff Willis has brought a wealth of knowledge and experience to HAK and NCIG. Jeff’s background includes working in feedlot operations as well as a livestock production manager for a commercial feed mill operation. For the past 20 years Jeff has worked in the Financial Services sector and has been instrumental in facilitating business transition planning and developing banking relationships for the agricultural community.

“Jeff Willis is an ideal representative to share NCIG opportunities and membership benefits to current and prospective members. His personal background in the cattle industry allows Jeff to have a direct understanding of what beef producers deal with every day. We’re thrilled to have Jeff be an active part of the NC team.” Pete McClymont, NC Executive Vice President.

“I am confident Jeff will be key to bringing knowledge and experience to NC members as Director of NCIG. He is a great communicator, hard worker, and problem solver, — with a great sense of humor. This position was made for someone just like Jeff.” Jeff Scanlan, Senior Vice President at Harry A Koch Co.

Jeff Willis resides in Shelby, Nebraska with his wife and 4 children. In his free time, he enjoys landscaping, tinkering in his old gas station and driving his ’95 Peterbilt. Jeff can be reached at (402)366-5431 or by email at NCIG@necattlemen.org



LENRD scholarships awarded to area graduates


The Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) recently awarded four scholarships to area graduates.  The $500 scholarships are given to graduating High School Seniors within the district who are planning to further their education in a natural resources or agriculture related field.

To be eligible for a scholarship the student must be a graduating high school senior who resides or whose family owns land within the LENRD boundaries.  The student must have an overall grade point average of a 2.0, or higher, on a 4.0 scale.  The student must also attend an accredited college, community college or vocational school the semester following graduation.

The four graduates selected to receive scholarships in 2020 are:  Casey Doernemann of Dodge, Madeline Huwaldt of Osmond, Garret Kroupa of Pierce, and Mikayla Martensen of Humphrey.

Casey Doernemann is a graduate of Guardian Angels Central Catholic in West Point.  He plans to attend the University of Nebraska in Lincoln and major in Agri-Business.  Casey is the son of Jim and Lynda Doernemann of Dodge.

Madeline Huwaldt is a graduate of Osmond High School.  She plans to attend South Dakota State University and major in Agricultural Communications.  Madeline is the daughter of Brad and Marla Huwaldt of Osmond.

Garret Kroupa is a graduate of Pierce High School.  He plans to attend Northeast Community College and major in Diversified Agriculture.  Garret is the son of Mike and Lanette Kroupa of Pierce.

Mikayla Martensen is a graduate of Humphrey High School.  She plans to attend Northwest Missouri State University and major in Agricultural Education.  Mikayla is the daughter of Jeff and Jennifer Martensen of Humphrey.

LENRD Information & Education Specialist, Julie Wragge, said, “The LENRD board and staff would like to take this opportunity to congratulate our scholarship winners and thank all students who took the time to apply.  We’re happy to support you in your future endeavors and we encourage you to remember how important the protection of our natural resources is for our future.  Good luck to all of you!”



Safety remains the top priority, planning continues for State Fair


The Nebraska State Fair is on schedule for August 28 – September 7, 2020.  While we are all facing many uncertainties, our team is optimistic and continuing to prepare and plan.  The safety and well-being of our guests, participants, partners, sponsors and community always comes first, so we are closely following the directives of local and national health agencies: Central District Health Department, Department of Agriculture, the City of Grand Island, Hall County, and the Nebraska Governor’s Office.

On Monday, the State Fair Administration Office reopened for necessary foot traffic, including the Nebraska Lottery Claim center, which operates Monday – Thursday from 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. (closed noon - 1 p.m.).  Wearing masks is currently required inside the State Fair facilities whenever six-foot distancing cannot be maintained. 

We are grateful for the community’s patience and support, and we look forward to being part of Nebraska’s healing. For more information on the state’s largest event, visit statefair.org.



Aksarben Plans continue on track for Sept 24-27


The Aksarben Stock Show presented by the Aksarben Foundation remains on schedule for September 24 – 27, 2020.  The stock show is managed and produced by the Nebraska State Fair.  While we are all facing many uncertainties, our team is optimistic and continuing to prepare and plan.  The safety and well-being of our guests, exhibitors, contestants, vendors, sponsors and community always comes first, so we are closely following the directives of local and national health agencies: Central District Health Department, Department of Agriculture, the City of Grand Island, Hall County, and the Nebraska Governor’s Office.

We are grateful for the community’s patience and support, and we look forward to being part of the Heartland’s healing.  Show judge announcements were made for beef, swine, sheep and goat on social media.  Respectfully Chan Phillips from Oklahoma for beef; Kim Brock from Oklahoma for swine; Brent Jennings from North Carolina for sheep, and Nick Hammett from Missouri will judge goats.  There were over 2,800 animals entered for the 2019 Aksarben Stock Show.

Thank you to our 2020 sponsors and donors: Aksarben Foundation, American Foods Group, Farm Credit Services of America, Five Points Bank, First National Bank of Omaha, Nebraska State Fair, Nebraska Farm Bureau, Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation, Pinnacle Bank, and Valmont.  For more information on the state’s largest stock show, visit www.showaksarben.com.



Farmland Ownership and Crop Marketing Webinars on June 12 and June 16


Two free one-hour webinars are available to the public on Friday, June 12, and Tuesday, June 16. Speakers will include Kristine Tidgren, director of the Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation, and Steve Johnson, farm management specialist, both with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

The first webinar, Farmland Owners Update, will be presented on Friday, June 12, at noon CDT. Tidgren will update farmland owners on recent legal and tax updates, including a review of COVID-19 legislation, particularly Paycheck Protection Program loans and Economic Injury Disaster Loans. Johnson will discuss the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program payments, 2020 crop budgets, and Iowa State University's Cash Rental Rates for Iowa 2020 Survey. The webinar will last about one hour, followed by questions.

The webinar is free but requires pre-registration online at the ISU CALT site:
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6455298045166391053.

A second webinar, Crop Marketing Strategies, will be presented on Tuesday, June 16, at 7 p.m. CDT. Johnson will review both old and new crop supply/demand and cash price projections, highlight crop marketing strategies and tools, and feature written crop marketing plans for a 1,000-acre row-crop example farm. The webinar will last about one hour, followed by questions.

The webinar is free but requires pre-registration online at this site:  https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7677526165718660877.

If you miss the live webinar, search for Webinar Replay and Resources on the ISU CALT site: https://www.calt.iastate.edu/.

For more information, contact the webinar presenters. Tidgren can be reached at 515-294-6365, or ktidgren@iastate.edu. Johnson can be reached at 515-957-5790, or sdjohns@iastate.edu.



Iowa Cattlemen Hosts Virtual BeefMeets

Out of an abundance of caution, the Iowa Cattlemen's Association has decided to transition in-person BeefMeets into a webinar series. You can find all of the information below. These will also be broadcasted live on Facebook and recordings will be posted here for playback.

June 10 | 7:00 pm - Pasture Management & Mineral Requirement Webinar
Make the most  out of your pasture land through rotational grazing and maximize herd health by knowing mineral and supplementation requirements from Kent Feeds PhD Ruminant Nutritionist, Dr. Brandon Koch.

June 17 | 7:00 pm  - Price Discovery in the Fed Cattle Market
Join us on a webinar to hear about the need for more price discovery through increased cash negotiated trade across the country, ICA's efforts to bring back leverage to the independent producer and possible solutions for the problem. 
 Panelists:
    Corbitt Wall, DV Auction Livestock Market Analyst
    Brad Kooima, ICA Feedlot Council Member from Rock Valley, IA

June 24 | 7:00 pm - Farm to Table: Selling Beef Locally
Interested in selling beef local in your community? This webinar will provide the do's and don't from the perspective of a family who currently markets beef locally, the expert on rules and regulations from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and how the Iowa Beef Checkoff is helping to connect local beef suppliers with their Iowa Local Beef Directory.
Panelists:
    Jason & Amy Boyer, Cattle Producer from Weldon, IA
    Janis Hochstetler, HACCP & Labeling Coordinator, Iowa Dept. of Ag.
    Dr. Terry Houser, ISU Extension Meat Specialist
    Iowa Beef Industry Council - funded by the Iowa State Beef Checkoff Program

Get more information and register here: https://www.iacattlemen.org/events-meetings/beefmeets-regional-conventions.



Iowa Beef Checkoff Introduces Directory to Connect Beef Producer to Local Buyers


The Iowa Beef Industry Council (IBIC) is excited to announce the launch of a local beef directory to connect beef producers with local buyers. This pandemic has ushered in a renewed interest in food security and ignited an increased interest from consumers to purchase beef directly from farmers. The Iowa Local Beef Directory will provide resources in helping shoppers navigate the buying process and connecting potential buyers to sellers.

“We have recently noticed an uptick in the frequency of producer inquiries searching for resources related to directly marketing beef. Furthermore, with supermarkets and grocery stores experiencing intermittent disruptions in availability of beef, we felt we had to do something to address the marketplace needs,” says Janine Moore, IBIC Chairman. “We understand this isn’t a solution that addresses all the challenges we face today but it’s a positive step forward in building a connection with beef farmers and shoppers.”

Iowa beef producers interested in submitting their information for listing can do so by visiting the Iowa Local Beef Directory submission page, on the Raising Beef tab, on our website, www.iabeef.org. The form allows producers to self-list to the directory which will be housed on the IBIC website.

Iowa beef producers proudly raise some of the world’s highest quality beef in a responsible and sustainable manner yielding mouth-watering beef destined for consumers across the globe. We want to make sure Iowa beef lovers are able to capitalize on that experience and we believe this initiative will help make that connection.

Listings will include farm name, contact name, city, additional certifications and website links so consumers can contact farmers directly. Questions received by IBIC regarding specific businesses will be directed back to the company.



EPA Responds to Ninth Circuit Vacatur of Dicamba Registrations


U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler released the following statement on the Ninth Circuit Vacatur of dicamba registrations:

“We are disappointed with the decision. The 2020 growing season is well underway and this creates undue burden for our first conservationists – farmers. EPA has been overwhelmed with letters and calls from farmers nationwide since the Court issued its opinion, and these testimonies cite the devastation of this decision on their crops and the threat to America’s food supply. The Court itself noted in this order that it will place a great hardship on America’s farmers. This ruling implicates millions of acres of crops, millions of dollars already spent by farmers, and the food and fiber Americans across the country rely on to feed their families.”

“EPA is assessing all avenues to mitigate the impact of the Court’s decision on farmers.” 

The order addresses three registrations containing the active ingredient dicamba (Xtendimax with Vaporgrip Technology (EPA Reg. No. 524-617), Engenia – (EPA Reg. No. 7969-345), FeXapan – (EPA Reg. No. 352-913), which is a valuable pest control tool for America’s farmers.



NDA DIRECTOR WELLMAN COMMENTS ON DICAMBA RULING

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a ruling on June 3 that vacated U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registrations for three dicamba herbicides (Xtendimax, FeXapan and Engenia). 

It is anticipated that the EPA will seek some type of further review, and possibly under emergency circumstances. Therefore, until such legal process is concluded, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture will continue to allow utilization.

“The Nebraska Department of Agriculture has not issued a stop sale order and will enforce the sales and applications of these products as they are currently registered in Nebraska,” said Director Steve Wellman.



Nebraska Farm Bureau Urges Attorney General, EPA to Explore “Any and All Options” to Continue Dicamba Usage


Nebraska Farm Bureau is urging Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler to expedite and explore any and all options to ensure Nebraska farmers can continue to use dicamba products impacted by a June 3 decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The ruling overturned EPA’s conditional registrations for three dicamba herbicides widely used for weed control in Nebraska soybean fields.

“The timing of this ruling couldn’t be worse. Dicamba products are stringently regulated and agricultural producers have a limited window to use these products. We are in that window of use time right now, but that window is rapidly closing. The timing of the court’s decision has needlessly created tremendous uncertainty for farmers. Worse yet, many farmers made planting decisions and herbicide purchases based on their understanding these dicamba products would be available for their weed control programs,” said Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president.

Given the time sensitive nature of the situation, Nebraska Farm Bureau reached out to Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson to encourage investigation into any legal actions that would provide immediate relief to and ensure farmers could continue to utilize the dicamba products.

Nebraska Farm Bureau also reached out to EPA Administrator Wheeler to encourage the agency to take a similar course of action, as EPA is responsible for oversight of the labeling authorizing the sale and use of the dicamba products. The agency is currently reviewing the court decision and has yet to provide an official response.

“The court’s ruling in the middle of the growing season is unconscionable. We’re doing everything we can to find an immediate solution to prevent Nebraska farmers from being negatively harmed by this poorly timed court ruling, who are already reeling from the impacts of COVID-19 on the agriculture economy,” said Nelson.



Secretary Naig Requests Guidance from EPA on Ninth Circuit Court’s Dicamba Ruling


Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig has sent a letter to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler requesting guidance on what the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit’s decision to vacate the EPA’s dicamba product registration means for Iowa farmers.

In the letter Secretary Naig wrote, “We are requesting that the EPA provides guidance about what this ruling means for producers in Iowa, and presents options to allow retailers and farmers to apply existing stocks during the 2020 growing season. This ruling is creating uncertainty at a time when farmers are already heading into the fields to treat emerging crops and it leaves them without effective weed management tools.”

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship has not issued a stop sale order and will continue operating under the current pesticide program until it receives guidance from the EPA. The Department does not anticipate taking enforcement action against those who otherwise appropriately purchase, sell, or use these products in the interim. This enforcement decision may change immediately based on further guidance from the EPA.

Dicamba is an important weed management tool that Iowa farmers use to protect their crops. Water hemp, a weed commonly found in Iowa fields, has developed a resistance to many registered herbicide products, leaving producers with limited options for the 2020 growing season.



Ag Retailers Urge EPA to Seek Immediate Stay of Federal Court Order on Dicamba


Today, Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) President and CEO Daren Coppock sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler regarding the Ninth Circuit vacature of three dicamba labels earlier this week.

"The immediate nature of the decision and mandate has already created chaos in our industry," said Coppock. "Growers are now without options at the worst possible time in their production year."

The letter requests EPA appeal the federal court ruling "using all legal avenues available ..." U.S. farmers are in the heart of their growing season, and planting decisions and subsequent herbicide application plans have been made. Ag retailers and growers will be scrambling to secure alternatives, which may not be readily available in time.

"This decision by the Ninth Circuit is an overreach and must be corrected immediately," said Coppock. "This will have a major impact on this year's crops if not handled very soon. The farm economy has already experienced major struggles this year and this is one that can easily be avoided.



NCGA Statement on Dicamba Ruling


The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) is disappointed by the 9th Circuit’s decision to vacate the Environmental Protection Agency’s federal registrations for three dicamba products, Xtendimax, FeXapan, and Engenia. Farmers rely on EPA’s science-based process for developing appropriate and safe guidelines for the use of crop protection products.

NCGA urges the EPA to immediately appeal this ruling and obtain a stay of this overreaching court order. This decision to remove a weed control option, especially in the middle of the season, adds yet another challenge to an already difficult time and sets a concerning precedent.

Farmers have invested in previously allowed dicamba products, EPA should offer clarifying guidance and allow the use of existing stocks. NCGA is working closely with its partners and the EPA to understand the full ramifications of this decision and what options lie ahead for the future of the product.



April Red Meat Exports Weather Production Challenges, Economic Headwinds


April proved to be a solid month for U.S. beef and pork exports despite COVID-19 related interruptions in production and declining purchasing power of some key trading partners, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Beef exports were below last April’s large totals but still topped $600 million in value. Pork exports remained well above year-ago levels but slowed from the record pace established in the first quarter.

“Considering all the challenges the U.S. red meat industry faced in April, export results were encouraging,” said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. “Exporters lost several days of slaughter and processing due to COVID-19, and shipments to Mexico and some other Latin American markets declined due to slumping currencies and the imposition of stay-at-home orders. But despite these significant headwinds, global demand for U.S. beef and pork remained strong.”

While May export results will likely reflect similar obstacles, Halstrom noted that red meat production continues to recover, setting the stage for a strong second half of 2020.

“International customers are relieved to see U.S. production rebounding, solidifying our position as a reliable supplier,” he said. “This helps address a major concern for buyers, as COVID-19 has disrupted meat production in many countries – not just the United States. Demand remains robust for U.S. red meat, especially at retail, but USMEF is actively working with our foodservice customers across the globe to help ensure a strong recovery for the restaurant, catering and hospitality sectors. Many are adjusting to an entirely new business climate, and the U.S. industry assisting them in this process can help ensure that U.S. pork, beef and lamb will be featured on their menus.”

April beef exports were down 6% from a year ago to 98,613 metric tons (mt), with value falling 11% to $600.9 million. But exports achieved outstanding growth in Japan, where U.S. beef is benefiting from reduced tariffs under the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement, and trended higher to China following late-March implementation of the U.S.-China Phase One Economic and Trade Agreement. For January through April, beef exports totaled 433,316 mt, up 5% from a year ago, valued at $2.66 billion (up 3%).

With lower April slaughter numbers, beef export value per head of fed slaughter climbed to a record $363.35, up 19% from April 2019. For the first four months of the year, per-head export value increased 5% to $326.47. April beef exports accounted for 15.9% of total production and 13.5% for beef muscle cuts, up from 13.5% and 11.1%, respectively, a year ago. Through April, exports accounted for 14.4% of total beef production and 11.9% for muscle cuts, up from 13.8% and 11.2%, respectively, last year.

While China/Hong Kong continued to be the pacesetter for U.S. pork export growth, April exports also increased significantly to Japan, Vietnam and Chile. April volume reached 264,048 mt, up 22% from a year ago but the lowest since November 2019. Export value was $682.8 million, up 28% year-over-year but the lowest since October 2019. Through the first four months of 2020, pork exports remain on a record pace at 1.1 million mt, up 35% from a year ago, with value up 45% to $2.91 billion.

With production down significantly from the record levels achieved in March, pork export value per head slaughtered jumped to a record $72.55 in April, up 43% from a year ago. The January-April per-head average was $66.36, up 40%. April exports accounted for 36.2% of total pork production and 32.2% for pork muscle cuts, each up nearly 10 percentage points from a year ago. Through April, exports accounted for 32.4% of total pork production and 29.3% for muscle cuts, up from 24.9% and 21.8%, respectively, in the first four months of 2019.

U.S. beef capitalizing on market access gains in Japan

April beef exports to leading market Japan totaled 31,280 mt, up 30% from a year ago, while value was the highest since August 2018 at $196.4 million (up 25%). Through April, exports to Japan established a record pace at 114,152 mt (up 16% from a year ago) valued at $719.8 million (up 13%).

Although beef exports to South Korea cooled in April, 2020 shipments remained ahead of last year’s record pace. April exports totaled 19,411 mt, down 14% from a year ago, valued at $133.9 million (down 19%). But through April, exports to Korea were still up 6% from a year ago at 83,345 mt, valued at $598.7 million (up 4%). Korea eased social distancing and stay-at-home requirements in May, leading to a significant increase in domestic travel and foodservice demand through its early May holidays.

After a down year in 2019, demand for U.S. beef has rebounded in Canada. April exports were up 38% from a year ago at 10,850 mt, with value up 35% to $74.7 million. Through April, exports to Canada increased 25% in volume (35,399 mt) and 24% in value ($241.1 million). Canada faced production challenges similar to the U.S., with sharply reduced slaughter volumes in April and May.

Other January-April highlights for U.S. beef include:

-    April exports to Taiwan were steady with last year at 5,093 mt, valued at $47.5 million. Through April, shipments to Taiwan were 12% ahead of last year’s record pace at 20,868 mt, valued at $183.1 million (up 11%). Taiwan is an especially strong destination for chilled U.S. beef, with the United States capturing 74% of the chilled beef market. Taiwan’s imports of chilled U.S. beef have jumped by 25% year-over-year, bolstered by strong retail demand.
-    Beef exports to China were by far the largest of the year in April at 1,321 mt, up 82% from a year ago, valued at $11.4 million (up 128%), reflecting market access improvements implemented in late March that expanded the range of U.S. cattle, beef products and processing plants eligible for China. Through April, exports to China were up 34% from a year ago at 3,179 mt, valued at $25.4 million (up 41%). Although inventories of imported grass-fed beef are abundant in China, there is strong demand for U.S. grain-fed beef.
-    Exports to Mexico dipped sharply in April due to COVID-19 related restrictions on businesses and consumers and the slumping Mexican peso. Through April, exports to Mexico were 9% below last year’s pace at 70,048 mt, valued at $331.4 million (down 11%). But Mexico remained the largest volume destination for beef variety meat exports, with shipments up 11% from a year ago at 32,872 mt, valued at $81.7 million (up 3%).
-    Africa continues to emerge as growth region for U.S. beef variety meat. Through April, variety meat exports more than doubled from a year ago in both volume (10,091 mt, up 131%) and value ($7.6 million, up 122%), with South Africa, Gabon and Angola as the leading destinations.

Impressive gains for U.S. pork in Japan, China/Hong Kong

Similar to beef, U.S. pork exports to Japan are benefiting from a level competitive playing field in 2020, no longer saddled with a tariff disadvantage compared to Canadian and European pork. April exports to Japan totaled 39,232 mt, up 28% from a year ago, valued at $164.2 million (up 39%). Through April, exports reached 142,747 mt, up 16% from a year ago, with value up 20% to $592.5 million. With the increase in meals eaten at home and children being out of school, U.S. chilled pork has benefited from Japanese consumers’ preference for cooking pork at home. This situation has also stimulated demand for easy-to-cook processed pork products, which include U.S. sausages as well as products using U.S. ground seasoned pork as raw material. Japanese import data showed huge volumes from the U.S. in April, pushing January-April imports higher year-over-year in these categories: chilled pork (70,856 mt, +6%), ground seasoned pork (41,154 mt, +56%), frozen pork (20,557 mt, +27%) and sausages (3,174 mt, +14%).

April pork exports to China/Hong Kong set another new record at 116,928 mt, more than triple the year-ago volume and surpassing the previous high reached in December 2019. April export value was $268.5 million (up 284%). Through April, exports to China/Hong Kong continued on a record pace at 413,453 mt, up 223% from a year ago, while value increased 310% to $993 million. Boxed carcasses accounted for 41% of U.S. export volume for China, with bone-in hams accounting for 10%. So less labor-intensive products made up more than half of this year’s shipments to China, which is critical for processors during these challenging times. Through April, U.S. pork accounted for 19% of China’s 2020 imports, with the European Union remaining the dominant supplier with 59% market share.

Pork exports to Mexico slowed in April but January-April shipments remained 2% ahead of last year’s pace at 238,108 mt, with value climbing 16% to $413.6 million. The sharp increase in value underscores the importance of duty-free access to Mexico, as most exports in early 2019 were subject to a 20% retaliatory duty, which Mexico removed in late May of last year. Weekly export data indicate Mexico’s buying began to rebound in late May, despite continued exchange rate challenges and other economic headwinds.

Other January-April highlights for U.S. pork include:

-    With its domestic pork production heavily impacted by African swine fever, pork exports to Vietnam nearly tripled from a year ago to 5,638 mt (up 191%), with value up 160% to $12.4 million. Vietnam recently announced a reduction in its most-favored-nation tariff rates on imported pork, which will allow frozen U.S. pork cuts to enter at a lower rate (10% rather than 15%) beginning in July. Vietnam’s live hog prices continued to set records in May, averaging around $1.80 per pound, up 151% from a year ago.
-    Though slowing in April, pork exports to Central America were still 7% ahead of last year’s record pace at 31,367 mt, with value increasing 17% to $79.9 million. This was driven by solid growth in established markets such as Honduras and Guatemala, as well as a sharp increase in demand in Nicaragua.
-    While pork exports to South America have declined in 2020, Chile remains a bright spot with shipments up 35% from a year ago to 19,012 mt, valued at $53.6 million (up 43%). Exports to mainstay market Colombia have slowed this year, due in part to a drop in the Colombian peso. However, pork variety meat exports to Colombia increased 57% to 1,194 mt, valued at $2.5 million (up 31%).

Lamb muscle cut export volume continues to gain momentum

U.S. lamb exports have trended lower in 2020 due to declining in demand for variety meat, with January-April shipments down year-over-year in both volume (4,336 mt, down 20%) and value ($7 million, down 24%).

In volume terms, lamb muscle cut exports have gained traction this year, with shipments through April increasing 145% from a year ago to 2,031 mt. Muscle cut value, however, dropped 11% to $4.8 million. Volume growth has been driven by strong demand in Mexico, where exports increased 700% to 1,648 mt, valued at $2 million (up 123%). Muscle exports also increased year-over-year to Egypt and Kuwait.



BILL PROVIDING PPP FLEXIBILITY SIGNED INTO LAW


On Friday, President Trump signed into law legislation which would provide businesses with greater flexibility in how they use Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds and still have their loans forgiven. H.R. 7010, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Flexibility Act of 2020, passed the Senate Wednesday evening and overwhelmingly passed the House last week.

Specifically, the legislation would: expand the amount of time businesses have to spend the money from eight to 24 weeks; reduce the minimum that businesses need to spend from 75 percent to 60 percent if they want the full loan amount to be forgiven; extend the time period to rehire employees from June 30, 2020 to Dec. 31, 2020 and eliminate rehiring requirements; and clarify that employers in the PPP program can also benefit from the CARES Act payroll tax delay.



NCBA Applauds Introduction Of Emergency Grazing Legislation


National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) today applauded the introduction of the bipartisan, bicameral PASTURE (Pandemic Authority Suitable To Utilize Reserve Easements) Act of 2020 by U.S. Representatives Roger Marshall (R - 1st Dist., Kansas) and Angie Craig (D - 2nd Dist., MN). Companion legislation was introduced in the Senate by Sens. John Thune (R-SD) and Tina Smith (D-MN).

“Yesterday’s introduction of the bipartisan, bicameral PASTURE Act is a welcome step toward providing grazing flexibility to livestock producers during the COVID-19 pandemic," said NCBA Vice President of Government Affairs Ethan Lane. "As farmers and ranchers are keeping and feeding livestock for longer periods of time, Congress must ensure that producers do not face a forage shortage. Emergency haying and grazing of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acreage is a relied upon practice for livestock and forage management. The PASTURE Act gives USDA the ability to open CRP acreage for emergency haying and grazing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“On May 15, 2020, NCBA and 35 of its state affiliates sent a letter to Congress urging action on this issue. NCBA looks forward to continued work with both Republicans and Democrats to ensure that cattle producers receive much-needed flexibility during this unprecedented time."



World Dairy Expo 2020 Cancelled


For the first time in its 53-year history, World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin has been cancelled. The event's Executive Committee reached this difficult decision based on the public health orders and restrictions related to COVID-19, in place and issued by Public Health Madison & Dane County. World Dairy Expo 2020 was set to take place at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wisconsin, September 29 through October 3, 2020. The annual event welcomed more than 62,000 attendees from nearly 100 countries in 2019.

The Alliant Energy Center, home to World Dairy Expo, is a county-owned facility that falls under the jurisdiction of Emergency Order #3 and Forward Dane, the phased reopening plan for Dane County. Public health officials predict Dane County may be in the third phase of the plan when World Dairy Expo is set to occur. This phase includes a limit of 250 people at outdoor events, eliminating any possibility that World Dairy Expo, as people know it today, can take place.

Serving as the meeting place of the global dairy industry, World Dairy Expo brings together the latest in dairy innovation and the best cattle in North America. Crowds of more than 62,000 people, from nearly 100 countries, will return to Madison, Wis. for the 54th event, September 28 through October 2, 2021.



Farmfest and Dakotafest Canceled for 2020


IDEAg Group LLC., owned by American Farm Bureau Federation, producers of Minnesota Farmfest and Dakotafest, has canceled both farm shows for 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We announce this decision with great disappointment but the well-being of our exhibitors, attendees, staff, volunteers and their families is paramount,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “We understand the impact this has on the ag community, but simply put, it is the right decision to make in these uncertain times.”

Farmfest, scheduled for Aug. 4-6 in Redwood County, Minnesota, has served farmers and the agriculture community for 38 years. Dakotafest, scheduled for Aug. 18-20 in Mitchell, South Dakota, was set to celebrate its 25th anniversary.

IDEAg management confirms that aspects of each show will be made available to attendees virtually this year, including the Farmfest Political Forums.

“The Farmfest Political Forums are a highly anticipated part of our annual event, especially for the state’s ag industry and in this important election year,” said Melissa Sanders Carroll, executive director, IDEAg. “Providing people a virtual opportunity to learn about and participate in the issues that directly impact their farms, lives and families is essential to us.”

Next year’s show dates have been set. Farmfest will be Aug. 3-5, 2021, and Dakotafest is slated for Aug. 17-19, 2021. Visit Farmfest.com and Dakotafest.com for more information about 2020 virtual event activities as well as information about the 2021 shows.



Thursday June 4 Ag News
2020-06-05T04:07

Court Reverses EPA on Dicamba for 2020 Season
Nebraska Agri-Business Association

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “substantially understated” the risks of dicamba and vacated the EPA’s registration of the herbicide for this year.

NA-BA received the following information from the Agricultural Retailers Association, “ARA has now received a copy of the Mandate from the Court. Given this development, the safest conclusion to draw is that the registrations have been vacated and the products are no longer labeled. There may still be some legal recourse available to EPA and the manufacturers, but we would advise ceasing applications of Xtendimax, Engenia and Fexapan until advised by the registrants that it is legal to do so.”

NA-BA is waiting for information and guidance from the EPA and the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA).  The product manufactures are currently in discussions with the EPA, sharing the urgency and need to communicate quickly.

We will work closely with our members and agencies to provide an update to any rules and regulations and share additional information as soon as it becomes available.



NE Farm Bureau on Court Ruling Banning Dicamba Application

Steve Nelson, President

“The recent ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court effectively banning the application of three major dicamba crop protection products in the middle of the crop growing season is not only irresponsible, but disrespectful to farmers who made seed choices, planting decisions, and herbicide purchases months ago based on the understanding they would have access to these important herbicides. It is a travesty that the court chose to act now, mere days away from the limited window in which farmers would be applying these products. Nebraska Farm Bureau is committed to working to find a solution to help those farmers who find themselves harmed by this poorly timed decision.” 



Secretary Perdue Statement on Ninth Circuit Dicamba Decision


U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today issued the following statement on the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision to vacate Dicamba registrations:

“Producers need all the tools in their toolbox to produce the world’s food, fuel, and fiber, and USDA re-affirms its support for EPA’s science-based process for assessing and managing ecological risks, balanced against the agricultural and societal benefits of crop protection tools. USDA stands ready to assist its federal partners in meeting that goal. Farmers across America have spent hard earned money on previously allowed crop protection tools. I encourage the EPA to use any available flexibilities to allow the continued use of already purchased dicamba products, which are a critical tool for American farmers to combat weeds resistant to many other herbicides, in fields that are already planted. Unfortunately, the Ninth Circuit has chosen to eliminate one of those tools.”



NDA PROVIDES GUIDANCE TO DETASSELERS TO HELP SLOW THE SPREAD OF COVID-19

Every summer, thousands of Nebraskans detassel seed corn, performing an essential cross-pollinating task for seed companies. In recognition of this important work and to help detasselers stay healthy during the coronavirus pandemic, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) has issued guidance for this summer’s season of detasseling.

“Throughout this pandemic we have taken extra steps to ensure the health and safety of workers in the agricultural industry including detasselers and the important work they do,” said NDA Director Steve Wellman. “Detasselers already use personal protective equipment in their line of work. This new guidance recommends additional PPE along with plans for social distancing.”

NDA’s guidance on detasseling can be found on their COVID-19 website at nda.nebraska.gov/COVID-19. In the event of additional statewide restrictions or relaxations, these recommendations will be updated. Therefore, detasselers, seed corn companies and farmers are encouraged to frequently check NDA’s website and NDA social media accounts for the most current information.



Fall calendar for UNL on-campus instruction finalized


Modifications to the academic calendar have solidified University of Nebraska–Lincoln plans for a return to on-campus, in-person instruction in the fall 2020 semester.

Announced in a May 29 email from Chancellor Ronnie Green, the university’s Forward to Fall plan includes an early start and pre-Thanksgiving end to the semester with the opportunity for students to participate in an optional three-week remote instruction mini-session in late November and December. Designed to reduce travel and potential exposure to COVID-19, the fall schedule also eliminates holidays for Labor Day and a traditional fall break.

Green said the plan for a compressed semester allows the university to continue its land-grant mission; support greater access and achievement of students; preserve high-quality educational experiences; move forward with global impacts of research and creative activity; and reduce safety risks to protect the campus and larger community.

“We recognize that these changes to the fall calendar present new challenges, but they also present new opportunities,” Green said. “It will also give us greater flexibility should there be a resurgence of infections later in the fall.”

The updated fall semester will begin on Aug. 17, one week earlier than previously scheduled, with remote instruction. In-person teaching will begin Aug. 24.

Other important dates for the semester are:
-    Sept. 7 (Labor Day): Classes will meet. For employees, Labor Day will be considered a working holiday, similar to Presidents Day, Arbor Day, Columbus Day and Veterans Day;
-    Oct. 19-20: Fall break has been suspended, and classes will meet Oct. 19-20;
-    Nov. 19-20: "Fifteenth Week" preparation for finals; and
-    Nov. 21-25: Final exams.

After Thanksgiving, from Nov. 30 to Dec. 18, the university will offer a three-week, mini-session via online instruction. Additional details about the mini-session will be announced.

“As we are doing this summer, we will be able to offer innovative new courses during this session to help our students continue their educational journey,” Green said. “These courses will include expanded opportunities for experiential learning, career preparedness, and unique course subjects based on the historic times we are experiencing.”

All fall courses planned for online instruction are not impacted by changes to the academic calendar and will be offered as previously scheduled. At this time, fall commencement exercises continue to be tentatively planned for Dec. 18-19.

The university will announce additional Forward to Fall plans — including plans for campus housing — as details are finalized.

“We are very much looking forward to welcoming students back to campus in the fall, perhaps this year more than ever,” Green said. “I want to thank all of the faculty, staff and students who have engaged creatively to figure out these complex issues.

“We have truly demonstrated a Nebraska can-do spirit and, I am very confident in our continued success.”



NDA SELECTS STUDENTS TO ATTEND FIRST VIRTUAL NAYI EVENT


The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) today announced the student delegates selected to attend this year’s Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute (NAYI).  In its 49th year, NAYI challenges its delegates to learn more about the agricultural industry and careers available to them in their future.  To help slow the spread of COVID-19, this year’s Institute will be held virtually.   NAYI is coordinated by NDA and the members of the Nebraska Agricultural Youth Council (NAYC).

“NAYI is the longest running program of its kind in the nation and is a popular event for our student delegates,” said NDA Communications Director and NAYC Advisor Christin Kamm.  “While the COVID-19 situation has kept us from hosting an in person event this year, we are pleased to be able to still offer all of the typical learning aspects that our delegates are accustom to.  Moving to a virtual format has also allowed us to provide additional opportunities for learning that we have not previously been able to offer before.  This year’s theme is ‘Building Your Brand’ and we intend to help our delegates do just that.”

Since its inception, NAYI has helped educate more than 6,500 youth from around the state. NAYI is made possible through numerous donations from agricultural businesses, commodity groups and industry organizations. This year’s virtual NAYI will be held July 6-10, and the 2020 delegates will received additional information as the week approaches.

NAYI and additional youth learning opportunities throughout the year are organized by the Nebraska Agricultural Youth Council (NAYC). The 21 college students who serve on NAYC are chosen by NDA to share their passion and knowledge about agriculture with young people across Nebraska. During NAYI, NAYC members provide valuable insight and advice about agriculture, college coursework and career building.

Delegates          

First Name    Last Name    City

Jakob    Anderjaska    Hayes Center
Neligh    Andersen    Gothenburg
Kacy    Anderson    McCook
Taylor    Anderson    Virginia
Charles    Aufdenkamp    North Platte
Kirsten    Bell    David City
Karson    Berke    Eustis
Lanouette    Bohmont    Martell
Blaine    Bonifas    Aurora
Abby    Bruns    Rushville
Blake    Bruns    North Platte
Jillian    Buell    Bassett
Danielle    Burge    Grant
Allison    Carpenter    Scottsbluff
Emily    Carpenter    Scottsbluff
Autumn    Cary    Syracuse
Celie    Childears    North Platte
Tayler    Chytka    Cozad
Aubree    Claflin    Sumner
Sophie    Clark    Johnson
Morayah    Cupp    Champion
Carley    Damme    Blair
Zach    Dickau    Elwood
Sarah    Dilley    Lincoln
Makenna    Dirkschneider    Blair
Makenna    Eisenzimmer    Big Springs
Alanna    Fangmeier    Hebron
Vickie    Ference    Ord
Alexis    Ferris    Central City
Jadyn    Fleischman    Herman
Hazel    Flowers    Lincoln
John    Ford    Cairo
Cassidy    Frey    Superior
Blake    Frink    Hastings
Karlie    Gerlach    Wellfleet
Cailey    Grabenstein    Smithfield
Jennifer    Guerra-Mazariegos    Eddyville
Logan    Hafer    Long Pine
Emily    Hanson    Mead
Makennen    Havlat    Pleasant Dale
Ross    Hebda    Silver Creek
Nevaeh    Heinold    Scottsbluff
Brett    Heinrich    Hickman
Samuel    Hilbers    Hooper
Lily    Hilgenkamp    Arlington

Andrea    Hipke    Spencer
Ella    Hochstein    Seward
Elizabeth    Hodges    Julian
Kate    Holcomb    Broken Bow
Hannah    Holtmeier    Plymouth
Ashtyn    Humphreys    Wymore
Shelby    Hurlburt    Gordon
Abigail    Jacobs    Ord
Alexis    Jansen    Gretna
Ellie    Jarecke    Culbertson
Braden    Johnson    Gering
Faith    Junck    Carroll
Benjamin    Kamrath    Hastings
Elizabeth    Karnopp    West Point
Kylie    Kempf    Carroll
Emily    Kerbs    Hickman
Kyle    Kizzire    Scottsbluff
Aliah    Klapal    Omaha
Olivia    Klug    Columbus
Kara    Kniep    Deshler
Alivia    Knoerzer    Elwood
Cooper    Koch    York
Megan    Kotas    Western
Natalie    Koubek    North Platte
Jake    Kozisek    St. Libory
Madison    Kreifels    Syracuse
Ethan    Kreikemeier    West Point
Erin    Kujath    Fairbury
Dalton    Kunkee    Lexington
Emma    Kuss    Seward
Cameron    Lancaster    Doniphan
Jaycee    Lapp    Hayes Center
Logan    Larson    Dewitt
George Cordell    Lee    Elsie
Alyeea    Lopez    Whitney
Kendra    Loseke    Blair
Chloe    Marshall    Burwell
Emily    Martindale    Brewster
Kaci    Mashino    Spencer
Luke    Mathiesen    Herman
Ella    McFarland    Bloomfield
Reagan    Meier    Elm Creek
Abby    Miller    Mead
Emily    Miller    Nickerson
Hannah    Moseman    Oakland

Alyssa    Moser    Clearwater
Thomas    Moss    North Platte
Kala    Most    Tobias
Mackynzi    Muller    Palmer
Rylee    Naprstek    Gothenburg
Jaya    Nelson    Bassett
Rosie    Nelson    O'Neill
Darla    Nichols    Miller
Karla    Nichols    Miller
Allison    Nielsen    Kennard
Korrina    Niemann    Wayne
Evan    Niemeier    Elwood
Hector    Nunez    Ohiowa
Samantha    Oborny    Garland
Danielle    Osmond    Broken Bow
Katelyn    Pehrson    Laurel
Savannah    Peterson    Gothenburg
Jerad    Phillips    Wallace
Blake    Racicky    Mason City
Anna    Ready    Scribner
Emily    Rempel    Beatrice
Bobbi    Reppert    Hooper
Aspen    Rittgarn    Gordon
Ashlyn    Robinson    North Platte
Ryan    Robinson    Wilcox
Kenna    Rogers    Dunning
Reagan    Ross    Callaway
Trevor    Ross    Callaway
Kizziah    Rutherford    North Platte
Taylor    Ruwe    Hooper
Sonny    Scheets    Fairbury
Treaven    Scheideler    Scotia
Payton    Schiller    Scribner
McKenna    Schlueter    Blair

Gracie    Schneider    Cozad
Trevor    Schneider    Cozad
Reagan    Scholting    Wisner
Abby    Scholz    Loomis
Hannah    Schrader    Neligh
Morgan    Schroeder    Cozad
Braden    Schulte    Kearney
Jadyn    Schultis    Diller
Jennifer    Sedlacek    Nehawka
Kelsey    Simpson    Burwell
Matthew    Soper-Wendell    Grant
Justin    Sousek    Malmo
Brinn    Space    Minden
Emilee    Spitz    Columbus
Jeht    Stateler    Hoskins

Taylor    Steager    Surprise
Preston    Sueper    Lindsay
David    Swotek    Lincoln
John    Swotek    Lincoln
Isela    Tercero    Broken Bow
Tommy    Thompson    Blair
Erin    Timoney    Ulysses
Chaylee    Tonniges    Gresham
Kailey    Trampe    Kearney
Madison    Tunender    Atkinson
Grant    Turner    Trumbull
Jacson    Valentine    David City
Cambrea    Vogel    Crawford
Megan    Vrbka    Staplehurst
Josie    Vyhnalek    Friend
Sydney    Wellsandt    Unadilla
Gracie    Wenzel    Arthur
Faith    Whitesel    Miller
Noah    Wilke    Holdrege
Allison    Wilkens    Gibbon
Sheridan    Wilson    Lemoyne
Ethan    Wittler    Talmage
Evelyn    Wooldrik    West Point
Macey    Wooldrik    West Point

Gage    Wright    Hastings
Rebecca    Wulf    Hooper
Kaden    Wykert    Sutherland
       
Nebraska Agricultural Youth Council          

First Name    Last Name    City
Nick    Birdsley    Omaha
Grant    Dahlgren    Bertrand
Miles    Eggleston    David City
Cooper    Grabenstein    Bertrand
Emily    Hatterman    Wisner
Colin    Ibach    Sumner
Cole    Kalkowski    Omaha
Felicia    Knoerzer    Elwood
Kelsey    Loseke    Blair
Kelli    Mashino    Spencer
Layne    Miller    Lyons
Courtney    Nelson    Monroe

Creighton    Niemeyer    De Witt
Tyler    Perrin    Ogallala
Ralston    Ripp    Kearney
Megan    Schroeder    Wisner
Isaac    Stallbaumer    Oconto
Clayton    Thomas    Bloomington, IL
Colton    Thompson    Eustis
Josie    Thompson    Wayne
Wesley    Wach    Hayes Center

To learn more about NAYC or NAYI, or to view the listing of delegates selected to participate in NAYI 2020 - visit NAYI’s website at nda.nebraska.gov/nayi/index.html. Follow NAYI activities on Facebook by searching and liking the Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute. On Twitter, follow @THE_NAYC or #NAYI20.



Game and Parks has resources for landowners with wildlife damage


The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is proactively working with landowners who have encountered wildlife damage to their crops and property.

“Crop and livestock damage can be a serious issue for many landowners,” said Game and Parks Director Jim Douglas. “We understand this and need to let landowners know what tools we have to help them, and listen to their ideas about other ways to resolve these problems.”

Game and Parks believes the best way to manage big game populations is by hunting. In 2020, the agency has:
• increased antlerless deer tags across the state by 6% from 2019 quotas and 25% since 2017;
• increased doe/fawn antelope tags by 42%, adding a bonus doe/fawn tag to all landowner doe/fawn permits;
• increased antlerless elk tags by 40%; and
• lengthened antlerless elk season to Aug. 1, 2020 to Jan. 31, 2021 and added areas in every unit for landowner opportunity.

In 2019, antlerless deer units Frenchman and Loup East had lengthened seasons and met management goals of increasing antlerless harvest. This success is due largely to landowners allowing access to their land.

Landowners experiencing wildlife damage should contact their district Game and Parks office. A list of offices is available at OutdoorNebraska.org/locations. They can discuss options such as scare devices, damage control permits or opening lands to public access for hunting. Landowners also may contact the agency about wildlife damage issues at OutdoorNebraska.org/depredation by filling out a Landowner Assistance Form.

Landowners, hunters and Game and Parks working together are the driving force for wildlife conservation in Nebraska. Landowners provide habitat and hunting access while hunters fund conservation by buying permits and stamps. Those funds are invested back into programs for private landowners that benefit wildlife and provide access for recreational opportunities, big game research, and maintaining 289 wildlife management areas that encompass 190,884 acres.

Game and Parks is charged with managing all wildlife in the state. It strives to find a balance between healthy wildlife populations, hunting opportunities, and keeping deer and all game populations at socially acceptable levels.

Hunting has an $848 million annual economic impact in Nebraska and supports nearly 9,000 jobs. Nebraska offers extraordinary mixed bag opportunities for hunting and watching wildlife.



Iowa Legislature Reauthorizes Biofuel Tax Differentials


On their first day back at the Iowa Capitol, legislators wasted no time getting to work on important policies. On Wednesday night the Iowa legislature reauthorized the Iowa biofuel tax differentials, helping boost biofuel demand and lower fuel prices.

Senate File 2403, which unanimously passed both chambers, extends and modernizes fuel tax differentials for E15 and higher ethanol blends and B11 and higher biodiesel blends, which are set to expire on June 30, 2020. Passage signals continued support of renewable fuels and will put millions of dollars back into the Road Use Tax Fund each year for vital infrastructure projects.

“Reauthorization of the biofuel tax differentials is a ray of sunshine during some of the darkest days Iowa biofuels have ever faced,” said Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Policy Director Nathan Hohnstein. “We thank Iowa’s elected leaders for reauthorizing a program that is working to boost biofuel demand. Iowa biofuel plants are still struggling to claw their way back from the demand destruction caused by the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and Renewable Fuel Standard exemptions by EPA. This unanimous passage sends a strong message of support to Iowa ethanol and biodiesel producers.

“We especially want to thank Senator Randy Feenstra and Representative Louie Zumbach for their leadership and diligent efforts to ensure the reauthorization of this policy. Since the biofuel tax differentials were originally established, sales of ethanol and biodiesel have increased dramatically. We urge Governor Reynolds to sign this bill into law, ensuring Iowa continues to build on this progress.”

Since the first fuel tax differential bill was passed, E10 and higher ethanol blends and B11 and higher biodiesel blends have grown to make up about 90% and 57% of sales in 2019, respectively. The new fuel tax differential modernizes the ethanol differential by applying it only to E15 and higher blends.



USDA Issues First Coronavirus Food Assistance Program Payments


U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) has already approved more than $545 million in payments to producers who have applied for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. FSA began taking applications May 26, and the agency has received over 86,000 applications for this important relief program.

“The coronavirus has hurt America’s farmers, ranchers, and producers, and these payments directed by President Trump will help this critical industry weather the current pandemic so they can continue to plant and harvest a safe, nutritious, and affordable crop for the American people,” said Secretary Perdue. “We have tools and resources available to help producers understand the program and enable them to work with Farm Service Agency staff to complete applications as smoothly and efficiently as possible and get payments into the pockets of our patriotic farmers.”

In the first six days of the application period, FSA has already made payments to more than 35,000 producers. Out of the gate, the top five states for CFAP payments are Illinois, Kansas, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and South Dakota. USDA has released data on application progress and program payments and will release further updates each Monday at 2:00pm ET. The report can be viewed at farmers.gov/cfap.

FSA will accept applications through August 28, 2020. Through CFAP, USDA is making available $16 billion in financial assistance to producers of agricultural commodities who have suffered a five-percent-or-greater price decline due to COVID-19 and face additional significant marketing costs as a result of lower demand, surplus production, and disruptions to shipping patterns and the orderly marketing of commodities.

In order to do this, producers will receive 80 percent of their maximum total payment upon approval of the application. The remaining portion of the payment, not to exceed the payment limit, will be paid at a later date nationwide, as funds remain available.
 
Getting Help from FSA

New customers seeking one-on-one support with the CFAP application process can call 877-508-8364 to speak directly with a USDA employee ready to offer general assistance. This is a recommended first step before a producer engages the team at the FSA county office at their local USDA Service Center.

Producers can download the CFAP application and other eligibility forms from farmers.gov/cfap. Also, on that webpage, producers can find a payment calculator to help producers identify sales and inventory records needed to apply and calculate potential payments. Producers self-certify their records when applying for CFAP and that documentation is not submitted with the application. However, producers may be asked for their documentation to support the certification of eligible commodities, so producers should retain the information used to complete their application.

Those who use the online calculator tool will be able to print a pre-filled CFAP application, sign it, and submit it to your local FSA office either electronically or via hand delivery through an office drop box. Please contact your local office to determine the preferred delivery method for your local office. Team members at FSA county offices will be able to answer detailed questions and help producers apply quickly and efficiently through phone and online tools. Find contact information for your local office at farmers.gov/cfap.
 
Policy Clarifications

FSA has been working with stakeholder groups to provide further clarification to producers on the CFAP program. For example, the agency has published a matrix of common marketing contracts that impact eligibility for non-specialty crops and has provided a table that crosswalks common livestock terms to CFAP cattle categories. Updated information can be found in the frequently asked questions section of the CFAP website.
 
More Information

To find the latest information on CFAP, visit farmers.gov/CFAP or call 877-508-8364.

USDA Service Centers are open for business by phone appointment only, and field work will continue with appropriate social distancing. While program delivery staff will continue to come into the office, they will be working with producers by phone and using online tools whenever possible. All Service Center visitors wishing to conduct business with the FSA, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or any other Service Center agency are required to call their Service Center to schedule a phone appointment. More information can be found at farmers.gov/coronavirus.



U.S. Exports of Ethanol and DDGS Ebb in April

Ann Lewis, Senior Analyst, Renewable Fuels Association

   
U.S. ethanol exports were 99.4 million gallons (mg) in April, a decline of 40.5 mg (29%) from March. Notably, lighter sales to our largest markets, Brazil (23.8 mg, -36%) and Canada (10.8 mg, -61% to the lowest volume since August 2010) accounted for three-fourths of that drop. Exports to India also declined although to a lesser degree (15.8 mg, -19%). However, shipments to Mexico experienced a six-fold bump as a record 13.8 mg crossed the border. South Korea also saw a sizable jump (12.6 mg, +9%). These five markets represented 78% of total U.S. global ethanol shipments in April. An annualized export pace of 1.75 billion gallons would be implied by prorating year-to-date sales, but seasonal factors and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will likely result in 2020 exports being below this level.

U.S. undenatured fuel ethanol shipments in April shifted 6% higher to 63.6 mg. While sales to Brazil dropped by over a third to 23.8 mg, exports were robust to India (12.9 mg, up from zero in March) and Mexico (9.0 mg, up from 1.3 mg). South Korea (3.8 mg), Turkey (3.4 mg), and the Philippines (3.0 mg) were other large markets for U.S. undenatured ethanol.

April U.S. denatured fuel ethanol exports shrank by 59% to 27.0 mg. Shipments to chief customer Canada plummeted by 68% to 8.3 mg (accounting for 31% of exported product), with South Korea (7.9 mg, -13%) and India (2.5 mg, -84%) trending downward as well. However, notable sales occurred to Finland (3.9 mg) and Mexico (2.0 mg).

Exports of U.S. ethanol for non-fuel, non-beverage purposes dipped 38% to 8.8 mg after a prior month pop in sales. Mexico (3.2 mg), Saudi Arabia (2.0 mg), and Canada (1.6 mg) were our largest customers.

There were no U.S. imports of ethanol recorded in April. However, Brazil shipped 36.0 mg of cane ethanol to the West Coast during the first three months of the year.

U.S. exports of dried distillers grains (DDGS)—the animal feed co-product generated by dry-mill ethanol plants—declined by 15% in April to 765,635 metric tons (mt). Mexico cut imports by a third to 126,756 mt (the lowest volume since May 2017), thereby relinquishing its lead customer status for the first time since October 2018. While shipments to Vietnam were marginally unchanged from March at 139,724 mt (equivalent to 18% of April worldwide sales), the country became the largest U.S. DDGS importer for the first time. DDGS shipments to South Korea slowed (down 27% to 93,701 mt) while exports tripled to Thailand (up 223% to 85,715 mt). These four markets were responsible for 58% of U.S. DDGS exports in April, with the remainder parsed out among another 33 countries. Worldwide U.S. DDGS sales for the first four months of the year imply an annualized export volume of 10.48 million mt.



 ASA Submits Comments to EPA Supporting New SCN-Resistant Soybeans


The American Soybean Association this week sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in support of a new soybean cyst nematode (SCN)-resistant soybean as the agency considers the product registration.

SCN is the single most damaging pest soybean producers face, both in the U.S. and globally. While there are some existing tools available for growers to manage SCN, many tools can be difficult or complicated to use given the nature of SCN infestations, and thus may have limited efficacy. Additionally, there is a growing threat of nematode resistance to some of these tools.

ASA welcomes the registration and availability of additional tools, including a new SCN-resistant soybean variety enabled by plant incorporated protectants to protect crops and maintain strong yields.

“U.S. soybean growers would like to enjoy the management benefits offered by this tool for many years to come,” ASA states in the comments. “We welcome and look forward to working with EPA, the registrant, research and extension personnel, and other relevant stakeholders to craft thoughtful and practical guidance for growers to best preserve the efficacy of this tool.”



USDA Dairy Products April 2020 Production Highlights


Total cheese output (excluding cottage cheese) was 1.07 billion pounds, 1.7 percent below April 2019 and 5.1 percent below March 2020.  Italian type cheese production totaled 452 million pounds, 5.0 percent below April 2019 and 7.2 percent below March 2020.  American type cheese production totaled 446 million pounds, 3.6 percent above April 2019 but 0.9 percent below March 2020.  Butter production was 216 million pounds, 25.1 percent above April 2019 and 10.1 percent above March 2020.

Dry milk products (comparisons in percentage with April 2019)
Nonfat dry milk, human - 183 million pounds, up 9.3 percent.
Skim milk powder - 40.4 million pounds, down 12.7 percent.

Whey products (comparisons in percentage with April 2019)
Dry whey, total - 77.8 million pounds, up 3.8 percent.
Lactose, human and animal - 91.4 million pounds, down 15.4 percent.
Whey protein concentrate, total - 37.5 million pounds, down 7.7 percent.

Frozen products (comparisons in percentage with April 2019)
Ice cream, regular (hard) - 62.9 million gallons, down 2.8 percent.
Ice cream, lowfat (total) - 37.1 million gallons, down 16.7 percent.
Sherbet (hard) - 2.72 million gallons, down 11.3 percent.
Frozen yogurt (total) - 4.80 million gallons, down 5.6 percent.



Senate Legislation Promotes Agriculture in Climate Policy


The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) today endorsed the Growing Climate Solutions Act, legislation introduced by U.S. Senators Mike Braun, R-Ind., Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., and Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.

The bipartisan legislation addresses the potential for agriculture to serve as a critical climate solution by making it easier for producers to participate in climate-smart practices, navigate carbon markets and earn extra income through carbon sequestration.

“Corn farmers have been leaders in adopting farming practices to improve the quality of soil, water, and the air around our farms and are pleased to endorse the Growing Climate Solutions Act. This bipartisan effort recognizes agriculture’s role in mitigating the impact of climate change and promotes voluntary, agriculture-friendly ideas into the climate discussion. NCGA thanks the Senators for their leadership and looks forward to working together to implement a policy that benefits both the environment and farmers’ bottom line,” said NCGA President Kevin Ross.

The Growing Climate Solutions Act will:

    Create an Online “One Stop Shop” for Producers and Foresters interested in carbon markets to help them get their foot in the door. A new USDA website will serve as a comprehensive resource with information for farmers and foresters interested in generating carbon credits. It will explain how they can get started and connect them with USDA-certified entities to set up their carbon credit operation and provide more details on the private-sector marketplace.

    Establish a USDA Certification for the private parties that farmers work with in order to generate and ultimately sell their carbon credits. Modeled off of the National Organic Program, the certification provides transparency and legitimacy to technical assistance providers, who advise producers on conservation practices to use in order to generate carbon credits, and third party verifiers, who verify that the appropriate protocols were followed to ensure the integrity of the credits so they can be sold. The USDA will ensure that these private third parties have agriculture and/or forestry experience, which is lacking in the current marketplace.

    Organize an Advisory Council to keep the Secretary and USDA updated on new developments in the rapidly-expanding landscape of carbon markets. The council of agriculture experts, scientists, conservationists, and producers will ensure that the certification program remains relevant, credible, and responsive to the needs of farmers, forest landowners, and carbon market participants alike.

    Assess Progress in Carbon Markets through a regular report to keep lawmakers up to speed on barriers to market entry, producer challenges, market performance, and opportunities for USDA to contribute to the further adoption of voluntary carbon sequestration.



NMPF Applauds Bipartisan Growing Climate Solutions Act


The National Milk Producers Federation, the largest U.S. dairy group, today applauded the bipartisan Growing Climate Solutions Act introduced in the U.S. Senate, calling it an important step toward reducing agricultural carbon emissions that aligns well with dairy’s goal to achieve carbon neutrality or better by 2050 through the industry’s Net Zero Initiative.

The legislation, introduced by Senator Mike Braun (R-IN) and Senate Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), along with Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), encourages sustainable farming practices by making it easier for farmers to participate in carbon markets. The Growing Climate Solutions Act creates a certification program at USDA to help solve technical entry barriers that make it difficult for farmers and forest landowners to participate in carbon credit markets.

“We commend Senators Braun and Stabenow , as well as Senators Graham and Whitehouse, for their bipartisan work to facilitate greater farmer participation in environmental markets,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation. “Dairy farmers are environmental stewards who value proactive approaches to sustainability, and this legislation will provide a welcome boost to their efforts. We look forward to working with Senators Braun, Stabenow, Graham, and Whitehouse to advance this bill in Congress.”

Mulhern noted that carbon markets will play an important role in the dairy sector’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, an industrywide effort that will require public-policy support. “Net zero is good for dairy farmers, good for consumers and good for the planet,” Mulhern said. “The Growing Climate Solutions Act is part of how Congress can be leaders in this effort, and we are excited to see lawmakers sharing our goal of a climate-friendly future.”



Farmers Union Backs Carbon Credit Verifier Certification Bill 


A bipartisan bill introduced today by Sens. Mike Braun (R-IN), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Lindsay Graham (R-SC) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) would help provide certainty for farmers as they look to participate in carbon markets in their efforts to adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change.

The bill, known as the Growing Climate Solutions Act, would create a certification program at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for technical service providers to work with farmers as they implement practices to sequester carbon and sell the credits. The bill also calls for an advisory committee at USDA composed of farmers, government officials, and representatives from private markets to provide guidance on how Congress and USDA can reduce barriers to entry for carbon markets and resolve challenges faced by farmers.

National Farmers Union (NFU) members, numbering 200,000 family farmers and ranchers and rural residents, have long been concerned with the current and future consequences of climate change on agricultural livelihoods and global food security. At the organization’s 118th annual convention, Farmers Union delegates passed a special order of business that encourages USDA and other federal agencies “to explore opportunities for family farmers and ranchers to realize financial benefit from the ecosystems services generated through improved management practices including voluntary marketplace initiatives and voluntary federal support programs.”

In keeping with that special order of business, NFU President Rob Larew issued the following statement endorsing the bill:

“American family farmers and ranchers are ready to help fight climate change, but meaningful and sustainable changes are not inexpensive or easy to implement. Carbon credit exchanges can provide them with a market-based system to finance those improvements. 

“It is very encouraging to see legislators work across the aisle to provide certainty to those looking to participate in carbon credit marketplaces. In doing so, the Growing Climate Solutions Act is an important step toward strong and comprehensive climate policy that both provides farmers of all sizes with the resources they need to mitigate and adapt to climate change as well as recognizes the vital public good that comes from those efforts.”



USDA Farmers to Families Food Box Program Reaches 5 Million Boxes Distributed


U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced today that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farmers to Families Food Box Program has distributed more than five million food boxes in support of American farmers and families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Farmers to Families Food Box Program was designed to put American farmers and distributors of all sizes back to work while supporting over-burdened food banks, community and faith-based organizations, and other non-profits serving Americans in need, and the program is doing just that,” said Secretary Perdue. “It’s encouraging to see the passion with which farmers, distributors and non-profits have gone above and beyond to make this program work in support of the American people. Although a momentous milestone, this is only the beginning for the program, and with continued support we expect up to 40 million boxes will be delivered throughout the country by June 30th.”

“Since our launch of the Farmers to Families Food Box, 5 million boxes have been successfully delivered to Americans most in need all across the country. Through this innovative program small and regional distributors are bringing back their workforce to procure food directly from our American farmers and ranchers. Fresh food is getting to those in need, even in the hardest to reach places, through partnerships with food banks, non-profits and faith-based communities,” said Advisor to the President, Ivanka Trump.



NFU Calls for National Effort to Address Racism


The killing of Minnesota resident George Floyd has spurred widespread outrage and pushed the United States towards a reckoning with its long and painful legacy of racism.

The agricultural industry is not exempt from critique; though 14 percent of U.S. farmland was black-owned a hundred years ago, decades of systemic discrimination and the abuse of legal loopholes has left black farmers with just .52 percent of the nation's arable land. This has robbed black communities of billions of dollars of wealth, a fact that many experts say has contributed to the modern racial wealth gap.

National Farmers Union (NFU), which has historically supported social justice movements including women's suffrage and the civil rights movements, redoubled its efforts to support racial equity and justice in light of George Floyd's death. ""If we stand idly by while our friends and neighbors suffer - as too many of us have done for too long - we are complicit in their suffering," said NFU President Rob Larew in a statement. "To overcome the terrible legacy of racism in this country, we all must reflect on our own privileges and prejudices, rethink our institutions, and demand structural change."



American Farm Bureau Statement Addressing Racism

President Zippy Duvall

“Our hearts go out to the family of George Floyd and others who have suffered as a result of racial injustice. We strongly oppose racial discrimination and believe just treatment by law enforcement is essential to maintain public trust and to uphold our Constitution. We also believe we have a responsibility across our society to honestly examine, identify and address racism.

“That includes looking within our own organizations. At AFBF, we are doing just that. We are forming a cross-functional working group to determine how we, as staff of the American Farm Bureau, can be a positive influence against racism.

“Part of the strength of our communities and nation is our ability to pull together in times of crisis. We must do so now.”



World Food Price Index Hits 17-Month Low


World food prices fell for a fourth consecutive month in May, hit by the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic which has stymied demand, the United Nations food agency said on Thursday.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) food priceindex, which measures monthly changes for a basket of cereals,oilseeds, dairy products, meat and sugar, averaged 162.5 points last month, down 1.9% on April.

According to Reuters, it was the lowest monthly reading since December 2018. The dairy index dropped 7.3%, led by sharp falls in both butter and cheese, partly because of lower import demand.

The cereal price index slipped 1% as coarse grain prices continued their decline, with U.S. maize prices some 16% down on the year, and wheat export prices falling, amid expectations of ample global supplies. International rice prices edged higher.

Vegetable oil prices fell 2.8% to a 10-month low, while the meat index slipped 0.8%. Poultry and pig meat quotations continued to fall, reflecting high export availabilities and despite an increase in import demand in East Asia.

Bucking the general downward trend, the sugar price index jumped 7.4% in April largely because of lower-than-expected harvests in some major producers, notably India and Thailand.

FAO also posted its first forecast for the 2020 cereal season, foreseeing global output of 2.780 billion tonnes -- a 2.6% increase on 2019's record harvest.



What’s Next for the Land Market?


The agricultural land market came into 2020 with a glimmer of optimism until COVID-19 slammed into people’s lives. Catastrophic disruptions in the world’s economy have reached into U.S. agriculture to play havoc with marketing chains. As a result, the land market hit the pause button as buyers and sellers slowed activity. Opposing factors will be pushing and pulling land values in the coming months to decide what’s next for the land market.

Before COVID-19, U.S. agriculture was gaining some momentum coming off a difficult year in many sectors. Trade deals were coming into place and commodity prices had a hint of getting better.

“The market for good cropland was stable to slightly stronger in many areas as interest rates remained low and demand was fairly strong for the low supply of land for sale. Recreational land had good demand as the general economy and the overall wealth of individuals was strong,” said Randy Dickhut, senior vice president of real estate operations for Farmers National Company.

After COVID-19 struck, disruptions impacted most aspects of agriculture. Dairy producers saw an immediate drop in fluid milk consumption when schools closed. Livestock producers who sold directly to restaurants or farmer’s markets saw their prime marketing channel dry up overnight. The shutdown of meat processing facilities severely impacted consumers and that impact stretched all the way back to the farm. Corn producers saw the bottom drop out of ethanol usage at the institution of stay-at-home rules.

Farmers National Company land auctions continued during March and April albeit with social distancing procedures in place. What were to be public auctions became stay-in-your-pickup in the parking lot live auctions, bid sales or online auctions. Sale outcomes varied by region and property. The land market became more cautious in the areas with dairy, livestock and ethanol as these industries endured mounting bad news. In other areas, land sale prices were stable as demand for good quality land was more than adequate for the amount that did come up for sale.

“Real estate sales activity at Farmers National Company was strong during the first seven months of its fiscal year despite an industry wide slowdown. Sales volume was up 6 percent to 8 percent compared to each of the past three years. Sellers and buyers continue to actively call Farmers National Company agents as real estate business for the company continues during this uncertain period,” said Dickhut.

What is coming next for the land market?

Various factors that can impact land values are pulling in opposite directions. Positive influences include the continued low supply of good land for sale and historically low interest rates. For many, investing in ag land will be a safe haven for the current times, a long-term hedge or the means to invest in the sustainability of the food supply. The average land buyer who has resources may invest in recreational land for a place in the country. Farmers will remain buyers of land if they have the financial standing to do so.

Challenges that could put pressure on land values include the overriding potential for depressed farm incomes and the further decline of working capital for producers. Will lower farm incomes overcome the low interest environment to put pressure on farmland values? Will farm finances be helped enough by the additional infusion of federal cash payments to producers to maintain financial stability? Will there be more land come onto the market due to financial pressures that could tip the supply and demand equation?

“It is too soon to accurately answer what’s next for the land market except that agricultural land will continue to be bought and sold. Land passing to the next generation is a constant that remains in play no matter what. Decisions made by inheritors of land, producers, lenders, legislators and investors will come together over the coming months to provide the answer to what’s next for land values,” said Dickhut.


Wednesday June 3 Ag News
2020-06-04T03:34

Online Nebraska Pork Expo Wednesday, July 8

Anyone involved or interested in pork production is urged to attend the virtual Nebraska Pork Expo on Wednesday, July 8th.

The program will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. online. This is a free webinar, but registration is required to get the link to join. Register online prior to July 8th at becomeafan.org. Again, registration is required.

Whether large, small, contract, independent or just learning about the industry, attendees will hear sessions including nutrient management, county zoning regulations and permitting processes, financial considerations, and secure pork supply. The day includes panel discussions covering workforce, niche pig production, and integrated pork production. Carrie Horezeck, Innovation and Foresight Consultant, will round out the day with a conversation on Generation Z and how younger generations view pork protein.

This event is sponsored by the Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska (AFAN), the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, and the Nebraska Pork Producers Association.

“The pork industry in Nebraska continues to grow and there are many great options for farmers depending on your operation and goals.  There are opportunities in direct to user sales, working as an independent producer for a niche market as well as several types of integrated models.  Adding a pork component to a farming operation increases cash flow and provides valuable nutrients that can offset commercial fertilizer costs.”  Said Steve Martin, Executive Director of AFAN.

To register visit www.becomeafan.org.          

 

Nebraska Beef Council Board Meeting June 4, 2020


The Nebraska Beef Council Board of Directors will have a zoom meeting at the NBC office in Kearney located at 1319 Central Ave. on Thursday, June 4, 2020 beginning at 1:30 p.m. CDT. The NBC Board of Directors will discuss the Beef Council election. For more information, please contact Pam Esslinger at pam@nebeef.org. 



Lincoln Premium Poultry Adopting a “New Normal”


Lincoln Premium Poultry provided an update today to the community on recent cases at their facility.  Since reporting to the public one week ago, Lincoln Premium Poultry logged an additional 15 cases of COVID-19, which brings the company total to 88 cases. As of today the company has also registered 110 negative cases among employees.

“We have watched COVID-19 cases come in each week,” said Kolterman, “but we continue to keep the curve flat within our facilities and are working to improve our mitigation efforts. As we ease into the next phase and what we consider a ‘new normal’ we will report total cases to the public once a month.”

Lincoln Premium Poultry has worked hard on mitigation efforts since the end of February.  “The pandemic has had an impact on our team members like everyone else in the world, but we are proud of the education we have done and the way our team members have adapted to our new processes” said Kolterman. She continued,  “Our new normal means continued use of masks, temp checks, social distancing, and other interventions.” At the time of publication, 68 Lincoln Premium Poultry team members have returned to work.



Virtual Certified Crop Adviser Training to be Offered July 1


Certified Crop Advisers, agribusiness professionals, independent crop consultants, farmers and other interested parties are invited to participate in the Iowa State University Southeast Iowa Research and Demonstration Farm’s virtual CCA training being offered on July 1 from 8-11 a.m. 

“This virtual training is being offered in replace of the annual face-to-face CCA Training that is typically held at the Iowa State Southeast Research and Demonstration Farm,” said Rebecca Vittetoe, field agronomist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. “We are excited we can still offer this training in a virtual format.” 

This year’s CCA training has a special emphasis in the area of soil and water management and will feature the following topics:
-    Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy: Progress and tools for scaling up practice and adoption with Jamie Benning, water quality program manager with ISU Extension and Outreach.
-    Tile Drainage: Reducing nitrogen fertilizer, increasing yield and implementing conservation practices with Mike Castellano, professor of agronomy at Iowa State.

There is a $25 registration fee for the webinar, which will be offered via ZOOM, and pre-registration is required by midnight June 29. To register for the training, go to www.aep.iastate.edu/serf-cca/. The link, password and instructions for joining will be emailed to participants after the registration is completed with payment and prior to the start of the session on July 1.

Participants may join through their web browser, mobile phone or tablet. Participants will need to download a free app prior to joining. Participants should join the webinar at least 15 minutes in advance to ensure connections and software is working correctly.

Certified Crop Advisers can earn 3.0 Soil and Water Management CEU’s by participating in this training.

For more information, questions or if you need assistance with registration please contact ISU Extension and Outreach field agronomists Rebecca Vittetoe at 319-653-4811, or rka8@iastate.edu; Virgil Schmitt at 563-263-5701, or vschmitt@iastate.edu; or Josh Michel at 319-523-2371, or jmichel@iastate.edu.



2020 Iowa Youth Crop Scouting Competition Will Be Virtual


The Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Integrated Pest Management program will continue to host its annual Crop Scouting Competition for Iowa Youth on July 30. While initial plans were to host the competition in person at the ISU Field Extension Education Laboratory, this year’s competition instead will be virtual.

“After much discussion, we have decided to convert the Iowa Youth Crop Scouting Competition to a virtual format for 2020,” said Maya Hayslett, crop science youth educator and event coordinator. “It would be impractical to host the event in person while following the safety guidelines for preventing the spread of COVID-19. The safety of our youth participants, educators and staff is our top priority. We are confident that we can offer a virtual experience that will provide excellent learning and engagement opportunities for our youth participants.”

The virtual form of the competition will function in two parts: individual video submissions and a virtual team conference, supervised by a judge. Specific directions and rules will be sent to registered teams on July 1. Team conferences with a judge will be held on July 30. The top four teams with the highest total points will be eligible to win cash prizes.

Due to the unexpected format change, two new opportunities are being made available to teams that register for this year’s competition. For teams that register by the deadline, each team member is eligible to receive a free package of study materials. When teams register, coordinators will send one package to every youth team member who provides an address. This is not a requirement to participate in the competition. Only youth who want to be mailed a package should provide an address. Study materials will include field guides and other scouting tools. In addition, the IPM program has developed a free crop scouting resources page, complete with videos, lessons and guides for those looking to increase their knowledge and skills.

Also, teams may be eligible for free virtual office hours with an ISU Extension and Outreach field agronomist. Starting June 15, every Monday at 3 p.m. a different Iowa State agronomist will be available to share scouting tips, tricks and diagnostic tools, as well as answer teams’ questions. The virtual office hours will be open to all youth in grades 7-12. No registration is required. A link will be posted on the competition webpage on the day of the office hours that will direct you to a zoom meeting to participate. For more information, resources and to register, visit https://www.ipm.iastate.edu/crop-scouting-competition-iowa-youth-2020.

This event is sponsored by Iowa 4-H Youth Development, Corteva, Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa Independent Crop Consultants Association, Iowa Soybean Research Center, Iowa Certified Crop Advisors and Environmental Tillage Systems.



Weekly Ethanol Production for 5/29/2020


According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending May 29, ethanol production expanded by 5.7%, or 40,000 barrels per day (b/d), to 765,000 b/d—equivalent to 32.13 million gallons daily and the largest volume since March. However, production remains tempered due to COVID-19 disruptions, coming in 26.7% below the same week in 2019. The four-week average ethanol production rate increased 6.3% to 692,000 b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 10.61 billion gallons.

Ethanol stocks contracted by 3.0% to 22.5 million barrels, the lowest reserves since the first week of January. Inventories tightened across all regions except the Rocky Mountains (PADD 4). Total reserves are 0.3% below year-ago volumes.

The volume of gasoline supplied to the U.S. market, a measure of implied demand, scaled up 4.1% to 7.549 million b/d (115.73 bg annualized). Gasoline demand remained 20.0% lower than a year ago.

Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol climbed 1.1% to 720,000 b/d, equivalent to 11.04 bg annualized but 22.7% below the year-earlier level.

There were no imports of ethanol recorded for the twelfth consecutive week. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of March 2020.)



Price-Fixing Indictment Highlights Need for Stronger Antitrust Enforcement, Protections for Farmers


Four current and former executives at Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. and Claxton Poultry Farms, both of which produce chicken, were indicted today for colluding to inflate the prices of birds sold to grocery stores and restaurants.

The latest of several price-fixing allegations against meat processors, the case highlights the need for greater antitrust enforcement and farmer protections, National Farmers Union (NFU) President Rob Larew said in a statement:

“Price fixing in the agricultural industry is extremely harmful to everyone besides the companies who engage in this unethical practice. Ultimately, it means those companies pay farmers even less for their hard work while charging restaurants, grocery stores, and American consumers more for food.

“But price fixing is only a symptom of the much bigger problem of corporate consolidation. Companies are only able to employ anticompetitive business practices when they’ve amassed control over their respective industries; in this instance, just five companies control 60 percent of the chicken market in the United States. This level of market power unfortunately isn’t unique to poultry; in fact, many other sectors, including beef and pork, are even more concentrated. Unsurprisingly, there have been allegations of price fixing against corporations in those industries as well. 

“While NFU wholeheartedly supports legal challenges to corrupt and unfair actions, there’s a way to avoid this kind of behavior altogether: enforce antitrust policy; restore competition in the agricultural marketplace; reinstate the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration; and develop strong protections for farmers.”



The Ninth Circuit Vacates Three Dicamba Registrations


The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a decision Wednesday vacating the registrations of three dicamba herbicides, XtendiMax (Bayer), Engenia (BASF) and FeXapan (Corteva). The ruling does not appear to include Syngenta's Tavium dicamba herbicide.

The ruling has enormous implications for farmers this summer, given that roughly 60 million acres of dicamba-tolerant cotton and soybeans were slated for 2020 planting, with the expectation that farmers could use dicamba over the top for weed control.

In its ruling, the Ninth Circuit ruled that EPA did violate FIFRA with the dicamba registrations, but the judges did not rule on the lawsuit's Endangered Species Act claims.

The Ninth Circuit justices strongly criticized EPA's decision to re-register three dicamba herbicides in 2018, after widespread reports of off-target injury in both the 2016 and 2017 growing seasons.

The ruling concluded that EPA "substantially understated" the amount of dicamba that would be sprayed, as well as the reality of injury reports across the Midwest and South.

"EPA refused to estimate the amount of dicamba damage, characterizing such damage as 'potential' and 'alleged,' when record evidence showed that dicamba had caused substantial and undisputed damage," the ruling stated.

The justices also stated that EPA failed to consider how difficult the new label restrictions crafted in 2018 would be to follow, as well as the technology's 'anticompetitive effect' on the cotton and soybean market and its divisive nature among the agricultural community.

"[T]he EPA entirely failed to acknowledge the risk that OTT dicamba use would tear the social fabric of farming communities," the justices wrote.

"We therefore vacate the EPA's October 31, 2018, registration decision and the three registrations premised on that decision," the ruling concluded.



Consumer Website Explains Food's Journey to Your Plate


While many Americans fired up their grills for Memorial Day last month, some may have found limits on meat purchases, near-empty meat cases or no fresh meat at all at their local grocery stores. At the same time, they see headlines about pork and poultry farmers having to euthanize entire barns of animals. Such a confusing contradiction presents an opportunity for agriculture to engage with consumers on the complexities of the food chain and the emotional toll this current situation is taking on farmers, according to Terry Fleck, executive director of The Center for Food Integrity (CFI).

"The contrast consumers are seeing between the meat case and what's happening on farms illustrates the unfortunate effects of the pandemic on a complex food system," said Fleck. "It's confusing to those on the outside and causing concern and mistrust. That's why engaging consumers on how meat gets to our tables and explaining the unfortunate necessity of depopulating animals is critical."

CFI recently created an animated infographic in partnership with the Iowa Farm Bureau and Illinois Farm Bureau. "Pork, Beef, Chicken: Journey to Your Plate," featured on the website BestFoodFacts.org, details the intricacies of the meat supply chain. Also on the site, "COVID-19 and the Food Supply: Your Questions Answered" addresses questions about the supply chain and food safety.

"These resources help explain a complex supply chain and why the pandemic has wreaked havoc," said Fleck.

The U.S. has 835 federally inspected livestock plants for beef and pork and nearly 3,000 federally inspected poultry plants. The system can adjust when one or two plants close. However, the impacts from COVID-19 have affected the entire system at unprecedented levels, resulting in temporary shutdowns or reduced operating capacity at many meat and poultry processing plants.

This massive bottleneck has left millions of market-ready pigs and chickens with nowhere to go. Normally, processing plants harvest an average of 500,000 pigs and 24 million chickens per day. As the number of pigs and chickens unable to go to market grows day after day, so too do the animals. They literally outgrow the space that is designed specifically for their comfort and wellbeing.

That has resulted in farmers faced with the heart wrenching decision to euthanize animals that should have gone to market.

For the farmers who've committed their lives to the responsible care of animals, putting down healthy animals is devastating, said Fleck. "They dedicate their lives to raising animals to provide food for families in the U.S. and around the world. Depopulating herds and flocks is an unimaginable action that's done only as a last resort. Failing to depopulate would mean millions of animals kept in conditions that jeopardize their wellbeing."

Helping consumers understand the supply chain disruption and impacts may seem daunting, but the key is to keep it simple and engage on the shared values of safe food and a commitment to the highest standards of animal care.



Farmers For Innovation Launches a Movement to Bring Back America


Farmers For Innovation (FFI) released the following statement on launching the Farmers For Innovation movement as Americans look for solutions to recover from the economic crisis created by the pandemic of 2020.

“These are challenging times. The pandemic has placed stress upon the American economy unlike any other since the Great Depression. At the same time, the Coronavirus pandemic has inspired a reevaluation of America’s security and the country’s interests in the global economy. Our security and our capacity to produce and ensure our supply chains are becoming inextricably linked. It is time to bring back these capabilities to America and to invest in innovative solutions that will perpetuate our own success as farmers by making our work more effective and more efficient,” said David Kolsrud, FFI’s Founder. “By working together, Farmers for Innovation can create a movement to empower farmers to make their money go farther and ultimately lead to the prosperity of rural Americans.”

David Kolsrud is a lifelong farmer and military veteran who has spent 25 years in the renewable energy industry, with expertise in ethanol, biodiesel, and wind projects. He was the Cooperative Manager at Agri-Energy LLC in Luverne, MN from 1995 until its sale to GEVO in 2010. In 2006, Kolsrud formed DAK Renewable Energy and in 2011 founded The Funding Farm in order to invest in start-up companies.

Kolsrud sees Farmers For Innovation’s mission as an investment in rural America’s future. By serving as a platform to motivate the government to incentivize farmers at scale, FFI plans to leverage rural America’s resources and create an investment fund to fuel companies that will transform farmers’ lives. These companies will develop direct and indirect applications of technology to the challenges that farmers are currently facing now or will have to confront.

By investing in innovative technologies such as ag-tech, life sciences, robotics, clean energy, national security, artificial intelligence and machine learning, FFI will safeguard America’s security and ensure the livelihood of farmers and their families for generations.

Farmers For Innovation wants Main Street to have a voice as loud as Wall Street. FFI will be a trusted partner to direct the investments of farmers to high-performing companies in multiple arenas with products and services that will ultimately perpetuate the success of Rural America.